Five to Try: Causality is a twisting time-travel challenge, and Blin.gy drops you into music videos

Load up on the Play Store's latest Android releases.

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Credit: Andrew Hayward

Need some fresh Android apps and games to keep you company this weekend and beyond? You’re in luck: our latest Five to Try column spotlights the Play Store’s most enticing new releases, and this week’s stack is led by Causality, a tricky logic puzzler than finds you dabbling with astronauts and time travel.

Other picks this week include Blin.gy, an app that superimposes your image atop popular music video clips, and Tap – Chat Stories, a free app with stories told via faux SMS morsels. And if you need further gaming options, Island Delta blends puzzle solving with precise action (and a gravity gun), while Gunman Taco Truck is a weird and wild post-apocalyptic pick.

Causality

fivetotry feb24 causality Loju

This isn’t even one of the later stages and it’s already perplexing.

Looking for a really complex and challenging puzzler to pick away at? Be sure to give the newly-released Causality ($2) a strong look. It’s a game about guiding little astronauts to their destinations across alien worlds, but there’s so much more to it once the various wrinkles are exposed. First it’s one astronaut, and then multiple astronauts… and then time travel comes into play, meaning you’ll guide not only the explorers, but also their past selves. 

It’ll prod your brain to say the least, but Causality actually works really well on mobile. You’ll tap the little floor panels to change the direction of your astronauts, while downward and upward swipes move time forward and backward. It’s also a really beautiful-looking game, with striking, vivid backdrops and charming 3D models. This is one you can really noodle over, especially with 60 increasingly-difficult stages included.

Blin.gy

fivetotry feb24 blingy Blin.gy

Music videos… and Saturday Night Live clips? Sure.

Given the incredible popularity of Musical.ly—an app that lets you create and share your own lip-synced videos set to hit songs—it’s no surprise that the next evolution is actually putting yourself into real music videos. Or rather, atop music videos. That’s what Blin.gy offers, as you can essentially green-screen yourself onto a clip from a real music video and then share the results as you please.

It’s pretty easy to use: just plop yourself in front of a plain backdrop, use your selfie cam, and record. You can record at normal speed or in a slowed-down mode, which then plays as a frantic, sped-up finished product. The results aren’t especially clean-looking, but as a goofy social sharing app, Blin.gy seems to be hot with the kids… because all of the public videos in the app are from teens (or younger).

Island Delta

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Use the gravity gun to hover and heave items—and enemies too.

Intrigued by the puzzle-solving of Causality, but want something a bit more action-packed? Island Delta ($3) might do the trick. This top-down adventure lets you wield a gravity gun—not unlike the one popularized by PC legend, Half-Life 2—which you’ll use to work your way through more than 30 levels filled with traps, angry robots, and other hazards. 

Using the gun is extremely simple: you’ll tap something to levitate it with the device, and then tap elsewhere to then toss that item. You can pick up batteries to activate security panels, snag wooden crates to solve puzzles, or even launch enemies into walls to smash them to bits. Island Delta is an attractive game, and while not as punishing as Causality, it seems to find a nice balance between brains and brawn.

Tap – Chat Stories

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I laughed really hard at that bird line.

Will the next great storytelling medium be… text message conversations? I’m inclined to say no, but Wattpad’s Tap – Chat Stories is here to try and prove me wrong. These bite-sized stories are designed to be speedy reads, and you’ll get through each by tapping repeatedly to bring up each new exchange between characters. 

Amazon has something along these lines with the kid-centric Rapids subscription service, or you can think of it as a not-really-interactive version of a game like Lifeline. In any case, the first horror story it flung my way was pretty terrible, as was the one told from the perspective of Beyoncé’s unborn twins. Maybe you’ll find something better in the mix. Tap is free to download and use, although once you use a certain number of taps, you’ll apparently have to wait for more (or pay).

Gunman Taco Truck

fivetotry feb24 gunmantaco Romero Games

True story: this was made by the son of Doom co-creator John Romero.

If both of those earlier games seem far too taxing on your brain, maybe Gunman Taco Truck will be more up your alley. This silly simulation finds you manning an armored food truck across a post-apocalyptic America, attempting to blast your way through the mutants until you reach the safe haven of Winnipeg, Canada. And yes, you’ll stop and feed the starving survivors along the way. 

Gunman Taco Truck splits its action between side-scrolling shooting sequences, in which you’ll gun down strange creatures (and cows) for ingredients, as well as food prep moments—and yes, your bullet-riddled roadkill does apparently make a mighty fine taco filling. It’s brash and silly, although note that you’ll be prompted to buy the full game within after a free early stretch.

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