Five to Try: Nintendo's Miitomo arrives, and MLB.com At Bat is ready for 2016

Grab these new and updated Android apps for the weekend ahead.

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It might be April Fool’s Day, but we won’t pull any fast ones on you: these are truly, sincerely the most interesting new and updated Android apps of the week. And the biggest of those comes from a very familiar face, albeit not in the Android ecosystem: Nintendo makes its first mobile splash this week with Miitomo, a whimsical social network of sorts.

Also noteworthy this week is the 2016 edition of MLB.com At Bat, which is ready for this weekend’s season-opening games, along with SoundCloud’s new streaming music subscription service. And if you’re in the mood for games—Miitomo really isn’t one, surprisingly—then maybe LEGO Jurassic World or Slide the Shakes will do the trick. Don’t be foolish: grab some new apps to check out this weekend.

Miitomo

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You can’t directly control your Mii: he or she can chat with other avatars and read messages, but there’s little real “game” to it.

Sorry, Mario and Zelda fans: Nintendo’s first Android game isn’t much of a game at all, really. Miitomo is more a social distraction, letting you create one of the cartoonish Mii avatars from the Wii and plug into your Facebook and Twitter circles to link up with friends. From there, you can answer silly questions, read your friends’ responses, mock up goofy photos, buy avatar clothing, and occasionally play a pachinko mini-game. 

That all adds up to… well, I don’t really know yet. As far as I can tell, Miitomo is just a Nintendo-flavored layer atop your usual social networking routines, but it is undeniably appealing so far. I can’t help but keep checking back to see which of my friends commented on my responses or posted their own inane answers, but we’ll see how long this initial burst of interest lasts. 

MLB.com At Bat

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The official MLB app has been updated for 2016 and adds some tweaks and new features.

The 2016 Major League Baseball season kicks off this Sunday, and we’ve got a long season ahead of home runs, dugout-clearing scuffles, pitching duels, and everything else that happens between the lines. MLB has led the major sports leagues in the mobile department, and its official MLB.com At Bat app remains the best way to follow your favorite team—and everything else.

At Bat is now freshly primed for the 2016 season, plus comes with some Material Design nips and tucks and allows for 60 frames per second playback on higher-end tablets. As ever, the app is a pretty complete package: you’ll find scores, stats, news, video clips, audio commentary, and some free live streaming game video, while premium subscriptions unlock more live games. 

LEGO Jurassic World

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Much easier than keeping loads of real LEGO bricks in your pocket.

It’s about 10 months too late to launch alongside the flick, but the Android version of LEGO Jurassic World ($5) just released this week, and it’s a pretty meaty adaptation of the entire film series. You’ll play through scenarios from Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park 3, and last summer’s Jurassic World, all given the LEGO series touch of levity.

As with all other licensed LEGO games, you’ll wander the levels, punching up piles of bricks and building objects to solve light puzzles, all while reliving the events from each film. It has 20 missions, numerous playable characters, and even a chance to play as the dinosaurs, and that’s all available without a single in-app purchase. While the familiar LEGO game core has gotten long in the tooth, it’s still a fun, expansive play for fans of any of the films.

SoundCloud

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SoundCloud Go cuts the ads, offers offline playback, and adds millions more tracks.

SoundCloud, the music site known for hosting loads of remixes and scads of songs from smaller artists, did a surprising thing this week: it launched a premium subscription service called SoundCloud Go, which charges a Spotify-like $10 a month. And for that money, you not only kill the ads and get offline playable functionality, but also open up a library of tracks from major artists—just like Spotify. 

Well, almost like Spotify: you’ll find about 15 million songs like that on SoundCloud Go, while typical streaming services offer double that. Also, navigation is a mess right now on mobile, with every song listed individually; there are no album listings available. There’s a 30-day trial, so it’s worth a shot if you love SoundCloud’s community approach and also want bigger-name fare, but there are kinks to work out in terms of presentation and sorting.

Slide the Shakes

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Pull back the shake and let it slide—and hope it doesn’t spill.

If you ran an old-timey soda shop, you might feel compelled to slide milkshakes down the counter—and chances are, you’d probably cause a mishap or two. Well, that’s the dream scenario you can live out in Slide the Shakes, a free-to-play game that challenges you to gracefully send beverages to the right position down the bar.

You’ll do so by pulling back and flinging the drink towards the green marker on each countertop, but the game quickly shakes things up (pun intended) by adding inclines and declines, ice slicks, large gaps to jump over, and shakes of varying size and weight. Slide the Shakes delivers simple thrills, but the arcade-style design and one-more-try appeal give it a nice hook.

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