Welcome to the 318th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google is opening its Change the Game campaign to teenagers. The point of the campaign is to help people with cool game ideas to realize their dreams. Winners spend some time with actual game developers to learn the ropes and start working on their dream game. COVID-19 prevents a physical version of the event so it’ll all be digital. Hit the link for more details.
- Newton Email rose again from the ashes. The app announced its shut down a few months ago, but managed to find new management. This is the second time the powerful email client managed to find new management to keep the doors open. This time around, the new management is making the app different, including making the app open source, better support, and discounts for referrals.
- WeChat is spying on foreigners’ chats for the purposes for censorship. Basically, the app keeps tabs on what people outside of China say and use that information (along with some machine learning) to update its censorship techniques for people in China. That’s not a good look from the Chinese chat app and we imagine some people will switch after hearing about this. Hit the link for more details.
- Twitch now lets people watch Amazon Prime Video movies with other people in a watch party format. The feature lets creators (in the US only) put on a movie from Amazon Prime Video. Their subscribers can tune in and watch the movie along with everyone else. You need an Amazon Prime account to watch, but otherwise it’s a fairly simple process.
- Google announced a timeline for Google Play Music’s demise. It should be around the end of 2020. The news came as Google launched a transfer tool on YouTube Music to properly migrate people over to YouTube Music. The tool is live, but it’s rolling out slowly. Thus, it may be a while before you see it. Here’s how you can transfer if you haven’t already. We also have a list of alternatives here.
Price: Free to play
Tropico Blast came out a little while back and it’s a fun little match-3 style puzzle game. However, this one only requires you to match two in order to get the reactions going. Otherwise, it’s fairly similar to most games in this genre. You match blocks, they blow up, and you keep going until you finish the level. The game features support for seven languages, randomly generated puzzles, and a leaderboard for speedsters. It won’t knock your socks off and some people complain about networking issues, but otherwise it’s a good game.
Rotation Manager is an Android customization app with a simple premise. It basically auto-rotates your phone into landscape mode for any app or game you want. That’s it really and the app seems to work as advertised. To test, I set it to automatically go into landscape mode when I opened YouTube. I then opened YouTube and it went into landscape mode. The app itself is easy enough to navigate and the whole experience is free with ads. There are some bugs here and there, but it’s decent overall.
Price: Free to play
KartRider Rush+ is the latest game from NEXON, developer of AxE: Alliance vs Empire, Darkness Rises, and Godzilla Defense Force. This one is a kart style racer with a few different game modes and a colorful presentation. You can do straight speed races, online PvP, item collection, and play through the campaign mode. There is also a time trial mode for you speed runners out there. The game is free to play, but early game doesn’t require in-app purchases to have fun. It competes well with established kart racers aside from the occasional bug. Plus, you can get Google Play Points if you actually buy things before May 17th.
Bing Wallpapers is a new wallpapers app from Microsoft. It’s basically a collection of every wallpaper featured on the Bing home page over the last ten years. Each one has a little story whether it’s a historical landmark or something else. The images generally consist of cityscapes, landscapes, and other such things. We quite like the search functionality as well. You simply pick a color and Bing Wallpapers finds images that predominately feature that color. The app has a new wallpaper every day and it supports both portrait and landscape wallpapers. There aren’t a ton of complaints and the app is free to download and use.
Spongebob: Krusty Cook-Off
Price: Free to play
Spongebob: Krusty Cook-Off is a new cooking game with everyone’s favorite yellow sponge. Mechanically, it’s not too far off from your average cooking game. Customers show up and want specific food. You cook that food and send it to them. The faster you serve, the higher your score. This one has a story, cameos from most of the TV show’s main (and side) cast, hundreds of levels, and it’s fun to play. The advertising isn’t great for kids because a lot of them aren’t for the best products to advertise to kids (such as gambling apps), so make sure to keep an eye out if you let your younger kids play the game. Aside from the occasional bug, most people seem to like it.
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