Whether you’re into games, customisation, or utilities, the Play Store has something you’ll love. In fact, the flow of apps and games in Google Play is a little out of hand – there’s so much good stuff it can be hard to keep track. What you want is the best of the best, and that’s just what we’ve filtered out from the noise. Here are the best new Android apps and games we’ve come across on the Play Store.
We’ve all had it happen – you finish cranking out a big block of text on your Android device and the app or website crashes, causing you to lose the text and possibly your mind. That never needs to happen again now that Type Machine is here (pictured above). This app is able to archive everything you type in a secure way so you can go back and get it later.
Installing Type Machine includes an extra step – it needs to be set as accessibility app. The app will link you to the system menu to enable it, then you’re all set. All the text you enter via typing or the clipboard will be archived and organised by app and time. The only content not saved by default are passwords.
Inside Type Machine is a slide-out navigation panel with all the apps you’ve entered text in. You can select any of them to see all the words you’ve entered. Type machine doesn’t just copy the final version of text, though. It records the entire text entry process, including the stuff that didn’t make it into the final version. The timeline at the bottom of each individual text string can be used to scan through and grab text that you later deleted.
Type Machine can be locked with a PIN code and it lacks the Internet permission, so it couldn’t send your text anyplace even if it wanted to. There is also an option to block apps of your choice from showing up in Type Machine. It’s a hugely useful app and only costs just over a quid.
Real-time strategy games are hard to pull off on mobile devices, but Superior Tactics manages it well. This game puts you in command of a fleet of airships armed to the teeth and spoiling for a fight. There are 200 levels to blast through and almost endless customisations options for your ships.
You begin Superior Tactics with just a few small ships and light weapons. Through perseverance and lots of shooting, you’ll unlock new hulls with more weapon slots, and the research points you need to get new, more powerful equipment. The configuration of your fleet is totally up to you – you can have a mix of smaller ships for surrounding the enemy, or just a few sluggish long-range missile boats.
The default behaviour in this title is for your units to automatically move themselves in accordance with the aggressiveness setting. You can manually direct them as needed, though. Alternatively, full manual mode is available in the settings. Superior Tactics looks reasonably nice, and zooming in to watch swarm of missiles close on the target or lasers burning through shields never gets old. It actually looks better than screenshots would lead you to believe.
Superior Tactics is free to play and it’s very fair. You earn a lot of credits from winning battles, which are used for buying ships and weapons. Even the research points can be purchased with regular credits. You can buy more to speed things along, but that also removes the ads. Even though this game just came out, the developer has been adding new content and tweaking the balance frequently. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Googler Roman Nurik is mostly known to the Android faithful as the developer of the fabulous DashClock widget, but his newest app is a bit less utilitarian. It’s a live wallpaper called Muzei. It doesn’t seem particularly “live” at first, but this is just a more subtle take on this long-time Android feature.
Muzei downloads various high resolution wallpaper images and applies a dim and Gaussian blur filter to make them less busy on the home screen. The results look quite nice, and you can double tap at any time to see the unblurred image for several seconds (this is the “live” part). The default image sources are your local pictures and a daily work of art chosen by Nurik. What makes Muzei awesome, though, is the plugin ecosystem.
Just like DashClock, third-party developers are welcome to create add-ons that bring new image sources into Muzei. In the short time this app has existed, dozens of plugins have been released. There are extensions for Flickr, 500px, Reddit, Google+ hashtags, Astronomy picture of the Day, and more. All you need to do is select the source and Muzei updates on the schedule you choose. It’s probably one of the most elegant implementations of live wallpaper I’ve ever seen and it’s totally free.
The noted game developer Mediocre is probably best known for Sprinkle and Sprinkle Islands. Its newest title is another physics-based experience, but it’s less of a puzzler and more of an action game. Smash Hit sends you on a journey through a maze of barriers, spinning fans, and glowing crystals. All you have to do is break everything.
Smash Hit is a little like an on-rails shooter, but all your targets are made of glass. The camera moves forward in a straight line as you clear the way by tapping to hurl balls at anything in the way. You have limited ammo, and you’ll lose a few balls should you fail to smash something before running into it. Don’t worry, though – the game awards more each time you take out one of the special crystal structures scattered throughout the levels.
The game is broken up into checkpoints, which each have their own distinct vibe. The elements are still the same, but it tries to trick you in different ways. For example, one section might have spinning fans made from glass that you have to bust up, while another introduces glass walls that flip up in your path at the last second.
The physics of breaking glass in Smash Hit are really fun to play around with, and the otherwise simple graphics don’t get in the way. This game is free to try, but if you want to save your progress, it costs $1.99 (£1.20) to unlock the full game.
Using a security code of some sort on your Android device is a smart move, but if it never changes, there are more opportunities for it to be compromised. Ideally, you want something that changes often, but is easy to remember. TimePIN might be just the thing.
This app updates the PIN code every single minute to match the current time.
The default setting will change the PIN to match the time exactly – so 9:15am becomes 0915. Enter that and you’re in. Unless someone knows you use TimePIN, they are unlikely to consider this when messing with your device.
The basic functionality is free, but a $1.99 (£1.20) license unlocks a ton of options and modifiers. This adds another layer of security by tweaking the PIN, but it’s still based on the time. You have custom offset, double, reverse, and mirror. The PIN can be made complicated enough that even you might forget how to decipher it. If it comes to that, just reboot the device and the first unlock will accept the master PIN used to secure the app. Recent updates have included Tasker support and date-based PINs as well.
The unforgiving depths of space are your true enemy in the new sci-fi adventure game Out There. This title is set up as a choose-your-own-adventure, but the choices you make sometimes have brutal consequences. This is a game that ends in your untimely demise fairly often, but that’s okay. It’s very easy to get into a game of Out There.
Out There has a cool pulp comic book feel. The animations aren’t flashy, but everything is smooth and very interesting. The dialogue boxes that pop up have that same comic panel look and the dialogue is extremely smart and compelling. The atmospheric music fits with the game’s mysterious vibe too.
You begin stranded in a strange area of space with limited resources. Moving into orbit around a planet, jumping to the next star system, and everything else you do consumes a little more of your limited reserves. Mining can restore your supplies, but there’s a lot of uncertainty in Out There. You may be presented with a choice that seems innocuous at first – investigate that odd sensor reading, or not? It might end up being nothing and you’ve wasted all that fuel. Or maybe it’s a cache of useful technology in an abandoned ship. You won’t know unless you go look.
Out There forces you into some tough life-and-death decisions as well. Should you disassemble the mining equipment to repair the hull and hope you find the materials to rebuild it later, or just take a risk and push structural integrity to the red line? Out There is not an easy game, but it’s very rewarding, and a steal at £3.