Now that the initial flood of Nexus news is over and we're all waiting
patiently with our credit cards out ready to spend some money on November 13th, take a few minutes to check out this week's app picks. This week, we have a couple belated Halloween apps, a couple fun games and a few others as well -- all hand picked for your enjoyment. Stick around after the break and see how we did this week.
Victoria Ho - Bakery Story: Halloween
If you haven't got enough of farmville-type simulation games, here's one for Halloween. TeamLava, that made Farm Story and Restaurant Story has released the Halloween edition of its Bakery Story app. The cute graphics and recipes will feature ghoulish-themed guests and decorations, as well as food to prepare like cauldron cupcakes and witch hat cookies. Like most of the games in this genre, it's a bit of a time-waster, but should help you stay in the Halloween spirit for at least another week.
Download: Bakery Story: Halloween (Free)
Simon Sage - Knights of Pen and Paper
Okay, I'll admit it - I've rolled a few twenty-sided die in my day. Over time, the hassle of keeping track of hit points, mana, turns, special abilities, and so on were quickly out-done by video games that could automated all of the book-keeping of traditional role-playing games, but that doesn't mean the originals lost any charm. Pen & Paper RPG lets you control a party of players sitting at a table with their Dungeon Master as he narrates adventures to you. Characters come to 8-bit life in the background as you complete quests, vanquish beasts, purloin equipment, level up, and do all of the usual fantasy RPG stuff. There's some really cute meta-game stuff, such as unlockable basement decorations which actively effect your game, and banter between players as the story unfolds. Old-school D&D fans will definitely want to give this a go, if only for nostalgia's sake.
Download: Knights of Pen and Paper ($1.99)
Sean Brunett - Halloween Live Wallpaper (2012)
Yes, Halloween is over but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely rid of it. I love Halloween, particularly well done horror films that I can rewatch around October 31st (even a few days after). One of my favorite horror films is John Carpenter’s Halloween, which I’m sure most of you are familiar with. My pick this week is a live wallpaper that focuses on Halloween and will give you chills. It features the main house in the film on a rainy night which will be unsettling for many, especially those who ask to use your phone and are not expecting it. The app is free, but there are a few options for in-app purchases to make the live wallpaper really shine. You can buy the Ultimate Pack, which includes Michael Myers, a customized keyboard, and 3 ring tones from the film. The package was 50% off when I installed the app, so was able to pick it up for $2.99. If you don’t want everything, you can buy them separately for $1.99 each.
Download: Halloween Live Wallpaper (2012) (Free)
Jerry Hildenbrand - Ultimate Hooker Punch Showdown
Want a game that refuses to take anything seriously? Of course you do, and you just found it. Ultimate Hooker Punch Showdown is as silly as the name suggests, but it's also easy to play and insanely addictive. There are no hookers, but that's not saying this is one for your kids -- the language is a bit rough. The app description reads "In a world of chaos, one man stands up to hooker-punch to victory" and that's pretty much the premise.
You're some sort of ultimate champion. Not really sure what kind of champion, because the old school 8-bit style graphics make the hero look like some sort of blocky cross between Tarzan and Blanka. You tap the screen to punch away the various 80's and 90's game characters who are flying towards you. When you miss, you lose a life. Lose three lives, and the game is over and you're berated for losing. Add in the requisite 8-bit style soundtrack, and you're facing something that's horrible, yet wonderful.
The game requires Adobe Air, and in this writers opinion is the best reason ever to install Adobe Air. The game is free, runs on any device with Android 2.2 or higher, and is a whole hell of a lot of fun.
Download: Ultimate Hooker Punch Showdown (Free)
Andrew Martonik - The Seattle Times Mobile News
Sure, this only applies to those of us in the Pacific Northwest, but its a useful app regardless. The Seattle Times offers some good local news and is always covering the top stories. If you've got a few minutes and want to catch up, this app does that beautifully. It's extremely bare bones, basically just a wrapper for the mobile view of their website, but it loads pages much quicker than any browser would. Navigation is simple enough, and its easy on the eyes as well.
