Clumzee: Endless Climb Review

Clumzee: Endless Climb Review

Feb 29, 2016

We’re all for fun and games, so bring on the adventure, the action, the plot. Boom… we’ll be there.

Such it is with Clumzee, a newish title from triple Hill Interactive that takes on bullying and more with a spunky smile.

It’s all about fur balls, and this one incorporates glommed out looks and high tension animations to get the gameplay across. The bright colors are very becoming, and one really gets to engage with the whimsical characters. It plays in clum3portrait, relies mostly on taps for navigation and mostly comes together quite nicely.

Our lead character is Jimmy, a furball with an unfortunate penchant for clumsiness that give him the nickname that lends itself to the game’s title. Jimmy decides to embark on an adventure, and thankfully, has a pretty nice trick up his sleeve, in that he can extend flexible, appendages from himself; said appendages adhere to other surfaces, and can pull Jimmy’s main body onto the new surface. Such is the way this object moves upwards, from platform to (hopefully) higher platform, kind of like Spider-man with endless

As hinted at, our hero looks to travel upwards, collecting goodies on the way, but with a big enemy chasing him, and looking to make a meal out of him… literally. The core idea is to go upwards and onwards continually, looking to break one’s own distance record, with the enemy continually nipping at Jimmy’s heels. It creates a fun race within the race; the cliffs and protrusions that our hero uses to climb up are irregular, so getting to a higher ledge can e a challenge in and of itself. Additionally, our hero adheres to each surface only for a moment or two, so one can’t tarry too long, or the fur ball drops into the mouth of the chasing creature.

As one travels further, one encounters other obstacles… stuff like baddies with blades and crude artillery, and so on. It gets tougher the higher one goes, and ch more of a challenge, what with timing angles and speed of response becoming more important.

Beyond gold coins, one can pick up fireflies. While the latter is great for opening up new worlds with a new feel, the latter heels one tweak the lead character. Other enhancements can be made with real cash.

It is surprisingly fun and dangerously engaging. It works by tying in its elements cleanly, and is a mostly self-contained experience.

Asylum Night Escape Review

Asylum Night Escape Review

Feb 29, 2016

Yes, Asylum Night Escape is an escape adventure, but it does do its best to set itself apart.

Graphically, it is decently done, with a top down view and useful animations. It makes use of a virtual joystick to effect movement, and the sounds are fairly elementary.

The game has three gameplay modes: Escape (in which one has to find and lead a hostage to safety), Story (which is more of a typical leveled experience) and Survive (which is a true test of one’s ability to take on hoodlums and survive). Each is a slight variation of the core theme, which has to do with a foreboding medical establishment that is manned by more than it’s fair share of violent-minded thugs.

Playing in Story Mode, one takes on the persona of an unnamed female heroine who is tasked with rescuing a tortured kid from the facility. Using the controls described earlier, one looks to get around and, in essence is getting through a serious of jobs, while avoiding guards.

In this mode, the game incorporates moving, physical view areas that correspond to each guards field of vision. To avoid being detected, one simply looks to avoid being caught in said light, because there is no real way to fight the guards in this mode, and being caught causes the level to be failed. It is an interesting way of setting this up, and it works quite well; if one successfully does what is required, a subsequent level is opened, and so on.

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Heading on to Escape, one looks for the kid, and either avoids or takes on the guards with the kid in tow. In this mode, one can fight, as all parties have life bars; the key is to get the baddies before they get the player. It’s leveled as well, so one gets this section in small morsels. This level has three pertinent virtual buttons, all dealing with attack.

Those same buttons are available in Survival, where one looks to stay alive as long as possible.

There are ads to contend with, but they aren’t that annoying; collected coins can be used to improve weapons and the like.

The game media does feel a tad bit repetitive in parts, especially with regards to sound. Also, the themes — pooled red liquid, hello — do give the game a dark feel that might make it a bit more appropriate to an older audience, which is reflected in the game’s ratings.

All in all, it is able to bring in different concepts, and bring them in effectively, and for that, it is definitely worth checking out.

Map My Run update brings compatibility with new connected Under Armour shoes

Map My Run update brings compatibility with new connected Under Armour shoes

Feb 29, 2016

Under Armour seems to be on a roll.

Aside from having some of its signature athletes selected as the current MVP of almost every major North American professional sport, it also increased its brand presence in the connected heath arena by acquiring some choice fitness apps.

