Tap Titans 2: How can tapping the screen be so fun? (Review)
Even though there are a lot of games that rely on very simple controls (especially the enormous amount of “endless” games), more and more games are also implementing complex controls with complicated (but fun) gameplay. However, Tap Titans 2, by Game Hive Corporation, does the exact opposite: it gives you only one control through the whole game. However, the result is much more entertaining than you might think.
Developer: Game Hive Corporation
Setup lets you choose a name and an avatar for your character.
When you launch the game, it shows you a blonde guy with a black suit and a red scarf. This small guy is the character you will control for the rest of the game. Immediately after, you are allowed to change the name of him. Henceforth, he shall be known as Inuyasha (since that is how I named my character, because Inuyasha is a true sword master). You can also change your avatar, albeit the choices are limited to three and they aren’t that appealing.
You are thrown at the game immediately, with no tutorial or even a simple explanation of what to do. Since the name is “Tap Titans 2,” I figured that I should tap in order to do something. And I was right. The whole game has only one control, and it involves tapping anywhere on the screen. This will make Inuyasha slash his opponent once. Repeated tapping will kill your opponent, and a new one will show up.
In order to complete a stage, you need to kill nine monsters and one boss. Bossess are obviously more difficult and a timer will be associated with them. If you fail to kill the boss before this time, you will have to fight other monsters and then try again.
After clearing several stages, you will change the location where you are fighting, and naturally, monsters will get stronger. But, Inuyasha can also get stronger! This is because, when you kill a monster, it will yield coins that you can collect. These coins can be used to increase Inuyasha’s level, which will make him do more damage per slash.
Tapping the screen repeatedly is all you have to do to progress.
Just as the anime character that inspired my hero’s name, Tap Titan 2’s main character can also have companions with him. You can hire their services using coins too, and they can also be leveled. Each level increase gets more expensive, but you also get more coins so it evens out.
There’s also pets that can accompany you in your trip, as well as equipment, artifacts, and special skills (all of which are unlocked after a certain level). Everything has some kind of upgrade associated with it, so the replay value is huge.
To add to the enjoyment, the game plays for you automatically when it is closed (but it doesn’t clear the bosses, so you actually don’t progress that much), so there’s a decent pile of coins awaiting for your arrival everytime you open the game.
A clan system has been added as well. You join a clan and you team up with its members in order to kill a huge monster with an insane amount of HP. It is important for every member to participate, because killing this massive monster is almost impossible without teamwork.
If you remember a game we reviewed some months ago called Groove Planet, then you might think that it is familiar. That is because it is. Tap Titans 2 replace buildings with heroes and notes with coins, but the concept is almost identical.
There’s a lot of stuff you can upgrade.
For some reason, I’ve found that this game has become very addictive. Even though the only thing you have to do is tap the screen, the amount of things available for upgrading and improving is astounding, and seeing how you progress little by little is rewarding. I’ve played for several days and I’m currently in stage 68 and it seems like I’m not even close to finishing the game because the amount of upgrades I have left is enormous.
Sure, it would be awesome if at least another way of controlling the characters was implemented (something that is partially mitigated by special skills), but at least the core gameplay is rock solid.
Clans are a great way to add replay value to the game.
Finally a game that acknowledges design patterns other than voxel! Tap Titans 2 looks very nice. It is not the most detailed game around, but the sprites are colorful and good-looking. I mean, some monsters are extremely ugly but their ugliness is represented in a wonderful and elaborate way, if that makes sense. The scenary changes are nice, since it keeps you from looking at the same background every day. Some of them are more detailed than others but they’re a joy to look at.
The buttons in the lower part of the screen are used to change from upgrades to your main character, to heroes, to artifacts, etc. Sometimes, they seem a bit too small, so tapping them doesn’t register, which is a bit frustrating. Other than that, elements are normally very clear and look nice.
Music for the game stays the same always, so you might get a bit tired of it after some time. However, it is entertaining and goes in line with the game’s theme. Sound effects are nice, although some attacks have no SFX at all.
I can understand the decision behind this: since you will have several heroes in the screen all attacking at the same time, it could get really annoying very fast. However, it stills looks weird to have these nice-looking attacks being done by heroes and there’s absolutely no auditive feedback associated with them.
