Blog

Nightmares from the Deep 2 is 80% Off for a Limited Time

Posted by on May 25, 2015

Another G5 hit goes on sale for a limited time.

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Games

MORTAL KOMBAT X Review

Posted by on May 21, 2015

The legendary console fighter lands on Android.

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Productivity

Blaze for Twitter Review

Posted by on Apr 29, 2015

Another interesting multi-account twitter option.

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App Rundown

MORTAL KOMBAT X Review

Posted by on May 21, 2015

The legendary console fighter lands on Android.

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Recent Posts

Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE: A Belated Review

Motorola E (2nd Gen) 4G LTE: A Belated Review

May 13, 2015

For the longest time, Motorola has been synonymous with Android; it’s been a part of the Android takeover, and some of the best smartphone hardware has born its imprint. With the Moto E2, the device maker looks to show it can have a budget hit. Again.

The review unit Moto sent us contained the black handset (a white alternative is also available, two bands (more on that later), power cord and documentation. The phone goes against the grain somewhat, particularly with regards to size; still, it would be rude to call it diminutive at 5.11 x 2.63 x 0.48 inches and weighing in at 5.1 ounces. It is quite comfortable in hand, and feels well constructed, so much so that at first glance, one will definitely be forgiven foe not noticing the interesting band that goes around the side. This flexible band houses hardware buttons and protects SIM and SD card slots, but are also swappable, and allows a degree of aesthetic customization.

Under the hood, the Moto E does have some pertinent upgrades on its predecessor: our review unit packs the Snapdragon 410 with 1.2 GHz Quad-Core CPU (Adreno 306 with 400 MHz GPU)). It also has 1GB RAM and 8GB Flash, with the ability to expand with up to 32GB, and a 5GB rear camera paired with a simple VGA snapper set towards the top right on the front of the device.

Moto E_2nd Gen_1 Phone

With Android Lollipop at the helm, the device is zippy and familiar. Interestingly enough, the OS is close to stock in appearance and navigation, with Material Design front and center in the stock offerings. The core apps are all here, and the hardware and software combine to create a smooth experience. We are able to test it out with a few choice games, and the Moto E did swimmingly.

The lack of NFC functionality is disappointing, the cameras are not going to blow you away, and that internal space might cause app-centric users some nervousness. Also, one will have to learn to love the installed apps, because a lot of them can only be disabled at best, and not uninstalled from the device; it boils down to a good deal of the stated being used from jump. Some folks might balk at the screen size, but it is better than decent in real life usage, and even browsing works well.

In the end, it’s a budget device that feels like it has the chops to at least not get left too behind by the flagships. It works surprisingly well as a hub, and, in some aspects, puts us on notice with regards to when Motorola drops its next high-powered device.

MARVEL Future Fight Review

MARVEL Future Fight Review

May 8, 2015

It’s a Marvel world, and I suspect we all just live in it. MARVEL Future Fight might be proof.

MARVEL Future Fight is part attrition beat-em up, part RPG, and all action. The basic concept is to assemble heroes from the expansive stable of MARVEL characters, good and bad, and to use the resultant collective to prevent destruction. More specifically, Nick Fury calls up for help from the future, letting the whole crew know about collapsing dimensions and such. Scary stuff.

The action is pushed through gameplay tutorials, allowing one to pick a control set and to understand the basics of movement and attack. It is broken into missions, and generally starts with a single Marvel persona roaming through the playing environment and taking on groups of enemies of different abilities in a war of life-bars. Finishing missions brings rewards that can be used to unlock new superheroes, or to take advantage of the RPG mechanism by improving characters.

The game sports an original storyline, and players can do the single-player thing or use the Ally system to beat a particularly irksome boss-villain. There are bonuses to be earned, and each are valuable with regards to acquiring content. And yes, real cash can be used to expedite progress in several facets.

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I do treasure a good back/accompanying story attached to the game — it must be the writer in me — but I do find the surrounding tale, as dispensed by aforementioned dialogue boxes, a bit busy and almost distracting. I can’t complain too hard, because one can skip through these. The intro tutorial is also somewhat discordant, but relatively short.

