Recent Articles | Android Central

Order Galaxy Note 7 | Shop Chromebooks: Asus Flip | Acer 14 | Dell 13

Headlines

10 hours ago

Philips' Hue motion sensor automatically turns on the lights for you

4

You can control Philips Hue lights with your phone, but if you're feeling especially lazy, you'll want to take a look at the latest addition to the Hue ecosystem. The Philips Hue motion sensor automatically switches on the lights in a room, with the ability to configure a specific scene to a sensor.

Read more and comment

 
10 hours ago

How to take better photos with a Galaxy phone

9

How do I take amazing photos with my Galaxy phone?

Shooting phenomenal photographs with your DSLR can be relatively easy, but getting the same stunning quality and clarity with your smartphone is a bit more of a challenge.

Luckily there are some surefire ways to get high-quality photographs with your Galaxy phone. Here are a couple of things to try the next time you're lining up a shot to capture that picture-perfect moment!

Read more and comment

 
1 day ago

Second life

81

What's the best way to enjoy this column? With a big cup of Kona.

I like good coffee. Anyone who knows me well knows that I obsess about it. Good beans, a high-quality grinder, and time. Patience. Every morning, I stumble downstairs, boil some water in my well-used Hario gooseneck kettle, and proceed with the ritual: grind, weigh, pour-over. It takes five minutes, longer than many people are willing to wait for good coffee, but to me it's a rule, not an exception. There is nothing better than that first sip of bright Kenyan coffee as the sun pours in through the blinds, the radio on in the background, sounds of voices familiar and present, comforting.

I think everyone needs these rituals to look forward to each day, to fill in the gaps between the rote and mundane.

I also play dodgeball. It's something I've done for almost ten years, and I've broken almost that many fingers (often the same one multiple times). It's always a conversation starter — "Like the movie?" No, nothing like the movie. Better! — but it's also an entirely different world than my day-to-day. I get to leave my pinging phone in my bag for two hours, and channel my troubles into a winning score on the court. Cliché, sure, but there's a reason exercise is the best thing you can do for anxiety.

We are publishing fewer articles overall, with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

As the Northern Hemisphere cools, and the days shorten, I have to remember to really appreciate the rituals, the breaks in the norm, and the opportunities to pull away from the myriad screens that keep me tied to my work, and increasingly my friends and family, day after day.

You've seen some of that realignment of thought on Android Central since I took over as Managing Editor, publishing fewer articles, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. In the next few weeks, you'll see an even greater emphasis placed on individual writers (with some big announcements), and a new approach to news that will hopefully find a compromise between the news ticker (that we admittedly rolled out too early) and the high-quality analysis you expect from a site of AC's reputation and influence.

As I said in my introduction, my mandate is to make Android Central, and Android as an idea, more broadly accessible to everyone. We already have Jerry doing an amazing (AMAZING!) job delving into the parts of the ecosystem in a way that is both accessible and comprehensive. I'm so excited to read his Saturday column every week, and you should be, too.

Many people just want to know which phone to buy at a certain budget, or what case to get for their brand new Droid.

But many people just want to know which phone to buy at a certain budget, or what case to get for their brand new Galaxy S6, or Moto G4. AC should be accessible and valuable to those who arrive randomly after fastidiously making their coffee in the morning, or returning from the gym, or hanging with friends. People whose phones are a part of their day, not their entire day. I love that we can, and will, cater to both audiences.

We have a busy week coming up. IFA is just around the corner, and you'll start seeing a trickle leading into a flood of announcements from almost every company whose tendrils even graze the Android ecosystem. Last year we got new smart watches from Samsung, new phones from Huawei and Sony, and some pretty big surprises. I'm excited to see what these same companies have learned in 12 months.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your week!

Daniel

Read more and comment

 
1 day ago

Pokémon Go: Common problems and fixes!

 Common problems and fixes

Pokémon Go is shockingly popular. But it's not the most stable app at the moment.

