Apps

Cat Bird: A cute and fun mobile platformer

It’s cute and all until…

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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.

About a cat that can fly

If you Google “catbird,” you’re up for a surprise: The game isn’t about the actual bird (yes, there’s an actual bird of the same name). We can pretty much appreciate the English language and how a space can alter compound words.

Anyway, Cat Bird is a mobile platformer where you have to get through enemies, falling spikes, and various obstacles. You play as Cat Bird, a white kitten with wings, who is lost and is finding its way home. Your task is to navigate your way back. Simple? You’d think so.

Charming design

When you first install the game, you’ll notice the adorable pixel design, charming music, and polished user interface. I’ll admit: The game has a lovely soundtrack that matches its cute design. When it comes to user interface, Cat Bird walks you through the basics. The controls are on the bottom of your screen. On the bottom right of the game is your jump control and on the bottom left, the forward and back controls.

It’s cute and all until…

… you realize you’re terrible at timing! It doesn’t help when you’re playing an adorable character that dies every time you don’t get it right. You’ll have to watch your death count go up a few digits and live with yourself seeing an adorable mythical animal die. Case in point: I’ve unconsciously learned to apologize out loud when Cat Bird dies.

More crowns, more bragging rights

Platformers are more than just getting from point A to point B. If you’re a messed-up completionist like I am, you’ll want to collect every item or earn every achievement that exists in the game. For Cat Bird, you’ve got crowns purposefully placed in the toughest places. The crowns are even sometimes hidden. Finishing the game may be fun, but being able to collect all crowns gives you bragging rights.

Makes me miss buttons

Surprise, surprise. I come up with a strange and ominous excuse as to why I cannot stop dying: buttons. Of course, Leez, buttons! I can’t help but miss the feeling of clicking buttons when playing this game. I play platformers with a controller and playing it on my phone feels like the first time I moved from phones with buttons to a touchscreen smartphone.

Am I making excuses for writing this section? Hell yes. Petty? Pretty much. Can we just toss my irrational defensiveness to the upsetting reality that I can’t keep watching this poor thing die over and over?

At least you get checkpoints

You re-spawn from the very beginning of every stage. You don’t get to save your progress anywhere. When I say it hurts to watch Cat Bird die again and again, it’s mostly because once I get pretty far into the obstacles, I slip up, die, and have to do it all over again. Luckily, some stages have checkpoints that show up as cute little flags so when you die after reaching them, you re-spawn there, instead.

Should you be playing Cat Bird?

Looking for a nice mobile game that’s free-to-play and offline is a bit of a challenge — let alone finding one that’s of great quality. Although most games settle to be either offline or free-to-play, Cat Bird is both. If you miss more familiar platformers like Mario, Sonic, and Crash Bandicoot, definitely give this game a try.

This might be the game to take you back to the more familiar or nostalgic platformers. It may get challenging but that adds to the appeal of playing it. Trust me, I’ve almost completed the game despite sitting through so many deaths.

Cat Bird is available on iOS and Android for free.

SEE ALSO: Florence: Half-baked beautiful game about first loves?

Apps

Google’s Locked Folder can protect your NSFW photos

Protect everything with a password

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Where do you keep your secret photos? Though there are several options for users, the usual storage suspects don’t have the most robust protection against prying eyes. Google, after a Pixel-exclusive phase, is rolling out a password-protected folder feature for all Android users of Google Photos.

The feature will separate selected photos from the main library. Users can then put them inside a password-protected folder. They can also protect against invaders using a fingerprint. When protected, the selected photos won’t show up when scrolling anymore.

Users can toggle the feature on by going into the Locked Folder option in Utilities. Currently, the Pixel’s camera app can take photos and directly send them to the protected folder. Unfortunately, the feature doesn’t work on other camera apps. At least for now, that is.

The feature does have its drawbacks. For one, protected photos are only locally saved. If you somehow lose your phone, those photos are lost forever or worse especially if a third party gets it for themselves.

Obviously, the Locked Folder has its more innocuous uses. But it’s definitely a way to hide NSFW photos.

Google initially launched the feature only for Pixel phones back in June. Of course, as most Android features go, the developers promised a more widespread rollout coming soon after. Well, that time is finally now. The feature is set to roll out sometime this fall.

SEE ALSO: Google starts rolling out Material You apps

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Next Android update is Android 12.1, not Android 13, rumor says

Just a minor update

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One of the highlights of the year is a new Android update. Like clockwork, Google updates the biggest mobile operating system in the world. It’s gotten so popular that the entire industry speculates on the codename each update is attached with even if the company stopped doing them years ago. The hype is there. However, Android users might have to taper their expectations next year. Instead of Android 13, Google might launch Android 12.1 next year.

Reported by XDA Developers, the rumor speculates that next year’s Android update will just be a minor one of the upcoming Android 12 this year. According to one of the publication’s recognized developers, Google attached an “sc-v2” tag for the next Android update, instead of “T” for “Tiramisu,” the internal codename for Android 13. For those who still follow the internal codenames for Android, “sc” refers to Snow Cone, the internal codename for Android 12. As such, it’s natural to assume that the next update is just Android 12.1, rather than Android 13.

It’s been a while since Google released minor updates in lieu of major updates. However, it’s no surprise. Android 12 is already a big update, relative to the past few updates. The update features a revamped design called Material You. Google can believably improve the new update more before launching a major one.

SEE ALSO: Android 12 is Snow Cone

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Apps

Google starts rolling out Material You apps

More coming this month

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There is no one more excited for Google’s upcoming products than Google itself. Though the company hasn’t officially launched its products yet, Google has persistently teased everything in the weeks and months leading to their debuts. Now, the company is slowly rolling out Material You apps ahead of the Android 12 launch.

Material You refers to Android’s design revamp for the upcoming Android 12 update. An evolution of Google’s smooth Material Design, the new design personalizes the user interface and the phone’s apps according to the user’s preferences. Android 12 is all about customization.

Of course, since the update also affects apps, Google is also rolling out apps that reflect the new design. Despite the lack of Android 12, the new apps are coming out ahead of time. Officially announced by Google’s Workspace blog, Google Drive will start the new push with its rollout starting today. After Drive, Google Meet will come out on September 19, and Google Calendar will launch on September 20. Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets have already rolled out a week ago.

The new apps will feature new navigation bars, floating action buttons, and a new font called Google Sans. The new font will make readability easier for smaller font sizes.

Android 12 is set to launch soon. Additionally, Google is already launching teasers for the upcoming Pixel 6 series featuring the new, in-house Tensor chipset.

SEE ALSO: Android 12 will make Chrome more colorful

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