Welcome to the 312th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the last week:
- After months of uncertainty, HQ Trivia is back for the time being. The story is actually fairly interesting. The app shut down in February 2020 after an investor backed out at the last minute. A new, unknown investor showed up, brought the game back, and everything is back to normal. You can download the game for Android and iOS and play again if you need something to do during quarantine.
- The Wall Street Journal says the US government is tracking people through mobile advertising. The effort is apparently a massive collaborative effort between a variety of companies to help track the spread of COVID-19, how well people practice social distancing, and other such metrics. There is obviously an ethical issue here and the conversation is only just getting started. Hit the link for more details.
- Zoom is one of the most popular online video conferencing apps right now and it has a slew of privacy and security concerns. The developers responded by putting a freeze on new feature development for 90 days while it deals with those concerns. It’s a smart move because the service has ballooned from 10 million active users to nearly 200 million. Some changes include a better bug bounty, more transparency about what data it shares, and security audits by third parties. Hit the link to read more about it.
- The app Houseparty by Epic Games became an overnight success in the wake of social distancing and quarantines. However, it too has a slew of privacy issues coming to light. The app apparently collects a hilariously large amount of personal data from users for no specific reason with rumors of hackers compromising account data. Houseparty denies all the claims and is offering up a $1 million bounty to anyone who can prove it. Hit the link for more details.
- Apple purchased the popular Dark Sky weather app this week. Unfortunately, it’s all bad news from here. Apple intends to shut down the app for Android users as well as web users. In fact, even the API is shutting down at the end of 2021. We have no idea why Apple wanted to do it, but a significant portion of our readership liked the app and now has to find an alternative.
Eternal Sword M
Price: Free to play
Eternal Sword M is an action-RPG with some MMORPG elements. The game boasts decent graphics, smooth game play, and a ton of skills and abilities for characters to learn. It plays like a fairly standard ARPG. You build a character, start questing, and you don’t stop until the story is over. The game also includes co-op multiplayer, online PvP, and guilds where you can play with friends or engage in guild wars with other players. There are some flaws, such as a daily level cap to prevent player growth that limits the play of some of the more hardcore player types. However, by and large, this one has a lot of potential.
Removed for reddit
Removed for reddit is one of the more interesting Reddit apps of the recent past. It lets you view comments previously removed by moderators. The app is fairly easy to use. You simply find a removed comment on Reddit, hit the share button, select to share it with Removed for reddit, and the app shows you the original comment. It uses pushshift.io, a Reddit stat tracker website. The app is also free with no advertising and it’s open source. It should be a good tool for Reddit fans.
GRIS is a visually excellent platformer with visual novel and puzzle elements. Players navigate Gris, the titular character, through a variety of painful life experiences cleverly disguised as game obstacles. Gris receives a number of upgrades in the form of clothing and experiences personal growth as you continue through the game. The game also features clean, simple controls, smooth game play, and some visually appealing graphics. There is almost no text or dialog and even the soundtrack is quite good. You can pick it up for $4.99 with no additional ads or in-app purchases to worry about.
One Shade: Custom Notifications
Price: Free / Up to $6.49
One Shade is a custom notifications and custom quick settings app. It basically lets you create your own notification shade and then uses it instead of the one already on your phone. The app includes some decent customization features, including full color customization along with the ability to snooze any notification. There are also more advanced music controls, auto-bundled notifications, and some quick settings layout customizations as well. The pro version adds even more customization options. This app isn’t half bad for the themers out there who want something a little different than Android’s regular notification shade.
Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall
Price: Free to play
Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall is finally out after a lengthy pre-registration period. The game takes place nearly 50 years before the events of the show and novels. A Lord Commander goes missing and it becomes your job to take command of the Night’s Watch. Players can collect various characters from the show and battle them with foes and other online opponents. The game honestly uses a lot of elements from various genres, including adventure, RPG, gacha, strategy, and others. However, the game lacks depth in some game play mechanics and the free-to-play elements come off a little strong early on.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!