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Crowdfunding Spotlight: Coffin Dodgers

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014

Outrun Death with Coffin Dodgers by Milky Tea.

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Games

Ruzzle Adventure Review

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014

What does a developer do when a game around forming words and multiplayer becomes a succes? It takes out fifty procent of that golden formula and turns it to a list of chores.

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Productivity

Note Anytime Review

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014

This app for handwriting makes syncing notes to the cloud and editing them on multiple platforms easy. It's just the cloud syncing that's a pain.

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App Rundown

Ruzzle Adventure Review

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014

What does a developer do when a game around forming words and multiplayer becomes a succes? It takes out fifty procent of that golden formula and turns it to a list of chores.

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Recent Posts

Skyline Skaters Review

Skyline Skaters Review

Jul 15, 2014

Endless runners make for the perfect mobile games. A combination of accessibility and addictiveness make the genre ideal for gamers on the go. Skyline Skaters Rio is the latest game to take advantage of the portability of an endless runner, even integrating the World Cup into the game’s Brazil setting.

Rio is an update to Skyline Skaters that takes players to the favelas of Brazil. The Skyline Skaters version of the favelas ignores the dark side and presents a bright, vivid picture of the city. With the World Cup in town, the setting is full of color and full of life. Players will see nods to the soccer tournament as they skate on rooftops, noticing soccer balls bouncing, mascots jumping, and soccer-themed power-ups throughout levels. However, the soccer integration is merely a gimmick to capitalize on the popularity of the World Cup as it has no affect on gameplay.

The object of the game is guide your skateboarder through the rooftops, jumping across buildings and collecting coins along the way. The old saying “skateboarding is not a crime” is apparently invalid in Brazil, as a police helicopter gives chase to players. Hit a cone or other obstacle and you will allow the chopper to catch up.

Gamers also have to deal with several obstacles along the way, including flying missiles, floating obstructions and rails. To make dealing with these easier, players can obtain power-ups located throughout levels. Power-ups, which include a rainbow that bridges rooftops and a score multiplier, temporarily give players a boost that makes racking up high scores easier. The best power-up is the rocket, which allows players to sit back momentarily and watch their character fly through the sky and collect coins.

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There are also letters in levels players can collect to unlock a special bonus round. Spelling words such as “SPEED” or “SKATE” will take players to an area full of easy-to-collect coins.

Skyline Skaters is as simple as it gets when it comes to controls. A tap on the screen will cause your character to jump and a double tap results in a double jump. It is all very accessible and inviting.

With the Rio update comes a new soccer-themed Brazilian skater, but obtaining him can be a grind. Unless players are willing to shell out some real-world cash to purchase the character (or any other additional character in the game, for that matter), they will have to spend some serious time skating through Rio collecting coins.

Players who do not wish to deal with microtransactions will find it difficult to collect extras, upgrade their skateboards, or level up their characters past the early stages, which quickly reduces the game to a repetitive chore.

Skyline Skaters Rio is a colorful update to a solid endless runner. However, the fun of the game wears off unless users are willing to pay real world money to unlock new characters and upgrades. Without conducting microtransactions, the game becomes a repetitive quest to collect coins, and Android users will find themselves uninstalling the app.

Evolution: Battle for Utopia Review

Evolution: Battle for Utopia Review

Jul 15, 2014

Evolution: Battle For Utopia is an interesting mix of small scale combat, exploration and base building. Is it a gaming utopia?

The combat portion of Evolution: Battle for Utopia is actually very robust. Attacking is handed automatically and the player can select a target. After every few shots the player must reload and this can be sped up with a well-timed tap Often one enemy will have a crosshair over them and attacking these targets will dish out more damage. Human enemies shoot back and glow red when they are about to allowing the player a second to duck behind a shield with a swipe before the lead starts flying. Incoming grenades also need to be tapped on to avoid them detonating in the player’s midst. There is a lot to do during combat and the mechanic for picking targets and taking cover make it feel like a real gunfight, which is impressive. Picking targets is important as some enemies are far more powerful in melee and must be dropped fast while human soldiers need to be taken out one by one to cut down on the number of people shooting.

Screenshot_2014-07-15-07-35-24Beside combat, there is a map based mode where dialogue and exploration take place. This is well done. Base building is done in typical freemium style with timers a plenty and many buildings to construct and tech to research. The graphics are noticeably poorer than the combat here and buildings are just dull, static blocks. The base building isn’t very satisfying and there are very few building types. This is in stark contrast to the cool combat segments. The game does have an interesting story which helps push it along.

