Impressions: Google Cardboard

vrI’ve had a Google Cardboard sitting in my house for a while. When cleaning up the living room tonight I saw it, and I thought…why not try it.

Loaded up the test app that came with it, and set up my phone in the cardboard case. The next thing I knew I was sitting on a snowy mountain with a cute white fox standing in front of me. It was beautiful.

Another simulation let me fly with seagulls… Glad I was sitting for that one. Then I was sitting in a boat, fishing, and a whale came up for air just beside me.

I 2016-10-28-07-17-27let my daughter try it. She kept saying “wow! What! Omg!” Over and over again. It was kind of funny. My boyfriend gave it a shot too and finally handed it back and told me he better stop or he’d be watching it all day.

I downloaded a couple other apps. A wizard school that had you “walking” from building to building, knocking down frozen towers with snow balls, and killing “germs” with well aimed magical bolts. And the dragon…mustn’t forget about the dragon.

2016-10-28-07-42-51Another one let me look around a pleasant aquarium while bubbles billowed around me, and I could poke the fish and make them swim away.

My over all impression? This was far more impressive than I thought it would be. For a $15 piece of cardboard with lenses it worked pretty well. I was able to adjust my phone in the case, and it relatively focused pretty easily. But it wasn’t perfect, of course. Not everyone has their eyes spaced exactly the same, and the adjustment of the phone inside the viewer is a bit finicky. Even so, once you set it up it’s easy to use. Has just one button. And gives you a lovely scene to view.

It did not strain my eyes as much as I thought it might. I’m light sensitive, and I often have problems with harsh lights in my eyes, but this wasn’t difficult at all. It didn’t make me nauseous, and I didn’t become disorientated like I had with Oculus. Maybe because it doesn’t cut you off from the surrounding environment like an Oculus can?

It is processor heavy. I wasn’t in the VR system for long, about 15 minutes or so, and when I pulled my phone out it was running hot. I play a lot of games on my phone, like all of the games I’ve reviewed on this blog. Only a few have managed to heat up my phone. But the VR images are taking a lot more power to run than the other games, and a lot more battery too.

I would definitely recommend the Google Cardboard as a low cost test. But be careful which games you download. Many of them have ads that can get loud, and hurt your eyes with them so close to your face. It would be nice if the ads were VR based if they were going to have ads in the first place.

I’m going to have to try new games, and experiences to see how well this simple VR works. I’ll add reviews as I play through some of them. I almost wish I could buy all of the different Cardboard’s (there are 13 of them) so I could see which ones were better, and more comfortable. But for now I’m going to enjoy my cardboard.

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Review : Waking Mars

2016-04-25-18-29-14 I bought Waking Mars (from Tiger Style) for pc a while back and found it to be an enjoyable platformer with a nice theme. The music and voice acting were well done, and the puzzles easy enough to figure out (at least at the beginning. I haven’t finished it yet, and it was making a nice progression as I went.)

2016-04-25-19-22-05When I saw it available for android I had to check it out, as well, and see if it translated over to touch screen. I purchased my version from the Humble Bundle. There are no ads and it is drm free. And it is the same game (as far as I can tell) as you play on PC.

In Waking Mars you play as an astronaut that had been stranded on Mars, and you’re trying to make your way 2016-04-25-19-30-17through underground caverns to find out what happened to the planet, and your rover. You encounter a new life form, and discover that you can encourage this plant life to grow, changing the environment around you.

2016-04-25-23-09-30On PC the controls are all mouse based. You choose where to throw seeds, click where to move to, and dodge obstacles with a flip of the mouse. On mobile you have to do the same the with taps on the screen, and for the most part this translates well. There are a few times where I found myself wishing for the mouse so that I could see what was under my finger, but otherwise it wasn’t a problem.

On PC or phone, this is a good game. Nice story line. Great music. A relaxing puzzle platformer to get you through the day.

Review: Pokemon Go

2016-07-19-03-46-02I am way behind on the Pokemon Go review. I know everyone else has already reviewed it, and there are probably some much better reviews out there then I can do. So I’m going to be brief about this…

Pokemon Go was a fun way to get out of the house, walk around, meet some new people, and catch some Pokemon. I saw fathers out with their sons. 2016-07-09-16-31-38Groups of strangers sitting around chatting about a game they loved. People at work getting together to share their Pokemon. It was beautiful.

