Welcome to the 279th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Malware gets smarter all the time. A report this week showed a new type of malware. This particular type only actually does anything when it detects the device in use with the device sensors. It doesn’t do anything wrong if the device is idle. This tripped up security researches and Google Play alike. However, the apps that use this form of malware are no longer in the Google Play Store. Hit the link for more details.
- Final Blade, a popular Japanese mobile gacha game, is going global. The game is in pre-registration right now. The game plays like most mobile gacha RPGs. Players amass a party of heroes and defeat the bad guys. You summon heroes of varying talents and try to collect as many as you can. The game also features a story line and some social elements as well. Those who pre-register get some additional bonus rewards when the game officially launches. Make sure to use the same account you use for Google Play, otherwise you may miss out on the rewards.
- Google announced the timeline for the classic Hangouts retirement. The full retirement won’t be until 2020 at the earliest. However, G Suite admins can transition current Hangouts users to Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat in April 2019. The transition should finish in October 2019. We expect the full service to go down in 2020 at the earliest. Prepare for changes, Hangouts fans.
- Spotify is responding the new R. Kelly outrage with a possible new feature. Instead of blocking the artist’s music on Spotify, the streaming service wants to give you the opportunity to do so yourself. A blocked artist no longer shows up on your recommendations, your playlists, your library, or anywhere else in the app. It’s very similar to how social media works. Plus, you can use the feature to block other artists you simply don’t care about.
- Google launched a fun quiz this week. It tests you on your ability to detect phishing scams. The game asks you whether seven different emails (and one sign-in request) are real or phony. We won’t give you the answers, but the quiz does give you some helpful tips to keep yourself safe. Always check the URL! Hit the link to take the quiz.
Tap Squadron is a hybrid of an idle tap game and an overhead shooter. However, during testing, it played more like a bullet-hell overhead shooter. It has a lot of the same elements. You tap to shoot bad guys and swipe to move around. You can upgrade your ship, build attack drones, collect various items, unlock various skills, and there is even a multiplayer mode. The idle elements let you earn resources when you're not around by upgrading your attack pilots. The developer has a bunch of successful idle tap games already, so we're glad to see them stretch out a bit from your standard idle clicker style. The game is freemium, though, so tread carefully if you're not a fan of freemium.
Shine is a meditation and self-care style of app. It operates predominately as a chat bot. The app uses this as a vehicle for various meditations, article recommendations, and stuff like that. All of the articles are about self-help, self-healing, meditation, and other forms of self-care. It promotes positive thinking by asking you things like what you're grateful for. The app also keeps track of your daily check-ins. There is a premium subscription service for $9.99 per month or $53.99 per year. It works across all of its various properties (app and web). However, the app is quite buggy and a little clunky. The free version isn't bad, but we recommend waiting for a few more updates and some polish before paying for anything.
Alien: Blackout is a horror game with some decent jump scares. It ties into the Alien movies a little bit as well. You play as Ripley and you're stuck on a broken ship. You outsmart the Xenomorphs and prevent them from killing you and all of your crew members. Each crew death permanently changes the outcome of the game. In practice, it's reminiscent of a Five Nights At Freddy's game, with various camera angles and jump scares. However, there is a little bit extra to keep it from being a direct clone. The game is fairly short and its somewhat derivative game play makes the $4.99 price tag feel a bit high. Still, fans of the series and fans of jump scare style horror games might like it.
Super Bowl LIII Fan Mobile Pass is the official Super Bowl app from the NFL. It features a detailed schedule for most of the events leading up to the big game. That includes attractions, various activities, and the actual game itself. There are also some fun little trivia tidbits about stuff like the Vince Lombardi Trophy and information about autograph signings. We feel like this is mostly for people actually going to the Super Bowl. It only has limited use for people watching on TV. However, there is valuable information in here nevertheless. It's a free app (with ads).
Beat Cop is the latest game from 11 Bit Studios, devleopers of This War of Mine (a game of the year winner here at Android Authority) as well as old classics like Anomaly 2, Beat Cop puts you in the shoes of Jack Kelly, a disgraced former detective on the beat. You were framed for murder and you want to find out what really happened. However, you still have to write up tickets and stuff like that. You are a cop, after all. The game has a non-linear story with various endings, retro graphics that play well with the 80's cop feel of the game, and more. You can play the beginning of the game for free. A single $4.99 in-app purchase unlocks the whole game.
If we missed any great Android app or game news, tell us about it in the comments! You can also click here to check out our weekly podcast!