Run with Map My Run is one of these, and the application has just been updated; one of the new features is that it works with Under Armour’s own new connected sneaker, the SpeedForm Gemini 2.

Per the changelog on Google Play, all the changes include:

Version 16.2.1:
Support for UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped running shoes now in Connect Apps & Devices.
Go MVP today to access our all-new run Training Plans. Custom, dynamic, and tailored to your goals.

It looks like the continued culmination of a well-thought out connected plan.

Run with Map My Run remains free on Google Play; premium subscription options can be obtained in-app.

[via Google Play]

Nasty Goats Review

Nasty Goats Review

Feb 28, 2016

What can expect from Nasty Goats?

Well, it’s a zany experience, starting from the whimsical animations and easy-on0the-eyes animations; the developer does a good job of framing the arcade experience to come, and the game melds motion and sound well, with several types of backgrounds and such.

Playing requires a good pair of fingers… two hands seem to work best. The rambunctious goats start out at the bottom of the screen, joined at the mouth by a rope, and the desperate farmer in tow. In the area ahead (above) one finds ng3miscellaneous junk strewn about.

There are other things as well, and it is a jumble of materials and objects that extend further into one’s field of vision.

Using the aforementioned fingers, one’s job is to guide the goats — and the rope in between — upwards and away from the chasing farmer, who’s run-stopping intent is to retrieve the wayward animals.

Secondarily, the rope has another purpose: to collect the pieces mentioned earlier. See, the goats and ropes act like a trawler system, collecting all collectibles as one guides both goats forward with the connecting rope. The problem is is that interspersed with the goodies are obstacles and monsters; the former in the manifestation of things like gaping holes which can swallow one or both goats, and the latter just break the connection anyways. In any case, the farmer catches up with the goats, and the run is ended.

Collected stuff translates into game gold, which can be used to improve the goats, pick up boosts or other things (like improving the quality of the rope). Thus, the core gameplay equates to an endless running challenge. 

It’s a simple game; indeed, it’s rated to be a very kid-friendly game for a reason. That simplicity cuts both ways in some aspects though. On the one hand, it is enjoyably easy to get into, with basic finger controls and genteel gameplay elements. On the other hand, it’s a lot of the same, and sometimes borders on the overly predictable.

Still, it’s hard to dislike a game like Nasty Goats. It’s a great time waster, and the self-contained boosts and upgrade system allows for a slight degree of customization that should be able to keep one’s attention.

In today’s world, that ain’t a small thing.

Alpha Wolf Review

Alpha Wolf Review

Feb 27, 2016

We all have it, no?

The spirit of a wolf, and the need to be wild and free, right?

Needless intros aside, Alpha Wolf feels like a game one can come to like a lot. Maybe even love.

The game is presented in 2D, with enjoyably simplistic artwork that is bathed in soft colors and deliberate characterizations. There is not a lot of complexity with regards to items, and understandably so; when one begins to play, one finds the objects are mostly secondary to the gameplay. 

It’s broken into chapters, and the chapters are split into levels, with the completion of levels and chapters opening up subsequent ones. The opening level highlights the main element: get the protagonist wolf from left to right to complete the level.

Thing is, there are several obstacles in the way that have a mind to do our wolf harm and end the run by contact.

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To avoid said contact, one can tap to cause the wolf to move forwards, and then tap to jump over obstacles. Simple enough, no? The issue then becomes a single jump is not enough; as one progresses, a series of jumps may be needed to make it to the end, over a sequence of obstacles. Then, timing becomes an issue, as one needs to pop up at just the right moment. Soon, it becomes a twitch experience, with quick reflexes being almost as important as timing.

The developer adds other pieces and several type of obstacles, and even adds obstacles that protrude from the ceiling. It all is easy to get into, and it is quite easy to get lost in the game.

While the game is quite the hoot, it does get a bit repetitive in places; it ratchets up fairly quickly, and as a result, sometimes feels simplistic with regards to the use of new elements. 

Still, for a leveled time waster, Alpha Wolf definitely merits a try; it might surprise one with how easy it is to, well, just keep on going… and going…

Google Play-exclusive animated adventure ‘BLING’ set for March launch

Google Play-exclusive animated adventure ‘BLING’ set for March launch

Feb 27, 2016

BLING is an upcoming animated adventure featuring the voices of Taylor Kitsch, Carla Gugino and James Woods; interestingly, it is set to be a limited-time Google Play-exclusive.

