Pokemon Go -Niantics Secret Weapon!

4 07 2016

So, after a lengthy hiatus, what a better way to return than a piece on Pokemon Go, Niantic’s new game.

After what would seem a reasonable success to some, Niantic’s second game is unsurprisingly far more hyped than its little brother Ingress.

After an on again, off again relationship with Google, Niantic now stands alone again, having once been part of Googles wider family.

Ingress was rolled out in 2012 in beta form, invite only, with fairly few users, but a very active community. Having obtained an invite in 2013, I’ve had Ingress for a while, and whilst the concept and exclusivity factor made it pretty cool to dabble around in, it never gripped me quite like it has with some.

Ingress-screenshots

People now holiday together playing Ingress, specifically trying to capture portals based on real life locations, with large events organised by Niantic on a fairly regular basis.

After struggling to get on with Ingress, but seeing its huge potential, I am hugely excited for Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go is a location based game, based on the Pokemon series which needs no introduction, with its multi-million game sales on the Gameboy, and DS, and is all about trying to catch as many Pokemon as you can, battling your way to the top !

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The screenshots that have been revealed so far, show two different modes, AR & VR, both performing pretty well to engross the user in the overall experience.

Some early testers have complained about the Pokemon appearing to hover over the ground, not blending seamlessly into the background, but what can you expect in an early access beta ?

The game carries over some of the features we loved from the Gameboy games, battling opponents, challenging gyms, and collecting items from specific places (pokestops in the game).

The gym aspect is pretty cool, similar to a portal in Ingress, which can be defended by leaving a Pokemon of your choosing for opponents to battle, much like the resonator equivalent in Ingress. This brings it to life a whole lot more, and makes you think twice about which of your precious Pokemon you leave behind !!

Pokemon Go Screenshots

It is also understood a great deal of the testing that has been carried out this year by beta testers has been around the algorithms which dictate which Pokemon appear where. These are thought to be reasonably intelligent, with water Pokemon appearing near the water, grass near patches of grass and such like ! This element will be particularly interesting, but sadly Australia may be a long way to go to capture a Kangaskhan!

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It is understood that there will be an in game purchase capability in the app, unsurprising, but I hope that the game isn’t dictated by this, ruining it for anybody who doesn’t want to splash their cash on it. These purchases are thought to be for items such as pokeballs, potions, revives etc, all of which are thought to be able to be obtained via normal play via pokestops, so if you have a pokestop nearby.. you may be in luck ! The locations of these pokestops are also thought to follow a similar format to portals in ingress, being located at key locations in an area !

Pokestop

As well as in app purchases, there is a physical piece of hardware available for use with Pokemon Go, the Pokemon Go Plus. This is a small device that can be worn as a wrist band, or clipped onto a piece of clothing, the idea of this, is to prevent you having to be glued to your phone, thus being able to enjoy your natural environment when you want, whilst still being able to respond to crucial events in the game such as throwing a Pokeball. This was a bit of an issue for me with Niantic, not wanting to kill the phones battery, or walk down a busy street with your head in your phone!

Pokemon Go Plus

The game its self, could be very poor, but will undoubtably get a tonne of support due to the underlying support of Pokemon.

The firm release date is still to be announced, but Niantic & Pokemon have said this will be in July 2016, with the Pokemon Go Plus pre-orders (Now sold out) being delivered in late July.

No doubt there will be a further update once the game has launched and my Pokemon Go Plus has been delivered, but for the time being, I’ll keep my eyes peeled until a launch date is officially released !





Jumper Card Review

8 02 2014

So recently, I was sent the Jumper Card to review, and was really excited to get my hands on it after reading about it on Indiegogo.

This is a credit card sized device, that can be used to charge your smartphone or tablet, transfer files, or do anything your existing charging cable can do.

This has recently launched on Indiegogo, and you can fund this project using this link – http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/jumper-card-emergency-battery-charger

The product is around the same size as a credit card although slightly more chunky, and fits extremely well into uour pocket or wallet.Image

It is coated in a really nice rubberised material, and is extremely light despite its thickness. It feels tough, and is made to military spec, so you can be sure that it will last.

The device can be charged using the USB port and has the capacity to hold 480mAh of battery, this is enough to get around an hour of use, and can be re-charged again and again, unlike a lot of other products similar to this which can be limited in this area.

It comes with a micro USB socket, lightning socket, and the older traditional apple fitting. This means you can charge most android phones, digital cameras & other accessories as well as the entire apple range. It doesn’t take long to fully charge the jumper card, and this gives you a decent amount of battery on your device depending on the size of the battery, as obviously this will charge iPhones considerably more than iPads etc due to the size of the internal battery varying massively on device to device.

