Welcome to the 262nd edition of Android Apps Weekly. Let’s take a look at the big headlines this week:
- Google went on a re-branding spree this week. First up, the Google Feed changed from, well, Google Feed to simply Discover. Meanwhile, the Chrome team changed Incognito Mode to Private Mode. Finally, Google Keep is changing to Google Keep Notes or, more likely, Google Notes. It’s interesting that all the names are simpler and more popular versions of the original name. We don’t think that any of these products needed a re-brand. However, Google did and it is what it is. These changes should roll out over the coming weeks and months.
- Weather Timeline bit the dust this week. The developer removed the app from Google Play. Previous users can still download the app. However, those are the only people that can now. The developer gave low download numbers as the reason for it. It had a large push upon launch but kind of fell off over time. However, there is a silver lining. Weather Timeline still works for those that still have access. It should work for the foreseeable future as well. It’s tough being a single developer in the Play Store these days. Bon voyage, Weather Timeline.
- HQ Trivia is getting some company soon. The developers announced a new game this week. HQ Words is a lot like Wheel of Fortune. Players guess phrases against a timer. It’s not too different from HQ Trivia in terms of pure mechanics. Real people play in real time over the course of several rounds. The winners get some prizes at the end. HQ is auditioning hosts. They want someone different from Scott Rogowski so that HQ Words has its own style and feel. The game should be out sometime in October 2018.
- Google Daydream is getting a huge influx of apps soon. In fact, it’s getting every Android app. It should work a lot like Google Chrome does in Daydream VR right now. The app is still in 2D. However, it appears in the 3D space. It’s not overly beautiful visually. However, it adds a ton of usability to the Daydream platform. VR apps come out frequently, but not in enough volume to make a serious difference. This, on the other hand, will make a serious difference. The changes should roll out sometime soon according to Google.
- Telltale Games is in serious trouble. By that, we mean they’re shutting down. The studio laid off its entire staff sans about 25 employees. The remaining employees plan on finishing some projects. Otherwise, Telltale Games is on its way down. The developer had a few really great years with some of the best narrative-driven adventure games in all of mobile gaming. It was a favorite of ours and featured on many of our game lists. It’s sad to see such a talented group of people disband. However, its more recent games simply didn’t sell well and the studio didn’t evolve its style much over time. We will miss you, Telltale Games.
Brave Frontier: The Last Summoner is the latest mobile RPG from Gumi, developers of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and the original Brave Frontier. It has a lot of the same elements of other gacha games. That includes summoning units, leveling them up, and doing battle. However, this one lets you control up to 50 units at once. That gives it a bit of a strategy element along with the mobile gacha elements. Some other features include a decent story line, hundreds of characters, and more. It’s something a little different, but not too different.
Bouncer is a new security app. It’s actually kind of ingenious. It lets you revoke permissions from apps when you’re done using the app. So, for instance, you can temporarily allow location on Facebook to tag a photo and Bouncer removes Facebook’s location permission when you leave the app. We love this idea and it might be one of the best security solutions we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even need root access or ADB knowledge. This is a great app for basically everybody who worries about what their apps do. We highly recommend it.
Defend the Cake is a new tower defense game by former developers of Riot Games and Blizzard. It relies on classic tower defense mechanics. You set up towers along a path and keep the bad guys from reaching the end. There are some neat twists. You can place the cake almost anywhere. Thus, you dictate the path. The game also comes with 18 levels, six towers with two upgrades each, and more. This, along with Bloons TD 5, are probably the two best tower defense games of 2018 right now. This one goes for $4.99 with no additional ads or in-app purchases.
SW True-Fi is a rare new equalizer app. It offers a bunch of sound customization options. It focuses mostly on sound adjustment for various age groups. For example, it changes the sound differently for 20 year olds versus 40 year olds. The app also supports a variety of music files and it has direct Spotify integration. That should work for most people. We would like to see more music services supported in the future if possible. However, it’s hard to complain too much right now. The app is in a beta and you need to sign up for it. The link for that is in the Play Store description.
Cube Escape: Paradox is the latest game in the popular Cube Escape franchise. It works a lot like the previous games. It combines room escape, point-and-click adventure, puzzle, and hidden object elements. This one comes with a very strong narrative element as well that we really liked. Some other features include a voice-over cast, a decent soundtrack, and support for 14 languages. The game is actually fun as well. There are two chapters available. The first one is free and the other costs $1.99. Both have multiple endings. It’s not the longest game, but for $1.99, who cares, it’s a good deal.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, releases, or big updates, tell us about them in the comments! We also highly recommend our podcast!