Apps

Florence: Half-baked beautiful game about first loves?

Shows stunning subtleties of delicate love

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Alright, alright. As much as I wanted to review the game from a single perspective, I thought maybe with a game about first loves, it was best to bring in a twist, so I brought in some reinforcements: Richard, my boyfriend.

Florence, as I’ve written before, is a mobile game that tackles the delicateness of first loves. With stunning first impressions from the teasers and trailers, it was tough not to want to play the game even if it came with a price tag. While Richard initially got this game for me to review alone, the game intrigued him, so we figured it would be interesting to write a review together since we played the game at the same time anyways.

His perspective

I’m the kind of guy that prefers watching Studio Ghibli films that focus on slice-of-life dramas instead of magical monsters. I’m also into playing whatever independent title that’s getting rave reviews on Steam. Florence encompasses both things. The hand-drawn art style is gorgeous and the puzzles are inspiring. Focusing on someone lost in life, living alone, and falling in love sounded like something I could personally relate to with traveling across the world to live alone. This was worth a shot.

Her perspective

The game was undeniably visually charming and the vignettes seemed intriguing at the very least. I’d kept my eye on the game since the teaser came out. It was a pretty novel concept: a mobile game that committed to dabbling into a slice-of-life narrative. With dating simulation game reviews that I’d previously sunk my toes into, I thought an interactive visual novel about love would be a refreshing perspective.

A stunning beginning

Split into several acts, the game introduces you to Florence, a young woman going about mundane tasks of daily adult life. It then explores Florence’s childhood and hints at her somewhat rough relationship with her mother.

As you progress in the game, you inevitably encounter Krish, a cellist who Florence falls in love with. From here on, the game is drop-dead stunning. It digs deep into relatable experiences from awkward first dates, quirky dates that follow, to the honeymoon stage of their relationship.

Witty nuances and subtleties

The game uses the mobile platform incredibly well. Florence has a very unique take as an interactive visual novel especially without the game walking you through how each mini-game is meant to be played. With varying mechanics for mini-games, you would think that it would be a challenge to pull off, but the game design is fascinatingly intuitive.

The game experiments with adjusting focus, piecing together torn paper, and using touch to shake Polaroid photos. The game even incorporates both portrait and landscape orientations depending on the sequence.

Perhaps the most poignant mini-game was conversing with Krish. With no voice-overs and minimal text in the game, talking is done by filling a speech bubble. When Florence first meets Krish, the jigsaw puzzle is composed of about six simple pieces. As the conversation goes on, the pieces become bulkier and the puzzle, less complex. We both thought it was such a witty way of visualizing the sort of growing ease Florence had developed the more she spoke with Krish.

Things that fall through the cracks

As it enters the later acts, the game takes an unexplained turn and falls short with depth. It begins to feel like as much as the design and mechanics were thought through and through, the game drops all effort of reeling you back with context.

By the time the credits finally roll, the final sequence comes off as a rushed finale to an almost perfectly delightful game. Everything turns out fine and she lives happily ever after. It’s acceptable but it admittedly seems to miss an opportunity to excel.

The mini-games are great, but we both wish they impacted the story line. Throughout the game you have phone calls with your mom, but none of your responses have any effect on your relationship by the end of the game. Trying to win arguments offers nothing different from refusing to participate. In one sequence, you share messages with emoji; being the sadist that Richard is, he replied only with sad emoji but didn’t get any real feedback.

Florence sadly disregards cause and effect. The story persists the way the developers have set it with no room to wander and experiment — sadly, making your play-through have no impact in the game at all.

Reading too much into it?

As much as Richard and I agree with how the game fell a bit short despite its remarkable beginning, I think there’s a bit of me that seems to defend the plot of Florence. Facing a different take of visual novels can be difficult and the plot does leave you longing for a better one. It’s short, sweet, and memorable but it leaves you wanting a better resolve, an explanation, and an impact. In hindsight, that’s not too far from what a failed cherished first love makes you feel.

Is this your game match?

The game feels like it had so much potential to be something so much more that it already is. As much as your choices and how you play the game have no impact on the story, Florence is a great introductory game to ease into more in-depth interactive visual novels. The game is visually stunning and the mini-games are clever. With lovely tunes to ease you into every act of the story, this title is worth trying out despite its pitfalls. If you’re willing to give it a go, you can download Florence here.

SEE ALSO: Sky: A new jaw-dropping mobile game coming out soon!

Apps

Pulse app by Pru Life UK offers free COVID-19 protection

It’s a personal accident insurance

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Life Insurance company Pru Life UK is offering a free COVID-19 protection for Filipinos through its health app Pulse.

