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GNOG Review – A Puzzle Game About Fixing Little Mini Dioramas – UploadVR

GNOG is a really bizarre little game. Like, I dont really even understand what I played and thats kind of what I love about it.

On the one hand its an incredibly simplistic puzzle title developedby KO-OP and published by Double Fine, that has you poking around inside a wide variety of cleverly designedboxes that each represent tiny unique worlds bursting with color and character; but then on the other hand youre learning a new language of game design every step of the way.

Its easy to pick up and play but impossible to explain. Theres no tutorial at all other than an overlaid image of theDualShock 4 gamepad to just let you know that you should try nudging some analog sticks and buttons. Tilt the left stick, youll see a little circular cursor float around. Tilt the right stick and youll notice the mini diorama world on your screen moves. You learn how to flip it over with R2 and L2 soon after and thats really about all there is to it.

That minimalism in terms of not only graphical style, but also in terms of game design, is a big part of what makes GNOG feel special as a puzzle game. In an industry thats inundated with accessibility and over-explanation of everything, its refreshing in a way to be thrown into the deep end. Once it settles in that GNOG actually makes perfect sense, despite its esoteric beginnings,is when the magic happens.

In a lot of puzzle games you can feel yourself starting to get frustrated when you cant figure things out. Just ask anyone thats ever been stuck on a touch dungeon in a The Legend of Zelda title, or has tried slamming their head against that damned cube in Statik. But GNOG feels different. Its not asking you to discover the solution, or find an answer to its riddle. Instead, it just wants you to feel things out and let the puzzles unravel on their own.

For example, one of my favorite levelsis one of the games earliest stages, a rocket ship of sorts. The bright, beautiful animation of the ship blasting across the screenare shown, quickly followed by sirens going off, sparks flying, and the ship clearly breaking down. Obviously Im intended to fix it up and help it get back to its rocketing ways across space. Naturally, I flip it around and start messing with the dials and knobs until stuff starts to work again. I understand that spinning this dial in this direction does that, and so on. The sense of discovery is never-ending and that feels intentional.

Each level represents a tiny microcosm of possibilities like this. You might fiddle around with a boombox shaped creature or it might be one that munches on pretty butterflies for a living. At the end of the day its not just the payoff at each levels conclusionthat makes the puzzles feel worth solving, but its the clever charm and smart design along the way that makes it worth exploring.

And although GNOG works perfectly fine outside of the PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset, I cant recommend playing it without Sonys device on your face. The ability to lean in and occupy the same space as the dioramas, as well as gain increased clarity and intimacy with the worlds cannot be overstated. The moments between levels that flush the screen with pulsing color are incredible to behold in VR and sincerely makes me hope this developer creates a music visualization program of some kind eventually.

While GNOG does a great job of reminding me of the wonder of discovery that has felt lost in most modern games, it does come at a bit of a price. The mechanics are just so stupidly simple that its gonna get old after a while. The child-like wonder only lasts so long before you wish there was more going on. At the end of the day, youre just kind of clicking on stuff until something happens and even though the package surrounding that interaction is wonderfully designed and feels great to witness, its still pretty uninspired at its core.

GNOG is the video game equivalent ofsynesthesia. The bright colors are incredible, the simple, but disgustingly clever, puzzles are perfectly designed, and the experience inside the headset is wonderfully presented. However, its just such a bizarre and simple game, without anything new to really help it stand out. That it isnt for everyone. But if you love gorgeous, modern art-style puzzle experiences that challenge your mind, then GNOG could be just your kind of weird.

GNOG can be downloaded starting today,May 2nd, from the PlayStation Store for $14.99.Read ourGame Review Guidelinesfor more information on how we arrived at this score.

