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Tech review: The best app-based games from Android in 2019

Assassin's Creed Rebellion, a winner in Android's Best

Assassin's Creed Rebellion, a winner in Android's Best Innovative Games of 2019 category, relies more on strategy than violence. Credit: Newsday/Ubisoft

The just-ended year saw a bounty of wonderful mobile games. Here are 2019’s best games as selected by Google Play’s Android app store. All games looked at here are also available for iOS devices, unless noted. Next week: The best games according to Apple’s App Store.

Call of Duty: Mobile

(iOS, Android; free)

Editors at Google Play said the gameplay, sound and graphics in this action shooter from giant publisher Activision “push the boundaries of what we expect on mobile” and named it Best Game of 2019. Games in the Call of Duty franchise have been among the top sellers for console and PC gamers for years, and Call of Duty: Mobile delivers an immersive experience that really is a breakthrough for mobile devices.

Brawl Stars

(iOS, Android; free)

Google Play also honored the year’s best games in various genres, where it chose five co-winners in each category. Brawl Stars, from Clash of Clans publisher Supercell, was picked as one of the Best Competitive Games of 2019. This “arena battler” offers furious and fun combats, each of which can be completed in under five minutes. Other winners: Call of Duty: Mobile; Rumble Stars Football, Tacticool, Tennis Clash: 3D Sports.

Assassin's Creed Rebellion

(iOS, Android; free)

In its Best Innovative Games of 2019 category, Google Play was looking for titles that “put a twist on established genres.” Assassin's Creed Rebellion from longtime game publisher Ubisoft turns the usually chaotic action game on its head by relying more on strategy than violence. Other winners: Archero; Auto Chess; The Elder Scrolls: Blades; Minit.

Stardew Valley

(iOS, Android; $7.99)

Games from small startup developers often use creativity to make up for their lack of a big budget, and Google Play noted that in 2019 “almost every title has delighted and surprised us.” Among the Best Indie Games of 2019, Stardew Valley — a charming but somewhat wacky farming role-playing game — stands out for its originality. Other winners: Ailment; Chuchel; Grimvalor; Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery (Android only).

Cybercriminals targeting schools

Schools are in the crosshairs of hackers. Last year, 72 U.S. school districts and colleges said they were victims of ransomware, according to security firm Armor. Schools are targeted because cybercriminals know they “don’t have sufficient cybersecurity protections in place” and are likely to pay the ransom, Armor said. In August, the Rockville Centre school district paid a ransom of almost $100,000 to restore data encrypted by ransomware.

— PETER KING

Apple talks at CES, mum on products

The annual CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas brings together giant tech companies to show off their newest products, with one notable exception — Apple, which hasn’t attended the show since 1992. But it is returning this year, kind of. Apple will discuss consumer privacy at a roundtable event, but unlike Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung and others, it won’t display new products. CES begins Tuesday.

— PETER KING

FAA proposes drones rules

All but the smallest civilian drones will have to broadcast radio tracking data under a new Federal Aviation Administration proposal. The rules call for a massive tracking network for everything from toys to larger commercial drones. Law enforcement agencies have demanded a tracking mandate in response to drone threats, including close calls that halted airline flights, collisions with other aircraft and use of the devices by terrorists.

— BLOOMBERG NEWS

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