Welcome to the 275th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:
- We rounded out our end of the year content with three more app and game list roundups. They include the most controversial apps and games from 2018, the best apps from December 2018, and the best games from December 2018. The end of the year is a little slow for apps and games as everybody plans for the new year. However, there were still some great releases this month and it’s fun to relive some memories from the year. Check them out!
- Apple’s App Store still makes more money than the Google Play Store. A report this week showed that over 160 apps made their first million dollars on the App Store versus the just shy of 90 on Google Play. This study is a little weird, though. Many games go viral on iOS before they ever even reach Android so this is still an example of developers pushing on iOS first. The good news is that both iOS and Android had more first time million dollar success in 2018 than in 2017.
- Google Duo reached one billion downloads this last week. That’s actually really good news. Google is changing Hangouts and shuttering Allo due to lack of success. However, Duo seems to have broken the mold and actually become popular. The app also saw some big changes in 2018, including adding various useful new features. However, we would still like to see the daily or monthly active user list because that’s usually a better indicator for app popularity.
- The developers of HQ Trivia are working on a new game for 2019. It keeps with the company’s live game show aesthetic, but this time with a Wheel of Fortune feeling. Players figure out a phrase as quickly as possible. Letters reveal themselves over time and players get points for guessing the right stuff. It’s currently out of beta on iOS. Those of you with iOS devices can try the game right now. We don’t know when the Android release is coming yet.
- Brawl Stars is already putting money in Supercell’s bank account. The game allegedly made around $10 million in its first week according to reports. The popular brawler made roughly $3 million in the U.S. alone and it also did surprisingly well in Japan. Some other stats include the number one game for downloads in 20 countries and it’s in the top ten in another 29 countries. These are all excellent numbers and Supercell has another hit on its hands. Hit the link to see all of the stats!
Angry BaBa is a fun little arcade game for angry people. You play as a barbarian and you punch rocks. Players time their punches for maximum propulsion and distance. You get high scores for how far the rock goes along with what it hits while it flies through the air. The premise is simple and virtually anybody can play the game. However, it manages to be surprisingly satisfying. The game also includes upgradeable items and skills, various playable characters, and some other minor game elements. It’s also a pay-once game and that’s rare for this style of arcade game. It’s not bad for killing a few minutes.
Mint Browser is a new browser from Xiaomi. It follows suit with the Poco Launcher in a lot of ways. It’s super light, super quick, and super efficient. The developers boast an install size of about 10MB and that’s rather small. Some other features include a voice search, an incognito mode, a reading mode, mobile data saver options, and more. It still needs some work, but most of the complaints we saw were from peripheral features and not the experience itself. It’s a perfectly competent mobile browser for those who just want something simple. It’s also entirely free with no in-app purchases or ads (aside from the ones you find on websites already).
Seek Hearts is the latest RPG from Kemco. It’s a retro-style jRPG with turn-by-turn combat mechanics, world and town maps to explore, and the usual array of abilities and RPG mechanics. It plays a lot like RPGs from the Super Nintendo era. You find various upgrades for your main character and play through a decent story line. There are some extras here and there as well. There is a free demo version on Google Play (linked at the button above). The full version goes for $7.99. There are some additional in-app purchases that are completely optional. It played well during our testing, although we totally get if $7.99 is too rich for you.
Memoria Photo Gallery is a new gallery app. It boasts a high level of customization and some other decent features. Some of the additional features include a variety of theming options, an encrypted gallery vault, the ability to flat out hide whole albums, and some additional organizational features. It draws a lot of comparison to QuickPic before it was purchased by Cheetah Mobile. In any case, the premium version removes ads and unlocks a few premium features. Otherwise, the free and premium versions work almost the same. It’s a surprisingly competent gallery app and new gallery apps are rare in 2018.
Lemmings is a popular puzzle game series from the 1990’s and it’s now on mobile as well. Players save lemmings by helping them through various levels. The game boasts thousands of levels, plenty of puzzles and traps, and a bunch of collectible items. There is also a social gamer element as well as stuff like tournaments to help keep the game fresh. It’s a freemium game and, like most freemium games, there isn’t a ton of depth to the game play or challenge. However, it should be a fun time killer for fans of the franchise. There are enough mechanics from the old games to be enjoyable, but it’s definitely not quite like the old games.
If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our weekly podcast!