Real Baseball 3D Review

Real Baseball 3D Review

Mar 31, 2017

I know nothing about baseball. This still doesn’t stop me from realising that Real Baseball 3D is a bad baseball game. Someone who’s never seen a base nor a ball could tell you this.

The premise is simple. It’s baseball. When it comes to gameplay you’re only in charge of batting and pitching, with all of the fielding being taken care of for you. Occasionally you’ll be asked the question ‘do you want to steal a base’ or ‘do you want to throw to home or 1st base?’. Other than that, how successful your fielding is comes down to your player’s stats.

These stats are what the game’s all about. You collect cards which represent players. Each player will be rated on power, accuracy and the like. The game is set up in such a way that it obviously wants you to pay real money to get those better cards.unnamed-8

The problem is that pitching is boring and there’s little skill to it. You pick a type of throw, you aim and then you tap the screen when prompted to. Whether your AI opposition smacks the ball out the park or not is seemingly random.

Batting isn’t much better. All you need to do is tap the screen to swing your bat. Time it right and the ball sails away to get you a home run. Again, how the logic of this works out is unknown. Sometimes you’ll swear you timed your swing perfectly but, maybe, your AI pitcher has better stats than you so it means it goes straight into someone’s glove?

A massive problem with batting is that your swing occurs when you ‘release’ the screen. This means that your ‘tap’ feels delayed as it only starts animating once you lift your finger. Why on Earth it’s programmed this way, I have no idea.

Then there’s the adverts. There’s loads of them and they pop up right in the middle of a game. Seemingly random, some downs will end in an advert filling the screen whilst others won’t. Then there’s the messy menus to fight through all in the name of getting better stats so you can do ‘better’ in what is a really dull pitching and batting game.

There aren’t that many modes to enjoy either. You’ll spend most of your time improving your franchise but when it all boils down to playing a bad game of baseball, you’ll feel no desire to improve your team.

One last thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is the un-licensed nature of the game. It’s fine that you don’t have the MLB license, but have your game load with a poorly Photoshopped picture of the New York ‘Gibnts’. ‘Gibnts’ isn’t even a word and it makes no sense.

Shadow Mafia Gangster Fight Review

Shadow Mafia Gangster Fight Review

Mar 31, 2017

Gamgsters and stickmen? A match made in gaming heaven, perhaps?

We’ll see. Shadow Mafia Gangster Fight gives us a chance to check this amalgam.

It uses, well, stick figures for characterization, outside that, the 3D presentation is decently done.

The gameplay is broken down into missions; the intro mission kinda gives an idea of what you’re supposed to do: get briefed, and complete the mission. The controls are virtual in nature: spots for joystick generated motion, and others for attack, running, crouching, and the like. Missions include stuff like taking out spies, accosting LEOs, robbing banks and all sorts of illegal crime family fare.

The ability to attack from behind is interesting. It does allow for a bit of strategy to completing missions.

One key is learning when to go full out, and when to be slick. The enemy are somewhat smart, in that if one gets careless and is “noticed” by a sentry or target, said target/sentry might attack or flee, causing the mission to be failed.

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Failed missions can be re-done though.

It’s an interesting stealth mission adventure no doubt; I admit that some elements, like some choice of the targets, made me queasy. I mean, it’s a mafia game, and there can be no shortage of underworldly characters to fill out the list off baddies to leave the game early. Hey, I admit, I am a bit of a wuss in such matters.

Also, some of the visual tools could be a bit more refined to further help along the gameplay. For instance, the panning action would be a bit more effective with, say, an automatic portion I think.

All in all, it is a bit of an atypical gangster caper, and that helps it with regards to potential mindshare. In a crowded app market, that’s a great foundation.

N.O.V.A. Legacy Review

N.O.V.A. Legacy Review

Mar 31, 2017

Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. series has come quite far — so much so, that simply referring to it as a Halo clone feels unfair, given its longevity. In N.O.V.A. Legacy, we get to see the latest Android iteration of the first person shooter series.

Backstory: it’s the future, and humans have had to find places beyond earth (near orbital satellites) to live. New alien threats have also appeared, and forces like the Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance — yep, NOVA — are formed to protect humankind.

The player takes on the persona of Kal Wardin, a retired NOVA soldier called upon to figure out what has happened on the Colonial Pride Frigate.

The game comes forth in first person perspective, allowing the player to glean the action through the “eyes” of the screen. The main character is equipped with weapons, and the main idea is to advance to way points — in other words, finish missions and move on.

The first step is getting through the hands-on tutorial. We’re introduced to the invaded ship, and learn how to use the controls to effect sweeping vision and movement. Then, using the weapons provided plus reloading, and interacting with objects that allow for such.

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And taking on the ghastly Xenos bent on human destruction. Especially that.

Using simple touch controls, the player goes through the ship, looking for goodies and looking out for enemies combatants. The game utilizes sights, with which one can shoot the enemy; they fight back though, and some even use evasive moves to make them harder to hit.

This cover and shoot element goes both ways; it is a great tool for our hero. There are grenades, codes to collect and utilize, and even strategic decisions to make when dealing with waves of enemies.

