Apps of the Week

See what the Android Central writers are using this week

It's that time of the week where we carve out a slot on Android Central to show off our Apps of the Week column. Saturday afternoons are a perfect time for each of the writers here to talk about an app that has made its way onto our phones or tablets and stuck around, even with all of the apps we see on a weekly basis.

As we explain every week, these may not be the best-in-class or top-selling apps, but if they're on our devices week after week, they must be doing something right. This week's list includes a few games, as usual, and a handful of tools to round it out, so hang with us after the break and see how the picks stack up.

Simon Sage - Motocross Meltdown

Motocross Meltdown

Motocross Meltdown is a freemium dirtbike racing game complete with high-flying tricks, online multiplayer, and tons of customization. Players work their way through a variety of challenges which involve tapping targets with razor precision and timing. Game modes include tricks, high jump, and one-on-one races. Customization options range from vanity stuff like new paint jobs on the bike, new helmets and outfits, to more practical upgrades, like suspension, tires, engine, and body changes to your bike. The usual free-to-play tropes are here, such as premium currency, playtime limiters (gas for single-player games, energy for online), but the high-quality graphics has me forgiving a whole lot on that front.

All in all, Motocross Meltdown offers fun, fast, and dirty racing on Android. 

Download: Motocross Meltdown (Free)

Phil Nickinson - Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird

I'm told that Flappy Bird is a popular game, and that we should write about it. And, indeed, it's gotten between 1 million and 5 million downloads on Android. So someone's playing it. And when they do, they press down on the screen to make the bird flap, avoiding pipes that very much were ripped off from Super Mario Bros. I haven't actually gotten past the third pipe, and I don't really care to. But presumably there's more to the game than that, seeing as how between 1 million and 5 million people have downloaded it. The game is free. As is the banner ad atop the screen.

Download (or not): Flappy Bird (Free) 

Jared DiPane - 8 Ball Pool

8 Ball Pool

I have never been one for gaming on my mobile phones, but there are a few exceptions to that. Recently I installed 8 Ball Pool and I have come to love playing it in my free time. Game play is dead simple, the stick is controlled by moving it around with your finger, and then determining how hard you want to shoot.

What I like most is that you are able to play alone or versus someone else which makes it a ton more fun. Being able to pick it up, play a match or two and then put it down and not have to worry about hitting a save point or running out of lives is one of the big draws for me. So whether you have a few minutes or a few hours to kill check out 8 Ball Pool for some great entertainment.

Download: 8 Ball Pool (Free)

Jerry Hildenbrand - File Manager

Jerry Hildenbrand

You want a smooth and simple file manager that follows the Android app design guidelines. You want a full featured app, but don't want or need root built into your file manager UI. Then you sound a lot like me, and I've been digging File Manager.

I've looked at a lot of File Manager applications over the years here at AC, because I think they are one of those utilities that a developer really needs to get right. They need to look right — File Manager follows Android app guidelines very closely and has the same look and feel as official Google apps. They need the right features — File Manager supports things like USB OTG, custom bookmarks, compression and extraction, full cut/copy/paste features and even includes its own media browser. And they need to run smoothly — File Manager is butter. It's butter on my old HTC One X, it's butter on my Nexus 5, it's butter on the G Flex.

As mentioned there is no "root" support. I don't think there is any planned, either. That may be a drawback to you, and that's cool. Use a different app. But for those who don't root, or those who don't want root anywhere except the console, File Manager is perfect. It's a free download for Android 2.2 and higher, and comes with an ad. You can kill the ad with a 99-cent in-app purchase if you like. I think you'll want to after giving it a try. Grab it here.

Download: File Manager (Free; $0.99)

Andrew Martonik - Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb

While most manufacturers include a pretty comprehensive "night mode" or "do not disturb" functions on devices, those of us with Nexus phones have to search Google Play for a good replacement. For the moment at least, I've settled on the aptly-named Do Not Disturb. It is simple but effective — set times and dates to silence your phone, and it does it.

You can get more advanced with specific daytime silencing for calendar events, but for my usage — simply muting the phone at night as the emails and notifications roll in — it works perfectly. There's even a full-featured free version that disables the paid features after a trial period, so you can get a feel for it before you buy. There are a whole boatload of apps that do this, but Do Not Disturb is the simplest I've found so far.

