Five to Try: Telltale's Walking Dead game resumes, and NBA InPlay offers prizes for predictions

We're back from the holidays with five fresh Android app and game picks.

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Telltale Games

Whether you’ve emerged from the holiday season with a new Android phone or you’re still rocking the same handset you had a month ago, it’s probably high time to grab some new apps for the thing. Looking for an exciting game to dive into, or a fresh app to check out? We’ve got you covered with five recent Play Store picks.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Three is sure to entice fans of the zombie mega-franchise, especially those with save files from the previous game episodes, although it’ll take a pretty top-end phone to run. Otherwise, RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic, and Oceanhorn are well worth a look on the games side of things, while NBA InPlay is an intriguing companion app for hoops games on TV and Stitcher Radio’s Premium service is ideal for podcast junkies. 

The Walking Dead: Season Three

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Clementine has lived through a lot, but the horror isn’t over yet.

More than two years after the conclusion of the last full season—albeit with a Michonne spinoff mini-series released in between—Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season Three ($5) hit the Play Store over the holidays, resuming the grim and gripping zombie-bashing adventure series. This five-part series, called “A New Frontier,” sees an older and wiser Clementine paired with a new ally, Javier, as they navigate new groups of survivors that have popped up amidst the undead apocalypse.

As before, The Walking Dead is largely focused on storytelling, as you make dialogue choices that affect your relationships with other characters and help shape the narrative ahead, although action sequences, exploration, and larger decisions also play a part. If you played the previous seasons, you can import in a save file to continue your own story and command your particular version of Clementine, or you can choose to start fresh. 

The initial download grants you the first Season Three episode, Ties That Bind: Part One, and Part Two is already available to purchase within for $5 with three more episodes coming. However, compatibility is pretty sparse right now: you’ll need a pretty new flagship-level phone to even download it, as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ I’m using wasn’t even deemed capable enough to play the game. Hopefully further optimizations will help ease the requirements, otherwise a lot of fans won’t be continuing their quests on Android anytime soon.

NBA InPlay

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Make your picks, watch the games, and use your boosts wisely.

If you’re a huge hoops fan and watch a lot of NBA games live on TV, then you might get a kick—and maybe some prizes—out of NBA InPlay. This new companion app puts a spin on fantasy sports, letting you pick a team from each day’s matchup and then select which player you think will dominate each quarter of the game. When you watch the game, the app can recognize the game audio on TV and sync up with the clock, letting you earn points from your picks and even use limited-time boosts when a player is really hot. 

You can link up with friends or play against random opponents, and in any case, the more points you earn, the higher you’ll shoot up the leaderboards. Real prizes are promised for top winners, including a $35,000 Autotrader.com gift certificate or tickets to the NBA Finals, so there’s incentive to play a lot… and thus watch a lot of TV, too. There’s a big catch, though: only nationally televised games on ESPN, TNT, ABC, or NBA TV count, so your hometown team’s games might not all make the cut.

RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic

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That coaster looks cool, but you can do a lot more with all of this space.

Atari’s RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile has been a hit on Android, notching at least 10 million downloads, but the free-to-play design makes it a different experience than the old favorites. Looking for something premium that’s closer in look and feel to the early PC entries? Well, RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic ($6) ought to do the trick. It’s not a direct port of any single game, but rather a mash-up of elements from the first two PC titles, albeit now optimized for touch.

As ever, you’ll pick a park scenario—with 95 different ones here—and build loads of cool rides, all while fleshing out the entire location, keeping customers happy, and making money. Building one-of-a-kind coasters remains a unique thrill, and RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic keeps the fun of the originals intact without the burden of in-game spending prompts or added timers. In fact, the only in-app purchases are for optional expansion packs. 

Stitcher Premium

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Pay a few bucks a month with podcast perks with Stitcher Premium.

Stitcher Radio has long been a top pick for Android podcast fans, as the app smartly collects and suggests more than 40,000 shows, and even offers a feed of “top stories” and worthwhile listens. But if you’re really, really into listening to podcasts—or just really hate ads—then now you can boost the experience with Stitcher Premium.

Available via in-app purchase on the standard Stitcher Radio app, the Premium service cuts banner ads from the app and any audio ads that Stitcher inserts into episodes, plus it offers early access to hit shows like WTF with Marc Maron, and Comedy Bang Bang, along with bonus episodes. You’ll also get exclusive access to 40+ Stitcher-produced shows, as well as albums from top comedians like Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari. Stitcher Premium will set you back $5 a month or $35 a year, although you can check out a free trial for one week or one month, depending on the plan you pick.

Oceanhorn

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It’s the closest thing to Zelda on your smartphone.

It’s long overdue, but Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas has finally arrived on Android—and this attractive mobile adventure was surely worth the wait for role-playing fans. Released first on iOS a few years back, Oceanhorn is a clear homage to The Legend of Zelda, particularly GameCube favorite The Wind Waker, and finds your little hero smashing through enemies, exploring dungeons, and sailing the seas in search of new lands.

Despite its age, Oceanhorn still has a very glossy and premium look on Android, plus it features music from legendary Japanese RPG composers Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) and Kenji Ito (Romancing SaGa). The free download offers up the first chapter without payment, while the full-game unlock within is currently priced at $5.49. It may not hit the same creative peaks of the Nintendo classics it closely emulates, but Oceanhorn is still a highly compelling on-the-go quest.

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