We're back with some more great app picks to share this week. We've got apps that will help keep you organized, apps that will help while you shop, and a couple of high-end games for high-end devices. All of them are things we find ourselves using often, and we think they're worth talking about.
Of course, we also want to hear about the apps you found over the past week, so be sure to let everyone know in the comments about apps that all of us should be trying. Sharing is caring!
Richard Devine — Bluenote (Beta)
Everyone looks for something different in a note taking app, and for my smartphones I look for something as simple as possible to jot down little thoughts, lists and so on. These past couple of weeks I've been trying out Bluenote which while not available just yet is in a public beta for anyone to sign up to and take a look at.
It's an all out Material Design app first and foremost, so it looks fantastic. But beyond that it doesn't try to be too much. It's a note taking app first and foremost with a slick, easy to use interface, a calendar view, support for tags, Markdown input and more. The beauty is in the simplicity, and simplicity is something I like in front of me when I'm just jotting down some quick thoughts or a shopping list.
Opt in to test here then grab your copy from the Play Store.
Download: Bluenote (Beta) (Free)
Ara Wagoner — Amazon
Winter is coming... more importantly, winter shopping is coming. And while there will be lots of store-strolling and window-shopping, I'm a Prime user and a somewhat anti-social shopper. Amazon to the rescue. The Amazon app is my portal to my Amazon Prime viewing library (which is just about the only place to find 'Penguins of Madagascar' since it was removed from the Play Store), and the way to get some shopping in no matter where I am with the new Android Wear app for Amazon. Considering it's a one-click-buy app, this has the power to be very, very dangerous in the wrong hands.
Thankfully, it's not in my hands, it's on my wrist.
Phil Nickinson — Clean (Fake) Status Bar
This is as much a pro tip as it is an app recommendation. Nothing spoils a screenshot like a sloppy status bar. And like the name implies, that's where Clear Status Bar comes in. It's really just a graphical overlay that hides the real status bar. You can choose Jelly Bean (why!) or KitKat (seriously, no!) styling, or use the current Android 5.0 Lollipop look. You can choose whether to have the GPS, Wifi and network icons turned on, set the time to whatever you want, and even change the background color. It's al little thing that goes a long way when you're presenting screenshots.
Just be sure to turn it off when you're done.
Download: Clean (Fake) Status Bar (free)
Andrew Martonik — Trine 2: Complete Story
When it comes to games I usually find myself defaulting back to the Xbox or PC and rarely get into more "serious" games on mobile, but since I have a Shield Tablet I've been playing Trine 2: Complete Story quite a bit. It's a great side-scrolling mystical game that lets you control three distinct characters and work your way through both combat and puzzle portions of levels.
Trine 2 walks the line perfectly between being a serious and casual game, and is easily playable with just touchscreen controls — though it does shine when played with a controller. The graphics are absolutely great and make you rethink what mobile devices are capable of in terms of gaming.
At $20 it definitely isn't cheap, but considering the quality of graphics and length of gameplay, it's worthy of the price considering it could very easily be a $60 title on a console platform. The only issue here is that it's exclusive to the Shield Tablet, so you won't be loading this up on another Android device you have around. But if you do have one, I think you should give it a try.
Download: Trine 2: Complete Story ($19.99)
Jerry Hildenbrand — Civilization Revolution 2
A real Civilization experience on Android. 2K Games has managed to take a complicated PC game — like any of the Civilization series — move it to mobile, and make it great. You are in charge of building your sprawling civilization, and of course you're pitted against other civilizations with the same goal — taking over the world. Build out your units and buildings, play matches against other civs in scenario challenges, and do it all with no in-app purchases or microtransactions.
Yes, it's costly at $14.99. But if my recollection is to be trusted, that's about $35 cheaper than the price I paid for the first Civ game for my computer — and this one plays better. If you're a fan of this type of strategy game, give it a whirl.
Download: Civilization Revolution 2 ($14.99)