US Army Frontline Special Forces Commando Mission Review

US Army Frontline Special Forces Commando Mission Review

Jan 19, 2018

US Army Frontline Special Forces Commando Mission
is a game, yes, but it happily bathes itself in good old national pride.

The game descriptor is very, well, precise with regards to targets and all, but this one boils down to a mission based first-person shooter. Thus, the action is taken in as such, with virtual buttons laid out to control movement, shooting, sights and so on. The visuals are very desert-y and sun-drenched, and the environments become a bit more intricate as you go further.

The action is very straightforward, and the initial few levels higlight this: select an available weapon, and shoot your way through a few baddies, then collect some collectibles at the endpoint.

Open up new levels. Rinse. Repeat.

Success yields game cash, and this can be used to acquire better gear, which begin to become available when subsequent levels are open. Of course, there are tougher challenges the further on you go, and the gameplay is fairly self contained, and mostly well done.

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But…

I’m all for developers making money, and will defend ads in freemium games, but I did find the ones in this one to be more than a tad annoying. Thankfully, they can be removed with real cash, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a player or two were put off permanently by the way these ads pop up.

Ah… those controls. Outside the ad system — which, as already noted, can be killed via in-app purchase — the control system is probably the most annoying aspect of the game. The pan and shoot mechanism could definitely be smoother, and a whole lot more responsive.

If you are able to overlook those foibles, this one is as easy to enjoy as it is to get into. Get in, do the deed, reach the endpoint… and do it in the allotted time.

Stickman Parkour Review

Stickman Parkour Review

Jan 18, 2018

Okay, admittedly, I have a major thing for parkour. There is something infinitely cool about the art of freerunning and its practitioners. Watch the action sequence following the opening credits in Casino Royale, with Daniel Craig’s Bond chasing S├ębastien Foucan and see if you don’t fall in love. Seriously.

But hey, when it comes to mobile games, stickmen still hold sway, and Stickman Parkour Platform melds the two concepts together.

So, it has a barebones look and presentation, allowing one to take cues from specific colors. A lot of the playing areas tend to be stationary and dark, and but when animations are called for, they are done well. The game is in 2D and is played in landscape orientation.

Basically, this is a platformer. Stickman Parkour is broken into levels; the core objective, as in most platformer games, is to get from the start point A to the level-ending end point B. To do so, you, the player must control the character stickman to climb, jump, shimmy, dodge and otherwise avoid obstacles that look to prevent the goal being met.

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The controls consist of virtual buttons: a “pull” joystick to the left, and others for jumping and sliding to the right. Used together, it is possible to get our guy going, and with a little practice, the controls can become second nature.

As soon as the controls are understand, again, the whole idea is to move. It isn’t always from left to right, but following the general path is easy enough. After a while, it becomes clear to avoid specific dangers (hint: all about the colors!). There are optional dots to collect, and the obstacles do become craftier as you play on.

Alas! As of now, the game is quite short. Hopefully, more levels are on the way.

If you’re into stick figures — weird, maybe, but is there a reason not to be? –then you might as well check it out. Simple idea, and loads of fun. Stickman Parkour makes every one of us a free runner, and a potentially good one to

About that impromptu toughness test…

About that impromptu toughness test…

Jan 16, 2018

There is nothing — NOTHING — sexy about those insane drop tests. You know, the ones where the geek with the masochist streak lets admittedly increasingly fragile devices drop to the floor… supposedly to see how well they react to the clumsiness that occurs in the real world. I think it takes a twisted individual to be able to do this, but there is a place for ruggedness testing. These tech gizmos aren’t cheap, and even the most careful of us can have our plans for device longevity thwarted by the innocent gestures of a kid borrowing one’s phone to catch an episode of Super Y.

Stuff happens.

I come across all sorts of gadgets, and have the privilege of getting to try out dozens of products in any single category. Consequently, when I did pick a device, it is usually one that I can truly call the best for my needs at that time.

Like my earpiece of choice, the Jabra Eclipse. Sleek, light, effective, with a portable charging case to boot. I use it for calls, music and podcasts, and frankly, I baby the precious unit.

Till my laundry mishap last week.

Hey, I always check my pockets for gadgets. It’s a big reason I tend to do the laundry myself, actually; a soaked phone would cause me to swoon. Somehow, I messed up. I remember making a late addition to the load: a light jacket I’d worn out earlier in the day. It had the Eclipse and case in it. It went through the wash and dryer cycles, and I didn’t discover it till I got the clothes out to iron.

Ugh… my heart dropped when I saw the case at the bottom of the barrel. It took me a little while to locate the earpiece, which was magnetically stuck to the top of the dryer. Physically, it looked fine, but I just knew it would never work again.

