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Monthly Archives: October 2016

  • Adventure Story Windows Review

    How important is the name of something? Well, pretty important I must say. In the world of games, titles are meant to be informative ways off telling us a little bit about what the game will be about. For example, you can naturally assume that Crossy Road is about, well, crossing roads. And that Candy Crush is about, you know, crushing candy. So when you see a name like Adventure Story, there’s a lot of promise. What kind of deep adventure should we expect with such an epic title? Let’s take a look at Adventure Story for Windows phones.

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    The Basics

    So what is the epic story behind the grandiose title of Adventure Story? Well, it’s told to us all through comics. Which, I must admit, is a pretty cool way to do it. Please, try and clear your mind before reading this, it may get a bit complex. Let’s begin: you’re an orange with rabbit ears. Need me to slow down? One day, your friend is kidnapped by two elephants and you run after them. OK, that’s the entire story. I understand if you need a minute or two to comprehend everything I just shared with you.

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    The Gameplay

    Adventure Story plays very much like the other Super Mario ripoffs I’ve encountered in my time reviewing games. You’ve got your blocks, things to collect, and enemies. Oh man these enemies. You’ve got snakes, blowfish, and frogs with boxing gloves. Why couldn’t that have been the hero of the game? I would have loved to play as a boxing frog fighting against the evil elephants. If the developers of Adventure Story are reading this (and I know they are) please change that around.

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    Is It Fun?

    Not really. OK, I’ll explain. Adventure Story clearly wants to be Mario-like, but just doesn’t offer much. You’ve got enemies to jump on and bottomless pits to avoid, but there’s not too much originality. However, there was one aspect of the game I enjoyed: the hovering. If you hold the jump button after jumping, you can hover for a bit over enemies and pits. I can give credit where credit is due.

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    The Bottom Line

    I didn’t really have high expectations going into Adventure Story. Yes, I know, it’s a bit tough to tell from my intro. By just looking at screenshots before playing it didn’t look like anything I hadn’t seen before. While I definitely enjoyed the hovering mechanic, everything else was pretty much generic. Including the title. How about “Boxing Frog Adventure Story”? Yeah, that’s better.

  • AE City Jump Windows Review

    I think we’ve all had dreams of jumping around from building to building. Maybe not even just jumping, but swinging. Almost as some kind of man….spider. Well, this is not quite the experience you’re looking for. AE City Jump is a game for Windows phones where you kind of get that experience. What does the AE stand for? I have no idea so let’s just say Air...Eagle? Is it the rooftop jumping experience you’ve been looking for? I can only say this: it’s a little safer than actually jumping from rooftop to rooftop. A little.

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    The Basics

    As the name implies, the game is all about jumping. And whatever AE means. Each building is set up to be slightly below the building you’ll stand on. Once you start swinging from the rope (which is attached to nothing I suppose) you need to let go at just the right moment to land on the top of the next building. And, really, that’s pretty much it. But let’s keep talking about it to get my word count up a little bit.

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    The Gameplay

    The game is all about physics. You need to make sure you’ve got the right amount of momentum to get to the next building. Do it too soon and you’ll miss the ledge. Wait too long and you’ll swing too far forward. Don’t jump at all and you can just call somebody to pick you up. OK, that’s not a part of the game, but it should be for those of us that are deathly afraid of heights.

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    Is It Fun?

    The core gameplay of AE City Jump is actually quite fun. I found myself pretty addicted to the game once I got rolling. However, I slowly came to the realization that nothing else was going to happen. I was caught in an endless loop of swing, jump, land, repeat. And that was it. There wasn’t any enemies, obstacles, or people telling you to get off their roof. I guess they just weren’t going for realism.

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    The Bottom Line

    AE City Jump is a fun basic game that desperately needs something extra. Because it’s based around physics, it feels much more fresh in comparison to other similar games. However, there’s nothing thrown in to make your life more difficult. You’ll find yourself boredly jumping from rooftop to rooftop. And that shouldn’t be boring. It should be extremely, extremely terrifying.

  • Hammer Time Android Review

    Hammers are very useful. We use them to hammer in nails, and… well I’m not exactly sure what else. In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually hammered in a nail. I’m not exactly a handyperson. But the bottom line is that hammers are very useful. Well, this is a game that lets you smack things besides nails with hammers. Like bombs with human faces. Don’t worry, it might make sense later.

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    The Basics

    Now when you first read that title, what do you think the game’s going to be about? MC Hammer of course! Maybe a platformer where you must collect gold records or a puzzle game where you match up three MC Hammer heads. Well, unfortunately, it is not. Sorry for building your expectations too much.

