Check These Android Apps Pt. 1
Written by Craig Will (puffkix) Tuesday, 01 May 2012 05:00
If you have a smartphone, odds are that you use it everyday - if not for calling or texting then to waste time with games or shop or even *gasp* to be productive. I use my Android phone (HTC Inspire) every day for all of these reasons, usually the game playing one, and as the Senior Android Editor for GoozerNation I thought it was long overdue that I mentioned some of the apps that I fire up consistently.
This is only part one.
One thing the iPhone does well out of the box is give the users the ability to create "directories" to drop collections of apps so that the home screen(s) don't get overly cluttered with each app having its own individual icon. My favorite Android app that provides similar functionality is Circle Launcher. As you can see in the screen shot I have 12 different collections of apps: Financial, Shopping, Productivity, Photography, Games, Gaming, Reading, Church, Social, Phone, Media, and Misc.
What I love about Circle launcher is the amount of options available for customization. The Misc. circle is the only one that I kept with the standard icon (which you can change the color and opacity) while the rest are all custom icons, even photos can be used.
The customization doesn't stop there as features such as the style of the launcher can be changed from a circle to a horizontal or vertical line. I've kept all my apps appearing in a circle and I've set the option that they always appear in the middle of the screen, instead of around the launcher icon. There are plenty of other options to play with in order to get each launcher to a perfect fit for you.
The full version of Circle Launcher is $1 on both the Amazon App Store and Google Play while the Lite version is free on both Amazon and Google. I highly recommend getting at least the lite version and trying it out.
Since this is a gaming website I'll try to emphasize mostly the games but there are some other apps I think bear mentioning.
Of the three finance apps I have, one is my bank and two are used for maintaining and planning. Mint.com (Amazon)(Google) and Pageonce (Amazon)(Google) both offer Android apps that connect to each of your accounts (bank, credit card, utilities, etc.) and help you keep track of what you have, what you owe, and when payments are due. I use these apps regularly to stay on top of my money, that way I'm sure to always have some.
A while back I mentioned that I was spending a lot of time playing Pocket Frogs, a wonderful collect-a-thon of a game, but the Gamecenter-esque provider Mobage was laggy and often unresponsive. Not long after that article I gave up on playing games hosted through the Mobage service. Recently I was drawn back in by some of the new games they've been adding to their catalogue and I must say that they really beefed up their system. There is no longer a lag issue or really any other problems as long as you have a wi-fi connection or decent service. For this article we'll focus on the two Mobage based games I've been playing a lot of: Monster Rancher and Rage of Bahumat.
My Monster Rancher is Monster Rancher-y goodness on your phone. If you've never played Monster Rancher, the basic premise is that monsters are contained within special Mystery Disks and can be created from them. Way back on the Playstation these disks were created by inserting music CDs and other Playstation games while at the Academy. While that functionality obviously cannot be recreated on mobile devices the rest of the formula holds true to the Monster Rancher experience. Players are tasked with raising monsters through training, battle, and exploration.
Monsters have a certain amount of stamina that is used up as they train. Training levels them up (restoring stamina) and once they are a high enough level, and out of stamina, it's time to send them out on adventures or into arena battles. As monsters progress through their life they age. Once a monster becomes a Senior it's only a matter of time until they retire. What to do with retired monsters? Combine them with other monsters to make brand new monsters, or stronger versions of already collected monsters. My Monster Rancher is not as in-depth as its console predecessors but it is a great way to get into the series if you're unfamiliar with it or to relive it if you miss it.
The other Mobage game is Rage of Bahumut and utilizes mechanics similar to My Monster Rancher and common social media casual games like that one Mafia game on Facebook… The goal is to complete all the missions in the game. Each mission costs a set amount of stamina, once stamina is out your done with missions, unless you use an item to recover stamina. What sets Rage of the Bahumut apart from those ho-hum casual games is the trading card game theme. Cards belong to one of three factions: Man, Gods, or Demons and during PvP battles (a la that Mafia game) if the faction you chose on the initial start up matches the cards in your attack (or defense) deck then a bonus is applied to your power.
The exciting feature is the card evolution; cards with the same name can be combined to create a more powerful version of that card. This can be done up to three evolutions. It's also possible to enhance a card by having it consume unwanted cards you possess. If you have a TCG itch that needs to be scratched this game is definitely worth looking up.
In the next article I'll introduce some of my favorite apps for finding deals, playing media, and being productive. Oh, and more games, of course.