Tagged with: GNOG, KO-OP

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GNOG Review – A Puzzle Game About Fixing Little Mini Dioramas – UploadVR

The Easter egg puzzles that are hiding inside video games – New Scientist

The Trials games are full of mysteries

Trials HD/RedLynx

By Douglas Heaven

Brad Hill knew what the jumbled letters represented, but he had no idea where they would lead. A handful of players had started finding strange things in Trials HD, a game released in 2009 by Finnish studio RedLynx in which you drive stunt bikes over outlandish obstacle courses.

The mathematical patterns and cryptic messages discovered in the games more hard-to-reach places hinted at something beyond high scores. One player uploaded a screenshot of some brass plaques he had found strewn on the ground after crashing his bike through a trapdoor. They were covered in what looked like a coded message and the player wanted to know what it meant.

But it wasnt a message, it was a bit of DNA code. It just clicked with me from a biology course years ago, says Hill, who is now better known as Professor FatShady from the University of Trials, a YouTube channel he runs that provides tips for beating the game. Thats how I got sucked into the whole process.

Developers have been hiding things in games for decades. Known as Easter eggs, they are often just brief messages or joke items. One of the earliest appeared in Adventure, released in 1979, which contained a secret room where programmer Warren Robinett had written his name.

Nowadays developers across the board are hiding increasingly complex puzzles. As a result, people are getting together to play in a new way. Online communities with hundreds of members are spending years picking over new releases, chasing up obscure references and cracking codes. A few developers are even hiding whole games inside others.

That first clue Hill came across turned out to be just one of a series of mind-bending puzzles hidden in Trials HD and its follow-up Trials Evolution that would ultimately take a few dozen people years to find and solve. After months of lucky breaks and dead ends, the Trials Evolution puzzle culminated with a message saying that the final solution would be revealed beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris in 100 years time.

Despite the enormous cliffhanger, Hill regrets nothing. His account of how all the clues were pieced together unfolds like a Dan Brown novel. Youll be daydreaming about it on the train and thinking about it at night, he says. Some days, your mind is just messed up. Its been amazing.

And the game keeps giving. Only last week, Hill uncovered a clue hidden in a secret level of Trials Evolution that the group had missed several years ago.

Hidden elements are a great way to keep your most loyal players engaged, says Damien Brett at one-person studio Blunt Games in Sheffield, UK. It is very exciting to notice something that no one else may have seen.

There is also a strong social element. The more complex Easter eggs can pull in hundreds of players, working together and sharing clues. There are even rival communities that race to uncover everything a game has to offer.

When Trials Evolution came out, players were ready. We expected something was going to be there, says Hill. A forum thread was created before the game was released. The second that people found stuff we knew what to do.

What they gradually uncovered was a puzzle involving not only multiple layers of clues and coded messages, but also a string of GPS coordinates that marked the real-world locations of four buried boxes in Helsinki, San Francisco, Sydney and Bath, UK. Inside each box was a key. The players who now have those keys have been told that one of their number or rather one of their descendants will receive the final solution to the puzzle in 2113.

Trials Evolution/RedLynx

Hills office is close to where the Sydney box was buried, but he was working somewhere else on the day the coordinates were found. He doesnt care too much, however. For him, the thrill came from the many small breakthroughs on the way. He remembers the night the group discovered a hidden song that played only when you followed a precise series of steps including muting the games music.

Hill copied the track onto his phone and listened to it on the way to work the next day. With headphones, he could suddenly hear very faint beeps in the background. It was actually Morse code, he says. Using spectral analysis software to visualise the songs soundwaves revealed an encoded message that unlocked the next section of the puzzle.

At the time, it alerted the group to how well hidden some of the clues were going to be. But such tricks are becoming commonplace. These days, youd jump to Morse code pretty quickly, says Hill.

Morse code has been a key feature of puzzles in the Battlefield games, for example. The novelty comes from how the code is concealed. Like Trials, the Battlefield games often contain hidden puzzles that have taken even dedicated players months to unravel. One of the most notorious is known as the Dragon Valley Easter egg in Battlefield 4. The search began when one player spotted a skull symbol on the back of a pillar. Other players then noticed that a nearby lantern was blinking erratically. The blinking turned out to be Morse code.

