Features

5 must-have Nintendo Switch games that aren’t Zelda

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When the Nintendo Switch launched, one game dominated all conversation: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The highly anticipated flagship title captured hearts everywhere with its “open-air” freedom and ability to approach situations from any angle imaginable. Gamers were transported back to their school days of sharing secrets and trading stories on the playground — “You did what to kill what?” and “I didn’t know you could use that to do that!”

But that was well over a month ago, and if you got the Breath of the Wild then, your time in Zelda’s fantasy world of Hyrule is probably winding down. Or maybe you’d like to put off beating Ganon and see what else the Switch has to offer. Luckily, the system has plenty of games to complement one of the greatest ever made.

Snipperclips

We included Snipperclips in our list of the best games of 2017 so far, and for good reason. The Switch exclusive is the other killer app of the launch lineup, and is able to provoke shouts of annoyance and delight in equal measure. You play as two pieces of paper that can cut each other into any shape to solve different puzzle types. The closest game to Snipperclips is Crayon Physics or Scribblenauts in the amount of leeway in solutions that it affords the players.

Snipperclips is ideal for two, and is the showcase for the Switch’s built-in multiplayer — even Snip and Clip, the player characters, evoke the shape of the Joy-Con controllers themselves. Because the game comprises a series of brainteasers, casual and even non-gamers can join the fun. Early on, the solutions to the puzzles were fairly one-note, although this could be indicative of our lack of creativity. Our solutions usually involved variations of turning each other into bowls or combining ourselves into one big bowl (see the screenshot above). But eventually, the game opens up with variety; you and your partner must use your lateral thinking abilities to the utmost. If you always have a ready Player 2, Snipperclips is essential for your Nintendo Switch library.

Fast RMX

Consoles have typically launched with a racing game that pushes the hardware; Fast RMX — a futuristic arcade racer like F-Zero or Wipeout — fits the bill for the Switch. Digital Foundry has called the Switch exclusive “perhaps the most beautiful portable game ever,” and it’s easy to see why. Fast RMX has twelve racing machines blitzing along at hundreds of kilometers per hour on tracks with tornadoes and thunderstorms. The visuals work in concert with the sound design and HD rumble (you can feel those tornadoes vibrating in a circle in your hands) for a multisensory spectacle.

The game is a technical marvel. In handheld mode, Fast RMX runs at the Switch’s native resolution (720p) at 60 frames per second. When docked, the game runs at a dynamic resolution (but mostly 1080p), still at 60 frames per second. Even more impressively, these specs are maintained when played in splitscreen two-player and even four-player modes, which is just sheer technological wizardry. If you’re going to buy one game from this list, get Fast RMX. Its full-fledged single- and (online!) multiplayer modes, with time attack in a future patch, provide almost infinite replay value. Not bad for something developed by five people.

Graceful Explosion Machine

Shoot-em-ups are perfect games to be entranced by, and Graceful Explosion Machine is a beautiful and engaging exemplar of the genre. A timed exclusive for Switch, the game is a side-scrolling shooter where you pilot a spaceship through four planets to get home — these aren’t games that you play for the story, but for the mechanics. And Graceful Explosion Machine delivers the mechanics in spades. It kits you out with all the gear at the start: a basic gun, a melee energy sword, screen-clearing homing missiles, and a long-distance Kamehameha-like blast. Then, the game leaves you to figure out how to chain together explosions with grace and efficiency.

The result is a score attack game as good as Geometry Wars and Resogun. The frantic, in-the-zone chase after the combo multiplier, as well the drive to be stylish in weapon use, is reminiscent of Bayonetta or any of Platinum’s masterpieces. It helps that Graceful Explosion Machine’s art direction is clean and easy to parse no matter how hectic the chaos becomes; HD rumble also provides a unique feel for each weapon. A ranking system (that peaks at S+ for a perfect run — no hits and an unbroken multiplier) plus global leaderboards round out the package. Earning an S+ and seeing that you’re only 27th in the world keeps you coming back for more.

