Top Emerging Android Apps: Life is Crime, Clouds & Sheep and Suddenly Popular Zombies

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By Kathleen De Vere

This week’s Android listings were again dominated by games. The most interesting thing to note is the position of Zombie Farm. Last week the Mobage frontrunner had only just managed to crack the top 50 of the free app charts, and this week it is firmly in the middle of the top grossing charts, picking up hundreds of thousands of installs in the process.

New Titles on the Android Top Grossing Apps List

(Update) Life is Crime – When we last checked in with Red Robot Labs’ location based social game, it was the number #18 top grossing app. Three weeks later, Life is Crime is now in the #6 position.  While Booyah and CrowdMob were first to tackle the location-based RPG genre, Red Robot Labs looks like it may be able to hold onto its early success, overcoming the difficulty of creating a new social gaming ecosystem from the ground up with a pool of players artificially limited by their location. Life is Crime is free-to-play and monetizes through via in-app purchases.

iMobsters - The #17 top grossing app this week is Storm8’s iMobsters, a mobile MMO and the the next closest competitor to the quickly rising Life is Crime. Boasting 1.6 million players, iMobsters challenges players to start their own gangs and recruit other players into their ranks as they try to become the undisputed Mafia Don of a virtual city. Installs of iMobsters have been steadily rising for the past 30 days, and as with Life is Crime, the game is free-to-play and monetizes through in-app purchases.

(Update) Zombie Farm – What a difference a week makes. The day after Ngmoco went on the defensive about the Android version of Mobage, the proof seems to be in the pudding. Zombie Farm, one of the first titles on the new network has shot up to the #23 spot on the Android top grossing charts now showing almost a million total installs. The Farmville-meets-Plants Vs. Zombies game is a big hit for developer Playforge on iOS and it was popular enough that the San Mateo-based company is trying to extend the franchise with Zombie Life.

Tap Ranch – Moving all the way down to the #42 spot is Gameview’s Tap Ranch, a farming sim that challenges players to build a successful and profitable farm from the ground up, starting with just one cow and a small plot of land. Players can grow more than 22 varieties of crops, and collect over 70 buildings to decorate and improve their farms with. The game is free to play and monetizes through the purchase of Ranch Bucks, which are then traded for help around the farm, premium plants, livestock and greenhouses.

Virtual City Playground – Finally in the #47 spot we find the latest game in G5 Entertainment’s Virtual City series, Virtual City Playground, which made its Android debut on October 20th, and has seen solid growth and installs since then. A sandbox style city-builder, Virtual City Playground allows players to build the city of their dreams without worrying about pre-defined goals or missions, instead the quests are optional and there to help players level up and earn cash. The game is free-to-play an monetizes through in-app purchases.

New Titles on the Android Free Apps List

(Update) Guns’n’Glory WW2 – HandyGames’ Cartoony tower defense game Guns’n’Glory WW2 moves up the free charts to the #16 spot this week. Set on the Western Front in the winter of 1944, the game allows players to choose either the Allies or the Axis as they defend their positions against wave after wave of enemy soldiers. Players can upgrade their units using an RPG-like skill tree system and unlock items to give them a tactical advantage over their foes. Guns’n’Glory WW2 is ad-supported, but users can also purchase Glory coins to upgrade their units.

TuneWiki – Lyrics with Music –  Next up is TuneWiki – Lyrics with Music. The #17 ranked free app is a music player that automatically syncs a display of a song’s lyrics along with the music. The app, which comes pre-installed on many Verizon phones also supports social functions such as liking songs, commenting on them and sharing links with friends. Developer TuneWiki updated the app on October 28th to overhaul the app’s user interface and controls.

Clouds & Sheep – Moving down to the #26 spot is another new game from HandyGames’, the unique Clouds & Sheep. Billed as a relaxing sandbox game far removed from hardcore gaming titles, the only goal in Clouds & Sheep is to take care of a growing flock of sheep, providing for their basic needs (grass, water, other sheep) and protecting the adorable, but unintelligent animals from natural hazards like mushrooms, sunshine and rainclouds. Less than a month old, Clouds and Sheep has clearly tapped into the demand for an ultra-casual game, racking up more than one million downloads already.

Skitch – Evernote’s productivity app Skitch migrates from the desktop to the smartphone, claiming the #33 spot on the free app chart this week. The utility allows users to add notes and annotations to photos and sketches, then upload them to Evernote, or share them via email, Twitter or Facebook. Skitch also gives users the tools to add text, zoom and crop images and change their annotations at any time.

Unblock Me Free - Despite not being updated for over a year, Kiragames’ Unblock Me Free is still a mainstay on the Android free app charts, this week sitting in the #46 spot. Unblock Me Free is a simple but addictive sliding block game where players must figure out how to extract the red block from increasingly complicated situations. Despite its success, Unblock Me is the only game Thai based independent developer Kiragames has released.

New Titles on the Android Paid Apps List

(Update) Order & Chaos – Gameloft’s Order & Chaos Online holds its place on the paid charts as the the #19 paid app this week. The subscription based MMO has seen strong growth in the past 30 days, despite the $6.99 initial purchase cost and the monthly subscription fees. Players in the game choose to fight for either the faction of order or chaos, and as with PC based MMOs can customize their character’s gender, appearance, class and talents, selecting from more than 1,000 skills.

TuneIn Radio Pro – Moving all the way down to the #27 spot we find $0.99 app TuneIn Radio Pro, the ad free version of New York based TuneIn’s popular radio player. The utility allows users to listen to live radio from all over the world, offering a selection of 50,000 stations covering every format from popular hits to live sports. The app was updated on November 3rd to support in-app donations for listener supported stations and improve in-app search, playback and browsing functions.

Burn The City – Vancouver, BC based Independent developer Josh Brown, aka JoshOClock’s game Burn The City is this week’s  #38 paid app. Bolstered in popularity after being selected as Kotaku’s Gaming App of the Day, Burn the City is a physics based puzzle game that’s all about destruction. In the game players control an adorable monster keen to eliminate all of mankind and its cities. For $0.99 users get 70 levels of increasingly irksome cities to destroy, with fire, rocks, TNT payloads or a combination of all three.

Duke Nukem 3D - Brand new in the Android market as of November 1st, Duke Nukem 3D is already the number #43 paid app.  A faithful version of the classic, tongue-firmly-in-cheek shooter from 1996, Duke Nukem 3D features all the alien, strip clubs and terrible jokes the original did. Ported to Android by independent developer Machineworks Northwest, the game is $1.00 and comest with the first episode of the story. The additional three episodes are each unlocked for in-app purchases of $0.99 each.

Roll A Joint – Last but not least in this week’s Android roundup is the #48 paid app, independent developer FDP Games’ illegal drug simulator, Smoke a Joint.  A surprisingly popular app that has seen almost 5,00,00 installs at $1.99 each, the app allows users to pretend they’re doing something they shouldn’t be, complete with sound effects, animation and motion controls.