Apps of the week

Here are a few apps we think you should try

It's that time of the week again. When we single out a handful of apps that we think you might want to take a look at, then read the comments to see which ones you think we should try. There are all sorts of ways to discover apps — both new and old — but in our opinion, nothing beats a recommendation from the people you interact with every day. Let's put our happy Android family to work and help each other out with some cool app recommendations.

Andrew Martonik — New Words With Friends

New Words With Friends

Yes, I still play Words With Friends. And this new version that Zynga has released is absolutely amazing. I've always dealt with the somewhat clunky and terrible UI in order to have multiplayer, cross-platform games with my friends and family. Now I don't have to deal with all that — New Words With Friends is actually beautiful and a joy to use.

Sure you still have the tacky blue/yellow colors and some kids-level animations, but the entire app has been rebuilt from the ground up. It's quick and easy to move between games, and the extras of leaderboards, lifetime statistics (letting me show off my 1000+ wins) and full Google Play Games integration are just amazing. It's like Zynga finally realized how to build a game on Android, and put all of their skills and time into building New Words With Friends. There's even a proper tablet layout that scales and makes use of the extra screen real estate.

I still play this game just about every day, and I couldn't be happier with the improvements here. It's a bit odd that you have to download it separately from the other one, but damn it's worth it.

Download: New Words With Friends (Free, In-app purchases)

Ara Wagoner — Source


This is gonna seem like an odd choice for a lot of reasons, but apart from it being one of the oldest (and one of the few) Android games I play, it's also one of the simplest. It's 'Flappy Bird' simple and I love it. You connect all the pipes to the source (get it?) in varying grids from 5x5 to 50x50. There is a personal leaderboard, you can turn sound on/off, you can click to see the solution, and you can pick a new game. That's all.

And y'know what? That's all I really need. Yes, material design (especially the material design animations when rotating and connecting to the source would be GORGEOUS) and the ability to turn the music off and keep it off rather than it reverting every round would be nice, but this is all I need in an app to kill a few hours without in-app purchases or much brain activity. Especially a free, ad-free, tiny little game that'll run on anything.

Download: Source (Free)

Richard Devine - Ultimate Rotation Control

Ultimate Rotation Control

With the new Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 in for review (stay tuned for that) I'm back on using a 10-inch Android tablet for the first time in a while. Tablets this size – and especially the Yoga 2 – are designed to be used in landscape mode. Sadly, not all apps will rotate, and I don't want to use this thing vertically. So in comes Ultimate Rotation Control to save the day.

Through sheer witchcraft (or more likely coming from people cleverer than I) this app when enabled will give you certain parameters to control with the end result being apps that are forced into landscape. There are apps I use every single day like Slack, our inter-team communication tool here at Mobile Nations, and several others that needed some assistance. The experience is still far from ideal – that's another tale for another day – but thankfully there's someone out there that can help overcome this frustration.

It comes free for 7 days to check it out and make sure it's doing what you want it to, after that it'll cost you $1.99.

Download: Ultimate Rotation Control (Free trial, $1.99)

Jerry Hildenbrand — Destiny Patroller

Destiny Patroller

A simple app that gives you information you need if you're farming for upgrade materials in Destiny. I told myself I wasn't going to get hooked on this game, yet a month later I'm looking for companion apps that help me farm and grind.

Destiny Patroller takes information about when and where public events should happen in Destiny, and brings it right to your Android. No switching back and forth between the browser and your game, like some sort of heathen who doesn't have an Android. There are a few apps like this to choose from, and they all pull data from the same place. I chose Destiny patroller because it has zero permissions.

See you in the Cosmodrome.

Download: Destiny Patroller (Free)