20 best Android apps this week

Pet Rescue Saga, BBC Weather, GO Launcher Prime, Noom Walk Pedometer, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Vodio, Man of Steel and more

It’s time for our weekly roundup of brand new and notable apps for Android smartphones and tablets.

It’s time for our weekly roundup of brand new and notable apps for Android smartphones and tablets.

It covers apps and games, with the prices referring to the initial download: so (Free) may mean (Freemium) in some cases. The equivalent iOS roundup will be published later in the day.

For now, read on for this week’s Android selection (and when you’ve finished, check out previous Best Android apps posts).

BBC Weather (Free)

The official BBC Weather app provides forecasts for the UK, automatically for your current location or via search for other places. Besides temperature and sun/rain details, it provides pressure, visibility, humidity, UV and pollen data, with a lock-screen widget just for Android.

Pet Rescue Saga (Free)

People are playing Candy Crush Saga in their tens of millions, but will this follow-up be as popular? Synchronising with the existing Facebook version of the game, this offers 72 levels of block-puzzling action – with cutesy animals, social leaderboards and plenty of in-app purchases thrown in.

GO Launcher Prime (£3.88)

The original GO Launcher app has been hugely popular on Android as an alternative homescreen. Now there’s a premium version, which blocks ads, adds two-finger gestures (not that kind) and additional animations, with more features promised in forthcoming updates.

Noom Walk Pedometer (Free)

On iPhone, there’s been lots of interest in Moves, an app that tracks your steps without needing a Fitbit-style accessory. Noom Walk is its equivalent on Android: “a new kind of pedometer” that counts steps using your smartphone’s accelerometer, so you can see how active (or inactive) you are.

Despicable Me: Minion Rush (Free)

This is Gameloft’s official game for the Despicable Me movies, putting you in the shoes of a scampering minion for this Temple Rush-style endless runner. You’ll be leaping, sliding and dodging obstacles and enemies, while earning (or buying) power-ups and costumes to boost your chances.

Vodio Personal Video Curator (Free)

Remember when Bruce Springsteen sang about “57 channels and nothin’ on”? Heaven knows what he makes of YouTube, with its 100 hours of new video uploaded every minute. Vodio is one of the apps trying to filter the online-video overload, organising the best stuff into themed categories, and learning your preferences to refine its recommendations.

Man of Steel (£3.18)

Another big movie gets an official game: new Superman flick Man of Steel in this case. Warner Bros’ game is an all-action beat ’em up that sees Superman grappling, punching and kicking his foes on the ground and in mid-air, with very impressive graphics and a cast of bosses to scatter.

Battlelog (Free)

This isn’t a game in its own right. Instead, it’s EA’s companion app for its Battlefield 3 console game, tying into its Battlelog social network. You can use the app to check your stats, see what friends are unlocking and achieving in the game, and get news on the Battlefield world.

Crayon Physics Deluxe (£1.69)

Crayon Physics Deluxe was very fun on iOS, and looks just as good on Android. It’s a physics-based puzzle game that sees you drawing objects with a digital crayon to solve each stage. You don’t need to be a master-scribbler to progress, thankfully: lateral thinking is the main skill required.

Diamond Street (Free)

This is one of the most inventive location-based tourguide apps I’ve seen for Android, based on London’s Hatton Garden jewellery quarter. The idea: you walk around the district using the in-app map, with audio stories, sounds and images triggered by your current location. More than one hour of audio is included, as well as four short films viewable when in range of a Wi-Fi network.

Stargate SG-1: Unleashed Ep 1 (£1.99)

Exciting news for fervent fans of Stargate SG-1 – an official game based on the TV show, which aired for 10 seasons in its heyday. Cast members Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks are on board for voice duties in this adventure game, with the “Ep 1” indicating that more instalments may be on the way.

Cloud Print (Free)

This is Google’s own app for helping Android devices print wirelessly to compatible printers, including sharing pictures from the device’s Gallery, or documents from other apps. There’s not much more to say about it than that, although note: you’ll need a printer that supports Google Cloud Print for it to work.

Pettson’s Jigsaw Puzzle (£1.49)

More than 6m books have been sold featuring venerable Scandinavian farmer Pettson and his cat Findus. Now they’ve made their way onto Android with this digital jigsaw-puzzle game, with six puzzles and a choice of difficulty levels to suit children of different ages.

Robot Academy (Free)

Animoca made its name with free-to-play games like Pretty Pet Salon. Its latest game is a lot less cute: less animals, and more shooty “cybernetic mech soldiers” trying to defend Earth from an alien invasion. Your job isn’t the actual fighting: instead, it’s the production and training of the bots, ensuring they’re ready for action.

Floating Notifications (Free)

This is an interesting new spin on Android notifications, inspired (a bit) by Facebook’s floating chat heads. “It can take a notification from any app and present it to you as a floating icon,” explains its Google Play listing, noting that the notifications work when you’re using apps and games in full-screen mode too. This free download gives 30 days of unlimited use, before prompting you for a £1.27 upgrade.

Shelter (£1.49)

As far as I can tell, this is one of the first entrants in its chosen genre: “zombie card-dueling” games. It sees you fending off an onslaught of the undead by building a deck of cards then battling through a campaign, with elements of tower defence thrown in for good measure. The comic-style artwork also looks great.

Steel Commanders (Free)

More card-battling, and more cybermechanical warfare here, in the latest game from Korean publisher Gamevil, which knows a thing or two about both areas from its previous releases. Again, you’re building a deck and fighting battles, including taking on players elsewhere in the world.

McAfee Security Innovations (Free)

For one reason or another, personal security issues are front-of-mind for a lot of people at the moment. McAfee’s latest app should be interesting for Android users who want to keep tabs on new technologies: it “provides you with an opportunity to try out groundbreaking new features and to give us feedback on how to improve them…or ditch them altogether”.

Little Nick: The Great Escape (£1.53)

This is another endless-runner game, this time based on French animated series Little Nicholas. It sees him racing through a city on his bike trying to get away from “Old Spuds” (a character, rather than a horde of mouldy potatoes, one hopes). Power-ups, unlockable friends and outfits are all included.

City of Secrets 2 Episode 1 (Free)

The original City of Secrets game won plenty of fans on Android with its touchscreen take on the much-loved point’n’click adventure genre. Marvellous graphics are one draw for this tale of the not-so-heroic Moles the Mole, with bags of humour too.

That’s this week’s selection, but what do you think? Make your own recommendations, or give your views on the apps above, by posting a comment.