It's time again to delve into the depths of Google Play in search of the best new apps and games to make your Android device better. It's the same thing we do every week in the Google Play App Roundup. Just hit the links to go right to the Play Store.
This week we've got a new way to Reddit, a game for Warhammer fans, and a racing game with a twist.
Yet another Reddit app? Yes, but this one has a specific reason to exist. You can probably guess what Reddit Offline does from the name -- it downloads the sub-Reddits of your choice so you can browse without a network connection. This app can pull down comments, posts, and even images on a schedule so you can kill time even when you're offline.
Reddit Offline is not a particularly attractive app, but it's not going to make your eyes bleed either. It's just a little stark and utilitarian. The app consists of a scrollable list of Reddit posts and a drop-down selector up at the top with your chosen subs. There is no account login to deal with. Instead, you simply pick your favorites sections of Reddit manually and add them to the queue.
Up at the top of the app is a button to download the current sub immediately, but the list popup can be used to grab more than one at the same time. There's a handy little bar graph next to each sub in this list that shows you how much of it has been downloaded and read. The full list of posts for each sub will have all the comments self posts and images associated with them. The only thing you don't get is an offline version of a webpage link, which is less common on Reddit than you might think.
The main settings also have options to control how much storage space is taken up with cached Reddit data. A single sub could eat up most of that limit if there are some big Imgur albums, so you can even choose how many images are pulled from large albums.
There are other apps with some limited offline caching abilities, but Reddit Offline also includes a scheduling feature to download your preferred subs automatically in the background. For example, if you work in a building that acts like a faraday cage and lacks WiFi, you can have content pulled each morning before you're out the door.
Reddit Offline is a cool app, and it's free without any ads whatsoever.
There are few fans as committed as Warhammer fans. That's why the recent Warhammer tower defense game was seen as such an affront to the franchise by the vocal contingent of Warhammer purists. The new Android game in the Warhammer family is a little more interesting. Carnage is a side-scrolling action game with more orks than you can shake a chainsword at.
You begin the game with a standard issue space marine with a combat knife and wimpy little gun. Don't fear, though. Just a few levels and you're going to start leveling up and making enough cash to buy some cool new wargear for more efficient ork slaying. Sometimes you get rewards of rare gear with unique properties too. It gives this fairly basic action game a little bit of RPG flair.
The on-screen controls consist of movement buttons on the left (along with block). On the opposite side are controls for ranged/melee weapons and the always popular jump button. There's nothing to complain about here -- the game is responsive and the hitboxes are sufficiently large.
Each stage is no more than 3-4 minutes long. The game starts off pretty easy, just mash buttons until everything is dead. When the baddies get more hearty, you need to be careful about when you attack and what gear you choose. Doing well earns you stars, which unlock future levels and give you rewards every now and then. There are several game modes for each level as well. The default mode is unmodified, but the others might contain more powerful enemies or make you less effective in combat.
The graphics on display in Warhammer 40k: Carnage are rendered very well for the usual view distance. Sometimes the camera moves in a little close and you can see the imperfections, though. There's very little aliasing and the textures look appropriately detailed. I like that the game shows a good amount of depth with shifting background and foreground elements, despite all the action taking place on a single plane. The character animations are surprisingly detailed too. For example, if you swing a melee weapon then fire your gun, the game doesn't just switch over to the shooting animation. The character actually brings up his gun hand to fire off a shot while still holding the sword up, ready for the next swing.
This is a $6 game, which makes the presence of in-app purchases concerning. These are tucked away in the menus so you can buy gold for use in obtaining more powerful gear early in the game and reviving your marine in the middle of a level. These are completely non-essential functions, and Warhammer 40K: Carnage does award you a bit of gold from time to time. The standard in-game currency is fine, and the game is not tuned to push you toward spending money. This is an expensive game, but I think it's a pretty good one.
Radiangames has a distinct style in its games, something certainly on display in Fluid SE. This is a cool take on time-trial racing with a bit of arcade-style gameplay mixed in. This game puts you in control of a speedy black fish called Streak. You've got to race around, snapping up the glowing dots while avoiding the hoards of enemies. Of course, the clock is your real enemy.
Just think Pac-Man when you're playing Fluid SE, but think it fast. Each level is a maze of obstacles with a trail of glowing orbs. Your goal is to collect all the orbs as quickly as possible while avoiding the ghosts. Yeah, there are ghosts. A new one is spawned each time you pick up an orb, which means by the end of the stage there are a lot of them. A single hit and you have to start over, but it's not like you've invested a ton of time in the run -- the goal times are usually under 15 seconds.
The game takes on an almost puzzler vibe as you try to plot out the most efficient path. This is complicated by the movement of the ghosts, which will follow you relentlessly, and the location of powerups and speed boosts that you'll need to pass through going the right way to make it around the track fast enough. As for moving, this is a single thumbstick game -- just drag in the direction you want to go, and Streak goes there. There is also a button that zooms in and out so you can get a better look at the level.
The various time goals grant different numbers of stars, which unlock future levels, and it can be a serious challenge to clock the necessary times. Extreme precision is the name of the game here. I feel like the level of difficulty is perhaps a little high, but there are no in-app purchases, so you're not being pushed toward an upsell. It's just a good old fashioned challenging game.
The visuals are what I'd expect from Radiangames -- very smooth lines, simple geometric shapes, and lots of particle effects. The game runs beautifully and the overall style is really cool. It should work well on a variety of devices, but there are also extensive graphics settings to tweak it if you are having performance issues.
At just $1.99 with no in-app purchases, Fluid SE is a solid purchase.