Snake Pass

Snake Pass is a mascot platformer with a mascot who can’t jump. A 3D collectathon to rival Yooka-Laylee, Snake Pass puts all of its challenge in what is usually the most intuitive part of platformers: moving the player character. Every minute detail of controlling Noodle the snake’s movement is in your control, from the orientation of his head to whether he’s gripping a surface. It’s a puzzle platformer where your body is the puzzle — Banjo Kazooie and Captain Toad meet QWOP and Octodad.

The Dark Souls of snake-based games, Snake Pass is equal to From Software’s skill-based series in providing both frustration and relaxation. But once you get past this high initial learning curve — it’s a bit like driving a weird, heavy, ropey car — the game becomes more deliberate, and is a matter of planning where you want to slither next. Noodle’s ridiculous contortions are greatly enhanced by the game’s production values, which show the effectiveness of Unreal Engine 4 in rendering cartoon visuals (and the ease with which the Switch supports an off-the-shelf engine). A soundtrack by David Wise of Rare fame transports you to the Nintendo 64 era, when you played these games for the sheer fun that they entailed.

Lego City Undercover

The only non-indie on this list, Lego City Undercover is the best the Lego series has to offer. While other Lego games practically required you to be familiar with the fandoms they spoofed, Lego City Undercover shines on its own merits with an original story that stars supercop Chase McCain as he infiltrates the criminal underworld of the titular Lego City. The game is a Grand Theft Auto that, as trite as the phrase may be, truly is fun for the whole family. Its pop culture references range from Columbo to The Shawshank Redemption to, of course, The Matrix. Dad jokes abound.

Originally a Wii U exclusive, Lego City Undercover returns on the Switch with a bevy of improvements that include a 1080p presentation when docked, vastly improved lighting, and — perhaps most important of all for a Lego game — local co-op. You will need an extra pair of Joy-Con or a Pro Controller to get in on the two-player action, though. The open world of Lego City is nowhere near the breadth of that of Breath of the Wild, but sometimes it’s just comforting to play a game that tells you what to do. Best of all, the Switch’s portability makes Lego City Undercover the most complete handheld Lego game to date, and allows you to snap up the game’s hundreds and hundreds of collectibles wherever you are.

SEE ALSO: Demon’s Souls to Dark Souls III: Ranking the Series

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Hands-On

Dyson Airwrap hair tutorial and real-life hold test

Is it hard to use? Does it really work?

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The Dyson Airwrap, ever since its announcement, has been the stuff of hairstyle dreams and legends. The high-tech curling iron revolutionizes the way we do our hair!

But, does it really work? Can a normal girl like myself actually get her hair to look as fab with this new-fangled hair gadget? I put it to the test.

In the video above, you see me doing my hair and the final looks. I try a total of two styles — curly and straight — and take my ‘do out and about to see if my hair would hold. And yes folks, this was only the second time I used the Airwrap on myself, ever.

The results impressed!

If you’re having trouble viewing this video, click HERE to watch

Stay tuned for the full review of the Dyson Airwrap on Her GadgetMatch. For similar topics and features, visit the website here.

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Deals

Plan for Black Friday early with these amazing deals

It’s time to ready your shopping list and wallet

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We’re midway through November already, inching towards Thanksgiving and one of the most awaited dates for shopping — Black Friday. To help you get yourself and your wallet ready, we scoured through the internet to find some of the best tech deals that’ll be popping up next week. Here are some offers that you might want to take advantage of on November 23rd.

17.3-inch ASUS TUF gaming laptop (US$ 999)

This ASUS Gaming Laptop will be going down by US$ 400, so if you’ve been wanting a gaming laptop, this might be the time to cop one. And if you have a more limited budget, you could also check out the HP Pavilion CX0056WM Gaming Laptop for  under US$ 600 with over US$ 100 worth of extra gaming software at Walmart.

HyperDrive USB Type-C Hub for MacBooks (US$ 69.99)

This would make a perfect gift for that person you know who lives the #donglelife. Check out the deal at Best Buy.

Sony PS4 1TB Slim Spider‑Man Bundle (US$ 199) and Xbox One S 1TB Minecraft Creators Bundle (US$ 299)

The best console deals come out this time of year, and next week, both the Spider-Man PlayStation 4 bundle and the Minecraft Creators Xbox One S bundle will be up for grabs!

