As many of us get our weekend World Cup viewing under way, the folks here at Android Central have put together our weekly roundup called Apps of the Week. This isn't a soccer-themed list, though — we've pulled together an app that each of us here at AC have been using in the last week, no matter what it is. That means we get a nice diverse list of games, utilities, media apps and other odds-and-ends.
This week we have two games, a news reader, an alarm clock app and a couple others to round out the weekly selections. Read along with us and see how they stack up.
Simon Sage - Prime World: Defenders
Prime World: Defenders is a free-to-play tower defence game mixed in with collectible card game elements. As with all tower defence games, players drop towers on a map to defend against waves of enemies crawling towards a final objective and upgrade them mid-game. Single tower types get more expensive the more of them you put down, which encourages diversity in tactics and adds some extra challenge. As you play through stages, you unlock new spells and towers to use, represented as cards. You earn in-game currency which can be spent on talents depending on your play style, and if you don't have enough coin, you can always sell cards you don't use, or cash-in with in-app purchases. Cards can also be combined and upgraded in the Forge area. Though Defenders takes place in a fantasy setting, some of the steampunk stuff borders on sci-fi. Whatever you want to call it, the graphics are fantastic and the few changes in an established formula makes for a great little game.
Download: Prime World: Defenders (Free, In-app purchases)
Richard Devine - Newsblur
If this weeks Feedly issues left you looking for a replacement RSS aggregator then you could do a lot worse than Newsblur. The basic service is free, with restrictions, which might be enough if you're only a light user. For the power user a $24 a year subscription opens up everything Newsblur has to offer as well as feeding the developers dog, Shiloh.
For that subscription you get a strong RSS experience with real-time updates, tagging features, search and much more. Newsblur has a free, official app for Android which isn't the most elegant but it gets the job done well and is pretty decent to use.
Download: Newsblur (Free, subscriptions)
Alex Dobie - Soul Calibur
Namco's Soul Calibur was one of the most iconic arcade fighters of the late 90s, and a hugely popular title on Sega's Dreamcast. The Android port is a faithful recreation of this game, complete with over-the-top swordplay and ridiculous outfits. All 19 characters, including unlockables, are present and correct, along with a whole bunch of stages — including unlockable stages — and Bluetooth controller support. As well as the classic Arcade mode, there's Time Attack and Survival mode, which gives you just one life to beat as many opponents as possible. Despite the lack of multiplayer, Soul Calibur on Android is a great distraction for fighting game fans.
Download: Soul Calibur ($13.99)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Glimmer (luminous alarm clock)
If you're the type of person who can't sleep with a bright light in the room, you just found a new alarm clock. Glimmer will slowly ramp up the screen brightness until things are blindingly bright. While this is happening, it hits you with the soft sounds of birds chirping. If you haven't got your lazy bones out of bed in one minute, it will blast out your alarm. I've been using it and really like the gradual wake up as opposed to the jolt of a regular alarm.
There's also a "night mode" setting that turns off notifications and Wifi, and sets screen brightness to the minimum for those of us who don't charge all night or want to use our phone as a bedside clock. In the morning (or whenever you have the alarm set) things turn back on during the ramp-up phase so all your notifications are there waiting for you when you rise.
The app is fully functional for free, but a donation (as little as 1 Euro) will unlock other "scenes" and extra features. If you hate getting up in the morning, give this one a try.
Download: Glimmer (luminous alarm clock) (Free, In-app purchases)
Andrew Martonik - FIFA
We recently published a list of great apps to follow and watch the World Cup, but if you want to get information on the tournament straight from the source, you'll want to take a look at the official FIFA World Cup app. You can follow every team, get stats on the matches, check out the standings and get live updates of ongoing matches — all within a smooth and simple interface. You can even get information and take some tours around the host stadiums.
If you're looking for news and analysis you'll have to look elsewhere, but for all the facts and information surrounding World Cup 2014 this is a great app to have installed for the next month.
Download: FIFA (Free)