Download: Do Not Disturb (Free)

Richard Devine - Switchr

Android Central

I'm not usually one for changing things up too much, replacing stock features with some of the excellent third party solutions out there. But I've given Switchr a try and I'm hooked. What it does is provide a gesture based app switcher, that you access by way of a simple swipe from the edge of the screen. With small hands like mine – and holding the phone in my left hand – even reaching across to the task switcher is uncomfortable. 

Switchr allows you to customize exactly where and how much of the screen you want to allocate to your swipe, and a choice of three different interfaces. I've got it programmed to keep only the 6 most recent apps in there, as that's usually enough for me, but you can increase or decrease to your liking. 

I actually like it so much I've moved on to beta testing. It's made using my Android devices a little more comfortable for me, and I'll take that every day of the week. There's a free version with most of the functionality available, and a pro version with everything unlocked. 

Download: Switchr (Free; $1.99)

Chris Parsons - 9GAG First

9GAG First

Like funny pictures? Of course you do. Like free apps? Of course you do. You’re going to love 9GAG First. It’s essentially what will become the next official 9GAG app but for now it’s kinda in open beta status. You can browse, comment and vote on all the images that appear on 9GAG and it’s much faster than the previous official app. Great app. 5 stars. Would open again.

Download: 9GAG First (Free)


Happen to miss previous editions of our weekly app picks? You can check them out right here. Our continuing weekly app coverage can also be seen right here as well.

 

Reader comments

Apps of the Week: Motocross Meltdown, Flappy Bird, 8 Ball Pool and more!

45 Comments

Agreed. My high score is 145 (yes, I was that dedicated) and I look at the high scores and see upwards of 3 billion. Why do people need to cheat and ruin the fun?

Posted through my Nexus 7!

thanks for this file manager tip! i was resigned to expect only dated ones with windows 3.1 looks like the Astro and ES File Manager everyone recommends. Downloading now!

Phil's review of flappy bird is excellent, can't fault it in the slightest.

File manager is a nice app with the theme set to dark, I really hate the current "very bright, as little contrast as possible" look to Gapps currently. (This is my opinion, others are welcome to their own)

Posted via Android Central App

Haha just played flappy bird and uninstalled before my patience got broken or my Note 3 lol

Posted via Android Central App

Is Chris Parsons recommending "9gag First" or "9gag Next" ? (Both/either of which should probably be caked "9gag Stolen From Reddit", but, like whatevs.)

Yeah...Flappy Bird is the spawn of the devil. I tried it to see if it would be goid for our 5 year old. No way. Highest I got was 5, so I'm with you all the way, Phil.

N3 via AC App

Flappy Bird is evil disguised as a pixilated bird. Managed a 6.

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 via Android Central App

Score of 2 and almost flappied my Droid Max into the wall. Its from Satan I tell you EVIL conspiracy to make us all mind numb!

After 20+ starts of Flappy Bird taking a nosedive the minute I tapped the screen, it's gone. I don't even want to get to the first pipe after that!

My wife is struggling to beat my score of 12 on Flappy Bird. She's spent over 30 mins on my Note 3 so far.
I should feel bad for her, but I don't.

Thanks Phil!

File manager is great. Replaced the one I was currently using. Perfect for my needs. Easy to use, looks good, no BS. Thanks Jerry!

ಠ益ಠ

Mmm, not sure that 'Full featured' or Perfect are appropriate descriptions for File Manager. Pretty, yes, functional, yes, full featured no. Root access or not isn't really an issue, but if a File Manager can't mount/browse Cloud and LAN shares then it's WIP imho.

Not everyone wants LAN and Cloud access in their local on-device file manager. These do it all programs with hex editing, Bluetooth tethering, web servers for file sharing, etc. seem like a complicated mess of overkill when I want to look at the files on my phone. Combined with a horrible UI, they are just something I have zero interest in. 

 

You only need a 40 on Flappy Bird to get a platinum medal, come on guys...

Me, I'm shooting for 100. I have 82 as a high.

Richard only 7 miles walked in January lazy man. Only kidding that never seems to work for me properly sometimes comes us I have walked 2-4 miles some months then got 28 this month.

Posted via Android Central App

Am I the only one that thinks that flappy bird is a rip off from the cash bird in jetpack joyride?

Posted via Android Central App

8 Ball Pool... gave up on it, too many cheaters.

With certain high level players, I'd sink the 8 for the win, and time would run out on me. Then the opponent sinks it and wins. Happened way too often to be a coincidence.

While we're all bragging about Flappy Bird, 36 here.