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 a unique top-down shooter, a reverse Mario game, a 2D zombie sniper, a group-based shooter, a cartoony racer, and a digital RPG board game.
Google is doing its darnedest to make developers happy. To a certain extent, anyway - it still makes some major mistakes on a pretty regular basis, but at least it's trying to expand availability for paid apps to more users and, crucially, more developers. Today developers in Azerbaijan, Iceland, Peru, And Yemen can submit paid apps to the Google Play Store, as well as offer in-app purchases. Previously Android users in all four nations could buy apps, but not sell them.
In its previous update, Pocket Casts added an Android Wear companion app that allowed you to browse your Up Next list of podcasts and pick an episode to play. It worked even when Pocket Casts wasn't launched on your phone and without requiring the notification first, which was awesome if you needed to start playback from your watch without having to dig your phone out of your pocket/purse. The whole idea though relied on you having already populated your playback queue because you couldn't browse your entire library from the watch.
The family-oriented section of the Play Store is now offering up another free app of the week. When Google first started the giveaways, Daniel Tiger Daniel Tiger Grr-ific Feelings was the debut app. Toca Hair Salon 2 came next. This week we're looking at Dr. Panda & Toto's Treehouse.
Monument Valley remains one of the finest puzzle experiences on a mobile device, but it's unfortunately somewhat short. There's a little more to love today with the release of Ida's Dream, a chapter that was originally created for a charity promotion on iOS. You can get it for free if you've already purchased Monument Valley—no extra IAP required.
Luxe is a service that allows you to summon a valet to park your car when time or energy is low, something that many people probably won't consider using due to either reluctance to paying for this sort of thing or because they don't live in an area where it just isn't very hard to park for yourself. The name itself screams, "This is a want, not a need" (also, luxury).
Amazon's latest app giveaway is worth more than $50 and will remain available for the next week. As you can see in the hero image, some of the headliners include The Bard's Tale and Weather Live, though there are several more that may interest you. And while the super-popular Monument Valley has disappeared from the promotional page, it's free too. This is bigger and better (and longer-lasting) than its typical free daily deal, though it isn't their best ever. Beyond those already mentioned, you might want to pay special attention to Quell Memento and Alarm Clock Pro.
Here is the full list of what's on offer, all of them free for now:
Square Enix, listen to me: stop making Android ports. Please. You're really bad at it. All of these games, most of which are decades old and extremely expensive by mobile standards, are embarrassingly lacking in polish and features.
Take the latest, Dragon Quest VI. By all accounts it's a classic JRPG, and one that many never got to play in the west since the original Super NES version was only released in Japan. On Android it's fifteen bucks. It comes with zero Google Play Games features (no cloud saves!), has no compatibility with Bluetooth controllers or Android TV, and it doesn't even work in landscape mode.
Yep, we're reviewing the iOS version. Don't worry, we're not planning on making a habit of this. Fallout Shelter is one of the only mobile games in recent years to garner true attention from the mainstream gaming press, and it has skyrocketed to the top of the App Store since its release. It is an exceptional case. Since an Android port is currently under development and the ETA unknown, I felt it would be best do a review now while the game is still fresh in the minds of many people, instead of waiting months to review something that would already be old.
Pity poor Sonic the Hedgehog. The guy is basically the Dallas Cowboys of the video game world: after gaining almost universal appeal in the 90s, his victories over the last few years have been few and fleeting. But SEGA isn't giving up on its blue mascot, if only because he's probably the only marketable franchise that isn't a Kickstarter campaign or a hyper-sexualized murder machine. So here we are, with a new Sonic game that sees one of the most iconic platforming stars in the world... aping mobile endless runners.
To be fair, Sonic as an endless runner makes a lot of sense, and Sonic Runners (a bit on the nose, ain't it?) does a good job blending the genre's standard single-tap controls with classic Sonic elements.