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.
All phones come with a gallery app of some sort, but they're often clunky and overflowing with features you don't want. Focus has long been one of my favorite replacement gallery apps, and now there's a faster, simpler version of the app called Focus Go. It's a quick way to review images without unnecessary features getting in your way.
Focus Go is very stripped down, but that might appeal to some people. There's no folder structure or restricted directories. All the images on your device are shown in the main interface. It's just wall-to-wall photo thumbnails, but you can tap the grid button at the top to change the size of the thumbnails. The default setting is in the middle, so there's a more compact option and one with larger thumbnails. Also at the top of the app is a camera shortcut button.
The image list is chronological and separated by month. Since it shows all the images on your device (photos, screenshots, etc.), it can get quite long. If you scroll down from the top, the action bar falls off the screen, and it's literally all photos. It's a neat look, actually. Of course, you can tap on any image to expand it in full-screen mode.
In full-screen mode, you can zoom in for a better look at the photo. At the bottom of the screen are a few buttons. You can delete photos, share, set as wallpaper, and there's even integration with the Graphice app I covered recently (it's the same developer). I also like the info button, which pulls up EXIF data for the image in a small popup that doesn't take focus away from the photo.
Focus Go is really a hint of what we can expect from the upcoming full rewrite of the Focus app. That complete gallery replacement has been lagging for a while, but it's going to be much more modern very soon. In the meantime, Focus Go is good for taking a quick peek at your pics.
I'm a sucker for games you can play on a phone with a single tap, but it's hard to make a game like that compelling. Jump Drive is one of them, though. This app has slick geometric graphics and ultimate replayability. It's also free, and the in-app purchase mechanics aren't terrible.
Jump Drive is a game of timing. It's all about when you choose to engage the next jump in your starship. The game is played top-down with various obstacles and contraptions laid out in your path. All you need to do is tap to launch the ship forward, but doing it at the wrong time or waiting too long could lead to disaster.
The game shows you the ship's path and end point of the next jump with a glowing orange gem. It matters what's between you and the endpoint, but it also matters what's at the endpoint. You might be jumping to relative safety, of you could be heading into a more dangerous spot that you'll have to jump away from almost immediately.
There are roughly 260 different hazards in Jump Drive consisting of spinning discs, laser barriers, crushing walls, and so on. Importantly, you won't encounter the same hazards each time you play. The game is different each time, but there are still several different unlockable areas with their own design and hazards.
New content is unlocked with energy cells, which you'll find throughout the game. Sometimes lingering in a spot for a few seconds longer will help you collect more cells, but waiting too long could mean certain doom—even when you're not jumping, the ship creeps forward ever so slowly.
Jump Drive has a clean low-poly design style with lots of cool lighting effects. There are different ship designs, some of which have cool visual flair like spinning or glowing exhaust. The developers avoided an empty or unfinished look by creating moving backdrops. It's like giant machinery and spacecraft off in the distance.
Jump Drive is free to play with ads. If you don't like the ads, you can buy one of the in-game content packs for $0.99-2.99. These come with unlocked ships that you could grind to earn without paying, but any purchase removes the ads.
The latest title from Crescent Moon Games was announced more than a year ago, and Morphite is now available on the Play Store. It takes inspiration from games like Metroid and (especially) No Man's Sky to offer an interstellar exploration combat title with a complete story and randomly generated worlds.
The overarching goal of the game is to unravel the mysteries of Morphite, an energetic substance found only rarely in the universe. You get around on foot and in your spaceship. Most of the time you'll be on foot, and the controls are about what you'd expect. There's a virtual stick on the left for movement, and one on the right for aiming. The fire and jump buttons are on the right side. You can hold the fire button and continue dragging to adjust your aim. There's not too much run-and-gun action in this game, so this control scheme is fine. For a real shooter, I find this setup rather annoying.
In a ship, you've got a thumbstick on the left and buttons on the right to fire, dodge, and so on. This setup works well, except the default directions are backward for flight controls (up should be a dive, and down should be pulling up). Luckily, you can invert the flight controls in the settings.
Morphite does a good job of pointing you in the right direction when you've got a quest to complete. Your star map tells you where to go, and planet maps use green arrows to show you the way. There are seven planets in the main story line, but there are essentially unlimited other planets to explore because everything is randomly generated. Like in No Man's Sky, you can scan new creatures and plants, then sell those scans for money. They also give you data that can be used to upgrade your suit or ship.
Morphite is designed to be low-poly to the extreme. There are no textures on anything, just smaller polygons where necessary to show detail. The simple graphics help make the procedurally generated planets feasible. They might be made up of the same handful of shapes, but rearrange them and you've got a visually distinct planet.
Morphite is free to play for the first two planets of the story, and you can visit as many random planets as you like. The full story, which includes voice acting and cutscenes, will run you $4.99. You can also just buy upgraded gear if you don't want to quest for all the upgrades.