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Top 10 Android apps of April 2011

Top 10 Android apps of April 2011

Missed out on the all the great Android apps released in April? Don’t fret. We picked ten of very best - from top-notch RPGs to guides to cooking delicious meals in a fraction of the time it took us to put this list together. You're welcome.

1. Eternal Legacy

Eternal Legacy Android

Eternal Legacy, developed by none other than Gameloft, is a role-playing game inspired by some of the biggest Japanese RPGs out there.

Not only is it one of the best-looking games we’ve seen yet on the platform, it’s actually fun to play, too.

You’re play as Astrian, a rugged rebel hero whose homeland, Algoad, is being threatened by a corrupt leader and other dark forces. It’s up to you to find a way to stop them.

As you set out on your quest, you’ll explore the vast landscapes and visit towns scattered all over Algoad, where you’ll encounter many interesting characters and potential comrades to join your cause, including the daughter of the antagonist, who you must convince of your resolve.

The gameplay is turn-based like most JRPGs, which works out rather well here given the control limitations of touchscreen-only phones.

The visuals, as we’ve already said are stunning. The environments are lush, diverse and in glorious 3D, complemented by the gorgeously rendered animations and in-game cutscenes, plus full voice acting that make for an all round visceral and immersive gameplay experience.

If you love RPGs, do yourself a favour and pick this up right away.

2. Robot Unicorn Attack

Robot Unicorn Attack Android

Originally released as a Flash game and later on the iPhone, Adult Swim’s Robot Unicorn Attack is arguably one of the best, most fun and most bizarre endurance platformers we’ve played.

While not the first nor last entrant in an increasingly crowded genre, what makes Robot Unicorn Attack miles ahead of its peers is its unique and positively striking visuals.

Fire up this baby and prepare to have your senses to thoroughly battered with all things pink, purple and rainbow-hued - all soundtracked by by British synthpop duo Erasure’s haunting ballad ‘Always’ playing on a loop.

Suffice to say, it takes a real man to play this game in public and having played it non-stop since it released, we couldn’t feel more macho if we tried.

The objective is simple: help a unicorn - which is really a robot (because unicorns aren’t real, silly) - travel as far as possible in the game without falling off. There are two buttons to push: one to jump and one to dash forward in a trail of rainbow.

A quick reflex is crucial as failing to land on a platform or running into ‘stars’ without dashing will result in death. The further you get, the more points you score, in the form of pixie dust, obviously.

If you’re looking for something distinct to brighten up your day, you really need not look further. Honestly, give it a try and thank us later.

Android Market Preview

3. Hot Springs Story

Hot Springs Story Android

Hot Springs Story is the hotly awaited successor to critically and commercial acclaimed simulation Game Dev Story, which we also featured in our top 10 roundup of best Android games and apps released in 2010.

Although an almost identical game in many respects, this time around, instead of taking the reigns in game development studio, you’re put in charge of an up-and-coming Japanese springs inn.

Your job is to develop and transform said inn into a top-class resort, with rooms, restaurants, arcades and baths – and position each facility in the optimum way possible to maximise your business.

You’ll also craft the ultimate Japanese garden from lanterns, pine trees and azaleas to lure in countless punters looking to get away from their hectic lifestyles.

The gameplay is relentless so you’ll need to constantly stay on top of things, from your staff to maintenance of the facilities to ensure everything is running like clockwork.

Do your job well and you’ll soon propel your establishment to fame, attracting VIP guests such as pop stars and best-selling novelists with megabucks to spend.

The controls are intuitive and simple. Turn your device to rotate the screen, swipe to scroll and pinch to zoom in and out – that easy!

If you enjoyed Game Dev Story or love simulation titles in general, you’ll be right at home here.

Android Market Preview

4. SoundCloud

SoundCloud Android

SoundCloud is the official app from the popular audio distribution platform of the same name that allows you to record, listen to and share all your sounds even while you’re on the road or away from the computer.

You can log-in as a member to record and upload your sounds, which could be a piece of music, an interview or a podcast – just about anything – or share privately with your friends via Twitter, Facebook, or even as a check-in on Foursquare.

Of course, you can also search, browse and listen to files uploaded by others in the SoundCloud community, view their user profiles and comment on sounds shared to you in the dashboard.

Whether you’re a professional musician or simply looking for something to listen to, the SoundCloud app lets you do it all right from your Android.

Android Market Preview

5. Google Docs

Google Docs Android app

Are you the work-happy type who’s always on the move but who laments the lack of a decent document-editing suite on Android? Then chin up, because your prayers have been answered.

Google Docs, which should be a familiar name to most Google aficionados, is Big G’s popular web-based document editing and storage platform, now with its very own app, bringing all the great functions of the service to your pocket.

Like just on the desktop, the Android app allows you to create, edit, upload and share all your important documents over the web with ease. The interface has been specifically designed to save time finding and browsing your docs, PDFs and images, and to make editing them as breezy as it is on the big screen with handy options to ‘star’ your favourite docs for quick access and make them appear to other collaborators in seconds.

You can also make instant changes to spreadsheets, which load faster and are much, much easier to scroll through. Of course, you can upload files store on the device in Google Docs format, and download those already uploaded.

Better yet, if you’re tired of typing, you can simply take a picture of a printed text and the app will automatically convert it to a Google document. Nifty, huh?

It’s free too, which makes it a no-brainer really.

Android Market Preview

6. PewPew 2

PewPew 2 Android

PewPew 2 actually came out in March, but we felt it got kinda lost in the shuffle amidst the major malware scare that sucked up all the headlines that month.

