Apps

How to play Travel Frog

Not as easy as you’d think

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If you need some help understanding how to play Tabi Kaeru (旅かえる), the addictive new mobile game, I’ve got you covered.

Before I hop into how to play this game, I’ll lay it out there: I can’t read Japanese. It’s a shame, really. If anything, I can understand some Japanese — holler at my young self-avoiding needing to read subtitles while watching anime. Back to the task at hand. Here are neat tips and tricks I learned from playing the game:

How you start off

When you first launch the game, I’m guessing you’ll be greeted with the terms of service of the game. You’ll then be asked to enter a name for your frog. This bit for me was easy enough to understand. I clicked through the buttons and went along.

Your frog will be preparing for his first journey when you are initially introduced. The game will walk you through three varying types of items you’ll need to pack for your frog for him to wander off: food, charms, and equipment. The clovers you find in front of your frog’s house are currencies in the game for you to buy more items.

Later on, I learned that three-leaf clovers are used to purchase items from the shop. Four-leaf clovers are collected and kept as charms to equip your frog when he’s on a journey. I had to learn that the tough way: running out of charms to give my frog.

The game then prompts you with this:

“Your frog will head out on journeys by himself, but if you prepare him as you did here in the tutorial he may bring pictures and souvenirs home for you.”

Not as simple as Neko Atsume

From here, it’s a waiting game. The clover garden will replenish over time. And you’ll occasionally meet some of your frog’s friends who visit.

If you’re the kind of person who has a staggering amount of separation anxiety, don’t play this game. Your frog will come and go without warning. If you want to be the overbearing mother, you can alter that in the settings by bumping up the frog icon (labeled “SE”) you see below. This will let the game prompt you when your frog is back from his travels.

This game will inevitably fool you into its simplicity by the cute graphics and seemingly simple mechanics but the longer you play, the more complex it becomes. There are detailed translations of the game but there’s something about just discovering the context little by little that makes it a bit more charming for me.

When you progress in the game, you discover the undeniable satisfaction of receiving postcards. Your frog sometimes (there is no guarantee!) leaves postcards from wherever he’s wandered off to. Even if it is a game contextualized in time, it teaches you the valuable lesson of letting things go and letting things be. It’s a great game to pass the time and it is unquestionably comforting to find rare photos of your frog accompanied by a friend.

More friends, more fun

And, remember your frog’s friends? They’re the animals that visit and show up outside your door. Each of them have four food preference tiers, ranging from “Pleased” (least favorite) to “Can’t eat anymore” (most favorite). The fuller they are, the more three-leaf clovers they’ll collect for you.

Maimai is the snail.

He loves chestnuts, tea leaves but most things will fill him. He’s a bit tough to please at first but once your frog travels more, you get to meet other friends too.

Bunbun is the bee.

Bunbun is loves peppers, cabbages, chestnuts, milk, gohei mochi, garlic, rice, baked buns, tea leaves, and hardtack. If you notice, Maimai is probably the most tough to please but once you encounter Bunbun, you’re more likely to meet other friends too. These are the two friends I’ve encountered so far but, I’ll keep this article updates once I find something new.

What’s not to like?

I mean, at least for me, it’s a game that requires minimal effort. If you want to dig balls-deep into the nitty-gritty bits of game, you’ll inevitably have to wait regardless. If you run out of charms (which sadly happened to me a lot), you can pack your frog’s bag without it. The food is the bare minimum thing you can have set-up for your frog for his journey.

I learned later on that combining different items, charms, and food can alter how many postcards your frog will bring back, where he travels, and what items he brings back from his trip. The game lets you adjust, combine, and customize every time you prepare your frog for its journey outdoors. Just don’t forget the basics of always having food for your frog! Play it with me here (Android, iOS)

SEE ALSO: Travel Frog: The new addictive mobile game

Apps

Google is under investigation for abusing Android

Dominating the market comes with a price

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Google has often been accused of monopolizing the smartphone market with the use of Android. While Android as an operating system is open source and anyone is free to make or use the system however they wish, Google’s push of its apps is a bigger problem.

Android is maintained by the search engine giant and the code is available for everyone’s use. But, Google pushes its range of apps in stock Android like Gmail, Maps, Play Music, YouTube, and more. Many accuse the company of forcing itself upon users and blocking the competition from a fair chance.

India’s Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been reviewing Google’s case for the last six months. The enforcement agency is currently at a preliminary stage and no official release has been made. Google, as well as CCI, have declined to comment.

The European Commission found Google guilty of dominating the market since 2011 and it’s abusing its standard practice of installing Google apps. The investigation led to a US$ 5 billion fine from the antitrust agency.

Google and CCI have met in recent months and the complaint was filled by a “group of individuals.” The agency has a track record of taking years to finish or conclude a case and we never know when a verdict might actually come.

Although, the CCI did impose a US$ 19 million fine on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position.

Android has a massive 85 percent market share and almost every Android phone ships with Google’s suite of apps. These apps, in return, help the search engine push ads to the user and generate revenue for the company.

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Apps

EA is looking into making a mobile version of Apex Legends

To battle with Fortnite

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Image credit: EA

EA‘s battle royale game is a certified hit. Apex Legends, which was developed by Titanfall makers Respawn, has no fewer than 25 million registered players in just one week. The game is playable for free on multiple platforms (PC, PS4, and Xbox One), but why not make it available on mobile as well?

Early reports don’t indicate mobile plans for the game, although during the Electronic Arts Q3 2019 earnings call, EA Games CEO said that they are looking into bringing Apex Legends to mobile devices.

Fortnite‘s userbase ballooned when it became available on Android and iOS, so it’s a no brainer than EA also wants mobile gamers to join the fun.

“We are looking at how to take the game to mobile and cross-play over time, and I also expect that this game will have tremendous value in Asia, and we’re in conversations about that,” EA Games CEO Andrew Wilson said during the conference call.

There’s no definite timeline for the release of Apex Legends on mobile, but it’s certainly on the drawing board. For now, EA plans to introduce direct purchase options for players to buy items and new legends or heroes. They will also offer the so-called Apex Packs or simply loot boxes for more random items.

Apex Legends is not a pay-to-win game, so these items are purely cosmetic and can be used to customize your hero’s looks in the game.

SEE ALSO: Apex Legends hits 25 million players after one week

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Apps

Introducing Bumble’s Spotlight: Pay to get to the top of the page

For just two Bumble coins!

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You can’t buy your way to true love but you can now buy a top spot on Bumble’s swipe page.

You heard that right. Bumble just announced their new feature and they’re calling it Spotlight. For two Bumble coins, which is around US$ 2, you can get your own profile to the top of the swipe page — the most conducive spot for swiping. Your profile stays there for 30 minutes and people won’t even know you paid for the extra airtime.

Similar to Tinder Boost, this new feature allows for a bigger shot at better swiping results. It basically bumps you up in the queue. Remember, though, that you can only pay for being more visible on the app, but the swiping is still left to the other party.

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