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

Microsoft is ditching Edge for new Chromium-based browser for Windows

It’s time to let things go

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Are you one of the few users of the Edge browser? Since its debut on Windows 10 in 2015, the replacement for the once-popular Internet Explorer wasn’t able to become the go-to browser it was expected to be.

The Edge browser was built from the ground up with a new rendering engine called EdgeHTML. It was designed to be lightweight, fast, and secure. The browser had a rocky start and was not favored by both users and web developers. That’s why Microsoft is pulling the plug soon.

According to Windows Central‘s insider, the Redmond company is putting all these efforts aside and will create a new web browser powered by Chromium codenamed “Anaheim.” It’ll be similar to Google’s Chrome browser and will take advantage of the popular rendering engine Blink.

After all the pushy and in-your-face prompts to make Edge more popular among Windows 10 devices, this new browser will replace Edge as the default browser. It’s still unknown if Anaheim will use the Edge brand and user interface, but the inside report confirms EdgeHTML’s demise.

What’s in store for users when Microsoft goes full blast with Chromium? Websites will behave how they should, especially those that work best on Google Chrome.

It’s worth noting that the Edge browser app on iOS and Android are already using rendering engines native to their platforms, so the shift to Chromium will be more beneficial to Windows 10 users. We could see Anaheim come to life by 2019.

SEE ALSO: Windows 10 will soon go full white with a light theme

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These are Apple’s top apps and games for 2018

Did your favorite app make the list?

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Apple likes to keep track of the apps you download and games you play on their devices. They like it so much that they now have a list of the top apps and games for 2018. The list features all categories in the App Store globally and locally.

From a global perspective, self-care apps became a revelation in the App Store. Apps such as Fabulous, Headspace, and 10% Happier made self-care and wellness more accessible to anyone. For gaming apps, battle royale-style games like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite took over. Both games feature fast-paced, last-man-standing action, with Fortnite even adding bases to the mix.

However, editorial picks reflect something different. Across the iPhone and iPad, editors picked education and creativity apps like Procreate Pocket and Froggipedia as their top choices. Procreate Pocket is a creativity app for artists to draw, sketch, and paint on the go. Froggipedia, on the other hand, is an interactive education app for children to teach them about frogs and their life cycles.

For gaming, the same theme follows as the editors picked Donut County and Gorogoa. Donut County is an education game that mixes puzzles with concepts in physics, while Gorogoa introduces hand-drawn stories to the puzzle genre. The selection goes against the findings of dominance across battle royale games globally.

Within Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore, photography and video streaming apps became the talk of the town. For iPhones, photography apps like kirakira+ and TouchRetouch topped the list, as users can play around with filters for their pictures and videos. Streaming apps like TikTok and Viu opened the door for people to share their videos on a global platform.

Battle royale and multiplayer games, such as PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, dominated the App Store in Singapore. Despite the success of these games, people also took notice of locally produced games. Cat Quest, an action role-playing game, became part of the top paid games for the iPhone for 2018. 

To know more about the lists, you can check them out in the App Store through the Today tab.

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Accessories

Gift ideas for the important people in your life

Make a list and check it twice

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Making Christmas lists can be daunting. One minute you think you already thought of the perfect gift for the people on your nice list, but next thing you know, they already have it or you doubt they’ll ever use it. So, you drop the idea and go back to square one. Other times, you come up with the most generic lists just so you have something to give: belt for dad, purse for mom, a pair of socks for the brother, a scarf for the best friend.

Sometimes, all you need are fresh ideas. Here are some to jump-start your holiday shopping this year!

1. For the one who travels for work

Productivity and portability rarely go hand in hand, but there are devices and accessories that help maximize remote work for anyone whose jobs allow it. Creatives could use a stylus, while writers and entrepreneurs could use a keyboard case. You can even get a nice backpack or sleeve to house it all in!

2. For the one who embraces a minimalist lifestyle

There are those who dream of having a walk-in closet, and those who try to keep their belongings to a minimum. That said, minimalist people are probably the toughest to buy material things for, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a thoughtful gift. If you know that they have something that needs replacing, help them find out if they can have it recycled or traded in for a new one. Apps for mindfulness and meditation, learning a new language, or even an Audible subscription would also be great!

3. For the one who works out a lot

Gym rats almost always have everything they already need for their workouts, yet some of them haven’t invested in a smartwatch or a fitness band. If they have, you can give them new straps or cases so they can sport their wearables outside the gym and continue tracking their activities. Subscriptions to coaching, music streaming, or meal planning apps are also something they’d appreciate.

4. For the one who needs a pop of color

We all have that one person in our lives who wears neutral colors all the time or have had a pretty lackluster year — at least I know I do. Whether a guy or girl, everyone could use something bold once in a while: a pair of shoes in red, a wool coat in yellow, or even a phone in coral. More than making a statement, colors have the power to change moods and brighten up one’s day.

5. For the one who dresses to kill

She’s all about making an impression and takes dressing up seriously. She’s the woman in your life who takes a little bit longer to get ready in the morning putting an outfit together. A daring red lipstick, a pair of sexy pumps, jewelry, or a designer watch are all great options. Even better: a smartwatch in a bold color that is a statement on its own.

While they don’t always have to be material things, there’s something to be said for getting gifts for family and friends, no matter how small or cheap. Gift giving during the holidays is a way to give back to the important people who made your year merrier. The more thought and effort you put into it, the more meaningful and fitting it is for the person you’re getting it for. There’s no better feeling than knowing you made a difference in someone’s life through a gift — whether that’s in making them more efficient with their work, in their road to fitness, or in simply making them feel good about themselves.

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