There are a handful of options available.
There are a few options you can play around with. The game is translated into 16 different languages, so you are probably covered in that aspect. You can also toggle sounds, music and notifications (they sometimes get a bit annoying, so I would recommend you deactivate them).
This is also the place where you can go to buy gems, through the “Bank” option. You can also rate the game here and contact support if you find some nasty bug that needs fixing.
Finally, an important element here is enabling rounding for leveling in bulk. That means that if you are on level 6, and you select to buy levels on increments of 10, you will first level to 10, then to 20, and onwards. If you disable rounding and are on level 6, you will increase your level to 16, then 26, and so on.
Even though it incorporates dead-simple controls that don’t seem entertaining, Tap Titans 2 manages to provide a lot of fun, thanks to a very well-thought upgrade system that brings huge replay value to the game. Nevertheless, it would be nice to see a bit of variation in the game, since there will be a moment in which tapping the screen the whole time will not cut it anymore. However, the game right now can provide a lot of fun and is ideal for playing in short bursts. If you are looking for a not too demanding game that provides lots of fun, then Tap Titans 2 is for you.
Download and install Tap Titans 2 from the Google Play Store.
Windows 10 Project Neon confirmed by developer day live-stream
Why it matters to you
Project Neon will change and modernize the look of Windows 10 in a way that makes sense of multiple devices, including HoloLens.
Microsoft has inadvertently confirmed the existence and shown us a little more of its upcoming Project Neon design overhaul for Windows 10, which makes it possible to create much more visually appealing applications for the operating system. Although its release date is still unknown, it should mean we start seeing much more attractive apps in the future.
To date, all we have seen of Project Neon is a few application previews from certain developers, which seemed to feature much fancier transparency options for the UI, as well as new animations to make everything feel more fluid. Microsoft has yet to officially announced Neon’s existence, but it might as well have, as during a recent developer day it showed an image of Project Neon in the flesh.
Spotted during the Windows Developer Day live-stream (by WindowsCentral) the image shows The Neon design language in action, as well as Microsoft’s own statement on its commitment to helping developers make “beautiful, engaging experiences” using it.
More: Latest Windows 10 Insider Build will let your smartphone lock and unlock your PC
The added translucency found in the Project Neon update is being termed Acrylics, and will look to ape some of the visual feel that Windows 7’s Aero Glass update added.
When it does debut at some point in the future, Project Neon is expected to impact the aesthetics of everything related to Windows 10, from the PC-based OS itself, to the Xbox One, Windows 10 Mobile and Hololens. It’s not clear if Microsoft will debut it across all platforms straight away, but considering Microsoft’s drive for much more unified platforms, it wouldn’t be surprising.
We’ll likely hear more about the new design update at Microsoft’s BUILD 2017 conference, to be held in May. We also expect to hear more about Windows 10 Cloud, a rumored low-cost, lightweight version of Windows 10, at that time.
Tinder for moms? Peanut app helps get gang together for friendship, playdates
Why it matters to you
Making friends isn’t easy when you’re a busy mom, but Peanut aims to help you find fellow moms to befriend.
It’s hard to name a social network geared toward women with kids. Sure, websites like Cafe Mom and ParentsConnect cater to moms, but they don’t exactly offer the polished experienced that social behemoths like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat deliver. While moms can correspond in Facebook Groups and Forums, it’s not the same as using an app designed with their needs and interests in mind.
That’s why Michelle Kennedy, a former lawyer, started Peanut. Kennedy began working on Peanut after spending a lot of time trying to find mothers who shared common interests. She comes armed with knowledge from Badoo, a dating startup where she spent six years as General Council and later deputy CEO, and Bumble, a location-based ephemeral dating app she helped to found with ex-Tinder team member Whitney Wolfe.
Meeting fellow moms the digital way
Penaut’s tagline explains the goal of the app perfectly: “Meet as mamas, connect as women.” The idea is to connect women with fellow moms who share their interests to create lasting friendships.
