Been waiting on Google to make a simple, easy-to-use FaceTime competitor? Luckily, Duo is finally here, and the super-streamlined app enables hassle-free video chat between both Android and iOS devices. Duo is this week’s most notable new app release, but it’s not the only one that should be on your radar.
Deus Ex Go is the latest console and PC franchise to get the Go treatment after Hitman and Lara Croft, and it’s a slick and smart tactical adaptation. Meanwhile, Mr. Robot arrives on Android with a compelling text adventure, FordVR lets you experience the 24 Hours of Le Mans race via Cardboard, and the entertaining Not Golf is like golf… but not. Snag a few fresh apps for your phone and enjoy the weekend!
Announced back at I/O alongside messaging app Allo, Google Duo is finally here to bring a FaceTime-like level of simplicity to video chat across both Android and iOS alike. Duo has a dead-simple interface and is tied to your phone number, and you can easily ping a contact for a video call with a tap or two. Also, new feature Knock Knock lets you preview the video feed on the other end, so you can prepare yourself for good or bad news (or dodge the call, as needed).
Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted, in case you’re worried about privacy, and Google says its calls work well even on meager data connections. Hangouts hasn’t been a reliably great option for video calls, while Snapchat and Skype can seem comparably complex or overstuffed compared to something like this. Duo’s simplicity and straightforward design could make a standout option in this crowded market, especially thanks to its cross-platform approach.
Following in the footsteps of Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go comes Deus Ex Go ($5), another smart adaptation of a beloved console and PC game series. Based on the cyberpunk stealth shooter games, Deus Ex Go translates the premise into a turn-based puzzler, wherein you’ll move robotically-enhanced hero Adam Jensen around game boards to reach the exit. Naturally, the paths are lined with enemies and obstacles, and you’ll need to figure out the best timing and tactics to get through safely.
Keeping with the source material, Deus Ex Go adds a new hacking component to levels that lets you manipulate turrets and walkways, plus it’s the first Go game to actually have a storyline included. Luckily, you don’t need to be a die-hard Deus Ex fan to enjoy this brainy game, and beyond the 50 core levels, it’ll offer a new stage every weekday for some time to come.
Are you engrossed in USA Network’s hit hacker drama Mr. Robot? Well, now there’s a game that lets you live out some of the shenanigans on the show. Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.apk ($3)—and yes, that’s really its Play Store title—is a narrative adventure that takes the form of a chat app from the show’s antagonistic E Corp company. It acts a bit like text-based game Lifeline, in that the story unfolds in little moments throughout your day.
The game takes place during the first season of the show, and you play the unlucky soul who happened to find the dropped phone of series character Darlene. She needs the device and its contents to carry out fsociety’s massive hack, so you’ll navigate conversations and choose responses to help shape the storyline ahead. From what I’ve played so far, it seems like a really neat way to go further down the rabbit hole of the show’s ever-twisting narrative.
If you have a Cardboard viewer, you ought to give a look to FordVR, the official virtual reality app from the automaker’s racing division. It launched this week with “The Return to Le Mans,” a 360-degree mini-documentary that chronicles the company’s epic battle against Ferrari to win the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans race (LM GTE category) in France.
You’ll experience the day from various perspectives: alongside the track, in the passenger seat of the Ford GT, and even on a Ferris wheel that overlooks the course as nighttime sets in. And of course, you can look freely around each view with the headset against your face, plus the app has a non-Cardboard option to watch in full-screen on the phone. A “World Rallycross with Ken Block” experience will be added next month.
Following in the footsteps of side-scrolling games like Super Stickman Golf and Desert Golfing, Not Golf is an amusing little indie game that challenges you to fling a ball around the course—only you’re not aiming for a hole, but rather a direct hit against the gold placard. While the first course is relatively straightforward, before long you’ll find levels with the destination below the starting point, or where the ball is already moving when the stage begins.
Swiping and releasing your finger whips the ball in that direction, and you can course-correct in mid-air by swiping again, but each counts as a stroke: and just like in real golf, the goal here is to have a low-scoring game. Not Golf is super minimal in design, but if you dug Super Stickman Golf or especially its delightful spinoff Flappy Golf, then you’ll probably get a kick out of it.