Welcome to the 425th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- Google Play will finally allow apps to do custom billing in the Play Store. Spotify is the first to try out the new system where users can choose their billing platform. Google is also working with other developers to test the new feature. Hit the link to learn more, but this is a very big deal.
- YouTube is streaming 100 TV shows for free, including Andromeda, Kitchen Nightmares, and Beyond Belief. The only caveat is you have to watch ads just like on normal cable television. Those 100 TV shows comprise over 4,000 total episodes of TV. It’s only limited to the US right now, but we hope YouTube expands availability over time.
- Steam for Chrome OS is finally 100% official. It’s in the alpha stages right now, so it’s only available for a handful of Chromebooks and it probably will not work too well out of the box at this time. However, Google officially recognizes this as a thing and has a website specifically for Steam on Chrome OS. Congrats, Chromebook users, you are now a PC gaming platform now.
- WhatsApp took its sweet time, but it’s finally rolling out message reactions to normal users. The first wave supports six total reactions, but should expand over time. This is a case of WhatsApp playing catchup as some major competitors like Discord and Telegram already had the feature. Click the link to learn more.
- Apple TV took a step backward this week. The service is now blocking Android TV users from renting or buying content on the official app. The app recommends that you use an iPhone, iPad, or a different streaming service to buy content. Apple has not given an official comment as of the time of this writing, but at least existing purchases aren’t affected.
- We had a recent poll about Netflix’s upcoming account sharing price hike. Predictably, over 87% of our readers strongly dislike the idea of paying more money to share a password with a family member. You can click the link for the full data.
Price: Free to play
Puzzle Breakers is a new mobile RPG with match-3 mechanics. It has a lot of the usual stuff for a mobile RPG. There are various heroes for you to summon and level up. There are clans for you to join to play with friends. There is both a PvP and campaign mode. We think the PvP needs a bit of balancing and the campaign can ramp up in difficulty unexpectedly. However, that’s pretty run-of-the-mill for free-to-play games. It’s pretty good for its genre and we hope the developers keep improving it.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Mystery Science Theather 3000 is the new official app from the cult classic movie property. This houses almost every episode of the series to ever air and you can rent or buy them as you want. Some earlier content is not available just yet, though. The content you’ve purchased or rented is immediately watchable with things like Chromecast support or streaming through the app. We’ve seen a lot of streaming apps get stuff wrong, but this one seems to check all the right boxes. Prices are clearly displayed, it’s easy to use, and it delivers exactly what it promises.
The app also contains exclusive live streams for all-new episodes in 2022 along with some other fun stuff. It’s not a subscription service so you can only buy or rent here. There is something nice about that, although it can get expensive over time.
Price: Free to play
Williams Pinball is a digital release of the once-popular Williams SuperPin pinball machines from the early 1990s. One of the more recent editions is the Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure. For those who have not partaken, mobile pinball is pretty fun. It works just like a real pinball machine just on a smaller device. Zen Studios has been doing mobile pinball for a while and knows how to do it well. Our one complaint is the price tag. You buy various pinball tables within the app and they can range up to $ 15. That’s a bit much, especially compared to other Zen Studios games.
ReddPlanet is a new Reddit app for Android and iOS. It originally debuted as a Windows 10 app and recently made its way to mobile. It features a clean UI, a simple settings menu, and quick operation. It omits a lot of power user features to do all that, but honestly, the clean look and feel are worth it. You can log in to your account like any other Reddit app and the developer is releasing new versions consistently to fix bugs and add other stuff. It’s certainly not at the level of long-time mainstays in third-party Reddit apps, but it definitely has a bunch of potential.
Price: Free to play
Vikingard is a strategy game and kingdom builder of sorts with some idle game mechanics. You build up a city that provides resources for your troops that you use to do battle with bad guys. The primary mechanic is tapping and the kingdom you build provides passive resources for you to use. Some people may not enjoy the monotony of tapping to do basically everything, but idle tap fans have a pretty strong game with this one.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments.
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