Welcome to the 425th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from last week:
- Google Play will finally allow apps to do custom billing in the Play Store. Spotify is the first to try out the new system where users can choose their billing platform. Google is also working with other developers to test the new feature. Hit the link to learn more, but it’s a really big deal.
- YouTube streams 100 TV shows for free, including Andromeda, Kitchen Nightmares and Beyond Belief. The only caveat is that you have to watch the commercials just like you would on regular cable television. Those 100 TV shows comprise more than 4,000 total TV episodes. Currently limited to the US only, but we expect YouTube to expand its availability over time.
- Steam for Chrome OS is finally 100% official. It’s in alpha right now, so it’s only available for a handful of Chromebooks and probably won’t work very well right now. However, Google officially recognizes this as a thing and has a dedicated website for Steam on Chrome OS. Congratulations, Chromebook users, you are now a PC gaming platform.
- WhatsApp took its sweet time, but eventually rolled out message reactions to casual users. The first wave supports six reactions total, but should evolve over time. It’s a case of WhatsApp catching up as some of its main competitors like Discord and Telegram already have the feature. Click the link to learn more.
- Apple TV took a step back this week. The service now blocks Android TV users from renting or buying content on the official app. The app recommends that you use your iPhone, iPad or other streaming service to purchase content. Apple hasn’t made any official comment as of this writing, but at least existing purchases aren’t impacted.
- We conducted a poll recently about the upcoming increase in the price of Netflix account sharing. Predictably, over 87% of our readers really dislike the idea of paying more money to share passwords with family members. You can click the link for complete data.
Price: Free to play
Puzzle Breakers is a new mobile RPG with match-3 mechanics. It has a lot of the usual stuff for mobile RPGs. There are various heroes for you to summon and level up. There are clans that you can join to play with friends. There are PvP and campaign modes. We think PvP needs a bit of balancing and campaigns can increase in difficulty unexpectedly. Still, it’s pretty run-of-the-mill for a free-to-play game. It’s pretty good for the genre and we hope the developers keep improving it.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the new official app of the cult classic film property. It houses almost every episode of this series for viewing and you can rent or buy it as you wish. However, some of the previous content is not yet available. Content that you buy or rent is instantly viewable with things like Chromecast support or streaming through apps. We’ve seen a lot of streaming apps get it wrong, but this one seems to tick all the right boxes. Prices are clearly displayed, easy to use, and delivers what it promises.
The app also contains exclusive live streams for all the new episodes in 2022 along with some other fun stuff. This is not a subscription service so you can only buy or rent here. There’s something good about that, though it can get expensive over time.
Price: Free to play
Williams Pinball is a digital release of the ever popular Williams SuperPin pinball machine from the early 1990s. One of the newest editions is Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure. For those who haven’t participated, mobile pinball is quite fun. It works like a real pinball machine only on a smaller device. Zen Studios has been doing mobile pinball for a while and knows how to do it well. Our one gripe is the price tag. You buy various pinball tables within the app and they can go up to $15. That’s a bit much, especially compared to other Zen Studios games.
ReddPlanet is the new Reddit app for Android and iOS. It originally debuted as a Windows 10 app and recently made the switch to mobile. It features clean UI, simple settings menu, and fast operation. It takes away a lot of power user features to do all that, but to be honest, the clean look and feel is totally worth it. You can log in to your account like any other Reddit app and the developers release new versions consistently to fix bugs and add other things. It’s certainly not at the level of the old flagships on third-party Reddit apps, but it definitely has a lot of potential.
Price: Free to play
Vikingard is a strategy game and a kind of empire builder with some idle game mechanics. You build a city that provides resources for your army which you use to battle the bad guys. The main mechanics are knocking and the empire you build provides passive resources for you to use. Some people might not enjoy the monotony of tapping to do basically everything, but idle faucet aficionados have a pretty solid game going with this one.
If we missed any news or a major Android app or game release, let us know in the comments.
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