This kicked off an Easter egg hunt involving five tiny switches hidden across the game. The last was discovered inside a tree and was only accessible by blowing up the trunk and hovering above the stump in a helicopter. The switches turned out to be part of a complex logic puzzle. Turning on an exact sequence of lights in a building revealed a hidden keypad, another coded message and finally a number unique to each player who bothers to complete the puzzle that unlocks a special outfit for their character.

I love that one because its pointless, says Hill. Its a fricking slightly different coloured outfit. But arguably all video gaming is pointless.

For Hill, the appeal of Easter eggs is that they offer an extra layer of challenge for especially dedicated players. The solutions to most visible puzzles are now typically posted online days after a games release. YouTube spoils everything, says Hill. But Easter eggs remain hidden until someone cares enough to find them.

Its that kind of player that Damien Brett is now banking on. Late last year, he released Drones, the Human Condition, a top-down shooter in which you have to survive waves of rogue robots. But this fast-paced action is only half the game.

Bretts official blurb makes no mention of it, but hidden in the computer files that control the game is a set of puzzles that amount to a separate game entirely. Combining clues from both games, you can unlock more levels or power-ups in the shooter and move ahead in the Orwellian narrative of the hidden game. Brett says he has also concealed other things, including a recipe for Scotch pancakes. What started out as a few silly Easter eggs soon grew, he says.

Brett was inspired by stories of developers leaving notes in a games files for hackers to find and hoped his own game would get pirated. But things didnt quite go to plan. Drones did end up being pirated on the day it was released, but the hacker missed Bretts messages. For now, the hidden game remains hidden and most players have yet to notice that there is even a puzzle there at all. Brett plans to drip feed clues until someone bites.

Easter eggs bring fans closer to the people who make their favourite games. Video games today are designed for the masses. When a blockbuster title hits the shelves, it is a highly market-tested product. But secrets tend to slip in under the radar, created by one or two developers who work on them in their spare time. This isnt about the company, says Hill. Its a way for developers to have a personal connection with the players, to put their own stamp on a game.

Even the extended riddles of the Trials and Battlefield games were created by just one individual at each of the studios behind them. The first hidden message in Battlefield 4 simply says, Did you miss me? a note from Julian Manolov, the developer at Dice who had hidden puzzles in the previous Battlefield games. The Trials puzzles are the work of Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynxs creative director. After the game was shipped, he had to take one of his co-workers out to lunch to tell him the answers to the puzzle in case something happened to him, says Hill.

Ilvessuo has also made specific arrangements for next centurys big reveal, as he wont be alive to finish what he started. He has assured me this is absolutely happening, there is no gimmick, says Hill.

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The Easter egg puzzles that are hiding inside video games – New Scientist

The World’s Easiest Math Word Problem. Sunday Puzzle

A math teacher is buying wooden letters. Each letter has a price, but different letters can have different prices. A shopkeeper explains the cost of a few words:

ONE costs $1
TWO costs $2
ELEVEN costs $11

The math teacher wants to buy TWELVE. How much does TWELVE cost?

Watch the video for a solution.

The World’s Easiest Math Word Problem – Can You Solve It?

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Answer To The World’s Easiest Math Word Problem

If you guessed $12 without thinking, then you’re correct! This is the easiest word problem.

This puzzle involves a clever anagram. The letters on the left side of the equals sign can be re-arranged to form the letters on the right side:

TWO PLUS ELEVEN = ONE PLUS TWELVE

Interestingly the mathematical equation is also true. And both anagrams have the same number of letters, 13, which is coincidentally the correct answer to each sum! One more thing: 2 + 11 = 1 + 12 is also an anagram of numerals.

The word problem can be solved by noting TWELVE has the letters of ELEVEN and TWO minus the letters for the word ONE. This implies the cost of TWELVE is the cost of ELEVEN plus TWO minus the cost of ONE. Thus,

cost(TWELVE) = cost(ELEVEN) + cost(TWO) – cost(ONE)
cost(TWELVE) = 11 + 2 – 1
cost(TWELVE) = 12

So this is the easy answer to the easiest word problem: the word TWELVE costs $12.

