Welcome to the 277th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google is testing a new subscription service for Google Play. The Google Play Pass would let you play tons of games and use tons of apps for, allegedly, $4.99 per month. Yes, we said both apps and games. The premise works like any other subscription service for apps and games. You pay a monthly payment and you can use any of the apps or games on the list. According to reports, the game list includes Monument Valley 2, Mini Metro, Stardew Valley, and several other decent titles.
- Chris Lacy announced version 42 of the popular Action Launcher this week. The update included some new features and bug fixes, including more granular Quicktheme, theme support,, Google Discover theming, and an AMOLED dark mode. There is also support for ActionDash, an add-on for Digital Wellbeing fans. Hit the link to learn more about the update.
- The Google Play Store has some big deals for some summer savings. There aren’t any apps or games with this sale, but there are a bunch of movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and regular books up for grabs. There are some decent titles available, although most of the movie and TV selections are a bit older. Still, it’s a good way to spend a few bucks and round out your media library. Hit the link to check out all the stuff on sale.
- PUBG Mobile had a big week this week. The PUBG Mobile Club Open 2019 took place recently with some great results. We also got to talk to some of the pros at the event about PUBG Mobile, mobile gaming in general, and esports. Finally, Tencent launched a beta of an official PUBG Mobile emulator for PC. It’s still very much in beta, but it features cross-play with the normal mobile game and comes with mouse and keyboard controls built-in. We’re not sure how well it’ll do with keyboard players fighting touch screen players, but we’ll find out soon enough. Hit all the links to learn more!
- Android Auto launched its big redesign this week. The redesign featured a variety of changes to the UI and usability. The home screen is basically now an app drawer. There are UI elements that keep the media player controls on screen at all times along with a quick and easy way to check notifications. We particularly liked the improved UI elements that let us finally use Google Maps and pause our songs at the same time. The app drawer style home screen also lets you access different music and navigation apps much faster. This is an outstanding update and shores up a lot of Android Auto’s issues.
Price: Free to play
Gigantic X is a new top-down sci-fi shooter and it’s one of the better ones we’ve seen lately. It features intense action, many explosions, and three playable characters. You play through the story and beat up the bad guys as you go. You also collect near gear as you find it. It’s a little bit reminiscent of older Contra games and similar titles. The game play has a rapid pace and twitch controls. It’s actually quite fun to play. The game had some lower ratings upon launch due to some launch bugs and incompatibility with some PC emulators. Otherwise, it’s quite good.
mnml Launcher is a new Android launcher. It takes minimalism a bit to the extreme, but that may be good for those who enjoy minimalism. There is an app drawer along with a super simple home screen. The app uses an AMOLED-friendly black for everything that isn’t an app icon. The app uses AI to populate the home screen with recently used apps and the like. It’s by the same developer of Artwalls, another great app for AMOLED phones. This one still needs a lot of work and it’s a little too basic, even for a minimal app. Still, keep it on your radar because it has some potential.
Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare
Price: Free to play
Gundam Battle: Gunpla Warfare is a mobile version of one of Gundam’s best past times. For those who don’t know, Gunpla is a series of figures. You buy the box, cut out the parts, and assemble the figures yourself. The mobile game works very close to the same. You can mix and match parts from Gundams from over two dozens series. You use them to fight bad guys. You can customize things like long and short range attack effectiveness and there is an online PvP aspect as well. The game plays fine on newer flagship devices. However, there are complaints that it doesn’t play well on budget devices.
Squarespace launched a new app this week for its customers. The app helps you build your website straight from the app. Additionally, there are publishing options and other organization, content publishing, and management features. I didn’t personally try this app because I do not have a Squarespace web page. However, the Google Play reviews are fairly positive so far with most complaints stemming from bugs like slow photo uploads and some UX bugs. Still, those with a Squarespace web page should probably at least try this out to see if it works well for them. The app is free, but Squarespace still costs money (usually).
Doom I and II
Price: $4.99 each
Bethesda treated us to a nice surprise this week. The original Doom and Doom II are now on mobile as ports. They are as you probably remember except with on-screen touch controls. The on-screen controls are a big buggy and we’re not fans of requiring an online account to play. However, they are otherwise complete ports, including the Thy Flesh Consumed DLC. For the most part, these are average ports. They won’t blow you away but they are totally playable with a little patience. However, similar to Super Mario Run, fans of the series expected something a little different. It may be worth the price for some people, but make sure to try it inside of the refund time to ensure you actually like the game. We have Doom linked at the button below. You can get Doom II here.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates or releases, tell us about them in the comments!