In the end, it is a freemium game that manages to avoid — mostly — being too naggy. It is a simple beat em up adventure that didn’t deviate too far from its core elements, and that cuts both ways.

Audiobooks.com Releases Rebuilt Android Application

Audiobooks.com Releases Rebuilt Android Application

May 7, 2015

Audio book lovers are in for a treat: Audiobook.com for Android just got the update treatment.

According to the accompanying press release, the app has been completely redesigned. It boasts a minimalist interface and more simplified navigation amongst other things.

Audiobooks.com completely redesigned the Android app from front-to-back for an improved audiobook listening experience. Users will first notice a sleek new interface throughout the app, as well as faster response times when loading book covers and samples. Navigation has been simplified as well, making it more efficient and intuitive to browse through the audiobook library and move between pages. In addition, Audiobooks.com reorganized the app’s settings to more clearly provide users with account-critical information and international users will notice significant improvements as they browse available content in their region.

Audiobooks.com General Manager Ian Small is happy to get the new iteration in the hands of customers.

“On the backend, the technology that powers our service is modern and innovative. We want that to be reflected in the front-end experience for our users, and this redesign accomplishes that goal,” he says “This is our best Android app yet, and we are excited to get it into the hands of our customers.”

The app is available for free on Google Play.

Feedly Gets Google Now Integration and More via Update

Feedly Gets Google Now Integration and More via Update

May 6, 2015

News aggregation utility Feedly is getting an update, and it sounds like a compelling one.

Big on the list is new Google Now compatibility. Now, Feedly pushes the most engaging stories to users Google Now feeds at 7.00 am every morning.

Per the app detail page, the changes include:

New in 27
[NEW] Better search auto-completion experience.
[NEW] The feedly Pro power search is now available on mobile.
[NEW] GoogleNow integration. The most engaging story in your feedly gets pushed to GoogleNow every morning at 7:00am.

Feedly is available for free on Google Play.

Hero Pop Launches on Google Play

Hero Pop Launches on Google Play

May 6, 2015

Chillingo seems to intend to keep us busy with new games, and you know what? We are not complaining. New on the docket: an interesting match and tap game called Hero Pop.

Rescue your cloud friends by popping them out of the sky in Hero Pop!

Pirates have captured your friends and trapped them inside balloons! Stick a pin in those pirate’s pesky plans and rescue your friends by launching your own balloons to match the colors and pop them out the sky.

Match five or more balloons of the same color to create super balloons with incredible balloon popping powers and unlock power-ups that can zap and burst any obstacles in your way.

Journey from cloud to cloud, across hundreds of challenging levels on an exciting quest to save your balloon-bound buddies and become the hero you know you are!

Hero Pop Features:
• Match balloons to complete objectives and save your friends
• More than 100 levels of balloon poppin’ fun!
• Explore a colorful world above the clouds through exciting theme-parks, winter wonderlands, and much more
• Create Super Balloons and use Power-Ups to blow up big chain combos
• Connect with Facebook to rank your progress, send and receive lives and keys with your friends
• Carry your progress over to another device using Facebook
• Earn bonus coins and power-ups each day with Daily Bonuses

The game is free to try on Google Play.

G5 Games Brings Hidden Object Thriller The Secret Society to Amazon Fire TV

G5 Games Brings Hidden Object Thriller The Secret Society to Amazon Fire TV

May 6, 2015

We’ve really raved about Amazon Fire TV for several reasons, and now, prolific game publisher G5 Entertainment is giving us another reason: The Secret Society – Hidden Mystery is now available to be played Amazon Fire TV.

This means folks with Amazon’s set top box can play the game on the big screen using a game controller, which makes it potentially even more engaging.

The Secret Society® – Hidden Mystery is a blend of point and click, hidden objects and brain teaser puzzles. In the game you join the Order of Seekers, a secret society of people with a unique ability to move inside magic worlds. You travel through photographs in search for clues to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of your missing uncle and remove the dangers threatening the entire Secret Society. You will look for myriad of clues in photographs you move within. These clues, if gathered together with others, will expand even further the world you’re traveling and serve to help you unravel the mysteries you’re tasked with. Some of these puzzles are harder than others, but on the whole, you will find The Secret Society – Hidden Mystery polished and addictive.