The program offers free accident and death benefit for 500,000 Filipinos, in the unfortunate event that the individual passes away, including as a result of COVID-19. Health workers are entitled to twice the death coverage at no cost.

Terms of the insurance

The free COVID-19 protection and PA coverage is a one-time, 45-day insurance, available to the first 500,000 persons who register their profiles on the Pulse app, effective from the date of registration.

It’s important to note that those who have been diagnosed with, have symptoms of, have been under quarantine for COVID-19, or have been living with a COVID-19 patient at the time of registration are not eligible for this offer. Other excluded conditions are listed in the terms and conditions of the product.

Registration starts on April 11, 2020 and is available to all Filipinos aged 18 to 64. This includes a death benefit or lump sum amount of PhP 100,000 for the bereaved family if the insured passes away due to accident, or as a result of COVID-19, subject to terms and conditions.

Eligible health workers will receive a double COVID-19 death benefit worth PhP 200,000. No purchase of any insurance product is required.

Registration process

The offer can be found on the Pulse app that’s available on Android and iOS. Some important things to take note of:

  • New Pulse app registrants are required to create an account and complete their profiles.
  • Existing Pulse registrants will receive an in-app notification directing them to complete their profiles in order to register for the free COVID-19 protection.
  • Applicants will also be requested to complete the profiles of their beneficiaries through Pulse.
  • A confirmation email will be sent to the policy owners and their beneficiaries upon successful registration.

SEE ALSO: How to disinfect your tech from the coronavirus | Coronavirus porn is trending on Pornhub | Here’s where you can donate to the COVID-19 outbreak efforts | 4 ways you can use TikTok to help during the COVID-19 crisis


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

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Apps

WhatsApp limits forwarding to one contact at a time to fight misinformation

A welcome move that should help ease panic

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With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the spread of misinformation has been faster than ever. To curb this, one of the world’s most widely-used instant messenger, WhatsApp, has taken a radical step. It’ll limit the forwarding of messages to only one contact or person at a time.

Previously, you could send the message to up to five people in one go. However, there have been numerous reports of users abusing this feature to spread unverified information. This has lead to a sudden rise in panic amid the pandemic and authorities across the world have failed to curb this nuisance.

WhatsApp in a blog post said, “We’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for a personal conversation.”

This will go a long way in curbing the spread of misinformation as users will not be able to spread it as quickly as they could earlier. This isn’t the first time the Facebook-owned company has curbed the limit. A few years ago, it limited the feature to five contacts and noticed a drop of 25 percent in forwards globally. Additionally, it also started marking forwarded messages with “double arrow” labels to notify readers that it’s not an original message.

The app is widely used in developing countries in Asia. India is one of its prime markets due to the high population and affordable availability of mobile data.

WhatsApp has also affirmed that it’s constantly working with health authorities around the globe to ease the Coronavirus spread. In association with the WHO, it has already launched a chatbot that can quickly address concerns as well as answer questions about the virus.

SEE ALSO: How to disinfect your tech from the coronavirus | Coronavirus porn is trending on Pornhub | Here’s where you can donate to the COVID-19 outbreak efforts | 4 ways you can use TikTok to help during the COVID-19 crisis


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

Continue Reading

Apps

Someone discovered how to hack your MacBook through Safari

Thankfully, it’s already been patched

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With everyone’s workplaces shifting online, now is the best time to prioritize cybersecurity. Already, the world has turned a more watchful eye onto promising online platforms like Zoom. It’s time to root out the world’s hacking problems.

Recently, Apple averted a major security issue on Safari. A few months ago, Ryan Pickren, a security researcher spotted and submitted a flaw on the browser’s software to Apple’s bug bounty program. Now, after Apple patched the bugs already, Pickren has shared his findings to the public.

Previously, Safari liberally saved its users’ site permission preferences. For example, if you allow a certain site to access your device’s camera and microphone, the browser remembers these decisions for ease of access in the future. Further, Safari allows several variations of the allowed URL, adding to the convenience.

Through some online magic, malicious parties can spoof their identities and pretend to be one of these alternative URLs. In turn, the hack allows others to access the device’s permitted peripherals. Hackers could have accessed your webcam, your microphone, and your screen.

Notably, these flaws don’t originate from Apple’s hardware or Safari’s security. In essence, it’s just a disguise. Fortunately, Apple has already patched these flaws out of the browser. Thankfully, no one can exploit the flaw now.

Currently, Apple implements a rigorous bug bounty program to hunt down potential exploits for its products. White hat hackers can earn money by submitting important flaws. Pickren, for example, bagged US$ 75,000 for his report.

SEE ALSO: Apple Safari caught sending user data to a Chinese company

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