Screenshot_2014-07-13-07-43-39Of course, as is common with mobile gaming, freemium comes along to ruin any fun the game might have had. The game’s difficulty shoots up extremely quickly after the first few missions and resource generation is a slow, plodding affair that requires logging in constantly to tap on buildings. Combat goes from fun and doable to tough and failing a battle once locks that battle away for 20 hours. Twenty hours. Missions can only be attempted if the player has sufficiently long range helicopters to reach them and this generally means that failing 1 or 2 battles can prevent the player from playing the game at all for the better part of a day. The tragic part is that if this was a premium game without paywalls it would be absolutely worth playing. The gameplay is satisfying and unique.

Multiplayer is a bit of a joke as well. Pay to win is the rule in Evolution: Battle for Utopia. The matchmaking system seems flawed as well; every multiplayer battle I ran into was against much higher level opposition.

Evolution: Battle For Utopia looks great, sounds great and has a lot of varied gameplay styles. As a whole it is very in depth for a mobile game. Unfortunately, some terrible freemium features and some very long timers really go a long way towards killing the game.


Turn any Android Device into an AirPlay Receiver with Reflector

Turn any Android Device into an AirPlay Receiver with Reflector

Jul 14, 2014

Have you ever wanted to use your Android device as an AirPlay receiver? That’s what Squirrels has done with Reflector – now available on Android. If you have an iOS device or a computer using Squirrels’ AirParrot, just launch Reflector and your Android device should show up as an AirPlay receiver. Now you can use your phone, tablet, or even TV-connected device, to view your iOS device, Mac, or computer running AirParrot, anywhere. Pretty cool. The app is available now on Google Play.

No Brakes Review

No Brakes Review

Jul 14, 2014

No Brakes is a racing game with a twist.

The developer should be commended for simplicity; the gameplay rolls intuitively and needs little by the way of tutorials. The 2D rendering of the raceway works with the top-down view, and the color scheme does tweak the senses a bit. It’s a car racing game, but the unique element is that this is a self-contained race against time, and a, well, speed trial is at stake.

The car is a simple, smiley box that moves along the mostly windy game roads. It is controlled by two buttons, oneno1 that maneuvers it left and one right; otherwise, the car moves forward perpetually. Thus, keeping a finger on the left button will keep the car turning in a forward manner, even as far as going in the opposite direction and beyond, unless it comes in contact with the sides of the road. In other words, getting the car to go generally means using the left and right controls to continually correct and re-correct the path along the road without touching the sides of the raceway. Oh yeah… there aren’t any brakes.

The race areas are generally windy, but not too difficult; one isn’t penalized for going in any direction, because speed is the name of the game. The longer the car travels without going out of bounds, the higher its top speed gets. It’s this top speed that serves as the main bragging rights, so in essence, as the game goes on (and the longer one lasts), the faster the vehicle goes, which leads to higher high scores.

As noted earlier, it’s the simplicity which sets this game apart. I liked the simple touches, such as the changing background visuals when benchmarks or touched. The music oscillated between cheery and borderline annoying for me, and i also think the game could use some more play modes.

For a game that gets straight to the gameplay and encourages quick retries, this game is tough to beat, and is at the very least a very enjoyable time waster.

Antec Bluetooth Headphone Hardware Review

Antec Bluetooth Headphone Hardware Review

Jul 14, 2014

The push to going wireless is alive and well, and Antec seems to be quite willing to take on the challenge, especially with its a.m.p Wireless Headphones

The review box which was provided to us showed the attention paid to product packaging. The product comes with the headphones, micro-USB cord, wall plug-in pins, 3.55 mm male-to-male audio cable, a carrying case with carabiner and paperwork.

The contoured black frame is mostly wrapped in somewhat glossy hard plastic with bendable ends that fold inside, a feature one almost expects in over-ear headphones to encourage compactness and portability. The cans are covered by soft, perforated material, and there is metal on the insides of the unit. The topmost inner part also has foam padding, and the cans are jointed, which allows them to rotate somewhat on a connecting axis. The right side has a micro-USB charging port, as well as a 3.55 mm port for wired sound feed. Also nestled on the right side are the track controls, volume rocker, LED light and power button. On the head, it is quite comfortable, and the innate flexibility of the set works well in real life, even when at rest around the neck, which it can do at 6.4 ounces.