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    The Gameplay

    Hammer Time for Android devices is all about physics and timing. You must protect a kingdom from various rolling bombs. Bombs that have faces. For some reason. These many bombs begin at the top of a hill, rolling towards you. You must charge up your hammer in order to knock the bombs away from the castle, even if it’s just the tiniest bump. But, for the record, please don’t hit any actual bombs with hammers. I don’t want to be liable for that.

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    Is It Fun?

    Once you get used to the controls, Hammer Time is quite fun and addictive. When I first got started, I found myself charging up all the way, hoping to hit every single bomb in one swing. Well, I found out that’s not exactly how it works. Instead, you need to strategize for each bomb, seeing if you need a light smack or a full on wallop. Once I found this out, the game was a great time. My only real gripe with the game was the lack of variety in levels. Sure you get a grassy hill, a desert hill, and a snowy hill. But they’re all just the same hill. A bit more variety in the size and shape of the hills may make the game a bit more replayable.

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    The Bottom Line

    Despite the misleading title (still waiting for that MC Hammer game, app developers) Hammer time is a pretty interesting game. The use of physics and timing together is a great concept, as you are your own worst enemy. If you let those bombs roll over to your castle, it’s all your fault. You’ve failed your castle brethren. And there’s nothing you can do to save them. Well, except maybe to try playing again.

  • Skype Leaving Windows Phones

    Skype Leaving Windows Phones?

    Skype is definitely a useful tool. Whether you use it strictly for business calls or just need some fact to face time with a friend, Skype is a great application for communication. (Hey! That rhymed!) However, if you’re a Skype lover using a Windows Phone, I’ve got some potentially bad news. Terrible news. News that will make your world com crashing down. Well, if you read the title you’d already know what I’m about to tell you, huh? So I suppose we can skip the preamble. Let’s take a look at the future of Skype on Windows Phones.

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    Say What Now?

    As I said in the title, opening, and right now, Windows Phone support for Skype will be ending fairly soon. As in next year soon. So while you’re happily celebrating the new year with your “Happy 2017” banner hung up, a glass of sparkling cider, and a bunch of resolutions you may or may not keep, you’ll be sadly reminded that you can no longer use Skype on your Windows Phone. Man. That’s a bit of a downer, huh?

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    But What If…?

    Now, I know I promised plenty of gloom and doom in the opening of the article. And for that I apologize. However, you will only be rendered Skypeless if you use the standard Windows Phone OS. If you have a device using Windows 10 Mobile, you should be able to continue Skyping to your heart’s desire.

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    The Bottom Line

    While it’s unfortunate to see Skype support ending for the older OS, that’s simply the reality of technology. As it continues to grow and change, we need to continue upgrading. It’s the reason we need to continue picking up new devices every few years. Well, either that or because we dropped our phone in the toilet by accident. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything.

    Skype will stop working on Windows Phone in 2017

  • How To Edit Photos Without An App Android

    Smartphones have made us a bit photo-crazy. We all have that one friend that has way too many photos of everything from their bologna sandwich to their baby. And by that one friend, we obviously mean ourselves. And there’s a good reason: smartphone cameras are very easy to use. But what if you’re not exactly an expert of photo editing? What if you don’t understand how a perfect mix of lighting can convey a sense of internal pain, soul searching, and the desperate search for a shred of hope? Even if you’re taking a picture of a sandwich. Well, let's take a look at how to edit your photos without even downloading an app. Remember? That was the title of this article.

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    Why Photo Edit?

    There can be many reasons you’ll need to edit your photos. Perhaps your new profile picture could use a little black and white to add that edgy look. (Very 90’s!) Or maybe you need to crop out that one former friend that always ruined your photos by making silly faces in the background? (I’m looking at you, Gerald! If you’re reading this. )

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    So How Do You Do It?

    Once you’ve taken your photo, simply head over to the Gallery app. Tap on the photo you’d like to edit and look in the top left section. Next to your standard share options, you’ll see a little pencil. Tap the pencil and you’ll be given plenty of options for filters, a cropping tool, and the ability to rotate the photo around. You know, in case you’re going for that artsy upside down look.

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    Is That It?

    Yes! Doing quick edits on your Android phone has been made very easy. Now it’s no Photoshop, as you won’t be able to edit yourself into iconic movies. (Not that I’m speaking from experience.) However, if you’d like to do quick edits without having to waste any space with new apps on your phone, doing it straight from the Gallery is a wise choice.