After a level is complete, collected goodies can be utilized; the game incorporates a crafting element. The arena multiplayer part is the cherry on top.

Jabra Elite Sport *Truly* Wireless Headphones Hardware Review

Jabra Elite Sport *Truly* Wireless Headphones Hardware Review

Mar 31, 2017

Now, if truth be told, the truly wireless headphones thing probably has, well, that company to thank. Even still, if any company can be expected to do it well based on reputation alone, Jabra is probably it.

Yep, the Jabra Elite Sport Wireless Earbuds are truly, really wireless, and arrive with high hopes.

So, the review package we got reflects the unit in its retail presentation; inside the familiarly colored box, we get the two individual ear pieces, a matching charging case, ear gels and hooks plus a micro-USB charging cable.

The earbuds themselves are quite small — each is hardly bigger than a bottle top. Both are black, and the relative heft of each piece somewhat betray their functionality.

The charging case is compact enough to be a great carrying utility, and is just big enough to fit both pieces securely. It’s easy to miss the micro-USB charging port at first glance; the whole system easily fits in the palm of the hand.

Upon closer inspection of the individual buds, the controls become a bit more apparent. The right piece serves as master, with power and pairing buttons; the left has the volume toggles.

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Simple and to the point, and pairing was a cinch.

Now, at the heart, these are sport/fitness accessories, and the companion application Jabra Sport underscores this. This app providers a conduit to review gathered information, as also provides coaching and other goodies, like a built-in Cooper Test.

Using it was a blast. It took a while to tweak the fit, but then, for audio, it was great. I was also able to use it as a speaker phone, and a great surprise was the ability to use the right piece singly, as the left piece daisy-chains to the right.

Most of my concerns had to do with the mechanical: proper fit and such. It took a bit of experimentation to get a comfortable fit initially, after which it was smooth sailing. I was surprised with how securely it fit; I wasn’t able to dislodge it “naturally” doing regular use, but the ability to use the one without the other, while great, left me a bit nervous.

All in all, I loved it. It does a lot of things very well, and looks good doing them. It isn’t a cheap solution, but hopefully the eye sweat warranty assuages the price somewhat.

Rocky is on Google Play

Rocky is on Google Play

Mar 31, 2017

Rocky — yep, that Rocky — has his very own game on Google Play, courtesy of Tapinator.

Dubbed (appropriately) Rocky, this one allows you to battle some of Rocky’s well known foes… Clubber Lang, Creed, Apollo, the evil Ivan Drago and more. It includes RPG elemens as well.

Excerpts from the Play Store entry:

Step into the ring with your favorite epic characters from the ROCKY film franchise, including Rocky Balboa, Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, and Ivan Drago! Challenge real players worldwide as you fight your way to the top!

THE ROCKY FRANCHISE:
*Rocky vs. Apollo*
*Rocky vs. Clubber*
*Rocky vs. Drago*
*Rocky vs. Tommy Gunn*
*Rocky vs. Mason Dixon*

The game is available for free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Clue Review

Clue Review

Mar 31, 2017

When we a version of popular board game Clue on Google Play, we had to check it out.

The game starts out as one versed in the game would expect… with the selection of the character. the whole crew is present: Mustard, newish character Orchid, Scarlett, Green, Peacock and Plum. Then, one can pick other virtual players, and select the difficulty from three levels, ranging from easy to hard.

Then, it’s off to the game.

Yes, Boddy is our victim. The idea is to figure out the where, what and the who of the crime; this is done by deducing the cards in the solution envelope.clue3

The gameplay pits the player against the game UI, and one can select to against two or more virtual opponents. The virtual playing cards are set in their categories (Suspects, Weapons and Room), and one random card from each category is placed in the solution envelope. After this selection, the rest are dealt amongst the players. These animations are all performed at the onset, and is pretty nifty.

The game starts with the roll of the dice; this done by tapping the virtual pair. The idea is to get to rooms, and then “suggest” who did the deed, along with what weapon. The basic strategy from the “real” game remains: after each player’s suggestion, the successive player(s) has to show a card that is part of the current suggestion that is in his/her possession. The other players take relevant notes to narrow down the choices.

Here is where the arguably the biggest adjustment manifests. Instead of a physical note and pencil, the game utilizes an automatically-filled out digital form. This does make the game quite manageable, though it somewhat eliminates the game’s native charm.

And thus it goes, until the final guess is proffered. If successful, the player wins. If not, game over.

So… to the big question: how does it really compare to the physical board game? Quite well, actually. Anyone who has played the physical version should enjoy this. On the one hand, the lack of multiplayer is somewhat understandable but still pertinent.

ZeptoLab introduces CATS: Crash Area Turbo Stars

ZeptoLab introduces CATS: Crash Area Turbo Stars

Mar 31, 2017

Respected Android development house ZeptoLab has a new one due out on Android very soon called CATS: Crash Area Turbo Stars; this one is all about machine battling.

Per Google Play, here are some details:

MAIN FEATURES:
Collect toolboxes with spare parts and coins in Quick Fights against real players.