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Charging didn’t take too long, and pairing it via the Bluetooth 3.0 chip to an audio source is easy and intuitive; it’s a simple matter of tapping and holding the power button till the LED alternates rapidly between red and blue, and finding the headphones and linking from the source device. It worked well with all types of audio, and the clarity was quite impressive. The bass output isn’t as sharp with some songs, but overall, it was loud enough in the ear. It streams close to the advertised 32 feet distance.

It also works with wire via the removable audio cable. This gives the set even more functionality. The “call”button, which is smoothly incorporated to the right end, is a nice touch. The call quality can be a bit jagged though.

All in all, while the exterior part of the device is prone to smudging, and the joints make me wonder about how it will hold up in the long term, I still think it is a decent value overall.

The Antec AMP Pulse Bluetooth Wireless Headphones is available for $79.99 via Amazon.com.

Wayward Souls Review

Wayward Souls Review

Jul 14, 2014

Wayward Souls looks and sounds like the spiritual successor to the well-received Mage Gauntlet. Prepare to be surprised!

Wayward Souls is an old school rougelike with style. A virtual stick moves the hero, while a tap on the screen executes a normal attack. Abilities are handled with swipes. For the Warrior a downward swipe uses his shield, which defends against any attack or projectile for a few seconds. An upward swipe unleashes a throwing axe for defeating enemies that are too dangerous to get close to. This super slick control scheme works very well indeed and is much less fiddly that a collection of small icons.

Screenshot_2014-07-13-04-19-51Players can pick from three initial classes in Wayward Souls. Like many RPGS it features a Warrior, a Mage and the ever popular Rouge. The Warrior is tough up close and can throw axes and gain high health. The Mage can attack from a distance, but must allow her energy to recharge to attack, so she’s very vulnerable to getting overwhelmed. The Rouge meanwhile attacks and moves very quickly, but isn’t as good in a stand up fight as the Warrior.

Except to die early and often in Wayward Souls. Wayward Souls is HARD. The player will die repeatedly. Enemies move around faster than even the Rouge and do loads of damage and there are tons of them. A lot of skill and constant attention are needed to survive for any length of time. Enemies are deadly and even the weakest ones, like berserk miners who throw pickaxes will do a lot of damage. A few enemies ganging up on the player can drop their health like nothing else. Of course like all rougetypes, as soon as the player dies, they must start the game all over again.

This is compounded by an almost total lack of healing. Getting hit kills the player fast and healing potions drop so rarely from enemies I wasn’t aware they even existed for a long time. The main source of healing is the small amount of health restored by reaching the end of a dungeon level and descending into the next.

Screenshot_2014-07-12-07-09-21Wayward Soul’s challenge is a breath of fresh air. While a lot of mobile games embrace pay to win and do not require skills, Wayward Souls is unashamedly a game in the vein of old school, rock hard SNES games which will eat players alive if they don’t have gaming chops and this is something not seem very often on Android. Indeed, it is often ports from other systems, such as Dragon Quest VIII and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that aren’t afraid to kick the player around if they can’t hang tough.

Thankfully, a satisfying persistent upgrade system is in play. Coins can be grabbed during games and traded for permanent upgrades. These can boost the chance of doing critical damage, boost attack damage or recover energy for special attacks faster. Each upgrade also boosts maximum health and energy, so characters will gradually become stronger. This allows players to make it just that little bit further before becoming just another stain on the floor. This kind of slow burning gameplay is an acquired taste, but the game hands out plenty of coins and there are no nasty in-app purchases to dilute the feeling of progression.

Some smart game design ensures this needed replay never feels like grinding either. Like most Rougetypes, Wayward Souls is procedurally generated. Each time a new game is started the layout of the dungeon and enemy type and placement is randomly determined to ensure an entirely new brand of rage inducing death. This makes each game feel new and guards against frustrating repetition. It also prevents the player learning patterns and making the game too easy.

Wayward Souls is tough then, but it is the good kind of tough. It’s what gaming should be; a game that punishes you for not playing well and rewards the player when they do. Players who relish the challenge of extreme games like bullet hell shooters will likely revel in the unapologetic ass kicking Wayward Souls will deal out if they slip up.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-06-27-32Wayward Souls looks incredibly good. A super smooth, warm pixel art style defines the game. While pixel art on Android isn’t exactly hard to find, the great lighting effects, detailed sprites and the attention to detail make Wayward Souls look like a very pretty 16 bit game. The way the player’s character changes appearance as they get stronger is great as well. The music is extremely well done as well. Some excellent ambient tunes warble on in the background and really suck you into the game. Noodlecake are known for their great music and Wayward Heroes is another example of this skill.

