Pokémon GO Gets Appraisal Feature via Update

Pokémon GO Gets Appraisal Feature via Update

Aug 26, 2016

International phenomenon Pokémon GO is getting an update — one which, among other things, introduces a new creature battling prowess appraisal feature.

More specifically (per Google Play):


– Implemented Pokémon Appraisal: Trainers will now be able to learn about a Pokémon’s attack and defense capabilities from their Team Leader (Candela, Blanche, or Spark) to determine which of their Pokémon have the most potential for battle.
– Fixed a bug that kept defeated Pokémon at 1HP; these Pokémon will now return as fainted Pokémon. We’re working on rebalancing the training battle, stay tuned.
– Minor bot fixes

The popular game remains free on the Play Store.

Attention Pokemon Trainers: Pokémon GO Gets New Tweaks via Update

Attention Pokemon Trainers: Pokémon GO Gets New Tweaks via Update

Jul 30, 2016

If you’re one of the masses that is captivated by Pokémon GO — weird sleeping patterns, a new-ish propensity to walk around with a phone to your face, knowledge of what a “vulpix” is, etc — then this news is for you.

Nintendo and Niantic’s hit augmented reality game just received an update; version 0.31.0 adds a number of enhancements, like the ability to make adjustments to your avatar from the profile screen, updated screens and refined gym animations — and a bit more.

More specifically, per Google Play:


Trainers, Pokémon GO has been updated to version 0.31.0:
– Avatars can now be re-customized from the Trainer profile screen
– Adjusted battle move damage values for some Pokémon
– Refined certain Gym animations
– Improved memory issues
– Removed footprints of nearby Pokémon
– Modified battle damage calculation
– Various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounter
– Updated Pokémon details screen
– Updated achievement medal images
– Fixed issues with displaying certain map features
– Minor text fixes

Pokémon GO remains free (with in-app purchases) on the Play Store

Ingress Gets Updated on Google Play

Ingress Gets Updated on Google Play

Sep 28, 2015

The preeminent augmented reality game on Android, Ingress, is getting an update now via Google Play.

Per its Google Play page, the new build includes:


Version 1.83.1
And we’re back!
– Sorting for loading and unloading capsules!
– Fixes for Dynamic Compass mode
– Fix Portal scan on resume
Don’t miss the Abaddon anomaly series coming to cities around the world.

We had an opportunity to formally check it out way back when, and truly like it; the game remains free on the Play Store.

Clandestine: Anomaly Arrives on Google Play

Clandestine: Anomaly Arrives on Google Play

Jul 29, 2015

Clandestine: Anomaly is an interesting mobile game that brings real-life environment locations into the gameplay. Now, it isn’t an iOS-exclusive anymore, as it is now on Google Play.

Features (per Google Play):

• Action-packed location-based tower tactics gameplay, with unique seek-and-destroy mechanics.

• Unparalleled location-based Augmented Reality gameplay: See the battle rage in front of you and seize the moment, obliterating the enemy with powerful airstrikes.

• Battle for your own REAL LIFE 2km x 2km (1.24mi x 1.24mi) neighborhood – the map is your GPS location!

• Immerse yourself in a carefully crafted narrative co-written by best-selling, lauded writer Joshua Ortega (Gears of War 2).

• Experience Clandestine: Anomaly’s striking graphical art style and beautiful cutscenes built upon concept art by Star Wars artist Doug Wheatley, and Darkest Dungeon’s Chris Bourassa.

• Engage in carefully crafted tactical gameplay, guided by Dark Age of Camelot’s lead designer, Lori Hyrup.

• Interact with a cast of unforgettable characters through detailed voice-acted phone calls, text messages and Augmented Reality scenes that put you in the center of the rich and detailed story of Clandestine: Anomaly.

The game is free with in-app purchases.


Motion Tennis Cast Review

Motion Tennis Cast Review

Apr 2, 2015

What the original Wii did for console gaming is something that is oft discussed, and with good reason. The motion-sensing aspect was fantastic in that helped create gamers out of people who were not, well, prototypical gamers. It helped make console gaming more of a family event.