With tens of millions of players hitting the game, there are bound to be a few issues — particularly when the game relies on your phone's internet and GPS connections, as well as Niantic's servers.

Rather than have you track down things all over trying to fix issues, we've rounded up common Pokémon Go problems, and some solutions to fix them!

Read more and comment

 
1 day ago

The case for a Material Dark culture on Android

91

I love hex black and a dark UI!

You Nougat-lovers can't deny,

That when an app installs in an itty, bitty space,

With a dark theme in your face,

You get sprung!

Google and Android are filled with white, white, white UIs. It wasn't always that way, but it is now. The only real dark system UIs available right now are downloadable TouchWiz themes, and Google's apps are whiter than my jean-365-days-a-year legs. Night modes have been toyed with in Developer Previews the last two years but have never amounted to much of anything. And really, even if they had stuck around, it wouldn't've been the dark theme we wanted anyway.

Read more and comment

 
1 day ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: Ludicrous zero-day nougat

3

Android goes to 7, Apple goes to the repair kit, and Tesla goes for maximum speed.

Android 7.0 Nougat is finally here! … if you have a Nexus phone. If using a modern Nexus phone, it might be a while before you get the update — or never. But does that really matter?

Apple found itself in sticky security waters following the disclosure and prompt patching of a trio of particularly nasty zero-day exploits. What's more terrifying than these sort of "fix it immediately" exploits is who is making them: private malware firms that cater to governmental desires for ever-more-prying eyes. Thankfully, Apple did the right thing and moved fast to patch their products.

The long-awaited HP Elite x3 is finally here. Kind of. Almost. But Windows Central got one and went hands-on with the latest and greatest Windows Phone anyway. It's the first Windows Phone to tout both a fingerprint scanner and an iris scanner, and all sorts of high-powered bits.

The Tesla Model 3 is set to start at $35,000. Tesla's newest Model S option, the P100D, starts at $134,500. It's just a small difference. But that P100D is the quickest production car on the planet, making it to 60mph in a dizzying 2.5 seconds. If you can afford it… and the inevitable speeding tickets.

So you're interested in getting into VR, but which headset should you be donning? VRHeads sits down and looks at the desktop-class options to figure out which is better: HTC Vive or Oculus Rift?. It's a tough call with how many variables are at play here, but rest assured that both are pretty damn cool.

Read more and comment

 
1 day ago

Slow updates are hurting Android as an app platform, and Google Play

207

Everyone wants better support for the phones we're buying, and not getting it is holding Android itself back.

Here's a simple truth we all probably know in the back of our minds — you don't need to get a new version of Android because not much will seem different. The home screen or app drawer may have a tweak or two, and there will be one feature we would like to have, but the apps we use are going to look and function the exact same. The things we do, like messaging or Facebook, won't use any of the new features developers have available for a while, and apps that do include the latest cool developer feature will be few and far between for quite a while.

That sucks.

Read more and comment

 
2 days ago

Android and chill

143

Settle in and get comfy. This is how we're gonna do Saturdays — talking about stuff.

Hey there!

I'm Jerry. I'm a former Electrical Engineer who ended up writing software (like many an EE) and then ended up with a cushy job that lets me work from home and do cool stuff. I'm also a Linux Professional (I love saying that for some reason) which is a fancy term for a masochist. I've been here a while, and the people in charge were wise (read: brave?) enough to tell me I can write words about stuff every Saturday. Mostly Android stuff, but there's a big world out there. I'm also pretty laid back (or I like to think so) about most things. I started writing for Android Central in 2010, and this is my full-time job. Some may recognize my name here, and I've even met some of you in real life, which is a hoot.

Long time readers probably have noticed we've made a few changes here. Phil Nickinson, the long-time Editor-in-Chief and an awesome SOB that I truly love, has moved on to things that need more Phil added to them. For real. I only know half of what he's doing, and already love it. He's still here at Mobile Nations, and we'll rope him into writing a few words or saying a few things here and there, but now this is our gig. And that's cool, we got this Phil.

