Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an excellent action-platformer (think Mario with swords), a 2D take on Battlezone, a startlingly original puzzle game, and a simplified space strategy title.
Recently, we posted about a new feature Google was testing to help users better "explore" their surroundings, offering more fine-tuned exploration options for a user's immediate vicinity or their destination, with suggestions of what to do in the area based on time of day or conditions. The interface would apparently get its own button in Google Maps' primary view, but the button only appeared for a few users at the time.
Hold on to your butts, everyone. I'm about to drop some news that will blow your minds. Samsung has a new phone in the works, and there's one thing that will supposedly make this thing different from all of the others. SamMobile has leaked images of the upcoming Galaxy Alpha, a Galaxy S5 variant that will apparently be constructed at least in part out of aluminum.
As you can see in these screens, the phone won't look strikingly different regardless of what it's made of.
When George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously replied, "Because it's there." I imagine a similar disposition possessed the developer of Wear Browser (better known for AIDE) when he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, I guess I'll put a browser on that watch." I say this because I can't think of a good reason anyone would do this. Still, it exists.
Four months ago, part one of the Kickstarter-funded fifth installment of the Broken Sword series hit the Play Store costing $6.99. It has since dropped to $4.99, and today part two of the saga is available for one dollar more, a reasonable $5.99. Okay, now that the math is out of the way, let's recap. Broken Sword is a long-running adventure series (the 5 in the name may have given that away) that has been picking up fans since 1996, and given the success the franchise found on Kickstarter, clearly many of them have stuck around.
Account security is a tough issue for a lot of people. It's a constant balancing act between having a stronger system to keep out would-be invaders while also making it convenient enough that users won't reject it. After Google began offering its own 2-step verification system, several other services adopted the same mechanism and opt-in model for people that wanted more than a single password protecting their personal data. This generally left users with Google's Authenticator app, which got the job done, but it lacked features and languished on an early Holo dark design.
Perhaps you don't remember the Xperia L – this 2013 handset never made much of a splash in the US. However, it's proven a popular budget device internationally. It probably won't be seeing a ton of update love through official channels, but at least you'll have CyanogenMod. The first nightly build is available for the Xperia L right now.
Anker makes solid external batteries, and there's a nice deal on one of the larger ones over at Amazon right now. The Anker Astro E3 with 10,000mAh of juice can be yours for $25.99. This unit has a retail price of $80, but of course, you're never going to pay that. It usually bounces around $40, so this is still a good deal.
Power! Unlimited power! Okay, technically the Skiva PowerFlow Octofire limits us to charging eight devices at once, but in a world of plugging devices into power outlets one at a time, this sounds like a gift from the gods. Users can charge two families' worth of devices (or, for the sake of imagination, half of a college class, every phone in a very small office, or all the handsets that can fit in the pockets contained within a clown car).
Skype just rolled out an update to its Android app, bumping it up to v5.0. The app isn't going to look much different, but it is gaining the ability to automatically find and add your phone contacts to your Skype contact list. It even happens automagically in the background.