Google Play App Roundup: Island, Framed 2, and JetCrash

By Ryan Whitwam

Framed jet island.

You probably want more apps, but more than that, you want the right ones. That's what we're here to deliver with the weekly Google Play App Roundup. This is where you'll find the best new and newly updated apps and games on Android. Just click the link to head right to Google Play.

Island

Android has support for work profiles, which can be used by a business to deploy and manage apps on employee devices. This keeps personal and work data separate, but you can also leverage these features for personal use with Island. This app creates a "work" profile on your device that can be managed to copy apps and run multiple copies in parallel.

Setting up Island is easy, but a little counterintuitive. It creates a "work" profile, but it's not attached to any corporate accounts, and there are no "administrators" who can access your data. The app uses the metaphor of an island to make usage easier to understand. The "island" is where all your cloned apps live. They use the same binary as your "mainland" apps, but the data and accounts are totally separate.

When you start using Island, you get a few stock apps in the list including the Play Store, contacts, and downloads. These are all empty until you start using them, and you will need to log in with your Google account all over. Remember, no data carries over from the mainland. A folder is placed on the home screen with all your Island apps, but you can get rid of that if you don't want to use it.

You can manage apps in your island using the Island app. Use the drop-down at the top to choose either mainland or island lists. To create an island version of a mainland app, just tap on it in the list and hit the "plus" button. The Android package installer pops up briefly to install the app into your island, and that's it. Island apps can be run from the home screen folder, or you can use the app list in the Island app itself. The apps also appear in your app Drawer with a work badge to indicate which icon is which. Apps in your island can also be frozen, preventing them from running until unfrozen.

Island allows you to test different settings and configurations in an app without screwing up your main installation. You might also want to use a cloned app for privacy purposes, keeping that data sandboxed from other apps and services. It can be used to run a second instance of an app side-by-side with the first as well.

Island is a neat app with a lot of potential utility, and it's completely free. It's still in beta, so it's possible some paid features will be added later.

Framed 2

Framed 2 is a puzzle game with a comic book style, but that's not just a visual approach. The gameplay is modeled after a comic book with event panels that you rearrange. Put things in the right order, and you can watch them play out. Get it wrong, and events will go off the rails.

Framed 2 is a prequel to the much-praised original Framed from 2014. The gameplay this time around is very similar. On each "page," you need to guide your character around danger without losing track of the mysterious and valuable briefcase. The default arrangement of frames ensure that you'll be caught or killed, but it's good to watch things play out once to see where things go wrong.

The puzzles vary in difficulty rather dramatically. Some are as easy as swapping a few frames around and waiting for the action to happen. However, many of them require you to move frames around several times while the characters are in motion. For example, at one point climbing over a fence knocks over some boards that can later be used as a bike ramp. So, you need to move the frame down after the first pass so you can go through it again after you get on the bike.

All you need to do in order to move panels around is press and drag. Although, not all frames can be moved. There are some that can only be manipulated in other ways, like the rotating frames that just determine which way your character is moving when entering the next frame.

The gameplay is enjoyable and varied enough that it doesn't feel like a gimmick. Even failing at a puzzle can be a good time; it doesn't just tell you the arrangement is wrong. You can watch everything happen and see why it's wrong. This is instrumental in figuring out what needs to change.

Framed 2 is visually striking with panels that look like living sketches. All the active elements like people and animals are completely black with white accents to give them some distinctiveness. So, police have white badges and your own character has white sunglasses and a white shirt peeking out from his suit. The animations are also incredibly smooth. The only issue I've noticed is that Framed 2 appears to be locked to 16:9 ratio. Thus, it's a little stretched on 4:3 tablets.

Framed will run you $4.99 in the Play Store. It was on sale until just recently, but it's worth full price if you are even mildly interested in puzzle games.

JetCrash

Developer 111% has proven itself to be adept at building simple but compelling games for mobile devices. They're usually free-to-play, but not designed with tedious timers and premium currencies. JetCrash uses the formula from some of the previous games and tosses in some retro elements to make a satisfying shooter.

JetCrash is a procedurally generated top-down shooter with customisable ships. You can get as many as four of them per game, and each has a different ability. You begin with only a basic craft, though. Your only weapon is the exhaust from your engines, which is certainly unique.

All the ships are controlled with a single thumbstick at the bottom of the screen. Just fly toward the top of the screen, and obstacles and enemies will come your way. There is a fuel gauge that depletes as you fly, but it also drops each time you take a hit. Grabbing all the green fuel bonuses is a must if you want to survive long. When your ship is destroyed, the next one in the lineup takes over.

After a bit of flying, there will be a boss battle. After you defeat the boss, it's back to flying around obstacles. However, the general theme of each area is different. You might only have stationary blocks in one, but the next has flying hexagons that chase you around. No matter how well you fly, you'll eventually run out of fuel, and your last ship will go up in smoke. The coin reward is based on how far you made it, and you can use them to make it even farther next time.

There are 12 different ships in the game, some of which have mighty weapons in addition to damaging exhaust. It's up to you which order your ships are used, and you can upgrade each one individually to make them do more damage or carry more fuel.

Like most of 111%'s games, the graphics are simple with lots of geometric shapes and negative space. JetCrash is easy on the battery and should run well on almost any phone. The in-app purchases are all optional items for some of the more expensive ships and ad removal. Paying to get rid of the ad is a good idea—it's at the top of the screen and interferes with the game slightly. That wasn't the best planning, I think.

Even if you don't buy anything, you can accumulate lots of coins in JetCrash by watching ads after your run is complete. The in-game economy works fine, so don't be scared away by the in-app purchases.