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

6 apps that help make travel stress-free

Don’t leave home without these!

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Photo by Ross Sneddon

In this crazy-busy world we live in, we often find ourselves in need of an escape. Travel provides that for me. Going away for a bit of a break is an absolute necessity. There’s nothing like coming back refreshed and ready to take on the stress brought by daily life — both the challenging and the mundane parts of it. Sometimes, however, the thing that’s supposed to help you destress can be the cause of it too. Planning and the actual journey just to get to your destination (and even coming home) can be pretty stressful.  

Years of traveling has taught me a couple of things to make trips like this easier both on my wallet and my stress levels. In a previous article, we discussed how to save money while traveling (link). This time, we’ll be talking about apps that help keep the stress away. Being ready and planning ahead is half the battle for any journey. Having these six apps on your phone will make sure you’re more than ready for it.

PackPoint

I’ve been using PackPoint since 2015. Back when we were still living in Kuala Lumpur, one of my friends who traveled often recommended it to me and it has been part of my life ever since. At that time, my husband and I were about to go visit my family in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Malmö with side trips to Paris, London, and Geneva. It was a three-week trip and I was going nuts with planning what to bring.

That friend saved me by introducing me to this app that comes up with a digital packing list that you can consult on the go. All you have to do is enter the place you’re going to along with the dates. It will then ask you what the trip is for (business or leisure?) and a few other basic questions. It will then give you your personalized packing list — from clothing to your electronics. Packpoint just figures everything out for you, making those days before a trip a little less stressful.

Spotted by Locals

When visiting a new place, we often make time to see the historical highlights. But what happens when you’re done with those? I always make sure I visit an interesting establishment, a café, or even a restaurant that’s local-approved. More authenticity, less overpriced. I often consult Spotted by Locals for this.

The app collates recommendations from locals in the city you’re visiting — from places to grab food in to interesting and alternative sites to see. Even though I live in Berlin, I make it to a point to look through this app for some recommendations here and it never disappoints. I often find something that piques my interest, like this GDR Cinema I plan to visit next week.

Google Maps

What I see on Spotted by Locals, I always save here on Google Maps. The option to save places on different lists such as “Favorites” or “Want to Go” is such a blessing for people like me who need to organize absolutely everything — even my thoughts and my eating plans. Whenever I feel hungry and I don’t know where to go, I just open it up and see the places that I’ve saved on my “Want to Go” list and pick the ones nearest to me. It solves the problem of having to keep going back and forth with your friends, deciding where to eat.

City Mapper

 

While Google Maps can already provide you with transportation options to get to where you want to go, City Mapper is an app I keep for more options. You get your usual routes via walking, taking the train and bus, or even driving there, but you also get ride-sharing options. It even tells you where the nearest Mobike (bike-sharing app) is so you can exercise a bit by cycling your way there.

Flio

I absolutely hate signing up for Wi-Fi in airports. The questionnaires just seem to go on forever, I end up wondering whether they will be asking me for my medical history next. Flio lets me sign in hassle-free. It also keeps my flight information, helping me keep track of my schedule and making sure I never miss a flight while browsing the Duty Free makeup aisle.

Flio also tells you which restaurants and shops are at the airport while giving you vouchers for them. We all know dining in airports can be pretty expensive so a discount is always welcome. Your phone’s battery running low? It also tells you where you can charge within the airport so you can keep posting stories on Instagram.

Google Translate

Save yourself the trouble of miming your way to get information. This app can translate a conversation as you go. Another fun feature is the camera which lets you snap a photo of signs and labels. It will then scan the photo for words and all you have to do is highlight the ones you need translated and press on the blue arrow. Et voila! You now know the flavor of jam you have inside that jar. This is such a lifesaver when grocery shopping abroad or looking at posters and announcements in a foreign language.

Got favorites of your own? Share them in the comments below! Would love to discover new apps that I can use in my next trips!

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Apps

Tinder’s new feature tells you when a lot of people are swiping in the area

You’re welcome, Tinderella!

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Dating app Tinder is finding more and more ways to get people swiping more.

Enter: The new Swipe Surge feature.

Let’s face it, not all areas or events are equal — in terms of swipe activity, that is. But, fret not. Tinder will now tell you if you’re in an area with a high swiping ratio to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun.

Wait, what fun exactly? Well, according to Tinder, during a Swipe Surge, activity on the app is 15 times higher than normal. This means that the chance of finding the love of your life (or the love of tonight 😉) is higher by 250 percent and even chatting up some cuties becomes 33 percent faster. Yep, those are some serious computations.

To get in on the fun, enable push notifications so that the app can notify you when a Swipe Surge is happening in real time. Once you’ve joined the Swipe Surge party, you’ll be put on top swiping priority. Tinder will even show you who’s actively swiping at that moment!

Oh, what fun! Swipe Surge is being tested on iOS in select cities. Unfortunately, we don’t know which ones, or when it’s coming to all users; if it even ever will.

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Spotify introduces its app for Apple Watch

Control music from your wrist

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Spotify has just launched its new mobile app for the Apple Watch. Users can now access and control their favorite music and podcasts while on the go.

The new app allows you to play music on the Apple Watch and control how it’s played on compatible devices. However, you can’t stream your favorite songs straight from the watch even if it’s via your connected phone. Instead, the app acts like a controller for Spotify Connect. This allows you to control your music and select playlists individually then play it on shuffle from your wrist.

The downside is there’s no offline playback yet so users still need to bring their phones when going for a run or listening on wireless headphones. Spotify guarantees that they have plans to make offline playback available in the future.

On the bright side, you can now do a lot of things with ease. You can play music even if your phone is in your pocket and you can switch songs when running without having to take your phone out of its running case. When you encounter a friend while your music is playing, you can just tap pause if you ever want to chat. You can skip tracks to match your mood or the activity you’re in, and rewind podcasts to catch details you missed. It’s all on the watch’s screen, accessible with just a single tap.

Spotify will be rolling out the new app to Apple Watch users over the coming week. It requires the latest version of Spotify. Make sure to download it on the App Store and look out for updates.

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