10 best Disney apps for Android!

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Disney is quite the large media property these days. They own ABC, ESPN, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and, soon, Fox. That means there are a bunch of ways to interact with Disney stuff. However, we think that people looking for Disney apps want the more classic Disney characters and experiences. We can definitely help with that. Disney is, again, massive. They have movies, TV shows, and music across plenty of genres. We can help you find what you’re looking for. Here are the best Disney apps for Android!


DisneyNow

Price: Free (with TV provider login)
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DisneyNow is Disney’s current streaming service. You log into the service with your existing TV cable provider info and gain access to a bunch of Disney TV content. That includes kids shows, cartoons and live action stuff, classic and new Disney characters, and even Radio Disney. This is, admittedly, kind of holding the slot here until Disney+ comes out sometime in 2019. That will definitely be the streaming app to get from Disney. Until then, as long as you have cable, DisneyNow should be good enough to stream current shows to your smartphone. The app itself is otherwise free.
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DisneyNow

Fandom by Wikia Disney apps

Price: Free (with ads, usually)
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Fandom by Wikia is a community of enthusiasts that create these little wiki pages for various media properties. You can find Fandom apps for Disney (linked at the button), Star Wars, Marvel, and tons of other stuff as well. They generally provide information about characters, movies, TV shows, and even some games. It’s a neat way to learn some trivia about basically any Disney movie, show, or character. Of course, it’s a bit of a niche product. Not everybody wants to read about Aladdin, they want to watch Aladdin. We’ll cover that shortly, but trivia buffs should definitely start with the Fandom Disney apps.
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Fandom by Wikia Disney apps

Giphy

Price: Free
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Giphy might seem like a weird pick for Disney apps, but hear us out. Disney has a GIF app with a bunch of reaction GIFs. It’s a fun little app, but it lacks some really basic features and it makes the app hard to use. Thus, we recommend Giphy instead. It has a great search, tons of Disney GIFs, and the app is very easy to use. It’s much better than Disney’s GIF app. Other than that, there isn’t much else to talk about. You simply search for the reaction GIF you need and the app finds it. It has non-Disney stuff too in case you want that. It’s otherwise completely free to use.
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Giphy

iHeartRadio Family

Price: Free / $9.99 per month
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There are a few different versions of iHeartRadio. However, for Disney stuff, we recommend iHeartRadio Family. It has 80 stations of family-friendly music from a bunch of popular kids’ shows and movies. Of course, that includes plenty of Disney content. You can go with a station dedicated to Disney princess songs or just hit up the standard Radio Disney for a big mix of music from Disney. Of course, the full version has all of these stations as well so current fans of iHeartRadio just need to hit up the search button to find these stations. The premium version adds unlimited skips and a bunch of other features as well.
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iHeartRadio Family

Internet TV (Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube TV, etc)

Price: Free / $7.99-$39.99 per month
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It’s easier (and cheaper) to watch TV than ever before. TV services like Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now all have a bunch of excellent child-friendly content. Consequently, they also all have access to the Disney Channel along with a bunch of back-logged Disney content. For instance, on Hulu, if you subscribe to the live TV service, you get the Disney Channel, but also access to movies like Pocahontas. The amount of Disney content per streaming service varies, but you can at least get the actual channel on all of them. Honestly, this is probably better than cable for Disney stuff because you do get those on-demand titles as long as you’re subscribed to the live TV service. You can go with whatever one you want. We simply linked Hulu because Disney owns 30% of it.
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Internet TV (Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube TV, etc)


Movies Anywhere

Price: Free
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Movies Anywhere is probably the best app for movies on Google Play. It isn’t its own standalone streaming service. It’s actually a collection of other movie streaming services. You sign in with your iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, or Google Play. All of the movies you purchased on all of those services are now available in one spot. The service boasts over 7,500 movies and that, of course, includes tons of Disney movies along with basically every Marvel and Star Wars movie as well. Disney is likely going to have all of those movies on Disney+ when it comes out. Until then, though, this is probably the best place to actually buy a Disney movie and watch it. The app is occasionally buggy, but it’s otherwise quite good. It also comes with Chromecast support.
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Movies Anywhere

My Disney Experience / Disneyland

Price: Free
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Disneyland and Disney World are two of the most popular vacation spots in the world. They also both have official apps. The My Disney Experience app focuses primarily on Disney World. You can use it to plan your vacation, as an interactive map of the park, and you can even buy your tickets and merch there. The Disneyland app is much the same way. The app shows you information like estimated wait times, browser restaurant menus, and interact with the park’s map. There are apps for all of Disney’s parks individually, including the ones in Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. Those headed to Disney World or Disneyland should definitely have these apps on hand.
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My Disney Experience / Disneyland

Reddit

Price: Free / $5.99 per month
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Reddit is good for a lot of fan bases and Disney fans are no exception. The site has dozens of subreddits for Marvel properties, Star Wars movies, and, of course, classic Disney properties as well. You can talk to other people who like the stuff that you like and post stuff that you care about. The Reddit app keeps everything under moderate control, although people who haven’t used Reddit before may have a tough time acclimating at first. In any case, this is a great way to read up on news about Star Wars, Marvel, or other Disney properties and discuss those things with other fans. The premium subscription removes advertising and gives you some additional features as well.
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Reddit

Official apps for Disney media

Price: Free (usually)
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We’ve said it over and over again that Disney is a huge company. As it turns out, there are a variety of official Disney apps for most of those properties. Some examples include the official Star Wars app, the official Marvel app, the ESPN app, ABC’s official app, and the list goes on and on. These official apps are among the best ways to interact with Disney’s massive list of media companies. For instance, you can watch ABC’s programming on the ABC app or read about the latest Star Wars news in the Star Wars app. You can even read old Marvel comics in the Marvel app. It really depends on what kind of content each property makes, but it’s all still Disney.
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YouTube

Price: Free / $12.99 per month
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YouTube is an excellent, albeit obvious, choice for a great Disney app. You can find basically any Disney song ever made there along with a ton of clips and memes from various movies and TV shows. That’s also the place to see trailers for upcoming movies or shows, reviews of various toys or games, and basically anything else you can think of. Disney has an official VEVO channel with over 11 million subscribers. But, again, you probably already knew all of this so this part of the list is really just some confirmation bias. Yes, YouTube is among the best apps for Disney fans. You can optionally pay $12.99 per month to remove ads, download videos for offline use, and you get a few other features.
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YouTube

If we missed any great Disney apps for Android, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!

5 most controversial Android apps and games from 2018!

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Android apps and games took huge leaps in 2018. We saw AAA game titles like Fortnite and PUBG hit Android. We also saw excellent new apps and services like Bouncer and YouTube Music. However, some apps and games simply didn’t have such good luck. There were a number of scandals and mistakes made in 2018. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal immediately comes to mind, but that was more Facebook the service rather than Facebook the app. Some apps were removed from Google Play for silly reasons (that actually happens a lot). In any case, some incidents simply stand above the rest. We are happy to report that Uber managed to not make this list for the first time in this list’s history. Congratulations to Uber! Here are the five most controversial Android apps and games from 2018!


The Cheetah Mobile Play Store page.

Ad fraud served two ways

Google Play had not one, but two big ad fraud problems in 2018. The first used bots to simulate real people. Here’s how it worked. A group of developers would purchase popular apps on Google Play from developers for Bitcoin. They would keep the app maintained and track user behavior. The developers would then create bots that emulated the human behavior they observed, except these bots also viewed ads along with doing the other stuff. The bots managed to avoid Google Play bot detection for a very long time.  Hit the link above to find the full list of all 129 apps that did it. The reason this probably didn’t hit harder was because it didn’t actually affect any end users. It was essentially a bunch of developers defrauding advertisers. Still, that’s not great and many of those apps were available in the Play Store at the time the report took place.

The second ad fraud case was by several Cheetah Mobile apps. This one is a little less creative. Several Cheetah Mobile apps, including Kika Keyboard and CM File Manager, would read the apps installed on a user’s phone. CM would then take credit for all the apps the user installed and collected the advertising money. Cheetah Mobile swears up and down that it did not do anything and the advertising SDKs were to blame. However, Cheetah Mobile has pulled some deceptive ad tactics before so we don’t necessarily trust them. Google is still investigating as of the writing of this article so we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.


