Five to Try: The Escapists infiltrates the Play Store, and Meteor is a speed test with style

Check out these new Android games and apps—and a cameo from the Nintendo Switch.

fivetotry march3 lead
Andrew Hayward

It has been a busy week for Android hardware, thanks to MWC 2017 in Barcelona and the unveiling of the LG G6, Moto G5 and G5 Plus, and numerous other devices. However, that doesn’t mean that the Play Store took a breather, as we have five new apps and games worth checking out right now.

The Escapists is this week’s big game release, as the popular jailbreak simulation is freed from its PC and console cage, and it’s joined by Dashy Crashy Turbo and Black Blue in our picks. Also new this week is Meteor, an Internet speed test app with a great look and some handy perks, as well as the Nintendo Switch Parental Controls app, released alongside today’s console debut.

The Escapists

fivetotry march3 theescapists Team 17

Keeping out of trouble is crucial until you’re ready to bail.

Being in jail sounds absolutely horrendous, of course, but breaking out of jail? Well, that seems downright exhilarating. Now you can put your jailbreak skills to the test—without committing any actual crimes, thankfully—in The Escapists ($4), which makes the move over to Android after selling millions of copies on PC and consoles.

This pixel-packed simulation is a fan favorite because of its wide-open design. You’ll have six different jail settings to break out of, each with its own unique layout and elements, but how you find freedom is totally your call. You’ll try to blend in as you keep routines and seek out security weaknesses, work with other inmates and craft items, and plot the big getaway plan before trying to execute on it. This single-player game has no in-app purchases or add-ons whatsoever, making it a steal for just a few bucks.

Meteor

fivetotry march3 meteor OpenSignal

The faster your speed, the mightier the soaring meteor.

Meteor certainly isn’t the first Android app around that can test your connection speed—Speedtest.net is the classic example, while Netflix’s FAST and Ooniprobe are recent picks—but it might be the most attractive app to do the deed. And since looks aren’t all that critical in putting a number on your cellular or Wi-Fi speeds, Meteor also burns bright because of some extra perks.

The app not only measures your ping, download, and upload speeds, but it also gives them an easy-to-read grade—and then it tells you whether you have enough bandwidth available to use with an array of top web services, including Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube. With streaming services, it’ll even grade how well you’re likely to handle various video quality options, which might help you better set your expectations. 

Dashy Crashy

fivetotry march3 dashycrashy Dumpling Co.

If only real-life commutes could be this amusing.

First released early last year, Dashy Crashy put a fun spin on the endless runner by putting you behind the wheel, challenging to stay on the road as you dodged traffic across five lanes. Now that free-to-play experience has been given a shot in the arm with the newly-released Dashy Crashy Turbo edition, which pumps a lot more variety into the game. 

With the Turbo update, each car now has its own unique perk to better differentiate them, which means the tank fires cannon shots at cars ahead, while other rides can leap over traffic or powerslide. That makes unlocking and collecting cars all the more interesting now, especially with 25 new additions in the mix. And with new medals to snag for lengthy runs, rather than just going head to head against high scores, the experience takes on a fresh tone as well. 

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

fivetotry march3 nintendoparental Nintendo

I won’t have a console to pair until later today, but the app is ready and waiting.

It’s always big news when Nintendo releases a game console, and that’s no different today with the debut of the Switch, a 2-in-1 handheld/console hybrid. The Switch sort of looks like a tablet with detachable controller nubs on either end, and it actually connects with your Android phone in a unique way: via a parental controls app.

That might sound uninteresting, but Nintendo has made this a pretty valuable resource for parents. You can set and manage time limits for kids from the app, including picking individual daily limits and choosing whether or not to have the system shut down automatically once time expires. You can also view activity logs, restrict online play and/or communication features, and block adult-oriented games. Nintendo’s games have long appealed to players across the age spectrum, and Switch Parental Controls ensures that guardians can stay in the loop wherever they are.

Black Blue

fivetotry march3 blackblue Wonderkid Development

Pick a point and hope your line is longer than your foe’s.

At a glance, Black Blue looks a lot like Blek, the clever draw-your-own-solution puzzler—but despite the similarities in aesthetic (and name, kind of), Black Blue does its own thing. In this puzzle game, you’ll actually play against an opponent, whether it’s the computer or a local pal using the same device, and each tap one dot on the grid.

You’re shown a shape above that’ll be drawn as lines expand out from your competing dots and connect, and the player whose colored line goes the farthest wins each stage. Confused? It’s not easy to explain, nor did it make obvious sense in the first few levels—but after some trial and error, it started to click. The competitive approach and strategic plotting element make Black Blue unique, plus it’s a free download, with an in-app purchase required to download the later chunks of the 72 included levels.

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