Wayward Souls
has enormous replay value if players can stomach the challenge. The extreme amount of skill needed to even begin to get anywhere in the game will require much practice and stat boosting and the three classes and three more unlockable ones give plenty of replay value.

Lastly, Wayward Souls has a good bit of story. Each time the player descends a dungeon level more about their character and their motivations are revealed. These simple story scenes really reward progression. Rougetypes aren’t known for their story, so this is very engaging.

Wayward Souls is unabashedly made for a specific kind of player and helps propel mobile gaming into a more hardcore, serious level of gaming. Players who are dyed in the wool gamers who take any challenge in stride and will persevere and will take the time to learn the game will enjoy it. However more causal mobile gamers, such as those who like their freemium city builders and such will find it an impenetrable game. Even fans of Mage Gauntlet may not enjoy Wayward Souls due to its difficulty. Well-made but merciless Wayward Souls is the Dwarf Fortress of mobile gaming and only the player can decide if Wayward Souls is the game for them.


Doug Dug Review

Doug Dug Review

Jul 11, 2014

I have to say that I’ve almost skipped on Doug Dug, just because it looks like a rip-off of Terraria, or Spelunky, or some other attempt at Minecraft design school – and I’m glad that I didn’t, because Doug Dug is neither of those things. It’s an original, captivating platformer that lacks just a few pieces to become absolutely awesome.

The player controls Doug, a dwarf who does two things all dwarves do all the time: digging for gold and sporting a kick-ass beard. Doug Dug is focused on the first task. The level Doug dug 3is a single screen wide, but infinitely deep, containing lots of treasures and challenges beneath. The player needs to navigate around it by digging. Dragging the finger across the screen will make Doug dig right, left, or down. He is unable to jump, unfortunately, so any loot that you miss on the way down, stays there most of the time. That said, it can come crashing down if it lacks any support, or is only held in place by a collapsable dirt block. So, the player needs to be aware of his surroundings and not get caught in the avalanche. Basically, the avalanche system holds about 50% of the game’s worth, as it grants a tricky random element to each run. The avalanches also crush whatever enemies get trapped under them, and it’s great, because the enemies are a pain. They can only be killed by falling on them from above, and Doug can’t jump. So, if he is on their level, or lower, it’s quite difficult to stay alive. The game has no shortage of things that can kill a digging dwarf, and if left unchecked, will definitely do so, leaving but a ghost of the spelunker on the next playthrough.

Basically, my only problem with Doug Dug is that there’s not enough of it. Besides the growing difficulty of the level, when the player goes deeper, there’s very little diversity in the content. The collected gold can’t be spent on anything, and its only worth is for the high-score. Regardless, Doug Dug is still a fun and unusual game with cool mechanics and a vast replayability. Definitely worth getting if you like mining, but not crafting.

MLB.com Home Run Derby Presented by Ford Review

MLB.com Home Run Derby Presented by Ford Review

Jul 11, 2014

There is nothing more exciting in baseball than the home run — the crack of the bat echoing through the stadium, the crowd roaring as the hitter rounds the bases, and the high fives and handshakes in the dugout. There is nothing like watching the best hitters in the world smash baseballs as far as they can. That is why MLB’s annual Home Run Derby exists. For those of us who will never get to experience what it’s like to hit a homer in a major league stadium, there is MLB.com Home Run Derby Presented by Ford for Android.

MLB Advanced Media recently released a massive update to MLB.com Home Run Derby that adds new game modes to the mobile home run contest and features 2014’s new home run derby rules. The update also includes the players selected to participate in the 2014 Home Run Derby and Target Field, where All-Star festivities will take place.

For those just jumping into the game with the update, it is exactly what you’d expect—players select an MLB star and try to hit as many bombs as possible. There are two control schemes; one in which players hold down on the screen to move their batter’s contact point and let go to swing, and one in which gamers tap the screen to swing. While the holding option seems to be easier, the tap-to-swing controls don’t currently work. Gamers will find themselves frantically tapping the screen while their hitter watches pitches go by. An update will likely fix this, but controls are broken for now.

