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Whatever TS Elliot told you about April, take it from us that it's poverty-stricken, grindingly gloomy January that's really the cruellest month. But it wasn’t all bad this year. There were some great apps to get excited about, for starters.

Here’s the titles that got us through the last 30 days…

1 The Night Sky

night sky

Last week, it emerged that, against all the odds, University applications for Science subjects are rising for the first time in aeons.

Apparently it’s all the doing of everyone’s favourite tousle-haired celeb boffin Prof Brian Cox, whose enthusiasm for BIG SCIENCE and BIGGER IDEAS has inspired a generation of would-be students to shun soft subjects in favour of the meatier, more empirical studies.

Right now, the host of astronomy TV show Star Gazing Live is something of a phenomenon. And his influence even extends to the App Store, where Night Sky is currently the number-one paid-for reference app.

The app’s appeal is that it easy to identify constellations, planets, as well as other miscellaneous heavenly bodies. To get your phone to display the names of what you’re looking at, you need only hold it up to the sky and let your handset’s GPS and compass do the rest.

Better yet, for a limited period it’s just 69p – 25 per cent of the normal asking price. And because it’s a universal app, you can pay once and use it across any number of iDevices.

Grab The Night Sky here

2 Paper Monsters

paper monsters

A 2.5D platformer that takes equal cues from the Mario series and LittleBigPlanet, Paper Monsters cops intricate level design from the former and the latter’s gorgeous looks.

Points were deducted by the uSwitch Tech panel for unchallenging end-of-stage bosses whose lameness is only highlighted by the smartness of the levels that preceded them. But that’s churlish of us. Paper Monsters is a well executed, slick title that more than merits the paltry 69p asking price.

Grab Paper Monsters here

3 The Poke

the poke

The official app of a humour site that boasts that visiting its site is “time well wasted”, this handy comedy companion packs in ten updates daily and brings you a uniquely British silly slant on matters of the day.

Brilliantly deadpan recent headlines include the revelation: ‘Nick Clegg looking forward to a light supper tonight’ and a report of a shocking poll revealing that other counties ‘want to be part of Scotland too’.

Grab The Poke here

4 NFL Flick Quarterback

nfl quarterback

With the Super Bowl fast approaching, this American football simulator gives you a tiny taste of what it must be like to marshal an offence in the NFL.

Instead of a brawny throwing arm, though, you’ll need to master a series of swipes and flicks to get the ball to your wide receivers, while evading the attentions of The Rush and cornerbacks looking to pick you off.

There are a number of game modes to get your teeth into that add a soupcon of variety and the graphics are clean and crisp. If you’re in the market for a superior time-killer, this is almost certainly it.

Grab NFL Flick Quarterback here

5 Star Warfare: Alien Invasion

star warfare

For men of a certain age whose formative gaming experiences were on arcades in the British seaside, shooters will be at their best when they’re at their most febrile and frantic.

That’s just the sort of breathless action that Star Warfare: Alien Invasion offers in spades. With seemingly endless waves of enemies of Starship Trooper-style insectiod aliens to tackle across 30 levels, some satisfyingly carnage-inducing armoury and zero plot to get bogged down in, this is a shoot-em-up that does pretty much everything right.

Grab Star Warfare: Alien Invasion here

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