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The Best Android Games of 2018

Gaming on Android

Gaming used to mean standing at a wooden cabinet with a giant screen that ate your quarters. Then it was sitting on your couch or at a desk playing console or PC games[1]. And now VR gaming is hitting the mainstream.

Still, people tend to gravitate toward the platforms most accessible to them, including their Android phones and tablets. Sure, you’re supposed to use your device for critically important Android apps, but there’s always time for some fun. Just make sure not to waste your time and money on a less-than-stellar game.

Our Favorites

Our roundup is by no means a comprehensive or complete survey of Android games.

A marketplace as vast and vibrant as Google Play has something for everyone: board games[2], word games, shooters, racers, runners, and even fantasy quiz RPGs[3]. What follows is a list of the games that my fellow reviewers at PCMag and I have played and thoroughly enjoy. Android gaming (and the Android app[4] experience in general) was once second tier, with all the top titles being either exclusive to iOS or launching months later on Android.

But Google Play has grown to the point where it’s as strong a mobile games marketplace as the Apple App Store. These days, it’s not unusual for great games to appear simultaneously on both platforms. One interesting trend in mobile games is that some developers are porting titles that premiered on console or PC over to Android.

The list of Final Fantasy games that you can play on a phone grows ever longer, and even a nearly forgotten classic like Crazy Taxi[5] now lives on Google Play. It shows that these games have solid concepts that can be translated across just about any platform, and it’s a testament to how far mobile devices have come as gaming platforms. It’s also super convenient to have your favorite games accessible any time you have a free moment, and anywhere you travel.

The Best Is Yet to Come

As with all of our lists, this story is a work in progress.

We’ll update and expand it from time to time and try to keep it fresh, too, by cycling out titles that have already had their moment in the sun. Hopefully, every time you check back, there will be something new and exciting to discover. Don’t see your favorite?

Drop us a message in the comments. Like you, we’re always hungry for new tappy time wasters and stress relievers, so we’ll take a look.

The Banner Saga[6]£9.99This tactical, turn-based strategy game was a hit on the PC and has finally arrived on Android.

Lead your party of Vikings through a gorgeous, mythic world and weave your own legendary story. Though the price tag is steep, the rewards are worthwhile (read: buy it). A sequel has recently invaded the Google Play store, but you should start your journey here.

The Battle of Polytopia[7]

Free The classic Civilization series does exist on mobile, but I’ve found the experience tedious and generally unenjoyable. Polytopia takes the strategy genre and boils it down to its bones, adds a layer of quirky, low-poly art, and polishes the result to a shine with addictive mobile play.

It’s a great way to turn a quick trip to the bathroom into a half-hour journey of conquest.

Blizzard Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft[8] FreeIf last year you had told me that in the year of our Lord 2017 I would be playing a collectible-card game based on World of Warcraft (WoW), I would have told you that seemed correct, since I’ve been obsessed with Hearthstone for several years now.

With endless variations on a simple game, Hearthstone jettisons the strife and ridiculous expense of collectible-card games and makes them fun again. Even as someone who isn’t a fan of WoW, I found the game to be both accessible and light-hearted enough to suck me in.

Clash Royale[9] FreeThe follow-up to the mega-hit Clash of Clans, Clash Royale combines elements of Dota 2[10], tower defense, and deck building into a shockingly charming package.

It’s a fun and addictive mobile experience that can be played with just a thumb. You can even complete all those in-app purchases one-handed, too.

Dots & Co[11]FreeTwo Dots was a breakout hit for mobile gaming, deftly combining simple, portable play with a stylish design. Dots and Co isn’t so much a sequel as it is a riff on the first game, introducing new special abilities and challenges.

It retains all the zen strategy of the original, with some new twists that make it feel fresh.

Kim Kardashian Hollywood[12] FreeCalm down, haters.

Regardless of what you think about Kim K or casual gaming, Kim Kardashian Hollywood is an enormously fun, cleverly written, and enjoyably addictive hit that is worth your time. I have nothing to add to our review’s excellent summation: “…basically, it’s exactly like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.”