I should know; still have one.

What the Wii also did, for me at least, was it somewhat changed how I look to play some games. For example, with regards to shooting games, I expect to have a shooting peripheral. Golf games were best played with a “stick” that incorporated the Wii controller. Tennis? Never better than with a racquet accessory.

Motion Tennis Cast brings some of that Wii-type experience direct to Android devices, simply by living up to the sum total of the components of its name: it brings together device motion and the Chromecast dongle to frame a tennis simulation.

The game links to one’s Chromecast (or other casting options), and then allows the player to play a casted tennis game while using the phone as a simulated racquet.



There is a quick tutorial, a couple different modes, surfaces and virtual opponents of differing abilities. The gameplay itself is simple to understand, with different shots and traditional tennis scoring. Swinging one’s device simulates hitting the ball. The engine is fairly forgiving, and with a little practice, one can replicate unique moves fairly easily. There is also multiplayer options online for limited swathes of time (wasn’t able to connect to this).

A few things that do come up as potential issues is the phone as a controller. Great in theory, but if one ever wonders why Nintendo made such a big deal of wrist-straps, this game will probably help folks to understand. It’s easy to get into the game, and I did feel a bit uneasy using the control phone without a some sort of restraint. Along those lines, it feels a bit easier to play on smaller-sized smartphones versus, say, larger phablets, depending on hand size obviously.


Then, the game itself looks like it could use some polish with regards to the visuals and responsiveness. The animations are more than recognizable, but are a bit rote-like in places, and the control mechanism can be a bit unpredictable now and then. And, goodness, if a game ever was made for more multiplayer options (beyond Time Attack Online), this is it; if there is a way for the developer to add these, I am not too proud to beg. I especially like the incorporation of multiple casting options.

Still, if only on premise alone, Motion Tennis Cast is pretty nifty. It’s a cool game that is enjoyable to try and easy to get into. It’s one of the more interesting ones we have seen in some time.

Japanese Localization and More Come to Ingress via Update

Japanese Localization and More Come to Ingress via Update

Mar 25, 2015

Google’s popular cross-platform augmented reality caper Ingress is getting an update.

Per the Google Play page, this update brings Japanese localization, adds in the ability to share missions and also squashes some bugs.

Ingress remains free on the Play Store.

Ingress Gets Update

Ingress Gets Update

Dec 5, 2014

Ingress, Google/Niantic’s augmented reality thriller, continues the drive to get better with its latest update, which adds the ability to pause missions.

Misions is a new feature that was recently added.

The new build also brings bug fixes.

Ingress remains a trailblazer in its genre, bringing new features and interesting tweaks to its outstanding gameplay just over two years into its life. In that time, it has gone cross-platform and increased play area significantly. In many ways, it has far transcended a “simple capture the flag” adventure.

We had the opportunity to look at Ingress shortly after it launched, and loved it; it remains free on the Play Store.

Proxy42 Launches Pre-sale for its New AR First-Person Shooting Game

Proxy42 Launches Pre-sale for its New AR First-Person Shooting Game

Nov 10, 2014

With augmented reality games like Ingress grabbing a foothold in the mobile landscape, it’s obvious that the genre is a popular one. I think it is clear we’d love to see more.

As such, word that Proxy42 is launching the pre-order for its upcoming crowdfunded Father.IO game and associated “363R” Trigger accessory is something that is making us salivate.

The game is heavily dependent on the accessory piece, which seems to fit over Android devices; the device can then be used as a virtual weapon, creating a self-described laser-tag game. If the trailer and test videos are anything to go by, this should be an exceptionally interesting concept.

Folks interested in pre-ordering the $59 accessory can do so at the order site; there is also an associated referral system which can help defray that cost even further. The presale itself will be active for 30 days.

We look forward to hearing more about this game, and possibly trying it out.

