‘Jurassic Park Alive’ Brings Dinosaurs To The Real World

Augmented reality games are taking mobile app stores by storm this year as franchises like Harry Potter, Ghostbusters, Maguss, and now Jurassic Park.

Players will assume the role of a Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG) member tasked with saving dinosaurs from a second extinction.

Unlike other AR games that require the user to travel in the real world, ‘Alive’ will let players send out a drone to collect DNA samples.

The game will take on a realistic approach to collecting dinosaurs with players using location-based technology to track and observe dinosaurs habits in their natural habitats.

Users Collect rare and powerful breeds of dinosaur by flying a virtual drone in-game, and collecting DNA samples to maintain a full roster of dinosaurs in hand.

Battles will take place between dinosaur ‘strike teams’.

Collectible items will come in the form of supply drops which will contains in-game currency or things like battery life for the drone.

The game is set to release this spring according to a trailer released by Ludia, the developer of the game.

Interested dinosaur wranglers can pre-register here.

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Review: Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition

It is a true wonder when a mobile game impresses the gaming community, but that is exactly what happened when Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition was released on mobile devices just a week ago.

What began as a ‘do we really need this’ became a ‘this is truly a great portable edition of Final Fantasy XV’.

Honestly, who knew that the gaming community needed a 3DS-like ‘demake’ of an already great console (and now PC edition) game but it proves to be a great option for those who haven’t played Final Fantasy XV or those who just want to play through the game again portably.

GAMEPLAY

One thing players will notice about Pocket Edition is cutscenes are nearly perfectly recreated, though now in the ‘chibi’ graphic style.

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Players of the console edition of the game will feel right at home, with dialogue between characters copied word for word, complete with voice acting for nearly every text bubble.

Banter between characters is still funny and an important piece of the story and atmosphere.

Movement has been reduced to just tapping or holding onto a point on the screen but somehow it works, especially in battle.

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Though simplified, the battle system in Pocket Edition feels right. Attacks are automatic once you target an enemy with Noctis’ warp ability returning, and the having the camera facing down, you can see exactly what you are doing at all times, which is a breath of fresh air fom the hectic camera system in FF XV.

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Areas of the game are fairly large for a mobile game, though it certainly isn’t open-world.

Outside of battles players will explore areas looking for barrels to smash, or sand piles to grab items out of. Exploration is still fun, with features like camping returning.

Of course, Ignis’ cooking sessions have returned as well.

The first time I saw Ignis snap his finger and exclaim, “I’ve come up with a new recipe,” I smiled, knowing I was about to embark on another adventure with Noctis and gang.

GRAPHICS

The game is still beautiful, though everything has been shrunk down to ‘chibi’ size.

With graphic settings set to high, light blooms seep onto the scene, colors are deeper, but even with settings set to low, it feels like playing a 3DS game, which is an amazing feat for mobile.

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Battles are still action packed with effects and characters all working flawlessly.

I experienced almost no lag, though there were a few slowdowns in some areas when transitioning from one place to the next, though it isn’t always noticeable.

The game runs in 30fps by default but I found playing in 60fps was a more enjoyable experience personally.

SOUND

Everything is nearly identical to the console version in the sound department. Music, sound effects, dialogue, its nearly perfectly adapted to the mobile edition.

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Hearing ‘Somnus’ play on the main menu when opening up the game was a nice touch, and instantly made me want to play through the game again.

One noticeable difference is right in the beginning scene. When Noctis and the gang are pushing the car along the road, I expected ‘Stand by Me’ to start playing but instead another song began to play, with no lyrics.

It’s a small complaint but the only noticeable one during my playthrough of the game.

SUMMARY

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is a great feat for mobile gaming. It is a true Final Fantay experience that feels just like a 3DS remake of FF XV, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

It doesn’t feel like mobile game. I never once thought, ‘I’m playing on my phone right now’. Most of the time I was too engrossed in the game to worry about what device I was playing on.

Essentially, they recreated the entire game for mobile devices. Everything is intact, including cutscenes.

It is certainly an enjoyable experience for the price and definitely worth the investment.

Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition is available to try for free. The full game is $19.99 for all 10 chapters.

Review: A Hollow Doorway

In a world that’s constantly on the move and changing, its a wonder when a gem like A Hollow Doorway interrupts the natural flow of things.

