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7 quick play video games you should try now

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Video games can be great for dramatic storytelling and immersive hours-long experiences. But there are days when you just don’t have the time or the mental bandwidth to dig into a long RPG or gigantic open-world action adventure.

Sometimes, you just want to take off your thinking cap, rely on your lizard brain, pick up and play a game for 15 to 30 minutes, and have fun. Here are seven of the latest video games that let you do just that.

Puyo Puyo Tetris (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4)

It’s two classic puzzle games combined into one cute, clever, and colorful package! Match four of the same shaded blobs to pop them, as you do in Puyo Puyo. Place tetriminoes to fill out horizontal spaces and clear lines, as you do in Tetris. Play against AI or another human opponent. Multiple game modes allow you to choose one gameplay style or juggle both tasks for mind-bending chaotic fun. Throw in power-ups to mess with your opponents for more heated yet good-natured competition.

Injustice 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Android)

Just saw Wonder Woman and feel the urge to fight as the powerful Amazon princess? Play as her or any of the other iconic DC heroes and villains in this super-sized, spectacular fighting game from the Mortal Kombat creators (kreators?). Clash and smash through destructible environments as Batman, Superman, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and even Sub-Zero of MK fame. The new Gear System lets you customize your fighter in all sorts of souped-up combinations. Stick around for the story mode, too!

Dead Cells (Microsoft Windows)

Mix the upgrade system and difficulty of Dark Souls with the 2D platforming and level progression of Metroid into a randomized action dungeon crawler, and you get the superb Dead Cells. Hack and slash enemies with all kinds of crazy weapons like auto-targeting lightning whips and deployable buzzsaws and machine gun turrets. Blow up bosses with an assortment of magic spells. The fun is in improvising, since after getting the equipment blueprints and learning the skills, you won’t know exactly what weapons and powers you’ll have until you start a run.

Strafe (PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, macOS)

Miss the guns-blazing action of classic first-person shooters like Doom and Quake? Strafe can give you that old adrenaline fix you’ve been craving. Mow down waves of monsters with outrageous firearms in randomly generated labyrinthine levels. And as the title implies, you need to be moving left and right constantly to survive the onslaught. Relive 90s PC gaming and all its gory, polygonal glory in bite-sized chunks.

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows)

There’s a lot of things to get lost in when you play The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but the biggest time sink for many fans has to be the in-universe card game Gwent. With its surface-level simplicity hiding complex systems underneath, it’s no surprise that it got turned into a standalone video game. Like other collectible card games, you build a deck to engage in tactical turn-based battles with other players. It’s free-to-play and in open beta right now, with a full-featured story mode promised for the 1.0 release.

Flinthook (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows. macOS)

Plunder the ill-gotten gains of space pirates in Flinthook. It’s a cartoony 2D action platformer where you swing into action with your trusty grappling hook. Weave your way through ever-changing pirate ships, dodging and dispatching goons in slow motion, so you can unlock treasure chests and new abilities. You’ll have to pick what skills you can use for every marauding mission, so choose wisely, especially when you take on the buccaneer bosses. Looting booty in bursts is fun in Flinthook!

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Microsoft Windows)

Put your survival skills to the ultimate test in this Battle Royale-inspired massive multiplayer online shooter. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds packs 100 or so players into a plane and forces them to parachute onto a sprawling island littered with deadly weaponry and janky vehicles. The goal? Be the last person or team standing by any means necessary. The twist? A blue laser wall of death gradually constricts the play area, killing anyone who remains outside it. With regular airstrikes, loot drops, and randomized gear placement on the island, the unpredictability and forced engagements make for the tensest moments and the wildest stories.

SEE ALSO: 5 of the Best Free-to-Play Console Games

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Best Smartphones

Best Midrange Smartphones from $200 to $400

December 2019 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 200 to US$ 400.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Realme XT (US$ 333)

The Realme XT is our choice for best smartphone with a 64MP camera. This smartphone produces flagship-level photos.

