A new week has dawned, and with it comes a new list of great things happening on Android. This is the Google Play App Roundup where we tell you what needs to be on your phone right now. Just click the links to head to Google Play and grab these apps for yourself.
Your privacy on the internet used to be assumed, but we live in a much more complicated world these days. Your ISP sees all your unencrypted traffic, and the only way to prevent that is to stick a VPN between you and the ISP. However, you need to actually trust that VPN. The makers of ProtonMail have released an Android VPN client, and plenty of people already trust the ProtonMail developers, who came from CERN and MIT. The app happens to be pretty solid, too.
ProtonVPN can be used completely free, but there are paid plans that include faster connectivity and more features. Regardless of your plan type, you still get access to Proton's secure servers. The app plugs into Android's built-in VPN system, so all you need to do is log in and tap the dialogs to allow access.
The app's main interface is broken up into three tabs. There's countries, map view, and profiles. The countries tab just lists all the places where servers are available. Each one is a collapsible list with the individual servers listed. Each one has a capacity indicator so you can choose a good one. However, most of the time it's easier just to tap the action button at the bottom of the screen and select the "fastest" option. The exception is, of course, when you need to connect to a certain country. The map view tab lets you connect to the country of your choice in a single tap. The profile tab is basically a list of your favorite servers. There are stock options for fastest and random, but you can create new ones with servers of your choice.
Across all three tabs is a popup menu at the bottom of the display. You can slide that up to see your current connection stats. There's IP, server, a traffic graph, and so on. There's also a disconnect button and an option to save the server as a profile.
ProtonVPN has several service tiers. The free level only offers access to three of 12 countries and just low speeds (no P2P). It's single-device, too. You get higher speeds and 2 devices for $4 per month, and five devices runs you $8 per month. When you sign up for a new account, there's a trial of the faster speeds, but the app doesn't say how long it lasts. I'd assume a week or so. It's plenty fast for just about anything you could want to do on your phone. ProtonVPN says its servers are all 1-10Gbps, so even desktop usage should be fine.
This seems like a genuinely compelling VPN option for Android users now that there's a native app. At $4 per month, you can get ProtonVPN protecting your computer and phone. That's cheaper than a lot of other services.
After shooting it up on PC and game consoles, Let Them Come has arrived on Android to blow away even more alien baddies. This is a fast-paced arcade-style shooter with retro graphics and a ton of weapons. There's also plenty of heavy metal music. What more could you want?
Let Them Come is based loosely on the sci-fi horror movie genre. If you've seen Aliens, the vibe of Let Them Come will be familiar. You are manning a machine gun on the far left of the screen, and wave after wave of alien creatures sweep toward you from the right. You probably won't survive more than a few waves at a time, but there are upgrades to help you beef up for the next assault.
The controls are simple—just drag up and down on the left edge of the screen to aim your gun, and press the button on the right to fire. There are also secondary weapons and additional ammo types that can be triggered with other buttons down there. Some of your weapons only have limited ammo, so you need to keep resupplying after you go down in battle.
Each wave takes 20-30 seconds, and there is a variety of alien monsters to blast. Most of them are skittering toward you on the floor, but a few crawl along on the ceiling or wall. You start taking damage when aliens reach your position, but some secondary weapons like the knife or baton can knock them back and give you a chance to survive. If you keep going long enough, the game rewards you with bonus power-ups. You might get a drone to help you fight, a damage boost, or some barbed wire protecting your position.
Let Them Come leaves the corridor intentionally dark. It's often just the muzzle flash of your gun and explosions that illuminate the monsters. You can get flares or tracer rounds that light up the corridor, making it easier to target enemies. The game is fast, so it can be hard to keep track of exactly what's happening, but when in doubt, keep shooting at the pixels. While the monsters are little pixel art blobs, some of them bear a clear resemblance to alien monsters you've seen in the movies. Facehuggers, anyone?
The game costs just $1.99, which is cheaper than the Steam version. The Play Store lists in-app purchases, but I don't see any of them in the game.
Waking up in the morning is not the best part of the day for most people. Consequently, the pre-loaded alarm tones on your phone will eventually evoke a strong negative reaction. Waking up with music does the trick for a lot of people, and SpotOn Alarm makes that easy by plugging into YouTube. Just connect a playlist or pick an individual video, and you're all set.
When you create an alarm in the app, you have all the standard alarm options like time, repetition, and labels. I appreciate the inclusion of fade-in, which is essential for me. Up at the top is the music selection button—technically you can use any YouTube video, but music is probably what most people will use. Here, you have two options. You can simply search for a video and load it up as the alarm. Alternatively, you can log in with your Google account and import a playlist.
If you go the playlist route, you can choose to have the playlist shuffled. The individual video option will always play that same video. You can change the video options at any time, and create separate alarms, each with different video settings. In the main app settings, you just have a volume slider, snooze length, and fade-in duration.
When the alarm goes off, the phone loads up the video and begins ramping up the volume. It does actually play the video part of the video, too. It plays in a small window in the middle of the screen with a clock above. At the bottom is a button that you slide left or right to snooze or dismiss. This works well enough, but I wish the target was a little larger.
All the features of SpotOn are available for free. However, there's a persistent banner ad at the bottom of the app. If you want to get rid of that, it'll cost you $1.99.