Emerging Android Apps: Christmas, Air Penguin and Pano

Christmas themes began to sneak their way into the Android charts this week, with apps from DualBoot Games and Dancing Squirrel capitalizing on the season and climbing the charts. Russian developer Game Insight also got into the spirit of things with a seasonal update to My Country that added special quests and items for Christmas and New Years. While games were the genre to beat, utilities and other apps also represented, showing up on every chart this week.

New Titles on the Android Top Grossing Apps List

World of Goo – Independent developer 2D Boy’s innovative puzzle game continues to perform well on Android, moving from the paid app charts to the #6 position on the top grossing charts. Originally released on PC, World of Goo went on to win multiple awards for its innovative gameplay and technical excellence and was eventually ported to the Nintendo Wii. World of Goo costs $4.99 and has now seen almost 100,000 downloads according to its Android marketplace listing.

My Country – Game Insight’s perennial hit My Country continues its dominance of the Android charts, but has dropped in recent weeks and is now down to the #17 spot.  The game was updated on December 8th to add holiday themed content. Players can now have a Christmas tree in their city and collect unique holiday decorations and quests.

Minecraft – Pocket Edition –  A recent spike in interest has put Mojang’s Minecraft – Pocket Edition back on the top grossing charts in the #19 position. Briefly discounted to $0.10 as part of a marketplace promotion, the game saw sales spike towards 500,000 downloads, but that number has dropped off just as sharply now that the price has returned to $6.99. The app was updated on December 3rd with new features and bug fixes.

Christmas HD – Independent developer DualBoot Games cashes in on the holiday spirit with Christmas HD, a new Live Wallpaper app that brings some festive cheer to phones and tablets. The app costs $1.99 and allows users to add their own photo to their background, customize the stockings on the mantlepiece and decorate a Christmas tree to their specifications. The app is currently the #34 top grossing app for Android.

Pocket Frogs – NimbleBit’s iOS hit Pocket Frogs keeps a tenuous hold on the Android top grossing charts #48 position. An animal care and collecting game, Pocket Frogs challenges players to catch, breed and collect thousands of frogs. The game monetizes through in-app purchases. While Pocket Frogs is starting to perform well on Android, according to a recent interview with NimbleBit, the game’s co-creator Dave Marsh, believes that achieving an iOS-level of success will be an “uphill battle.”

New Titles on the Android Top Free Apps List

Air Penguin – Korean developer Gamevil’s Air Penguin leads the Android free charts this week in the #8 spot. A simple action game, Air Penguin has players steer a penguin with tilt controls to guide him across a series of arctic ice flows, avoiding deadly sea creatures and collecting fish. The game is free-to-play and monetizes via in-app purchases. According to its Android marketplace listing, Air Penguin has been downloaded more than 1 million times.

Google Currents – Google’s newsreader app Google Currents places on both the iOS and Android free charts this week, but performed considerably better on Android, landing in the #15 position after its December 8th debut. The app is similar to Flipboard or other content collection apps that allow users to curate their RSS feeds and content into a visually appealing magazine-like layout.

Plumber – Independent developer Monsters Game seems to have a hit on its hands with the #21 ranked free app, Plumber. A deceptively difficult puzzle game with a basic concept, players must route water from one pipe to another, assembling a path for it out of seemingly mismatched pipe pieces before a room floods. The game was updated on December 4th to add more levels.

Shoot the Apple – Defender developer Droidhen’s newest free-to-play game makes its chart debut in the #22 position. A physics based-puzzle game similar to Angry Birds, Shoot the Apple has a very unique concept. An alien has fallen in love with an apple. You must re-unite them by firing that alien out of a cannon to cross a level filled with obstacles so the alien can reach the object of his desire. The game comes with 150 levels and has seen more than 500,000 installs since it was released.

Christmas Countdown Calendar – Finally German independent developer Dancing Squirrel closes out the free charts with their app, Christmas Countdown Calendar.  An interactive advent calendar contains a new mini-game every day for children to play that leads towards a Christmas finale. The app is free but in order to get all 24 games, parents must purchase the paid version of the app. Christmas Countdown Calendar is currently the #42 free app.

New Titles on the Android Top Paid Apps List

Pano – Debacle Software begins the paid app roundup in the #6 position with Pano, a panoramic photography app. Currently on sale for $2.99, the app allows users to take 360 degree panoramas by stitching together up to sixteen photos, using a semi-transparent guide, blending and color correction to create seamless looking shots.

Spirit HD – Arcade-style game Spirit HD has seen a boost thanks to a sale that dropped the price down to $0.99, moving the game up to the #13 position. The game challenges players to guide a spirit along the screen using touch controls, encircling enemies to remove them from the screen. Spirit HD was created by UK based developer Jakyl.

Instant Heart Rate Pro – Instant Heart Rate Pro is this week’s #15 paid Android app. The $0.99 utility allows users to measure their heart rates and does not require outside equipment or external hardware. Users cover the camera lens with their finger and the app measures the rest automatically. The results can be shared over Facebook, Twitter, email, or even sent to Evernote and Dropbox. The utility was developed by Palo Alto-based developer Azumio Inc.

Blow Up – Physics puzzle game Blow Up takes the #26 spot. The game challenges players to blow up a structure and destroy a dummy by using three different types of explosives. The game comes with 90 levels and three difficulty settings. The app costs $1.99 was just updated on December 14th to fix bugs and a licensing issue. The game was developed by Camel Games, which doesn’t seem to have a website.

Age of Zombies – Last but not least, Australian developer Halfbrick Studios makes a chart resurgence with older game Age of Zombies. Currently the #33 paid app, the $0.99 game is a high-spirited action title that follows the exploits of tougher-than-nails action hero Barry Steakfries as he blasts his way through time, zombies, dinosaurs and zombie dinosaurs. Age of Zombies has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.