The formal algebra problem with extra details

We do not know how much each letter costs, but we can readily solve for the word twelve. Let’s use a lowercase letter variable to indicate the cost of a particular uppercase letter. Then we have:

o + n + e = 1
t + w + o = 2
e + l + e + v + e + n = 11

The last equation can be re-written by grouping like variables:

3e + l + v + n = 11

We want to solve for TWELVE, which is:

t + w + 2e + l + v

After experimentation, we can find the relationship:

t + w + 2e + l + v = (3e + l + v + n) + (t + w + o) – (o + n + e)

Substituting the known costs then leads to:

t + w + 2e + l + v = 11 + 2 – 1 = 12

Sources and further reading
http://blog.tanyakhovanova.com/2017/03/the-hidden-beauty/

https://www.reddit.com/r/mildlyinteresting/comments/16g895/eleven_plus_two_is_an_anagram_of_twelve_plus_one/

https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/144594005852831744

http://old.qi.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=34230&start=0&sid=3f281a47a14fd758ff5566d0ca5c3584

https://mathjokes4mathyfolks.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/anagram-game/

https://wordsmith.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=196932

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The World’s Easiest Math Word Problem. Sunday Puzzle

Escape room games: Locked up in a room of puzzles for fun – Daily Sabah

One afternoon last month, a group of five friends and I gathered in an apartment in Beyolu to unearth a lost obelisk. It’s not every day you get to descend into the depths of historical Istanbul to recover an object lost in time, and it’s also not every day you get to explore an ancient Egyptian tomb. None of us were particularly concerned about how the ancient Egyptians had managed to build a tomb full of traps and puzzles in a Beyolu basement apartment, nor were we concerned that hundreds of other people had found it already.

Our handler, Boris, gave us all bright red Mario overalls and told us three things, that we’d probably only have 90 minutes of air in the tomb, how to open the door, and lastly he wished us good luck. Here, tragically, is where I have to stop describing what happened, or I’d spoil the surprises of Crazy Enigma’s game named “Egyptian Sun.” What I can say is that the next 90 minutes felt like crashing around an Indian

Jones movie, crawling, scratching our heads, deciphering “ancient” clues.

It was an immersive game, part of a larger trend that appeared in Istanbul a few years ago the escape room game.

Escape room games are an unusual afternoon’s entertainment. You and a team, some games require between two and six people, while others go up to 12, are trapped in a room and must solve a barrage of puzzles to find the key and escape, all against a fixed time limit. There’s no real danger, we weren’t actually about to run out of air within 90 minutes, and in case we truly got stuck, the game master watched over us on CCTV cameras the whole time.

Escape room games were invented in Japan about 10 years ago, and only spread to Europe within the past three years. In the early 2000s, the internet offered a profusion of online puzzle games also called “escape room games,” where players would have to point and click around a virtual room to find a key. This idea collided with the concept of a fairground haunted house to create an immersive puzzle game experience.

Boris Buchner, when I interviewed him about the “Egyptian Sun,” told me that his team had gone to 40 escape room games in Istanbul for research.

“Forty?” I asked. “How many escape games are there here?”

“There were more than 200, actually,” he said. “But many of them have closed down after the economy went bad. About two thirds of them are haunted houses with a side of puzzles.”

This was news to me, there is no official register of escape room games, though a few websites offer semi-organized lists, and the cities with the highest numbers (all in China) count their escape rooms in the 50s. I’d clearly fallen down a deep, deep hole. Escape rooms, it seemed, are as numerous and varied as any other kind of game.

“We wanted to base ours on a gem of history,” Boris said, “and then we designed the game.”

I asked why the game feels so immersive when you play it. That’s due to careful testing, Boris explained.