Fortnite - most controversial android apps 2018

Fortnite bucks the trends for better or worse

The biggest Android game narrative of 2018 was PUBG Mobile versus Fortnite. PUBG Mobile’s launch was fairly typical. It came out in Google Play, people enjoy it, and everything went as normal. Then Fortnite came around. To start, the game is not available on the Google Play Store. Instead, it opted for a launch on Epic Games’ own website  along with Samsung’s app store. People lost their minds about it. The CEO called it a move to promote a free and open platform. It also stands as the biggest mobile game to do this. The installer had its share of problems, including a massive security issue early on. There was also that pesky problem of all the fake Fortnite APKs. The PUBG developers even sued Fortnite for stealing content, although that suit was eventually dropped.  Things have smoothed out for now, but goodness Fortnite’s mobile game had a rough first six months.


Google shuts down all the things

The Google app library had a surprisingly rough year. Let’s start with Hangouts and make our way around the circle. Google Hangouts is reportedly changing from a single chat service to a group chat service similar to Slack or Discord. That reporting prompted a surprisingly aggressive Twitter conversation with a Hangouts developer. This puts an end to one of the few consistently decent chat services that Google had and the closest it ever came to a true Android version of iMessage. Google then shocked everybody by announcing the end of Google Allo. Many of Allo’s features are headed to Android Messages for now, but Allo is now officially circling the drain. Finally, Google is shuttering Google+ in 2019 after not one, but two major data breaches. It all leaves Google in a bit of a hole after it announced no major new apps in 2018. They did re-brand a bunch of stuff for no apparent reason, though. It’s been a surprisingly rough year for Google.


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Telltale Games had an epic crash and burn

Telltale Games had some of the best point-and-click adventure games on mobile. They usually work with existing titles like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Minecraft, Borderlands, and others. Well, 2018 is probably its last year in existence. The company announced a massive layoff in mid-September that spared only 25 employees. The layoff also doubled as the announcement that the company was shuttering its doors. Telltale Games’ CEO Pete Hawley cited poor sales as the primary reason and that makes sense. The company simply didn’t generate as much buzz this year as they did in previous years. To make matters worse, the employees filed a class-action lawsuit against Telltale Games for unlawful termination, citing WARN laws. That lawsuit is in progress as of the writing of this article.


An image of an Amazon Echo Show on a night stand. Amazon

Google and Amazon are seriously still fighting

Amazon and Google have been competitors for a while. However, late 2017 saw things take a nasty turn for consumers when Google yanked YouTube from all Amazon Fire devices, starting with the Echo Show. This turned into a year long trench war that is only making things suck more for consumers who use both Amazon and Google products. Initially, Amazon promised to start selling Chromecasts again, which it only started doing again in early December 2018. That certainly didn’t help things. Both companies announced that talks were underway to restore YouTube to Amazon devices along with possibly some other stuff. While we definitely don’t mean to pry, we would love it if Amazon Prime Video received Chromecast support as well.

In any case, the companies broke off talks early into 2018 after Google intentionally made YouTube worse for Silk Browser, Amazon’s default browser. In March 2018, Amazon stopped selling Google’s Nest products. Of course, YouTube TV never made it to a Fire device either, so you can add that to the list too. This has gone on long enough and is now bordering on the absurd. We’re really hoping that Amazon selling the Chromecast helps bring an end to this ridiculous and long-winded problem sooner rather than later. Until the dust settles, we highly recommend just buying Roku or Nvidia Shield. Those devices don’t seem to be affected by this preposterous pissing match.


If we missed any controversial Android apps and games, tell us about them in the comments! Check out all of our Android app and game lists by clicking here!

15 best Android games released in 2018!

Here we go, folks. Mobile gaming always seems to take great strides year after year. Last year, we saw a huge push in niche genres like text games and indie puzzle games. This year, we saw a bunch of excellent games in the shooter, tower defense, rhythm, indie puzzle, and simulation genres. In fact, this might be the best year of mobile gaming that we’ve ever seen. There was just a bunch of new content from PUBG to Fortnite, Kingdom Rush Vengeance to Bloons TD 6, and even some excellent new RPGs. This is a long list, so let’s get right down to it. Here are the best Android games of 2018! We don’t have them ranked in any specific fashion. However, the last game on the list is our choice for the very best of the year.


Alto’s Odyssey

Price: Freemium
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Alto’s Odyssey is a 2D, side-scrolling infinite runner and Noodlecake Studios’ biggest launch of 2018. The game features gorgeous, simple graphics, easy mechanics, and smooth game play. Players ski down hills and make massive jumps for points. They also collect coins for unlockable content in the game’s shop. You also get a Photo Mode because the visuals in this game make for perfect wallpapers as well as a zen mode where you just play to relax. It’s certainly not treading any new ground. However, it’s as solid of an infinite runner as you’ll find these days and it’s also kid friendly. Everybody wins!
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Asphalt 9: Legends

Price: Freemium
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Asphalt 9: Legends is arguably the most popular new racing game in 2018. It features above average visuals, solid racing mechanics, and a metric ton of events, missions, and challenges to complete. The game also includes an online multiplayer mode, online social elements like clubs, a campaign mode, and over 50 unlockable cars. This is a game you can play for a very long time before you get everything. It’s a freemium game and you deal with that a lot. However, Gameloft’s long-running racing series is popular for a reason. Those who are more into hardcore racing sims may need something a little extra, but this is great for casual racing game fans.
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Bloons TD 6 and Kingdom Rush Vengeance

Price: $4.99 with in-app purchases (each)
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Tower defense is alive an well on mobile with the releases of both Bloons TD 6 and Kingdom Rush Vengeance. Both games are continuations of the popular franchises and both bring new features, new game elements, and fresh ideas to the table. Bloons TD 6 is a slightly deeper game with 19 towers and a bunch of upgrades. Kingdom Rush Vengeance is the slightly more casual friendly game but it still gets pretty difficult. Both games support offline gaming and have optional in-app purchases for power-ups. We couldn’t choose between the two because they are both excellent tower defense games. Maybe you’ll have better luck. We have Bloons TD 6 linked at the download button above.
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Cytus II

Price: $1.99 / Up to $9.99
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Cytus II is the latest rhythm game from Rayark International, Rayark makes exceptional mobile rhythm games and this one is no exception. The game uses tap, swipe, and tap-and-hold mechanics and players use the entire screen with this game. It’s colorful, intense, and surprisingly smooth for how many on-screen elements there are. Players get a story mode with 30 songs in the $1.99 base game with more songs available as in-app purchases. There are over 300 total step charts between the songs and the various difficulties. We also recommend the first game in the series if you need something a little easier to start with.
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Friday the 13th

Price: Free / Up to $9.99
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You don’t see a lot of horror games on best of the year lists, but Blue Wizard Digital found a way with Friday the 13th. The game features both horror and puzzle elements, decent mobile controls, and tons of optional gore and violence. You get over 100 levels, a PG mode in case blood makes you squeamish, and plenty of unlockable customizations for the venerable Jason Voorhees. The game also comes with offline gaming support. It might only be truly fun during the Halloween season, but the mechanics are just that good in general. The somewhat retro style graphics also helps take a bit of the edge off of all of the gore.
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HQ Trivia

Price: Free
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HQ Trivia has the distinction of being the first Android game launched in 2018. We know that because it ran its very first live game seconds after midnight on New Years Eve. HQ Trivia is one of the most unique quiz games on mobile. It features live quizzes conducted like an actual game show. That includes a real, actual host. Games run every day at 9PM EST with additional games on week days at 3PM EST. Players even win actual money if they last long enough. The game is occasionally laggy, but shoving a few hundred thousand people into a single game show can do that. Those wanting something a little more typical can also try Trivia Crack 2, another new quiz game in 2018.
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Monster Hunter Stories

Price: Free / $19.99
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Monster Hunter Stories is an excellent new RPG. It has the same core experience of every Monster Hunter game. Players travel the world, collect monsters, train them, and fight with them. You get action, adventure, and RPG elements. It uses a turn-by-turn battle structure and you also get colorful graphics. Perhaps our favorite part is the demo version of the game. The demo version is actually its own self-contained game that acts as a prologue for the actual game. We think that is a genius idea. The demo version’s data ports to the main game upon purchase. It’s really expensive at $19.99 so we don’t blame you if you want to skip this one.
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Part Time UFO

Price: $3.99
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Part Time UFO is a puzzle game by HAL Industries, developers of the first Super Smash Bros and most of the Kirby series. The developer’s first mobile game is a rousing success. It features boss fights, puzzles, and a fun little adventure with plenty for players to do. The puzzles are delightful, if somewhat easy and the story is charming and inoffensive. You also get a fun soundtrack, some social sharing features, and more. The game rocks a 4.9 rating on Google Play. It may not be the most popular game ever, but virtually nobody who plays it dislikes it. That’s a rarity for mobile gaming.
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Pocket City

