Google has begun rolling out an update to the Play Services package we all know and love. Details about version 4.4 have already been posted to the Android Developers blog, and it features updates and new features to the APIs for Maps, Mobile Ads, Activity Recognition, plus a few minor fixes for Games Services and Wallet. Aside from general bug fixes, it looks like this update is mostly about giving new tools to developers.
Yelp's Android app was updated to version 5.9 this afternoon, adding an apparently much-requested feature: messaging support. The Yelp app did not previously allow users to send one another messages, but this has now been remedied. Hooray! I guess.
Otherwise, there's nothing going on here - probably a few bug fixes, maybe some performance tweaks. Oh, and a Mitch Hedberg quote, a la Yelp's typically enjoyable changelogs: "I order the club sandwich all the time.
Zen Studios' CastleStorm captured fans when it hit consoles last year, and now it's ready to try its hand with mobile gamers. CastleStorm - Free To Seige takes the same gameplay and packages it in a free-to-play, ad-supported, in-app purchase-containing Android package. Players who can overlook these now familiar elements of mobile gaming are in for an experience that combines tower defense with 2D physics and straight-up brawling. The graphics may not be quite as sharp as the console equivalent, but they could fool someone.
Flappy Bird is a game with only a single button. Players tap their fingers against the screen repetitively to get this plump little bird to flap its wings fast enough to resist the gravity of whatever massive planet it must live on, but not so fast quickly that it flies up into pipes hanging from the ceiling for who knows why. The game takes seconds to learn, and it still manages to be frustrating as $%&#.
Google Wallet received a relatively minor update today, too (along with Camera), making a few subtle changes to the UI and a couple of feature tweaks. Most notable, perhaps, is that the explore offers feature has been removed altogether (offers live in Maps now, apparently). The other feature change is an addition, not a subtraction, with Wallet now allowing you to receive notification for package shipment statuses on items ordered using Wallet.
We all remember Tiny Thief, but let's set those memories aside for a moment. Rovio Stars is back with another Android title. Word Monsters is a puzzle game that's so social, it requires players to sign in using Google or Facebook immediately after completing the initial tutorial. The game itself is an adorable take on word search. Look for words on-screen and swipe them to get points. Doing so will cause them to disappear, sometimes removing letters needed for future words and adding some degree of strategy to the experience.
Google's Camera app received a minor update today, adding back the ability to snap photos while recording video. The feature was not present in the original release of the Google Camera app.
Otherwise, we're not seeing many changes in today's up to version 2.1.042, though with something like a camera app many of the appreciable changes are often under the hood, not user-facing. Let us know if you see anything, though!
Anyone can break stuff, but Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage requires you to break things with precision. See, your Viking comrades have been swept away in a storm and frozen in ice, so you've got the bust 'em out with a hammer. That's just how Vikings do.
The Amazon Android app has just received an update that should affect more than just your shopping. Now the company's apps support single sign-in. When you log into one, you're automatically signed into the other ones that are installed on your device. This works with the main shopping app, Amazon MP3, the Amazon Appstore, and the Kindle app.
Upon my extensive hands-on testing of this complex feature, everything seems to work just fine.
Portal was released nearly seven years ago as part of the Valve Orange Box, which also included a few other games. Seven years is an eternity on the internet, but the excitement was still palpable when Nvidia announced it was working on a version of Portal for the Shield. Now here we are just a weeks later and the game is about to hit the Play Store. The questions we have to ask are...