Google Play App Roundup: Cake, Game Dev Tycoon, and A Hollow Doorway

By Ryan Whitwam

Hollow dev cakes.

There was a time when the Google Play Store was lacking in content. The only benefit was that it was easy to find the handful of great apps on the platform. Now there are many, many apps, and quite a few of them are good. Now the best way to find them is to check our Google Play App Roundup. Every week we bring you the best new, and newly updated app in the store. Just click the links to head right to the Google Play Store and download everything for yourself.

Cake

All your standard browsers work in more or less the same way, but what if that way isn't ideal for mobile? Cake is a new browser that claims to be designed with mobile in mind. In some ways it's like a "regular" browser, but search is all swipeable. You just page through results instead of using the regular search page, which could be a real time saver.

When launched, Cake offers a text entry field where you can input a URL or search term. Should you want to search, Cake offers trending results right below the field. After you search, the first result (via your choice of Google or Bing) loads in a new tab. Swipe to the right, and you get the next search result. These pages are already loaded, so there's no waiting as you move from one to the next.

Cake loads the top ten results in this swipeable interface. If one of these is the page you want, you can begin scrolling up and down as you normally would. In the event one of the top ten results isn't right, you can go back to the first page and swipe to the left. That's where the standard search results page lives. In my testing, I've found the swipeable UI to be good for basic searches. If you're looking for a very specific page, it's easier to look at the regular results and tap the link you want.

There's a persistent bar at the bottom of the screen with quick access to features like bookmarks and tabs, but there's also a big search button right in the middle. That brings up search categories like videos and images, so these more specific searches work with the swipeable interface.

When you're looking a regular web page, Cake works like most browsers. You can add bookmarks, open links in new tabs, and so on. There's also built-in ad-blocking. One thing I will note, the overall experience is a bit sluggish. This is most noticeable when you're in the search interface, which I assume has something to do with loading all those results at the same time. However, even a single page has a touch of lag when scrolling.

If the developers can optimize a little more, Cake could be a cool alternative to Chrome or Firefox.

Game Dev Tycoon

Odds are you've played one of these super-meta game dev games over the years, but Game Dev Tycoon is in a class all of its own. The mechanics are tight and well thought-out, and it feels like a game made by people who love games and gaming culture.

You begin your journey in Game Dev Tycoon at the dawn of the PC revolution. This is one of my favorite things about this title—it takes you on a little trip through history with events and trends you'll probably recognize. Most of the platforms and products featured in Game Dev Tycoon are clever (or not so clever) mutations on the real thing. For example, the Mbox and the PlaySystem. You can probably guess which systems you want to develop for based on your knowledge of gaming history.

At the start, your company is a one-man operation. You make small games for computers, but eventually game consoles appear, and you'll probably end up with a hit game at some point. When that happens, it's time to move into a bigger office and hire some people. That's when Game Dev Tycoon starts getting more enjoyable.

You want to make sure your team is always working on something. Maybe you've got some training and others doing research, but the ultimate goal is to develop games. You have to research topics for your games, then try to find a suitable type of game (action, RPG, etc.). The quality of the match, as well as the platform you release on will make all the difference.

Developing your games is basically a series of mini games. Your developers add points to the technical and visual counters, but they also create bugs. Based on your game type, you have to adjust the time spent on things like world design, AI, and dialog. You can also add extra features to any of these categories for a better final product. For medium and large games, you also need to allocate resources so no one gets overworked.

At the end of it all, your game gets reviews and goes on sale. If it reviews well, you'll sell a ton. If it doesn't, not even your marketing campaign might not save you from a loss.

Game Dev Tycoon really pulls you in and makes you want to keep playing. You can crank out a game in a few minutes, and that always opens up more possibilities that you're itching to try. Game reports can help you figure out why a game succeeded or failed, as well.

Game Dev Tycoon costs $4.99 in the Play Store, but that's it. There are no in-app purchases at all.

A Hollow Doorway

A Hollow Doorway is a simple but enjoyable exploration of your spatial awareness. All you have to do is line up the doorways, but that's easier said than done. The "doorways" come at you fast, and you need to be aware of what's coming up to stay alive.

Each level in A Hollow doorway consists of a series of rectangular shapes moving inward toward your shape in the middle of the screen. To keep the game going, you need to line up your shape with each doorway as it reaches you. Your shape rotates in response to swiping left and right on the screen.

Just looking at the next approaching shape won't be good enough—you always need to know what's coming after that one too so you can swipe in the most efficient direction. You don't need to be exactly lined up with the shape. As long as you're close, the color shifts to indicate you're in the sweet spot.

Each level takes about a minute to beat, if you manage to do it perfectly. It'll probably take a few tries, though. When you fail, the doorways collapse inward and stack up, which really drives home your failure. The visuals are straight geometric, so there's little to say about that. There are customizable elements to change the look of your shapes.

A Hollow Doorway is a free game, but there are ads and in-app purchases. The developer does offer an in-app purchase to disable the ads and the freemium mechanics. They're not too annoying in the first place, though. This is a nice little game to play for a few minutes at a time.