Just in case you never played or heard of the original PewPew, it’s an awesome little multi-directional shooter (think: Geometry Wars on Xbox Live) where you assume control of a small spacecraft with the simple goal of destroying everything else on the screen without being hit or destroyed yourself.

Where PewPew stands out from other cloneware is that the enemies and other hazardous objects in its levels come in different colours and can only be eliminated by firing ammo of their matching colour, which adds to a new layer of challenge to the fast-paced gameplay.

Essentially, instead of going Rambo on everything, you have to make use of colour-coded pads spread around the level to instantly change the colour your ammo and then shred through anything and everything matching that colour.

However, that’s easier said than done when you have to manouvre around multiple enemies and colliding with each can be fatal. Fortunately, your ship is equipped with a force shield which can be turned on fleetingly to help you get out of a tight spot.

There are two main modes: a campaign mode with three levels of difficulty and boss fights and an ‘Infinity’ mode which contains seven mini-modes, involving different challenge and a reward of bronze, silver and gold coins based on your performance, along with five unlockable ships.

The Infinity mode also contains online leaderboards and perhaps the coolest feature of the game- the ability to tap on a player’s name on the leaderboard to see an actual replay of their game. This is especially helpful if you’re struggling with that mode or looking for a strategy to achieve an even higher score.

The graphics are entirely in neon to give the game an '80s appearance. The gameplay is simple but super addictive. If you love the shoot ‘em genre, you’d be foolish not to pick this up.

Android Market Preview

7. Stellar Escape

Stellar Escape Android

If you’re not particularly fond of unicorns, but love endurance runners in general, then Orange Agenda’s Stellar Escape might be just what you need.

With high production values, this is not just another Canabalt clone. It has an actual story with a beginning and an end, as well as an endless mode with two difficulties.

You play as Elliot Black, a courier aboard a space station in a dystopian future who has made the unfortunate mistake of delivering something that you shouldn’t have (spam, we think). Now you’re forced to flee for your life and your goal is simple: to escape the station and scoot off to safety in your ship.

There are 15 levels in the campaign mode, spanning five environments, each with a different degree and variety of challenge.

The gameplay is fast-paced and controls are as intuitive as they come as you jump, roll, climb and dive through obstacles like a trooper even with laser beams are being fired at you.

The graphics are outstanding and are made all the more immersive by the excellent soundtrack and great level designs.

There’s even OpenFeint support for online leaderboards and achievements to unlock, so there’s plenty of reasons to keep playing even after you’re completed the story. If you like this type of game, you won’t go wrong with this.

Android Market Preview

8. Cyberlords - Arcology

Cyberlords - Arcology

Cyberlords - Arcology is a science fiction RPG set in the distant, distant future.

The year is 2173. The world is controlled by ruthless mega-corporations and governments exist in name alone. Humans live on a giant megacity-like structure with a high population density and declining living conditions. Ordinary denizens have superhuman abilities, granted by readily available nano implants, courtesy of said mega-corporations.

You play as four such humans, Jesse, Hank, Diana and Jade, who are freedom fighters in a group called Thor trying to overthrow these evil organisations and thwart their dastardly plan to implant everyone with mind control devices. Doesn’t get more evil than that, right?

You start off as a lone mercenary, eventually meeting up with members of Thor where you decide join their cause. Gameplay is a mixture of exploration and obliterating anything that gets in your way. Movement is simply a matter of tapping where you want your party to go. When you encounter an enemy, simply tap on it and watch the beating unfold.

Ammo is limited so keeping an eye out for more is crucial. You can also collect credit, which can be spent at terminals to upgrade your weapons, equipment and implants to even powerful ones for boss battles that lie ahead.

The plot is nothing to write home about. However, the game looks incredible and as far as the fun factor is concerned, it delivers in spades. For less than a quid, it’s well worth every penny.

And if you’re still not sure, there’s a free version too, so you can give it a try before you buy.

Android Market Preview

9. SwitchPro Widget

SwitchPro Widget Android

SwitchPro Widget is a simple, easy to use and supremely elegant little widget that allows you to toggle on and off just about every essential setting on your Android right from the home screen.

From vital connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, and Airplane mode to handy functions such as Auto Sync, Brightness, Silent/vibration mode and even a flashlight, you can customise them all whenever you need with this widget.

Better yet, you can even schedule toggles to turn on and turn off at certain times so you can sleep easy at night and work undisturbed at the office.

You can manage how it looks, too, by customising the colour of the icons and backgrounds, the number of toggles/buttons you want to display and more.

For a just a penny more than 60p, this app is a steal and a real lifesaver if you’re frustrated by always having to navigate to the settings app to switch simple things on and off. Pick this up without a moment’s thought.

Android Preview

10. Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals

Jamie Oliver Android app

Food lovers need not feel left out of the deluge of apps, games and distractions released on the Android Market month in, month out. Celeb chef-come-healthy food campaigner, Jamie Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals is an excellent app to whet your app-etite.

It’s a collection of 60 mouthwatering recipes, with high-resolution photos, easy to find ingredients and simple to follow instructions to prepare some truly delish meals in no time.

A smart little shopping list feature allows you to easily add the ingredients you need for your trip to the supermarket, all neatly sorted by their aisles. There are even 21 videos of the Nake Chef himself giving you all the tips and tricks you need to brush up your culinary skills.

Whether you’re a novice or just looking for inspiration – this is a must-have app to keep at your disposal.

Android Market Preview

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