Download: The Seattle Times Mobile News (Free)
Scott Young - Teeter
Sometimes you need a game that you can quickly fire up and take your mind off of whatever tedious task you're working on. A game that doesn't require a lot of thought, but that is still gratifying (and maybe frustrating) to play. Well right now, that game for me is Teeter. It's a simple labyrinth style game that doesn't have many bells and whistles, but that's why I like it. It doesn't bug me to sign into Facebook, or ask me to invite friends to play. It's simple, effective, and when I find myself having a few spare moments, it's what what I find myself opening up.
Download: Teeter (Free)
Chris Parsons - Zaxxon Escape
A new 3D twist on an 80's classic. As Sega says: 30 years later, ZAXXON is back and rebuilt for a whole new generation in this fast action arcade game. You're on a mission is to escape ZAXXON’s asteroid city. ZAXXON’s minions have transformed the fortress into a maze of tight corridors and you must fly your ship out safely! In other words, you get to fly in some really cool 3D planes and blow the heck out of stuff. There is pretty much no end to the game but you do have 30 missions to complete. You can do it the hard way, by simply just playing through the whole game numerous times or you can opt for some IAP. The IAP aren't mandatory or annoying so overall, it's just a great game to sit down with an jam away at.
Download: Zaxxon Escape ($0.99)
Richard Devine - Infinite Monsters
So, i was looking for Halloween apps, typing in the usual key words, and then up popped Infinite Monsters. A side scrolling, monster shooter, the first thing to notice is the gorgeous cartoon-esque visuals. A photo doesn't do it justice, they're really bright and colorful -- and the main character has a crew cut, shades and a cigar. The game is really simple to play, you have controls for left and right, and a button to shoot at stuff. There's a stack of different levels with differing monsters to kill, and each comes equipped with a boss that takes a little more killing. You start out with one special ability and a basic pistol with unlimited ammo (but really weak bullets) and as you progress you earn cash to buy better guns and more impressive special abilities. It is ad supported, but they don't ever seem to intrude on the gameplay, so if you like simple but addictive games give it a shot.
Download: Infinite Monsters (Free)
Anndrew Vacca - Google Calendar
For those of you who have lamented the unintuitive, bulky, and complex calendars your TouchWiz, Blur, and Sense-powered devices ship with, this one's for you. Google has taken its powerful calendar, which millions of Gmail users have grown to love over the years, and has packaged it nicely into the best calendar app you'll find on Android. This is long overdue and something most would think would ship with every Android device since the OS's inception, but the wait was worth every minute-- everything you love is here in a simple and clean interface, along with some goodies like pinch to zoom, integrated notifications, and cross-app compatibility. You can do everything here that you've been doing through Google's online portal, which is just enough to keep even the most organized of users happy. For those with a device running Android 4.0.2 and above, this is a must have.
Download: Google Calendar (Free)
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Nest Secure is discontinued — here's what's going on and why it matters
Nest's home security alarm system is only three years old, and yet its already heading to the Google Graveyard. This announcement is sudden, unexpected, and quite honestly unreasonable on Google's part, as it leaves users and their home safety in limbo.
You probably shouldn't use Apple's MagSafe charger on your Android phone
The science behind wireless charging says not to put anything magnetic close to either side. Apple did the work to make it safe, but chances are other phone makers haven't. Yet.
Samsung delivering an update to the Galaxy S7 isn't a cause for celebration
Samsung just rolled out a security patch to the four-year-old Galaxy S7. While it is good that the phone is getting an update past its guaranteed three-year commitment, the current system of Android updates is broken, and things need to change.
The Xperia 1 II is our favorite phone for shooting video
If video recording is your thing, then look no further than the Sony Xperia 1 II — it offers a large screen, three great cameras, and extremely robust manual video controls.