Miracle Merchant[13] FreeMiracle Merchant is a fantasy-inspired take on solitaire that requires a good deal of strategy to master, despite its simple potion-making premise.

All the more, the game features bright and inviting visuals that are sure to delight. It’s offline functionality and portrait-style interface make it great for mobile platforms as well.

Monument Valley[14] £3.99Monument Valley is an incredibly beautiful game, proving that a mobile game doesn’t need to be synonymous with cheap and shallow.

In this meditative puzzler, you have to use optical illusions to complete each gorgeous level. Meditative, mysterious, and intriguing, it’s a must-play Android game.

Pokemon Go[15] Free2016 will be remembered for the deaths of many great entertainers, the collapse of Western democracy and, most importantly, for Pokemon Go.

By tapping into your location data and your camera, Pokemon Go puts the pocketable monsters in our world. It’s a lot of fun, and a great excuse to explore your community. While the fad has certainly faded, the game is better than ever.

Reigns[16]

£2.99Reigns takes the familiar swipe-right-or-left mechanic from Tinder and uses it to tell a strange generational story of palace intrigue. You’ll go through many kings along the way–sometimes very quickly–while trying to serve your people, respect the church, and fight off enemies. Oh, and Satan is after you.

With retro looks and simple but challenging play, Reigns is an instant classic.

Spaceteam[17] FreeSet Lustrous Prismneck to Maximum! In Spaceteam, you and the other people in the room work together to navigate a spacecraft through various mechanical disasters.

If you and your friends love the technobabble of Star Trek, then you’ll love this unique game.

References

  1. ^ PC games (www.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ board games (www.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ fantasy quiz RPGs (www.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ Android app (www.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ Crazy Taxi (www.pcmag.com)
  6. ^ The Banner Saga (play.google.com)
  7. ^ The Battle of Polytopia (www.pcmag.com)
  8. ^ Blizzard Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft (www.pcmag.com)
  9. ^ Clash Royale (www.pcmag.com)
  10. ^ Dota 2 (www.pcmag.com)
  11. ^ Dots & Co (play.google.com)
  12. ^ Kim Kardashian Hollywood (www.pcmag.com)
  13. ^ Miracle Merchant (uk.pcmag.com)
  14. ^ Monument Valley (www.pcmag.com)
  15. ^ Pokemon Go (www.pcmag.com)
  16. ^ Reigns (www.pcmag.com)
  17. ^ Spaceteam (www.pcmag.com)

iOS 11.2 update fixes iPhone-breaking bug – but should you upgrade?

An iOS bug causing iPhones to shut off without warning has forced Apple to release its iOS 11.2 update earlier than planned. Although the new release mainly aims to resolve those issues, some other changes have been made to iOS. Keep scrolling for the details.

Best Buy smartphones[1] – see which mobiles top our tests

Bug forces Apple to release update early

A glitch affecting iPhones at the weekend saw hordes of users head online for answers on how to fix their mobiles. The odd bug (born from iOS 11.1.2) caused some iPhones to restart without warning, ‘respringing’ over and over again and making them unusable. But it wasn’t long before the cause of the bug was identified – it was notifications from third-party apps causing problems.

With this in mind, Apple had no option but to release a quick fix in the form of iOS 11.2. It’s now available to download for UK users on an iPhone, iPad or iPod.

What to do if your iPhone unexpectedly restarts

If you’re one of the unlucky few experiencing problems with your iOS gadget, it’s time to update it. Tap Settings, then General, then Software Update.

From there, hit Download and install. It’s worth noting that you may have to remove unused apps and files to make room for the new update, but you’ll get a notification warning you if that’s the case.

iOS 11.2 update: what’s new?

The bulk of what iOS 11.2 has to offer is related to bug fixes, but there are some other changes included. Apple says it has improved wireless charging speeds when using third-party accessories, so iPhone 8[2], iPhone 8 Plus[3] and iPhone X[4] users are in luck.