For free, even.

Starting on March 3rd, Google Play users will have access to the movie before it hits theaters.

Lowly theme park mechanic Sam dreams about his childhood sweetheart Sue. With the misguided belief that only a bling ring can win the girl of his dreams, Sam plans the most perfect night to propose to his one true love. But when supervillain Oscar shows up with an evil scheme involving a ring of his own, Sam’s plans are thrown into utter disarray. After mistaking each other’s rings for their own, Sam teams up with his robot superheroes to track down his engagement ring and save the city… learning that it’s not about the size of the bling, but the size of your heart.

BLING is available for free exclusively on Google Play, and will remain exclusively there till April 10th. Below is the trailer.

“Gmailify” Hotmail and Yahoo Mail in the Android Gmail app

“Gmailify” Hotmail and Yahoo Mail in the Android Gmail app

Feb 27, 2016

In its quest to be a better email client, Gmail for Android recently started rolling out a new feature: the ability for folks that use other clients to use said clients and get some pertinent features available to Gmail users.

This new feature — the ability to “Gmailify” an external email account — is specifically geared towards Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, and opens up things like spam protection, Google Now and more.

Per the official Gmail post detailing the change:

We agree. So starting today, if you use Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail/Outlook.com, you now have the option to Gmailify your inbox.

Gmailify links your existing account to Gmail so that you get all the bells and whistles—spam protection, inbox organization and even Google Now cards based on your mail—without having to leave your current address behind.

All one needs to to get it going is to sign into the account in one’s Gmail, and then activate the Gmailify feature. And yes, if one doesn’t like it, one can unlink the email.

The update is rolling out now; Gmail remains free on the Play Store.

[via Official Gmail Blog]

‘Battle Bros – Tower Defense’ gets update PLUS free premium content

‘Battle Bros – Tower Defense’ gets update PLUS free premium content

Feb 26, 2016

Tower defense game Battle Bros is getting an update — and a lot more. For folks who download the game this weekend, there will be a bonus allotment of 700 gems courtesy of developer DryGin Studios.

That’s $3.99 worth of in-app content for free.

Per the press release, the current update brings:

WHAT’S NEW IN V1.5
-Added New Checkpoint system
-Added new upgrades levels for player and traps
-Added the ability to revive a dead brother. (Coop only)
-Better Matchmaking system.

Sounds like the perfect time to check this one out; we have the trailer below for those that need some more motivation.

Battle Bros remains free-to-play on the Play Store.

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[via Battle Bros Press Release]

Crossy Pamplona Review

Crossy Pamplona Review

Feb 26, 2016

Ah… Crossy Pamplona.

First the looks. delightful old school vibe, with chunky descriptions and purposefully washed out colors. At first glance, it does look interesting enough to compel one to get a more in-depth understanding of play style.

Gameplay? Think about the famously fear inducing rite of passage that the game somewhat gets its name from, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Now, we are not necessarily worried about running with the fearsome animals; no, our protagonist characters are more concerned with lumbering across the bulls’ travel way. Thing is, we are not just talking about a single group of animals; the bulls travel almost in singe file, and the area they cover is endless.

In essence, the main goal is to travel as far as possible, avoiding the bulls and the obstacles they dislodge, which, sadly, include folks actually running with the bulls.

Oh my.

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The control mechanism took a bit to figure out, but boils down to using taps and gestures. The former advances our character forward, and the swipes can be used to make he/she to slide a step to the left or right the general travel direction is north to south, across the direction of the bulls, which travel east to west (or right to left). Said controls can be used to avoid and get around the marauding animals. One has to continue to travel northwards, as one cannot allow the screen bottom to catch up with the character. If a bull or any other knocked obstacle hit our crosser (or gets caught by the screen) the end runs; a run is measured in forward movement. There are collectibles, and such can be used to upgrade characters.

After the first few lines, the game gets trickier, as one would expect. The Bulls and runners travel at different speeds, and even change direction at times. There are narrow bridges to traverse, and even skidding runners to avoid. One needs to measure risk versus reward, but can’t tarry too long. The retro feel works, and the game is fairly enjoyable.

It’s an easy way to enjoy the bulls while avoiding real life horns, I say.

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones Review

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones Review

Feb 26, 2016

Kinivo usually does its thing well, and we expected the same with its URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones.

