Apps

10 offline free-to-play mobile games

Lockdown games to play!

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It’s the perfect time to disconnect. Maybe it isn’t because you want to; maybe it’s having an unreliable connection, hiding from work-from-home tasks, or you’re just about done with the internet for a while. Whatever it is, we all need a little dissociation from the hell the world has recently let loose.

Here are 10 free-to-play mobile games to hopefully help you get through this rough patch.

Cover Fire

Get it on Android and iOS

In Cover Fire, you lead a squad through sieged cities, deserts, and fields. You get prompted missions and encounter (surprise, surprise) enemies. Fundamental mechanics are to cover and fire which earns this game a slow clap for making it the name of the game. See what I did there. The game manages to maintain simple mechanics and controls while keeping some of the fun from playing an online FPS (first-person shooter). For people who like playing Call of Duty Mobile but don’t have a stable connection, fear not! This is a really good game that scratches the itch. 

Adorable Home

Get it on Android and iOS

Adorable Home is a cute passive simulation mobile game developed by HyperBeard. The game seems to be a tip of the hat to Neko Atsume by Hit-Point Co., Ltd. with cats being the surrounding theme. Adorable Home lives up to its name quite literally with cute creatures visiting your lovely home at random hours of the day; bento boxes for your partner prepped and ready, and of course, your lovely cats! You can decorate your home, prep bento boxes, and play with your cats. Enjoy the calm and passive play.

Dadish

Get it on Android and iOS

Dadish is a dad and a radish. His kids have gone missing from his vegetable patch and he’s off to rescue them. You’ll be exploring a quirky world while facing off fast-food foes on your way. This mobile platformer is heavy on the nostalgia with it’s charming pixel design and snarky humor. But out of everything, you’ll be humming away with arguably one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard from a mobile game. Don’t let that fool you though. Stages can get tough to go through which makes this a potentially good mobile game to add for speed runs.

Tsuki Adventure

Get it on Android and iOS

Ever dreamed of settling down to the countryside? Well, you’re in luck. Tsuki Adventure is a relaxing, story-based game filled with charming and adorable animals.  You can check in on Tsuki throughout the day, collect and harvest items, and visit locations around the country. This game has stunning design and you’ll need to see it to believe it. The game is charming in how laid back it is while maintaining a good amount of interaction. The one thing that makes this game strikingly good is its storytelling. Every moment in this game is beautiful: from the stunning view, to the stories behind each new friend.

Hungry Hearts Diner

Get it on Android and iOS 

This game will steal your heart away. If you’re looking for another Diner Dash game on mobile, you’ll like this one — but not for the reasons you’ll expect. Hungry Hearts Diner: A Tale of Star-Crossed Souls is such a wonderfully gentle game of a grandmother who keeps cooking for the people who come to her restaurant. You can talk to your customers and have a deeper connection with each customer as they drop by. The soundtrack against the stunning graphics makes this game lovely. You should really give it a go.

Kingdom Rush

Get it on Android and iOS

Kingdom Rush is a tower defense game developed by Ironhide Game Studio and published by Armor Games. I know this is me being obscenely late to the party, this was first released as a free flash browser game in 2011. The game has since been adapted for both mobile and Steam and has various iterations available. I’ll be straight with you, I’m not a fan of tower defesce games. But there’s something extremely compelling about Kingdom Rush, whether it’s cute art, the Candy Crush style story mode or just the mass of enemies that want to murder you. Either way, I almost didn’t finish this article from playing this game too much.

My Home — Design Dreams

Get it on Android and iOS

My Home — Design Dreams is a design simulation game with a twist of a match-three puzzle game. From a flat to a mansion, you can design and decorate everything the way you want. Since staying indoors and needing to reduce all human contact, I was weirdly in the mood for some interior designing. Since that’s impossible to currently achieve. I gave this one a go. It’s a really good game that incentivizes the its match-three puzzle mechanics. If you’re into designing your own home, you’ll have fun playing this one.

Cat Bird

Get it on Android and iOS

If you want a game that’s adorably challenging, I might have the game for you: Cat Bird. It’s a title developed by Rayumi Adventure, an independent studio headed by Ryan Carag. If you like pixel art, you might want to check other titles from the same studio because they’ve developed similarly designed games. This game is fun, adorable, and strangely unsettling when you find out in my review what I sat through.