The game is broken down into three game modes: arcade mode, single player and multiplayer. Arcade mode is the quickest game and easiest way to rack up in-game currency. Single player and multiplayer derby modes offer a more competitive experience, but each will cost players one ticket to enter.

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Tickets, MLB Bucks and coins are the game’s currency. They can be used to unlock new players and stadiums, and upgrade bats and power-ups. An in-game store also sells bundles of currency, which is severely overpriced but almost necessary to acquire some upgrades.

Graphics are surprisingly realistic. Player models are accurate recreations of MLB stars, right down to the batting stances. While players are console quality, crowd models are far from it. However, crowd reactions and in-stadium announcer voices are responsive and entertaining. From the moment the ball hits the bat, the sound adds to the ambiance, creating a great baseball experience.

The downside of Home Run Derby’s graphical prowess is the loading times players will have to wait before actually jumping into a game. Part of the mobile experience of video games is being able to pick up and play at any time. Long wait times hinder the game’s portability and make it less accessible for players with less time.

MLB.com Home Run Derby’s update brings the title from a cheap money grab by MLB to a full-fledged mobile title. With realistic graphics and new game modes, baseball fans will have little to complain about. However, microtransactions hurt the game’s replay value, and players probably won’t find themselves playing beyond this year’s All-Star break.

Boom! Tanks Review

Boom! Tanks Review

Jul 11, 2014

Nothing soothes the nerves like a good virtual tank battle, and Boom! Tanks looks like a compelling option in the tested genre.

The game boils down to tank battle via attrition. The early going explains the basics of the gameplay and associated elements. In a nutshell, the players tank has a designated enemy unit that it must get its sights on. When this is accomplished, one has to fire while absorbing damage from the event tank. The end goal is to destroy said tank before it destroys the players machine.

The sighting mechanism is intuitive without being too simplistic, and involves the use of a moving target that needs to be lined up with a targeting icon on the enemy unit; thankfully, the game gives valuable cues to let the player know when perfect aim has been achieved. And then both tanks engage.

Each tank has a life bar, and they are depleted by hits. When one is completely emptied out, the battle ends with boom1the victor and the vanquished. If the player is the former, the spoils of war include a game cash payout (based on performance and bonuses), which is great for the upgrades which become quite necessary down the line. The player also gets experience points, and can play unlocked newer opponents, each with unique tank commanders.

The upgrade mechanism is fairly straightforward, and affords players the ability to get better equipment with more competitive attributes. In some cases, picking a specific tank can give a boost in one category, but may lack significantly in another; for instance, reload time is a serous issue. Picking a tank with rapid fire fixes this deficiency, but at the cost of better armor. Multiplayer feens will like that play option, and the leveling element gives it a another challenge angle. The tanks can be customized, and there are several iconic ones too.

The graphics are superb, with excellent use of visual perspective and faux lighting, and several different scenes ranging from icy landscapes to desert locales. The sub-menus feel a bit over-involved in places, and the accumulation of game money is glacial; real money can be used. I do think it feels a bit one-dimensional, outside the game modes provided.

For basic, unadulterated tank battle fun, it is a better-than-decent offering that had just the right amount of escalating challenge.

Happy Leo’s Fortune and Wayward Souls Release Day, Everyone!

Happy Leo’s Fortune and Wayward Souls Release Day, Everyone!

Jul 10, 2014

Oh is it a great day to be an Android gamer. While these are both games that came out on iOS earlier, they’re both out today and are well worth checking out.

Leo’s Fortune is a fun platformer with Sonic-inspired elements that’s been much beloved so far, including winning an Apple Design Award. Now it’s on Android, and is well worth checking out for platformer fans. Get the game form Google Play here. Check out the rad trailer below:

Wayward Souls is Rocketcat Games’ latest masterpiece, an action-RPG with roguelike elements that’s challenging, and very lengthy. It’s on sale for $4.99, and will only get more expensive over time. This is another must-have. Check out a trailer below, and click here to get the game from Google Play.

We’ll have full reviews of both of these games very soon.

Stickman Soccer 2014 Review

Stickman Soccer 2014 Review

Jul 10, 2014

How can a developer make a soccer video game more accessible and reliable than, say, a complex soccer video game like FIFA or PES? By simplifing the controls and putting in some stickmen instead of the well known soccer players.

