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Travel Frog: The new addictive mobile game

Taking me back to my Neko Atsume days

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If you were into Neko Atsume while it was out, this is the game for you: Tabi Kaeru (旅かえる) meaning “Travel Frog” in English.

If you haven’t heard of Neko Atsume, shame on you — just kidding. It was a mobile game that was developed by Hit-Point Co., Ltd. that was released on October 20, 2014. It grew in popularity by its simple game mechanic of collecting adorable cats. It was difficult to resist trying this game out when the graphics were impossibly cute. This pretty much sets you up for what Tabi Kaeru (旅かえる), a new game developed by the same company, achieves.

Well, here it is: The perfect cute game where, even if you have minimal understanding and not as much involvement, you will feel satisfied. As much as this game is completely in Japanese, it doesn’t quite matter. You can play along with context clues and wander about figuring out what seems to work and what doesn’t.

The game has enough visuals to walk you through most of what you’re meant to do despite not really speaking or understanding Japanese. In fact, Neko Atsume and Tabi Kaeru (旅かえる) make waiting a valuable aspect of the game.

In Tabi Kaeru (旅かえる), you meet an adorable small frog that wanders about, leaves you postcards, and occasionally stays home. You’ll first get bombarded with Japanese instructions once you’ve installed but don’t fret. Most of the things you need to play in this game have context clues and the game is filled with them.

This game is addictive without needing your full and dedicated attention. You collect clovers to buy food, charms, and items to set your frog on his journey. You’ll meet different friends on the way as you’ll occasionally check if your frog has returned home from his travels. I’ll let you know how I progress in the game soon, but there’s just something satisfying about seeing your frog travel around mysterious and cinematic places. Play it with me here (Android, iOS).

SEE ALSO: Razer Phone Review: Best smartphone for gaming?

Apps

Digimon ReArise: A new Digimon mobile game!

It comes with an exclusive Digimon!

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Bandai Namco Entertainment just posted a teaser video for its new and upcoming Digimon ReArise mobile game. The text in the video reads, “Here is the story where your Digimon becomes a reality.”

The teaser doesn’t say much but Digimon ReArise will be a free-to-play mobile game where you’ll be working closely with a Digimon to battle against “Spiral,” — a mysterious and unexplained power. The development team describes the game as both “the adventure story of tamers and their Digimon” and “a game for looking after and training Digimon at any time.”

On top of all that, Bandai Namco finally revealed the exclusive starter Digimon you meet in the game. Created by Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru, the new Digimon is named Erismon (エリスモン). He’ll be the main focus and will be your main companion in the game. Erismon is apparently an electric hedgehog whose attacks shoot out static needles from his back.

Digimon ReArise will be out this year in Japan. While this game is in the works, you can give Digimon Links a try. Digimon Links was launched in Japan in March 2016 and in English last October.

SEE ALSO: Sky: A new jaw-dropping mobile game coming out soon!

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Spotify plans to create their own smart speaker

Is this the Apple HomePod killer?

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As smart speakers emerge from all sides, Spotify is no longer satisfied with being “just” a streaming app. New job listings confirm that the music giant is working on its own device for the future.

Based on a new job opening recently posted on its site, Spotify is looking for an “Operations Manager — Hardware Product.” The listing states that “Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products.”

Image source: Spotify Jobs

Besides an Operations Manager, the company is also looking for a Senior Project Manager and Project Manager on the same team. All three openings confirm that dedicated Spotify hardware is in the works.

Without its own hardware, the music-streaming app relies on third-party devices to distribute its services. This business model has been Spotify’s go-to since its inception. To its credit, this model works. Spotify still rules the music-streaming food chain atop competitors like Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Amazon Music.

However, as competing brands develop their own smart speakers, the need for a Spotify-exclusive device gradually turns into a do-or-die situation. Some smart speakers today don’t even offer Spotify as a default player. If Spotify hopes to survive into the future, they have to create their own hardware brand where they don’t have to play second fiddle to the competition.

As of now, the job listings are still open. They also clarify that Spotify is still in the process of creating the team. Given that it’s still in its infancy, this mystery device remains unknown. Besides a smart speaker, it could even be a wearable. For sure, it’ll still be a while before we even get a whiff of what Spotify is cooking.

For what it’s worth, Spotify offers information that the mystery device “will impact the way the world experiences music.”

SEE ALSO: 5 steps to making the perfect Spotify playlist

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Uber plans to sell Southeast Asian arm to Grab

In exchange for Grab’s stakes

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A massive deal is brewing in Southeast Asia. After a rocky 2017, Uber is gearing up to sell its Southeast Asia operations to Singapore’s Grab.

Despite posting a whopping US$ 7.5 billion in sales last year, Uber reported an even more surprising US$ 4.5 billion in losses. Uber’s worldwide demand couldn’t offset the costs that it incurred throughout the previous year.

This makes the rumored deal between the two ride-sharing apps a timely one. Further, reports indicate that Uber is also preparing for an eventual IPO sometime next year.

Should it happen, Uber will receive a substantial stake in Grab’s company. Currently, Uber hasn’t finalized the deal yet. Reports don’t include a timeline on when (or if) this deal will conclude.

The strategic move works in favor of Uber as a business. However, it remains unclear how this will affect commuters.

Southeast Asian commuters heavily prefer the convenience of Uber and Grab, compared to the bustle of traditional public transportation. The two apps share similar popularity ratings across the region.

For its popularity, Uber is pummeled with more controversies than Grab. The earlier has already suffered from multiple cases of drivers raping passengers, taxi protests, and a recent attempt to stifle autonomous driving. The company’s long-standing CEO Travis Kalanick also resigned last year.

Despite the mounting scandals, Uber remains one of the world’s preferred ride-sharing service. Regardless of whether the proposed sale will push through, Uber continues to be a watchword in today’s transportation economy.

SEE ALSO: Five Uber app alternatives for your daily commute

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