The game is free to try on the Amazon App Store.

[Source: G5 Press Release]

Brutal Swing Lands on Google Play

Brutal Swing Lands on Google Play

May 5, 2015

Brutal Swing is yet another new game from Brutal Studio that is available on Android.

Birds stole your burger, so now what are you going to do about it? It’s time for a brutal revenge! Swing from bird to bird and try to find your burger. A funny and addicting game of high scores and tapping fun! Tap anywhere on the screen to swing to the next bird, while avoiding the nasty crows. Swing and jump quickly to accumulate combo points and watch out for the dirty sick birds that are fragile. After collecting several coins you’ll be able to buy new characters and special in-game power ups.
Get ready … the sky is the limit!

SIMPLE GAME PLAY:
Tap anywhere on the screen to swing from bird to bird.
SKY IS THE LIMIT:
Swing as high as you can and share your record with your friends!
CHOOSE DIFFERENT CHARACTERS:
You can unlock funny new characters such as The Granny, The Fisherman, The Warrior and The Caveman!
SPECIAL ITEMS:
Buy special items that will help you get even higher or help you attract more coins.

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

New Game Sunburn! Due Out Soon on Google Play

New Game Sunburn! Due Out Soon on Google Play

May 5, 2015

Noodlecake is on a row; it is introducing a new game — called Sunburn! — that is due out on Google Play soon, via developer Secret Crush.

Based on its pedigree alone, it should be an interesting one:

Your ship is gone. Your crew is scattered. One option remains. Gather your crew… and jump into the sun. Reunite your shipmates and hurtle toward the end in 50+ distinctly dangerous gravity puzzles. You control the captain of a spaceship that is suddenly struck by a comet and destroyed. With no way to get home, the ship’s crew is forced to face reality. They’re doomed to die. There’s no way out. But no matter what their fate may be, one thing is decided for certain. No one dies alone. It’s your job to navigate through the universe as the captain and reunite your crew. Hop, blast, and drift your way from planet to planet using your trusty jetpack. Reunite the crew, making sure not to run out of oxygen and leave them to drift in the void. Beware of molten planets, speeding comets, and deadly gravity wells. And when everyone in the sector is reunited, make your way to sun. Sunburn! is the debut game from Secret Crush — a three person studio founded by three alumni of the prestigious NYU Game Center MFA game design program. Originally a student project, the game was then specially selected for three months of full-time development as part of the NYU Game Center incubator in New York City.

We can expect to see the game on the Play Store shortly, May 14th to be exact. It will cost $2.99.

We have a trailer below:

[Source: Sunburn! Informational]

Disruptor Beam Brings Game of Thrones Ascent on Appstore

Disruptor Beam Brings Game of Thrones Ascent on Appstore

May 1, 2015

Great news for Fire device owners.

Game of Thrones Ascent is available to folks with compatible devices attached to the Amazon Appstore now, courtesy of Disruptor Beam.

The game brings the popular book series and TV show to mobile gaming, bringing quests and close matching with the current season, as underscored in the press release excerpt below:

With Game of Thrones Ascent, fans can immerse themselves beyond the books and show, living the life of a noble, working with (or against) each other in a persistent, authentic game world. Taking part in thousands of story-driven quests, players delve deeply into the lore and develop their own lands and reputation among the Great Houses. The game also syncs up with Season 5 episodes of the show with new content released each week.

As noted, the game is available now on the Amazon Appstore, for free (with in-app purchasing). An updated trailer is below.

Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader Hardware Review

Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader Hardware Review

May 1, 2015

It’s a tough life.

I’ve whined about the first world problem of having to keep up with too many devices. Review units, old retro devices, rooting toys… they add up. When it comes to review units, I’m loathe to use my personal cloud networks with them, so I tend to do data transfer locally via flash storage. It’s easy to, say, take a picture via an SD card and move the SD card to a new device. Yes, there are more efficient ways to do this, but stubborn people think differently.