Price: Free / $3.99
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Pocket CIty is a city building simulator much like SimCity. You start with a plot of land. Players then build a functioning city. You must achieve balance between business and residence, expand in a smart way, and deal with things like natural disasters. Players unlock more buildings and land as they progress and they must manage things like population happiness and traffic. The game also comes with support for portrait and landscape modes as well as offline support. The free version contains ads. For $3.99, you get no ads and more features. It might be the best non-freemium city building sim on Google Play right now.
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Reigns: Game of Thrones

Price: $3.99
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Reigns: Game of Thrones is an interesting card game. Players get cards with various scenarios on them. You choose one of two options by swiping the card left or right. Some choices are simple like selling wood and others involve more serious matters. The result is your continued reign or ultimate downfall. This version of the game also includes Game of Thrones characters, story elements, and themes. It’s not a deep game with a deep story and that may disappoint some Game of Thrones fans. It is one of the better time killer games on mobile, though, and it goes for a single $3.99 purchase with no freemium elements. We appreciate that.
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Returner 77

Price: $4.99
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Returner 77 is an indie puzzle game with a sci-fi story line. The story involves an alien invasion with humanity on the brink of extinction. You work your way through an alien ship while solving puzzles and making progress. The game features beautiful graphics, enjoyable puzzles, and an interesting story. It’s one of the few indie puzzle games over the last few years with a narrative that drives the game forward. It rounds out the experience with live action video clips, voice overs, and a reasonable price tag. It’s easily one of the more under-rated games on 2018.
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The Room: Old Sins

Price: $4.99
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The Room: Old Sins is the latest game in one of mobile gaming’s most critically acclaimed puzzle franchises. This is an easy choice for best mobile games of 2018. It comes with outstanding graphics, a narrative to follow, and simple mechanics. Players make their way through a dollhouse full of puzzles to solve. The game also supports cloud saving and Google Play Games achievements. It maintains a lot of the elements of previous games, so many people already know what they’re in for with this one. Is it the best of the year? No, but it’s definitely up there and that’s why it’s here.
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Shadowgun Legends

Price: Freemium
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Shadowgun Legends is one of the top three shooters from 2018 without question. It’s a fairly standard mobile shooter. Players get a campaign to play through with sci-fi and action elements along with online PvP, an RPG-style progression system, and tons of loot to collect. Of course, you get good graphics and as good of a game play experience as a shooter can be on mobile. By and large, there isn’t much in this game that isn’t a positive experience, although we would appreciate some tweaking of the inventory space. We’re quite happy to see a new Shadowgun game and Madfinger Games delivered. This is a great shooter.
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Square Enix (Life is Strange, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition)

Price: Free / Varies
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Square Enix always has a host of mobile game releases every year and many of them are candidates for this list. This year was no exception. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, Life is Strange, and the Valkyrie Profile Lenneth port are all outstanding new games for 2018. Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition avoided the port label by being designed from the ground up for a mobile experience. Life is Strange is one of Square Enix’s more thought provoking point-and-click adventure games in recent memory, and Valkyrie Profile Lennth is a decent RPG for fans of old PlayStation games. The games vary in price, but they are all quite excellent. Well done, Square Enix.
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Game(s) of the year: PUBG Mobile and Fortnite

Price: Freemium (each)
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PUBG Mobile and Fortnite orbited around the mobile gaming scene for pretty much all of 2018. Both games brought the battle royale shooter to the forefront in a way that no other game ever has on mobile. PUBG Mobile represents a more serious feel while Fortnite gives players a more animated experience. Both games have solid mechanics, but both still need some work. PUBG Mobile is easier to obtain in the Play Store with a Lite version for lower end devcies. Epic Games launched Fortnite on its own website instead of Google Play. However, Fortnite has account linking between it and the console and PC version. Both games have pros and cons, but you didn’t see anyone talk about a mobile game more than these two in 2018. Thankfully, they are both excellent games. If we had to choose one, though, it would be Fortnite. The account linking is such a cool feature.
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Honorable mentions

The list for 2018 was so huge that we wanted to list a few honorable mentions so we didn’t leave any of the great games out. We did narrow down this list from a master list of over 120 games. Here are our honorable mentions for 2018:


If we missed any great Android games from 2018, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!

15 best Android apps released in 2018!

The year 2018 has come and gone. However, it left us with a ton of excellent products to play with. We already did our best Android phones of the year. Now, it’s time to do the best Android apps from 2018 as well. It was a solid year for new apps. We saw a big push in new launchers, security apps, and browsers. There were also a couple of keyboards and even a new game console emulator. It’s always nice to have such a varied list. This year also features fewer Google apps than in prior years and that’s encouraging as well. The list is quite long, so let’s just get right into it. This was narrowed down from a total list of over 120 apps. Here are the best Android apps from the year 2018!


Cake Web Browser

Price: Free
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Cake Web Browser is one of the more solid browser options from 2018 and also in general. It has the basics like multiple search engine options, bookmarks, and stuff like that. This one also includes a pop-up blocker, an ad-blocker, an incognito mode for private browsing, gesture controls, and even some news and RSS features. The UI relies heavily on those gesture controls and gives the browser a fresh, new feel compared to the usual style. It’s a lot of fun and something a little different in the mobile space. That’s why we chose it for this list. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases as of right now.
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Carrot Weather

Price: Free / $3.99 per year
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Carrot Weather is one of the few actually fun weather apps we’ve used. It works like most other weather apps. You get rain predictions (in certain regions), forecasts, current temperatures, and stuff like that. It even includes some witty commentary on the current weather conditions like WTF Weather and similar apps. However, this app also gives you up to 70 years of previous weather data. It also includes secret places like the Moon. The premium version of the app also includes widgets if you’re a fan of widgets. It had some early issues, but the app works quite well these days. There’s a monthly subscription price. However, at $4 per year, we really just recommend going with that.
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Carrot Weather

Dolphin Emulator

Price: Free
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Dolphin Emulator technically isn’t new. However, it is back on the Play Store after a few years of abandonment. The developers promise more consistent updates and stability improvements this time around. That’s good news because it’s the only actually decent Nintendo Wii and Nintendo GameCube emulator on the Play Store. The Google Play reviews are extremely promising and it functioned just fine during our testing. Most people who have issues use low end devices, so we suspect their complaints are because of the specs rather than the emulator. Of course, we do not condone stealing games, but if you have some laying around, this is the emulator we would recommend.
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Dolphin Emulator

Firefox Reality Browser

Price: Free
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Firefox Reality Browser is probably the biggest and best virtual reality browser launch of 2018. It introduces a real competitor to the space and we hope that encourages developers to improve their offerings more quickly. Firefox Reality Browser supports both 2D and 3D content along with a basic, but serviceable web browsing experience. You need the Google Daydream app to download this one. Otherwise, it should work as normal with your VR headset (namely, Google Daydream). It could use a few more basic features and some stability improvements, but VR as a platform is young so we’re just happy Mozilla jumped on board.
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Forest

Price: Free / Up to $1.99
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Forest is a new style of productivity app. It encourages people to not check their phones constantly by killing plants whenever they do. They are digital plants, of course. The app works by planting a tree. Each time you turn your device screen on and leave Forest, the tree wilts and you must start again. There are a variety of trees to collect with more coming in future updates. There is a whitelist so you can do stuff like answer important phone calls or test messages. However, it’s a neat little app to get you off of your phone for a while. It’s almost like a widely available version of Google’s Digital Wellbeing, except with trees.
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Forest


Grammarly Keyboard

Price: Free
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Grammarly Keyboard is arguably the best new keyboard launch in 2018. It helps users type with better grammatical accuracy. It looks at what you type and suggests changes if something goes wrong. The app also delivers explanations about the changes and the rules of grammar. It omits some of the flashier features, like gesture typing, themes, and stuff like that. You do get a dark theme, though, and we expect some of the other features to appear eventually. It’s surprisingly smooth and the grammar lessons should help just about everybody. The app is also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases.
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Grammarly Keyboard

Haven

Price: Free
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Haven is a niche security app that we really like. It installs on a user’s secondary device rather than their primary one. You then toss that second device in with your luggage, a hotel safe, or a similar situation. The secondary device alerts your primary device when it is moved, opened, picked up, or otherwise tampered with. This is mostly a tool for journalists, travelers, and people in places where stuff may be stolen. Thus, it’s obviously not for everybody. Still, it’s one of only a few apps that do things like this. It’s also open source, completely free, and has no advertising.
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Haven