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Americans probably won’t watch the World Cup like they did last week. But here in Holland, the World Cup fever keeps getting higher and higher and during those matchless days, we crave for football and look for it else. But not everyone likes or can handle games like FIFA or PES, so mobile game developers have the chance to fill in the gap and can provide us with some casual soccer video game experiences. Enter Stickman Soccer 2014, not the be confused with another sport series that uses the same Stickman name in their games.

Stickman Soccer 2014 is one of those games gamers can pick up easily, because of two things: the simple premise of the game and the easy to use on-screen controls. Really, everything in this game speaks for itself and that is a massive plus for the game. But on-screen controller input never has been something to be proud of and even in that case, Stickman Soccer 2014 thought of something: automatic running. Although it is a solution to that problem, it comes with another. By not controlling the players directly – a big feature in footies – the game gets rather dull. The only thing players have to do at that point is shooting and tackling and that is just not enough to come by.

The other big problem I have with this game that it costs either a lot of money or time to get the full experience. The game costs 99 cents at first, but that’s not enough to get the full game. Players need to spend extra cash to unlock more modes and matches in the game, they need to play a lot of the same matches in the beginning or need to watch some commercials to unlock everything. Most of the time, it is this: or paying for the full game or get bugged by commercials. In Stickman Soccer 2014, it is both. Combined with the overall theme and timing of release, I wouldn’t be a quick judge saying this is nothing less than a quick cash cow for the developer.

And that is a shame. Because, although the Stickmen could mean nothing to a player while playing, the game looks really nice and provides two kinds of controle schemes to fit the needs of the player. And it does offer a lot of gameplay to the player – but only if they watch the commercials or pay the extra cash. It’s just too obvious of a cash cow.

Chromecast Cast Screen Feature Releasing to the Public Soon

Chromecast Cast Screen Feature Releasing to the Public Soon

Jul 10, 2014

Announced at Google IO, Chromecast’s screen mirroring will be making its way out into the world in beta form for selected devices. The list includes Nexus 4 & 5 phones, Samsung Galaxy S4, S5, Note 3, and Note 10″, LG G2, G3, G Pro 2, and the HTC One M7, including Google Play Edition versions of those phones where applicable. From the Chromecast app, a “Cast Screen” option will be available. The update’s not quite available yet, but will be very soon according to Google.

Antec a.m.p. Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Antec a.m.p. Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Hardware Review

Jul 10, 2014

Portable output devices have more-or-less become must-have mobile accessories. Music? Podcasts? Word Cup audio? Heck, what about hands-free phone calls? These are things that the Antec a.m.p. SP-1 Bluetooth Speaker purports to take care of.

Antec was kind enough to provide us with a review sample; the clear casing hints at the product within, and the extra covering contains a male-to-male coaxial audio cable and a micro-usb cord. We received the pink units (it also comes in black, white, orange, red, blue and green).

The unit itself isn’t too big at all, coming in at 1.6 x 6.2 x 2.4 inches and weighing in at 1.3 lbs. The exterior is made up of hard plastic, and the entire shape is slightly trapezoid in appearance, with perforated labels taking up opposite long faces. On the one end, there are ports for the audio cable and charging, along with an on toggle. On “top” of the unit are hardware buttons for volume and pairing.

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Pairing? Like most Antec Bluetooth products, pairing is seamless, as long as the unit retains a charge.

In real life, it does well with producing sound. it isn’t ear-splitting, but the monaural output is pleasing, if a teeny bit hollow-ish at the highest volumes. It boasts an official range of 30 ft, and in regular testing, I was able to maintain a connection just a little short of that in open space; walls and such introduced more distortion quicker at further distances. It also came close the advertised 10 hours of usage time.

An additional feature that it has that is becoming more ubiquitous across the board is the the speakerphone capability. When paired to a telephony device, it is possible to answer and converse with callers via the built-in speakerphone.

It’s a compact device that has great sound and multiple uses, which make it a viable option, even, I daresay, to stereo output snobs. Officially, it is listed at $99, though it can be had for cheaper via other online retailers.

Evolution: Battle for Utopia from My.com Makes its Way to Android

Evolution: Battle for Utopia from My.com Makes its Way to Android

Jul 10, 2014

My.com’s Evolution: Battle for Utopia is now on Android. This is a free-to-play genre-bending action game, where players will fight enemies in real-time shooter battles, while also utilizing strategic defense placement, and elements of town-builders as you terraform the planet and build colonies. Oh, and there’s a robot dog named Fido. Check it out now on Google Play.