Screenshot 1 _Father.IO

[Source: Father.IO Press Release]

Augmented Reality Game Ingress Gets New How-To Video

Augmented Reality Game Ingress Gets New How-To Video

Sep 19, 2014

Ingress has a way inserting itself into conversation.

I was at an informal reunion of my wife’s class, held at a restaurant last winter. As the evening wore on, I happened to over hear one of my wife’s old classmates talking about “hacking” with his wife.

Boom. I lost track of time. We talked about strategies, local hotspots, the challenges of playing as a couple and making friends with the “enemy.”

Some of the others at the table were curious about what elicited such engaged conversation. As anyone that plays Ingress can tell you though, you almost have to play it to get it. Google’s Niantic Labs’ augmented reality thriller is especially interesting, but also quite hard to explain. Thus, we probably sounded like a few techno geeks on a smartphone high.

We probably didn’t do a good job of recruiting, but I blame the developer.

Thankfully, Niantic Labs has released a new video that helps in situations like this. This new video does a great job at discussing gameplay basics:

Ingress remains free on the Play Store.

[Source: Androidcentral]

Astray Review

Astray Review

Apr 15, 2014

With wearables and smartphones hitting the next level, and hardware components that are beginning to match standalone counterparts, games like Astray are inevitable. Or at least, they should be.

Astray is an interesting, augmented reality-assisted labyrinth game that touches on some interesting gameplay elements. The game walkthrough underscores some of the highlights, and ties in the important aspects together.

It would be a disservice to not lead with the fact that Astray is a 3D labyrinth game at heart; there is the maze, the metal sphere and the target location. The environment could be described as vaguely medieval, with a relatively well designed background imagery. Labyrinth core concepts are present: obstacles, gates and such. The dangers include stuff like colored portals that end the level unsuccessfully if the sphere falls into them.

The key part of the game is the picture; indeed, the gameplay starts with image acquisition. The first part of astray1setting up a game is taking a flat object (a piece of paper, a large envelope, etc.) and getting it within the program sights. It gives a visual score of how good the image is (with three stars being the best), and then, the game uses the object as a movable part of the game. The trick is that instead of moving the device, you keep it stationary, and use the underlying paper to guide the sphere to the right hole. Progress is timed, and solving one puzzle opens the next.

The game is well thought out idea. However, in practice, some things felt a bit weird. One thing was the picture taking mechanism; it seemed quite picky. The other issue is that by default, I ended up holding two things in the air with each hand, which can be uncomfortable over time, especially since I was using a tablet.

This is one game that I feel is worth waiting for, and the developers seem responsive (having already fixed a gripe I had in the last update). It’s free and interesting; how can one not like it?

Big kudos with regards to the musical score, one of which I understand was performed on a penny whistle by the lead developer.

Google and Niantic Labs’ Ingress: How is the Augmented Reality Game Continuing to Evolve as it Enters Year Two?

Google and Niantic Labs’ Ingress: How is the Augmented Reality Game Continuing to Evolve as it Enters Year Two?

Apr 7, 2014

We were all mostly wowed by Google/Niantic’s Ingress. At the time, it was arguably the best mobile augmented reality experience. Ever.

Without any improvements, well into its second year, it would still be the best game adventure of its type. Thankfully, Niantic has not rested on its laurels, and has continued to add a bunch of improvements and refinements that improve the gameplay and logic.

At the root, Ingress is still a pick-a-side battle that involves factions of players either accepting otherworldly intelligence, or working to thwart it.

Since we last looked at Ingress, big changes have occurred, especially in the area of portal mods. The pieced here have grown significantly past just shields. Heat sinks, link amplifiers and multi-hacks help with offensive output, while tweaks like force amplifiers and turrets can be formidable tools that prevent successful attacks.


Adjustments to the logic with regards to greater XM usage also called for other unique hacking rewards like power cubes. Power cubes act like portable XM banks that can be accessed when a player is low, as long as he/she has a cube of the appropriate level. Two other powerful, interesting tools are somewhat faction-specific; ADA Refractors allow portals to be flipped from green to blue, and a Jarvis Virus does the reverse. Both can be used to do things like break links and otherwise cause mayhem.