“Our team, after we designed it, ran through three months of playtests.

We try to engage all five senses. We have variations in sight, sound, and

touch; I really wanted to have a puzzle with scent but it didn’t work. We had these three narrow bottles filled with some smelly objects and players had to put them in an order according to their scent, but nobody figured out you had to smell them. I put a nose hieroglyph on the wall, but still nobody got it.”

“Had to cut the puzzle,” he said, as he shook his head and laughed.

Boris explained that he didn’t want to display a timer or a “fastest escapes” board, because he believed it would take you out of the game.

“Egyptian Sun” offers its gamers an Indiana Jones-style adventure for 90 minutes.

The Egyptian concept was his wife Aysel’s idea. She explained that she loved running the games because, since she’s watching the players on CCTV the whole time, she gets to peek at everyone’s psychology as it’s revealed by the game.

“You get men in with their girlfriends, and how they play the game exposes the dynamics of their relationships,” she said. “She finds something, he ignores her. Or a father’s playing with his child, the father ignores the kid when he finds something, etc. It’s great character analysis.”

Boris explained that he and his wife wanted to make a game where everyone felt welcome, and everyone felt like they’d achieved something at the end.

“There are four kinds of players: explorers, competitors, achievers, and socializers. Each is looking for a different experience in their game, and any good puzzle room has to take into account all four types,” he said.

I’m definitely an explorer; I scrambled around finding pieces and clues while my much-smarter friends figured out how they fit together.

The saddest part of doing an escape room though, I discovered, is that once it’s done, it’s done; you’ve solved the puzzles and can’t do it over. (Or I suppose you could, if you’re like me and don’t know how your team did the nitty-gritty work of solving puzzles.) It creates a frantic addiction to get locked in another puzzle-filled room.

So, I again gathered my team and visited another company, MazeUp in the Marmara Forum Shopping Mall in the Bakrky district. They feature two escape rooms, and two sets of puzzles with different themes. One is an Ottoman-themed, “The Spoonmaker’s Diamond,” and the other is a steampunk-like one, “The Lost Watchmaker.” We opted for the Ottoman theme and spent the hour trapped in what felt like a pasha’s apartment, searching for clues, finding secret doors. The story was that we’d broken in and had to find an enormous diamond before the pasha came back with his guards to “execute us.”

It was a shorter game, with far more codes and locks and numbers, but it was more challenging than the “Egyptian Sun.” We managed to solve all the puzzles and charge out with time to spare, and I felt a little sad again when it was over. I enjoyed the sense of peeling back the clues to reveal things that had been in the room the whole time, and immersing myself in a strange Ottoman apartment.

I’m eager to go back and try their second game. But I still like being Indiana Jones.

You can find a list of Istanbul escape room games on “Yeni Grev,” Tripadvisor, or regular old Google. Most places recommend making reservations in advance and you’ll pay about TL 50 ($14) per person.

Crazy Enigma’s “Egyptian Sun” can be found at http://egyptian-sun.com/ and MazeUp at http://www.mazeup.com.tr/.

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Escape room games: Locked up in a room of puzzles for fun – Daily Sabah

Game Day: Invert – MacStories

Invert from Copenhagen-based Glitchnap stretches the concept of tile flipping games in new directions. The only constants in the game are that each flippable tile has two different colored sides, and the goal is to flip them, so the board is one, uniform color. Glitchnap describes Invert as a 2D Rubiks cube-like puzzle game, which is apt on many levels.

Invert starts with fairly simple puzzles laid out in a grid with only a few flipped tiles. The challenge is that you can only flip whole rows of tiles at once requiring you to consider the impact on other tiles in the row. As the game progresses, Invert introduces the ability to flip tiles in patterns other than rows. The buttons at the end of each row of tiles indicate the shape of the flip pattern. Its a small difference that adds complexity because it forces you to consider how each pattern interacts with the others adjacent to it.

