Five to Try: Pokémon Duel begins a new battle, and The League is a dating app with standards

It's time to hit the Play Store! Scope out this week's hottest new apps and games.

fivetotry jan27 lead
Andrew Hayward

Finding exciting new Android apps and games can be difficult on the crowded Play Store, but please allow us to do the hard work for you. Our Five to Try column highlights five new releases each week, and you’re sure to find something interesting and entertaining in each batch.

This week’s collection is led by Pokémon Duel, another spinoff from Nintendo’s monster-battling phenomenon, and it’s a lot different than the location-based Pokémon Go. Other intriguing options this week include curated dating app The League, an Android version of classic PC adventure Myst, Fender Tune for guitar players of all sorts, and Disney’s colorful Moana Island Life

Pokémon Duel

fivetotry jan27 pokemonduel The Pokémon Company

Pokémon as a one-on-one board game: Sure, why not?

We probably won’t get a traditional, full-fledged Pokémon game on Android anytime soon, but at least we have another fun spinoff option to consider. Pokémon Duel hit the Play Store this week, and while it still has the adorable creatures and head-to-head combat of the main games, this freemium entry takes the form of a strategic, two-player board game.

You’ll bring a set of the delightfully plastic-looking Pokémon faux figurines into each skirmish, and attempt to defeat the opponent by moving one of your monsters into his/her territory. The actual battles come down to a spin of a wheel, so it’s definitely simplified—but the “catch ‘em all” appeal still shines through, and there’s plenty of live competition on hand. One note, however: I’ve encountered a lot of disconnections and errors so far, which I presume has to do with overwhelming demand, so you might hit some issues at the moment.

The League

fivetotry jan27 theleague The League

Gonna be a long, long wait.

Dating is hard, and Tinder can be a mess—so how about a dating app that’s a bit more curated? That’s what The League attempts to provide, and it’s now available on Android. The League requires free users to register with connections to both Facebook and LinkedIn, which its creators use to “vet” members before letting them in. From there, the app lets users get hyper-specific about their wants and desires, and the vetting is supposed to ensure that you actually get what you want in a prospective partner.

It’s unsettling to think that someone will look over your social profiles and decide whether you’re good enough to be a part of their dating club. Will they base that decision on my looks, or what they perceive as my status or career success? It’s all a bit icky, but even if you’re “qualified,” you might not get access anytime soon: non-paying users get put on a massive waiting list, and I am #160,879 on that list. You can pay $180 a year to become a member and get expedited access, though… but has dating really been that rough?

realMyst

fivetotry jan27 realmyst Cyan/Noodlecake

It’s Myst in your pocket!

Yes, it’s true: now you can finally play Myst on your Android phone. Actually, it’s realMyst ($7), the remade version that swaps the original pre-rendered environments for a fully 3D setting that you can freely wander around. In any case, it’s possible to play through the entire iconic adventure game right from your phone, as you solve puzzles, travel to other Ages, and piece together the mysterious storyline.

Rather than click/tap to move around static environments, as in the original version, realMyst is more like a living world that you can explore in any direction, although the classic art direction remains largely intact. The touch controls are a bit clumsy, but it’s surely better than filling the screen with virtual buttons. Besides, if you’re craving a quick blast of Myst on your phone, you can probably tolerate some awkwardness. And sequel Riven is coming soon, too! 

Fender Tune

fivetotry jan27 fendertune Fender

Just strum and you’ll get immediate feedback.

Whether you’re an old hand at guitar or you’ve just recently picked up the six-string for the first time, Fender Tune can help you precisely tune the instrument. Released by the famed guitar-maker, Fender Tune isn’t the only such app on the Play Store, but it has some added features that might make it the most useful of the bunch. 

Automatic tuning via your device’s microphone lets you strum a string and get instant feedback, while those with an ear for notes can use manual tuning instead. Also, you can switch between electric and acoustic guitars, as well as bass guitar, and engage a number of specialized tuning configurations, including Drop C and Half Step Up.

Moana Island Life

fivetotry jan27 moanaisland Disney

“Moana, it’s time you knew/the village of Motonui is all you need.”

Moana is a real treat, as Disney’s latest animated flick wows with amazing songs, dazzling animation, and wonderful characters—and now there’s an Android game based on it. Curiously released several weeks after the film itself, Moana Island Life is a colorful village-building game that finds you planting crops, harvesting resources, and playing mini-games to help your own version of Motonui thrive. 

It’s pretty standard fare as far as the farming, harvesting, and building goes, as you gradually improve your village and unlock new structures and crops, although the colorful island setting nicely recalls that of the film. And you can also set sail to visit friends and other players, and trade items all the while. Expect some timers and other freemium restrictions, however, which can be circumvented by spending money or watching video ads.

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