SoulCraft 2 Review

SoulCraft 2 Review

Jul 10, 2014

Soulcraft 2 takes a leaf out of Diablo’s book. Its story revolves around the endless war of Heaven vs Hell. Heaven sends some badass angels down to smack around Lucifer himself until he cries uncle. Meanwhile humanity is attempting to discover the secret to immortality. This would halt the flow of souls to the angels and thus rob them of their power.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-01-02-58Soulcraft 2 is a fairly average hack and slasher. The player moves with a virtual stick and a few buttons to control attacking and special skills. Soulcraft 2 is split into missions that boil down to either killing a lot of smaller demons, or fighting a boss. Most of these missions are quite short and never get more complicated than just hanging around and killing everything.

Soulcraft 2 features two currencies, Souls and Gold. Gold is a premium currency and must be used to unlock most items before they can be purchased with Souls, which are picked up during gameplay. Needing to pay to unlock equipment before even getting to pay for it by other means is a bit ridiculous. Buying the second cheapest gold pack awards the player permanent gold membership. This removes ads and doubles the number of Souls dropped by enemies.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-02-28-27Soulcraft 2, while its base gameplay is decent enough, lacks what makes a dungeon crawler great. Namely loot. The fun of dungeon crawlers is finding that next bit of swag that makes the player just that little bit tougher and able to take out more enemies. Finding a new flaming sword, cold resistant armour and so on is fun and keeps the player playing to see what comes next. Enemies in Soulcraft 2 very rarely drop loot. Only a few enemies even have the possibility of it and I saw no loot drops during my time with the game. Since the player spends most of the time with the same equipment due to the lack of loot, this can cause Soulcraft 2 to get rather dull.

Soulcraft 2 is very glitchy. Switching away from the game or receiving a call almost always causes the screen to simply go black, forcing the player to terminate the app before it can be played again. Levels sometimes load up as glitched messes and bouts of random lag are common. This detracts from the game a great deal. These issues are on a Samsung Galaxy S4, so owners of older devices should beware of Soulcraft 2.

When it is not glitching out, Soulcraft 2 looks quite nice. The character design nails the heaven vs hell vibe and there are plenty of intimidating enemies and killer angels to see. Combat looks pretty good too, with plenty of nasty looking animations. The sound gets the job done as well, but isn’t exceptional.

Soulcraft 2 isn’t a bad game. Its bugginess and lack of loot detract from it a great deal, but its reasonable gold membership is a pretty good deal. Hack and slash fans could do worse than taking a look.


Crowdfunding Spotlight: Swich

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Swich

Jul 9, 2014

This week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight shines brightly on what might end up being the best looking product we have ever featured. For those who spend a majority of their day at a desk wires really become somewhat of an unexplainable annoyance. For the more refined taste, an elegant, serene work space is the pinnacle of productivity. Now more than ever work is done via smartphones and it is very important to have them at our beck and call. This leads to wires and inelegant solutions such as vertical docks that limit the ability to handle the phone when necessary. Slovenian designers Lutman Design have taken the traditional phone cradle, removed the wires and reclined the phone towards a more natural position. The device is called Swich and I am truly smitten.

The first part is really the Swich’s biggest selling point. Using inductive charging standard, Qi, Swich will charge any appropriately enabled device; which at this point is simply the Nokia Lumia and Nexus 5, or any device with a Qi receiver. The aftermarket receiver is what most consumers will opt for, and for $10 Lutman will provide iPhone users with a special charging case of their very own. Even though the field at the moment is limited, the Swich is banking on the reasonably safe bet that wireless charging is the way of the future and some day soon smartphones will come without the ubiquitous micro-USB ports. This technology is built into the stand and is underneath a layer of micro-suction material to ensure no slippage.
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What is possibly even more impressive than the wireless charging or micro-suction surface is just how elegant this device looks. The either white or black ceramic base and surface are joined by a delightfully arched piece of stained American dark walnut. The inclusion of high quality wood between two matte piece of ceramic make the Swich truly a modern work of art, and no designer would think twice about putting this device in their office. I am glad to see that it is also not as overpriced as I feared; a standard Swich can be had for around a $140 donation. Unsurprisingly, this project has already been funded but there are still 20 days to go, and with speakers, different colors, and even multiple designs promised through stretch goals there is no reason not to jump on this project right now. For those looking for something both convenient and beautiful to charge their phone at home or work look no further than Swich.