Welcome to the 490th edition of Android Apps Weekly. Here are the headlines from the last week:
- Stitcher is shutting down its podcasting service as of August 29th. The app was once hailed as among the best podcast apps available but has slid in recent years. SiriusXM, Stitcher’s owner, is expected to move the service into its subscription service to help entice more people to get it. Stitcher has been around for 25 years, so it’s a little sad to see it go.
- Facebook will let people download Android apps and games directly from advertisements. This is probably a terrible idea, but it’s something Facebook wants to try. Meta intends to start a pilot program with a few choice developers later this year. Hit the link to learn more.
- YouTube is implementing a three-strikes test for ad blocking. Basically, it’ll warn you when you show up to the site with an ad blocker on. Once you get enough strikes, the service intends to stop playback temporarily. This is going to be interesting, and something we think a lot of people are going to get mad at. On the other hand, it does help pay the creators people watch, which is helpful in producing more content to watch.
- Microsoft is giving Bing and Edge new AI tools for shopping. The tools generate things like buyer’s guides, review summaries, and price matches. The buyer’s guides and review summaries are available as of this week. The final feature, price matching, is slated for launch later this year.
- The Reddit protests actually put a pretty serious ding in Reddit’s traffic. It’s estimated that site traffic dropped by 16% over the two days when the protests happened. That’s a lot of traffic and reports are that it hurt the site’s advertiser engagement as well. However, traffic returned to normal after 48 hours, indicating that people are, in fact, going right back to it. We’ll see how this plays out long term.
Nexus War: Civilization
Price: Free to play
Nexus War: Civilization is a game with a few different mechanics. The main mechanic is a city builder where you place buildings, upgrade them, and reap the benefits. Second to that is a combat mode where you collect heroes and perform combat against enemies. The two marry together quite well, and the player is not often left wanting for things to do. That said, it does get repetitive like most free to play games, so it’s something to watch out for. The graphics are decent, the controls are relatively simple, and it’s not a terribly difficult game to get into.
Posture Correction Exercises
Price: Free / $9.99 per year / $10.99 once
Posture Correction Exercises is a newer app recommended by Google Play in its segment of apps they like in June. It’s sort of like a lightweight yoga app. It asks you about your weight and age along with a few other metrics. The app then sets you up with a set of exercises to help improve your fitness. There are a variety of exercises to perform, and none of them are particularly high impact. That makes this an excellent beginner app for this sort of exercise. There is a subscription tied to it, but honestly, if you like the app, we recommend going with the $10.99 lifetime license over the annual subscription.
Chrome Valley Customs
Price: Free to play
Chrome Valley Customs is a mechanic simulator where you restore old cars. Despite its fairly typical appearance, the game is actually quite good. You rebuild old cars to make them run again. There are some light customizations as well as a match-three puzzle element to help you get things done. It’s honestly reminiscent of old PC games where you used to do this kind of stuff with some modern mobile casual gaming mixed in. Obviously, those looking for a deeper game may need to look elsewhere. As a chill game, this one is good.
AvenEzer is an app for storing your memories. Essentially, whenever something happens of some importance to you, you write it down in this app. Later, you can reference this app and remember what you were doing and how you were feeling. It uses the same underlying functions as a mood journal. You write down the event, tell the app how you were feeling, and then recall it later. However, it doesn’t position itself as a journal app even though it definitely could. This is another app on Google Play’s apps they liked in June, and we think it’s nice too.
Harry Potter; Magic Awakened
Price: Free to play
Harry Potter: Magic Awakened is a CCG, or card collection game mixed with some RPG elements. It houses the same sort of perks as most Harry Potter games, like cameos from popular characters and setting the game in Hogwarts. You collect cards, build a deck, and then use the cards to cast spells in combat. You can customize your character as well. It has a lot of promise, but the game shipped with a bunch of optimization issues. We’re sure the developers will fix it up with time, but until then, you may run into some weird stuff happening.
If we missed any big Android apps or games releases, tell us about them in the comments.