Apps of the week

Our weekly app picks

It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

Jared DiPane — Borderline


Borderline is one of those games where you think it's likely just too basic to be any fun, but that couldn't be any further from the truth. The idea here is simple, keep the little glowing dot away from the obstacles, and collect the other little glowing dots for more points. When you aren't pressing the screen, the dot will follow the white line normally.

Pressing or holding the display on either side of the screen will move the dot away from the white line in that direction. You'll use this to avoid the obstacles, and to collect the extra dots for more points. Be careful, as it can become addictive pretty quickly.

Download: Borderline (Free)

Phil Nickinson — Alphabear


Who doesn't love a good Scrabble-like word-making, time-wasting game? (Communists, that's who.) Alphabear long has been one of the better ones, but I only recently began playing it. You take the tiles on the board and make words with them. The better the word, the bigger your bear becomes.

And that's the gist of it. You score points, play against friends, complete challenges and (hopefully) expand your vocabulary a little. The app's locked to portrait, which is a little unfortunate, but it's otherwise very nicely designed, and does a great job walking you through the initial gameplay. Definitely well worth the low, low price of free.

Download: Alphabear (Free, in-app purchases)

Andrew Martonik — NBA JAM


If you spent any time in an arcade or with a gaming console in the 90's, you probably know NBA JAM. This ridiculous basketball game was available on tons of platforms (I spent countless hours on the SNES version, personally), and it turns out it's available on Android as well. EA has brought back the arcade version of the game with new high-res graphics but the same great gameplay, and it's glorious.

You can play in a standard 2v2 game right from the main screen, or spend time to run through a campaign. But here's the awesome part: You can play local multiplayer via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and even play online multiplayer via Google Play Games. NBA JAM even supports Android TV, so you can play on the big screen with both controllers and phones. It's pretty amazing how much cross-device support EA has added here, and I'm stoked about it.

The best part? NBA JAM is on sale as of posting for just $0.10 — go get it.

Download: NBA JAM ($0.10, currently 85% off)

Russell Holly — Dark Echo

Dark Echo

Everything is scarier in the dark, which is why I keep three night lights by my bed at all times. When that doesn't work, I rely on puzzle games to feel safe. Dark Echo places you in a world where you are nothing but a pair of shoe prints, and every time you take a step light shoots away from you in every direction. Use the light from your feet to navigate the mazes, and dodge the weird red glowy things that occasionally chase you.

Oh, and put some headphones on. The immersive audio is a ton of fun.

Download: Dark Echo ($0.99)

Ara Wagoner — Disney Movies Anywhere

Disney Movies Anywhere

Most families have the kids home from school this week, and that means that when the board games and video games fall through, you'll need something to keep the little tykes occupied. Assuming you can't force your kids outside to play in the winter wonderland outside your door, Disney is here for you, with Disney Movies Anywhere apps for smartphones, tablets, and Android TV. The Android TV app is bright, well laid out, and provides a good mix of films, special features, and fun shorts for you or your kids to select from. It even has a chapter guide, which gives it a leg-up over playing your Disney movies in the regular old Play Movies app.

Disney Movies Anywhere also supports Chromecast, allowing you to control the film from your smartphone while you gather around the TV. And they have a sale on right now if you're running low on films to keep them from bouncing off the walls.

Download: Disney Movies Anywhere (Free, in-app purchases)

Richard Devine — Unclouded


Ah, cloud storage. So much to choose from and they each have their own apps. If you use more than one, it's tiresome going between individual apps. Enter, Unclouded. It's a simple enough app but it's ultra convenient if, like me, you've got stuff spread across multiple cloud services. You can log into a bunch of different ones, including Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Box and Mega, as well as view your own internal storage on the phone. For free you can use two different ones, but one of a number of in-app purchase tiers will unlock unlimited accounts.

Also available to unlock is a dark mode and some security features, but the basic app is free to try and it's very good looking to boot. Ultimately it's an app of convenience for those of us spread out across the cloud, but it's an app I won't be without now.

Download: Unclouded (Free, In-app purchases)