In later levels, Invert changes the shape of the board too. Instead of simple squares with varying numbers of rows, Invert adds boards made up of hexagons, diamonds, and other shapes. The unique shapes and layouts create another twist that requires you to consider the relationship between the layout of the board, the shape of the tiles, and how each affect the flip patterns.

The pacing of Invert is excellent. There are twenty levels, each of which has eight puzzles. The early levels have a puzzle or two that are solved easily, which helps teach you how newly-introduced mechanics work. Invert doesnt dwell on the easy puzzles long, though. Soon, youre deep into mind-bendingly challenging puzzles.

The depth of Invert extends beyond the complexity and variety of its puzzles. There are three gameplay modes. In campaign mode, you have to solve each puzzle in a certain number of moves, whereas in challenge mode there is no limit on the number of moves it takes you to find a solution, but you’re racing the clock. Both modes add a level of pressure to the game. Of the two, I prefer campaign mode because theres no penalty for starting over if you run out of moves. Expert mode is unlocked after you collect 100 stars, which I havent quite reached yet.

Invert has many nice touches that make it a delight to play. The animations are playful and add to the sense that you are interacting directly with the tiles. Haptic feedback is used to great effect too. On an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus the haptic feedback supports the sound effects when you flip tiles. There is also a dark mode that themes the usually bright and colorful game in muted gray tones, which is useful for playing late at night.

My biggest disappointment with Invert is a complaint that I still have with many iOS games it doesnt sync across iOS devices. Invert is better suited for an iPhone screen than an iPad, but even so, I would like the ability to pick up where a left off no matter which device I have with me.

Puzzle games fit so naturally with mobile devices that its no wonder weve seen so much innovation in the genre recently. Despite the lack of sync, Invert is one of my favorite puzzle games to debut this year, and another excellent example of a simple and familiar concept expanded in a way that makes it feel fresh and fun. If youre a puzzle game fan, Invert is a game you shouldnt miss.

Invert is available on the App Store.

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Game Day: Invert – MacStories

New data show most drivers use handheld devices – The Salinas Californian

MACGREGOR ‘GOYA’ EDDY 1:26 p.m. PT April 27, 2017

Motorists with handheld smart phones use them in 88 of every 100 trips, according to data released April 17 by Zendrive, a company that monitors driving behavior using sensors within the smart phone.

Previous, and much lower, estimates of distracted driving behavior were based on self-reporting. The data show that, on average, drivers spend 3.5 minutes of every hour manipulating their devices by hand. The study did not include hands-free activity, just using the smart phone manually.

The data was collected during 10 billion miles driven by 5 million motorists, the largest study ever done. Previous research has indicated that taking your eyes off the road for two seconds increases the likelihood of a collision by 24 times. (For details of the study see blog.zendrive.com)

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Traffic collision deaths have risen sharply the past two years. The National Safely Council states that in a covering 2015-16, the increase in traffic collision deaths in the United States is the largest two-year jump in 50 years. With the use of seat belts and airbags, the mortality (death) rate of traffic collisions had been decreasing until the past few years, when this 14% jump occurred. The rapid increase of handheld devices while driving is one possible factor in the rising collision fatalities.

Which brings us to a reminder: You can text on a bus or train. The promoters of public transit are missing an educational opportunity to point out that you can text and use apps safely on a bus or a train. A lot of money is being spent on advertisements urging people not to text and drive, but I have not seen any linked to transit use.

When I suggest that people take the bus or try the train, most people say, Yes, Goya, but it takes longer. What do we do with extra time that is saved by taking the car? If texting, answering emails or using an app is one thing you do with your time (and research shows that for most of us that is true) then you can do that safely on the bus or train. Time stuck in traffic driving for hours feels wasted, so it is tempting to use the smart phone. I understand the temptation. I enjoy doing chess puzzles on my Android phone and, at bus stops, my time goes quickly.

Rail policy

Monday, 3 p.m., The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) Rail Policy Committee will meet at 55 Plaza Circle Salinas. http://www.tamcmonterey.org or call 775-0903.