The UI has been improved as well. The Android phone-based app itself — scanner, in Ingress parlance — has received plenty of usability updates, adding in more information and making it a more graphically pleasing. In real life, Naintic has done an excellent job of driving meetups and real-life faction events in different cities. The backstory tie-ins are a stroke of genius too.

All in all, Ingress remains the penultimate mobile game. Amid rumors of iOS expansion, we say go all out: WP8 and BB10 too? We can’t wait to see what else Ingress comes up with.

After The Gods – An Augmented Reality God Game

After The Gods – An Augmented Reality God Game

Aug 13, 2013

Sometimes you’ll come across a game that deserves and needs to be looked at differently. To give After the Gods a score out of ten would be missing the point and would stop discussion before it even began.

Why is this? Because, quite simply, After the Gods isn’t a particularly good game. It consists of a fairly basic premise that’s easy to achieve. You have to tap on different statues to activate them and then move your camera around to call upon the selected God’s power. Rain, wind and the power over light are all combined to complete a couple of different objectives. For to get flowers to grow, you need it to be raining and sunny. After a couple of these ‘objectives’, the game’s over. 6 out of ten.

Except the game deserves more praise than its simple mechanics deserve. After the Gods is an augmented reality title, part of a growing trend in the world of mobile applications. Within After the Gods you have to physically move yourself around the world you’re in charge of. A printed sheet of paper needs to be aimed at for the technology to work, but you’ll soon not care how silly you look when hovering over a piece of paper with your phone.

The fact you’re able to (and need to) tower over this virtual world works brilliantly for After the Gods, making it unlike any other ‘God game’ I’ve played before. Talking to the Project Lead, Brian Schrank, he mentioned that this wasn’t a design decision made early on, but one that came about organically.ATG2

“We began the project with very open minds trying to invent ways to richly leverage the unique affordances of AR on mobile. For example, the fact that camera position and orientation in virtual space is more naturally mapped to real, physical player input…

The fact that AR mobile tabletop games inherently give the player a god view was a bonus feature we decided to use about halfway through the development process.”

As it currently stands After the Gods isn’t available on the Play Store. You need to download it directly from the game’s site (which is here). The reason for this is that the game’s too big at the moment. Brian and his team have to trim their title down to the required 50mb limit, which may take some doing.

That’s not the team’s only goal with After the Gods though. Aside from polishing the technical issues that After the Gods has, there are hopes of creating more environments and allowing the user to greater alter the world they’re in charge of. The ability to share worlds would also be near the top of the ‘to do’ list, but it’ll all take some time yet.

When asked if he ever thought AR would become a mainstream concept, Brian had this to say;

“AR will become mainstream when it allows people to do things in ways that are easier or more gripping than they are to do without AR.

New technologies augment and build off of existing needs and cultural patterns rather than invent new patterns out of scratch. For example, email digitizes and accelerates textual communication. It exploits a need better than a written letter. The written letter exploited the same need better than the spoken word.

During the advent of cellular phone technology, it was popular to question if cellphones could ever become popular, not only because of the early astronomical price, but because people could only imagine of how distracting and horrible it would be to be merely a phone call away from anyone at anytime regardless of your location. In hindsight, those concerns seem quaint. So the question is: What can AR do well?

AR blends the real and the virtual in real-time, which is an incredibly useful feature, especially when you connect that feature to the Internet, so it only a matter of time before it’s a vital tool we use everyday and could never imagine our world without.”

The day when AR is a commonplace concept may seem like a way off, but it’s slowly gaining momentum. The 3DS and Vita both offer AR ‘toys’, rather than games and there’s also the release of physical cards for Tekken Card Tournament that offer AR capabilities.

We live in a world where the Oculus Rift is seen as a viable device and ‘the future’ of gaming. Surely AR can gain respect as well? With games like After the Gods coming through, respect is more than deserved.