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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

Twitter is cracking down on sexual and violent content

No more NSFW

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Times have changed ever since social media platforms started cracking down on adult content. Tumblr banned porn on its platform, and now Twitter is joining the squad. The micro-blogging platform silently updated its Terms of Service recently.

Starting January 1, 2020, content containing graphic violence will be removed — violent crimes, physical fights, serious physical harm, and bodily fluids. Yes, blood and semen are out of the equation. Additionally, adult content showing full (or partial) nudity, any form of sexual acts, and even hentai will be taken down.

Twitter is also enforcing its policies strictly when it comes to gratuitous gore and violent sexual conduct. The American company believes banning these content will prevent the normalization of rape and sexual assaults.

This recent move has alarmed sex workers and people with different fetishes. To them, Twitter is the only safe haven for their personal expressions.

However, Twitter isn’t as authoritarian as Facebook since the platform still allows NSFW content in two conditions.

First, your content shouldn’t promote hate, terrorism, or target an individual. Secondly, you can still share produced adult-content as long as it’s consensual and your tweets are marked sensitive. If it isn’t marked sensitive, Twitter may take it down manually.

To prevent this, navigate your safety settings and select the “Mark media you Tweet as containing material that may be sensitive” option. Violating the policy can get you punished by having your account temporarily locked or permanently suspended. To know more about the updated policy, read it here.

SEE ALSO: How to find porn on FacebookPornhub: Filipinos love ‘romantic’ pornGoogle, Facebook could be tracking your porn

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Canva adds new features for presentations on the go

Responsive presentations anytime, anywhere

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Having a well-designed document goes a long way in engaging your audience. That’s where Canva comes in, simplifying the creation of well-thought documents, posters, and more. Now, Canva is adding more features which would delight presenters on the go.

The first feature is responsive presentation — users can now create presentations on their laptops and view it on their mobile devices. Presentations adapt to different screens, so the days of fussing over the right screen size is over. Plus, users can edit and view presentations made with Canva anywhere, anytime.

The second feature is presentations playlist, which would suit well for team presentations. With this feature, teams can create accessible spaces for collaboration through shared folders. This feature also builds a single coherent event with transitional slides introducing each speaker.

Lastly, there is live Q&A, which Canva will add to its mobile apps soon. Audiences will be able to participate in from any device and have the option to send in questions anonymously. This should enable a more dynamic and engaging presentation with audiences.

With over a thousand designer-made templates, 50 million premium images and videos, Canva makes it easier to create beautiful documents, posters, and graphic materials. It is available on the web, on Android, and iOS devices. Users can sign up today for a free tier, with a premium tier also available to unlock more features.

SEE ALSO: 10 free apps to improve your Instagram stories

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Spotify releases the 2019 wrapped, here’s how you can see it

Find out your guilty music pleasures

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Every December, Spotify releases the much-awaited “Spotify Wrapped,” where users find out their top songs of the year. Since this year and this decade is ending, Spotify added a different twist in this year’s wrap-up.

The 2019 Wrapped will include songs, albums, artists, and podcasts you listened to throughout the year, and the artists you listened to the most throughout the decade. When I saw my wrap-up, I found it funny how I listen to the same songs every year. Spotify knows what songs we obsess over.

Furthermore, Spotify highlights the places where your top artists hail from through a world map. Additionally, podcasts are added to the “Wrapped” experience.

Spotify Wrapped 2019 showcasing your top artist of the year.

Spotify users, particularly those who were subscribed to a premium subscription, get a personalized recap, too. Some insights include a user’s top artist every year and the number of minutes they streamed music throughout the decade. Premium users also get info on the artist they vibed most with this year.

Luckily, your personalized info can be shared through Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook. To access your “Spotify Wrapped,” make sure to update your Spotify app and open it or head to Spotify.com/wrapped. Enjoy looking back!

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