The Play Store team is killing us. Over the past couple of months, we've seen so many server-side tests for interface changes that we've lost track of them all, and which ones are official and which ones are still not available to everyone. Just today we discussed a significant improvement that could have apps and games show up separately on the Store, and now we're back with another change.
The in-app purchase dialog, the one that pops-up whenever you tap on a paid item inside an app or game, might be getting an overhaul soon. Instead of the old pop-up window showing up in the middle of the screen, this new IAP menu covers the bottom of the display and uses the Play Store's new shade of green along with a big Buy button akin to the new wide buttons in app listings on the Store.
There's an old saying that goes, "never attribute to malice what can be explained by carelessness." So I'd rather not accuse Android game publisher Noodlecake of carelessness, since they usually release games that are fun, technically sound, and sometimes even lacking those $100 in-app purchases. But since they've made the Android TV version of snowboarding endless runner Alto's Adventure a $3.99 paid game, while the phone version is free, I'm not left with many other options.
I kind of wish that Supercell, developers of the base-building IAPfests Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, would go into cartoons or movies. The 30-second commercial skits that they make to reel players into games are much more entertaining than the games themselves. But if wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak, so let's just take a look at the company's latest offering. Clash Royale is available worldwide today, after spending several months as a geo-limited beta.
Here at Android Police, we monitor a truly insane amount of sites and developers to bring you the latest apps and games fresh from the Play Store. And in serving that duty, sometimes we come across games that don't deserve any attention. More often than not, in fact, and some of the most depressing are games that exploit a beloved TV, movie, or video game license and use it to try and sling the same homogenized crap as ten thousand copycat game developers looking for a quick buck. A lot of these seem to be Candy Crush or Bejeweled clones: we passed over Pac-Man Puzzle Tour just yesterday (Artem literally wrote "ughhhhhh" in the office chat), and Star Trek: Wrath of Gems is such a shameless cash-grab that it makes trekkies spit out their Romulan ale.
Last month Google raised the maximum price of apps and in-app purchases on the Play Store in many markets, sometimes doubling the highest available price tier. Now they're going the other way, lowering the minimum price for a handful of countries that currently have access to paid apps on the Store. Oh, and this time they wrote a blog post, so your friendly neighborhood tech blogger doesn't have to track down each individual change and write them out. Thanks, Google!
When the best thing that you can say about the latest crop of a long-running video game property is that "the tie-in children's TV show isn't completely terrible," it's not a ringing endorsement. Such is the case with Sonic Boom: after nearly two decades of hit-and-miss remixes on the familiar Sonic formula, SEGA hit a real stinker with the almost universally-reviled Wii U/3DS dual release last year. The "hip" new designs for Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and the rest of the gang might have been forgiven if the game itself hadn't been one of the worst entries in Sonic's 24-year catalog.
It's odd, then, that SEGA is continuing the "Sonic Boom" label with its latest mobile game, instead of relying on the tried-and-true classic version of sonic that appeals to the nostalgia crowd.
If you're not getting enough intrigue and treachery from HBO's Game of Thrones series on Sunday nights, TellTale is still pumping out new episodes in its licensed adventure game. Episode 4, Sons of Winter, is now available as a $5 in-app purchase for those who have played through the first three portions of the game. There are six episodes in total, so the first "season" of the adventure game should be wrapping up in two or three more months.
Game of Thrones takes place at the same fictional time as the third season of the television show, so you'll have to remember the various twists and turns of Westeros from a couple of years ago.
Fancy a bit of customization for your Android version of Minecraft? You'll soon be accommodated by developer Mojang. According to this blog post, the Pocket Edition of the game will get a significant update later this week, with player skins being the biggest addition. If you've played the PC or console version of Minecraft, you know that custom skins for player avatars have become a big part of the game's community aspect.
At least a few free skins will be available, and Mojang will sell more as in-app purchases, with packs of around 20 skins costing one US dollar. But that's not the only way to access the feature.
Auto-correcting keyboard Fleksy made headlines last month with its interesting support for Samsung's Gear 2 smartwatches, but don't let it be said that they're neglecting the standard Android app. Today the company is updating its unconventional keyboard to version 3.0, notably adding the "Fleksy Store" to the premium version. This store will offer themes for users to buy via in-app purchase. At launch (sometime this morning, US time) there will be six themes available, and anyone who's purchased the keyboard gets a free bonus theme.
According to a press release, Fleksy is also adding support for a whopping 17 new languages (some of which are dialects).