New Android apps worth downloading: Hangouts update, Google Play Games, Prince of Persia Shadow & Flame

by Phil Hornshaw

Google has provided today’s Apps Worth Downloading list with a couple of great apps worthy of your attention. First is the updated Google Hangouts, which brings lots of messaging capabilities to your Android device, including the ability to create voice calls with as many as 10 people. Following that is Google Play Games, a social app that lets you see what your friends are playing, challenge them to multiplayer games, and gloat to them about your achievements and scores. Finally, Prince of Persia Shadow & Flame brings the sequel to the classic side-scrolling platformer Prince of Persia to Android devices, complete with a new combat system.

Hangouts update (Free)

Google HangoutsWhat’s it about? Google’s app for chatting, video calls and more has just gotten an update that adds new emoji support and improvements to the app that utilize Google’s Project Butter updates.

What’s cool? Hangouts is the app it launched to replace its useful Talk app, but anyone who has checked out Hangouts will have realized how robust it is. The app supports both one-on-one and group messaging, allowing you to send messages over your Internet connection to your contacts without using SMS messaging. The app also supports video calls with up to 10 people, just like the web-based version of Hangouts, and syncs with your Google account so that any hangouts you create on the web are saved and accessible from your Android device. The updated Hangouts adds more emoji support in text messaging and improves the app’s overall performance in a number of ways through Google’s Project Butter.

Who’s it for? Anyone who wants a powerful messaging app should grab Hangouts, especially if you make use of it frequently with your Internet browser.

What’s it like? You can also get powerful messaging capabilities out of Viber and Skype.

Google Play Games (Free)

Google Play GamesWhat’s it about? Track achievements, view scores and leaderboards and connect with friends for multiplayer matches with Google Play Games.

What’s cool? Google Play Games amps up the social element of your Android gaming. The app lets you track the titles you play and brings together all your friends to allow you to see what others are playing. You can view your own achievements and scores by title and check out what others have earned as well, and launch multiplayer games with them. It’s a lot like Apple’s Game Center on iOS, bringing all the social elements of your games into one place. You can also use Google Play Games to discover new titles that you might want to check out, as well.

Who’s it for? If you consider yourself an avid Android gamer, there’s no reason not to have Google Play Games to handle the social and competitive aspects of your games.

What’s it like? Another great app for finding and competing against other players is OpenFeint Game Channel.

Prince of Persia Shadow & Flame ($2.99)

Prince of Persia Shadow & FlameWhat’s it about? The sequel to the classic platformer Prince of Persia, Shadow & Flame brings more side-scrolling old-school gameplay to players, with challenging platforming and intense combat.

What’s cool? Shadows & Flame is a modern remake of a classic platforming title of the same name, set after the events of the original Prince of Persia. Once again taking on the role of the wandering prince, players have to work through 14 different side-scrolling levels that capture the platforming challenges the series has become known for delivering. Shadow & Flame has been optimized for touchscreens and includes gesture controls to make playing it more intuitive, and it also packs a new combat system to bring players into the action in new and different ways from its predecessor. Shadow & Flame also packs a social element, allowing users to track scores on leaderboards and share scores on Facebook.

Who’s it for? Fans of old-school Prince of Persia titles and platformers won’t want to miss the remake of a popular classic.

What’s it like? Grab Prince of Persia Classic and Assassin’s Creed for similar mechanics and more great platforming action.

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