"We" means Dan Bader, the man who has to steer this boat and an all around Rock Star, Alex Dobie (Executive editor for the EU, licensed to thrill and dapperAF), Andrew Martonik (Executive editor for the U.S. and the best damn proofreader in the universe) and me. I'm in charge of touching things until they break, trying to figure stuff out, and talking about Android as a platform instead of just talking about the phones that use it. We're supported by awesome people, too. All of our writers and contributors work hard to put out quality material, and they make the place better just by being here. It's turning out to be a great mix of people, and I think we have one of the best teams out there when it comes to Android websites. We're all doing what we're good at, and what we enjoy. I love this job. Being surrounded by stuff that needs a battery and people with the same love for their work is part of it, but you are part of it, too. Hell, I'm one of you and I don't want it any other way.

Now that a few details are out of the way, welcome to Saturday time with Jerry. Let's talk about stuff.

  • Android 7.0 finally showed up. It's a big deal for the platform with fundamental changes to the way Android works on the inside, but also polishes some of the details. I like the direction Google is taking Android, and I like the way they seem more serious about improving the experience for all the people who use it. That's tough because Android isn't a stand-alone product, and there are all sorts of partners with different ideas. All of it needs to be unified in some ways while letting it be very different in others. Forget about which phone is best or which company has better ideas for software features for a minute — third-party apps from Google Play and certain core Android features need to be great on all of them. Nougat is a step in that direction.
  • Android 7.0 is also just the beginning. There are rumors flying around and we have things we're bursting to be able to talk about (soon, Alex). If even half of them are true we'll see Android itself move forward in a different way than we're used to and Google caring more about its own customers than ever before. Both awesome things that fit well with the tightening of Android itself.
  • The best part is you don't have to worry about any of it if you like what you have now and how it works. Platform updates on Android are for hardcore enthusiasts and developers for the first six months, and by the time you get an update on your phone or are ready to move on to a new one, it will be ready for you. Letting people who want to be guinea pigs and beta testers do it while you keep on doing what you do is never a bad decision.
  • Why did I not know about this? Ordered.
  • The Note 7 has been around just long enough to gauge some early response from people who buy phones instead of review them. Samsung killed it. Absolutely murdered it. Sure, there are some issues when you dig into the forums where people like to talk about issues, but nothing with a screen has ever been produced that is 100% perfect. Watch all the lag test videos, read all the benchmark scores and discuss them to death, but also know that the Note 7 in your hands is one of the best Android phones you'll be able to buy in 2016. Yeah, the price is stupid high. But for a lot of folks, it's going to be worth every penny.
  • I love what The Wirecutter is doing here. Using mAh (milliamp hours) to measure how long a battery will last just doesn't work well with battery packs or power supplies. I'm going to urge the powers that be to make it so across Mobile Nations.
  • Are you ready for the LG V20? I am. So are my headphones. A head to head between the HTC 10 (my pick of 2016 so far for audio quality) and the V20 is going to happen as soon as I wrap my filthy mitts around one. If LG's take on Android 7.0 doesn't turn me off, it could be my daily. Carrying three phones sucks 50% more than carrying two.
  • This is scary. Apple's response was excellent, but a reminder that world governments have resources we couldn't imagine and they aren't afraid to spend them so they can hack a cell phone is always jarring. I hate to think about what the United States is doing. Or England. Or Germany. Hell, it's all scary.
  • Remember, alt-right, PC culture, establishment and a host of other buzzwords are just that: words. Don't let the media and their agenda (which is making money at any cost) define you or influence you no matter which side of any issue you're on. Everything sucks. Everything always sucked. And it always will. I've seen presidents get caught spying and covering it up, get shot, get impeached over a blowjob and be tricked into going to war. The one thing I've learned from it all is that both sides will do anything to distract you, and the media circus flourishes because of it. You be you and do what you think is right.

We'll talk again next week. In the meantime, remember we're all in this together and kindness feels good both ways. Adios.