Combine and upgrade dozens of parts, weapons, and gadgets to create the ultimate fighting machine.

Dominate the leaderboard to move on to the next stage of the World Championship.

Compete against friends and share the best battles!

Pre-registration is on NOW!

The game is set for an April release; checkout the trailer below:

Nomad Key Micro-USB Charging Cable Hardware Review

Nomad Key Micro-USB Charging Cable Hardware Review

Mar 31, 2017

My barber recently unveiled a very welcome new piece. What was it you ask? Not a new chair, or a special hair wash bath. Nope… he new piece that got so much attention was a standalone charging bay.

Charge your devices while your head gets mowed.

Brilliant, and just goes to underscore one point: it’s a power hungry world, and we just live in it.

Look, we need our gadgets, and they need power. We’ve said it before: the person who creates a smartdevice with really long battery life will make a mint. Till then, give me some useful accessories that can help me keep my devices juiced.

Enter Nomad Key Micro-USB Charging Cable. It’s been around for a while; we wanted to see if it is still a relevant piece.

At first glance, the Key is indeed small: keychain circle in chrome finishing, and a small USB to micro-USB accessory wrapped in hard black plastic.

In usage, it works especially well with power banks (Nomad makes one, but we used our own).

The biggest plus is the mobility and relative ever-present nature of the solution; if there is a USB power source available, it’s possible to charge a device that needs requires micro-USB input. Nifty and convenient yes, especially for this times one might need to an extra cable beyond the one packed in the go bag.

On the other hand, the lack of length does relegate to primary backup use (or with an aforementioned portable power bank), because the device to be charged invariably has to be very close to the power source, almost prohibitively so.

Now, the obvious drawback is the advent of USB-C devices. Sill, for now, we figure the Nomad Key still does most of the hings that would make it quite useful in today’s mobile landscape.

Just as well.

FZ9: Timeshift Review

FZ9: Timeshift Review

Mar 30, 2017

We’ve been keeping an eye on FZ9: Timeshift. Well, it’s here.

Off the bat, great looks and varied environments give the game visual spine.

The game gently suggests getting in on Story Mode, and as such, Story is where we spent most of our days. The game gets you in on the action quickly. Yes, first person is the how this one is perceived, and it works well at first blush.

The main gimmick is the slowing down of time. Taking on the persona of our hero Mak (and controlling his movements via virtual joystick) one takes on missions with plenty of armed enemies with various types of weapons. When not moving though, time is slowed to crawl, allowing the player to see (and possibly dodge) incoming bullets. it also slows down incoming attackers and everything else. This “ability” gives our dude an edge in combat.

The game employs a simple targeting method using a simple crosshair; it can be adjusted manually, or one can rely on an automatic sighting button to help. When it’s all said and done, two main goals are clear. Shoot, and don’t get killed. The gameplay flows logically, as one navigates environments populated with hostiles.

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One aspect that is decently done is the weapon usage. Our guy typically has a handgun to start with limited ammo, and the idea is to procure discarded or dropped to continue. When all else fails, one can look to use the time control to get close to an attacker and take out said attacker with a knife. As always, follow the direction arrows, and get from Point A to Point B.

It pays to remember: getting shot (or being caught by a melee attacker) end the run. Unsuccessfully.

There is an energy requirement, and there are leveling elements. Attributes can be improved too.

Collaboration tool Slack gets an update

Collaboration tool Slack gets an update

Mar 29, 2017

Slack is one app the refuses to rest on its laurels. The collaborative app is getting another update:

Highlights:

• You can now share a message or a file from one channel to another. Which is nice.

• Some of the slash commands you’re used to using from Slack (like /away, /dm etc) are now supported inside Threads.

• Fixed: You’re no longer shunted into the cold vacuum of the browser to view search results when we can just as easily display them in-app.

Pocket Casts receives an update

Pocket Casts receives an update

Mar 29, 2017

If you listen to podcasts on Android, you probably know Pocket Casts, the popular mobile aggregation app.

Well, it’s getting an update, and if the actual update doesn’t tickle you, the formal changelog introducing version 6.2.4 should:

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the releases of our app. Maybe slightly less inevitable and more fun though? I mean the same amount of people are betrayed, killed off, and then come back but I digress! 6.2.4 brings you:

– Syncing improvements (specifically around swiping to mark as played)

– Various fixes to playback, chapter support, remove silence

– Better show notes formatting

Tune in next week when [insert cliffhanger here]

That, people, is how you write a changelog.

Pocket Casts remains free on the Play Store.

Root Explorer gets improvements via update

Root Explorer gets improvements via update

Mar 29, 2017

Popular Android file manager Root Explorer just received an update that makes the app more appealing to users working with big files and folks making use of USB on-the-go (OTG).

Per Google Play, the new build (4.1) brings:

USB OTG support for Marshmallow (Android 6) upwards

• Moving large files within SD card on Nougat (Android 7) now happens instantly.

Root Explorer comes in two flavors: free and a fuller featured premium version that costs $3.99.