New Android apps worth downloading: Facebook Messenger update, Cut the Rope: Time Travel, Anthill

by Phil Hornshaw

Facebook Messenger received another big update for Android users, throwing in new multitasking capabilities. We've also got some new games to help you have some fun this week: Cut the Rope: Time Travel, which adds more complexity to the Cut the Rope formula, and Anthill, a strategy defense game in which you send ant soldiers to protect your colony.


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Facebook Messenger update (Free)

Facebook MessengerWhat’s it about? Chat with your Facebook friends through the social network's dedicated Facebook Messenger app, which now supports voice features for Android users.

What’s cool? Facebook Messenger was already a pretty handy app, bringing the chat functions of the social network that users enjoy on its website to a specialized mobile app. Messenger allows for things like group chats, video and photo messages, and more, and it's a big boon just to have instant messaging access to everyone on your Facebook friends list. You can also use the app to check messages you aren't receiving in real-time, so it essentially functions as a dual chat and email service that's specifically run through Facebook. Recent updates have added VoIP chatting and multitasking that allows you to continue chatting even while using other apps.

Who’s it for? If you're a big fan of Facebook as a means of contacting others, Facebook Messenger is extremely useful.

What’s it like? Try Facebook's other major apps, Facebook Home, which integrates the social network into your device's home screen, and the original Facebook app.

Cut the Rope: Time Travel (Free)

Cut the Rope: Time TravelWhat’s it about? The green monster Om Nom is back and has been accidentally sucked through a time vortex, creating new puzzles in which players have to cut ropes to feed candies to him (and his ancestors).

What’s cool? Like Cut the Rope: Experiments before it, Cut the Rope: Time Travel is less of a sequel and more of an expansion of the original Cut the Rope idea. The basics are the same: each puzzle has a candy hanging from a rope (or otherwise suspended) that players need to get into Om Nom's mouth. Cutting ropes by swiping or tapping to pop bubbles can set the candies in motion, and quick reactions from players, as well as logical steps, get them where they need to go. In Cut the Rope: Time Travel, developer ZeptoLabs adds more elements, such as rockets and portals, to the repertoire of Cut the Rope elements, and switches up gameplay by adding a second candy and a second location to bring it to. This leads to puzzles that have players doing two things at once, or some in which timing is key to feed both monsters.

Who’s it for? Anyone who enjoys puzzlers (and cute monsters) should check out Cut the Rope: Time Travel – it's a solid addition of the well-loved series.

What’s it like? The original Cut the Rope also offers some great puzzles, and Cut the Rope: Experiments add a number of twists on the original idea.

Anthill ($1.92)

AnthillWhat’s it about? Strategy game Anthill has players using the real behaviors of ants to send troops into battle against enemy bugs, destroying them for the good of the colony.

What’s cool? Players of Anthill spend their time directing various kinds of ants to fight off incoming enemy bugs, but instead of moving troops around in groups or setting up towers for defense, you'll send them in streams using lines of pheromones left on the ground. Anthill keeps its controls simple, requiring that you just draw a line to where you want to send troops in order to issue them orders. You'll need to protect the ant hill, but how you do that depends on how you deploy your four different kinds of troops. Over time, you'll be able to upgrade your ants and your colony to make them more effective.

Who’s it for? Strategy fans, you'll want to try this one for its interesting but simple controls and twist on tactics.

What’s it like? Ant Raid is another quality ant-based strategy title, and takes a different approach to similar ideas.


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