A Hollow Doorway is a colorfully meditative game by Kenny Sun. The object is to rotate your door to match the constantly shifting and shrinking hollow doorways. This all happens while the colors shift and parade across the screen and the music transcends the user into a meditative but focused state.

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The game comes with 9 levels, all increasingly difficult but fun to play. The game also features taptic feedback for iPhone 7 and newer, which this writer thought was a nice touch during gameplay sessions.

There are 34 achievements through Apple iCloud and leaderboards for top scores.

On the music side, musical artist JACK+JIM created 10 songs for the soundtrack which fit perfectly with the door shaping madness that is A Hollow Doorway.

Gameplay becomes addictive when you discover there are countless numbers of customizations, from colors and themes for the doorways and doors, to faces that can be added to the rotatable door.

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Of course, since the app is free, there are loot boxes in the game. The creator apologized in the description of the game for the addition of this, but none of the loot boxes are necessary and the game can be played and completed without the additional themes and faces.

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The customizations can also be obtained naturally through playing the game, though it may take longer than just spending the few extra bucks to eliminate them entirely.

Overall, I believe this game deserves a 9 for what it is. The music is great, gameplay is addictive and interesting, and though its not a new concept (looking at you Super Hexagon) it is a great pace-changer in the game that is the App Store.

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New Pokémon GO Feature Makes the Game More Realistic

In what was an unexpected update, Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, revealed the newest game update will bring more realistic augmented reality to the game, thanks to Apple’s ARkit development software.

That’s right, android users are getting left behind for now as Niantic works to develop a feature exclusive to Apple devices.

This new feature will begin to implement ARkit, apples new flagship development kit for developers to utilize AR more fluently.

For example, according to Niantic, Pokémon GO will use the new technology to make Pokémon occupy a fixed point in space, allowing players to walk up close to The Pokémon and observe it from all angles instead of The Pokémon just floating around in the air.

Beyond cosmetics, players will now be able to essentially sneak up on Pokémon and gain a greater amount of experience and chance to catch The Pokémon depending on their awareness level.

Awareness level is a new feature inside battles. It is represented by a bar at the bottom that raises if the player gets too close to The Pokémon during the battle, or makes too many quick moves.

Niantic said players will have to be careful trying to sneak up on Pokémon like Charizard but will find it easier to sneak up on Pokémon like Snorlax.

After testing the new update, I can personally say it is somewhat buggy. Pokémon appeared on top of objects as an overlay and didn’t quite look like they were sitting on the ground like I imagined.

“This is our first step toward making AR capabilities in Pokémon GO even more awesome, opening up the framework for greater AR experiences in the future.”

Overall, the new feature adds a layer of depth to the game, even if it is just cosmetic in nature.

Animal Crossing Provides A Relaxing Environment During A Stressful Time

Christmas is my favorite time of year, but it tends to be one of the most stressful times of year for me.

Between financial struggles, finals at University, and the long ride between college and home, there are various things that all ball together and create a chain reaction of stressful events.

Of course, relationships and friendships all help to lessen the stress, but I remember one game that used to tune me in and calm me down during pressured times.

Animal Crossing is a relaxing game. Either of its iterations will be able to provide a relaxing and interesting world to players.

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It offers a small, homey town with a house and friendly animals to talk to. The music, the characters and the environment are all cheery and uplifting.

Maybe it is just that, Animal Crossing provides a happy and cheerful environment to play through. No enemies or stressful events (except for the bees) to be found anywhere on the island.

It provides a second home experience.

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Though someone may abandon the game for years, the town that players spend so much time in, is still there. Albeit, villagers may leave or relocate, and weeds will certainly destroy the grass but that familiar house, the stores, the animals, they will be there.

Animal Crossing provides a familiarity, a consistence that allows players a place to return when life becomes unfamiliar or inconsistent.

I think that is what makes it so relaxing.

I always have my town to go back to. I can check in on villagers whenever I want, I don’t have to play everyday but I have that choice.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is another experience to enjoy now, and on mobile. Now I am not confined to my 3DS to play, but I have my town with me wherever I go.

I can always quickly open up the app and pop-in to check on how the animals in the game are doing.

I can always shake a few trees or catch a fish.

With the Christmas event underway in the game, I am finding myself more and more relaxed as Nintendo promises snow to come to the game.

Pocket Camp, though a mobile app, has carved a special place in my heart and I will keep it as long as it is available for me to return to.