Android Central's editors have once again picked their favorite apps for the week. We've got a lot of games this go around, but also a few utilities you might find handy. Anyone who picked up a Google Nexus 7 will definitely want to check out our picks this week. Dig in after the jump!
Richard Devine - This isn't a new title, but is one that may have been overlooked in favor of other racing games. Shine Runner is from the same developers as Riptide GP, which for some would be enough to warrant trying it out. The aim is to pilot a fan boat through the bayous and fill your cargo hold with all manner of booty and sell it on to the highest bidder.
It looks fantastic and has been enhanced for Tegra 3, so it's a stunner on the new Nexus 7. Environments are fully destructible - who doesn't like the idea of sending a cop flying through the air while you're on your moonshine run? The controls are simple, and there's full support for OpenFeint and game controllers. It's great fun and proving very difficult to put down.
Download: Shine Runner ($0.99)
Sean Brunett - I have a variety of podcasts that I listen to and one of my favorite networks is Kevin Smith’s SModcast. You may know Kevin Smith as director of films like Clerks, Mallrats and Dogma. It has a bunch of shows that cover a variety of topics in the realm of pop culture. He hosts many of them with colleagues such as Jason Mewes and Ralph Garman. SMod Forever Is not an official app, but one made by devoted fans and it is done really well. It gives you a nice UI to view and sort through the various SModcast programs. You can subscribe to a particular show’s feed (which also tells you the episode frequency), download episodes and make playlists. If you’re a fan of Kevin Smith or are interested in the shows he produces, I’d highly suggest this app.
Download: SMod Forever! (free)
Sonic 4: Episode 2
Alex Dobie - With so many people picking up the Tegra 3-powered Nexus 7 this week, here's a Tegra-optimized game that looks great on the new Jelly Bean tablet. Episode II is the latest installment in the Sonic 4 series, and it comes in both regular and THD flavors, with the latter offering superior graphics and being available only to Tegra device owners. Sonic's sidekick Tails returns this episode as the two speed their way through four zones to fight Dr. Eggman and Metal Sonic.
In terms of visuals and gameplay, Episode 2 is a significant step up from its predecessor with more emphasis on the speed - the very thing that made classic Sonic titles a hit in the series' hayday. With Tegra-powered graphics backing up the experience, the game is a visual treat. In addition to the paid versions, there's also a Tegra-only "lite" version that gives you a short sampling of levels for free.
Download: Sonic 4: Episode 2 (free/$6.99)
Anndrew Vaaca - Gyro is a simple little game that came out of nowhere and managed to ruin my entire day, yet I still feel compelled to suggest it. The concept is pretty straightforward: spin the wheel to match the colors of the flying dots (Gyro calls it "neutralizing the viruses"). Collect power-ups along the way and work towards achievements to land yourself on the online leaderboard. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, it's not. In fact, you may just end up spending your entire day with Gyro. Consider yourself warned.
Download: Gyro (free)
Camera Launcher for Nexus 7
Chris Parsons - So you got yourself a fancy new Nexus 7 only to find out there is no camera icon on the device and no way to access the camera unless you launch it within an app, like Instagram. No worries, Paul O'Brien has you covered with Camera Launcher for Nexus 7. It allows you to use the Camera and Video Camera applications on your Nexus 7. Sure, you'll likely not need to use them often, but Camera Launcher makes sure they're readily available when you do.
Download: Camera Launcher (free)
Bloons TD 4
Jerry Hildenbrand - The Bloons tower defense games have been a staple of flash websites forever, and Bloons TD 4 for Android keeps that trend going on our smartphones. It stays faithful to the Bloons series of games, and brings all the towers and balloon types to Android. There are plenty of tower defense games for Android (I know, I've probably tried them all) and plenty of them are great, but I find myself Installing Bloons TD 4 on every phone or tablet I sign into. It's a great way to kill a few minutes and runs on every modern version of Android (1.5 and higher). You won't mind spending the three bucks on this one.
Download: Blooms TD 4 ($3.15)
Simon Sage - vTap QuickSearch is a light, easy to use search utility that serves up results from all over your Android device (settings, messages, contacts, and mail) as well as the web. Over time, it figures out which searches you make most frequently and generates a custom home screen with shortcuts to your favorites. Real-time results are pulled in from a bunch of sources, like IMDB, Wikipedia, Fandango and Google Play, in addition to location-based results. There are a few gaps, like no voice search, but on the whole, it provides some added depth of search to the default search bar without having to install extra apps.
Download: vTap QuickSearch (Free)
As always, we welcome feedback on the kinds of Android apps you'd like to see in this weekly feature. Are there any big ones we didn't cover here? What would your personal picks be? Feel free to drop us a tip on the hint line if you find a particularly awesome app that you'd like to see us cover next week.