Heimdall Parental Control

Price: Free / $0.99 per month / $9.49 once
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Many new apps aren’t the most exciting releases ever. However, they are still excellent apps. Heimdall Parental Control fits that description. You install it on your child’s device and then on yours. From there, you can monitor your child’s usage, limit them on things like app use and phone calls, and even track their location and block websites. Some of those features require the premium version. You can get it for either $0.99 per month or a single $9.49 payment. We really appreciate having that option in an app market overly reliant on subscription-only business models. It’s easily among the top two or three best kid monitoring apps on Google Play.
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Heimdall Parental Control

Hyperion Launcher

Price: Free / $2.99
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Hyperion Launcher immediately illicit memories of shooting robots and a horse made out of diamonds, but once you get beyond the Borderlands 2 references, it’s actually an excellent new launcher from 2018. It hits a lot of the positive elements for a modern smartphone browser. That includes a stock-ish Android experience, plenty of basic customization options, theming, and third party icon pack support. You also get Google Feed as a separate plugin, gesture controls, a font changer, and more. It’s nice to see a new launcher that could actually challenge the big dogs in the industry already with Nova, Apex, Lawnchair, Action, and ADW launchers. This really is that good and it’s also fairly inexpensive for the premium version.
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Khan Academy Kids

Price: Free
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Khan Academy is one of the best educational apps for adults. Thus, it didn’t shock us at all when Khan Academy Kids came out and it was actually good. This one focuses on a lot of early education for kids, including problem solving, social and emotional development, and more basic stuff like math, reading, and language. It uses bright colors and cute characters to convey the information since kids enjoy cartoons. It all makes sense to us. This is arguably one of the few major learning apps for kids by a company that knows about learning stuff. It has the occasional bug because it’s still in beta. However, we have no doubt that this is one of the best in its category.
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Navigation Gestures

Price: Free / $1.49
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Navigation Gestures is a neat new app from 2018. It gives any phone gesture control support even if it doesn’t naturally have it. You can set it to measure swipes from basically any direction along with single and double tapping as well as tap-and-hold gestures. Those who are knowledgeable in ADB or root can also completely hide the navigation bar. The system is simple enough for just about anybody with the exception of the ADB bit, but that is just one feature. There’s another app in this category from 2018, Fluid Navigation Gestures. It does about the same thing, and people seem to like it more. However, XDA’s version came first by several months. Frankly, you can go with either one. We’re not trying to sell you anything here.
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Poco Launcher

Price: Free
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Poco Launcher is the official launcher app of the Pocophone. We’re a little shocked it made our list this year. However, Xiaomi made a surprisingly decent launcher app. It features customization options, third party icon pack support, and even some privacy and security settings. For instance, you can hide app icons from your app drawer if you want them kept a secret. It also has an app drawer and that’s interesting because Xiaomi phones usually don’t. In any case, it’s light, fast, and serviceable. It’s also entirely free. We wish Google launched its launcher apps like Xiaomi does.
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Poco Launcher

ProtonVPN

Price: Free / $4-$24 per month
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ProtonVPN is an easy pick for a top app of 2018. It simply checks all of the boxes that we would want in a VPN, something most VPN apps don’t do. That includes a strict no-logging policy, full encryption, a good list of servers, and it’s based in Switzerland. Swizterland, in case you didn’t know, has some fairly hardcore privacy protections. ProtonVPN also includes a completely free experience with no data caps. You don’t get full speed, but unlimited free use is extremely rare in the VPN space. You can unlock more servers and higher speeds with one of its three subscription plans. They start at $4/month and range up to $24/month. There really isn’t much wrong with it. It’s also friendly for those who don’t know much about VPNs.
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ProtonVPN

YouTube Music

Price: Free / $9.99 per month
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YouTube Music the app technically isn’t new. However, YouTube Music, the service, definitely is. The app saw a major evolution this year into its own music streaming service. It includes both video and audio-only streaming content. You also get playlists, direct integration with normal YouTube, and a toggle to turn music videos into audio-only content. That alone makes it one of the most unique music streaming apps on the market. However, its lackluster audio quality, lack of obvious features (like Android Auto support, gapless playback, etc), and confusion with consumers between it and Google Play Music certainly isn’t helping its case. It has the potential to be one of the very best, but it still has a long way to go.
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YouTube Music

Bouncer: The best new app from 2018

Price: $0.99
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Bouncer is a new security app from Sam Reston, former developer of the popular Weather Timeline app. This is perhaps one of the best security apps we’ve seen in recent years. The app lets users temporarily grant permissions to applications. For instance, you can enable location in Facebook and Bouncer helps you remove that permission later so Facebook doesn’t have it all the time. Frankly, that should be a stock Android feature and we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if it became one someday. Bouncer itself requires no permissions and doesn’t require Internet access either. The app works as advertised, it’s super cheap at just $0.99, does not require ADB or root access, and it even won our best apps of the year fan poll. Yes, it is that good. In fact, this is one of those rare apps that everybody should at least try if they care at all about privacy and security.
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Bouncer: The best new app from 2018

Honorable mentions

There are always a ton of apps every year that are great but don’t always make lists like this. Here are a list of great apps from 2018 that probably should be on this list, but couldn’t be because 15 is kind of our limit here:


If we missed any great Android apps from 2018, tell us about them in the comments! Apps are a massive market and sometimes we just don’t see everything there is to see, plus your comments will help other readers find even more interesting apps! Of course, you can always click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists as well!

Cast your vote for the best Android games released in 2018!

This is the featured image for fan vote Android games 2018
We started our 2018 app and game voting with a fan vote for the best Android apps from 2018 last weekend. This weekend, we continue the fun with the best Android games from 2018. We’re taking a similar approach to our game vote as we did with our apps vote. We narrowed down a list of over 120 possible competitors down to just 20 and you can choose from there!

Android gaming took a massive step in 2018. We saw some truly big name releases with PUBG Mobile and Fortnite along with some new games from previously outstanding mobile gaming franchises. The list is varied and includes shooters, RPGs, tower defense games, puzzle games, big cross-overs, and even a quiz game. This list is truly a representation of modern mobile gaming from HQ Trivia’s launch on the first second of 2018 to the predictably positive launch of The Room: Old Sins. There were just a bunch of great titles this year. Our criteria for this list include:

  1. The game had to be from 2018 or the last few weeks of 2017 because we cut it off during December.
  2. It had to be a totally new mobile game. For instance, Distraint: Deluxe Edition was new in 2018 and also an outstanding game. However, it’s a re-release of a game from 2017.
  3. Mobile ports are tricky business. Some people don’t like them and others don’t mind them. We decided not to micromanage things here. They are right in the fray with every other game within reason.
  4. We did take popularity into consideration but only as a consideration. Obviously, PUBG Mobile and Fortnite are extremely popular for a reason. On the other hand, freemium games get more downloads than premium games because they are a free download. We obviously don’t want a list of games with only 50 downloads. However, this is also not just a list of the most popular freemium games of 2018 either.

This poll is massive just like our apps poll. Make sure to give it a good look before casting your vote! There aren’t any special rules or anything like that. Just vote for the one you like the most! We have basic descriptions and links for each game below the poll if you want to learn more.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

As promised, here is a brief description and link to all 20 games in the poll above:

