Five to Try: Shadowmatic's peculiar puzzles shine bright, and BritBox streams top UK telly

Be sure to check out this week's hottest new Android app releases.

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Credit: Andrew Hayward

Looking for some fresh apps and games for your Android phone? Look no further, because our Five to Try column highlights a handful of the week’s top new releases. Shadowmatic heads up the latest pile, as this inventive puzzler challenges you to create the shadow of a real-like object or creature by maneuvering various shapes. It’s really clever, and it’s a free download to boot.

Otherwise, this week brings the release of BritBox, a UK-centric television streaming service with content old and new, enticing indie adventure After the End: Forsaken Destiny, credit-checking service WalletHub, and the companion app for Ghost Recon Wildlands on consoles and PC. Free some space and load up for the weekend ahead.

Shadowmatic

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Who knew cupid was hiding in this hunk of junk?

It’s long overdue on Android, but Shadowmatic was worth the wait. This ingenious puzzler gives you one or more bumpy, misshapen items, and then shines a flashlight on them—and it’s up to you to rearrange their positioning until the shadow on the wall looks like a real object. You’ll spin and rotate some wonky-looking item until you project a fish, for example, or manipulate two separate items until the shadow resembles a single chess piece. 

It’s a clever touch experience, given the tactile sensation of “physically” moving the objects, and it’s neat to gradually tinker with the objects until you get a glimpse of something real—and then try to perfect it. The free download is a taste, with 14 intro levels to try out, while a $3 in-app purchase unlocks 100+ total levels, secondary objectives, and a bonus arcade mode.

BritBox

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BritBox has plenty of exclusive content that isn’t streaming anywhere else in the States.

Got a thing for British humor—or humour, rather—and drama? If you can’t find enough great UK-spawned television to meet your needs on other streaming services, then maybe it’s worth adding a subscription to BritBox. As the name suggests, this new offering focuses on one thing and one thing only: British TV series, with more than 2,000 hours available to start from top broadcasters BBC and iTV, and new episodes added as soon as one day after airing.

BritBox includes plenty of currently-airing hits, such as Silent Witness, Cold Feet, and EastEnders, as well as extensive backlogs and old favorites like The Office, Absolutely Fabulous, and Fawlty Towers. You’ll have to pay $7 a month to access everything, although it has a free one-week trial for newcomers. The Android app itself is blandly designed, but if you need more English telly in your life, then BritBox delivers the goods.

After the End: Forsaken Destiny

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You’ll rotate the terrain to overcome each cluster of puzzles.

Looks like it’s a pretty nice week for puzzle fans. Shadowmatic can scratch one kind of itch, but if you’re more interested in exploring intriguing terrain and solving environmental conundrums, then After the End: Forsaken Destiny ($4) is surely worth a look as well. This original mobile game has a bit of Monument Valley influence to it, as you step on and flip switches to work your way through perplexing levels, albeit with an aesthetic that recalls the great Journey on PlayStation consoles.

Charming visuals and stirring music help propel the adventure, with some action-packed moments breaking up the slower-paced puzzle areas. And there’s an emotional hook that’s sure to have some payoff in the end, as you occasionally control both a father and son in separate timelines, with each character’s actions impacting the other’s. After the End makes a strong impression.

WalletHub

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Keep tabs on your credit score—and try to improve it, too.

Eyeing a big purchase like a house or a car in your near future… or simply want to keep an eye out for credit issues? WalletHub just launched its Android app, making it easy to keep tabs on what’s happening with your financial reports. It’s totally free, and you won’t need to enter a credit card number or link in an account to get started. Just pop in some critical info, including the last four digits of your social security number, and you’ll be up and running in no time.

WalletHub offers up a daily-updated credit score from TransUnion, access to your full report, and plenty of other helpful details—like grades on your credit utilization, debt amount versus income, and other ways to improve your financial status. It’s also built to sell you credit cards it thinks are better than your current ones, which is both potentially helpful and annoying, but the positives seem to outweigh any negatives here.

Ghost Recon Wildlands HQ

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Wildlands HQ ties into the full game, plus it has its own distractions.

It might have been lost in the buzz around the Nintendo Switch and Sony’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, but Ubisoft just launched the much-anticipated Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands this week on consoles and PC. And if you’re a fan of the celebrated tactical shooter series and plan to drop into its gritty, open-world take on Bolivia, then you’ll surely want the official companion app handy on your phone.

Ghost Recon Wildlands HQ can synchronize with your Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or PC game and let you tap into a live “satellite view” map of the game world, giving you up-to-the-minute info on your surroundings without pulling you out of the action. There’s also a Guerilla Game mode that lets you complete simple in-app missions to boost your Wildlands resources, plus you can communicate with other Ghost Recon players to strategize and plan play sessions.

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