In any case, I use and move SD cards often enough for me to need a reliable means of reading the data on them. And, frankly, who better to provide this solution that a company renown for making the storage itself? Yep, Kingston. Its Media Reader 3.0 Card Reader is a comprehensive hub that looks to give users the ability to view and manipulate data stored on several types of flash storage.

The review unit Kingston sent us shows the unit in its retail glory: mostly grey and white, with red company lettering (which light up in bright red when the unit is engaged). It’s roughly 3.7 x 0.6 x 2.1 inches, but isn’t strictly cuboid; the angled corners give it some design flair. It comes with a USB cable, is quite light in hand. The storage slots are on one end, while the connection port is on the opposite side.

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in action, the unit is very easy to use. it has four slots, for regular SD cards, microSD cards and compact flash. Also included in the package is a short micro-B type USB cable for connection/data transfer. Plug in the one of the corresponding form of flash storage and attaching the unit to a computer allows one to read the contents of said card, and also to do operations like deleting, cutting, pasting, copying and more.

Simple, quick and effective.

Altogether, the portability, affordability ($19.95 on Amazon) and self-contained functionality make it a useful addition. The bundled 2-yr warranty adds some piece of mind.

MARVEL Future Fight Touches Down on Android

MARVEL Future Fight Touches Down on Android

Apr 30, 2015

MARVEL Future Fight is a new game from Netmarble Games that brings our favorite Marvel heroes to Android RPG-style.

The Avengers…Spider-Man…the Guardians of the Galaxy! You can unite the greatest heroes from all corners of the Marvel Universe for the epic battle that will decide the fate of all realities – MARVEL Future Fight!
S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury has sent a dire call from the future: The multiple dimensions of the multiverse are collapsing upon each other – and it’s up to you to ensure humanity survives! Gather the mightiest Super Heroes and Super Villains, assemble your team, and protect the universe at all costs!
ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM! – Create your squad from Avengers like Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America, as well as other famous Marvel heroes like Spider-Man and Daredevil! Upgrade your weapons and master your skills to give your team the ultimate power-up using a deep RPG leveling system.
LIVE THE STORY! – Explore the Marvel Universe in an original story created by acclaimed writer Peter David!
EPIC 3v3 BATTLES! – Test your mettle against other players in 3v3 battles! Choose from four unique hero types – Combat, Blast, Speed, and Universal – then pit your champions against your opponents’ teams for supremacy.
SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN – Wage epic battle against Super Villains in stage-based battles across a deep, immersive single player RPG campaign to unlock exclusive content, new costumes and rewards!
TEAM BONUSES – Team up classic Marvel characters to earn special boosts and bonuses!
SUMMON ALLIES – Need a little help to get through the next Super Villain battle? Summon your friends via the Ally System for reinforcements and claim victory as a team!
EASY TO USE, ONE-FINGER CONTROLS – Play with just a single finger, or use the virtual control pad to guide your team through the Incursion and defeat your foes!
SPECIAL BONUS CONTENT – Download now to get the launch exclusive Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron package, featuring movie-inspired costumes. Sales are limited, buy from the in-game shop today!

MARVEL Future Fight is available to try now for free (with optional in-app purchases) on Google Play.

[Source: Netmarble Informational Page]

GUNSHIP BATTLE : Helicopter 3D Adds New Craft via Update

GUNSHIP BATTLE : Helicopter 3D Adds New Craft via Update

Apr 30, 2015

GUNSHIP BATTLE : Helicopter 3D just received an update, and this one brings a popular jet fighter to the arsenal: the F-14 Tomcat.

The full list of tweaks, per the app page, are:

What’s New
1. Contents
– F-14 Tomcat now available.
– Episode 9 added.
– New “Raid Boss” mode
> Inflict as much damage as you can on a powerful boss and try to get the highest score!
2. Event (4/28 – 5/5)
– 30% Sale
– Daily Login Bonus
3. Other
– Aircraft now categorized into Tiers
– You can now unlock aircraft if you fulfill certain tier requirements
– You can still unlock aircraft by completing episodes

The game is available to try for free on Google Play. A trailer featuring the new craft is below:

Newer Technology Power2U AC 20A Outlet Hardware Review

Newer Technology Power2U AC 20A Outlet Hardware Review

Apr 30, 2015

I have a problem.