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Now, on charging my phone specifically (HTC One) I was prompted with a message advising that fast-charge was no longer enabled and that the device would charge considerably slower than by using an HTC official charger. This was the case, but the phone still charged well, and also worked really well on my iPhone and iPad. The product also comes with a built in LED light which indicates when it is finished charging and has inbuilt overcharge protection. The product is activated by a simple slider on the side, which can also be used to turn on a bright LED flashlight which is always handy !

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At $25, it is an extremely cheap emergency charging option, and can also be plugged into a USB Car lighter adapter which is great for keeping it charged on the way to work or anywhere else.I have been using this thoroughly for around 2 weeks now, and the device still feels as good as it originally did, and I haven’t encountered any problems with it at all and would highly recommend this to anybody who uses their phone as much as I do, and constantly encounters problems with the capacity of modern day batteries !





Slickwraps iPhone 5 ‘The Case’

29 09 2013

http://www.slickwraps.com

So, thanks to the guys at Slickwraps I’ve had the opportunity to review their new ‘case’ for the iPhone 5. The guys over at Slickwraps have been making wraps for a barrel load of devices for quite some time to massive success, and this is their most recent wrap that incorporates a hard case as well.

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I’ve tried a lot of different wraps, with varying degrees of success, but this wrap has been by far the easiest to apply of the lot.

Over on the http://www.slickwraps.com website you get a personalised installation video tailored to your device, and in the pack you get an HD screen protector and a great quality microfiber cloth. The HD Screen protector is washable which is great if like me, your terrible at applying them ! This makes installation a lot easier, and personally I find a wet installation easiest with these.

The case obviously eliminates half of the wrap meaning you only need to wrap the front and minimal gaps on the front and side. My wrap was an orange carbon fibre effect which looked really great once the installation was complete. The only point I changed was the home button, as I feel the device looked better with this left off. This is also something that you can buy different variants of, with interchangeable home buttons available on the website. The feel of this is great, and feels stable and not flimsy, which is weird for a wrap, but it feels of a good quality. The colour is also very bright, and although this option won’t suit everybody, it will definitely stand out in comparison to most !

This has only been on for a few days now, so I’m not well placed to speak about its durability or how long it will last but it feels great so far and due to the exact specifications of the wrap and sizes it fits perfect meaning there is no overhang that has the opportunity to catch in your pocket or just from general usage. This was one of the biggest downfalls of all of the other wraps I’ve used, as well as feeling really thin and tacky which this does not.

The wraps also come in wood, leather, metal and glow effects with lots of different available options even including cork and a fantastic design your own case option, the iPhone 5 variants shown on the link below.

http://www.slickwraps.com/iPhone-5-Skins-s/359.html

Below are a number of pictures of the installation both pre and post. Slickwraps are available on their website www.slickwraps.com

Installation of these type of products is usually difficult but the wrap was extremely easy, and feels like it is built to last.

I would definitely recommend this for any number of devices, and will be purchasing another for my HTC One shortly.

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PS4, Sony’s way back to the top ? or is the Xbox One the way to go ?

22 06 2013

So, the PS3 wasn’t exactly a flop, but Sony certainly did not win the last generation of console wars. Previously the Playstation 2 and Playstation One had a big lead over most of their competitors with the PS2 being  a stable in most households.

PS4 vs Xbox One composite

The Playstation 4 is looking to regain the console crown, and when first released, was hyped as doing just that. With Microsofts stance on DRM ( Digital Rights Management ) Sony was flying in front in terms of pre-orders, but now that Microsoft has had a complete re-think in terms of DRM, will this hamper the PS4?

PlayStation 4 Dual Shock 4 controller

The answer is undoubtably yes, not a lot of people would pay extra money for the Xbox which retails more than the PS4, for a device they can not swap games with friends on, or trade in etc. But now with the massive stance change, a lot of people will be staying with their beloved Xbox.

This site gives a great comparison in terms of specs

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6972/xbox-one-hardware-compared-to-playstation-4

The specs are very close, with both devices running 1.8 GHz of processing power, but the PS4 does have a distinct advantage in terms of having 50% more CU’s(Compute Units) than the Xbox One meaning again the PS4 may have its head in front in the Graphics war, which to be fair it mostly always has had ..

Xbox-One-official-4-

Now, I’ve went from N64 to PS2 to Wii to PS3 to Xbox 360, so to be fair.. I’ve experienced a few different consoles, and to say I have a preference is null and void. I’ll be choosing my next console on a couple of different factors, Price, sheer power, and the quality of the games it will possess. The games for the PS3 were great, mines just reached the end of its lifespan, and the individual games for Xbox were also great .. but which one will have the next stand out ?

The Xbox has already shown games off like Metal Gear Solid, and Forza, with the PS4 showcasing The Order and Infamous amongst many others.