Boronda Road widening

Wednesday, 6 p.m., McKinnon Elementary School, 2100 McKinnon St. Salinas city public works will hold a meeting about the widening of Boronda Road. Call Frank Aguayo at 758-7427 for details.

Wednesday, 6 p.m., The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee, 1 Sylvan Park, Sand City. May is Bike Month and for a list of county bicycle activities see http://www.tamcmonterey.org or call 775-0903 or email: virginia@tamcmonterey.org.

May 7, 7 a.m., Salinas Criterium street bike race for cash prizes. Course is flat, five-corners (all left), corner of Moffett Street and La Guardia Street, Salinas, near the Airport. Registration: http://www.BikeReg.com ($10). Info at http://www.pedalialpini.org/

May 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Natividad Creek Park: Take it Outside Salinas. Free helmets for children and a fun bike rodeo, music, games and a human chess game. See http://www.facebook.com/takeitoutsidesalinas

Send comments or questions to MacGregor Eddy (Goya) at wecouldcarless@gmail.com

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New data show most drivers use handheld devices – The Salinas Californian

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is the match-3 mobile game we were all … – VentureBeat

Well, it finally happened. Even Star Wars couldnt resist the lure of the match-3 puzzle game.

Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is out now iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire devices. The free-to-play game features characters from A Force Awakens like BB-8, Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. Star Wars has become a successful mobile brand thanks to apps like the role-playing game Galaxy of Heroes, the strategy game Commander, and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) meets card game Force Arena.

All of those games borrowed ideas from other successful mobile genres, but Puzzle Droid is finally tackling the most aped of them all: the match-3 puzzle game. These exploded into popularity thanks to Candy Crush Saga, which debutedin 2012 and is still the No. 19 ranked iOS game in the U.S., according to App Annie.Disney has definitely focused Star Wars on mobile gaming, with console releases (Iike the shooter Battlefront) coming out at a much slower pace.

These days, almost every recognizable brand seems to have a match-3 game of its own, including Star Trek, Frozen, and WWE.

So, why are we matching three puzzle pieces? Why, were tapping into the holographic memory banks of The Force Awakens star droid, BB-8, of course. This unlocks story moments from that film told through his eyes.

Featuring more than 100 levels, Star Wars: Puzzle Droids lets players match-3 to create combos, clear obstacles and face-off against enemies, and unleash epic power-ups to clear the board, Disney detailed in a press release sent to GamesBeat. Missions can be completed to collect memory discs, which may be used to unlock heroic memories to continue the adventures.

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Star Wars: Puzzle Droids is the match-3 mobile game we were all … – VentureBeat

The Disappointing Reason Those Brain-Training Apps Might Not Work – SheKnows.com

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If you think spending an entire afternoon on Lumosity or all evening doing crossword puzzles is helping your brain get stronger and smarter, think again. New research tells us that brain games dont actually work the way we think they do.

This new information was published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience by a group from Florida State University that conducted research to figure out if brain games actually help build up and strengthen cognitive function. Neil Charness, a professor of psychology at the university and an expert on aging and cognition, paired up with Wally Boot, an associate professor psychology, and Dustin Souders, a graduate student, for this study.

More:Use Fists to Boost Memory

Brain challenges like crossword games are a popular approach, especially among baby boomers, as a way to try to protect cognitions, said Charness, explaining that a growing number of older individuals use these kinds of games in hopes of preventing memory loss or any type of cognitive disorder that comes with aging.

It turns out that the brain-game business has been thriving for a few years, sometimes off of largely false claims preying on peoples fears. The Federal Trade Commission actually called out one such company, fining them $2 million for false information and advertising. Boot stated that these exaggerated claims are not consistent with the conclusions of our latest study. So developing more brain elasticity and more readily available memory functions isnt an actual thing, and thats pretty disappointing to a lot of people.

