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Google Play App Roundup: Paper Artist, Crazy Taxi, and Super Mega Worm

By Ryan Whitwam

Artistic pics, crazy taxis, and death worms.

Google Play got a makeover recently, and that means learning a new way to navigate around and find apps. Well, you can take your time getting comfortable because we're back with another Google Play App Roundup. This is where you can come every week to find the best of the best on Android. Just click the links to head into the Play Store.

This week we get artsy, make crazy money, and encounter the death worm.

Paper Artist

Touchscreens provide a unique opportunity to be creative, and Paper Artist is an especially cool way to do it. This app comes from the same people behind Paper Camera, but it was exclusive to Samsung devices for the last few months. Now it has hit Google Play for everyone, and it’s great for making pretty pictures.

Paper Artist combines snapshot filters with drawing in an interesting way. There are about 30 filters of the same kind you’d find in Paper Camera. They’re all fairly heavy overlays that might make your image look like a cartoon, newsprint, or something equally out there. Paper Artist adds the ability to draw on an alternative filter for each look.

You can take images from the app, but some of the filters are so heavy that it can be hard to get the shot composed to your liking. Alternatively, you can import any image on your device into Paper Artist and apply the filter normally.

Off to the right are all the filters you can choose from, and on the left are the tools for changing the look. The default tool is a brush with adjustable radius, but there is also a pencil for fine details. The eraser removes brushstrokes if you need to clean up a line. The tiny slide-up menu at the bottom contains undo and redo buttons.

Some of the tweaked filters are simple desaturations or color shifts, but many of them are completely different takes on the main filter. It’s remarkably easy to draw on a few lines and end up with something that looks really cool. If you don’t have a device with a stylus, it can be a little hard to draw the lines exactly where you want (this is probably why Samsung wanted the app on the Note devices). However, the nice thing about many of the filters is that you don’t have to be exact.

When you’re done, the image can be saved to the device, or shared to other apps. Paper Artist isn’t for everyone, but it’s going to appeal to anyone with an artistic streak. This one is $2.99 in Google Play.

Crazy Taxi

I know you -- you want to make crazy money. You also want to do it while driving a taxi, right? Thus, a Crazy Taxi, if I may? The Sega Dreamcast had a lot going for it despite failing miserably when put up against the venerable Playstation 2. One of the best things about the Dreamcast was undoubtedly Crazy Taxi. This classic game is now on Android for you relive the thrills of all that crazy money.

The entire Dreamcast game is included in this port, plus a few extras to help make it a better mobile experience. You can play by the original rules with a set time limit for finding passengers and making cash, or you can use the arcade rules. I think the arcade system is a bit more enjoyable. You start with 60 seconds on the clock and get a little bit added to your count each time you pick up and drop off a passenger.

Your goal in Crazy Taxi is simply to make the most cash possible, which encourages crazy driving. There are suspiciously well-placed ramps all over this open city, and it turns out passengers really like a little thrill. Catching some air will get you a nice tip at the end.

In addition to the standard game, there are a few mini-game challenges which are moderately enjoyable. The classic game is the main draw, though.

Controlling your taxi is pretty straightforward. Simply tap the left and right buttons to steer, and mash the drive button to go. The reverse button below drive also serves as the brake. You can get a little speed boost by releasing and pressing the accelerator again, but it gets pretty hard to control the car at those speeds.

You can’t really crash your taxi, but you can certainly run into things that delay you. There’s also a little weirdness with the physics in Crazy Taxi. I’ve noticed the car sometimes seems to get hung up on other vehicles and objects when it looks like it should be able to glide right past. A small annoyance, but still something to know.

The graphics are mostly untouched from the Dreamcast days. Crazy Taxi has actually aged fairly well. The edges are remarkably free of aliasing and the environments are rich. Where it does start to look dated is with the somewhat muddy textures. That’s not terribly noticeable when you’re driving at unsafe speeds, though.

Crazy Taxi is still a blast, and it works well as a mobile game. It’s worth the $4.99 asking price.

Super Mega Worm

Those pesky humans, always messing up the planet. Well, as a horrifying death worm, the subject of this game has had enough. Your goal in Super Mega Worm is to eat as many humans as possible. They don’t seem thrilled with the idea, and will do everything possible to take the death worm out.

There are 24 levels of mayhem in the standard game mode, but time attack is also included. You can progress through the levels by consuming a sufficient number of humans. Of course, there are other things to eat, and death worms need a lot of sustenance. You’ve got to find something to eat every few seconds or your health starts to fall.

You control the death worm with a virtual thumbstick on the left. Off to the right are two buttons, one for boost, and the other to trigger special abilities that you unlock later. Each new level makes your death worm bigger and faster. From the start you can burst out of the ground and fly up into the air to capture your prey, but you can catch some serious air after a few levels. Of course, that’s also when the difficulty start to ramp up as the military moves in.

Graphically, this is a retro-themed title. I’m not usually a fan of retro games, unless they utilize the style to their advantage (see: Sword and Sworcery). Super Mega Worm presents itself as a classic game, but the pixels are just on the surface. The game feels much smoother than the retro skin would imply. The game has a good vibe, so retro visuals accepted.

The gameplay in Super Mega Worm is not very deep, but it’s really fun. The game lets you take a break at any time and come back where you left off later. It’s perfect for killing a few minutes here and there, so consider spending $0.99 on it' That's half off for the launch sale.