Five to Try: FIFA Mobile Soccer takes the pitch, and Sprayscape serves up surreal VR photos

Check out this week's biggest new Android apps and games.

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If you’re a footie fanatic, then this week’s release of FIFA Mobile Soccer probably has you pumped up—it’s EA Sports’ latest free-to-play Android take on its long-running simulation, offering an event-filled career to play through. It also leads this week’s Five to Try column, which has a few other new and updated picks to consider.

Google’s Sprayscape is an intriguing, albeit offbeat Android Experiment that lets you create warped photospheres for VR, while Amazon’s new Music Unlimited streaming service undercuts Spotify on price while seeming comparable on content. Also new this week is the great Flappy Golf 2, which is as goofy and fun as it sounds, as well as a Skylanders Creator app that lets you custom-build heroes and 3D-printed toys.

FIFA Mobile Soccer

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FIFA offers up a traditional simulation, but mostly breaks the action up into smaller challenges and drills.

EA Sports’ annual FIFA soccer simulation has been top-class for years now, but rather than drop a new release each year, FIFA Mobile Soccer is the one app you’ll need for some time to come. FIFA Mobile Soccer will be regularly updated with new events, updated team and roster info, and other tweaks going forward, much like EA’s Madden NFL Mobile and the recent NBA Live Mobile.

At its core, FIFA Mobile Soccer doesn’t deviate too strongly from last year’s entry: the touch controls are super streamlined, although virtual buttons are also available, and the game looks pretty sharp on a smartphone. The campaign is based on the FIFA Ultimate Team mode, wherein you’ll collect player cards to build a killer squad and play through an array of drills, matches, and other challenges. Typical freemium restrictions are here, including an energy meter, and there are ample opportunities to spend money. But with a little patience, you’ll find plenty of sharp soccer action to play for free here.

Sprayscape

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You kind of have to see it in motion (try it, the app’s free).

Google’s Cardboard Camera is one of the must-try Cardboard VR apps on Android, as it lets you create a realistic photosphere of your surroundings with ease. Sprayscape, meanwhile, is something different: it still lets you capture immersive recreations of what’s around you, but the goal isn’t accuracy or realism. Instead, you’ll tap anywhere in the 360-degree virtual room to fill it with a photo “spray” from your camera.

Keep tapping all around and you can create something semi-authentic, albeit with odd breaks and distortions. But the purpose is really to let you customize something original and unique, and the app can be used to create trick photography scenes or merge together multiple environments into one. The results can then be viewed in a web browser, on your phone, or via a Cardboard headset. It’s another curious little Android Experiment from Google: not essential, but worth a few minutes of fiddling if you like weird little creative apps.

Flappy Golf 2

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Long after Flappy Bird’s demise, Flappy Golf lives on.

The original Flappy Golf was a free and fantastic treat, so we’re thrilled to see Noodlecake return to the greens with Flappy Golf 2. Like the original, it takes the tap-to-flap premise of short-lived mobile phenom Flappy Bird and pumps it into a side-scrolling golf game, in which you must reach the cup with as few flaps as possible. In short, it’s Super Stickman Golf with flaps instead of swings.

And in this case, the awesome Super Stickman Golf 3 provides the 29 current courses with more promised down the line. It’s totally free to play, although you’ll encounter ads—both small on-screen banners and occasional pop-ups. Also, local multiplayer is currently missing despite being in the Google Play listing, which early players are a little upset about. Still, like its predecessor, Flappy Golf 2 is a blast.

Amazon Music

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The cool Side by Side playlists give you artist commentary on their most notable songs.

Amazon Prime members who are happily locked into the retailer’s discount and perk-heavy ecosystem, take note: the company finally has a streaming music service that can compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. Launched this week, Amazon Music Unlimited promises tens of millions of streaming, ad-free songs, seemingly putting it on par with the industry leaders. 

The existing Prime Music service, which comes free to Prime subscribers, only has a few million tracks and lacks most newer releases, but Music Unlimited stands apart… and also costs extra money, as a result. Prime members can add it for $8/month or $80/year, cheaper than standalone competitors, while non-members pay $10/month. Still, if you’re already reaping the benefits of Prime, you’ll save a couple bucks a month by switching to Music Unlimited—assuming it has all the same artists and tracks you love. Find out by snagging the free 30-day trial.

Skylanders Creator

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Create your hero, send it into the game, and even order a physical toy if you’d like.

Skylanders popularized the toys-to-life console game experience, and while rival Disney Infinity bit the dust earlier this year, Activision’s franchise keeps on chugging. New entry Skylanders Imaginators is out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, and older hardware this week, but there’s also a fun companion app available on Android that lets you customize your own characters.

With Skylanders Creator, you can build your own cartoonish warrior using an array of apparel, weapons, fighting techniques, and more, and then transfer that character into the console game. Better yet, you can order a custom 3D-printed, NFC-chipped figurine of the creation, which you can then bring into the game with the portal peripheral. Even if you don’t plan on playing the new Skylanders on a console, this could be a fun app for kids to get creative with character designs.

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