Welcome to the 443rd edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the past week:
- Gmail gets a makeover. The new version rolled out to the web this week and includes Chat, Meet, and Spaces integration. This puts all of your business communications on one web page. You can customize the appearance in the settings to add or remove items you use or don’t use. Click on the link to find out more.
- Google Maps also saw an update this week. It added a few new features including a new 3D aerial viewpoint and over 100 top world landmarks. Landmarks include things like the Emire State Building and Big Ben in London. Other new features include improved route information for cyclists and location sharing notifications.
- Chromebooks are getting new features just in time for the school season. Most are OS-level stuff, like a dark theme and other customization options. However, one cool new feature is the Google Photos movie editor. It will basically allow you to create video clips with your Google Photos photos and videos. It doesn’t look too complex from the screenshots, but it should work fine for the basics.
- Diablo Immortal apparently earned $100 million in its first two months of operation. That’s not a hugely surprising number, given the size of the Diablo franchise. That said, the game’s microtransactions have drawn a ton of ire from players, and that reinforces the true weight of the microtransactions. Click on the link to find out more.
- Google Play celebrated its first decade of life with a new promotion and a new logo. The new logo matches other Google products in terms of color, but otherwise that’s not the biggest issue. The promotion is basically an extension of the Google Play Points program where you get more points for buying stuff and being able to buy stuff from the Google Store, like in hardware products, with your points. Read the link to learn more.
Price: free to play
Alice Fiction is a hybrid RPG with match-three mechanics. The game places you in a world with a decent story and campaign. During combat, you match three forms to deal damage to the villain. It’s similar to games like Crash Fever. In any case, there are also gacha elements where you can get more characters. However, each character can be continuously upgraded to the highest rarity, so almost any sweater can be good. The music is fun and everything here seems to work as advertised. There are a few stability issues that can cause crashes here and there, but that’s nothing serious.
RandomWalking is something a little different. It’s a walking app that gently directs you to things that may be interesting to see. It does not work as a GPS app or as an exercise tracker. Instead, you open it when you’re somewhere important, and the app just gives you ideas of where to go to see interesting things. You accumulate points when you reach attractions, and there are different levels in case you want to relax or challenge yourself. It’s free at the time of this writing, but there is advertising.
MLB Perfect Round: Ultimate
Price: free to play
MLB Perfect Inning: Ultimate is the latest version of MLB Perfect Inning from Com2uS. The goal is to outperform previous iterations as much as possible. It’s only successful in some places, but it’s still pretty early days. The game features a new graphics engine, online PvP, more interactive throwing and combat controls, and more. This should eventually become a decent baseball game. However, there seems to be a relatively large number of bugs, poor optimization on low-end phones, and the user interface is quite clunky. Luckily, these are things developers can fix over time.
Aquafy Water Tracking Reminder
Price: Free / $0.99 per month / $7.49 per year / $35.99 once
Aquafy Water Tracker Reminder is a simple app, and it does what its name suggests. It allows you to track your water intake and reminds you to drink water. It also lets you record everything you drink if you want. Some of the features include a reminders scheduler, widgets, statistics on your fluid intake, and more. It also supports Google Fit and Fitbit at launch with Samsung Health and Awake coming soon.
It has a subscription, but it’s actually not very unreasonable at $0.99 per month or $7.49 per year. You can also pay $35.99 once and never have to worry about it again.
Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent
Price: free to play
Octopath Traveler: Champions of the Continent is the latest release from Square Enix. It uses most of the same graphics, game world, battle mechanics, and soundtrack as the game it is based on. That’s good news because it was gorgeous, the combat mechanics were good, and the soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. In fact, it looks a lot like the original game when you play it. It’s an RPG where you travel the world, fight bad guys and learn more about the stories of the protagonists.
Square Enix has 64 characters at launch, so there’s a gacha element to it as well. Unlike most mobile versions of console or PC games, this one is actually set in the world of Octopath Traveler a few years before the events of the original game. It feels like a home run in the gacha RPG genre for Square Enix, but we would have liked to see controller support, a faster pace, and the tutorial is way longer than necessary.
If we missed any big Android app or game releases, tell us about them in the comments or hit me up on twitter let me know.
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