But hey, I plugged in the charging case, and slapped in the earpiece. It started charging. What? After a half hour, it was working. Flawlessly.

So that’s my story of the Impromptu Toughness Test. Well done, Jabra.

[Our Jabra Eclipse Review]

After a few months, YouTube TV is beginning to grow on me

After a few months, YouTube TV is beginning to grow on me

Jan 10, 2018

It’s a cord cutter’s world (it seems) and we just live in it. I truly believe more of us are beginning to enjoy said world. There are quite a few options for folks trying to forego traditional cable television, and YouTube TV is definitely one that has created some buzz. After a several weeks (going on months) trying it out, here are some of our thoughts.

  • Location, location… location! It’s still all about where you live. The list of supported locales is growing though.
  • Sports lovers will probably smile, but probably won’t cackle out loud. ESPN remains a big draw, and there are other local sports options,but there a few staples that are not standard yet. Still, there are some bright spots; for instance, hardcore soccer fans can recover from USA not making the World Cup with a soccer-laden add-on which runs for $15 per month extra.
  • Unlimited DVR is just as cool as it sounds. The ability is pause, forward and rewind live shows isn’t remotely innovative, but it is awesome. Before long, it is easy to have a large collection of shows and movies, albeit edited for broadcast TV and consisting of ads. Hello, 30 for 30; greetings, Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
  • Controlling shows on phone or tablet is okay, but your might crave a bona fide remote control every now and then, a la Amazon Fire TV. It’s great being able to stream from any number of devices (including the Youtube TV app on iOS devices), but your smartphone might not have the most “natural” feel when it comes to managing the broadcasts.
  • The Chromecast offer (get a new one “free” after paying for the service for a month) is worth it. If you haven’t yet upgraded to the latest version, it is definitely a true upgrade performance-wise. The hand-offs are much quicker, it’s easier to engage and disengage the stream and there are definitely fewer latency issues.

The list of metros that have the service available continues to grow, and the no obligation trial makes it easy to try.

My app addiction: Google Home

My app addiction: Google Home

Jan 9, 2018

The world is simultaneously getting more connected and more untethered, and I love it. Even better, I enjoy the way mobile devices are becoming the heartbeats of a new paradigm… the so-called “connected home” that allows us to literally bring the internet of things home.

Of course, Google is at the forefront of this movement, and one of its biggest pieces in this pursuit is its all-encompassing control hub, Google Home.

The app does a lot — but my usage really devices around casting content from my phone, of late especially YouTube TV.

Now, the beauty of the setup is that using Google Home to cast does not tie up one’s phone. Indeed, one can go on and do any number of activities on the hosting device… like, say, drafting an article highlighting why the app is so easy to get addicted to.

One of the things that makes the whole system worth it is the built-in nature of the system. Google Cast is built into the Chrome browser, so, in theory, you can mirror most things from the Chrome browser to an equipped television. This also means I can use Cast-ready applications, like the Youtube TV app, on iOS. That’s not a bad proposition at all, especially folks who use technology across mobile platforms. And the list of iOS apps that are ready to go is fairly expansive, including media favorites like HBO GO, Showtime, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Spotify and >a whole lot more. And remember, the Chrome thingie means your PC can be a portal too.

Now that I am beginning to dabble more into Google Home (the hardware, that is), the app becomes more of a mainstay for me. Google Home ties it altogether, making life easier and more cohesive, all while becoming more indispensable to me and mine.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Game Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Game Review

Jan 8, 2018

It’s practically expected now. Make a major motion picture in this day and age, and we, the consumers want — no, we demand — a companion mobile game. As we’ve said a bunch already, it makes sense; the franchise gets more buzz, which helps the game, which helps the franchise… a beautiful circle.

If the game is good, that is…k7

With the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle out for our viewing pleasure, we are quite okay with checking out NHN PixelCube Corp’s companion game, well, Kingsman: The Golden Circle Game.

It’s a pretty good looking game, featuring recognizable characters bathed in non-glossy colors and housed in stark environments, with matching sounds buttressed by voice boxes and hint flashes. The animations are nice too, incorporating slick action moves and underscored by slow motion effects.

The game takes you on a journey, and play is simple. To begin, you finish up training, and the gameplay gets explained: you fight by match-3 action. Yes, your actions are determined by your dexterity with your fingers, and your ability to combine the right color of ammunition at the right time.

Good action leads to success, which leads to game coin, which allows you to improve attributes and accumulate stuff (ah, the clothes); real cash can be used, and there is an energy requirement… bummer.