“Peanut is designed to give women a network, [and] view motherhood as an adventure in the life of a woman,” the Peanut team said in a press release. “Every step of Peanut is geared toward making it simple to reach out and connect in a friendly and accessible way.”
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That’s apparent at signup. New users, which Peanut cutely calls “mamas,” log in with an existing Facebook account and create a profile by answering questions like, “How far along in your pregnancy are you?,” and “How old are your children?” Then, they select three colorful labels — “packs,” in Peanut’s vocabulary — from categories like “Spiritual Gangster,” “Fashion Killa,” “City Gal,” “Single Mama,” and “Mama of Multiples.” And that’s all it takes.
From there, Peanut works its magic. Using machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that allows the app to make insights independently, the network recommends matches based on proximity and common interests. It’ll show other women nearby, highlighting commonalities such as hobbies, languages, the age and gender of children, educational background, and other criteria. Users express interest in potential matches with an upward swipe on their profile picture, which Peanut playfully calls a “wave.”
In-app messaging makes meeting up easier
The goal is to make connecting with other women less daunting, Kennedy said. When a user responds to another’s wave, a popup highlighting the two users’ shared interests serves as a discussion prompter. Users can chat before they “wave” at one another, providing a built-in means of screening prospective matches. Peanut offers a myriad ways to shuttle messages back and forth. Users can send notes from profile screens, from the expanded view of their profiles, and from the network’s dedicated messages folder.
More: Twitter claims users trust social media influencers as much as their own friends
“Waves” aren’t the only way Peanut users interact with one another. There’s a chat feature that can host up to 20 others, and a built-in polling tool that helps you decide on dates for meetups and events. Once the poll is complete, it turns into an event invite that participants can add to their respective calendars.
Peanut’s challenge lies in rallying a critical mass of users. Women use Facebook at somewhat higher rates than men (83 percent of female internet users versus 75 percent of male internet users), according to the Pew Research Center. Women also tend to have more Facebook friends than men (166 compared to 145).
More: The history of social networking
There’s something to be said for Peanut’s goal to “make connections in a meaningful way that works for the mobile-first generation,” but social networks need users by nature. It won’t be easy to drag women away from the competition, but if Peanut mounts a well-targeted recruitment effort, it might just have a fighting chance and become the ultimate social network for moms.
Peanut is launching in the U.S. and the U.K., with a focus on New York and London initially. You can download it on the iOS App Store now.
AMD isn’t afraid of Intel anymore, and its $490 Ryzen CPU proves it
Although we are mere weeks away from AMD’s Ryzen CPUs hitting the shelves, it doesn’t mean we aren’t keen to hear pre-release information. In the latest leak, it may be that we have our first look at the kind of prices we can expect AMD’s new flagship chips to have and if they are anything to go by, AMD is confident about their performance.
AMD has, for the past decade or more, been a budget focused CPU maker. That’s not to say that all of its chips were at the entry level — but it hasn’t competed directly with Intel in top-tier performance since the AMD64 chips trounced the Pentium 4. That’s meant that its processors are priced competitively and at the lower end of the scale. But Ryzen looks different.
Although not confirmed in any official capacity, ShopBLT (via VideoCardz) seems to have posted U.S. prices for a trio of AMD Ryzen CPUs. The DT Ryzen 7 1700, 1700X and 1800X all have prices and wattage ratings.
More: Leaked roadmap shows AMD may release three classes of Ryzen desktop processors
The price tags are $317, $382 and $490 respectively, which even at the low end is a lot more expensive than AMD’s currently available processors. They’re not as expensive as some of Intel’s extreme processor options, but they’re certainly comparable to certain i7 chips.
Note, the $317 chip shouldn’t be taken as the entry level. Earlier leaks show three tiers of Ryzen, and the chips with leaked prices are all in the highest tier.
Although these prices should be taken with a pinch of salt since AMD hasn’t made anything official, Hexus also grabbed a screenshot from British retailer, Kikatek.com, which showed comparable pricing for the same Ryzen chips. That suggests that even if the prices on ShopBLT aren’t exact, they should be around the ballpark we can expect Ryzen hardware to debut at.
