Apps

Life is Strange on Android makes time traveling grief more accessible

Another chance to go back to the past

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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.

Apps

Google asks smartphone makers to pay for Play Store

In response to EU’s ruling

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Google Play

Months ago, Google landed in a scalding pool of Europe’s hot water. The European Competition Commission accused the company of anti-competition practices. Among other things, Google forced smartphone makers to bundle Chrome and Google Search as a requirement. According to the commission, the stipulation gives the company an unfair advantage over its rivals.

Eventually, the Commission hammered down a guilty verdict. From this, Google paid a record-breaking fine to the European Union. Besides this, the company had to stop the indicted practice.

Now, Google is finally implementing a resolution for the guilty verdict. Starting this month, the company will change its offered bundles for smartphone makers in the EU.

As opposed to enforcing the bundle, Google will offer Android’s apps for a price. Instead of a strong-arm strategy, Google’s new strategy aims for the best of both worlds. Smartphone companies can opt out of the program. Historically, some companies have already opted out of Android’s app ecosystem. For example, Chinese smartphones often implement their own variants because of China’s prohibitions.

Additionally, Google will loosen its regulations against forked versions of its Android operating system. Some smartphone makers alter Android’s inner workings for their own uses. Most notoriously, Xiaomi uses its own MIUI software. Previously, the bundling scheme swayed the deal towards Google’s favor, despite any proprietary changes. With looser regulations, companies can fork all they want.

Now, companies can sell smartphones running forked Androids. That is, if they also sell a separate smartphone with Google’s untouched software.

Amid all these changes, Android remains as free software for smartphones. Android can maintain its status as the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. However, if this issue elicits any questions, it’s this: How will Google’s new schema affect the casual consumer? Right now, we’ll have to wait and see.

SEE ALSO: You might need to pay Google for Android soon

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6 iPhone apps for your well-being

Mental health is important!

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World Mental Health Day may have come and gone but that shouldn’t mean that your well-being should be pushed aside. In fact, a healthy disposition should always be practiced. How does one do that in today’s fast-paced world?

We’ve got apps for you!

Omvana 

Omvana is a meditation app that measures stress levels and even your state of mind; it’s your personal mindfulness coach! The app also automatically connects to HealthKit.

Download here. 

Calm

With guided meditations, breathing exercises, sleep stories, and relaxing music, this app will help make sure you’re always in a relaxed mood.

Download here. 

Insight Timer

Don’t know how to meditate? This app allows for guided meditations from the industry’s best practitioners!

Download here. 

Headspace: Guided Meditation

Another guided meditation app which allows you to manage stress and even apply meditative practice to your every day. There’s also a sleep experience feature which promises better rest and calmness.

Download here.

Aura: Calm Anxiety & Sleep

Aura’s three-minute meditations will bring more positivity to your life. The app also does life coaching, relaxing music, and even personalized meditations.

Download here. 

AutoSleep Tracker for Watch

Better sleep means a better disposition! This app tracks sleep automatically with Advanced Heuristics AutoSleep so you’ll always have the info at hand.

Download here. 

What are you waiting for? Get to downloading and happy meditating!

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Facebook Lite comes to iPhones at less than 5MB

It consumes less power, too!

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After being enjoyed by Android users for years, the slimmed down version of Facebook’s main app finally arrived on iOS. Although, it’s only available to a select few — for now.

The Facebook Lite app was originally designed for developing countries where mobile data can be unreliable and Android phones are pretty basic. But, it also gained popularity among users with better phones because it uses way less data than the main Facebook app.

On iOS, the lite version is available for download through the Apple App Store for less than 5MB. Apart from being an easy download, it also uses less battery power and occupies minimal storage space.

This is going to be ideal for iPhones and even iPod Touch devices that are already showing signs of slowing down. The app is compatible with devices running iOS 9.0 and later.

For now, the app is only available in Turkey. As the testing phase expands to other regions, Facebook Lite will eventually be open for everyone.

Via: Business Insider

SEE ALSO: Facebook Messenger redesign starts rolling out to select users

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