  • Platform Panic iOS Review

    Platformers will always be one of my favorite game genres. I fell in love with them in my younger days on the family Super Nintendo and play many to this day. Does this make me some kind of expert on platforming games? I guess so? No? I’ll still talk like one. Because this is the internet. And I can say whatever I want. Like let’s take a look at Platform Panic for iOS devices. Which is what we’re doing today.

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    The Basics

    Like I said, I’ve played a good amount of platform games in my day. And, while I used to only play them on dedicated gaming devices, I’ve expanded to mobile devices for the purpose of reviews. Have they been any good? I’ll put it this way...no. Not really. You see, most of the platformers I’ve played on mobile devices simply take the basic Super Mario formula and add generic visuals and clunky controls. They want so desperately to be Mario but they also want to not get sued, meaning you end up with an eclectic mix of boring and strange ripoffs. And still some of them look fairly sueable. Is Platform Panic like these Mario ripoffs? No. Not at all.

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    The Gameplay

    Platform Panic has a pretty basic concept. You’re a small blue...marshmallow? Cloud? Ghost? You’re a small blue thing that simply needs to get through some basic platforming obstacles. There are no saves, meaning that you need to start from the beginning if you fail. However, it’s not like you have to go through the same obstacles in the same order. Every level randomizes, meaning it’s highly unlikely you’ll start with the same room your first time in a single playthrough. Which is nice if you’ve got a short attention span like certain app reviewers. Me, I’m referencing me.

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    Is It Fun?

    I must say that Platform Panic is the greatest platform game I’ve played on mobile devices. The art style is nice and doesn’t just copy the looks of classic games. It looks clean and futuristic while also having some retro appeal. The levels themselves are also pretty original, and I had a good amount of fun with each one. Isn’t it refreshing to not hear me complain about a mobile platformer for once?

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    The Bottom Line

    Those looking to develop mobile games could learn a lot from Platform Panic. It’s one of those games that not only surprised me, but raised the bar for mobile games. It looks good, it plays good, and it’s pretty addictive. And that’s all I can say. It’s good. Review over.

  • My Virtual Pet Shop Android Review

    We all love our pets. There’s nothing better than getting your first puppy, kitten, turtle, or pet rock. However, there is something we don’t always think about: maintaining our pets. Washing, brushing, cutting hair. Or is it fur? Anyways, have you ever wanted to play a game where you could partake in the least fun part of having a pet? No? Too bad, I’m reviewing My Virtual Pet Shop for Android.

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    What Is My Virtual Pet Shop?

    Well, thank you for asking. My Virtual Pet Shop is a game where you wash and give haircuts (furcuts?) to dogs and cats to keep your customers happy. You’re on a bit of a time crunch, as the longer your pets are kept waiting, the unhappier they get. The less happy they are, the more likely their owner won’t pay you. The less they pay you, the less happy the economy is.

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    Is It Fun?

    My Virtual Pet Shop was pretty fun and simple to start out. You drag cats and dogs from the counter to either the bath or salon chair, then drop them into the nursery area to be picked up. That’s pretty much as far as it goes. There are small tasks in between such as flicking off fleas and scrubbing the pets, but that’s about it. Also, is it just me, or are there almost no dogs in this town? Unless all the dogs... are turning to cats. (Que X-Files music)

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    How Would I Make It Better?

    One thing that was really missing from My Virtual Pet Store is a sense of urgency. I had to try to wait too long just to see how the customer would react if I let their pet get too unhappy. Which was extremely tough to do because I never want to see a pet unhappy. It would be better if they threw in some roadblocks you had to circumvent, like a bath malfunctioning or the power going out or a small-scale alien invasion where they threaten to enslave us to work in their aluminum foil mines. Something like that.

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    The Bottom Line

    My Virtual Pet Shop is by no means a bad Android game. It’s charming, adorable, and has a fun basic idea. It just needs a slight difficulty tweak so people don’t get bored too quickly. They shouldn’t oversimplify the process of cleaning up animals. Have you ever actually tried to give a dog a bath? It’s the most difficult thing I’ve had to do, outside of finding a good way to end this paragraph.

  • 3D Pac Farm

    Let me get something very straight: I love Pac Man. The games are really fun and addictive, he’s a classic gaming icon, and I love that little noise he makes whenever he eats something. (It sounds like “wakka wakka wakka”.) Plus, I just love anyone else that eats as much as me. Or nearly as much as me. Well, perhaps you’re looking for a similar experience to Pac Man on your Windows phone. And maybe you want it to feature a cow. Well, then, this is the game for you. Let’s take a look at 3D Pac Farm for Windows phones.