  • Alto’s Odyssey – Alto’s Odyssey is a gorgeous 2D side-scrolling runner. Players ski down hills, make huge jumps, and collect little rings to unlock stuff. It stays within the runner archetype. However, any given moment in this game is a screenshot worthy of a wallpaper. It also a Zen Mode with no coins, power-ups, or scoring for a relaxing runner experience.
  • Asphalt 9: Legends – Asphalt 9: Legends is one of the most popular new arcade racing games of 2018. It has everything. That includes tons of content, unlockable cars, online multiplayer, above average graphics, and fun, simple controls. Its freemium elements are a little obtrusive occasionally, but it’s otherwise a solid racer.
  • Bloons TD 6 – The latest game in the popular tower defense series is just as good as the previous five. It includes a bunch of levels, plenty of towers, an excellent upgrade system, and it’s completely playable offline. Tower defense isn’t as popular these days, but this title shows there are still some great game releases, even in 2018.
  • Bridge Constructor Portal – Bridge Constructor Portal combines the fun mechanics of a Bridge Constructor game with the quirky personality of a Portal game. The game features rock solid mechanics, plenty of Portal cameos, and even some Portal elements in the game play. You also get achievements, hardware controller support, and achievements. What’s not to like?
  • Cytus II – Cytus II is easily the best rhythm game release of 2018. Players use taps, swipes, and other gestures to the beat of the music to survive the level and achieve a high score. The base game includes a campaign mode with a story line, 35 songs, and multiple step charts per song. You can buy additional tracks and step charts as DLC. The first Cytus game is good too.
  • Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition – Square Enix did a couple of excellent games this year, but we particularly liked Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition. It follows the same story as the console and PC version of the game. However, the graphics and game play mechanics were changed for an easier mobile experience. We consider it one step up from a straight port. Square Enix also did Life is Strange, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, and Valkyrie Profile Lenneth. All notable mobile game launches.
  • Florence – Florence is a slice of life narrative game by some of the same development staff of Monument Valley 2. You play as 25 year old Florence and players navigate her life as she conducts it. It focuses primarily on her relationship with a man named Krish. The game is definitely something different from what we normally see, even if the genre itself isn’t overly popular as a mobile game.
  • Fortnite – Fortnite is one of the two big name battle royale shooter releases of 2018. This one mimics the console and PC version. Players drop into a battlefield, craft various things, shoot the competitors, and become the last person standing. Epic Games tread a lot of unexplored ground with this one, including a non-Google Play Store release. It’s still a beta, but it’s improving all the time.
  • Friday the 13th – Friday the 13th is a gory puzzle game for adults. Blue Wizard Digital launched the game on a Friday the 13th and it was a beautiful day. The game features over 100 levels, tons of pixelated gore, a PG mode for a less gory experience, some minor RPG elements, an offline play support. It’s definitely not for everybody, but the animation style helps take the edge off of the gore.
  • HQ Trivia – HQ Trivia was literally the first new Android game of 2018. It ran its first quiz show literally moments after midnight on New Years. The addictive game plays like a real life game show and includes actual cash prizes for winners. Games take place every day at 9PM EST and every week day at 3PM EST. The game occasionally suffers from lag issues, but it’s otherwise a good time.
  • Kingdom Rush Vengeance – Kingdom Rush Vengeance is the latest game in the venerable tower defense franchise. It uses a lot of the same mechanics as previous games, but also includes boss fights, more towers, more heroes, a bunch of new levels, offline support, and new achievements. Like Bloons TD 6, this game serves as a reminder that tower defense games are alive and kicking on mobile.
  • Monster Hunter Stories – Monster Hunter Stories is a port of the popular Nintendo 3DS game of the same name. It’s a turn-based RPG with monster collecting mechanics. It’s not quite the same as other Monster Hunter games, but the premise and feel is there. This one is surprisingly expensive. However, Capcom launched a free demo that also serves as a sort of prologue into the main game. We thought that was an absolutely genius idea.
  • Part Time UFO – Part Time UFO is an adorable puzzle game by the developers of most of the Kirby games as well as the first Super Smash Bros. You play as an alien who crash landed on Earth. Players complete missions, unlock customization gear, and enjoy the fun banter between characters. Almost nobody hates this game.
  • Pocket City – Pocket City is a city-building simulator similar to SimCity. You build a city with various buildings, roads, and businesses. Players collect money, fix the town after natural disasters, and unlock new buildings and territory for building. It’s basically the mobile SimCity fans asked for, except it’s not actually SimCity. The game also has offline support as well.
  • PUBG Mobile – PUBG Mobile hit the ground running in 2018. It’s arguably the most popular game of the year and a good shooter to boot. It features classic battle royale mechcanics, a lite version for lower end devices, and decent graphics and controls. It and Fortnite redefined the mobile shooter in 2018 and we don’t use that word lightly.
  • Reigns: Game of Thrones – Reigns: Game of Thrones is a surprisingly addicting mobile card game. Each card has a scenario and players swipe left or right to make a decision. The decision can mean the end of your rule or the continuation of it. This one also contains a bunch of Game of Thrones characters and references for added entertainment value.
  • Returner 77 – Returner 77 is another gorgeous indie puzzle game. This one takes place in a sci-fi future where humanity is nearly wiped out by aliens. Players ascend the alien ship in hopes of saving humanity. The graphics are quite good and the puzzles are fun and enjoyable. It also boasts a non-freemium experience and a decent story line.
  • The Room: Old Sins – The Room: Old Sins is a shoo-in for this list. It’s the fourth game in arguably the best puzzle game franchise on mobile. The graphics are outstanding and the puzzles are fun and clever. This title also features cloud saves, achievements, and some other neat ideas. It’s also one of the few premium games with over 100,000 downloads.
  • Rusty Lake Paradise – The Rusty Lake series is a long running series of point-and-click adventure games similar to the old Telltale Games titles. It features a dark story, plenty of fun puzzles, and simple game mechanics. You’re really into this one for the story more than any challenge, but it’s an entertaining narrative so we don’t mind.
  • Shadowgun Legends – Shadowgun Legends is the long awaited sequel to the popular mobile shooter from years ago. It features a sci-fi theme, excellent graphics, a story mode, a co-op mode, and an online multiplayer mode. There’s a ton of loot to collect, some RPG elements mixed in, and a fame system for online players. It’s a great mobile shooter, even if some other titles stole the show this year.

There were plenty of other great mobile games from 2018. If we missed one you think should be here, tell us about it in the comments! Of course, you can also check out all of our best Android app and game lists!

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

This is the featured image for Android Apps Weekly 12-08-2018
Welcome to the 272nd edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Microsoft has some big plans for Microsoft Edge. For starters, it’s replacing EdgeHTML for the much more popular Chromium. Microsoft claims the change helps them release more updates and work better cross-platform. The good news is that it might allow some serious developments like support for MacOS. However, it also means that Chrome has gobbled up yet another competitor. Opera also uses Chromium as a base for its operation too. In any case, you can hit the link to learn more.
  • Google’s chat apps are having a pretty bad week. Google Hangouts is turning into a chat platform similar to the likes of Slack or Discord. The change should take place by 2020. It was once a couple of features away from being the iMessage of Android so it’s a staggering change. Then, Google announced the shuttering of Google Allo. Google is transitioning many of the features to Android Messages, an SMS app with RCS support. It seems like Google believes RCS to be the future. Those are two more Google social platforms to bite the dust in 2018 along with Spaces and Google+.
  • Epic Games had an exciting week. Fortnite received a new game feature. There is now a creative mode similar to the creative mode in Minecraft. Additionally, the company announced a competitor to Steam and the Google Play Store. The Epic Games Store houses PC and mobile games in the same place. This could be a big deal because no other store covers both platforms. It’s also not a half bad idea with how many indie games get both PC and mobile releases. We’ll see how that goes.
  • Google announced Hummingbird officially this week. The Hummingbird platform is a simple idea with a complicated execution. It lets developers build a single app that runs on a variety of platforms, including iOS, the web, and Android. All-in-one toolkits are usually bogus with support for a single platform with a few features for a second. Hummingbird has the opportunity to be the first of its kind to not be awful. Hit the link for more details!
  • Google announced its picks for the best of 2018 in the Google Play Store. There were a lot of winners across a range of categories, including PUBG Mobile (fan favorite and best game), YouTube TV (fan favorite), Avengers: Infinity War (fan favorite), Drops (best app), Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff (best ebook), 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson (best audiobook), and The Walking Dead (best TV show). You can hit the link to see all of the selections and check them out on Google Play!