But it didn’t last.

You don’t see as many people out catching them all anymore. Oh, they are still there, and the forums on Reddit still have people meeting up and finding that elusive Dratini. But it isn’t as prevalent as it was before.

2016-07-08-21-47-12I still pull out my phone, turn on my GPS, and see if there are any pokemon nearby now and then. I still like to catch a few pokestops while riding in the car with my boyfriend. And I still try and evolve them now and then. But it isn’t the same.

Hopefully they will implement a way to battle or trade Pokemon directly. I think we’d see a lot more players again, and a renascence of a short lived game. But that’s up to Niantic.

 

 

What’s on my Phone 

I’m going to start doing a short “what’s on my phone” review every couple of months. I change out the games on my phone regularly, download new ones, or throw out ones I haven’t played in a while. Here I’ll tell you why I have it, what I like about it, and if I’d recommend it. I’ll also link to the full review if I’ve done one.

Pewdiepie: Tuber Simulator – I just reviewed this the other day, and I’ve had it for a week now. I’ve decorated my room, and unlocked a lot of the items. Once I’ve unlocked all of the room decorations I probably won’t play this much, but until then I am enjoying decorating my space. My favorite clicker. (review)

Alto’s Adventure – a perfect game for short breaks. Each run takes only a minute or two. Waiting in line, in between calls, stuck on the phone: play a game of Alto. (review)

Sailor Moon Drops – Somehow I still love match three games. I know this is just meant to try and get my money, but it’s actually set up in such a way that I never feel the need to pay. I can get more hearts from friends, and make friends constantly. There are extra events with new puzzles so if I get stuck on one I can go try that one. It’s a lot like Candy Crush, only less anger inducing. (review)

Splendor – When I want something a little tougher I love playing Splendor. Strategy, thought, and a challenging AI. Also, they just updated it with even more scenarios to try out. (review)

The Beggar’s Ride – Such a pleasant platformer. Beautiful design and music. I really want to finish this one. Recommended! (review)

The Silent Age – This is a point and click time travel puzzle game. I also have it on my PC and thought I’d try it on my phone, and do a review. Have yet to open it on my phone.

Els Evolution – quick, fun side scrolling fighter game. You level up your characters and learn new skills, then go on to the next level. Or grind a little to get more experience. I haven’t played it much in the last couple months, but I keep it…just in case.

Fallen London – I use to play this online. Saw it in the app store and decided to pick it up. Will do a review later.

Mahjong Butterfly – The only reason I haven’t deleted this game yet is because I don’t want to loose my progress. It isn’t like Steam where the game gets removed but the progress usually remains on your pc. Once you delete it you have to start all over, which is annoying. But at the same time, this isn’t the best phone game I’ve ever played. Maybe I should delete it.

Waking Mars– Such a good game. I have it on PC and phone, and I’d like to finish it. Not sure which would be better/easier/more time friendly to play.

Neko Atsume – Kitties. Okay, I’m a sucker for kitties. I have updated this, and still occasionally feed them, but not as often as I use to. (review)

Adventure Bar Story – An interesting game mechanic. Cooking and adventuring. I got tired of being stuck in the same zone for so long, grinding away to try and learn some recipes, so I quite playing for a while. But I’d like to go back to it eventually.

Knights of Pen and Paper 1 – Love this game. Actually have KoPaP 2 on pc and have played through quite a lot of it. Another one that I come back to now and then, and again I refuse to delete it because I don’t want to loose my progress. With all the zany humor I really recommend this one.  (review)

PAD (Puzzles and Dragons) – I deleted this before and ended up re-downloading it. So sad that I didn’t get to keep my monsters (I had a cat woman and batman monster). Started playing again, but I will probably end up deleting it again after a while. It’s just a big energy hog.

Pokemon Go – Also an energy hog. The reason I bought a battery pack, and the reason I got out and walked a lot for a while. Sadly, I don’t get to go out as much anymore. But I don’t want to give up the pokemon I did catch just yet.  I don’t recommend it. I’ll have to review it and tell you why soon.

Out There – Such a fantastic strategy game. And so hard. A little too many random elements to make it perfect. I find myself dying far too often. But I am determined to beat it some day. Recommended. (review)