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New Android apps worth downloading: The New York Times update, Contre Jour, Broken Sword II Smoking Mirror

by Phil Hornshaw

The New York Times has updated and optimized their mobile offering for Android tablets, which is great for subscribers and pedestrian readers alike. We’ve also got a pair of great games – Contre Jour, a Cut The Rope-like puzzler, and Broken Sword II Smoking Mirror, a solid Android re-release of a classic adventure game.

The New York Times update (Free)

What’s it about? The mobile app version of The New York Times just received a big overhaul that optimizes it for Android tablets.

What’s cool? NYT’s updated app should work better on just about any Android device out there, adapting to different screen sizes and providing new options for handling notifications for breaking news updates. The app already includes some cool features if you’re a subscriber. If not, you still get access to the Top News section of the paper for free through the app, and subscribing gets you full access to each day’s paper, including blog posts and other cool content.

Who’s it for? Readers of The New York Times and anybody interested in news, both free and paid, would benefit from a look at its mobile app.

What’s it like? Try also The Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY.

Contre Jour ($1.99)

What’s it about? Puzzler Contre Jour has players trying to navigate a round, one-eyed creature to the end of each of the game’s levels, by adjusting the world around him and using physics to their advantage.

What’s cool? In each stage of Contre Jour, you cannot control the main “character,” a strange alien life form, but you can control the world around it. You alter the ground so that the creature rolls in one direction or another, or attach it to stretchy ropes that allow it to swing around the level. You have to think critically about what the best path is in each stage, as well as have the reflexes for some of the more well-timed maneuvers. It also features a great black-and-white art style.

Who’s it for? Puzzler fans, this one is not to be missed.

What’s it like? Contre Jour has a similar vibe to games such as Cut the Rope and Slice It!

Broken Sword II Smoking Mirror ($3.99)

What’s it about? The sequel to one of the best adventure games available on Android, Broken Sword II sees the return of the first game’s main characters for another story-driven point-and-click experience.

What’s cool? If you’re into adventure games, Broken Sword II is a must. The “adventure” genre is heavy on puzzle-solving, character interaction and story, and light on things like combat and explosions. That said, Broken Sword II will keep you busy with plenty of puzzles to solve and an engaging, fully animated story updated from the PC-based original. There’s also a new comic created by “Watchmen” co-creator Dave Gibbons, and you can integrate the game with a Dropbox account that allows you to transfer your saved games between devices and even platforms.

Who’s it for? Adventure game fans and those who enjoyed the original are definitely going to want to sit down for Broken Sword II.

What’s it like? You’ll also want to try the first Broken Sword game, as well as other solid adventure games like Yesterday and Machinarium.

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