Features

Dragon Ball Legends, Incredibles 2, World Cup 2018: Now Playing

Mobile games, a family movie, a major sporting event, and more!

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We’re halfway through the year! With E3 2018 wrapped up and the second wave of flagship phones on the way, there are a lot of things coming. However, the future only looks bright if you can live in the moment, and right at this moment, this is what’s now playing for GadgetMatch.

Games to play

Detroit: Become Human
Rodneil: Most story-driven games have a single path and you just wear the shoes of the lead character as you go through that journey. That’s not the case with Detroit: Become Human where a single scene alone can have as many as six outcomes. This interactive drama game puts you in the shoes of three main characters by allowing you to make decisions for them, in turn affecting the outcome of the game and letting you be the author of your own story.

Dragon Ball Legends
JV: Both die-hard and casual fans of the Dragon Ball series have a lot to love with the latest mobile game based on the franchise. The game takes on many mobile tropes, including in-app purchases for faster progression and a play wall. However, the rest of the game is packed with action as teams of three go head to head in story or PvP modes.

Nearly every single Dragon Ball character you can think of can be summoned to be part of the team, but the built-in story mode revolves around a brand new fighter named Shallot. The campy story mode progresses in an episodic fashion, unfolding fight by fight. Battles are done in vertical mode with swipes, taps, holds, and attack cards that trigger powerful moves. Best of all, it’s a gorgeous game! The graphics are top-notch and faithful to the source material, right down to the crazy Ki explosions and dramatic finishes.

Godus
Isa: This random download from the Google Play Store got me playing God. No kidding, this game starts off with you saving some people from drowning and they end up as your very first “followers.” You build civilizations, explore unknown terrain, and even shift land masses as you create your own timeline of civilization. All that power as the almighty at the tip of your fingers is a pretty fun game, I have to admit.

Movies to see

The Greatest Showman
Chay: I rarely get to watch new movies in cinemas now because of traveling, but long haul flights are always a great opportunity to catch up on all the blockbuster hits I miss. This month, I finally got to watch The Greatest Showman on an EVA Air flight after seeing months of raving on my Facebook and Twitter timelines. If you’re a fan of musicals, this is definitely a must-see; I suggest renting or buying it on Amazon Prime now if you missed it in movie theaters. If musicals aren’t your thing, it’s still a great feel-good, star-studded movie to watch when you get bored on your next flight. I wouldn’t be surprised if you also end up humming to the songs the way I did by the time the plane lands.

The Incredibles 2
Isa: When I want to chill out and relax, I often opt for fun movies and try to shift away from suspense-filled plots. The Incredibles 2 is a perfect blend of light-hearted comedy that touches on themes of family togetherness, all wrapped in a superhero package. It was a great watch over the weekend, plus you get to see what happened in the lives of the same beloved characters from the first movie.

TV shows to binge watch

Suits
Rodneil: Meghan Markle who plays Rachel Zane on Suits recently married a prince. Not gonna lie, I have always had a crush on her and is probably one of the reasons why I started watching the show to begin with. However, I did drop the series right around Season 3, but Markle getting hitched made me want to pick up the series again. I thought Season 3 was a drag but if you’re able to power through it, Seasons 4 to 6 deliver a payoff that was set up on the show’s pilot.

World Cup 2018
Rodneil: Technically, this isn’t a TV show, but if you’re not tuned in to the 2018 World Cup, you’re missing out. It’s the biggest football stage that happens only once every four years, featuring the best athletes to take the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one of this generation’s best players, already had a signature performance scoring a hat trick against Spain. Better tune in if big names like Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. will also churn out huge performances.

Music to listen to


Lofi hip hop playlist
Rodneil: Whenever I write, I usually put familiar music on. More than silence, the white noise actually helps me think better. However, while I was trying to write one of the editions of Weekend Rewind, I couldn’t focus at all. So I hopped on Spotify and found this gem. If you’re feeling laid back and just want to go with the flow, the smooth, sexy, and funky tracks in this playlist will ride along with you. Do yourself a favor and listen to it as you read on.

Bloom: Troye Sivan
Chay: Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, you’ve probably heard of Troye Sivan in one way or another. He’s an openly gay YouTuber from Australia who blossomed into a full-fledged music artist and released his first album Blue Neighborhood in 2015. This year, Troye is treating fans with a new album called Bloom that the New York Times describes as darker and sexier. It won’t be released until August, but singles like “My My My!” and “Dance To This” featuring Ariana Grande are already available on Spotify for everyone to, well, dance to this Pride Month.