The review unit we received reflects the item in its retail presentation; in the box, one gets a zip case with carabiner. The case is semi-hard, and contains the headphones, male-to-male audio cable and micro-USB charging cable. Everything fits together neatly, and the addition of the carry case is a nice touch.

The headphones possess a similarly black finish, with hard plastic exterior parts and soft material for the ear cups. The head band is jointed (which allows for the folding and storage), has a sliding mechanism that allows for adjustment and also has soft material on the inside crown; the right side incorporates toggles for power, volume, play/pause, forwarding and such. At the bottom of that right side, there are also ports for charging and the aforementioned audio cable, plus a useful LED light that gives one an indication of the unit’s charging status.

Altogether, it looks nice physically, and is seemingly well fused out of the box.

To get going, one needs to charge the unit, and this can be accomplished with the included micro-USB cable; when it is ready to go, the LED light turns to solid green. The next step is to pair it to a Bluetooth-enabled audio source, and this should be easy to anyone who has ever paired two Bluetooth devices together: toggle on, search and pair.

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We put the unit through the paces. Audio comes out crisply, without any discernible interference, though with distance and walls, clarity did decrease (as to be expected). It re-pairs automatically, and keeps a strong connection when in range. It came close to the stated hours of continuous streaming on a charge. To this admittedl non-audiophile’s ears, it did sound like a bit more base could be had, but the sound output is pleasing none-the-less.

The added wired functionality is an added bonus; using the supplied cable and built-in port, one can use the headphones wired to a suitable device when the unit isn’t charged, or when one simply wants to do so. The music fidelity is just as clean.

All in all, one does get a a nice, portable unit for a decent price that works well with mobile devices both wirelessly and otherwise.

Facebook Live is coming to Android

Facebook Live is coming to Android

Feb 26, 2016

Straight from the horse’s mouth. Literally.

At a Townhall Q&A session in Berlin, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg revealed some news about Facebook Live, the social networking behemoth’s real-time sharing initiative. Amongst a bit of news regarding its reach and roll-out to other countries, Android users will be specifically happy to hear that it is indeed coming to Android.

As soon as next week in the US, even.

Per the Facebook Newsroom Post detailing the news:

We know that people on Android love interacting with live videos —more than 50% of people watching live videos are using Android devices. We’re excited to announce that in the next week we are going to start rolling out the ability for people on Android to share live video. We’re starting our Android rollout in the U.S., with more countries coming soon.

Nah… we cannot wait.

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[via Facebook Newsroom]

Dig Out! Review

Dig Out! Review

Feb 26, 2016

There a many a digging/mining game on Google Play, and several puzzle capers, so Dig Out!, a new-ish title from Banda Games, does have its work cut out for it.

Bright colors? Expressive visuals? Fun Sounds. All here.

The main gameplay area keeps to the 2D motif, and splits the it all into grids that represent physical underground. Each square generally represents some sort of material, or houses an object. For example, one can have dirt, rock or contain goodies, ghouls or just empty space. Our digger is armed with a rudimentary pick that allows him to get through regular dirt squares, but at a cost; each use of the pick reduces its efficacy, up until it is useless — which equates to ending the run.

Solid rock cannot be drilled through with rudimentary tools, so one has to navigate around them. Boulders can’t be chipped away at, but can be rolled, and there are colored jewels that one can collect by contact, and these or more or less the game currency. One can also collect special jewels that replenish one’s digging tool, but must look out for the bad critters and cretins, several of which can give chase.

The summary gist is such: one use gestures swipes to control our protagonist, one square at a time, past the baddies and obstacles, collecting goodies while traveling ever deeper and discovering new worlds.

Yep.

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The way the game is designed opens the door for a surprising amount of strategizing. For example, one quickly learns that the digging tool is definitely a very limited resource, as are the replenishing jewels. So, re-using paths and traveling through empty space is preferred to digging through dirt without purpose. Also, keeping the replenishments and only using when truly needed might be prudent. As noted, running out ends the session, as does getting crushed by an errand rock or caught by a creepy crawly.

The same opportunity costs apply to other pieces. Yes, one can try to use a boulder to destroy the movers, but could it be smarter to avoid them and save one’s tool? Decisions, decisions…

The colored jewels can be used to upgrade existing tools and procure new ones. there are tasks and rewards, and the game allows for in-game cash spending, but does not force it; in some cases, watching videos can be done to earn “continue” money.

All in all, it manages to stand out for it’s simplicity, groovy sounds and involved gameplay. be warned: it might be hard to put down…