When I first heard Life is Strange was coming to Android, I knew I was in for another round of poor decision making and “hella” cool moments.
I completed all five chapters of the game’s PC port when they came out in 2015. Back then, Life is Strange was a breath of fresh air when open-world, combat-driven titles were all the rage. Being a story-heavy game, it wasn’t exactly light on a gamer’s heart, but was definitely chill enough be an in-between gaming experience.
The game revolves around Max who magically gains the power of time travel to fix mistakes and get her way. Sounds like a sure-fire trip to hell, but this main character’s intentions are mostly pure. With it, she sets out to save the town and her friends from certain doom which she saw in a dream. Yes, I know, totally cliché, but you come for the character interactions and unexpected plot twists.
It’s tough to say more without spoiling anything. Seriously, knowing one major plot point in advance can ruin the experience. Even though the game allows you to make decisions that alter the story’s advancements, you still follow a linear path that unravels like any other save-the-world plot. My advice? Don’t read up on anything about this game unless it’s spoiler-free (like this article).
Another piece of advice: Play Life is Strange on a console or PC before jumping into the iOS or Android version. As accessible as the mobile ports are, they can’t match the visuals and controls introduced by the first release. Even a decent laptop from 2014 can run the game smoothly on low to medium graphics settings.
Life is Strange on Android doesn’t get the touch controls right, making your control of Max feel clumsy and jerky. While the game offers control settings and camera sensitivity, nothing feels quite natural enough to keep you immersed while traversing hallways and strange dreams.
At the same time, even with a high-end smartphone, graphics aren’t that good. The are no settings for adjusting the visuals, and when it rains or stuff starts flying around, the frame rate takes an even greater hit — and consequently, causes the controls to become jerkier.
And that’s sort of my main gripe with Life is Strange on mobile; without the fluidity found in its original release, the immersion isn’t quite there. That’s a problem, because the story requires you to remember every detail, pain yourself over each decision made, and understand all character motives. It’s natural to play a gimped version of full games on mobile, but games like Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition were able to optimize gameplay for smartphones while (mostly) retaining the atmosphere.
So, who is the Android or iOS port for? Those who want another crack at the game, and need to catch all the foreshadowing early on, because there are lots. I highly recommend playing Life is Strange the way it was meant to be played first, which is with a TV and controller or keyboard-mouse combo.
The title is often available for cheap during Steam sales, and could cost as little as the mobile game’s asking price. But if sitting on a couch or office chair to finish the game is not an option, there’s nothing wrong with downloading the game from the App Store or Google Play instead.
What’s great is that the first of five chapters is free, so you can get a hands-on feel to see if the mobile version is for you or you’re better off experiencing the console or PC release first.
Whichever choice you make, you’re in for a tight story driven by a memorable cast. You won’t feel the need to redo that decision once all’s said and done.
New Huawei phones are suspended from having Facebook out of the box
Another blow to Huawei, but this is minimal
Here’s more news about the US trade ban against Huawei. The latest American company to take action is Facebook. The popular social networking company is no longer allowing pre-installation of its apps on Huawei phones.
The latest blow to the Chinese tech giant doesn’t necessarily mean users won’t be able to access Facebook. According to a report by Reuters, customers who already bought Huawei phones will still be able to use Facebook apps and receive updates. Although, new Huawei phones will no longer have Facebook pre-installed. Other Facebook-owned apps are also affected including WhatsApp and Instagram.
If you purchased a Huawei phone lately, you might have noticed that your phone came with a few apps pre-installed — aside from the native apps, of course. Usually, smartphone vendors have deals with developers like Facebook to make their app widely available. Aside from Facebook, Huawei phones also come pre-installed with Twitter and Booking.com in many markets.
While Facebook’s move to stay away won’t badly hurt Huawei, it could affect the partnership sales outlook. Again, the Facebook ban only affects Huawei phones that have yet to come out of the factory. Also, Facebook can still be downloaded from the Google Play Store assuming Huawei will not lose access to it soon.
Google: Cutting off Huawei is an even bigger threat
Could lead to less secure apps
For three weeks, Huawei’s biggest concerns were the loss of Android and ARM architecture support. The recent Trump ban created pandemonium for the Chinese company. Since the ban’s announcement, Huawei has struggled with solutions and appeals. Unfortunately, the company’s troubles are not stopping.
In a Financial Times report, Google argues that Trump’s ban will ironically open Huawei to more cybersecurity issues. Likewise, an Android ban will cascade down to the operating system’s supported apps. Users will likely resort to less secure installation methods for their lost apps.
Google further explains that using an Android hybrid (since the platform is open-source by nature) could result in more holes in the system’s security. Huawei’s alternative — either their own custom OS or a forked Android variant — will not offer the same amount of protection.
In related news, Facebook has banned their app’s pre-installs on their future smartphones. Currently, Huawei’s phones come installed with Facebook’s slew of apps — Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. Arguably, all three apps are essential pieces of a smartphone’s ecosystem. As such, smartphone makers often strike pre-installation deals with app developers, allowing devices to come with these essential apps.
Of course, Huawei users can still install them manually through the Google Play Store. However, this method is also in jeopardy. By August 19, Google is forced to sever support for Huawei, pending a permanent resolution. The ban can feasibly take the Play Store with it. If that happens, Huawei users can no longer install Facebook through the usual means. Users will start resorting to Huawei’s own store or APK installs.
Huawei’s continued dealing with bans rings an ominous death knell for the Chinese company. Without a conclusive resolution, the world’s number-two smartphone manufacturer is facing an uncertain, dangerous future for its phones, inside and out.
Final Fantasy’s music officially comes to Spotify
From every game in the series!
Square Enix has done something we’ve all been wishing for: Uploading a collection of official Final Fantasy soundtracks to Spotify and other music streaming platforms.
News began spreading around the web as Spotify users noticed that there are heaps more FF songs available. It’s also been reported that Apple Music and Amazon Music have them, as well.
The uploaded tracks span all main FF entries plus direct sequels and spin-offs. If you’ve ever been in the mood for a gaming nostalgia trip at home or on the road, this may be the best time.
While there has been FF-related music on Spotify in the past, this is the first time it’s been made official. And yes, it includes songs from Final Fantasy VIII.
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