Welcome to the 267th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Spotify is giving away free Google Home Minis right now. It works for both current and new subscribers. Basically, you sign in with your account and opt to buy a Google Home Mini. It takes you to the Google Store with a coupon code for a free Mini. You complete the order as usual and that’s all she wrote. It works with family accounts as well, but only with the master account holder. Basically, it’s one Google Home Mini per plan, even if it’s a family plan.. Hit the link above to see the all the steps.
- Red Dead Redemption 2 has a great reception right now. It also got a companion app that is available right now. The app performs quite a few fun little features. It tracks your health, stamina, and other stats. Additionally, you can read through Arthur’s in-game journal, track Social Club stats, and it comes with the game’s full manual. The UI is easy enough and it’s useful for basically all parts of the game. It’s also entirely free. Hit the link to get it.
- A new game is coming to Google Play Soon. Beat Cop is, well, a game about a cop. You play as disgraced NYPD officer Jack Kelly. It requires some strategy as you keep your reputation up with the mafia, street gangs, and your cop buddies. Additionally, it has a lot of that 1980’s grime. You eventually figure out who framed you. The game is non-linear and the soundtrack is reportedly good as well. This is from the same developers of This War of Mine, one of the best mobile games ever. It’s available for pre-registration now with an early release for Canadians.
- Google is tossing its annual Android Dev Summit here soon. The official app is also out right now. The app works a lot like the official Google I/O app. In fact, we wouldn’t be shocked if it were by the same developers at Google. Attendees can view the schedules for all of the talks, keynotes, and sessions. Those who don’t go can stream most of the event to the phone as well. The Android Dev Summit is a lot more in-depth than Google I/O, but it should have a ton of great information.
- Google handed out four Material Design awards this week. The winners include Lyft, Anchor, KptnCook, and Simple Habit Meditation. The awards were for expression (KptnCook), Innovation (Lyft), Experience (Simple Habit Meditation), and Adaptation (Anchor). All four apps do different things as well. Google commented that each app used Material Design is a unique, but effective way to make the apps all better. They were especially pleased with KptnCook and Anchor for their seamless integration of UI and functionality. In any case, you can check them out at the link just above if you want to.
Ghostbusters World is the next big AR game in the genre. This one works with the Ghostbusters universe. Players walk around the real world and find ghosts with the camera similar to zombies in The Walking Dead: Our World or Pokemon in Pokemon Go. You capture ghosts, protect the world, and fight massive bosses with other players. Players can also battle captured ghosts with one another as well. It's a surprisingly complete feeling game for how new it is. About our only complaint is the huge battery drain. However, players use their mobile data, GPS, and camera all at the same time, so it's not like there is much that the developers can do. This is a good AR game.
ConnectPaper is a new app in beta. The premise is pretty neat, actually. This app lets you share wallpapers with friends. You add friends with a friend code. From there, you simply share your wallpapers to the app. Your friends can see and download the wallpapers as they see fit. This app is basically brand new and it definitely still needs work. However, we love the idea. It works okay as long as you don't mind how unrefined the experience is. We expect this to be a really fun little app when the developers are done with it. It's currently free, but it's also in beta. Just something to keep in mind.
Shining Force Classics is the latest SEGA Forever game. This one contains three different games. They include Shining Force, Shining Force II, and Shining in the Darkness. All three games are strategy RPGs with checkerboard battle fields similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem. The games are just as they were back on the SEGA Genesis. Frankly, these are some excellent retro strategy RPGs. However, the game does have a bug that crashes a game when players use magic. SEGA definitely needs to fix that, but the games are otherwise pretty good. The game is free with ads or you can get a single game for $1.99 as well an option for all three for a single $4.99 in-app purchase. We don't recommend buying the game until they fix that bug.
Heimdall Parental Control is a security app to keep your phone safe from kids. It can block a variety of actions like the unintentional installation of new apps and even using some (or all) apps. Additionally, it has a YouTube parental filter, a tracking feature to see what your kids do, and it even limits phone calls. Those are all free features. The app does a few other things if you go for the premium feature. The free version is easily among the best apps on Google Play for this particular use case. The premium version can get a tad pricey, though.
Old School RuneScape is basically a mobile version of the old RuneScape game. It is delightfully retro as one would expect from a game with Old School in the title. The game features a full MMORPG experience with PvP, huge bosses, tons of loot, and more. It also includes extras from the original version such as more bank slots, more skills, more quests, and a larger world map. This is a rare subscription MMORPG instead of the usual freemium model. You can get a year for $99.99 or a month for $10.99 per month according to their website. It's a little retro, but it's actually a decent (if somewhat expensive) MMORPG.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news this week, tell us about it in the comments! You can also check out our weekly podcast here!