Come to my house, and you can see the manifestation. It isn’t always my fault. Blame the device makers for sending devices to review. Or my need to tinker with retro devices (trying to get my T5 to tether to an M8 is a worthy endeavor); Probably has at least a little bit to do with the fact that full-powered devices give me a high. In any case, when it’s all said and done, one issue inevitably arises.

So many devices, so little time.

Yes, this is an issue that is self-inflicted, but can you blame me?

We generally don’t review stuff like the Power2U combo electrical receptacle, but the simple utility is intriguing, and well needed, at least in theory. Basically, is replaces a standard dual NEMA-1 receptacle with a version that includes 2 USB slots, such that one can double up on the units drawing power from the replaced outlet.

Now, installing it involves cracking out screwdrivers and such, removing the current receptacle and then wiring everything right, and patching it all up. It was fairly easy, and the included documentation is helpful. When it’s all done, it does fit well, and the white coloring was generic enough to make it look natural.

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The big difference between it and other standard ones are the aforementioned USB slots; there are two, one on each side equidistant from the “real” power holes. Each one has a spring door, such that the USB ports are always covered and camouflaged when not in use. The spring back mechanism is not so hard that it damages one’s cable.

In the end, it’s just what the doctor ordered, perfect as the lead outlet at our de facto charging station, and eliminates the need for extension strips. I like the 2.1A output, and also like the advertised device protection and elimination of vampire draw. Yes, it is close to a permanent change, and some might be more comfortable calling in an electrician, but as far as upgrades go, it isn’t bad.

And think of all those happy devices…

Fatal Fury Special Review

Fatal Fury Special Review

Apr 30, 2015

Fatal Fury Special brings nostalgic memories. Those of 16-bit graphics, cheat books, “you died, now my turn” hijinks, and lots and lots of blind adolescent rage. Fatal Fury Special on Google Play helps bring at least one of those things back, and it’s not the cheat books.

Fatal Fury Special is a direct port of an old fighting game that, as far as I remember, never went big in the western world. It doesn’t have the over-the-top violence of Mortal Combat, or over-the-top characters of Street Fighter. What it does have, however, is a solid fighting mechanic, a dozen of varied fighters with unique fighting styles, and a unique mechanic that allows the characters jump back and forth between two “layers” of the level.

There’s not a lot of content to speak about in Fatal Fury Special. There’s a bunch of locations and a bunch of different fighters. There’s a “story” mode that is actually just an arcade mode, in which the player has to defeat several enemy characters in a row, and a newly-implemented Bluetooth Mode, where two players can battle it out on their devices via bluetooth. That’s it. It’s a pretty bare-bones game, but since I got it for $.99, I don’t see any issues with that.

As for the gameplay, it’s almost identical to all of the other SNES and arcade fighting sims. Of course, it’s closest to Street Fatal Fury Special 4Fighter, to the point where some characters look quite a lot like that. There are four attack buttons, a “special” button, and a button that makes the character jump to the different layer of the level. Besides the layer-jumping, which isn’t really that game-changing, it’s exactly like the other arcade fighting games, so it’s no use describing all of its mechanics. Its fun, if you’re a fan of that sort of stuff, but it’s also incredibly difficult. The “beginner” difficulty AI had me plastered on the walls for about 10 fights, before I remembered how to button-mash. Fatal Fury Special is definitely aimed for the hardcore fans, and I’m sure those fans won’t be disappointed.

Overall, Fatal Fury Special is a straight, direct port of the original game, without any changes. Again, fans of the old fighting sims are going to be pleased, but I’m afraid more casual players will find it too punishing. Also, a couple of other things. The button layout and size can be changed in the settings, and I urge you to do that from the beginning, or the game turns into an unplayable hell, as the buttons take almost half of the screen.