Read more and comment

 
2 days ago

Best accessories for the Nexus 6P

58
Best Accessories for Nexus 6P

Want to get the most out of your Nexus 6P? Check out these great accessories!

Your Nexus 6P is a powerful device, and right out of the box it works like a dream. Of course, you can always turn your Nexus 6P into a force to be reckoned with by getting a few little extras.

Accessories are the spice of life — they change your phone from ordinary to extraordinary. If you want to kick up the wow-factor with your Nexus 6P, take a look at these awesome accessories we have rounded up for you.

Chromecast

Chromecast

If you haven't heard of Chromecast you probably live under a rock! All joking aside, we can't recommend this great device enough.

Chromecast is a small, little receiver that plugs into your TV via the HDMI port and allows you to stream the display from your phone onto your TV screen. You can look at pictures, watch video, and even play music through Chromecast, making it great for entertaining everybody.

There are plenty of Chromecast-compatible apps and the number is growing. As long as you have Wi-Fi in your home (or wherever you plan on using it) Chromecast will take you to bigger and better screens!

See at Google

Maxboost tempered glass screen protector

It's hard to enhance the wow-factor of your Nexus 6P if the screen is cracked or smashed — that's why screen protectors are so great!

This is a tempered glass screen protector which means it's going to give you the best protection against scratches and scrapes. The Maxboost protector is hydrophobic and oleophobic which means you shouldn't have to keep wiping your screen as it will be resistant to the oil on your fingertips.

It's worth mentioning that Maxboost has a lifetime warranty for their screen protector, so if it ever does scratch they will ship you a new one free of charge!

See at Amazon

Anker PowerCore+

If you are constantly running out of battery power on your Nexus 6P, we have the ultimate solution for you.

Anker's PowerCore+ is a beast! It has a huge capacity of 20100mAh, which means it can fully charge your Nexus 6P five times before you need to charge it again! On top of its huge capacity, it also has two USB ports, allowing you to charge multiple devices at once.

It's quite small for having such a large capacity, making it perfect for carrying around. It's also a rugged in design, so minor scrapes and drops shouldn't hurt it too much, making it great for camping or road trips!

See at Amazon

Cable Creation 10ft charging cable

You may be thinking this seems a little ridiculous, but you have no idea just how useful a long charging cord can be until you try it.

This 10-foot long cable will allow you to move around while still charging your Nexus 6P. Vacuuming the living room? Cooking in the kitchen? It's never been easier to have the freedom to roam around the room.

The cord is wrapped in a fabric weave to give it a stylish look, but it also makes the wire inside fully protected from the outside. If you spill anything on this cord it could stain, but it shouldn't really affect it's performance at all.

See at Amazon

Photos Live Case

Photo Live case

Straight from Google themselves, the Photo Live case is meant to be as unique as you want it to be. It's a simple one shell case that features a photo of your choosing, making it perfect for treasuring a precious moment, highlighting your favorite photo, or even using a unique print from your favorite artist.

The Photos Live case also has an app you can download in order to turn your wallpaper into a rolling slideshow, making it feel like your case is integrated into your Home screen!

A case like this, could make you the talk of all your friends or even make a timeless gift for a close friend or loved one. The Photo Live case is available for all Nexus phones.

See at Google

What's your best accessory?

Tell us how much you love your favorite accessory for your Nexus 6P. Leave a comment in the comment section below!

Nexus 6P

Google Store Huawei Best Buy

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

Read more and comment

 
2 days ago

Android Central 303: 7.0 ways to enjoy Nougat

10

Audio-only stream below

Nougat is here! Join us for a very special live, in-person episode all about Android's latest release.

Read more and comment

 
2 days ago

How to enable Night Mode on your Nexus in Android 7.0 Nougat

50

How do I enable Night Mode in Android 7.0 Nougat on a Nexus device?

