The Play Store waits for no man -- the flow of new apps and games does not abate, not even for a moment. How are you supposed to find anything with all that stuff to dig through? You don't have to, thanks to the Google Play App Roundup. This is where you can come to find out about the best new and newly updates stuff in Google Play. Hit the links to grab the apps.
This week there's a new way to manage your passwords, a game about human towers, and a great little war game.
If you're doing what you're supposed to with regard to passwords, they're supposed to be complicated. It helps to have something to help you remember all those logins, which is where 1Password comes in. It's a secure password database that you can access and sync across devices, and there's a new Android app that you can try for free until August 1st.
This isn't the first 1Password app, actually. There was an older version, but it was incredibly out of date. Rather than try to fix that one, 1Password developed a new one from the ground up. Unlike Lastpass (the other big name in password management), 1Password gives you the option of managing your own password vault locally or on a private server (syncing is up to you). The keychain file is yours to do with as you like, but there is built-in support for Dropbox syncing.
Despite the name, 1Password isn't only for passwords. You can use it to securely save text notes, credit card info, software licenses, and a ton more. You can add new entries in your database with the plus button in the action bar. The app can also be used to generate new passwords of varying lengths and strengths. The app requires your master password each time it's launched to unlock the keychain file, and it also prevents screenshots of the app's UI (hence the Play Store screenshots).
You can tap on any of the passwords to see the full data set along with any notes, but the app also has a built-in browser to paste the passwords into fields automatically. The browser is intentionally stripped down and keeps no cache. That's not convenient if you happen across a website that needs a login with your regular browser, but 1Password can be used to copy the password to the clipboard (with auto-clear) as well.
As for the premium features, you get the ability to add, edit, and organize data from the app. Without a license (after the trial) the app is essentially read-only. It's not clear what the price of the premium features will be as this is a completely refreshed Android app. It's $17.99 on iOS, so it might be a bit pricey.
If you're looking at making the move from something like LastPass, there are a few features you won't get with 1Password (like universal autofill). It might be worth the trade-off if you want to have more control over your data. 1Password supports importing from a variety of other services, including LastPass CSV files.
It's not entirely clear how the people of the crystal realm became trapped in tiny glowing pyramids, but you are allegedly the only one who can save them. To do so you'll use your magic staff to climb upward. That's really the basic gist of the game, but it's harder than you'd expect to figure out what to do once you get up there.
Each level of Kiwanuka challenges you to reach the imprisoned individual while avoiding the dangerous glowing sections of the terrain, as well as the abyss below. You are in control of the staff-bearer in this game, and wherever he or she goes, a gaggle of others will follow. It is these hangers-on that allow you to climb toward the heavens. Simply drag left and right to get in the desired spot, then drag upward to create a tower of people that can be used to reach other parts of the level.
This is essentially a physics puzzle, but there are some rules to learn. The towers can be tipped left or right and will stick to the terrain wherever the end of the tower first makes contact. The rest of your flock can then use it as a bridge to get around, even passing through the walls. However, if the tower hits one of the glowing portions of the landscape at any point, it evaporates. Don't worry, your compatriots are reconstituted by the magic staff. It's a handy thing like that.
Once you figure out how those flexible towers of people behave, the game starts to make a strange kind of sense, and it's very satisfying when you discover just the right way to get across a seemingly impossible chasm, or around an insurmountable peak. The levels aren't too easy, but you're not going to blow right through them either. The only issue with the gameplay is that there isn't a ton of it. You'll probably be able to finish Kiwanuka in a day or two.
The visuals are distinct from most of what you'll come across in the Play Store. It's not really retro, despite being made of simplified, blocky shapes. What we have here is a low-poly wonderland with some cool lighting effects. It feels modern -- hyper-modern even. the bright colors and believable physics make this a game to savor.
Kiwanuka is only $1.99 and there are no in-app purchases. That's a fair price, even though it's a fairly short game. It's very well-made and tremendously fun.
There's a war on again, and it's big… er, little. Whichever it is supposed to be, it's the sequel to the Great Little War Game, as denoted by the '2' at the end of the title. This is a turn-based strategy game in the same vein as Advance Wars. You take command of troops and vehicles in order to crush the enemy, but it's going to take time and careful planning.
Great Little War Game 2 is played in an isometric top-down view, but there's something different about this game compared to the last few. The developers have opted to move to a portrait mode layout, which makes more sense for phones and small tablets. Less so for big tablets, though. The gameplay is otherwise very similar to the previous titles in the series.
Your turn consists of moving your troops around in whatever order you choose. Each type of troop/vehicle has a different distance it can travel, as well as attack range. If you can take a shot at the enemy, tapping on the unit will highlight any targets that are close enough. It also gives you an estimation of how much damage you can do. Anything less than a kill (indicated by the floating skull) means the enemy gets to counter. If you're low on life, that's a calculated risk. This is a solid approach to combat, especially allowing you to manage your troops in any order you like. The enemy turn can also be fast-forwarded.
Great Little War Game 2 also includes a few elements that are more commonly seen in real-time strategy games. For example, there are base structures that can be used to churn out more units, and also an array of revenue streams to capture for keeping the military machine running. Not all levels are like this, but that's probably a good thing. The objectives are changed up on occasion. Usually you're taking out the enemy commander, but sometimes you're simply trying to defend yourself until reinforcements arrive, or reach a certain location.
The graphics on display here are noticeably better than previous titles in the series. The environments are vibrant and show a good amount of depth. You can't rotate the camera view, but the game does zoom and pan each time you attack to give you a better view, which looks cool. The textures are simple, but it's a rather cartoony aesthetic, so it's probably okay. There's no aliasing to speak of either. You're not getting incredible levels of detail, but I think it's more than good enough.
Great Little War Game 2 will run you $2.99 in Google Play, and that includes everything. There are no in-app purchases of any sort. That's a great little deal.