Apps of the Week

For those of you in the states, we hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Those of you outside the states... hope you had a great Thursday. We took the day off to come up with some great app picks for your enjoyment, regardless. We've got a couple of great games and some phone utilities for you to check out this week, so stick around after the break and see how we did.

Sean Brunett - Wreck-it Ralph

Wreck-it Ralph

I saw Wreck-it-Ralph this week and really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it to adults and kids alike. There are plenty of references to gaming that only certain age groups will get, which was enjoyable. Nevertheless, after the film, I checked out the official game. Within the game, you can switch between three different arcades, Fix-it-Felix Jr., Hero Duty, and Sweet Climber. However, you must unlock Hero Duty and Sweet Climber first by playing Fix-it-Felix Jr. You play as Felix, where you must fix everything that Ralph wrecks. If you’ve seen the film, you know what I’m talking about. There is a fourth game listed ,Turbotime, which says it’s ‘coming soon’. Much like the movie, this game is surprisingly a lot of fun. It costs $0.99, but is well worth it in my view. 

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Download: Wreck-it Ralph ($0.99)

Simon Sage - WordHero


Sometimes I use big words just because I can. Thanks to WordHero, now I can do that, get scored for it, AND lord it over others online. When folks log in to WordHero, they're presented with a 4 x 4 grid of letters, each tile scored Scrabble-style, and they have to trace paths through those letters to compose words. Letters can be used twice, and words can be composed by any direction. You can even rotate the board to view tiles from a new perspective. The clincher here is that once you've done up as many words as you can in the span of two minutes, your score is compared to other players online that were also scrambling at the same moment as you. It's a fun little time-waster with an excellent online twist, and it's free to boot. I played a lot of Anachraphobia back in the day, and this had a very similar feeling.

Download: WordHero (Free)

Michelle Haag - Pizza Boy

Pizza Boy

What a bad day. You bought a delicious pizza, wrapped it up, and took it to your girlfriend as a present, only for some pesky bird to swoop in and steal it right out of your hands. So, what do you do when someone steals your pizza? You go take it back, that's what! Pizza Boy is a retro-styled platform style game where your mission is to get back the pizza that was stolen from you. Along the way you have to watch out for angry dogs, mad birds, and pits of doom all while collecting strawberries, slices of pizza, and lost kitties. Throw bottles of soda at your enemies to knock them out, and return kittens to their owners for bonus points. This game features over 40 different enemies, obstacles, and items, bonus levels, retro music and sound effects, and an epic boss fight. If you miss your old handheld games and want to relive some of that old timey fun, Pizza Boy is well worth the $2.25 price tag. 

Download: Pizza Boy ($2.25)

Jerry Hildenbrand - Ultimate Custom Widget

Ultimate Custom Widget

Here's one for all the folks who love to play with the way their phone looks. On it's surface it's yet another customizable widget, but UCCW takes things further than any of the others I've tried. Using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, you create a widget for your home screen or lock screen (lock screen widgets require Android 4,2) using pre-built information blocks. Choose from battery graphs and gauges, analog and digital clocks, weather icons and data, even SMS and Gmail unread counts. On top of this, every visible element is customizable, meaning your widget can be any color, and shape, and any size.

Now comes the cool part. You can export and save these creations as a zip file or theme apk -- so of course Google Play has plenty of great pre-built widgets you can download. It's a great way to share your creation or to try others. Grab it free from Google Play (for devices running 2.2 or higher).

Download: Ultimate Custom Widget (Free)

Richard Devine - Falcon Pro (Beta)

Falcon Pro Beta

Another week, another Twitter client. But, with some of the recently released offerings ceasing development, there's going to be room for others. This might be just the ticket for some. Falcon Pro (Beta) is still a work in progress, but builds from the already popular Falcon Widget available in the Play Store.

With it still being in beta, several of the key functions are not yet activated. But, the core functionalities are, and the developers are keen for people to try it out and update them with feedback. It looks fantastic, scrolls pretty smoothly, and has a really nice slide out menu accessed by a swipe to the right. It has all the makings of a great Twitter client, and we'll be following it's progress closely. It will be a paid app when it hits the Play Store, but for now the beta is free so if you're OK with installing apps from third-party links go and grab a copy.

Download: Falcon Pro (Beta) (Free)

Chris Parsons - Pixlr Express

Pixlr Express

There is no shortage of photo editors available in the Google Play Store. Some work great and some -- not so much. One recently new one that I've been trying out is Pixlr Express. It's built by the folks from Autodesk and it's a pretty compelling package over some of the other offerings available. It has over 600 effects, overlays and borders all together and of course, the generic 'auto fix' is included as well. Social integration is built in so getting your pics out to others isn't a problem and best of all it's available for free. If you're a photo editing junkie, give it a go.

Download: Pixlr Express (Free)

Andrew Martonik - BeyondPod Podcast Manager

BeyondPod Podcast Manager

Everyone’s got their favorite podcast manager, but they all seem to offer a similar set of features. BeyondPod has been my choice for the dozens of podcasts I listen to every week, and it has been working just great for the last few months I’ve been using it. I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t have the cleanest UI, but its functional. It offers both downloads and streaming of episodes, and it can import from your Google Reader podcast list as well. It also has widget and lockscreen playback support.

BeyondPod is free, but purchasing the “unlock” key is a good choice if you want automatic feed updates and downloads. The unlock key is in the Play Store normally for $6.99, but there’s a promotional price this weekend and it can be yours for just $1.99. Not a bad price for a full-featured podcast manager.

Download: BeyondPod Podcast Manager (Free); Unlock Key ($1.99)