More: Your Memory “Style” May Be Influencing Your Health More Than You Think

When people try these games out, its normally in an effort to improve overall working memory, hoping that that would translate to other areas of life, otherwise known as far transfer. But the studies have disproved this, saying that more specific tasks or instances are much harder to remember as opposed to just using general working memory.

According to Charness, people would be much better off exercising than trying to home in on just mental exercises. So exercise isnt just good for your body, but also great for your brain and all of its functions. If your real goal is to improve cognitive function and brain games are not helping, Charness adds, then maybe you are better off getting aerobic exercise rather than sitting in front of your computer playing these games.

More: The Sexiest Part of You Is Your Brain That’s Why Alzheimer’s Needs a Cure

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The Disappointing Reason Those Brain-Training Apps Might Not Work – SheKnows.com

Brain-Twisting Puzzle Game Statik Is a Perfect Fit For PlayStation VR – Kotaku

If you enjoy room escape games and are looking for something to do with your PlayStation VR, look no further than Statik.

Released earlier this week, Statik takes its inspiration from those classic stuck in a room filled with puzzly bits challenges both IRL and virtual, tasking you with a series of setups that all revolve around a box in which your hands are trapped.

I wouldnt expect this game to show up on any other VR platforms, as its quite specifically designed for the minutiae of the PlayStation 4 experience: The experience of having both of your hands stuck in the box is mapped to the position of holding a Dual Shock 4 controller, so it wouldnt feel right holding Vive controllers. And it wouldnt work with the Rifts Xbox One controller, because that cant be motion-tracked.

Each puzzle has two major elements: The unique box your hands are stuck in, with its initially inscrutable array of buttons, dials, and other assorted moving parts. Theres also the room around you, which is full of (mostly!) non-interactive clues. First thing you gotta do is start pressing every button you can on the controller while twisting the box around, to see what moves what.

Once you take a mental inventory of what you can change and what you cant, the rest is up to you. And it really is all up to you, as the game provides zero hints. There are clues, of course, but you have to observe them for yourself. If youre not already a fan of real puzzles (as opposed to typical video game puzzles), this may be off-putting!

But this means that when you do work something out for yourself, its a great feeling, one thats replicated many times over throughout the games 10-or-so puzzle rooms. And the information is there for you to come up with one correct solution for each puzzle. I dont know about you, but I get pretty annoyed when I feel like a puzzle (in a game or otherwise) is insufficiently clued to the point where there are many possible answers and youre just left to guess what the designer was thinking. As obtuse as it may be sometimes, Statik is not that. There is a solution to everything and there are enough clues for that solution. Thats very good puzzle design.

Aesthetically, its hard to miss the Portal inspiration, with the sterile laboratory running seemingly nonsensical tests on you, the seemingly unwilling subject, the only voice in your ear the sardonic instructor. A human instructor, here, not a robot. And hes always in the room with you, drinking coffee with loud slurps, scratching on a notepad, tapping ka-chunk, ka-chunk on a keyboard. Its mildly annoying and unnerving, but Im pretty sure its meant to be exactly that, so I can dig it.

Much like I Expect You To Die, Statik realizes that the most compelling use of virtual reality can be quiet, solitary, up-close exploration and manipulation of small objects, the kind of thing that would be far too fiddly and detailed for a TV-based game but works quite well in the VR space. Insofar as its highly unlikely this will come to another platform any time soon, puzzle fans who own PlayStation VR shouldnt miss this.

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Brain-Twisting Puzzle Game Statik Is a Perfect Fit For PlayStation VR – Kotaku

Video game review: Hunt around for these 5 bargain bin Wii games – News & Observer


News & Observer
Video game review: Hunt around for these 5 bargain bin Wii games
News & Observer
One of the earliest and best puzzle games for the Wii, Boom Blox was a relatively big deal when it was first released in 2008. Film director Steven Spielberg collaborated on the design. A cross between Jenga, Tetris and mobile match-three games

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Video game review: Hunt around for these 5 bargain bin Wii games – News & Observer


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