During the Android 7.0 Nougat Developer Preview, Google experimented with a system-wide Night Mode that offered a number of improvements to compatible Nexus phones to allow them to work better at night and in other low-light situations. Unfortunately for tinkerers (but completely understandable for a variety of reasons), that mode was hidden in the run-up to Nougat's release — but with a little help you can get at least some of those features back.

While the overall dark theme is not available, Nexus devices running Nougat (5X, 6, 6P, 9, Pixel C) can activate a handy blue light filter similar to the one found on the Galaxy Note 7. Here's how.

Read more and comment

 
2 days ago

How to download and install MIUI 8 on the Redmi Note 3

13

With an OTA update underway, installing MIUI 8 on the Redmi Note 3 is as easy as it gets.

Xiaomi started rolling out the stable MIUI 8 ROM on August 23, seeding the OTA update to the Mi 4i and Redmi Note. The update is now making its way to the Redmi Note 3. If you're rocking the budget handset, it's time to make the switch to MIUI 8.

Read more and comment

 
3 days ago

Android 7.0 and the Snapdragon 800 — a conundrum

208

You'll have to get Android 7.0 for the Nexus 5 from XDA. Let's try to figure out why.

Many of us are sad that the Nexus 5 isn't getting any official update to Android 7.0. Especially when we watched and saw Google continue to build device trees in the code for Hammerhead — that means someone, somewhere, was working on it. And when Sony announced which phones were going to receive an update to Android 7.0, many noticed that the Xperia Z3 wasn't on the list. While the idea that phones from 2014 not getting updated late in 2016 isn't particularly surprising, the fact that the Z3 was part of Sony's Android Concept Initiative — a fancy name for an Android 7.0 Beta program — but didn't make the cut and that Google was working on Nougat for the Nexus 5 then just suddenly stopped was.

The situation has the internet asking the obvious question — why? The answer is that the Z3 and Nexus 5 actually can't officially run Android 7.0, even though could as a beta. Read on. It will all make sense.

Read more and comment

 
3 days ago

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 accessories are now available at ShopAndroid

6

ShopAndroid is now full of the best Samsung Galaxy Note 7 accessories, so check them out!

If you've recently picked up the Galaxy Note 7, odds are that you have been looking around at some accessories to pick up for it. Luckily, ShopAndroid has you covered with all of your needs, from cases to battery packs, Bluetooth speakers, memory cards and much more. We've got top brands like SanDisk, Belkin, Seidio and more in stock, and some pretty great bundles as well.

Whether it is protection that you seek for the phone or something to keep it mounted in the car, we've got you covered. Be sure to head over to the ShopAndroid Store for all your Galaxy Note 7 accessory needs, and remember, orders over $50 ship for free!

See at ShopAndroid

Read more and comment

 
3 days ago

Reigns: a beginner's guide

10

Rule over your kingdom for as long as you can in Reigns.

If you've never heard of the game Reigns before, allow us to introduce you to one of the most popular games of the year. Available for $2.99 in the Google Play Store, Reigns is a game that will likely have you playing for not only for hours on end, but over years and generations — more on that in a bit.

The game is formatted sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books you probably remember from your childhood. Load up the game and you're instantly thrown in. You start out as a young king taking control of his kingdom in the first year of his reign. Advisors, citizens and animals appear as cards, coming to you with issues and questions that require a ruling — swipe right for yes, swipe left for no.

But choose wisely, because your decisions will affect one of four aspects of your kingdom: the church, the people, the army or the treasury. They are tracked with meters at the top of the screen, and your goal as king is to ensure no meter becomes entirely empty or full — allow that to happen and your fate is sealed.

It may sound complicated, but it's really not. Your goal is simply to keep things balanced and reign over your land for as long as possible. If — or rather when — you die, the game doesn't end. Instead, you simply take on the role of your successor and take over where the last king left things. But remember, everything is occurring on a linear timeline. Every decision you make is logged by the game, and may well come back affect your fate down the line, so choose wisely.

