Welcome to the 282nd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google removed the venerable Titanium Backup from the Google Play Store this week. They put it back, but it’s another case of Google Play removing perfectly trusted apps from the Play Store. The Titanium Backup developers filed an appeal. Google accepted the appeal and Titanium Backup is back. It wasn’t until this step that Google even told the developers what Titanium Backup did to earn its ban. Developers continue to be concerned about Google’s policies and how Google enforces them.
- Google is taking down Allo. However, the company said that some features were moving to other Google messaging apps. We say a bit of that this week. Google announced plans to bring Google Assistant to its Messages app. The feature adds stuff like quick weather info along with quick information about restaurants, movies, and other such things when you talk about them in the app. It should roll out over the coming weeks and months.
- Facebook is getting a tool for clearing your history. The tool wipes your browsing history on Facebook and helps avoid targeted ads for those things. For instance, you click on an ad for a lamp on Amazon. All of a sudden, you get ads for lamps on Amazon all the time. This tool would stop stuff like that from happening. The tool should land sometime in 2019.
- Stardew Valley is coming soon. In fact, it’s coming very soon. The developers announced a March 14th release date for the game. It’s very popular on iOS and PC already. We are very much anticipating the release of this one. The game is in pre-registration right now. It should be the full version of the game minus multiplayer. It should also work in over half a dozen languages at launch. The game may be the biggest farming sim release of 2019. Check back in a couple of weeks!
- YouTube is taking some drastic measures. The service no longer allows comments on videos that feature a minor. This is a long-standing problem where predatory individuals populated videos with minors and left truly disturbing comments. Plus, some Internet trolls were intentionally gaming the system to get innocent channels taken down. It’s a total train wreck, honestly. Hit the link to learn more.
Clawberta is a mobile game about a claw machine. Players use a virtual claw machine to yank out a bunch of prizes. The game features hundreds of toys to collect, a bunch of customization elements for your character, and special bonuses and machines. It's a neat arcade game with an interesting take on the classic claw machine game. You can likely play it at all ages, but this seems mostly for kids more than anybody else. The game is currently in beta. Thus, you can expect bugs and other such issues with it. If that bugs you, we recommend waiting for the public release.
EPIX NOW is EPIX's official app for streaming video. It features about what you would expect from a channel-specific streaming service. That includes unlimited access to all the shows on the platform along with a variety of movies and other on-demand content. You can also download content for offline viewing later. It's not a bad streaming experience, honestly, although the app does need a little bit of work. We also quite like its $5.99 price tag. That makes it a decent secondary streaming service if you like the stuff on the service. You do get a free seven day trial before your first payment is due.
AxE: Alliance vs Empire is a new MMORPG. The game play isn't too different from other games in the genre. Players walk around, accept quests, defeat bad guys, and play together. The game features both co-op and PvP multiplayer, including a competitive four vs four mode and even larger general combat battles. You get six different character classes and plenty of gear and abilities to craft your experience. It's a newer game with a ton of players. You should definitely expect some bugs as the developers work to stabilize the game a little bit. The PvP is also very much influenced by the size of your wallet, so we recommend avoiding that part of the game after you reach a certain level.
MyScript Calculator 2 is the next app in the popular series of math apps. You can basically write your problem out an the app translates it and solves it for you. MyScript Calculator 2 supports basic operations along with powers, roots, exponential numbers, some trigonometry, logarithms, and some constants. It will work best for simpler math problems, but that's kind of the intended use anyway. This is an easy app to recommend, especially to those in middle school, high school, and perhaps even college depending on the level of math. It runs for a single $2.99 price tag with no additional ads or in-app purchases.
Skylanders: Ring of Heroes is a new mobile RPG. It features a lot of the same mechanics as other mobile RPGs, including turn-by-turn combat, a gacha system for character collection, and more. There is online PvP if you're into that along with character upgrades. These are all things you've seen before if you're a fan of mobile RPGs. We expect the game to continuously expand as well. It's not too unique. However, COM2US is not new to this genre with games like Summoners War, so the game is a bit more polished than expected out of the gate. It is a freemium game, though, so do beware of that.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, tell us about it in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest podcasts!