Android News

Android Apps Alert #87: Good games and likeable apps edition

February 3, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka



Each week, recaps new and updated Android apps that you may have missed or might enjoy. The apps are picked according to developer requests, user suggestions, and browsing the Android Market. To submit an app for review, send us a note on Twitter.

Ring Dimmer

Android 1.6 or higher
$0.99 USD

Ever set your ringer to low because you were at work, and then missed a call later because you forgot to raise the volume once you left the office? If you answer ‘yes’ to that question, you might want to try out Ring Dimmer. By listening to your surroundings, Ring Dimmer knows what kind of volume to apply to the ringer. So if there’s just a little bit of light talking, the ringer will be low or normal. But if the phone picks up on car honking or music blasting, the ringer will be set to its maximum volume. There’s also a “Smart Vibrate” feature that adjusts vibration based on time of day and noise. Ring Dimmer is a niche product, but it’s worth a buck if you don’t want to constantly have to monitor your ringer settings.

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Saving Yello

Saving Yello is sort of like Angry Birds. Really, sort of. Players pull back on a fish and launch him through obstacles in order to land in a fish bowl. Players earn extra points for sending Nemo’s buddy safely into his home without hitting the roof and doing so in as few attempts as possible. Some levels feature toys that the fish can destroy to earn more points. The game should be easily adaptable for anyone who enjoys physics-based games, and integration with OpenFeint sets-up competition to see who can rack up the most points and stars. The first 10 levels are free, but users will have to unlock the rest of the game for $1.

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Tongue Tied

Android 2.2+ required
$1.99 USD

And while we’re on the subject of physics games, I think it’s safe to say that Tongue Tied is the best game in the genre that we’ve seen in a long time. Two dogs have their tongues tied together, which allows them to shoot forward to pick up bones, swing to different platforms, and reach spots that would otherwise be unavailable to a solo dog. Players of the game must figure out how to make the doggy duo swing to get treats and move safely through a range of obstacles. You’ll pick-up on some interesting moves along the way and quickly become entertained by the format of Tongue Tied. The game has 60 levels and 33 challenges to unlock more content. When you get really good at the game, you can push your top score higher by employing more difficult tricks. I haven’t approached that level of mastery yet, but the game has already proven to be quite fun.

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Android 2.1+ required

As Facebook braces for negativity as it undergoes some major changes, a new third-party app focuses on the positive. Likes is an explorer of your area that lists all of the nearby locations and things that your Facebook friends have liked. The app showcases all of the activities, products, places, and people favored by your social graph. Landmarks, theaters, night clubs, restaurants, and retailers are among the many “Places” categories available. You can then filter those likes according to locations within 0.3, 1, 5, or 25 miles.

Unfortunately, Likes often fails to recognize locations. Three of my friends Like Sole Fly, a great sneaker store nearby, but Likes doesn’t show an address. Worse yet, dozens of the 2,000+ likes in that section seem to be nonsensical status updates and groups.

The app isn’t a lost cause though, because the “More Likes” section shows books, magazines, music, sports, and products that your friends like. It can be a good way to find people to ask for advice or share activities, get insight into gift ideas, or just see what’s popular among your network. Likes allows users to filter within their network (city, college, etc.) or just Friends, and perform search terms.

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Cartoon Wars

Android 2.2+ required

Long ago, the Black and White Cartoon Tribe was subjugated by the Color Tribe. The BWCT’s revolted and waged war on the CT’s to win freedom for all in Cartoon World. The premise is a little heavier for what you’d expect from a game with fighting stick figures, but Cartoon Wars is a fun way to kill a few minutes here and there.

The game focuses on real-time strategy battles between the two waring tribes. Players send units out to destroy the Color Tribe’s towers, fire arrows to protect their own, and send in reinforcements when the opposition proves too strong. Sending in more units requires “mana” (points) that players accumulate during gameplay, and the opposition must be destroyed in a certain amount of time. Cartoon Wars features weapons and infantry upgrades for better attacks and defenses.

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