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Google Play App Roundup: LastPass, Epoch 2, and Castle Doombad

By Ryan Whitwam

Passwords, robots, and heroes.

Your phone or tablet is a significant investment, and it just won't do to have it running substandard applications. No, we can't have that. That's why the Google Play App Roundup comes your way every week with the best new stuff in Google Play. Just click the links to head directly to the Play Store.

This week passwords get easier, robots get violent, and princesses get kidnapped.

LastPass

The LastPass password management app came out a few years ago, but it saw a significant update this past week that makes it absolutely worth checking out. LastPass used to support various methods of copying and pasting usernames and passwords into your regular web browser, but by far the fastest way to use it was to open sites with the built-in LasPass browser. That's far from ideal, but you don't have to bother with that anymore. The new LastPass can autofill into any app on your device.

When you install or update the LastPass app, it will ask you to enable it in accessibility settings. This is a common requirement for apps that need to enter or read text from your device. It links you to the correct menu, and it should only take a second. From there, each time you tap on a password field in the browser or most apps, LastPass will pop up a floating window and ask if you want it to log you in.

The app contains various settings for the master password and PIN code so you can make sure your logins are kept secure, so this feature doesn't make things any locked down. With the web browser it simply checks for matching URLs among your passwords just like the desktop browser extension. If there are multiple accounts for a particular service, you can choose between them. This aspect works like a charm.

As for apps (which is probably even more impressive), it works most of the time. LastPass essentially has mappings for a lot of popular apps that connect the package name to a specific service. So if you try to log into the official Twitter client, the LastPass app recognizes it and fills in your details automatically. If you try it with Talon, it won't know which account you are trying to access. Not to fear, though. There's a search button in the popup that will let you find the account in your vault and permanently link it with the app.

All the pre-existing options for using LastPass in the browser are still there, so go with that if you're more comfortable. However, I feel like the universal autofill is what makes this the perfect solution. Not only is LastPass an established company with a pretty good security record, this app makes it very easy to log into all your accounts and add new ones.

The LastPass app is free to try with a 14 day trial. After that you need to have a subscription to LastPass premium for $1 per month. With the autofill, it's definitely worth that.

Epoch 2

Humanity's first mistake might have been designing robots with guns for arms, but it you'll never know if you don't play through Epoch 2 and shoot all the bad robots that get in your way. This is the sequel to Epoch, which launched on Android a few years ago. Epoch 2 relies on the same cover-based shooting mechanics as the first game, but throws a few curve balls your way too.

Each level consists of multiple engagements with at least a few waves of enemy robots in each. Your robot, Epoch, begins behind cover as the enemy robots pop up off in the distance. You can think of Epoch 2 as a little bit of a shooting gallery. You move left and right, firing at your targets and dodging return fire.

To target an enemy, just tap on it. From there, your avatar will fire continuously until the target is destroyed. At the same time you can swipe left, right, or up (in some places) to move between cover points. One of the cool things about Epoch 2 is that you're not always moving along the same lateral path, some of the cover points let you swipe up to hop to a different platform or hang from an overhead beam.

You get to pick your primary weapon and armor before each level, a process that has been simplified from the last game. Each armor type completely changes your robot's appearance, and the weapons are much more varied. There are also special add-ons that can be swapped out like rockets, health boosts, and grenades. All this equipment costs money, which you earn by completing levels, but you also get random parts after each win.

I feel like the level of difficulty is perfect in Epoch 2. There get to be a lot of powerful enemy robots in the later stages, but as long as you're good about prioritizing threats and using your special abilities, you should be able to power through. Buying the right guns and armor helps too.

Epoch 2 is running on the Unreal engine, and it really makes use of it. There is no visible aliasing on any of the edges, and the texture resolution is great. Even the close-up shots in Epoch 2 look pretty good. The post-apocalyptic level design is extremely well done. Everything looks old and decayed, but there's a lot of variety to this broken world. The lighting effects are not too out there, allowing you to actually see what's going on. It's just a very pretty game.

Epoch 2 is on sale for $2.50, and you should absolutely buy it. There are some in-app purchases for extra currency, but it's totally optional. You can do fine without buying anything else, and the game doesn't push it, either.

Castle Doombad

What has the world come to when a simple supervillain can't kidnap a princess to harvest her screams without a bunch of heroes trying to save her? The best way to deal with heroes is with traps, and you've got plenty of those. Oh, and minions too. You have to throw everything you've got at the good guys in Castle Doombad, the newest Android game from Adult Swim.

If you've ever played Dungeon Keeper, this is a similar idea, though vastly simplified. The princess is on the top level of your lair, and you want to keep her there. The heroes will start coming in from the bottom floor, but eventually they start climbing up to the second or third, so you'll have to space your defenses out smartly.

At your disposal are floor spikes, harpoon launchers, buzzsaws, lasers, demonic minions, and more. You produce new defenses by spending screams, which are produced by the princess every few seconds, as well as by some of the heroes who meet their doom in your chamber of horrors.

The assortment of heroes coming after you is varied -- there are ninjas, knights, rambo dudes, Indiana Jones-style adventurers, and more. Each hero has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you'll need to plan accordingly. If anyone of the heroes reaches the princess, they have to carry her out too. As long as your traps haven't been decimated by those crafty engineers, you'll have a good chance at stopping them from escaping. You still pass the level this way, but preventing them from snatching the princess in the first place gets you closer to unlocking more levels.

Castle Doombad has a strong tower defense vibe, but I don't feel like it's just another entry in the genre. The assortment of traps and creatures makes it more interesting as you sort out the best strategy for each stage. The game would be improved by telling you which heroes were going to show up in a level (a la Plants vs. Zombies), but you can equip a fair number of traps after some unlocks -- you should be able to come up with something.

The character models in this game are done in an explicitly cartoony style with exaggerated proportions and amusing quirks. Of course, your traps have a fun sense of humor about them. Case in point: there's an overactive air conditioner trap that slows down heroes as they pass. The levels are clean, but the environment is fairly static. You get the same basic elements in different orientation. It does change a bit in each lair you unlock, though.

You will pay $2.99 for Castle Doombad, but there are also in-app purchases. The question we have to address is balance -- are you constantly pushed toward buying more stuff? In this case, no. There is only one type of currency in the game, and you earn a good amount of it from playing levels. It is used to buy new traps, upgrade existing ones, and add more slots to your list of active traps. The IAPs aren't a big deal in this one, and it's totally worth the asking price.