Both devices look like massive improvements on the current in terms of game performance, which ultimately is what most gamers are looking for. The additional features are features to seal the deal, but ask most gamers what they would prefer, great extra features or a good solid device and you will likely only get one answer.

My money isn’t down on any of the Devices yet, when Microsoft retracted the DRM policy to allow traded games etc, my money quickly came off of the PS4, and I shall await further revelations in the console battle !





No more games for Wii U says EA

23 05 2013

So, as the heat of the biggest console war of the last 10 years heats up ! The flame is slowly put out on the hopes of Nintendo.

The Wii U was never really built up by many gamers, but Nintendo placed a lot of hope of it saving there position in the console world, but instead.. has more or less sealed the end and saw them again receive the wooden spoon with Nintendo being about .5 million consoles behind where they had forecast to be by this point.

EA have announced that they will be making no new titles for the Wii U. Although this only 1 game maker, it is a pretty substantial blow for Nintendo. EA have made games like Need for Speed and Mass Effect for the Wii U, and many will be disappointed to see the company pull out of the console altogether !





Plague Inc App Review !

13 10 2012

Plague Inc is a great app available on Android and iOS.

Its 69p in ITunes and is strangely free on Android so if your on on Android, your in luck ! Says me after downloading it for my iPad then releasing it was free for my GNex later that day ..

The game is based around Wiping the world out by a range of different means.. bacteria, virus, nano-virus, fungi etc.

I’ve been stuck to it for more or less the past day, and its infuriatingly addictive.

You start of by choosing a country your looking to infect, you then gain DNA points throughout the course of the game by bursting bubbles as they appear, the same way you infect new countries. Using these DNA points you can choose to upgrade your Diseases Transmission, Symptoms or Abilities. Under Transmission you can upgrade things like making the disease airbourne, making it be carried be wildlife including rodents and birds and also through water or blood. Under symptoms, this is where the fun starts, you can choose what effects your disease will have, from a case of the runs or nausea to coma’s and tumours, this seems sick but it is great fun! Under the abilities section we get to give the disease a bacterial coat to help it defend itself in tough environments as well as making it better protected against drugs, the cold, the heat and also other countries efforts to eradicate it !

The above screenshot gives you an idea of what happens mid game, this shows Africa more or less infected and the buttons that pop up for you to infect other countries, as well as the general game UI.

Completing a level can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on how much your into it so it does definately give you great value for money if you do have to shell out the 69p! I’ve only completed a few of the levels and it certainly isn’t getting old anytime soon.

I’ve been reviewing and playing a lot of games recently on all of my devices ! For a while the Free’mium market was putting me off of mobile gaming altogether but with some great recent purchases my faith has been restored and this has definately been one of them .. although the option is there to advance to the next level with paid content, the option doesn’t ruin the game or give you a massive unplayable advantage against anyone else.

If your inner Science geek is itching to come out, get this game. The diseases act very true to life, if you infect a poorer country you have to expect the disease will be best spread by insects, poor hygiene and blood where as in richer countries this wouldnt be the case so you have to adopt different methods for different places.. as well as certain symptoms effecting certain people more like pneumonia and coughing and sneezing. The makers of this game deserve massive praise as this is sure to give me endless more hours playing time !

 





Bad Piggies !! App Review

7 10 2012

Rovio might not be a big name to some .. but when you say Angry Birds, everybody knows what your talking about !

Angry Birds to date, has brought in a horrendous amount of money from the games, the sequels and now the abundance of products with Rovio clearly doing a ‘George Lucas’ .. if a birds face can be on something, then do it !

I’m a massive fan of the games and have enjoyed the original, sequel and space versions with some purists prefering the original experience alone .. I think they are missing out on some great games.

The newest installment of Rovio’s world domination is called ‘Bad Piggies’ and focusses on the green pigs introduced in the first line of games.

Each level of the game involves you being given a number of different items, and making a contraption that will take you to the end of the level, these involve wheels, rockets, propellers and bottles of fizzy juice !
I think this idea is great, they aren’t just making another rip off of Angry Birds.. its a completely different game.

This game is a breath of fresh air as far as im concerned to a franchise that could have potentially started to fall down in the opinions of many with a lot of similar game releases one after the other.

I’ve been playing this game for a few days now and im not even a quarter of the way in, so it does provide a pretty decent challenge to most. Bad Piggies has also sadly caved into the pressure of additional in game content, this means that whilst in the game you can buy some in game credits to which the pig-like Adrian Newey builds you a contraption worthy of beating all others and completing the level. This doesn’t guarantee the level to be completed but does give you a a massive push in the right direction.

I’d highly recommend this game to anybody, its less than £1 on Android and iOS and if you have played any of Rovio’s other games, you will know that for that £1 your getting a lot of hours of addictive fun.








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