Five to Try: Sega Forever revives classic games, and Firefox refocuses the mobile browser

Here are this week's hottest Play Store picks.

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Andrew Hayward/IDG

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Picked by Techconnect's Editors

Summer is officially here, which means it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. But if you need a break from the sun this weekend, or you’d rather spend the time snuggled up on the couch with a few fresh apps, then we have you covered.

Our Five to Try column spotlights the latest and greatest Android apps and games, and this week is larger than usual thanks to the Sega Forever collection, which currently spans five free ports of classic Genesis games. Elsewhere, Firefox Focus is a privacy and security-focused browser, Slayaway Camp is a wildly gruesome puzzler, Storm Radar is a different kind of Weather Channel offering, and Racing Kings is slick and speedy.

Sega Forever

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It’s Sonic! And it’s free!

Sega Forever isn’t the name of one Android game—right now it’s five games, and that number could swell over time. Instead, Sega Forever represents a new initiative from the company to port its classic games to Android. We’ve seen some of these games before, but now every title will be available to play for free. Of course there are ads, but they can be banished with a $2 in-app purchase.

As of this week’s launch, Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Comix Zone, Phantasy Star II, and Kid Chameleon are all available, with new titles releasing every other week from Dreamcast and Sega's other consoles. Playing controller-based games on a touch screen isn’t always so hot, and that’s true with Sonic here—but you can always use a Bluetooth gamepad to make it more realistic. And really, how can you argue with free/cheap classic Sega games?

Firefox Focus

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Browse the web, but leave no trace.

Firefox’s share of worldwide desktop browser usage might not be what it once was, but Mozilla is back with a new Android app that acts a lot different from your average mobile browser. Firefox Focus is centered around privacy and simplicity: You’ll find no tabs and very little interface here, and everything is automatically under the kind of private browsing shade you’d have to opt into with other browsers. 

Focus blocks ads and web trackers by default, and then when you’re done browsing, you can just tap the little trash can icon at the bottom to clear your history. It’s like you were never there. Granted, some websites may not look right or respond correctly with tracking disabled, but you can easily enable it if you run into any major hassles. 

Slayaway Camp

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Slayaway Camp is the rare blood-soaked brain-teaser.

Who knew that grisly, slasher film-worthy kills could be so darn brainy? Slayaway Camp ($3) reimagines a mask-wielding murderer’s execution spree as a puzzle experience, as you swipe to point the killer towards his prey. Each level is set on a grid with a sort of Minecraft-like look, and swiping your murderer will send him sliding all the way down until he hits a barrier. You’ll need to keep swiping until you find your way to each target, and then figure out how to escape. 

It’s a very straightforward concept at first, but Skullface’s quest becomes tougher over time as new elements complicate the puzzles. Slayaway Camp nails the ‘80s horror flick aesthetic with grotesque kills and an array of different “videotapes” to solve, each comprising several levels. You’ll find 140+ stages to clear for now, with more promised over time.

Storm Radar

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The Weather Channel’s new app is heavy on radar maps.

The official Weather Channel app remains one of the go-to options for on-the-go weather, as its 50+ million downloads attest—but Storm Radar is something different from the cable giant. It’s strongly focused on radar maps, as the name suggests, letting you visualize storms, rewind weather patterns, and look ahead to projected movement paths, as well as track tropical storms, lightning strikes, and more.

And the basics are represented here. You see the current temperature and conditions, along with daily and hourly forecasts, although it’s not as comprehensive as the main Weather Channel app. It’s more focused on what’s happening now and soon ahead, which may be all you really need most of the time—and it’s less cluttered, as a result.

Race Kings

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Can you get to the other end without losing your drift?

Like CSR Racing and other drag-racing games of its ilk, Race Kings is a very pretty mobile car game with very limited interactions—but this one’s not about drag racing. While it keeps a similar approach, Race Kings is actually all about drifting around wicked turns. You’ll tap the hand brake to enter a curve and then have to keep your speedometer in the blue zone to maintain speed around the bend. 

Race Kings is focused entirely on live real-time competition, and you’ll battle against other players in a series of drift-centric showdowns. This is a very slick-looking game, albeit also packed with the kind of freemium approach and paid-for perks we’ve seen in CSR and other titles. It’s worth a try, at least.

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