uSwitch Tech delves deep into the bottomless abyss that is the Android Market to bring you the best titles to hit the store in January.
1 The Night Sky
Already a massive hit on the iPhone where it was recently the number-one paid-for reference app, The Night Sky is riding a fresh wave of interest in astronomy inspired by Prof Brian Cox’s hit TV series Star Gazing Live.
Simply hold up for phone to the heavens and, using GPS, it’ll overlay on to the screen all the gen you need to identify the constellations and planets you’re gawping at. It’s simple and, for the first few times you fire it up, genuinely very impressive.
Like those bird-spotting and angling apps before them, this app scores with us because it actually brings the wider world to life. Alas, it can’t help you with the feelings of insignificance you’ll experience as you ponder your place in the universe, though.
Grab The Night Sky here: The Night Sky
2 Osmos HD
In an age when app stores are packed with me-too titles and clone games, apps with an original idea behind them are rare indeed. But the amazing and unusual Osmos HD really is the definition of idiosyncratic. And it’s so much better for it.
Players start out as a single-cell organism called a Mot and must eat larger Mots to grow, all the while avoiding the attentions of super-scale rivals in the game of life who are looking to consume you. And with each move you make to get closer to your quarry, you’ve got to weigh up how much of your mass you can afford to lose en route.
Sounds simple? Maybe. But aren’t all the best ideas? With absorbing, novel gameplay and controls that are entirely gesture based, this is a strong contender for the best indie game yet on Android. And the floaty ambient soundtrack is brilliant too.
Grab Osmos HD here: Osmos HD
3 Grand Theft Auto 3
Although oft-derived as lowbrow by Edge readers, the Grand Theft Auto series continues to delight mass-market gamers.
We refuse to countenance that you haven’t played at least one of the famous sandbox series yet, so we won’t bog you down with explaining the big idea.
But on a need to know basis, this packs all the features, supporting cast of thousands and array of free-roaming missions of the console title into your smartphone.
If you’ve got an older, less-brawny Android kit, your phone might struggle to handle the lush graphics. But if you’re the owner of the dual core processor-toting smartie, this is the sort of title that chipset is made for.
Grab Grand Theft Auto 3 here: Grand Theft Auto 3
4 Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1
Run, jump, collect rings and smash Robotnik to dust to complete the level. Things don't change too much in Sonic the Hedgehog’s world. But this iteration adds two brand new levels, plus revamped end of level contraptions to fight your way through, as well as some new moves.
The shortcomings of a touchscreen virtual joypad mean that feeling you’re not fully in control can be a problem. But that was something you could say about the Megadrive verson too. So in a sense, this is just being true to the original.
Grab Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 here: Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode 1
Getting a cab late at night in the bitterly cold January weather can be a trial. Hailo looks to address that by allowing you to call a cab electronically via your smartphone.
You can also pay for your journey within the app too. Which means no more en-route dashes to cash points to pick up greenbacks to cover the cost of your ride.
Grab Hailo here: Halio