The 278th Android Apps Weekly is out! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- A new website ranks phones on their aggressiveness with killing apps. The site is notably fun for those who like to use a lot of apps or want them open in the background consistently. The worst performers are Nokia, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Huawei. Meanwhile, the better performers were Stock Android, HTC, Samsung, and Sony. The website only has nine OEMs right now and they’re missing OEMs like LG, Motorola, ASUS, Razer, and many others. We hope they add to the list eventually.
- YouTube is putting the hammer down on dangerous prank and challenge videos. The latest craze, the Bird Box Challenge, is causing some problems right now. Additionally, older challenges like the Tide Pod Challenge resulted in six deaths overall. Of course, stupid is as stupid does and other video platforms like Facebook still allow such videos. Thus, we’re unsure of the effectiveness of such a ban. Still, it’s nice to see someone stepping in because parents obviously aren’t.
- Fortnite had a pretty big security flaw toward the end of 2018. Hackers could send fake login screens that looked like real login screens. It would log you into the account as normal, but would scrape your login credentials. The hackers could gain access to the account and do all sorts of nasty things. Epic Games announced the exploit earlier this week. It patched the game a couple of weeks ago. Hit the link for more details!
- The popular Westworld game is now out of business. The game had a tumultuous life. Bethesda sued the developers over copyright infringement. They claimed the game copied a lot of graphical and code elements from Fallout Shelter. Bethesda settled with the Westworld developers out of court and we’re guessing that a total shut down was one of the stipulations. The game is no longer on Google Play and current players have until mid-April to spend their in-game currency.
- Twitter officially brought its chronological timeline back this week. Well, it did for the Android version at least. The app now lets you physically switch between the top tweets (algorithm) and latest tweets (chronological). It’s a move that every social network should do. The update should hit the app soon if it hasn’t already for you. You can check the top right of the official app to see the icon for the new switch feature.
Taponomicon is an idle tapper game. You start with a little creature, tap on it a bunch, and use the wisdom you earn to summon other creatures. You combine creatures to get even better creatures and this mechanic drives the whole game. There are also a variety of power-ups and special abilities as well. It's an idle tapper so it's obviously not the most exciting new game ever. However, the mechanics are easy to follow and the game gives you a bunch of neat stuff on the onset to get you started. The full page ads are a little jarring if your volume is up, but otherwise it's not too bad. You can also pay to remove the ads if you want to. It's a good time killer if nothing else.
Language Navi is a unique and somewhat niche new app. The app translates foreign languages to your language directly in an application without much direct input from you. It only works with Latin characters and it requires Accessibility permissions, but those are about the only two (perfectly reasonable) pain points. So basically, you open an app in a language that isn't yours and the app changes it into a language that is yours. It could be useful for learning a new language or giving access to an app in other countries where it may not have native support (or localization) yet. It also doesn't require root. The free version has ads and the premium ($2.99) does not.
Hang Line is the latest game from publisher Yodo1, previous publisher of games like Crossy Road and current publisher of games like Rodeo Stampede. This one is a pseudo-runner style game. You use a grappling hook to sling your way up a mountain at great peril. There are various obstacles, falling objects, and other potential issues to get in the way. You succeed when you reach the top of the mountain. The game includes five mountains and 50 total levels, four infinite climber modes, 80 unlockable characters, and the power-ups for extra boosts. It should be another classic game from Yodo1. It does have a few early bugs, but we're sure those will get ironed out sooner rather than later.
National Geographic launched a new app this week. It replaces the previous National Geographic magazine app, but now includes more content. There are a bunch of free articles about various topics. You also get access to National Geographic magazine for $1.99 per month (or $19.99 per year). The app is clean, if a bit simple and the articles are easy enough to read. The search function could be better and viewing archives of previous magazines could use some improvement as well. However, this is a very positive first release overall and it definitely looks nice as well.
Oddmar is a new platformer game. It has simple touch controls, good animation, and even a story line to follow. You play as Oddmar and you must embark on an adventure to restore your honor. The game features surprisingly good touch screen controls for a mobile platformer. Of course, it's the same developers of Leo's Fortune and that had excellent controls as well. It's a solid 2D platformer experience. You even get Google Play Games cloud saving and hardware controller support. You can play some of the game for free. The full version costs $4.99.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news and releases, tell us about it in the comments! Also, check out our weekly Android Authority podcast!