Gorogoa

Price: $4.99
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Gorogoa is a new indie puzzle game. It features elements similar to Noodlecake Games’ Framed series. The game features a bunch of comic book style panels that players arrange and combine into a full story. It features hand-drawn graphics, a fun story line, and simple mechanics. The game itself is fairly fun to play. However, the carefully crafted animations and story are the real story here. Those who enjoy thoughtful narratives should enjoy this one quite a bit. The game is a little bit short, but most people don’t seem to mind. It runs for $4.99 with no in-app purchases or advertisements. This is also from the same developer of Florence, a slice-of-life narrative game.
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Yahoo Play

Price: Free
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Yahoo Play is the latest app from, well, Yahoo. It’s a pop culture app and has tons of celebrity, pop culture, and entertainment stuff. It also does a bunch of other stuff. At its core, it’s a news app with news about the pop culture scene. However, it also includes original video series along with trivia and quiz games. There is honestly quite a bit to do in this app. However, it does suffer from bugs and slow load times. It definitely needs some work. This could be fun for those enjoy entertainment, but we recommend maybe waiting a bit until Yahoo sorts out the issues.
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Yahoo Play

Command and Conquer: Rivals

Price: Freemium
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Command and Conquer: Rivals saw its global launch earlier this week. It’s a duel-style battle game. Players choose a hero, build an army, and battle other players online in one versus one battles. The game mechanics also include strategy elements as well. Players must control the battlefield and resupply their troops in order to win. Of course, your army is customizable as well. The game has some serious balancing issues right now. Low level players get matched up with players significantly more powerful and it’s a little annoying. Otherwise, it’s actually not a half bad game.
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Google Santa Tracker

Price: Free
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Google’s yearly Santa tracker app is live in the Play Store as well as on the web. It has about the same content as it did last year. That includes a bunch of kid-friendly min-games, a countdown timer to the big day, and some other little bits of fun. The app then tracks Santa on Christmas Eve to the delight of young children. The min-games aren’t awe inspiring or anything, but they’re good enough for most younger kids. It’s a colorful, fun way to track Santa every year. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases. Thanks, Google!
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Absolute Drift

Price: $2.99
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Absolute Drift is the latest game from Noodlecake Studios. It’s a decidedly mobile game with a racing theme. Players drift around corners, avoid obstacles, and collect little red balls for points. The game isn’t fast, but it’s surprisingly intense anyway. Plus, there’s a relaxing soundtrack to bring it all together. The game also features six cars, three game modes, a night mode, leaderboards, and even Bluetooth controller support. It costs an extremely reasonable $2.99 and has no ads or additional in-app purchases. What’s not to like?
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If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about in the comment section below! Also, check out our weekly podcast here!

Five good Clash Royale decks showcased at the World Finals

Good Clash Royale Decks Featured

The first Clash Royale League World Finals have come to a close with China’s Nova Esports taking home the victory. The action left us with a bunch of new decks and unique strategies to check out, so we’ve done the hard work and put together a list of five good Clash Royale decks showcased at the World Finals. With Global Tournaments rolling out in the latest Clash Royale update, now is the time to expand your deck choices and start racking up those prizes!


PONOS Sports Raiki Jones – Royal Giant/Lightning

Raiki Jones Royal Giant Lightning good Clash Royale decks

Composition:

Barbarian Barrel, Guards, Mega Minion, Inferno Dragon
Furnace, Baby Dragon, Lightning, Royal Giant

The Japanese squad might not have made it to the finals, but the crowd favorites showed up in style and put up a good fight. In their match with the North American representatives Immortals, Raiki Jones managed to take down thegod_rf with this deck and set his team up for a King of the Hill victory.

With the Furnace providing constant pressure, Raiki Jones could play his Royal Giant behind his King Tower

Royal Giant and Lightning have been the basis for a number of good Clash Royale decks, but the addition of Furnace gave Raiki Jones just the boost he needed. The constant pressure put his opponent at an elixir disadvantage, which he then capitalized on with a big Royal Giant push.

Unlike most Western players, he also played the Royal Giant behind the king tower, giving himself even more time to build his push. Most players don’t do this because it gives your opponent plenty of time to react with a quick counter-push or prepare their defenses, but with the added Furnace pressure thegod_rf had to either react immediately or eat chip damage from the ever spawning Fire Spirits.


Nova Esports Little Shen – Targeted Bait deck

Little Shen targeted bait good Clash Royale decks

Composition:

Bats, Goblin Gang, Dart Goblin, Princess
Goblin Barrel, Skeleton Army, Royal Giant, Mega Knight

This unusual deck made it onto our list of good Clash Royale decks from the World Finals for a single reason: it was created specifically to take down Vivo Keyd Javi14’s deck in the last few matches of the CRL World Finals.

Visa issues meant Vivo Keyd only had three players, and opponents could scout out all of their decks

Due to visa issues the Latin American team Vivo Keyd could only field three players, meaning that Little Shen and his coaches had plenty of time to come up with a counter for one of Javi14’s favorite decks. The result takes the traditional spell bait deck to the next level with the addition of Skeleton Army and a pocket Royal Giant.

With just Zap and Fireball, Javi14 didn’t have enough to slow down the pressure. Little Shen also held Royal Giant until the last moments before double elixir time, catching Javi14 completely off guard. This proved to be such a good counter that Little Shen pulled it out for a second time in the third game of the series to take home the win and eventually the cup. This shows just how much of an advantage it can be to get good scouting information about your opponent.


Vivo Keyd Javi14 – Lava/Miner

Javi14 Lava Miner good Clash Royale decks

Composition:

Barbarian Barrel, Miner, Tombstone, Mega Minion
Baby Dragon, Fireball, Inferno Dragon, Lava Hound

Immediately after his loss to the deck above, Javi14 came back swinging with this Lava/Miner deck. Rather than either Poison, Zap, or Lightning spells to back up his push, this deck relies on Fireball and Barbarian Barrel as its only spells.

Editor’s Pick

By placing his Lava Hound in the far corner behind his Princess towers, Javi14 was able to slip past defenses played too deep in the opposite lane. Once the Lava Hound arrived at the tower, he held his fireball until just before it popped, taking any defending troops low enough to be destroyed by the Lava Pups.

Mega Minion and Baby Dragon are enough to defend against swarms of enemies, and the Inferno Dragon makes quick work of beefy targets as they’re pulled aside by the Tombstone. The final nail in the coffin for this match was the Miner, which could easily get free hits on the tower while Little Shen struggled with the counter-pushes and Lava Hounds creeping across the river.


King-zone DragonX X-bow Master – Golem/Night Witch

xbow Master Golem Night Witch good Clash Royale decks

Composition:

Log, Bats, Zap, Clone
Lumberjack, Night witch, Electro Dragon, Golem

In their match against eventual champions Nova Esports in the semi-finals, King-zone DragonX’s X-bow Master made a big mistake by dropping a Golem behind his King Tower early in the match. His opponent Lciop immediately punished with a Lumberjack and Battle Ram push that destroyed X-bow Master’s Princess Towers just over a minute into the match.

He didn’t give up though, and held on to his key Clone spell until just the right moment. While his opponent thought he had the perfect counter to Golem with Pekka, a clutch Clone put more than 15 raged up Bats to work on a Princess Tower. After watching his lead evaporate in an instant, Lciop was never able to recover and eventually lost the match.

The main way this deck differs from the classic Golem/Night Witch archetype is the addition of one of this year’s new Clash Royale cards: Electro Dragon. It primarily performed defense duty against charging units and swarms. However, it didn’t have a major effect on this or any match in the tournament. Time will tell if it makes it into some of the best Clash Royale decks in the CRL regular season, but in the end fan concerns over its lack of balance have proved unfounded.


Nova Esports Legend’s Zappies 3M

Legend Zappies 3 Musketeers good Clash Royale decks

Composition:

Log, Ice Golem, Bandit, Royal Ghost
Battle Ram, Zappies, Elixir Pump, Three Musketeers

Nova Esports might have come in as the tournament favorite, but few were expecting to see Legend take the stage over his more successful teammates. However, he pulled out several good Clash Royale decks and took home the only King of the Hill sweep of the tournament.

Zappies don’t see much play outside of Asia, but Legend showed how useful they can be on defense

We chose this deck to highlight because it uses Zappies, which haven’t seen much play outside of the Asian leagues. This deck relies on Ice Golem and Zappies to slow down any charging attackers, with Bandit and Royal Ghost to provide most of the dps. Once the Zappies have taken down the attackers, they provide a great basis for a counter-push alongside Battle Ram.

It’s tempting to think that Elixir Pump and 3M would play a bigger role, but when Legend saw his opponent’s quick cycle deck, he (correctly) assumed he was up against a big spell card. As a result, he didn’t play Elixir Pump a single time, and his opponent’s Rocket sat harmlessly for the duration of the match. This just goes to show that good Clash Royale decks can be adapted to any situation and come out on top.


Good Clash Royale decks from the World Finals

I hope you enjoyed this list of good Clash Royale decks from the CRL World Finals. If you’re looking for even more decks to experiment with, check out our list of the best Clash Royale decks from the regular season of the Clash Royale League.

Did we miss any great decks from the CRL World Finals? Let us know in the comments!

Related

Cast your vote for the best Android apps released in 2018!

This is the featured image for the best android apps fan vote 2018!
We’re nearing the end of 2018 and that means it’s time to judge the best of things. Our researchers and reviewers did an excellent job with the Best of Android 2018 for smartphones. However, there are still two more major categories that still need judgment. They include Android apps and Android games. We don’t have a super scientific method of measuring apps. Different apps do different things and appeal to different people, after all. Thus, we couldn’t immediately figure out a way to determine the very best Android apps. Instead, we’re going to ask you!

