Google Play App Roundup: GlassWire, Linia, and Island Delta

By Ryan Whitwam

Evil scientist line data.

Your phone or tablet might be cool, but it could be a lot cooler with the right apps. So what? Spend like mad until you find the apps that suit your needs? Nah, just read the weekly Google Play App Roundup here on Tested. We strive to bring you the best new, and newly updated apps on Android. Just click the app name to head to the Play Store.

GlassWire

Android has tools for tracking data usage, but they're clunky and haven't been improved much in years. GlassWire is a new app that tracks your data usage with higher precision with an eye toward monitoring your privacy. You can see which apps use data, when they do it, and understand how that fits with your overall data usage patterns.

After granting the app usage access it will begin logging data usage in real time. That means an ongoing (but low-priority) notification to keep the service alive. The main screen in GlassWire is a graph that shows data usage over time as a series of peaks, color coded for up and download. Below that is a list of each app that has used data, also with color coding for up and down. The data displayed on this screen can be set to various lengths of time from five minutes to 90 days. The graph also has options for all data, WiFi only, and mobile only. On the shorter time scale, you can actually see the graph change as apps run tasks in the background.

You can get additional info including a graph of just the data usage for that app with the same controls as above. You also get information about when it was installed, updated, and when data usage was first detected. There's a permission settings link as well.

The usage section of the app breaks down all your data by month with a smaller graph, a pie chart, and an individual list of apps. Then there's the data plan monitor, which you need to set up with your plan details. Tell it your cap, plan reset data, and set up alerts. The app can tell you when you're almost out of data. There are custom alerts as well.

GlassWire is a free app, which naturally leads you to wonder what they're after. GlassWire is not a marketing or advertising company, so the devs claim they don't want your data. There's a desktop version of GlassWire (linked in the app) that has a premium upgrade. There's no such upgrade in the Android version, but I would not be surprised to see that happen later. So, if you believe what the company says, your data is not being collected. For now, it's just free.

GlassWire looks like the best of these data logging apps. It has a modern material design, good features, and it's not after your personal data.

Linia

All you need to do in Linia is draw a line, but it has to be the right line at the right time. This is a deceptively challenging puzzler that gives you a pattern of colors to match in each level by drawing a line through various shapes. The catch is the shapes don't stay put.

At the top of the screen in each level are a series of dots. The colors of the dots tells you what pattern you need to match, read from left to right. So, if there's a yellow, black, and green dot at the top, the line you draw must pass through a yellow, black, and green shape in that order. An added layer of complexity is that you can double up on a color, provided they are still in the right order. So yellow, black, (another) black, green is still a valid pattern.

The first few levels are straightforward; basically training you to understand the core concept. After that, the shapes start moving around. Sometimes they just float back and forth, but they might also pulse, fade in and out, or shift colors. These changes are not random, but are part of a pattern. You have to learn the pattern to find the right moment to draw your (straight) line.

Okay, maybe you think that sounds easy enough. Just draw the line slowly and wait for things to align. Alas, you'll have to be more clever. The lines have a built-in expiration. As you draw, the line starts filling up red from beginning to end. When it's all red, the line disappears. That means you have only a second to finish drawing your line and release. If you don't get the right combination, you can try again. Each intersection with the shapes is magnified to show the color so you can see exactly what you hit.

All the levels have the same clean geometric look, but the colors change frequently and the animations are very smooth. There are more than 80 levels so far, and the developer promises more of them in the future. Linia also uses Google Play Games to sync your progress, so you don't have to start over on a new device. Linia is on sale for free right now (a new Play Store feature), but the sale ends in just a few days. Grab it while you can.

Island Delta

If you remember the gravity gun from Half-Life 2, here's your chance to play with it again… sort of. Your main weapon and tool for solving puzzles in Island Delta is the "anti-gravity gun." This is the latest game from Noodlecake Studios, and it's got reasonably high production values for a mobile game with more than 30 levels of top-down adventuring and puzzles.

In Island Delta, you take control of Zoe and Baxter to infiltrate the stronghold of the evil Doctor Gunderson. That's not great as far as evil doctor names go, but we are assured he is quite evil. Island Delta is played in a top-down isometric view. Movement is handled by a virtual thumbstick. To interact with objects using your gravity gun, you need to tap on them. It's effective for selecting what you want, but can be a little tedious to always have to reach to different places on the screen. It's the same when you need to activate a switch or console.

The gravity gun (sorry, anti-gravity gun) is used to move things around to solve puzzles, but also as your main weapon. One moment you're simply moving a box from one place to another in order to trigger a pressure switch, and the next you're launching a box at an enemy guard to knock him out. Some enemies can also be picked up and hurled directly, but many of them have shields that prevent that.

The levels and puzzles are not overly complex—you should be able to figure out what to do before too long. Sometimes moving things around and getting yourself from one place to another will be challenging with all the guards and traps around. The environments you encounter are pretty great, though. There are all the classic mad scientist things like pools of acid, lasers, and giant banks of computers.

The graphics are excellent with crisp lines, bright colors, and imaginative locations. It looks a bit like Team Fortress 2's non-photorealistic rendering style from above. The writing for the characters is not bad, and occasionally rather amusing. It's sometimes a bit juvenile, but I guess it fits with the comical style of the game.

Island Delta is a paid game that costs $2.99. After that, it's all yours with no further in-app purchases.