Nintendo Switch Super Mario Kart Deluxe Bundle (US$ 299)

Another console being featured this Black Friday is the Nintendo Switch. Why not get the Switch with an amazing party game for your holiday gatherings? You can check the deal out at Best Buy or Walmart.

Pac-Man or Galaga Retro Arcade Machine (US$ 249)

For retro gamers or those who want to reminisce about the arcade days, this would definitely be a great item to pick up. Check it out at Target.

Amazon Echo Dot (Gen 3) (US$ 25) and Google Home Mini (US$ 25)

Get in the smart home/speaker game with the Amazon Echo Dot at half the price! You can also go with the Google Home Mini, if Alexa’s not your jam.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (128GB) with keyboard (US$ 599)

Why not get a powerful and portable device? The Surface Pro 6 will be US$ 360 cheaper on Friday, and it might be a good time to pick it up. The deal will be available at Best Buy.

65-inch 4K Smart Roku TV (US$ 398) and 40-inch Hisense 1080p TV (US$ 99)

This Walmart deal is probably one of the best TV deals we’ve ever seen. But if 65 inches is too big or you have a more limited budget, there’s also a 40-inch option that’s an incredible deal, as well.

Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones (US$ 99)

It might be a great chance to pick up a pair of wireless buds from one of the best audio companies out there for under US$ 100. If that’s still a bit too steep though, the Skullcandy Method Wireless Earbuds will also be available at Best Buy for US$ 25, and they’re good quality too.

Anki’s Cozmo (US$ 139.99) and Vector (US$ 199.99) Robots

Anki has been making their rounds on the internet with these two adorable little robots. They would make for a great gift for children and adults alike, and will be marked down at Best Buy this Thanksgiving weekend.

There you have it! Just a few sneaky bits we found ahead of all the ads. We’re sure there’ll be loads more amazing stuff to check out, but this is a good place to start. We hope you enjoy your holidays, and be careful if you’re planning to face the Black Friday mobs. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Features

Huawei, ZTE face ban amid 5G arms race: Weekend Rewind

It’s a security issue

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. Huawei and ZTE facing more potential bans

Huawei and ZTE have had a relatively hard time breaking through the US and it looks like they’ll face similar problems in other countries. While the US has allowed both Chinese companies to operate in their soil, the likes of Australia, Japan, the UK, and Germany aren’t exactly eager to welcome these two.

The cause for concern is China’s newly implemented National Intelligence Law. This law forces Chinese companies and individuals to serve the Chinese government when needed. Other countries fear this could compromise security.

Huawei and ZTE are gearing up towards 5G but with this current development, it looks like they’ll need to look elsewhere to establish their infrastructure.

2. PLDT, Smart activates first 5G towers in PH

Speaking of 5G, the Philippines isn’t one of the countries that’s blocking China. In fact, the government may be too welcoming. Partnering with Huawei and Ericsson, telecommunications company PLDT along with its wireless arm Smart has activated two 5G cell sites in the country.

The first one is located in Makati City where the company’s headquarters is also found. The other is in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, a neighboring region of Metro Manila.

3. MediaTek gearing up for 5G

Still on 5G, MediaTek is already hard at work in developing its 5G-capable chip. In a media tour in Taiwan, the company showcased the Helio M70 which does just that.

MediaTek says commercial rollout won’t happen until 2020 but they’re already prepared to showcase the chip at the next MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona, Spain.

 

Image source: LetsGoDigital

4. Apple patents holed iPhone design

Is Apple killing the notch? That appears to be the case if the latest patent they filed is any indication. LetsGoDigital reported that Apple is planning a holed smartphone.

According to the patent, the front-facing camera could be hidden underneath the screen through that hole. Whether or not this will be the case for the next iPhone remains to be seen. We all just have to wait and see.

5. PlayStation to skip E3 2019

PlayStation won’t be present when annual gaming convention E3 comes around in 2019. This marks the first time in the show’s 24-year history that Sony won’t be present.

In a statement sent to multiple outlets, Sony said, “As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently, and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in E3 in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you

It’s all very vague at this point but the company could be all hands on deck for an even more major reveal *cough* PlayStation 5 *cough* and they want the attention all to themselves instead of sharing it with other platforms.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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