You’ll also spot a selection of new wallpapers. Wallpapers that were originally exclusive to the iPhone 8 and iPhone X are now available on any iOS device. Meanwhile, Apple’s new iPhone X has been treated to three new ‘glittery’ wallpapers.

Other changes include ‘improvements to video camera stabilisation’ and a couple of redesigned emoji. Apple Pay Cash, which allows you to send and receive money through the Messages app, isn’t included in this update. Although the feature is mentioned in Apple’s update notes for UK users, it’s still a US-only feature.

So all things considered, should you upgrade to the latest version of iOS? If you haven’t experienced hardware issues on your device, there’s no need to update as soon as possible. Although some of the features included in this update are handy, Apple pushed it out earlier than planned because of the weekend bug.

We’ve heard that some users have updated to iOS 11.2 and are now dealing with bugs that weren’t there before the weekend.

To see if Apple’s latest iPhone models are worthy of Best Buy status, head over to our Apple iPhones rated[5] guide.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy smartphones (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ iPhone 8 (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ iPhone 8 Plus (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ iPhone X (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Apple iPhones rated (www.which.co.uk)

Google accused of harvesting personal data

More than 5 million iPhone users in the UK could be owed hundreds of pounds each in compensation from Google, according to campaign group Google You Owe Us. The group, led by former Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, is launching a class action lawsuit against Google. It claims that the web giant unlawfully harvested millions of iPhone users’ personal information.

It’s alleged that between June 2011 and February 2012, Google bypassed the default privacy settings on the iPhone’s Safari browser using a piece of computer code that set a Google third-party cookie on to your iPhone – known as the ‘Safari Workaround’. You can find out more about cookies here[1]. This allowed Google to gather personal data, such as internet browsing history, without seeking user consent.

This data was used to sell a service to its advertising network called the DoubleClick Service, which enables advertisers to target and tailor adverts according to an iPhone user’s preferences. Peter Vicary-Smith, chief executive of Which?, said:

‘People have to put their trust in big companies such as Google because they increasingly play a large role in our everyday lives. To have this good faith rewarded by Google taking advantage of people’s information without their consent is something that rightly must be challenged.

‘This welcome campaign should empower consumers by bringing the issue into the spotlight and enabling those affected to rightly seek collective compensation.’

If successful, the case would result in billions of pounds of compensation for users, and would represent the largest compensation bill ever paid to British consumers. If you’re thinking of getting the Google Home smart hub, you can find out how it performed in our tough privacy testing by reading our Google Home review[2].

What can you do?

Google was officially notified of the claim in July 2017, and the case is expected to appear in the High Court next year. The Google You Owe Us campaign group is going to court on behalf of the claimant class, which consists of individuals who can answer yes to the criteria below:

a) Were you at any time between 1 June 2011 and 15 February 2012 present in England and Wales? And while present:

  1. Did you have an Apple ID?
  2. Did you own or were you in lawful possession of an iPhone?
  3. Did you use the Safari browser to access the internet?
  4. Did you keep the default security settings in the Safari browser?
  5. Did you not opt out of tracking and collation via Google’s ‘Ads preference Manager’?

b) Were you resident in England and Wales on 31 May 2017? You don’t need to do anything at this stage, as you’re automatically included in the claimant class if you meet these criteria.

Simply keep an eye on the case – we’ll keep you up to date with any developments. If the case is successful, you’ll be asked by the campaign group to provide proof that you qualify to receive money under the claim – this could include an Apple ID from 2011 or 2012, or a receipt for an iPhone in the affected period. In order to receive the compensation you’re owed, you will also also need to sign up to the campaign.

If you don’t want to be part of the claim, even if you qualify, then you can choose not to participate via the Google You Owe Us site.

If you give an organisation access to your personal data, you can use your rights under the Data Protection Act to manage how they can use it.

Find out how to stop companies from using your data[3] and what steps you can take to protect yourself if your data has been lost[4].

References

  1. ^ find out more about cookies here (computing.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ Google Home review (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ stop companies from using your data (www.which.co.uk)
  4. ^ protect yourself if your data has been lost (www.which.co.uk)