Fallout Shelter

Get it on Android and iOS

It’s been out for years and, it’s here for a reason. We can’t just drop the classics on this list. Fallout Shelter is a free-to-play game that let’s you control and build your very own underground vault. It let’s you oversee a thriving community, building it one room at a time. You can explore the wasteland beyond your vault, and protect your inhabitants from incoming dangers from both outside and in. This is the kind of game that you’ll keep coming back to, probably because you’ve just remembered your starving inhabitants. Good for fans of the Fallout series, or if you’re yearning to build your own colony of vault dwellers.

Magic Tiles 3

Get it on Android and iOS 

It wouldn’t be fair to drop the classics on this list. If you were playing Tap Tap Revenge when it was released around the early 2000s, Magic Tiles 3 isn’t a far cry. Magic Tiles 3 is a popular piano game that has you tap on black tiles before they reach the bottom of the screen. The game will seem simple at first but, once you get into the groove, it’ll get addictively difficult. Magic Tiles 3 has various quests that let you unlock more songs to try out and play. It even has a battle mode to compete against your friends and other players when you’re online. If you can, download as many songs as you can when you can.

I tried to add as many offline free-to-play mobile games under different genres as I could. Hopefully, you get to find the game to fill your time with something fun on this list. Not everyone has access to stable and reliable connection. Even then, not everyone wants to stay taped to the internet day in and out. So, if you have a good offline free-to-play mobile game to add, let us know!

Apps

TikTok, Reels clone YouTube Shorts launches in the US

Everyone wants a piece of the pie

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shorts

YouTube unveiled its short-video-making tool called Shorts last year, but it was in beta and limited to India. Shorts is now available to all creators in the US after testing them with select creators.

The initial release was quite hasty as it was supposed to bridge the vacuum left by TikTok’s ban in India. However, Instagram was much faster and well prepared to take on the challenge, dominating the turf over many local apps like Chingari, Roposo, and MX TakaTak.

YouTube is also adding a dedicated space in the bottom tab by replacing the explore button. In India, YouTube Shorts has a dedicated space on the top bar of the app. YouTube also displays Shorts in the home feed of the app after around 2-3 videos.

The goal is to incorporate a short video format in the existing app. While watching a “short”, users can tap on the music option to hear the full song via YouTube. Soon, the feature also will work the other way: From a YouTube music video, you will be able to click a “create” button right from the video to make your own Short.

Shorts will expand

The video platform’s music team has signed licensing agreements to use snippets of millions of songs from over 250 labels and publishers. It plans to expand Shorts to more markets later this year but it hasn’t specified which ones.

Ahead of the US launch, a bunch of new features has been added as well. There’s now an option to record 60-second clips in addition to the 15-second option. But users will not be able to add music from the YouTube library to 60-second Shorts. There are also new filters and effects in the YouTube Shorts camera.

In its most recent earnings report, YouTube confirmed that Shorts were generating 6.5 billion daily views, a substantial uptick over the 3.5 billion daily views that the feature was generating in late January.

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After years of settling, Twitter is finally waking up to new features

There’s so many of them in 2021

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Twitter has been around for a long time, and it has changed a lot since its debut. The micro-blogging platform was infamous for its 140 character limit, an intentional limitation that ensured everything on the site is short, crisp, and to the point. It’s no surprise that Twitter became the go-to website for news, independent alerts, and much more within no time.

Although, if you’ve been a Twitter user for a decade, you’ll know that the platform hasn’t changed much in all these years. Twitter did increase the length limit to 280 characters in 2017, but it had little change in the overall behavior of users. Twitter was always an easy-to-use “blog,” and it was happy being in its little inconquerable bubble.

Things are changing fast this year as Twitter aggressively adds new features and intends to open a subscription model soon. Obviously, there won’t be any change in the way we tweet or interact, but the number of features we have will surely increase. The platform is still silent about the most asked feature — the edit button on tweets. But rest assured, the classic Twitter experience isn’t going away anytime soon.


In fact, it’s going to get a lot more interesting as the platform now supports Spaces, a feature that allows users to join virtual rooms where they can engage in real-time audio conversations with others. Instead of typing, why not just talk candidly to all your followers?

