If there’s a theme to this week’s Play Store picks, it’s apps and games that can distract you in a hurry. Disney Crossy Road? It’s just as addictive as the original, but now with beloved Disney characters. An official Reddit app? You could lose hours at a time digging into subreddits. And that’s not all.
There’s also a standalone Starz subscription app for streaming movies and TV shows, a new Kingdom Hearts game, and SwiftKey’s ShakeSpeak keyboard, which helps you type out text messages just like Shakespeare himself surely did centuries ago. Put all of those things together and it sounds like a leisurely weekend well spent. Grab these fresh apps and enjoy!
Disney Crossy Road sells itself rather well. It’s Crossy Road, one of the best free-to-play games ever released for phones and tablets, and it’s infused with a heap of Disney goodness. What’s not to like? Very little, it seems. In fact, the new app takes the opportunity to improve on the original game’s formula by bringing in some much-appreciated variety.
While still essentially an endless take on Frogger, each license—including Zootopia, Inside Out, The Lion King, and Haunted Mansion—has its own original level for its characters to play in. And that can mean dealing with new kinds of threats and level-specific modifiers. Still, Disney Crossy Road mostly doesn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken, and the allure of unlocking 125 classic-to-minor Disney characters could make fans fall in love all over again.
If you believe in Reddit’s claim that it is the “front page of the Internet,” then the long-awaited release of an official Android app may be good news indeed. The Reddit app brings all of the posts, images, links, commentary, and conversation into an easy-to-read format, whether you prefer cards or topic listings, and it’s certainly preferable to reading the mobile web version.
However, unofficial Reddit readers are in ample supply on the Play Store, and everyday users probably already have a third-party favorite. Some Play Store reviewers don’t seem to think the official app improves on what they’re used to, but it’s early still. Besides, at the very least, it’s worth trying the official app: you get three free months of the paid Reddit Gold service just for signing in with the app during launch week.
HBO did it and Showtime wasn’t far behind, so it’s little surprise to see premium cable channel Starz take the leap and release its own standalone subscription app. Now you can pay $9 a month to gain access to the network’s movie and original TV offerings, although curiously, there’s no free trial available. At least you can browse the listings before shelling out for the service.
Starz has original shows like Black Sails and Outlander, and the movie lineup is currently led by hits like The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Whiplash, and Inside Out. And you can save videos for offline playback, too, which is an excellent perk. The newly overhauled Starz app is a one-stop destination for all users, so if you’ve got a cable or satellite subscription, you can access the free content here, as well.
Double Disney gaming this week? You bet. Disney is big on crossovers, but this one stretches back a long ways: Kingdom Hearts blends Disney classics with Final Fantasy characters, and has spanned several games since 2002. Unchained X is the first Android entry, and it helps set up story threads for the forthcoming Kingdom Hearts III on consoles.
It’s a simpler take on the series formula: as a customizable keyblade wielder, you’ll dive into worlds inspired by Disney animated classics and fight the evil Heartless monsters. However, you’ll just tap or swipe to attack and the worlds are simply 2D backdrops. Unchained X has appearances from the likes of Mickey Mouse, Aladdin, Goofy, and many more, plus you can take down big boss enemies with online allies in raid events.
SwiftKey uses its Greenhouse program to launch experimental apps on the Play Store, including SwiftKey Neural Alpha and Clarity Keyboard Beta, but its latest effort is something wildly different. ShakeSpeak is designed to make you write like William Shakespeare himself, with not only the outline of his visage added in, but also predictive text pulled from his works.
The company analyzed his wide library of literary classics, and ShakeSpeak highlights his most-used terms: “thee,” “thy,” and “thou,” for example, as well as “hark” and “How now!” SwiftKey’s predictive typing talents might produce smarter keyboards, but it’s hilarious to see the company put it to use to create a sillier one, too. This month marks the 400th anniversary of his passing, so what better time to text like the Bard and annoy all of your friends?