Welcome to the 426th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- WhatsApp had some news this week. First, WhatsApp improved its voice messaging. The playback is slightly different and you have new options like fast forward mode. Hit the link to learn more. In addition, WhatsApp is experimenting with larger file sizes when it comes to sharing. The service wants to improve that up to 2GB. That’s good news for users.
- Sony announced a new PlayStation Plus this week and it competes better with Xbox’s Game Pass. It essentially adds a new tier to the existing PlayStation Plus that lets you do things like download and play games without paying for them and it includes cloud play. It won’t be available in all markets at launch, but it is coming nonetheless.
- Microsoft fixed one of the most annoying issues with Windows 11. As of this week, the stable version now lets users switch their browsers with one click. Previously, it took many clicks. There isn’t much else to this piece of news. It was highly annoying before and now it’s fixed.
- Xiaomi is joining Samsung in the throttling doghouse. Geekbench co-founder John Poole discovered that Xiaomi throttled Geekbench when it was disguised as a game, but not when it was showing as a benchmark. This is the same kind of behavior Samsung exhibited that got Samsung in hot water a few weeks ago. Here’s hoping Xiaomi fixes the problem like Samsung did.
- A lot of services are removing their footprint from Russia in the wake of the Russia and Ukraine war. Sanctions are currently preventing Russian developers from getting paid, so they’re working on their own version of the Play Store. The new app store is apparently launching on May 9th of this year so the work is proceeding quickly.
Tamashi: Rise of Yokai
Price: Free to play
Tamashi: Rise of Yokai is an MMOARPG with an anime theme. This one has quite a bit to do. There is the usual storyline with various quests to do. There are also a couple of PvP modes so you can challenge yourself against other players. The graphics are good, the controls are decent even if the buttons are a tad small, and it worked pretty well. There are some complaints, though. The in-app purchases do help you excel in PvP play so there is a pay-to-win element. Plus, the game advances so quickly that progression doesn’t feel very good. It definitely needs some tweaking, but it has some potential.
Area by Autodesk
Area by Autodesk is a social network of sorts for 3D artists. You download the app, create a profile, and start sharing your work with other creators. You can, of course, just create an account and browse as well. It’s a decent spot to store your 3D portfolio as it is designed specifically for that purpose. It also boasts some learning materials for people to further enhance their craft. This won’t be anything more than a niche app, but it works well for what it does.
Guns Up Mobile
Price: Free to play
Guns Up Mobile is a PvP tower defense game. Players build up their defenses and defend against onslaughts of enemies. Players simultaneously build up their defenses while also building up their armies. You’re probably familiar with the gameplay from there. Everything can be upgraded so the gameplay loop is attack, defend, and upgrade. You can also join alliances with other players to compete for leaderboard placement as well. It’s a bit slow as you progress through the upgrades, but otherwise this has the makings of a decent time killer.
Price: Free / $3.99
Symfonium is a lightweight music player with some actually neat features. It not only plays local music, but it also works with a variety of self-hosted services like Subsonic, Plex, Emby, and others. Thus, it’s actually quite a nice all-in-one solution for folks that want to use a specific service but the mobile app for that service isn’t great. As a music player, Symfonium is pretty good. It’s one of those music players that’ll get you there without complaint and it’s easy to use. It also has Material You so it’s also good in the theming department.
Price: Free to play
M&M’s Adventure is the latest simple arcade game with a famous brand attached to it. At its core, it’s a match-three puzzle game. You tap the matched candies to clear the board and once you clear so many, the level ends. There’s a three-star system based on how few moves you can finish with and that generates the replay value. There are also periodic challenges to complete, items to collect, and more. It’s kid-friendly, just make sure to have a password on your Google Play account because this game does have microtransactions.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about them in the comments.
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