The big take home from this reveal isn’t necessarily the prices themselves, but what they reflect. Ryzen is a big step up in price for AMD. Current AMD chips top out around $200, which is where Intel sells its mid-range hardware.
If AMD had been overselling its new CPUs with its talk of clock for clock performance with Intel, the ability to be comparable to or even beat it in some cases, its pricing probably would not be this high. High pricing suggests AMD is confident, and doesn’t think it’ll have to rely on pricing alone to beat Intel.
Lightweight YouTube Go app, planned for release last year, is now available
Why it matters to you
Facebook Lite already has 200 million monthly users, and now YouTube is looking to emulate that success with its own little app — YouTube Go.
Facebook has already proven that lightweight versions of popular apps can be a hit in developing markets — just ask its now 200 million monthly users in those markets. And now, YouTube is hoping to take a page out of that book with the inconspicuous launch of YouTube Go. On Wednesday, a version of the app appeared on the Google Play Store. It weighs in at less than 10MB, and comes with the option of sharing files using Wi-Fi Direct protocol.
The stripped down version of the app was first announced at an event in India just a few months ago. Promising to be a “faster, and lighter” version of its behemoth video service, it’s meant to help you save data while watching footage of cats chasing vacuums (or whatever else floats your boat).
More: A weird YouTube glitch has been causing alarm among popular vloggers
The app also allows for offline viewing, and will be particularly useful for those in areas where data connectivity isn’t always the strongest. With YouTube Go, users can choose whether they want to play a video in basic or standard quality, and whether they want to play it now or save it for offline viewing later.
We should note that not every YouTube video is eligible for saving (these preferences are set by channel owners), but if the option is available, it certainly can be a boon to viewers. A popup in the app will also tell users how much empty space is left on their device or SD card.
All saved videos are sent to the Saved tab of the YouTube Go app — once footage is stored here, you can share it with others via Wi-Fi Direct, which allows devices to connect with one another without Wi-Fi access. While the original YouTube app already allowed for offline viewing, the lightweight app differs in allowing users to choose their resolution, helping them to further save data.
The app, geared towards the Indian market, supports a number of Indian local languages, including Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, and Tamil.
Are your headphones always running out of juice? This charging case can help
Why it matters to you
Your constantly power-draining wireless headphones might have just met their new best friend.
If you’re familiar with PolarPro, it’s a safe bet that you’re a photographer or videographer, as the company is mainly known for its lens filters. Now, though, the company is tackling a new challenge with the WAVe, a case for your wireless headphones that charges them while keeping them safe.
We’ve seen cases that charge headphones before, but they’re usually included with true wireless earbuds, or when they are offered by third parties, they focus on in-ears. The PolarPro WAVe, on the other hand, can hold models like the Bose QuietComfort and Beats Solo series. The case is quite the looker as well, with an exterior coated in Napa leather.
More: PolarPro’s lens filters for DJI drones help you achieve the cinema look
The case is available in two different models: the WAVe Contoured and the WAVe Universal. The Contoured model fits the Beats Solo, Solo2, Solo3, and Beats Studio Wireless, while the Universal model fits the Bose QC25, QC35, and SoundLink headphones. Other headphones will likely fit as well, though you may not want to back the Kickstarter unless you’re absolutely sure yours will fit.
No matter which model you opt for, PolarPro says the built-in 3,000mAh battery can fully charge the headphones up to 10 times, depending on the model. Charge time will depend on the model, but according to the company, many headphones can be charged to 90 percent in 20 minutes, and can achieve a 100-percent charge in 30 minutes. The case itself can be recharged in a little under three hours. In addition to charging headphones, an external USB port allows the WAVe to charge mobile devices as well.
More: Mophie’s Power Capsule can charge your wireless headphones eight times over
Either case is available for a pledge of $40, while Super Early Bird pricing — which is still available — will get you either case for $30. If you want to go all-in, a three-pack is available for $100, allowing you to mix and match Universal and Contoured designs.
The campaign, which launched yesterday, is aiming for $55,000 in funding, If successful, PolarPro expects to start shipping to backers in May 2017. For more information or to back the campaign, see the WAVe Kickstarter page.