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Implosion – Never Lose Hope Review

Apr 30, 2015

Implosion – Never Lose Hope is a hack-n-slash action game that takes place after Earth has been invaded, and subsequently lost to, a weaponized virus that mutates humans into vile, disgusting creatures that kill everyone they see. With the question of how they sustain themselves decades after supposedly killing everyone off being left unanswered, the humans have set to the stars and created off-world colonies, being protected by a special army of special distantly-controlled robots, who are able to fight the creatures without putting anyone at risk of infection. The game follows the adventures of one of the pilots of these mechs, who has to return to Earth, in order to investigate a beacon that went off somewhere inside.

Right from there, Implosion – Never Lose Hope sounds like a high-budget game with an interesting and complex story – and, surprisingly, it is. There are cutscenes, and professional voice acting, and complex gameplay – the game honestly wouldn’t look bad if it was released on PSN tomorrow. But this all comes with a huge “but”. Implosion – Never Lose Hope is merely a trial that expires at several missions in, and requires the purchase of the whole game, which costs 10 bucks. It’s a pretty huge price for a mobile game. This means that even if the game is awesome, you’re left wondering if it’s better to purchase 5 simpler and cheaper games instead. Which is a shame, since Implosion really is a good game, but not on a 10 bucks level good.

Gameplay of Implosion is a pretty standard hack-n-slash, set in the cyberpunkish background. The player’s mech is controlled viaImplosion 2 a virtual stick and a bunch of buttons. It levels up and can be upgraded by installing special libraries that can be found throughout the levels, or purchased from the store. The mech has a main melee weapon, and a bunch of long-range weapons that are quite difficult to aim properly. The melee weapon has a relatively simple, but varied enough combo system, as well as several special abilities that can be activated in the time of need. The enemies are also pretty distinct and have different behavior and attacks, and require some skill to kill – especially if the player wants to get the perfect score after beating the level.

Wrapping up, I’d say that Implosion is a great game. I’m eager to see more of its kind on Play Store, which currently lacks serious triple-A titles. But at the same time, its price makes it comparable to the PC and console-style games – and when viewed in that light, Implosion isn’t exactly up to the level.

Crayola Trace & Draw Hardware Review

Crayola Trace & Draw Hardware Review

Apr 30, 2015

In a world gone electronically amok, it is refreshing to see accessories aimed at kids… the type of gear that harnesses the power of mobile electronics in relatively atypical ways. Back in the day, we could have jamborees with some charcoal and paper.

It feels like the Crayola Trace & Draw is a system that hearkens back to those days, while being firmly planted in the present.

The review package Griffin sent us contains a single piece, a marker and documentation. The idea is fairly simple, almost crazily so: the main hardware piece is an adjustable clip that fastens onto a tablet (or, as became apparent during testing, even larger phablets). This clip’s main purpose is to hold a single sheet of paper plush against the device screen.

The secondary part of this combo is the Crayola Trace & Draw companion application, available on the Play Store. This app powers the images that are the core to the tool. The app contains a bunch of relatively simple basic images, black on white for efficacy, and grouped generally for identification. Now, with the device screen at the brightest setting (as the application advises) and a plain non-opaque piece of paper in place as described earlier, one can use the included marker to trace the image which shows through the paper.

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The app has some simple child/adult-friendly tricks up its sleeve to make the process as successful as possible. One pertinent method is the way is presents the image to be traced — in parts, such that one is overwhelmed with one difficult image all at once, but a smaller section that is more easily reproduced. When that section is completed, the budding artist can tap on an arrow that adds a new section to be added, and so on till the outline is completed.

When the outline is indeed finished, the young (or old) Rembrandt can then take the sheet off and further enhance the future masterpiece.

The system is rated for kids 3+, and I was able to try it out with my tablet-savvy 5-yr-old. Simply put, she loved it, and raided the printer for paper like a vagabond. She was able to get the hang of it almost immediately, and the app was easy enough for her to manipulate on her own. I find it quite interesting that she views the old Nook Color as primarily a tool to create art now. We (yes, we) were able to use pencils and such to do the initial trace too. Nifty.

When it’s all said and done, I really appreciate it. It’s simple, affordable ($19.99 on the Griffin website), and even useful. If only to see a continued smile on my daughter’s face, hats off to Griffin for encouraging childhood creativity.