Welcome to the 156th episode of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the headlines from the last week:
Google will be hosting a festival for indie game developers later this month. During the event, indie devs will be able to showcase their newest games. Ahead of the event, Google has narrowed their list of the best Indie games down to 30 which will be narrowed down further at the festival. However, most of them aren’t available in the Google Play Store just yet. We’ll be sure to talk about them when they do arrive.
SwiftKey received a pretty big update this week. Over a month ago, the company was having some problems with its syncing service and disabled it entirely. This week’s update fully re-instates those features. Included in the update is the return of phone number and email predictions and there are also eight new languages and some other smaller things. It’s nice to see this problem has been completely fixed.
Google Play released a short list of the top trending apps and games from August 2016. These are essentially the top downloaded apps and games from the last month. Some of them include Prisma, Mobius Final Fantasy, Google Duo, and ESPN’s fantasy football app. Alongside that, it was announced that a few new apps, such as Anchor.fm, Pac-Man Pop, and a few other apps and games would be released this upcoming month.
Some resourceful people went diving into Pokemon Go’s code after the latest update and found some goodies. There is evidence now to support that Niantic is working on allowing players to trade Pokemon and to battle one another. Along with that, clues in the code show item variances, legendary Pokemon, and something called Forts that we’re not quite sure about yet. The game’s popularity has started to dwindle a bit but this could help change that.
Google has officially launched their Early Access Program. What this mean is that pretty much any developer can release an open beta of their app to give users early access in order to help find bugs. The aim is to help more apps get released that are more stable and help eliminate those release day bugs us early adopters always have to deal with. You’ll start seeing more of them in the Play Store in the coming months for sure.
For even more Android apps and games news, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter by clicking here! There you can find all of the stuff we didn’t have space for here. If you’d like, you can use the form below to sign up for the newsletter which we release every Sunday. Don’t forget to check out the Android Authority app for even faster updates!
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Orbit is one of the few Android games that will be featured at Google’s indie game festival later this month that is also already out. In this game, you’ll be tasked with making dots orbit around a black hole. Every new level has a different configuration and number of black holes that you’ll have to work around. Orbit uses a gravity simulation to determine where your dots will go and they’ll be swallowed up if you don’t make the orbits just right. It’s a freemium game, but one of the better ones we’ve seen.
[Price: Free] Navbar Apps is a fun little app that lets you customize your software navigation keys. You’ll be able to make it whatever color that you want on the fly or you can have it mimic the color of whatever app you’re using. Alternatively, you can also put images on the nav bar, use it as a battery meter, or just add a little texture. It’s not a big thing, but fans of customization and theming could find a good use for this. Anyone who is interested can pick up the app for free with the pro version running $0.99 as an in-app purchase.
[Price: Free] Hovercraft: Takedown isn’t really all that new, but it’s another game that will be featured at Google’s indie developer festival that you can play right now. This is a retro racing shooter where you’ll be facing off against AI racers. Consequently, you’ll be armed to the teeth with all kinds of implements of destruction. You’ll also be able to customize your hovercraft. It is a freemium game with card collecting mechanics to further that business model. However, the rampant explosions more than make up for it.
[Price: Free] Crowdsource is a fun little Google app that lets you actually help. It’s an app that lets you run through a variety of exercises to try to help make Google Translate a little bit better. What you do is translate images, handwriting, etc into text and then submit it to Google. Because of this, Google Translate gets a little bit better at what it does. That’s the theory, anyway. It’s a completely free app to pick up if you want to help out and most of the exercises only take a few minutes.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases] Square Enix continues their ridiculous run of game releases with Justice Monsters Five. Fun fact, this actually started its life as a mini-game in Final Fantasy XV before it was ripped out and turned into its own mobile game. This is actually a pinball game that also has RPG and fighting elements. You’ll launch the balls into bad guys with your flippers and then they’ll take damage. It’s suffering from some early release bugs so you may want to wait a few updates so that everything can be fixed up. Otherwise, it’s an okay time killer if you’re looking for one of those.