Feel the bass like never before with this outlandish wrist wearable
If you’ve ever wondered how strapping a tiny, low-powered subwoofer to your wrist might feel, it’s kind of like wearing the Basslet.
The Basslet, a product of Berlin-based startup Lofelt, delivers low-frequency, high-precision haptics to your wrist — sort of like a vibrating Apple Watch on steroids.
“Feeling the kick of the ball is really something.”
Powering the voodoo vibrations is what Lofelt calls the “LoSound” engine, a patent-pending motor that produces inaudible bass in the 10-250Hz range. Scaling it down was an engineering challenge, Lofelt founder and CEO Daniel Büttner told Digital Trends. “We had to shrink the subwoofer from a big box into a wearable.”
More: Bass? Been done. Jaded is all about that chirp on “4000Hz”
Like a standard subwoofer, the Basslet syncs audio from any device with a standard 3.5mm audio jack. A Bluetooth-paired “support” dongle hooks to a power source via a Micro USB cable, and serves double duty as the Basslet’s charger via a magnetic connector.
Feel the beat right on your wrist
The Basslet’s immersiveness impressed us. In a demo at the Digital Trends offices in New York, we streamed an assortment of tunes from Beyoncé’s Single Ladies to William Michael Morgan’s Cheap Cologne. The distinctive drumbeat of King of Punk Funk became all the more palpable with the Basslet strapped on tightly, while the acoustic Cheap Cologne, produced a different sensation altogether — almost like guitar strings against the skin.
Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends
Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends
Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends
Kyle Wiggers/Digital Trends
But the Basslet struggled in other songs. It identified the wrong baseline in Major Lazer’s Light It Up Remix, and had difficulty distinguishing between the individual drumbeats in The Knack’s My Sharona.
That’s all to say the Basslet won’t be replacing bookshelf subwoofers anytime soon, and it’s certainly no match for the high-end sound systems you’re likely to find at a stadium or auditorium.
More: Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Wearable subwoofers, gigantic Legos, and more
It’s not exactly practical, either. If you already sport a watch or fitness band, it’s a hassle to fit on your wrist. Büttner said the team is working with hardware manufacturers to embed the Basslet’s tech in future tablets and smartphones, but be warned that a tangible product is years off.
What’s next for Lofelt?
In one of Lofelt’s first ventures beyond the wearable market, it partnered with automaker Renault on a concept car dashboard that alerted drivers of navigation changes and potential collisions. Meanwhile, Teenage Engineering, a Sweden-based digital music company, is incorporating the tech into a synthesizer, and Lofelt is super excited about the project. “It’s really interesting when you add it to an instrument,” Büttner said. “It makes a huge difference. You can directly feel the instrument.”
Lofelt sees a place for the Basslet’s haptics in gaming, too — specifically virtual reality. “We’ve tested it with the [HTC] Vive virtual reality headset,” Büttner said. “It’s much more nuanced than a game controller. It’s almost like touching a speaker — you can feel the sound decaying out.” The company has experimented with genres ranging from platforms to first-person shooters, but says soccer simulator FIFA was one of the most affecting. “Feeling the kick of the ball is really something,” he said.
The Basslet costs $200 on Amazon and Loflet’s own website in the U.S. and U.K. It supports standard 38mm and 42mm wristbands and lasts six hours on a charge.
Strava’s Android Wear 2.0 app lets users record, upload activities without a phone
Why it matters to you
While it’s still unclear if smartwatches are the future, they’re certainly more useful when they do not need to be tethered to our smartphones.
Strava has optimized its Android Wear app to make use of the latest 2.0 revamp that was officially announced Wednesday alongside the brand new LG Watch Style and Watch Sport.
The popular fitness app now lets users record and upload activities straight from Android Wear 2.0 watches — without requiring a phone to be nearby. It’s all thanks to a focus on stand-alone apps in Google’s latest update.
More: Android Wear is back in business with two new watches from LG
The only way to make use of the Strava update immediately is to buy the LG Watch Style and Watch Sport, which go on sale on this Friday, February 10. The Android Wear 2.0 update will roll out to a select number of existing devices in the coming weeks, particularly toward the end of February.
