Welcome to the 500th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- The Google Play Store is trying to make it easier to find new apps and games, which is great because that’s been an obnoxious endeavor for Google Play’s entire existence. The new initiative is using Tiktok-style videos to highlight trending apps and games that are similar to Google Play’s editorial recommendations. Google also intends to cross-post them on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Gboard is working on an AI-powered tool to fix grammar mistakes. The new feature, called Proofread, works similarly to Grammarly, but in a more aggressive way. It’ll even rewrite whole paragraphs for you. The feature is not new, as it first appeared in earlier beta versions of the keyboard, but it’s popped up again and it could appear in version 13.4 when it launches to the public.
- YouTube is testing out a Playables feature on YouTube. The feature allows people to play games on the platform on either desktop or mobile. The games seem to be casual in nature, so we’re not looking at another Google Stadia. Hit the link to learn more.
- The European Commission designated its first six gatekeeper companies as part of its Digital Markets Act. Those companies include Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Bytedance, Meta, and Microsoft. As such, several services from each one are going to start playing by a different set of rules from other services. That includes Chrome, Gmail, Google Play, and others. Hit the link to learn more because there is a lot there.
- Android 14’s official release was delayed by a month at the last minute. In fact, it was expected to launch this week. The reason is for security purposes. Google identified some security risks and is taking a month to fix them before officially launching the OS. Coincidentally, the new release date is slated for Oct. 4, which is the same date at the Pixel 8 launch.
Price: Free to play
Usagi Shima is an idle game with cute bunny rabbits. At its core, it’s a collection game where you collect bunnies as they come to your little island that you decorate. It takes a more wholesome approach to the genre with calming music and sepia-toned graphics that just give off a chill vibe. There’s no real way to win the game or even compete in anything. You decorate the island and hang out with the bunnies that show up. That’s essentially it. It’s relaxing demeanor is also its selling point, but it’s not honestly not bad for a casual game.
Page Pots is an app that gamifies your reading. Essentially, the app is a goal tracker, but the goal is specifically reading books. You read your books, tell the app how much you read, and the app rewards you for your efforts. The app also includes reminders, offline support, and stats so you can track your reading behavior. There aren’t any ads or anything to get in the way nor are there any subscriptions. Obviously, if you don’t read books, this app isn’t for you. However, if you want to read more, this app can help keep you on track with it.
Puzzles & Chaos: Frozen Castle
Price: Free to play
Puzzles & Chaos: Frozen Castle is a match-3 RPG. It’s played like most others in this hybrid genre. You match shapes on a puzzle board to attack opponents. The larger your combo, the stronger the attack. Unlike the classic Puzzles & Dragons, this one is a more medieval setting rather than a high fantasy setting. Combat is easy enough to understand and perform, but it does get grind-heavy as you progress through the game. There is a base building element as well that takes more time than the actual combat part of it, so fans of both types of games may enjoy this one.
Xpiry is an app that tracks the expiration date of your various groceries. You simply add in products as you buy them along with the expiration date on the product’s label. This app will notify you when that item is about to expire. You can then use up the rest of it or toss it and buy more. The app has some features like being able to add photographs of the item to its listing in the app and even some recipe help. However, it is a niche app, so it won’t be for everyone.
Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis
Price: Free to play
Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is one of the most anticipated mobile games of the year for JRPG fans. It’s a mobile gacha RPG, but instead of summoning characters, you summon equipment. The characters are more-or-less baked into the story experience. In terms of story, it combines all of Final Fantasy VII’s various properties into a single storytelling experience with some new stuff added on. There is also an online cooperative mode. It’s a huge nostalgia trip for Final Fantasy VII fans, and the launch was relatively clean except for some day one loading bugs.
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