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Google says these are 2016’s best Android apps and games

Google doesn’t have to be ashamed of its Android application ecosystem these days. Back when the Play Store was known as the Android Market, it was a different story. There just wasn’t a lot of great stuff. Now there’s enough that Google is having its first ever Google Play awards. The winners have been announced, and they’re kind of all over the map.

Here’s the list of winning apps with links to check out for yourself.

Google granted Clash Royale the title of best game in 2016, which is a bit crazy. It is very popular, but best? We have different thoughts on the matter. Clash Royale is the followup to the strategy/building game Clash of Clans. This one is a more focused strategy title featuring real-time multiplayer. It’s free to play with in-app purchases up to $100. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy nut here, but I bet it makes a huge amount of money and Google likes getting a piece of it. This is just good business. 

The other game winners include Pokémon Shuffle Mobile for its global approach (whatever that means). The puzzle game Alphabear is cited as the best indie title. It does have a cute style and neat word-based gameplay. You don’t see things like Alphabear everyday. Table Tennis Touch has been out for a while, but apparently Google still thinks it makes the best use of Play Services. That includes things like leaderboards, saved game sync, and achievements.

Houzz as the best app is an interesting one. It’s an internal design app that lets you position virtual objects in your home using augmented reality. Meanwhile, Robinhood got the nod as the best example of material design, Google’s design language for apps. Robinhood is a stock-trading app that has gotten surprisingly popular since launching on Android last year. The NYT VR app was deemed most innovative, which makes sense given Google’s renewed interest in VR.

You can try all the apps above for free except for Table Tennis Touch and Thinkrolls 2, both of which cost a few bucks.

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