Below is a massive poll with the 20 best Android apps as narrowed down by our editors. They include launchers, browsers, productivity apps, keyboards, security apps, and even one gaming emulator if you can believe it. To help keep to expectation, our criteria for this list include:

  1. The apps (or services) are from 2018 or at least the last few weeks of 2017. We cut off the wait time in early December every year.
  2. The developers had to update the app at least a few times to overcome new app bug problems.
  3. We do not include apps that received substantial updates, re-branding, or ownership changes. There are exceptions for apps with redesigns so huge that it no longer looks or feels like its previous version. In other words, Smart Launcher 5 makes the list, but Google Keep Notes with its name change and UI redesign does not.

Okay, so this poll is massive so let’s get right to it. There aren’t any special rules or anything to take into consideration. Just vote for the one you like the most! We have some basic subscriptions and links for each app under the poll in case you want to see what they do.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s poll.

Introducing the apps!

Of course, we don’t want to just give you a massive list without explaining what all of these apps do in case you have not heard of them. Here are short descriptions and links for all 20 Android apps:

  • Bouncer – Bouncer is a security app. It lets users grant temporary access to permissions to apps and the app revokes those permissions later. For instance, you can give Facebook temporary permission to access your location and then set Bouncer to remove that permission later.
  • Cake Web Browser – Cake Web Browser is a slightly different approach to web browsers. It lets you search for various things and then you swipe between the search results like Tinder. It also comes with an RSS feed, a pop-up blocker, an ad-blocker, Slices (a news section), and more.
  • Carrot Weather – Carrot Weather is a decent weather app with a few fun, unique features. The app comes with weather basics like forecasts and current weather. You also get sassy quotes and a neat time travel feature. The time travel feature let you view the weather up to 70 years in the past.
  • Dolphin Emulator – Dolphin Emulator isn’t technically new. However, it was re-launched after years of abandonment. It’s the only somewhat decent emulator for GameCube and Nintendo Wii. The new versions fixed a lot of bugs and added some new features. Moral gray area aside, this is a welcome addition to the emulator scene on Google Play. Dolphin Emulator has nothing to do with Dolphin Browser.
  • Firefox Reality Browser – Firefox Reality Browser is a virtual reality browser for Google Daydream and other virtual reality headsets. It supports both 2D and 3D content and adds some much needed competition in the space. Of course, it needs more work, but VR is still fairly new.
  • Forest – Forest is a productivity app with similar ideas to Google’s Digital Wellbeing. You open the app and a tree starts to grow. If you leave the app to check Facebook or do other distracting things, your tree wilts. The goal is to keep you off of your phone while you work. It’s also configurable with a whitelist so you can still answer important texts or phone calls.
  • Grammarly Keyboard – Grammarly Keyboard is the best new keyboard of 2018. It doesn’t have a ton of flashy features like many of its competitors. However, it actively corrects your grammar as you type. It also explains its corrections. We expect more flashy features like gesture typing in future updates.
  • Haven – Haven is a niche security app. It’s an open source app that helps protect your stuff. You install it on a secondary device and put that device in your belongings. The app alerts you on your primary phone when your secondary device is moved, picked up, or otherwise messed with. It’s not useful for everybody, but it’s a really neat idea for frequent travelers.
  • Heimdall Parental Control – Heimdall Parental Control is what the name implies. You install it on your device and your child’s device. You can then control their device from yours. That includes limiting app and phone call time, tracking your child’s network activities, and the premium version has phone tracking as well.
  • Hyperion Launcher – Hyperion Launcher is the next big app from the developers of Substratum. It features a stock-style look, tons of customization options, and an optional Google Feed plug-in for fans of that. You also get third party icon pack support and tons of theming options. It’s surprisingly good for how new it is.
  • Khan Academy Kids – The regular Khan Academy is one of the best educational apps on Android. Khan Academy Kids fills a similar role for kids’ learning apps. The app covers reading, literacy, math, logic, memory, and problem-solving. It’s also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases. What’s not to like?
  • Kiwi Browser – Kiwi Browser is another new browser from 2018. It’s based on WebKit and Chromium for a relatively smooth experience. You also get a strong ad-blocker, crypto-jacking protection, and a minimal-style UI for quick browsing and content enjoyment. It also supports 60 languages.
  • Lean Launcher – Lean Launcher is the friendliest launcher release for fans of minimalism. It has a stock Android look along with a few decent security and customization features. You can hide icons from your app drawer, change the theme, and use gesture controls. We didn’t love it as much as we loved some other launchers on the list, but it’s still really good for what it does.
  • Navigation Gestures – Navigation Gestures adds gesture controls to basically any smartphone. You can configure basically any gesture you can think of, including taps, swipes, and swiping from different parts of the screen. Those gestures can trigger all kinds of actions with more available in the premium version. It needs work, but it worked well in our testing.
  • Opera Touch – Opera Touch is another new mobile browser from Opera. It features desirable features like an ad-block, a QR code scanner, and a bunch of little usability features. It doesn’t sync with the PC version and we definitely think it should. However, it’s otherwise a very functional web browser from a big name in the space.
  • Poco Launcher – How did an OEM launcher make this list? Well, because it’s actually pretty good. Poco Launcher is a lightweight launcher with enough usability and security features to delight us. That includes home screen customizations, categorical app sorting, and you can hide apps from the app drawer. Not bad, Xiaomi, not bad at all.
  • ProtonVPN – ProtonVPN is our favorite new VPN from 2018. It gets the basics right. That means no logs, good encryption, and a home base in a neutral country (Switzerland). It has a bona fide unlimited free version, albeit at slower speeds. The subscription prices aren’t half bad either. It was a shoo-in for our best VPN apps list.
  • RememBear – RememBear is a new password manager from TunnelBear, developers of the popular eponymous VPN service. It had some issues on the onset, but it’s quickly becoming a positive force in the password manager space. It even has most of the desirable features that many other password managers have.
  • Smart Launcher 5 – Smart Launcher 5 was a massive departure from previous versions of the launcher. This new version features adaptive icons, theming, app sorting, an ultra-immersive mode, gestures, and other customization features. It even has an integrated app locker and that kills two birds with one stone for security fans.
  • YouTube Music – We debated internally whether or not to include this because it’s technically just a huge update. However, it’s about the only big new music service in 2018. We loved its integration with music videos along with streamed music in our initial impressions video. It should get much better over time with the possible exception of its actual music quality.

There were plenty of great apps from 2018 and if we forgot one, tell us about it in the comments after voting for Other so that we can count votes for your favorite apps as well!

Fortnite Season 7 guide: Start date, Battle Pass, skins, map changes, challenges, and more!

Fortnite Season 7 start date, battle pass, skins, challenges

Fortnite Season 7 is fast approaching, and it looks like a cold snap is about to hit Epic Games’ hit battle royale game. With all the confusion over Season 6’s giant cube finally put to bed, the Fortnite team has begun teasing a winter theme to coincide with the Christmas season.

Below we’ll be piecing together all the clues and leaks, and running through everything we know so far. Here you’ll find the Fortnite Season 7 start time, Battle Pass details, map changes, weekly challenges, new skins, and more! Check back frequently to stay up to date on the ever evolving world of Fortnite!

Put down your Llama Bell and check out the rest of our Fortnite content:


When does Fortnite Season 7 start?

Fortnite Season 6 and the Season 6 Battle Pass end this Thursday. Fortnite Season 7 starts later that same day on Dec. 6. Here are the usual start times for Fornite Seasons:

  • 4 a.m. ET
  • 1 a.m. PT
  • 10 a.m. CEST
  • 9 a.m. BST

Epic confirmed the Season 7 release date on Twitter just three days before the mayhem is due to kick off. Dec. 6 also happens to coincide with The Game Awards. The show’s host, Geoff Keighley, confirmed that a big Fortnite announcement and “world premiere” will be announced during the event.

While there’s a chance we might catch our first glimpse of the Fortnite Season 7 trailer at the show, one of Epic’s PR representatives has teased that the announcement is much more significant than the new Season launch.

Epic Games’ worldwide creative director of Fortnite will be in attendance for the big reveal, as well as mega-popular Fortnite streamer Ninja, who is both nominated for an award and presenting.

When will Fortnite Season 7 end?

The Fortnite Season 7 end date should fall ten weeks after the start on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

How much does the Fortnite Season 7 Battle Pass cost?

