Following up on our roundup of May's absolute best games, we're back with the month's greatest apps. As with (almost) every month, May offered plenty in the way of great new apps to try out. If you feel like the supercomputer in your pocket just isn't doing enough, any of these apps are great starting points for added functionality, productivity, or just entertainment.
As with our last roundup, we'll also include a list of honorable mentions – those are the apps that didn't quite make the short list but that you should still take a look at if you find your selection wanting.
If you ever spent hours on the Etch-a-Sketch and thought that what it could really use was a dual-core processor, check out the video below. It's The Sandbox, an iOS hit game that's headed for Android soon. Well, "game" may not be the right word - it's more of a simplistic art/animation/music engine that happens to be played like a game. You take on the role of "apprentice deity" and get to play with the classical elements, completing simple missions or moving freestyle on the face of the waters.
If you aren't quite feeling the holiday spirit yet, Google has decided to lend a hand with a few holiday-oriented offerings focused on our favorite green robot.
The official Nexus page on Google+ shared a few "Happy Holiday Cards" this evening, depicting Bugdroid hanging out with some arctic pals sitting by a fire, having a party, ice skating, and – of course – playing with Android-powered phones and tablets. To download the full-resolution cards or share with friends, just click through to the original post, linked below.
If you've been paying attention to the news cycle lately, you've probably heard that Google—by way of the obscure "Niantic Labs"—released a game of some kind. You saw a trailer that depicted people discovering hidden energy fields within statues, landmarks, and artistic sculptures. You had no idea what was going on. You signed up for an invite anyway, because like any other weird Google product, you want in regardless of what it is.
Since the Device Frame Generator moved to Google's Android Developer site and received its new name (Device Art Generator), we've heard nary a peep about additional frames or other updates. That appears to have changed today, however – the Device Art Generator now features gorgeous new frames for both the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, of course with the ability to toggle shadow, glare, and rotation. If you're a developer who needs a nice easy way to build promotional collateral, or just an average user who wants to create beautifully-framed screenshots, hit the link below.
Most of the home screen replacements out there are just variations on a theme. There are scrollable panels, icons, and an app drawer. Foneclay is something entirely different. With this app, you can turn your phone into functional, though bizarre art.
The app itself is essentially just a front end for downloading and installing the artistic home screen apps. Tap on one that looks interesting, and you can preview the UI before you download.
Following last month's major update to the Android Asset Studio, the studio's Device Frame Generator has been given a new home under the "Distribute" tab at developer.android.com. For those not familiar, the Device Frame Generator is a tool that allows developers (or anyone, really) to wrap their screenshots in high-quality images of real devices, creating a stunning context for your app (or mockup).
Along with its new location, the generator has a new name: Device Art Generator.
Whenever we find a game that's not a simple physics or tower defense game, it's a delight. Mystery Manor is a puzzle/adventure game that promises its game modes are "never ending." Which is quite a feat for a puzzle game. Outside of promises of infinity, the game looks positively fantastic. The artwork that has gone into this game is superb, and the style reminds us of old late 90s PC adventure games.
Bringing an incredible art style and steampunk-inspired puzzling fun to Android today, Hothead Games released Machinarium to Google's Play Store.
Machinarium puts players in a "world of robots," requiring quick wit to solve puzzles, work through challenges, and complete various mini-games to help the protagonist Josef save his robotic girlfriend in the city.
If you're wondering why the game looks visually amazing, it's because the graphics are completely hand-drawn. The artistic style of Machinarium is undoubtedly impressive, and adds a ton to the overall experience.
Are you a designer? Or really good with Adobe Illustrator? Or maybe just really motivated by the chance of winning the awesome Iconia A510 tablet (we reviewed it, it is awesome)? Then have we got a contest for you.
Update: The winning design along with the runners-up was announced here.
But first, the prize, and a short message from our sponsors.
NVIDIA Tegra Zone
Tegra-optimized games often offer a better experience over their non-Tegra siblings, and NVIDIA has put together a nice way to find them all in one place: enter the Tegra Zone.