What are the AC editors and writers using on their Androids?
It's that time of the week again, where everyone here at AC takes a look back and see what apps they were loving the most on their phones and tablets and Google TVs and Game Consoles and -- whew there's a lot of choice out there! We install and try a lot of apps, and always love to share the ones that catch our eye. The big favorites always end up on our list, but a lot of stuff you'd probably never find on your own does, too. Funny how a search company has such a difficult time sorting out apps, isn't it?
But I digress. We've got apps after the break, and you'll want to take a look at them.
Casey Rendon - SuperSU (root)
The release of a new version of Android is a bittersweet thing: there are new features and fixes that make our devices better, but many times our existing apps and software that worked great in the old version of Android get broken. Early adopters of Android 4.3 that depend on root access know that the wonderful apps that enable us to keep root got utterly broken in the latest Jelly Bean update. Thankfully, developer Chainfire was lightning quick to address the problems of gaining root in Android 4.3, and released an updated version of his superuser app, SuperSU. Like other superuser apps, this one allows the user to select which applications get root access, and which do not. For those that need a zip file that is flashable in custom recoveries, follow the link to Chainfire's XDA-Developers thread in the app description. SuperSU is fully functional in its free form, but there is a paid app in the Play Store for purchase if you want to show your appreciation for the developer's hard work (it also comes with a few extra features).
Download: SuperSU (free)
Sean Brunett - The Wolverine HD LW
In celebration of the new film The Wolverine hitting theaters, I thought I would feature an app that showcases Wolverine for all of you X-Men fans out there. The Wolverine HD Live Wallpaper gives you exactly what the title suggests, a wallpaper of Wolverine that changes throughout the day. You can set how often it changes from as little as 5 seconds to 15 minutes. The collection doesn’t feature a ton of images, so get ready to look at the same, so if you like them, you’ll likely love the app. Enjoy the wallpaper and enjoy the movie, hope it's better than the last one!
Download: The Wolverine HD LW (free)
Simon Sage - Magic 2014
I got a chance to play with the Android version of the upcoming Magic: The Gathering game back at PAX East, but had totally missed the retail release last month. This week I fixed that and got cozy with Magic 2014. Players take on the role of intergalactic mages, vying for power throughout the planes. They each tap into one of five elemental forces to summon beasts, sling spells, and construct artifacts in their duels against rival planeswalkers. All of the good stuff is here from the iOS version: an extensive campaign, lots of unlockable cards, online multiplayer, and unique challenge modes. There's a new sealed mode, where players build their deck from a random assortment of booster packs. This was a much-needed addition for those that sought to build their decks from scratch. Individual decks cost a buck a pop, or for $9.99 you can unlock everything. For someone with a lot of Magic cards gathering dust, it feels good to get back into the swing of things. If you're even remotely into card games and have never played Magic, you really owe it to yourself to at least give the trial a shot.
Though I can't say I'm a huge fan of the high fantasy storyline they push throughout the game, the quality on the artwork and music is absolutely outstanding.
Download: Magic 2014 (free, with IAP)
Michelle Haag - Pony Creator
My daughter is obsessed with My Little Pony. She's always watching the show, playing with her ponies, or drawing them. We've seen several apps in the past that allow you to create ponies and dress them up or change their hair color or accessories, but the best one we've seen so far is Pony Creator. With over 50 manes and tails, the ability to customize the height, weight, and buffness of the pony's body, 80 unique accessories including hats, neckties, and jewelry, and advanced posing options, you are sure to be able to create as many ponies as you can dream up. You can save your ponies for easy editing, or export images directly from the game to share with your friends.
There are two things about Pony Creator, in my opinion, that set it apart from some similar apps on the market. The first is that there are no in-app purchases. You pay your dollar and everything is unlocked. The second is that the manes, tails, and poses actually resemble the ponies in the show. This is important if you (or your child) are big fans of the show and want to make ponies that look like they belong, not like cheap knock-offs. It's all around a great app if you're looking for some creative entertainment for the pegasister or brony in your life.
Download: Pony Creator (99-cents)
Chris Parsons - Robot Unicorn Attack 2
The endless runner is back! Robot Unicorn Attack 2 has landed from Adult Swim and it's just as freaking amazing as the original. Build and customize your very own unicorn, selecting from different bodies, manes, wings, horns, trails and more, Choose between Team Rainbow or Team Inferno and compete on a unique level every day for prizes and the best part? Your unicorn can now fly! You need this epic time waster in your life, just go download it.
Download: Robot Unicorn Attack 2 (free)
Richard Devine - Shine Runner
Vector Unit is one of my absolute favorite Android game developers, and with Riptide GP 2 hitting the platform this week what better opportunity to go back and play some of their older stuff again. So, beyond Riptide GP 2, this week I'm also playing a lot of Shine Runner again. It's a pretty simple game; you pilot your boat through the swamps and bayous carrying all manner of cargo, including Moonshine, fighting off the water-fuzz as you go. On a Tegra device, you get some pretty satisfying water effects every time you splash down after going over a jump, the controls are super simple, and it's a really fun pick-up-and-play mobile game. Definitely worth a shout if you've not seen it before.
Download: Shine Runner ($0.99)
Jerry Hildenbrand - ABA NFC
Great utility applications don't have to look horrible. In fact, the best way to get my attention is to show me something that's a little bit nerdy, a whole lot of cool, and looks beautiful -- like the ABA NFC app. You can write all sorts of commands to an NFC tag with ABA NFC, from standard things like a phone number that will trigger the dialer (those make awesome business cards), commands that control your device like turning Bluetooth or Wifi on and off, and more complex tasks like setting an alarm or changing your sound settings. NFC tags are cheap, and a few programmed and stuck in places like your car or your office are really handy.
Since Android is an open platform, you don't need to break your device's security to do great things with NFC tags. It may not be something you're into, but for those of us that are, ABA NFC is an app that works great and looks good while doing it.
Download: ABA NFC (free)