It's Saturday, and that means it's time for the Android Central app picks. We've got another smattering of random apps, games and utilities for your enjoyment here this week. This is our last roundup of app picks for 2012, but fear not, we're coming back stronger than ever in 2013 with more apps for you to check out. See how we did wrapping up 2012 after the break.
Alex Dobie - BBC iPlayer
The BBC iPlayer app for Android is an essential download for anyone in the UK, and recent additions make it better than ever. The latest version includes improved 7-inch tablet support, Android 4.2 support, higher quality streams for Wifi connections, and there's also a redesigned UI that fits in with Android's "holo" design language. Functionally, the app is the same as ever, allowing you to stream recent TV and radio content from the Beeb, and watch and listen to live broadcasts.
As always, the app is free to download in the UK for devices running Android 2.2 or above.
Download: BBC iPlayer (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Bloons TD 5
There is no better way to destroy your battery than with ninjas and monkeys. Bloons TD5 is an awesome Android version of the popular desktop game from Ninja Kiwi. It's tower defense at it's heart, but with enough twists and gameplay features to make it not just another tower defense game. There are 24 different tracks, special missions, random tracks, achievements, and some of the coolest towers you'll find anywhere. You use these monkey-powered towers to pop balloons before they reach the end of the track. Sounds simple, right? It is at first, but the game gets serious after a few easy levels and you'll need to strategically set towers in just the right places to keep from losing.
It's 3 bucks with no trial, but trust me -- if you like tower defense games, or are a fan of the Bloons games on the desktop, you're going to love it. It's also family friendly, so it's a perfect game to install for the kids.
Download: Bloons TD 5 ($2.99)
Simon Sage - Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery emerged from its beta status this week and hit Google Play at a promotional price. This is probably one of the more bizarre role-playing games you’re going to play for some time. The modernized twist on dialog in a classic fantasy setting, the creepy pseudo-scientific meta-narrative surrounding the game, the juxtaposition of lo-fi graphics with high-grade animation, and the gameplay tied with moon cycles all add up to make a really unique game. Definitely try Superbrothers out if you didn’t already snag it in the last Humble Bundle for Android. Oh, and it has a totally awesome soundtrack. Get it. Getitgetitgetitgetit.
Download: Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP ($1.99)
Sean Brunett - Pocket
I read quite a bit on my Nexus 7 and am always searching for new apps that present my to-be-read articles well. Pocket, formerly Read It Later, is a fantastic app that saves all of your articles from a variety of devices so you can read them at a later time. I always find articles that I want to save for later and prior to trying out Pocket, I would either email them to myself or save them to a service like Evernote. Pocket does it better than both of these options though and the UI is fantastic. There is a free Android app, a Chrome extension and more that allow you to save to your Pocket account.
Download: Pocket (Free)
Chris Parsons - Transformers Legends
I'm not really one for " battle card" style games but I am certainly a Transformers fan. The newest addition to the Google Play store is Transformers: Legends and despite the fact that it's in no way a button mashing thrashing of metal on metal, it's still a fun game full of great artwork and fun. Pick your side -- Autobot or Decepticon. Build up your team and unlock plenty of goodies. If you're in any way a Transformers fan it's a must have. Keep in mind though, it is a new game and there are some bugs to be found. If you spot them, report them. Mobage has been gathering bug reports to help improve the overall game experience and even checks user comments frequently.
Download: Transformers Legends (Free)
Anndrew Vacca - Hotel Tonight
Hotel Tonight has made our Apps of the Week list before, but during such a busy travel week for many readers, it easily earns a second look. New Years Eve is right around the corner, and if you haven't booked a hotel yet, you're flirting with being left out in the cold. With Hotel Tonight, procrastinators everywhere won't have to settle for Dominos delivery and Netflix to ring in the New Year-- beginning at noon on the day you're interested in traveling, Hotel Tonight updates with a handful of deeply discounted rooms in over 75 cities around the US, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Hotel selection is fantastic and properties are often first class-- if you've even been toying with the idea of a night on the town this NYE, Hotel Tonight might be just enough to give you that final nudge.
Download: Hotel Tonight (Free)
Richard Devine - Sonic CD
Sonic CD is a classic, there's no other word for it. Better yet, it's a classic that's currently on sale. If you've thought about it but haven't pulled the trigger yet, now is as good a time as any.
Completely faithful to the original, Sonic CD is platform gaming at it's finest. Simple controls, colorful and immersive levels, and a soundtrack that would definitely fall into the love/hate category depending on taste. There's not really much else that needs saying. It's Sonic CD, and it's on sale for the holidays. Get it while you can.
Download: Sonic CD ($0.99)
Andrew Martonik - Pixlr Express
There's a huge boom in the number of photo editing apps hitting Google Play right now, and many of the general editing apps with no specific purpose are pretty bland. After poking around with a few, I found Pixlr Express to have a pretty solid feature set. You can import photos from your gallery (or Dropbox, a file manager, etc.) or take them within the app with the stock camera UI, and then edit and manage them afterwards. There's a basic suite of image adjustments like sharpening, touch up, rotation, crop, color and contrast. You also have a simple set of filters and borders, if that's your kind of thing. When you're done with an image you can share it directly to any app, or save it to your Gallery for later.
The big winner here is the way the UI is setup and responds to input. It's just really easy to use and very visually appealing, which is something that's important if you're going to commit to editing photos on a phone. The UI better be good to keep me from just doing it on my computer instead.
Download: Pixlr Express (Free)