Post Traumatic: Mike Shinoda
Jane: Fans around the world were devastated when Chester Bennington of Linkin Park passed. His bandmate Mike Shinoda was at a loss on what to do so he poured all his emotions and came up with his latest album. If you’ve ever experienced loss, are going through it now, or if you simply want to listen to raw, very human emotions and thoughts across the full spectrum, listen to Post Traumatic.

Books to read

Note To Self by Connor Franta
MJ: I always love moments of introspection and reflection. When a friend suggested Note To Self by Connor Franta, I found that the best time to read it was during Pride Month. Connor Franta is an American gay YouTuber/writer who published his memoir, Note To Self, last 2017. The book talks about self-love and acceptance, his battle with clinical depression and social anxiety, and his struggles with love and loss. It’s told through essays, letters, poetry, and photography — something I also love doing in my spare time. This book really connects with me in a deeper level, and I believe that it can help people understand the perspective of people suffering from mental illness. Pride Month isn’t just about festivities and loud celebration, it’s also about connecting and understanding with the LGBTQ+ community and their untold struggles and stories.

Freedom for the thought we hate by Anthony Lewis
Isa: This book traces the history of the First Amendment throughout US legal history and tackles the events that transpired and shaped law in the constitution as we know them today. Written by New York Times journalist Anthony Lewis, this book is a good read and is very apt for today’s times.

Cities to visit

Moscow
Chay: I can count the number of cities and countries I would much rather spend my money on over Russia. Moscow isn’t exactly at the top of most travelers’ bucket lists and I, for one, have always wanted to visit only to see Saint Basil’s Cathedral, but not much else. This year though, Russia is hosting the World Cup, so I’d say there’s really no better time to go, if you don’t mind a bigger crowd of tourists and fans, that is. Russians are infamous for being stern and too serious at times, so it’s also a rare sight to see them have fun at least for a few weeks.

Taipei
Marvin: Visiting Taipei has become an annual habit for me, but there’s always something new to discover in the bustling city. My latest trip brought me to Elephant Mountain, which has the most gorgeous view of Taipei from a naturesque point, and the traditional beauty of Jiufen’s streets. At the end of each day, I had a wide selection of night markets filled with food carts to check out — all of which are easily accessible via public transport.

Apps to download

FIFA
Chay: The official FIFA app has been updated to focus on the 2018 World Cup, providing exclusive content and features surrounding the month-long event. If you’re overwhelmed with the schedule, one tap on the app shows you the groups and all the matches in the four-week tourney. There’s also a Live Scores tab with previews, play-by-play updates, and statistics — if you can’t watch your favorite teams live.

Headspace
MJ: As I’ve been getting into working out and being physically fit, I also remember to take care of my emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Headspace is my new friend in the realm of technology, an app that helps me practice mindfulness and meditation. I always use this app before I start the day, during a stressful situation to help me think clearly, and at night to help me fall asleep.

Did you like any of our picks or have suggestions of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

Features

HEXA planter allows plants to chase after sunlight

Gardening technology at its finest?

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If man can get to the moon, then we can make plants walk — well, at least get them to move to get more sunlight. This was basically the sentiment one company had when they decided on creating a six-legged flower pot.

Yep, you saw and read that right.

Vincross, the company behind an interesting looking robot called HEXA, decided that walking robot planters are a thing. Inspired by a dead sunflower shriveling up in the shade at a plant-technology art installation, the idea of enabling plants to run after the sunlight they need to thrive was born.

Now, this planter (the HEXA robot fitted with a pot, basically), will ensure that your plant gets just the right amount of sunlight.

Six legs and a 360-rotating head ensure a lot of mobility for your greens. Not to mention, the HEXA robot has a camera with night vision, an infrared transmitter, a distance sensor, and an accelerometer. As to how all that will be maximized for plant care, we still have no idea. Though, it’s good to know it’s more than just a mechanical spider walking around aimlessly.

It also has the ability to dance…

… or throw a tantrum when people are being completely irresponsible plant parents and they forget to water the greens.

All this movement means they can react to annoying people who insist on touching plants that shouldn’t be touched.

But, it can also play nice and give two-legged high-fives.

As a plant parent myself, I’m not too sure how much plants would like all this motion. But hey, we’re about to find out!

The same question was posted by Vincross when they announced the unique planter: “Would the plant like it, I mean, the feeling of being an animal? I have no idea. But I want to let it have the experience. When human beings go to deep ocean and moon through technology, let’s share some of technology with plants, let them at least experience what it is like to experience the simplest of motions.”

