Five to Try: Bohemian Rhapsody goes VR, and Family Guy and Futurama wage card combat

Grab some fresh, fun Android apps for the weekend ahead.

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When you think of Queen’s iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” what pops to mind? Wayne’s World? Maybe next time your brain will go to vivid virtual reality, as Google just released the mesmerizing Bohemian Rhapsody Experience app for Cardboard VR. It leads our latest batch of new Android app and game recommendations, all of which are focused on fun and entertainment.

Also new this week is Fox’s Animation Throwdown, which blends several popular cartoon universes for a card-battling game, along with teen-focused live-streaming app, Live.ly. Six! and MyNBA2K17 round out this week’s pack, so if you want to shake up your phone’s app selection with some new options, here’s a good place to start.

The Bohemian Rhapsody Experience

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The Experience gradually transforms and shifts between various scenes and styles. Much like the song itself!

“Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the most instantly recognizable rock songs in history, and now it’s one of the most memorable VR apps for Cardboard. Queen’s classic is the focus of Google’s new app, which concocts a dazzling dream world around the six-minute track. You’ll see odd cartoon creatures, bits of archival video footage, animated versions of the band members, and even dancers and other elements that react based on how you look around.

As a 360-degree experience with spatial sound, The Bohemian Rhapsody Experience is best experienced in a Cardboard viewer—but even if you don’t have one of the low-end VR shells, you can still watch the whole thing in full-screen on your device. It’s short and sweet, but as a free showcase for Cardboard and a tribute to an amazing song, it’s well worth checking out. 

Animation Throwdown

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Why are Bob and Bender fighting? No clue, but it’s pretty amusing.

Card-based games seem to be all the rage right now in mobile, with Final Fantasy and The Wizard of Oz doing it in recent weeks (among others), but this is a curious one: Animation Throwdown mashes up the universes of Fox’s various adult-focused cartoons for a card-battler. You’ll find cards, characters, and backdrops inspired by Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers, Futurama, King of the Hill, and American Dad within, but sadly nothing from The Simpsons.

It doesn’t seem like the most obvious fit for a card combat experience, but from what I’ve played, Animation Throwdown seems solidly fun. The cards dig deep into each show’s catalog for amusing jokes, plus you can stack certain cards for special abilities and permanently fuse cards together to improve your deck between battles. With hundreds of cards, a 25-chapter campaign, and online multiplayer battles, this could be a surprisingly deep time sink.

Six!

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No, this isn’t a Tetris clone, but it is pretty darn fun.

Great arcade-style games can be learned within seconds but played (and enjoyed) endlessly, and that seems to be the case with Six! Hailing from Gram Games, which made the popular 1010! and Merged!, it’s a game about gradually clearing away Tetris-like blocks from the screen… all while ensuring that the hexagon sitting atop the heap doesn’t fall to either side.

As you create openings below, the hexagon shifts and rolls up top, and any attempt to take things slowly and methodically will be thrown out the window as you frantically try to change its trajectory. Six! is simple yet clever, and quite a bit of fun, plus the free download doesn’t have any limits. However, it does have ad banners and occasional video ads, too. Paying $4 within clears them for good, in case you get sucked in deep.

Live.ly

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I sure hope the teens like watching my cat being annoyed.

Have you heard of Musical.ly? It’s a make-your-own-music-video lipsyncing app like the recent Funimate, and it’s hugely popular with teens, racking up more than 100 million downloads across platforms. And that same crowd will surely snap up the company’s latest addition, Live.ly, which already topped the charts over on iOS. Anyone already familiar with live-streaming apps like Periscope or Meerkat will feel right at home.

That’s because it’s more or less a teen-centric clone, offering the same kind of interface (with chat and streams of emotes) albeit with a more focused target audience. When I checked it out, the top streams included a girl broadcasting from her desk at school, and some kid’s dog chewing a water bottle—about as riveting as the average fare from other live-streaming apps, really. But the ties into the Musical.ly community may give this an edge with the younger crowd.

MyNBA2K17

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Yes, those are basketball cards playing basketball.

NBA 2K17 tips off on consoles today, and 2K Sports’ annual basketball sim just seems to get better every year. We’ll probably get an Android version of the full game at some point, as we did with NBA 2K16 ($8)—but for now, hoops fans can check out MyNBA2K17. Like last year’s game, it’s an odd little amalgamation of basketball and a collectible card game (like Animation Throwdown above), as 2K has also done with WWE SuperCard and NHL SuperCard.

You’ll bring a small deck onto the court in the brief battles, picking your best card for each matchup and trying to beat the opposing team. All the while, the cards dribble and shoot the ball, which is as surreal as it is totally hilarious. MyNBA2K17 also serves as a companion app for the main game, letting you earn in-game currency and scan your face to create custom athletes in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions.

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