Twitter began working on the audio-chat feature in November 2020, and it was available for beta and alpha users a few months ago. It’s now ready for public use, and any user with more than 600 followers can create a room and start talking. Audio-only features are the trend, and every company, including Facebook and Spotify, is doubling down on it.

Twitter has also confirmed that it is working on an upcoming feature called “Ticket Spaces.” This feature will allow users to create Spaces that require others to purchase a ticket to join. The platform has never been so keen on monetization, but the shift in strategy is clearly visible. Hosts will earn the majority of revenue from ticket sales, while Twitter will pocket a small fee.


In January 2021, Twitter discreetly acquired Revue, a Dutch startup that allows users to publish and monetize email newsletters. Just like SubStack, Revue lets you create your own newsletter and monetize it. However, what’s special here is, the newsletter is now integrated within Twitter. So, it makes it easier to persuade your existing followers to subscribe, helping you directly monetize your reach on Twitter.

The feature is already available on Twitter’s web app. Many say that a newsletter doesn’t work in Twitter’s favor, but the company tends to disagree.

“Many established writers and publishers have built their brand on Twitter, amassing an audience that’s hungry for the next article or perspective they Tweet. Our goal is to make it easy for them to connect with their subscribers while also helping readers better discover writers and their content. We’re imagining many ways to do this, from allowing people to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter to new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers. It will all work seamlessly,” said Kayvon, Product Lead at Twitter.


New functionality isn’t the only thing that’s keeping the engineers busy. The platform has always attracted controversy due to moderation, troll attacks, and indecent behavior. Thousands of accounts are removed every week to ensure community guidelines are followed to maintain a safe space for everyone.

In 2020, the company began testing a new safety mechanism that prompts users to reconsider before they reply to a tweet using “harmful” language.

If a user types out a reply with any of the language that the company has deemed harmful, they’ll see a warning message asking, “Want to review this before tweeting? We’re asking people to review replies with potentially harmful or offensive language.”

While this may not seem like much, previous reports have shown that these minor design-based hurdles help curb negativity. Based on trials, Twitter said that 34 percent of people revised their initial reply after seeing the prompt or chose not to send the reply at all.


Lastly, Twitter has changed the way its algorithm crops a picture to show it on the timeline. Now, when users tweet a photo uploaded with their iOS or Android device, it will appear in the timeline in its entirety. There’ll be no cropping, so you won’t be forced to open the picture and see all the details.

Earlier, the algorithm would determine the most sensible part of the picture, crop it, and show a preview on the feed. This prompted many to share memes that could be completely seen only when the picture is opened. Else, it could look context-free and random. While most users are cheering the minor change, many feel that the surprise element behind seeing a photo is now gone. Fair to say, it’s going to be impossible to please everyone!

Though, we’d really appreciate it if Twitter could give us an edit button as well.

Read Also: Twitter acquires ad-removing news app Scroll

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Apple Music could soon support HiFi audio streaming

Launch alongside the AirPods 3?

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Apple One

Apple is primarily a hardware company, and a majority of its revenue comes from iPhones. However, it has actively diversified and monetized services like Apple Music. Taking a step forward, the company could soon unveil HiFi music playback on the streaming service, directly going up against niche players like Tidal.

According to Hits Daily Double, Apple Music will soon get a new tier that’ll provide higher-quality output. Interestingly, it’ll be available for just US$ 9.99, far affordable than the competition. However, this is still a rumor and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Many other streaming companies offer HiFi music streaming, and recently, Spotify also announced its plans to provide better streaming quality. It’s not clear which markets will be among the first to get HiFi playback.

Apple Music streaming quality currently tops out at 256kbps AAC, and while that’s very crisp and clear, it’s still compressed. On the other hand, a studio-quality CD has an audio output equivalent of 9,216kbps. The difference in quality isn’t easily differentiable via an ordinary earphone and headphone, though. Audiophiles use high-end equipment that isn’t required if you’re just an average Joe wanting to listen to Taylor Swift.

The source also speculates that Apple will unveil the AirPods 3 alongside the HiFi announcement. Although, trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had gauged a launch in Q3 of 2021.

It’s also worth noting that Apple Music getting Hi-Res audio playback is practically useless because the iPhone doesn’t have a DAC (digital to analog converter), which plays a critical role in sending accurate signals to the audio device.

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