If we've convinced you already to check out the game, great! Hit up the Google Play Store and get your hands on this game while avoiding any of the spoilers to follow. If you still need some convincing before dropping money on the game, or have some questions regarding the gameplay mechanics, we've broken out this handy guide to maximize the length of your reign.

A guided tour through your first reign as King

To explain Reigns' gameplay mechanics, which is sort of a meshing between Choose Your Own Adventure storytelling and Tinder-style controls, there's no better way than to simply showing a progression through the very first reign, as King Edward the Young. I'll be including commentary along the way to explain my rationale.

Spoilers ahead: No matter how early the content I'm showing you is in the overall arc of the game, if you want the full, going-in-blind experience (highly recommended), stop reading now and just buy this game from the Play Store. It's absolutely worth it.

Still reading? Let's go!

The game opens with you speaking to the "Spirit of the Fallen" who accuses you of usurping his throne. He gives you a heads up about keeping the four powers (marked with the cross, stick figure, sword and dollar sign) balanced to survive. Again, you simply swipe to the right or left to move on to the next card.

So, when I first started playing Reigns, I figured I'd try and be a nice king to my people. When my first card introduced me to Puck the peasant telling me we needed to build a dam, I figured "that's a no brainer" and just went ahead and had it built.

Note the callouts on the screens above. In my haste, I didn't even bother to see how that decision might affect the kingdom's power balance. The people's power went up a bit, but the treasury went down as well, given I had spent the royal family's wealth. This early on in a king's reign, one hasty decision won't have too major an impact on how things play out. But as you progress through different reigns, things do tend to add up or disappear quite quickly if you're not smart.

What's more, the very next card called into question the decision I had just made! And we're just getting started, folks!

"Tweet! Tweet!"

So, the next visitor was… a bird. Not knowing what to make of this, and not seeing any markings above any of the power balances (more on that shortly), I decided to opt with politeness. Again, as you'll discover, this game loves to delves into absurd, or go off on delightfully Non Sequitur tangents.

After slowing down and seeing what the options were for responding to the bird, the game does remind you to take your time and swipe slow to read both responses and see the consequences of your decisions on the kingdom.

Next up, the "Achbishop (sic) of Reeds" asked if he could conduct a mass to the memory of my father. Having not known who exactly my father was in this context, and also noticing that saying 'No' would have an effect on the church and military — you're almost never outright told whether it will be positive or negative — while saying yes would have an effect on the church and the treasury, signified in the call outs above by the dot above each signal. I opted to be fiscally conservative and forgo the mass.

So uh… about that absurdity again. You quickly learn how twisted and dark the humor gets in this game. From determining how to best handle a plague of meowing nuns, to playing fetch with the royal dog for, as I learned, as long as you would like to with seemingly no consequence, to then immediately deciding whether to call in the army to help execute citizens — every new card is a potential twist down a bizarre path. Just another day as a monarch, I suppose.

"There are too many people to execute! I need help from the army."

To the issue of whether to call in the army to help executing citizens… Uh, how about no? Again, looking at the effects on the power balance I noted that saying 'No' would affect the people's power, while saying 'Yes' would affect both the people's power and the army's power. The king decrees 'No'.

"The estuary of the river Drop is a dangerous swamp for travellers. We should sanitize the whole area."

The next card jumps back to the decision to dam the river. It has created a swamp that's apparently dangerous for travellers. I care about people's safety, so sure. Let's sanitize the whole area. No matter the cost.

"The Merchants' Guild is selling goods traditionally produced by the Abbey. Put an end to this."

OK, so here's another important note. The size of the dot above each power category determines how big the effect will be — either positively or negatively. See the callouts in the screen above to see the difference between 'Yes' and 'No' here. I went with 'Yes'.

"My Lord, you can't stop the trade! Please reconsider, even if it means paying a new tax."

Whoa. My treasury took a major hit, but the church was also pretty low, so good call, right?

But now I've annoyed the merchants. Okay, well some damage control via taxation should help my treasury a bit.

