We've got a roundup of fine app picks for this week. Some shopping, a little productivity, a few games and some reading are all on the agenda. So on this Saturday night, kick up your feet, have a nice beverage of your choice and download some new apps, will ya?
Sean Brunett - Banana Republic
If you’re a fan of the clothing store Banana Republic, you should check out their official app, which is quite nice. What I like about the app is that it’s simple to navigate and really nice to look at. Sometimes retail apps can be convoluted messes that make a trip to the mall easier than surfing on your phone. This app has a menu bar along the bottom that contains Shop, Brands, Stores, Scan and About. The Shop tab allows you to browse through various clothing styles, view availability of sizes and colors for an item and read reviews. Brands allows you to search the companies other brands, such as Gap, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. Stores locates the closest retail shops using GPS, Scan lets you scan barcodes or items and About just contains information about Banana Republic. You can also of course purchase the clothing you see directly from the app with their secure checkout.
Download: Banana Republic (Free)
Andrew Martonik - Drop7
I end up downloading more games than I’ll ever have time to play. The issue for me is that I don’t often carve out an hour or two to play an RPG or a first person shooter and get through them at any decent pace -- I’m only a half dozen levels into ShadowGun. The games that work best for me are turn-based games and puzzle games. Drop7 is one of the latter, and it’s served me well as a little time waster that’s repetitive but fun. It works well as a game that can be played 5 or 10 minutes at a time while standing in line somewhere, and paused to come back to later.
There are three modes: Normal, Hardcore and Sequence. With the way I play the game, Normal is perfect. The basic premise is that you’re faced with a 7x7 grid (go figure) with circles in it. The circles either have values on them from 1 to 7, or are gray. You drop the circles into the grid one at a time, and as they’re stacked, the numbers that coincide with the height of the stack are destroyed. Breaking circles next to gray ones two times in a row reveal that they too have numbers. You gain points for breaking circles and getting combination breaks. Go as long as you can, and once one line of the grid gets higher than 7 circles, the game is over. It sounds a little complicated, but it’s one of those types of games that’s easy to pick up and hard to master. If you’re a casual gamer looking for a bit of a mind-bending puzzle experience, Drop7 is worth the $2.99.
Download: Drop7 ($2.99)
Simon Sage - Bit.Trip Beat
The abstract reimagining of Pong is now on Android. With a simple tilt, players guide a paddle up and down in order to deflect a dizzying bombardment of 8-bit-style projectiles. You're rewarded an increasing amount of bonus points for consecutive deflections, though that's reset if you let one through. Let too many through, and you'll be shot into a stark monochrome view before losing the level altogether and having to start over from scratch. Three stages of progressive difficulty each hosts a unique soundtrack which orchestrates the entire assault. While you might not be entirely sure of what's going on, before long the rhythm of the music and the display of colors hones your gameplay to an edge. It's a really unique experience, and I'm really glad that it's finally out on Android. For $0.99, it's hard to go wrong.
Download: Bit.Trip Beat ($0.99)
Alex Dobie - Elixir 2
Elixir is a comprehensive system info app for Android that also incorporates a ridiculous amount of extra functionality for power users. Essentially, it's a software toolbox for Android that lets you view app and system info, sensor inputs, log data and create advanced, customizable widgets. As a general rule, if there's a system function you want to access, or something you want to map to a button or widget, Elixir 2 will have you covered.
There's a separate app download for widgets, but the basic experience is free and ad-supported. If you choose to pay the extra £4 for a donation key, you'll get an ad-free experience, and a warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a top-notch dev. Elixir is available now on the Google Play Store for devices running Android 2.1 and above.
Chris Parsons - Komik Reader
I dig reading a lot of graphic novels, mangas and comics in general. Given those files often come in different formats I've been testing out which apps work best for reading them all without having to swap between apps. One I've found most useful is Komik Reader. It supports CBR, CBZ, and image directory support as well as allowing for thumbnails of added files. One of my personal favourite additions though is the widget that allows you to jump directly to your files from your home screen. It makes for easier access to reading. There is a paid ($1.99) version but the only difference is ads which really aren't intrusive anyhow but its a good way to support the developer.
Download: Komik Reader (Free)
Richard Devine - Barclays Football
So the English Premier League is under way once more, and that means another season of being glued to my Android device in order to keep up to date with all the goings on of my favorite team - - FYI, that would be Manchester United.
The official Barclays Football app has all that news under one roof and information on each stadium, it's all there. The only downside is that it looks 100% designed for Gingerbread and below. It isn't a great looking app but it's the information inside that counts on this one. It isn't perfect and it doesn't seem to have a fixture list, but it's a lot less heavy than some of the alternatives. But for keeping up with in match info, it's pretty good
Download: Barclays Football (Free)
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