REVIEW: Realme XT

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE (US$ 300)

Xiaomi has always been a part of the list and the Mi 9 SE truly deserves its spot. It’s a flagship-grade phone from its design to its specs. It’s dubbed as a “compact flagship” thanks to its smaller-than-usual form factor. If you’re looking for a phone that won’t hurt your pockets both in size and price, check out the Mi 9 SE.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

Realme 5 Pro (US$ 232)

A quadruple-camera setup at this price point seems unlikely but Realme made it happen. And it’s not just the setup, the lenses actually take photos with good image quality. That would have been enough to recommend this but it also has a Snapdragon 712 AIE chip with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. If you’re looking for a great deal, this is it.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5 Pro

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 (US$ 245)

While not as affordable as its predecessor, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 still does several things most phones can’t even dream of at this price point. We get an upper-midrange chip, large 5000mAh battery, versatile cameras, and a pure take on Android.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2

Huawei Nova 5T (US$ 367)

Huawei managed to put a flagship-level chip with a glass back and with triple cameras on a midrange phone. These are things you expect from brands like Xiaomi but Huawei was able to pull it off as well.

READ: Huawei Nova 5T

Samsung Galaxy A50s (US$ 345)

Samsung’s pivot to the A series has been fantastic and the Galaxy A50s is another proof of that. It’s a refinement of everything that was good with the Galaxy A50. If you’re a die-hard Samsung fan looking for a midrange phone, the Galaxy A50s is a solid option.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A50s

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

December 2019 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order:

Redmi Note 8 (US$ 155)

The Redmi Note 8 is proof that you can put quality cameras on a budget smartphone. It has a 48MP main shooter which is what you’ll find on most flagships and midrangers. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC, it should also have no trouble handling basic gaming and other tasks you do on your phone.

READ: Redmi Note 8

ASUS ZenFone Max M2 (US$ 175)

We were disappointed to find out that the ZenFone Max Pro M2 went above the US$ 200 mark, but we still have the non-Pro Max M2 to buy at this price point. Fortunately, the fast Snapdragon 632 processor, large 4000mAh battery, and dual rear cameras remain.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone Max M2

OPPO A5s (US$ 117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

Realme 5 (US$ 154)

Realme is giving Xiaomi a run for its money on our top-of-mind easy phones to recommend. The Realme 5 is a real treat for people looking for a budget smartphone that provides more than what they need.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5

Samsung Galaxy A20 (US$ 190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20

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Best Smartphones

Best Upper-Midrange Smartphones from $400 to $600

December 2019 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best upper-midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 400 to US$ 600.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Redmi K20 Pro (US$ 364)

With the future of Pocophone up in the air, the Redmi K20 Pro fills the category that the sub-brand created for itself. On paper, it’s equipped with flagship specs but without the price tag usually associated with top of the line smartphones.

READ: Redmi K20 Pro

Realme X2 Pro (CNY 3299)

The Realme X2 Pro has flagship killer written all over it. Equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ and a 64MP camera sensor along with three other cameras, this phone promises to be a powerhouse with a price tag that doesn’t require sacrificing any of your internal organs.

HANDS-ON: Realme X2 Pro

Google Pixel 3a (US$ 399)

Years after the death of the Nexus line, Google has finally unleashed a more affordable Pixel phone that still has the same great set of cameras. While the body is now plastic and the processor isn’t as fast, the Pixel 3a still runs circles around the competition at this price point.

REVIEW: Google Pixel 3a

Xiaomi Mi 9 (EUR 449)

Xiaomi once again brings the latest and fastest processor available to the midrange segment. That’s right: The Mi 9 has the Snapdragon 855 chipset, and it doesn’t cost a fortune. Not only that, Xiaomi’s flagship also has speedy wireless charging and class-leading cameras.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi 9

OnePlus 7T (US$ 599)

When the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro came out, the company wanted to clearly communicate that they’re competing in the premium space. Fast forward to the OnePlus 7T and it looks like they are back to their flagship killing ways offering premium-level specs at a price lower than most top-of-the-line flagships.

UNBOXING & HANDS-ON: OnePlus 7

ASUS ZenFone 6 (EUR 499)

ASUS wowed us with the ZenFone 6 and its new Flip Camera. The unique mechanism of the phone’s camera not only allows a notch-free display, but it also lets users take incredible selfies using the primary shooters. Also, ASUS has blessed its new smartphone with the latest specs possible at a competitive price point.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone 6

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