You can buy HEXA on the official website for US$ 949 — or US$ 999 if you want a wireless charger thrown in.

In the meantime, I’m going to water my non-walking plants and be thankful that they can’t throw a tantrum just yet.

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Features

3 reasons why the remastered Spyro should get you excited

PlayStation’s lovable purple dragon gets his college bloom

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20 years ago, Insomniac Games revealed PlayStation’s newest mascot since 1996’s Crash Bandicoot himself: Spyro the Dragon. Much like the dragons you’ve seen in movies, Spyro spits fire and charges at his enemies head on. He goes around different worlds, saving its denizens from evil monsters, egg-stealing thieves, and powerful bosses. For the typical 90s kid who owned a PlayStation from 1998 to 2000, the Spyro trilogy was an instant classic.

Now, Spyro returns in his bold, new self in Activision’s remaster of the popular Spyro trilogy: the Reignited Trilogy. The lovable purple dragon gets the nod for a full-blown remaster, and 90s kids couldn’t be any happier!

Here are three reasons why this remaster should get you excited:

Remastered from the ground up

By this time, you have seen a glimpse of the remastered Spyro from major gaming sites and at E3 2018. According to Activision’s press release, the remaster almost comes close to that of a remake. All elements found within the game, from the terrain in the different worlds to the creatures in each stage, have been given the high-definition treatment.

It’s not just all aesthetics, however. Video game developer Toys For Bob made sure that the remaster did justice to the original trilogy, while adding a full-blown cinematic feel to it. All of Spyro’s friends across the three games received their own enhancements, partnered with improvements in reward sequences and updated controls. It’s as if the entire trilogy had gone through a college bloom!

New controls, same old Spyro

One of the things that Toys For Bob emphasized for the remaster is how it stays true to the original games. The old PS1 trilogy had very sticky controls for a 3D platforming game, and there was no immediate use for the right analog stick before. Back then, you needed to use the trigger buttons to look around, and the camera made it difficult to jump from one spot to another.

In the Reignited Trilogy, these problems are addressed with full use of the right analog stick. The controls provide a smoother experience to complement the various visual enhancements. However, Toys For Bob enhanced the original background music in all the games, and also kept Spyro’s abilities intact. Toby Schadt, Design Director for Toys For Bob, focused on keeping Spyro’s movement metrics as close as possible to the original’s.

Expanded availability

Obviously, the original trilogy was a PlayStation-exclusive in 1998. But Activision made the move to make the remastered trilogy available for both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One simultaneously. This was a move the company had not done with the remastered Crash trilogy, as the Xbox release was a year after the PlayStation release. This game’s release date has been set to September 21, 2018 — 20 years and 11 days after the original release in 1998.

While there are no reports yet for its availability for the PC and Nintendo Switch, you can guarantee that it will happen. Following the release of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for the PC and Switch, there’s good reason for Activision to do the same for Spyro. For reference, Toys For Bob worked on the Crash remake for the Switch.

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Hands-On

Huawei Nova 3i is a beautiful phone with quad-camera goodness

The newest midrange contender

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Huawei just unveiled the Nova 3i and it looks good. Allow me a minute to gush about its looks.

This new midrange smartphone sports a glass back with a premium feel and a beautiful gradient back reminiscent of the Twilight P20. Let’s look at that closely.

As if this phone couldn’t get more extra looks-wise, there’s also a what Huawei reps call the “shining curve effect” which gives it that oomph when light hits the handset.

Now, on to what it can do.

This thing has a quad-camera setup: A 24- and 2-megapixel combo in front and a 16- and 2-megapixel setup on its back.

This phone makes you look good not just in selfies, but also while doing selfies. Take it from Chay.

Different scenes mean different adjustments to get the perfect shot. The cameras are equipped with AI, meaning they can intelligently detect scenes and automatically improve your photos. And, it’s not only the rear cameras with this technology; the selfie cams also have AI capabilities and an improved AI beauty mode.

The fingerprint scanner is found on the phone’s back, which usually means a more bezel-less screen. The 6.3-inch display features tiny bezels and a smaller chin plus, surprise, a notch!

There’s also a facial unlock feature and AI 3D Qmoji, which is basically Huawei’s version of Apple’s Animoji. 

The Nova 3i runs on Huawei’s brand-new Kirin 710 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It has 3340mAh battery capacity and runs Android Oreo out of the box. 

Aside from this pretty gradient, the Nova 3i is also available in white or black.

Will this smartphone be as good as it looks? You’ll have to wait for the full review. Meanwhile, you can check price and availability here.

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