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    The Basics

    As you can tell from the name and my clumsy intro paragraph, 3D Pac Farm is a very Pac Man-like experience. And it doesn’t seem to have any shame in that. In fact, the thumbnail for the game in the Windows store had a picture of Pac Man and two ghosts on it. (I’m just going to take it they have a very strong legal team.) And the gameplay is also very similar. But I’ll get into that deeper in the “Gameplay” section. Because that’s the section about gameplay.

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    The Gameplay

    Like I said, it’s very much like Pac Man. However, there’s quite a few twists put in. First, it’s all in 3D and at an angle, which I found to be a great addition to the classic top down view of classic PacMan. Secondly, the levels are much longer and larger, requiring a different kind of strategy for the game. Thirdly, you play as a cow that collects...coconuts. No comment.

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    Is It Fun?

    3D Pac Farm threw in a lot more originality than expected. At first glance, I thought it’d be some low-budget copy and paste of classic Pac Man that was one lawyer call away from mysteriously disappearing from the Windows Store. Instead, it was a pretty fun experience with a few twists put in. For example, the enemies aren’t all the same like you see in Pacman. In 3D Pac Farm, you battle orcs, zombies and...also ghosts, but each have their own patterns and styles. So, again, not a total ripoff.

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    The Bottom Line

    3D Pac Farm shows you that looks can be deceiving. Looking at the app thumbnail and name, I didn’t expect too much. But 3D Pac Farm threw in just enough to make it a pretty original experience. Let’s just hope that holds up in court for them.

  • How To Use Evernote Windows

    Productivity apps are one of those things that makes you realize phones are for more than taking pictures of your lunch and playing Candy Crush. They can also keep you active and productive while you’re taking a ride on the bus. At least, they can keep you active and productive until you close the apps and go back to playing Candy Crush. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Well, one particular productivity app that sticks out is Evernote. You know, the one with the elephant. Because elephants have great memories. Don’t they? I think I read that somewhere. Anyways, let’s take a look at how to use the Evernote app for Windows phones.

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    What Is Evernote?

    As you could probably guess, Evernote is a note taking app. However, this isn’t your grandparent's note-taking app. Well, I guess they didn’t have a note-taking app. I guess it was just a notebook for them. Anyways, beyond basic note taking, Evernote also allows you to record audio notes and even take and save photographs. So this isn’t your grandparents notebook, tape recorder, or camera. Yeah, that sounds better.

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    How Do You Use It?

    Once you create an account, the world is your notebook. You can begin making to-do lists or even do some creative writing in the basic note section.You can also organize your written notes in various “notebooks”. You can also tap the microphone button to record audio notes and tap the camera to snap a quick photo. Or to snap a few selfies. I won’t judge.

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    Should You Use Evernote?

    Evernote is a great all-in-one productivity app. It’s a great combination of your basic notepad app, your voice memos, and your camera. If you’re looking for one main app to keep all your necessary information such as addresses, daily notes, and that romance novel you’re writing, Evernote is definitely ideal. And, best of all it’s free. And everybody likes free things.

  • Android's Nougat Is Coming

    Android's Nougat Is Coming!

    Something I’ve always appreciated about Android devices is the way they name their different operating systems. While iOS will give you a complicated number with plenty of decimals and Windows will do, well, pretty much the same thing, Android brings it to the next level. Each new iteration is named after a different delicious treat. We’ve had such mouth-watering monikers as Marshmallow, Donut, and Ice Cream Sandwich. Doesn’t an ice cream sandwich sound amazing right now? Nice and cold and sugary.. Sorry, I really shouldn’t have written this article before lunchtime. Well, we’ve got a new update on the way in the form of Nougat. Is it as good as the name is delicious? Let’s take a look.

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    More Security

    One major feature that appears to be a huge focus of Nougat is security. For Nougat, the MediaServer has received a boost, meaning possible online attackers will have a much tougher time than before. Additionally, applications will be much more secure with the update, as there will be less instances of sharing permissions between apps. In other words, without all the technical jargon, you’ll have more security. Wasn’t that easier?

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    Work Mode

    A very interesting addition to the Nougat update is the new “Work Mode”. You can toggle this mode on and off whenever you’d like to enjoy some time without being distracted by a million work emails. After all, who wants to be distracted by work when they’re at home enjoying a nice ice cream sandwich? Sorry, still hungry.

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    Excitement Awaits

    All in all, Nougat looks to be a positive improvement. Additional security, which is always welcome on a mobile device, will help further establish Android devices. Plus, I could see the ability to control the “Work Mode” feature being quite a hit for the times when you just want to relax and forget about responsibilities for a little bit. So, in other words, all the time.

    Google details security features in Android 7.0 'Nougat'

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