An Android or iPhone is only required for the initial setup, but you can install the Wear 2.0 Strava app directly from your Android Wear watch’s Play Store.
Google Fit, the pre-installed fitness application on Android Wear watches, also got a big revamp in Wear 2.0, as it can now track your pace, distance, heart rate (if your watch has a heart-rate monitor), and calories burned while you’re walking, biking, or running.
Fit can now also accurately track sit-ups, squats, push-ups, and weightlifting reps.
More: Strava fitness app’s ‘Beacon’ lets people track your location while you run, bike
Strava is more of a social network for athletes, as you can compete with friends and track ytheir exercise efforts. The app recently added the ability for your friends and family to track your location (with your permission), which can be handy in case of an emergency.
Expect to see more announcements from app developers about their optimizations with Android Wear 2.0 as the update nears the rollout date.
Microsoft to give users new way to access its Office suite — the Windows Store
Why it matters to you
Microsoft’s decision to bring the Office suite to the Windows Store sheds more light on the role of Windows 10 Cloud.
In recent years, Microsoft has drastically increased the number of ways users can get access to its Office suite, from the web-based implementations that are available via Office 365, to the touch-enabled versions created for mobile usage. Now, it seems that Office is making its way to the Windows Store.
Microsoft will use the Desktop App Converter, formerly known as Project Centennial, to bring Office to the Windows Store, according to a report from MS Power User. The tool was created to make it easy for developers to offer traditional desktop software as apps, which might hint at the company’s overarching game plan.
More: New preview build of Microsoft Office for Mac brings support for add-ins
Earlier this month, a leaked build confirmed the existence of Windows 10 Cloud, a new variant of Microsoft’s flagship operating system. The going theory is that Windows 10 Cloud would be a stripped-down version of the OS that’s limited to running software obtained from the Windows Store — although there’s been some doubt cast on that assumption thanks to hands-on testing.
If Microsoft does intend to release a version of Windows that can only run software from the Windows Store, it would make a lot of sense to make the Office suite available from that storefront. The package is still one of the company’s most popular products, and Microsoft wouldn’t want Windows 10 Cloud users to be unable to access the suite.
It’s being reported that Microsoft plans to bring the Office suite to the Windows Store following the launch of the Creators Update, which is scheduled to land in April. Given that this release seems to have deep ties to Windows 10 Cloud, it wouldn’t be surprising to see both projects make their debut around the same time — but with the company still focusing its promotional efforts on the Creators Update, we might have to wait a while to hear anything official.
Brain cells, beware: Researchers have created the world smallest hammer
Why it matters to you
By smashing brain cells, researchers can better understand — and someday treat — brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and TBI.
The world’s smallest hammer has been created to study what happens to brain cells when we hit our head. The goal for the University of California, Santa Barbara researchers behind the project is to uncover the physical underpinnings of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in order to develop better treatment methods.
“This is new territory,” Kimberly Foster, one of the principal investigators leading the project, told Digital Trends. “We are not yet sure of what we will find! This is what makes this science so interesting and exciting.”
Along with Megan Valentine, Adele Doyle, and research student Luke Patterson, Foster will study how impact affects neural stem cells. But cells are small and the researchers needed a cellular-scale device to test and measure the damage, so they developed a tiny hammer.
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“The microhammer is a silicon micromechanical device, known as MEMS,” Foster explained. “The hammer is deployed using a magnetic force. It was fabricated in a cleanroom utilizing tools similar to those used to make microprocessor chips.”
Foster and her team’s microhammer was designed by modifying a cell-sorting technology developed by Owl Biomedical, a biotech company that will collaborate with the researchers in the study.
“With the microhammer device we not only provide TBI-relevant forces to cells, we can collect the cells after impact and assess their biochemical and structural changes over time,” Valentine told Digital Trends.
Though the project is still in its infancy it shows promise to illuminate the mechanisms at work beneath our skulls by impacting and precisely measuring physical, chemical, and biological effects.
“There is so much we don’t understand about the brain, and in particular how forces are sensed and processed,” Valentine said. “We hope the tools we develop will allow us to understand the complex interactions between force inputs and biological outputs, including changes in cell composition, function, and viability.”
The project is part of the federal Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.