This Week's Best Apps

In this week's roundup: neon asteroids, demolished; ancient Rome, explored; free kicks, taken; ropes, cut; languages, translated; Boomshakalaka!, revisited; and much, much more.

iPhone

Google Translate: Though the web app's been around for a minute, the native Google Translate iPhone app adds a good deal of polish and some nifty features like a big ole full screen version of text results. It can handle a ton of languages, many of which it'll speak back to you after you're done translating. Free.

Breakeroids: One part Breakout, one part Asteroids, two parts neon. $2.49.

NBA Jam: I loved the Genesis NBA Jam a lot a lot, so I wouldn't be recommending this one if it wasn't awesome. It is awesome. It is very awesome. $5.99.

5-0 Police Scanner: If you've ever dropped in on police radio before, you know how oddly fascinating it can be. 5-0 Police Scanner Radio lets you check out feeds for police, firefighters, transit authorities and more-and gives you a guide to police codes so you can figure out what the hell they're talking about. Free.

Videoscope: Four crazyass camera filters that you can interact with in real time. I'm not sure when I'm going to use this, but I know I'm going to use it at some point. Probably when I'm on drugs. $1.19.

Ambiance: Ambient noise! Not the most exciting thing to listen to on the go, but incredibly soothing, relaxing, calming, comforting—you'll end up putting it on more often than you'd think. $3.99.

Gary Cutlack says: "The very popular iOS game Cut The Rope is the latest to launch a cutesy Valentine's Day special, with 25 new pink-ish levels now included in the version 1.2 update. It comes with a Valentine-themed icon, which maker Chillingo suggests is "ideal for gifting the game to a loved one". Ideal, that is, if your gift budget is $1.19 and you're mostly lying about loving them."

Simplenote: The best app for note taking of any sort just got better—version 3.0 adds simple sharing via tags and a handy list view for premium users. Free; $US20 a year for premium access.

iPad

Konkreet Performer: A gorgeous multitouch MIDI controller that lets you make music by manipulating a shapeshifting geometric form. Basically you'll never be closer to being Daft Punk. $29.99

Rome: Virtual History: History's rad. Ancient Rome especially. Use this edumacational app to explore a fully immersive model of Rome back in its hey day—you might actually learn something! $12.99

Luminos: A vast library of gorgeous 3D renders of all sorts of space objects—you can zoom to over 2 million stars, galaxies, nebulae, asteroids and the like. $12.99

NHL2K11: The most realistic tablet hockey experience on the iPad yet! Until 2012 rolls around! $5.99.

Android

Twitter 2.0 for Android: Some Android users still prefer other Twitter clients but the new official Twitter app just got a sizable update. Gary says: It looks like a much-needed upgrade is on the way, a total redesign which removes the pointless menu page and boots straight to the timeline I still wish they supported multiple accounts but if you're a 'normal' Twitter user, this one is plenty good. Free.

Pro Evolution Soccer 11: Football, as in our football, is over and might not come back for a while. Learn about the other football, as in the world's football, with PES11. It's the best soccer game on the market right now and though the controls take a bit of getting used to, the gameplay is great and with various game modes like club campaign, tournament mode, etc. It's well worth the 7 bucks for a soccer buff. $6.75

Angry Birds Seasons: Nothing says "I love you" than killing green pigs with angry birds. It just got updated with 15 new levels that scream Valentine because of the pink clouds, bows and random hearts. You know the deal, and you love it.

We are so crazy about apps right now you wouldn't believe it. If you have recommendations, tips, or just want to let us know about your own app, drop a note in the comments or shoot me an email.