What the game does well, in the first, is to ably meld a few genres into one cohesive experience. Most prominently, taking a match-3 and allowing it to be the conduit for a card-based action game works here. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it done, but darn it, when done well it still makes for a great caper.

But let’s not forget the source material. Juvenile or not, the Kingsman movies provide great action material, and getting to work with familiar characters is almost always a good thing. Fans of the franchise should love that aspect.

Go Plane Review

Go Plane Review

Jan 8, 2018

Go Plane is one of those games that looks to be an easy pickup. Let’s see…

I was able to get going without any explanation. As noted, it plays in portrait orientation, and it opens up with a seemingly unending aerial environment with a solitary plane flying in it. Ah, yes: you get to control it with your finger, by slashing on the screen or, better yet, dragging it in the direction you prefer. Here, the plane feels responsive, and the action is easily imbibed.gp3

Don’t get too comfortable, though; almost immediately, this leisurely glide becomes a lethal, somewhat one-sided dogfight. Why? Well, that is a missile on your six, and it’s coming in very fast.

If your immediate instinct is to use your freshly discovered powers of plane control to scamper out of the way of the missile, it’s a good one. This is the only way to survive. But wait… this missile has some advantages.

First, it’s that cool type of movie missile that follows you, mirroring your evasive actions in a scary shadow dance, until (hopefully) it’s energy runs out. Secondly — and much worse — this intro projectile is just the first of an endless wave of missiles. That’s right, a bunch of missiles chasing you for you to dodge.

Go Plane gets to be a cool game because it doesn’t attempt to do too much, and still finds a way to do that relatively well. The concept is simple, the gameplay barely needs an explanation and the it mostly keeps you engaged. Sure, we could yearn for a few more elements, like clearer plane attributes and even more power-ups, but as-is, it does a good job of melding simplicity with action.

True, the barebones thingie cuts both ways, but we’re willing to go out on a limb and say in the case of Go Plane, it is net positive… especially from a time wasting point of view.

You’ve seen the film, now play the game: Ferdinand: Unstoppabull is out now on Android

You’ve seen the film, now play the game: Ferdinand: Unstoppabull is out now on Android

Jan 4, 2018

Ferdinand: Unstoppabull is a match three puzzler that serves as the official game of the animated movie of (almost) the same name.

It’s a match three puzzler as you know and love them. You’ll match blocks together to earn a high score, doing so over hundreds of levels.

There’s a twist here though. Matching blocks causes your favourite characters – who all feature – to perform a bunch of different dance moves. Snazzy!

You can upgrade all of these dance moves as well to increase the score they provide when you do them. That will help you beat all your friends.

Another interesting feature is the ability to have the game play automatically. Not only is this quite unique for a match three puzzler, but the hedgehogs Uno, Dos, and Quatro will play rather than the AI.

With hundreds of levels to complete, a variety of dance moves to master, and special abilities to unleash, Ferdinand: Unstoppabull is chock full of content.

So go ahead and grab it right now from Google Play. You certainly won’t regret it!

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.

Fire Up! Review

Fire Up! Review

Jan 2, 2018

Another day, another grind. The busier we get, the more we need pastimes. Fire Up! is a new game on Google Play looking to make sure your day gets the proper punctuation marks.

Graphically, it is simple, with a good color mix and plays in portrait.

The gameplay concept isn’t hard to get. You, the player, use your finger to control a shooting tank, one that moves forward (upward) continuously; the main idea is to keep traveling forward. Now, it shoots fiery missiles of a particular power and speed.fu3

Ah, but there are obstacles blocking the way. Think of a wall of bricks in the way of your piece. Each piece has a point value attached,and this numerical value tells you how many times you have to shoot it to break up that piece and carve a path through the wall. So, one with 2 (two) requires two shots, and so on.

So, with the main idea being to gain space, you have to direct the shooting piece so as to create paths. However, making contact with the wall (or any piece) ends the run. Every restart, you’ll begin to notice the barrier pieces have higher and higher values, meaning more shots required to break them up.

Thankfully, the runs you make gain points; these points can be used to improve the power and speed of the shooting, which becomes very necessary if you plan on seriously taking on the bricks. This goes on and on: do well, gain points, improve firepower so as to cope with tougher pieces. And yes, different tanks can be unlocked.

This game feels especially dutiful with regards to bringing a fun arcade experience to the forefront, unabashedly so. Its straightforward presentation and easy-to-understand gameplay lend themselves to plenty of pick ‘n’ play episodes, and the upgrade path is as elementary as it gets. It is very, very self-contained — if a bit one-dimensional — because all you really need to play is right there.

Bring the deft fingers, though.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Jan 1, 2018

Wishing everyone’s best tech dreams of 2018 come true!!!