Look, I've got nothing against the pixelated graphical style, sometimes erroneously referred to as "8-bit." But for the last few years it's often been used as a crutch for developers who can't be bothered to make truly good 2D graphics. That doesn't apply to Sword of Xolan, the latest game from developer Alper Sarikaya of Manuganu fame. The environments, enemies, and main character have enough definition that you can actually see what's happening on screen, and the excellent animations make the world come to life in ways that developers could only dream of back in the old SNES days.
Birds gonna fly, fish gonna swim, dogs gonna bark, and unscrupulous people are going to find ways to steal digital content. Video piracy is more or less unstoppable (though reasonable prices and more convenient streaming have taken it down a peg), but if you brazenly sell gadgets with the sole intention of stealing TV shows and movies, expect a visit from Johnny Law soon enough. Several shady retailers in the United Kingdom have reason to reflect on this today, after police raided multiple locations selling "Android TV" set-top boxes designed more or less as piracy machines.
Solid Explorer is one of the most popular file managers on Android, but the app has never been particularly attractive. It's much improved today, though, with the release of Solid Explorer v2.0. I know what you're thinking, is that really just happening now? Well, it's been in beta for more than six months.
After the launch of Music Key in November, we've had good reason to expect quite a bit from YouTube. We've seen things like 60 fps live streaming, 360-degree videos with cardboard support, and big updates to the Kids and Creator Studio apps – and that's just some of the stuff from the last two months. We also know there's plenty still to come, particularly an ad-free subscription model. The latest update doesn't seem to deliver any new features, not unless Google is planning to flip a switch server-side, but it gives a few hints about what to expect in the future.
NVIDIA changed the landscape of Android gaming with the original SHIELD. And with that, came top-tier titles of recent years, like Valve favorites Portal and Half-Life 2. Since then, the company has released a slew of killer games specifically for SHIELD devices, including Half-Life 2: Episode One. Today, the saga continues with the third Half-Life game available for Android, Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
HL2: E2 (which is available exclusively for SHIELD Android TV) is joined by a handful of other kickass titles, all of which should be available today in Google Play. Here's a quick rundown, starting with the star of the show.
Pushbullet already does a ton of stuff, but big changes are coming today. The developers behind the app say this is the biggest update since its release, and that seems like a fair estimation. There are new features on Android, the website, in the browser extensions, and in the Windows app.
If you're a fan of the super-popular top-down MOBA genre (think Dota, League of Legends, and Heroes of the Storm), you'll want to sit up and take notice of a little game called Vainglory. This mobile interpretation of the well-known formula has been built from the ground up for touchscreens, and the experience has been praised on iOS since its launch back in November. It's available for free today on the Play Store.
Vainglory doesn't make an attempt to hide its inspiration. If you're not familiar with the standard MOBA formula, it's basically a shorter and more action-packed version of a real-time strategy game where each player controls a single unit.
If there's one thing I think we can all agree on, it's that when our phones are low on juice, we're willing to jump through a hoop or two to power back up. Be it an awkwardly placed public wall outlet, regularly carrying around external chargers, or buying a phone with a user-replaceable battery so that swapping in a spare is quick and easy.
We also all know somewhat instinctively that using our phones while they're on a charger will decrease the rate at which they charge - that's just common sense. Even if the phone is charging, using the device obviously consumes power, and that cancels out some of the net effect charging has.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.
Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Photo Wall FX Live Wallpaper
Today's app roundup is sponsored by the Photo Wall FX live wallpaper by Handy Apps. The idea behind this wallpaper is simple: it uses the local photos on your phone or tablet to make a grid collage, dynamically selecting and cycling photos and sizing them so that there's no space left between them.
Play Music is as much an online service as it is a mobile app, but when it comes to the former, you have to wait your turn before you can get your hands on it (without jumping through hoops). Fortunately, Play Music has come to Argentina. Thanks to alphabetical order, it's now the first country listed on Google's support page.