Like the previous seasons, the Fortnite Season 7 Battle Pass should cost 950 V-Bucks. You can buy 1,000 V-Bucks for $10. While there’s a free Battle Pass for players who don’t want to spend their hard earned cash, you’ll only unlock the most sought after exclusive skins, emotes, and other cosmetics by completing challenges to progress through the premium Battle Pass’ 100 levels.


Fortnite Season 7 Theme and Map Changes

Fortnite season 7 iceberg castle

After an exploding giant cube transformed Loot Lake into Leaky Lake in the closing weeks of Season 6, things have gotten a little quieter around the Fortnite map — that’s all about to change.

All the signs point to a winter theme for Season 7, with a possible medieval theme once the Christmas period comes to an end. Here’s what we know so far.

Editor’s Pick

The first sign of a cold front came with the appearance of a blizzard in the middle of November, which was visible when peering out beyond the map from Flush Factory.

A week later, the snow storm parted to reveal a massive iceberg. At the same time, players started noticing you could now see your avatar’s breath in the cold when standing on the starting island. 

The map changes seem to suggest we’ll be treated to a range of skins and other items that fit a winter theme. There’s also the chance the iceberg could collide with an existing area of the map — data-mined files are suggesting Tilted Towers could (again!) be a target.

The winter theme was later all-but-confirmed by Epic Games thanks to a teaser image accompanying the Season 7 release date. The image shows an icy figure wearing a crown that also doubles up as a mountain with a tiny skier on the right side. The caption “a bitter ice spreads” is also a pretty big giveaway!

However, this could all just be the tip of the iceberg (get it?).

Eagle-eyed players have now noticed the top of a medieval-style castle poking out of the iceberg (see image above), indicating the rest of the building is encased in the ice.

Going as close to the iceberg as possible from r/FortNiteBR

This could also tie-in with the portal technology in the Wailing Woods laboratory, which shows a reflection of a castle at certain angles.

We’ll know more as Epic begins to further tease Season 7 this week ahead of the full launch.


Fortnite Season 7 Skins

Fortnite Season 7 winter event

Fortnite Season 7 Battle Pass Skins

We’ve yet to see any of the new skins for Season 7. As soon as we do we’ll post them here!


Fortnite Season 7 Weekly Challenges

Fortnite Season 7 start date, skins, battle pass

To get all the new stuff in Season 7 you’ll need to complete Free Pass Weekly Challenges and Battle Pass Weekly Challenges!

Previous weekly challenges will be available even after a new week starts, we’ll list them below in reverse chronological order when a new one goes live (the most recent week first). We’ll also include some handy tips for the trickier challenges.


That’s all for this Fortnite Season 7 guide. What are you most looking forward to this season and what would you like to see in Season 8? Let us know in the comments!

10 best texting games and text-based games for Android!

This is the featured image for the best texting games and text-based games for android
Texting games (text-based games) are some of the oldest computer games. Many remember old text RPGs like Zork. Mobile gave the genre a chance at a rennaisance and there are actually a bunch of good ones. It comes naturally on a smartphone. You text your friends and family on your phone. Why not text a fictional stranger to help them live? In any case, these games are usually pretty simple. You get a bunch of choices, choose the one you want, and the game continues down that story branch. You keep going until you fail or beat the game. This genre also spawned a whole new sub-genre, the lost phone. Instead of answering text prompts, you root through a fictional phone to find out what happened to its owner. We have a little bit of everything on this list. Here are the best texting games for Android!


A Dark Room

Price: $1.99
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A Dark Room is a fairly simple and straight forward texting game. You start in a cold, dark room. Players build a fire and then kind of go from there. It’s a bit slower than we would normally like and there aren’t a ton of options starting out. However, a little patience nets you a fairly entertaining game. You slowly build a shelter, traps, and other stuff to survive. It won’t win any awards for aesthetics, even for a text game. On the other hand, it only costs $1.99, has no in-app purchases or ads, and it plays perfectly fine offline. It’s a good place to start for texting games.
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A Dark Room

Facebook Messenger

Price: Free
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Facebook Messenger is a weird entrant on this list, we know. However, it does let you play games over text with friends or by yourself. The games are rarely texting games. However, they are games you can play while texting and we’re fans of thinking outside the box on some stuff. Some of the options include Tetris, Galaga, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and some other arcade games. Facebook Messenger is free as are all of the games. It’s not a great platform, but tons of people use Facebook and it’s usable as an SMS app as well. Why not use it and play some games while you message people?
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Facebook Messenger

InstLife

Price: Free
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InstLife is another unique texting game. You see the game icon, right? You basically live a whole life from the very beginning. The game gives you a life that starts at birth. You grow up and decide what to do with it. That includes relationships, school, career, and other pursuits. It’s not too bad as far as life simulations go and the lack of graphics helps the developer add even more options than you would normally find. Plus, this one is entirely free with advertising and no in-app purchases. There are some translation errors and the UI is a bit clunky, but it’s otherwise a great free game.
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InstLife

King of Dragon Pass

Price: $9.99
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King of Dragon Pass is a texting strategy game with a fantasy theme and RPG elements. It uses more graphical elements than most texting games. However, it ends up being useful for keeping track of all the stuff you accrue over the course of your adventure. You gather goods, trade for stuff, go on adventures, and slay mighty beasts. It’s a lot deeper and longer than many text games we tried. All of that awesomeness does come at a price, though. The game costs $9.99 and honestly, that’s a hard pill to swallow even for a full graphical game. We’ll leave it up to you, but the game is really good.
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Lifeline series

Price: Free / Varies
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The Lifeline series is an older series of text-based adventure games. There are about half a dozen games in the entire franchise and all of the stories are a little different. However, they all revolve around the same premise. You receive messages from people and decide what to do about it. Those decisions have impact in the story. You can lose the game if you make bad choices. The earlier games are a little bare in the features department but still tell great stories. The later games add more game play elements, fast forward modes, and the ability to backtrack. They are old, though, so test them inside of the refund period to be sure they work on your device.
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Lifeline series


Magium

Price: Free / $2.99
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Magium is a simple choose-your-own-adventure game with some RPG elements. You play as Barry, a normal guy who wants to become a mage someday. Players enter a tournament, improve Barry’s stats, and try to make all of that happen. Your decisions have impact on the story and it can even cause you to die and lose. This game is in active development. There are two whole books to play through with a third in the works already. It’s a nice little pickup if you want something that’s going to take a while.
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Magium

Playdius games

Price: Free / Varies
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Playdius has some of the most unique texting games anywhere. Some of their titles include A Normal Lost Phone and Another Lost Phone: Laura’s Story. Players find a lost phone and must figure out where its owner is. You then have Bury Me, My Love, a tragic romance about a refugee texting her husband as she tries to make it to Europe. Finally, you have Chroniric XIX and Somewhere, two somewhat standard adventure text games with engaging stories and some other fun game play elements. Literally nothing this studio does is bad and we recommend any of their games. They usually go for $1.99-$2.99 each with no additional in-app purchases or ads.
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Reigns games

Price: $2.99 – $3.99 each
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Reigns is a series of text games with card game and strategy elements. There are three games in the series. The first has a king, the second a queen, and the third one lets you play as characters from Game of Thrones. It’s a simple series of games, really. You are presented with a scenario on a card and you choose yes or no by swiping the card left or right Tinder style. The game tells you the results of your decision and then you make another one. Players keep going until they lose. They are inexpensive games with no in-app purchases or ads. They aren’t the deepest texting games on mobile, but we they are still quite fun.
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Simulacra and Simulacra: Pipe Dreams

Price: $4.99 and Free, respectively
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Simulacra and Simulacra: Pipe Dreams are two newer text games. The first is similar to A Normal Lost Phone. You find a lost phone and must find its owner. However, Simulacra adds some horror and thriller elements as well. It also has five endings, various puzzles, and even a voice-over cast. Simulacra: Pipe Dreams is a spin-off from the main game. You play as Teddy and you find messages you didn’t send. Cue the adventure from there. Both games are excellent. You don’t have to play the original to enjoy Pipe Dreams, but it does help add to the story a bit. Pipe Dream is free and the original game goes for $4.99.
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Sorcery! games

Price: $4.99 each
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Sorcery! is a series of text games. There are four games in the series at the time of this writing and they are all pretty decent. They have heavier graphical elements than most text games, but that’s perfectly okay. You basically move around the game world and engage with it with narrative text and decisions. The story forms around your decisions and there are just a ton of different things to do. This is closer to a narrative game than a pure text game, but it has elements of both. The Sorcery series is excellent. It’s also a little expensive at $4.99 per game for a total of $20 for the whole series to date.
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If we missed any great texting games for Android, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!