Five to Try: Angry Birds gets a gritty Evolution, and Cars 3 crashes into Google's Toontastic 3D

Don't miss this week's most enticing new Android apps and games.

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Credit: Andrew Hayward/IDG

Looking for something fun to play or tinker with on your Android phone this weekend? We have a few fresh picks in our latest Five to Try column, and the cream of this week’s Play Store crop is pretty strongly focused on games and entertainment.

Rovio’s Angry Birds Evolution is the biggest of the bunch, giving the old birds a darker, 3D makeover, while Google’s Toontastic 3D cartoon-making app gets a visit from Pixar’s Cars 3 crew. Elsewhere, Asphalt Street Storm gears up for some intense drag races, Toca Lab: Plants is an entertaining educational pick for kids, and Flipping Legends is a flipping fun endless game. Download a few of these new and updated releases and see if anything grabs you.

Angry Birds Evolution

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Angry Birds goes gritty? Yeah, kind of.

Rovio’s Angry Birds hasn’t evolved much in recent years, instead opting to shape-shift and mimic other popular game styles with a constant array of spinoffs. But Angry Birds Evolution claims to be a true step forward for the core pull-and-fling experience, and we see that approach in a couple of different ways here.

In terms of gameplay, you’re still launching birds at pigs, but now you’ll do it in 3D environments in which the fowl bounce around like pinballs. And Evolution takes on a harder-edged aesthetic, swapping the colorful cartoonish look and roster of past games for a broader selection of much angrier-looking birds. At first blush, it’s a weird aesthetic shift for the series, although the actual action does seem like a solid progression from the original design. 

Toontastic 3D

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Tweak the cars, drop them in, and then film your own mini-cartoon.

Google’s own Toontastic 3D came out at the start of the year, letting creative users of all sorts design, animate, and voice their own mini-cartoons. And whether or not you checked it out then, there’s a big reason to give it a look right now: fresh Cars 3 content.

Added in time for the Disney/Pixar film release, the Cars 3 goodies let you pick one of two scenes from the movie and drop in familiar characters such as Lightning McQueen and Mater, as well as newcomers Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm. As before, you can tweak their looks, add them to a scene, and then record clips as you move them around and provide narration. It’s a fun way to interact with the characters from the movie, and if you or your kids are looking for even more options, Toontastic 3D also has new content from Fruit Ninja.

Asphalt Street Storm

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Street Storm is fast, but will the freemium model make you furious?

Asphalt 8: Airborne and Asphalt Xtreme are two of the best racing games you can play on Android today, but Gameloft has gone in a very different direction for the new Asphalt Street Storm. Unlike those active, arcade-style racers, Street Storm is a drag-racing experience that’s very similar to CSR Racing, and it’s controlled entirely with button taps.

The approach is familiar. You’ll line up at the start, shift gears, and trigger your nitrous to try and outrun the competition. But while Asphalt doesn’t do all that much to shake up the established CSR template, the new game does add some small wrinkles. For example, you can take part in four-car battles against live competition, plus make bets in those online battles if you’re feeling confident of a win. It’s also really pretty, to boot, with some slick stylized effects around the realistic car models.

Toca Lab: Plants

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Toca's wacky human-like plants might yield a chuckle.

Toca Boca has established itself as the leading maker of kid-centric mobile apps and games, and the new Toca Lab: Plants ($3) follows the popular Toca Lab: Elements as another science-centric playground of discovery. Here, kids can experiment with various tools and activities as they progressively discover 35 different plant species available within.

Each plant is rendered in a silly, anthropomorphic manner, and you can manipulate them in a water tank, with a light source, via nutrition, and more—so kids will learn while they’re playing. It’s adorable and accessible, and thankfully, parents never need to worry about in-app purchases: The three bucks you pay in the Play Store is all the money it'll ever ask you to spend.

Flipping Legend

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Keep flipping—or your game will start slipping.

Flipping Legend might look like another Crossy Road-esque game at a glance, but as the title suggests, you’re not simply tapping ahead here. Instead, you’ll bounce left or right to flip up and to the side in your endless jaunt, with the need to dodge hot lava and other obstacles, kill dangerous enemies that you land on, and snag coins and other power-ups along the way.

Anticipating hazards ahead is key, as you’ll need to figure out the best movement pattern to stay alive and snag as many goodies as you can—but you also need to be swift, as sitting around for too long will end your game. Flipping Legend puts a fun twist on endless arcade action, and this freemium game has plenty of characters and new abilities to unlock over time.

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