"The miners are refusing to dig in the mine. They want a raise."

Again, I've decided to be a man of the people here, so give them a raise!

"Could we dismember Junius Loosetongue? Please? This clown broke down a trebuchet."

Man, this guy again? Always with the killing and dismembering. That said, we are too low on money to be messing with our weapons… Bring him to me now!

"I was playing tennis with a giant. He won"

Haha, oh he's the jester? That's pretty funny. Sure let's just pay the army.

But wait. My treasury...

"An earthquake destroyed a large part of the capital. The City Guard awaits your orders."

An earthquake? Uh-oh. That sounds expensive. Both options show an effect on my treasury.

This might be the end. I guess let's prevent pillaging?

"Your country is ruined my Lord. Merchants and nobility own everything"

So we've reached the end of my first reign, as my treasury has been depleted. You know your king is about to die when both the 'Yes' and 'No' responses are both 'What…' or something similar.

Well, it was a good run while it lasted. Your final card shows how the king died. 16 years for my first reign, not too shabby — I think? And hey, maybe King Robert will do a better job than his predecessor.

How to duel

As you progress through the game, occasionally you will be challenged to a duel. The gameplay itself doesn't change much at all, as you're still either swiping right to attack, or to the left to retreat/dodge. The four trackers at the top are replaced by a rudimentary battle arena, where your attacks and retreats are previewed by swiping and holding the card. Take time when considering your next move.

After completing your first duel, you can ask General Conventon to explain the duel mechanics. Here's what he says:

In other words, it's typically best to mostly be aggressive in duels and swipe to the right. However, if the card hints at your duelling partner planning a nasty attack, you might want to opt for a defensive swipe to the left. If you guess wrong, you might meet an untimely end, but time your defensive move right and you'll get an attack bonus on the next round. Ultimately, duelling seems like a 50/50 mix of strategy and luck.

Completing objectives

Every time a king dies, a new king rises to take his place — with three objectives you should aim to complete during his next reign.

These objectives really range in variety and, occasionally, seem quite absurd. But as you quickly discover once you dive into Reigns, it's a game that's full of wonderful surprises. Occasionally it will come down to your intuition and close reading for clues to figure out when you might be able to complete an objective. Other times, the game will simply throw you down a random path and you're taken on a wild ride towards the conclusion of an objective. All told, there are currently 40 objectives in Reigns.

A common example of an objective you will see is seeking out a new character. Occasionally a card will hint at introducing a new character advisor, so it's typically worth responding affirmatively to such cards. Once you've unlocked a new character, you'll start to regularly hearing from them, signified by new cards being added to your deck. Every new character adds a new layer to the overall game, and not all characters are to be trusted — but on the other hand, you may also earn the opportunity to have certain characters executed for one reason or another. Reigns features 37 unlockable characters.

Effect cards

Occasionally as you play through Reigns, you will trigger an effect. These will affect the game in a multitude of different ways. See the screens above for just a few examples I've run into so far. Once you uncover an effect card, you'll see its icon in one of the four boxes in the bottom right corner for as long as they are in effect. I really don't want to give away too much on them because they are really some of the most surprising and hilarious parts of the game. Given there are four effect slots, they will also stack on top of one another if you let them. They may reset whenever a king dies, they may run out after a set amount of time, or they might remain in effect for as long as you keep playing.

Mistakes will be made

Here's the thing: while your goal in Reigns is to survive for as many years as possible, there might be some Kings that serve for pitifully short reigns. This may be due to your own poor decision making, or it could just be the game throwing you for a loop. In the example section above, looking back, I made some pretty costly mistakes that significantly shortened my reign.

But it's okay! Not every king you play as is going to have a long and fruitful reign. Besides, if you're struggling being a fair and just ruler, maybe it's time to try being a ruthless tyrant. There's no wrong way to play Reigns.

Have you played Reigns?

What have been your favorite moments playing the game? Got any tips we should include in our guide? Let us know in the comments!

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages