Posts Tagged ‘hd’

The Sims FreePlay Android Review [HD]

March 18, 2012

The Sims FreePlay is EA’s follow-up to 2010’s Sims 3 for Android. I don’t normally review free apps (and certainly not apps that are free and then ask you to pay later on) but this one caught my Sim-loving heart.

 

As I mentioned in my previous Sims 3 review; I’ve been a big Sims fan from day one. Since its original release there have been lots of spin-offs and expansions – all of which I have avoided. Give me the simple ‘make-your-Sim-happy-and-get-a-better-job’ style gameplay and I’ll quite happily play for hours. Add in stupid dating or magical expansion packs and I’ll look elsewhere.

And this is why I have been playing Sims FreePlay every day for three weeks now. 

You start the game with an empty town map and you’ve got to select your plot to build on. Your initial build will come without a fee (and it’s not a bad house either) just to get you going and then it’s time for the fun part – creating your Sim.

I was quite surprised at how much you can play around with the look of your Sim. When compared with The Sims 3 there must be ten times as many clothes, hairstyles and personalities to choose from. You could quite easily spend twenty minutes just making your Sim look how you want him to.

Once created it’s time to move your Sim into their new home. The tutorial does a great job at introducing you to how the game works and what you should be doing to get your Sim up and running in their new place. This is when you realise that ‘real-time’ really does mean real-time. Events that occur in The Sims FreePlay take as long as they would in the real world. Send your Sim to the toilet and they’ll take 10-15 seconds to perform the action. Washing hands – 10 seconds. Fancy a good night’s sleep? That’ll be 7 hours please.

This real-time gameplay may not be to everyone’s tastes but it does work for people who, like me, have things to do during the day – like work! Send your Sim off to work in the morning and when you get home from work yourself they’ll have finished as well.

Each action your Sim performs earns experience points (or ‘XP’) and in some cases money too. The more XP you earn the more things you unlock in the game and the more money you have means nicer things for your Sims.

If you want your Sim to earn more money and XP then you’ve got to keep your Sim happy just as previous Sims games would have you do. By fulfilling the usual Sims needs (hunger, toilet, cleanliness, fun, social and sleep) you can make your Sim feel fulfilled. A fulfilled Sim earns more XP/money for actions performed and if they perform the action in their own household they get even more still.  This is where the management of your Sims comes in. Keep your Sims fulfilled and doing things in their own home may seem a bit anti-social but it helps you level up a lot quicker. There are some cases however that you may want to have all your Sims in one house and make them fulfilled there – mainly because it means you don’t have to keep switching between houses which will save vital seconds of time.

As you progress through the tutorial you’ll notice you receive ‘Life Points’ for completing goals. Life Points are for the impatient amongst us who don’t want to wait 12 hours for a house to build or can’t wait any longer for their Sim to finish in the bath. Using up a Life Point will instantly complete an action/task and save you having to wait around. This can be useful when you’re building things around town such as new houses or workplaces. Think of Life Point as gold dust because that’s pretty much what they are.

The whole reason The Sims FreePlay is free is because they rely on people getting hooked on the game and also getting impatient. If you run out of Life Points or Simoleons (the Sims’ currency) then you can buy some from the Sims Store – with real money. This is the part of the game that makes me feel a bit sick. A measly 6 Life Points costs £2.37 but you can actually purchase 1000 for £71.39. How they can get away with this I do not know. Patience is a virtue my friends, I’ve only used a few of my Life Points up (one time being when the tutorial forced me to) and another when I needed a new Sim quickly but paying for them is not an option for me – especially at those prices.

As you progress in the game you will then need to build your Sims somewhere to work. After all, they’ve gotta pay the bills sometime. This is the first time I fell over in the game. I built a science lab which was the best-paid job on the town map but what I failed to realise is that the working hours were from 10am ‘til 6pm. Because I go to work at 9am (I’m talking about real life now) I wasn’t around to send my Sims off at 10am. You can send your Sim off around 60 minutes early to work but sadly I wasn’t at home to do so. Well, that was $10,000 wasted. So I had to save up and I built a sports stadium instead. The work hours were much better for me and my Sims as they now work from 8am-12 noon. Your Sims will get promoted and earn more money and experience the more they work so make sure you keep them going. Sending them to work in a fulfilled state is not only amusing but also helps increase the amount of XP and money they bring back at the end of the working day.

Pets! Who doesn’t want their Sim to have a loveable companion? Well you don’t get a choice with your first Sim as they’ll be given a very handy golden retriever. You don’t have to feed or ‘water’ your pets but they do come in handy. If you leave him alone for long enough he’ll find hidden treasures in the garden. These range from $1 to $100 and even Life Points (although these are quite rare). Simply tap on the barking mutt once he’s found something and he’ll dig it up for you. Other than that, pets don’t play a huge part in the game, they’re mainly for show but also help out every now and again with the bills. If you build a pet shop in town then you will be able to purchase different breeds of dog but these can only be purchased by using up some of your Life Points When you see your gold retriever is actually worth 100 Life Points the thought may cross your mind to have him put down and sold but sadly this cannot be done. Fancy a retired greyhound? That’ll be 5 Life Points. 25 Life Points if you want a scary looking a Labrador and there are many others to choose from.

A great source of income is from growing your own fruit and vegetables (try telling that to British farmers). You can quickly, well, every couple of hours, rack up hundreds of XP and Simoleons by growing some potatoes for example. Have a few or more Sims doing that at the same time and you’ll be able to afford that new flat screen TV you wanted. Along with having a job and planting crops you can also bake things in the kitchen. These baked goods are nice but they don’t give you anywhere near as much when compared to farming.

Sims can go for a drive around town to cool off and they can also visit each other’s houses. The lack of free will however means you have to get them to all interact with each other. This is OK in the main but it’s time consuming work for sure. There is also a lack of dignity between Sims. For example: you can quite happily have 4 Sims in the bathroom at any one time. One in the shower, one washing their hands, one in the bath and the other clearing out last night’s curry in the toilet – and they won’t batter an eyelid either. This (however disgusting) is actually quite handy when you’re trying to satisfy multiple Sims’ needs – and it can also make for some quite amusing situations.

Up next: Build Mode is here! That’s right; you can now fully build your Sims home from scratch on your mobile device. It’s one floor only at the moment but it’s a start if nothing else. If you’d rather not select one of the pre-made houses for your Sim to move into then why not just buy the plot and come up with the grand design yourself? The build mode works really well indeed. It’s so easy to create rooms, doorways and windows that you could spend an age just building one lot. Don’t forget however that houses cost money so make sure you’ve got enough in the bank before you start doing so. You don’t want to end up with an unfinished house for your Sim to shelter in do you? Or do you…?

Along with building houses and re-sizing your rooms (at any time in the game) the buy mode lets you add furnishing and items to your house. There are hundreds of objects to choose from ranging from crappy little CRT TVs to beautiful tall fridges with ice making capabilities.  Some of the items are very expensive and some, again, require Life Points to purchase but you can normally get yourself a bargain if you search hard enough. The quality of the item you buy does affect how long actions performed with it last however. For example, if you buy the cheapest possible bed it will take your Sim 7 hours for a good night’s sleep and only 725 XP points. However, upgrade to one of the 3-star beds and your Sim can be up and refreshed in just 6 hours with 825 XP points to boast. This works the same with other object around the house; it’ll even take longer to go to the toilet if you buy one of the cheap ones!

It’s this mixture of pros and cons that make The Sims FreePlay interesting and fun to play. There’s no requirement to ‘add friends’ to be able to progress further as in other real-time games and this is a big plus. As much fun as it would be if you could visit your friend’s towns it’s nice to have FreePlay as a standalone game.

I would highly recommend that all Sims fans give FreePlay a go. It may not be your style but it’s fun to just ‘pick up and play’ when you have a spare moment.

 

GAMEPLAY 8/10

The real-time gameplay of Sims FreePlay isn’t new to me but it’s the first of its type I’ve actually continued playing for more than a few days. The inability of being able to queue up actions for your Sims can be annoying at first but I suppose they can’t have you queuing things up for a day’s worth of actions or you’d just earn stupid amount of money and XP in a very short period of time. I do feel however you should be able to queue up smaller actions such as going to the toilet and washing your hands afterwards. Even with this limitation the game plays out very well. The Goals will keep giving you something to aim for be it to just buy a new coffee machine or to finally do the WooHoo.

 

GRAPHICS 9/10

The graphics have really come a long way since The Sims 3. They’re crisp, clear and smooth and this really helps bring the game alive. The amount of detail was quite surprising when you consider this is just a mobile game. You can zoom in and spin your camera around as much as you like and it doesn’t have any troubles coping.

There is a bit of slowdown every now again when all your Sims are together and fulfilled but this is just a minor glitch.

Flying around your town map just shows the level of detail the developers have gone into here. Traffic lights change colours (and cars even follow the rules!) and trees blow in the wind which give it a more ‘console like’ feel. I would put The Sims FreePlay on-par with The Sims 2 on PC graphics-wise.

CONTROLS 9/10:

The touch controls work incredibly well. They’re responsive and the 360 degree camera allows you to navigate round your Sim’s house with ease. This can be very handy when you have a house full of Sims and you’re trying to select an item that’s behind another one.

SOUND 8/10:

One of my big problems with The Sims 3 on Android was the terrible sound in-game. Where was the build music? Why did it keep glitching? All my worries and sleepless nights have been resolved in Sims FreePlay. There are different musical pieces in each mode just like in a ‘proper’ Sims game. The only annoying factor here is when you’re quickly switching between your Sims’ houses as the ‘house music’ will start from the beginning each time. I can overlook this however as there is variety in the different modes. If you’ve got a spare few minutes you can actually change the in-game music to something more preferable anyway – simply navigate to the location where your Sims game downloaded (normally in /sdcard/Android/data/com.ea.games.simsfreeplay_row/published/music) and you can put something a bit more to your taste in there.

The sound effects in the game are good too. Each action you perform has a different sound so you certainly know the difference between your Sim making a coffee or having a bath. You can even here your Sim typing on their keyboard as they play their own copy of The Sims 3!

OVERALL 85%:

It may be the lure of the Sims and their everyday lives or perhaps I just like watching my Sims shower in their underwear but the easy-to-learn and hard-to-put-down gameplay will keep you coming back for more.

N64oid – Android N64 Emulator review Zelda Ocarina of Time, GoldenEye 007, Banjo Kazooie and more

September 12, 2011

Hi everyone, in this video I’m taking a look at the fantastic n64oid N64 emulator for Android.

I’ll take you through 4 different games so you can get a feel as to how the emulator performs – to be honest – it’s pretty darn good!

The games include:

Banjo Kazooie
GoldenEye 007
Zelda: Ocarina of Time
and
Diddy Kong Racing

n64oid can be found in the SlideME Market for just 4.99

If you have any questions be sure to ask!

How to install a new ROM on your HTC Desire S [HD] Step-by-step tutorial

August 18, 2011

Hello lovely people, I hope you’re all well.

If you followed my video a few days back you should have successfully rooted your HTC Desire S. So what now? Well you’ll probably want to install a custom ROM on the phone.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be up and running in no time! These steps will also work on the HTC Desire and Desire HD.

What you will need:
1 HTC Desire S phone
1 Cup of coffee

Step 1:
Install ROM Manager from the Android Market

Step 2:
Load ROM Manager and click the top link to flash the ClockworkMod Recovery tool. Just make sure you have the latest version installed.

Step 3:
Click on Download ROM from with ROM Manager and find a ROM that you want to install. I chose the Saga LBC Mod ROM which had some good reviews. Select the version you wish to download v0.5.3 is the one I installed in the video. Select to download the ROM without the keyboard arrows.

Step 4:
Once the ROM has downloaded it will ask you 3 questions. Tick all 3 boxes to be safe and then press OK. Your phone will now reboot and start the ROM installation process

Step 5:
Start drinking your coffee

Step 6:
After about 10 minutes the new ROM should have been installed and booted up. All done!

Any questions can be asked below in the comments.

HTC Desire S FREE handset £10/month for 24 months

May 21, 2011

OK I’ve just seen this crazy deal that Dialaphone have on currently.

You can get a Desire S for free on a 24 month contract at just £10/month!!

This equates to £240 (god I’m good at maths) over the two years which is absolutely nothing. Also consider that the handset is probably unlocked and these things sell for more than that on eBay! Not only that, if you go through Quidco/Top Cashback you get £50 back meaning the total cost would be £190!!

It’s with Orange and you get 30 minutes, unlimited texts and 100MB of Internet.

Now if I just slip my T-Mobile SIM in I’ll be laughing. Yeah OK so I ordered one. I know I said I wouldn’t ever get one but that’s before I saw this ridiculous offer (equipped with the fact I played with one the other day). Also, I’m spoiling myself – why? Well why the hell not 🙂

HTC Desire S

Should get mine on Tuesday hopefully!

(I found this via the fantastic hotukdeals.com site so thanks to Stuart9787 for bringing it to my attention!)

[edit] 23rd May 2011

I have just been contacted by Dialaphone with the following message:

To which I replied:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding my order for the HTC Desire S.
I am aware you must be having stock shortages due to the fantastic offer you had so I’m quite happy to wait for the handset to come back into stock.
Thanks for taking the time to contact me,
Kind regards
I’m not sure whether Dialaphone should have to honour their advertised offer but I will wait and see what their reply is. It could well be that I won’t be getting a Desire S after all 😦 so may have to get the Sensation instead 😉

LIVE TEST: HTC Desire Mugen Extended Battery 3200mAh Review

April 15, 2011

Mugen Power Battery 3200mAh HTC DesireIt’s the day we’ve all been waiting for. Will the Mugen Power battery make much of a difference when compared to the stock HTC one? Will buying a non-phone-branded battery be the right choice?

As I have previously mentioned I am always very sceptical about non-branded or ‘generic’ batteries which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted by @MugenBatteries who wanted me to test drive their Desire extended battery. So sure they are of their battery they shipped one over for me to test out and review.

Mugen Extended Battery Back CaseNow the battery is obviously slightly larger than the original battery. It sticks out 5mm from the back of the phone hence it comes with a new back to put on your Desire. This encloses the battery nicely and is the same material as the rest of your Desire – a ‘grippy’ plastic.

After 5 days of patient prepping, the battery is now ready to go through it’s test and I will see how long I can make it last with normal use of my HTC Desire. I have downgraded my Desire from Gingerbread 2.3 back to Froyo 2.2 to make this as fair a test as possible. You may recall in previous tests that I managed to get a full 14 hours out of the battery and still have 34% remaining. Will the 2x+ capacity of the Mugen Power battery really last twice as long?

Let’s find out.

Here’s the setup:

Fully charged at 9am.
Screen: Medium brightness (auto brightness off)
WiFi: ON (Wireless N enabled but will not be used at work as we currently only have 802.11b/g)
Syncing: ON (2 Gmail accounts and FriendStream – see below)
Bluetooth: OFF
GPS: OFF
FriendStream: ON (Twitter updating every 15 minutes and Facebook every 1 hour)
Wallpaper: Live – HTC default
All other settings have been left at the Froyo 2.2 default

To make things easy to compare I will put my previous results in square brackets so you can compare the ‘new’ to ‘old’ battery readings. Remember; the old battery is the stock HTC one.

9:00 – 100% As I put in my Mugen battery into the phone, sweat is pouring off my face. Will it last all day or will I be left stranded by mid-afternoon?

11:00 – 96% [92% in previous test] Already you can see the improvement. I do think however that the ‘initial rundown’ of the battery happens quicker during the first few hours of use so I think we should see it slow down over the rest of the day. The phone has just had general use, the usual music on the way to work, texts and e-mails.

12:00 – 95% [N/A in previous test] Well I’ve only lost a single percent in an hour! Not bad at all! A fair bit of usage too – WordPress and e-mails.

13:00 – 92% [88% in previous test] I’ve been using my phone quite heavily during my lunch hour and have only lost 3% battery which isn’t bad at all. When you compare this to my original battery test running Eclair (I was down to 80% battery at this point) you can already see the benefits of Froyo and the extended battery.

14:00 – 90% [78% in previous test] The battery is still looking pretty healthy. When compared to the stock battery I already have an extra 12% battery left. Go Mugen! Go!

15:00 – 88% [N/A in previous test] Only lost a couple of percent this hour. I must admit I’m getting quite used to the HTC Sense ROM again – I feel like I’m ‘home’. Don’t get me wrong, the Gingerbread ROM I had was nice and speedy but the HTC Sense just feels more ‘solid’.

16:00 – 88% [N/A in previous test] Wow, this isn’t a typo – an hour has passed and I still have 88% remaining in the battery! I’ve used it for a couple of e-mails but nothing else so that might explain it. It’s good that the standby usage is quite low.

17:00 – 86% [60% in previous test] Well this shows it all. I’m up 26% when compared with the original battery. This is looking great and shows you would quite easily survive ‘the day’ without worrying about charging your phone. It’ll be interesting to see the graph of results when I compare the two batteries. I’ll keep updating throughout the night (and more thank likely tomorrow) to keep you updated.

18:00 – 84% [N/A in previous test]

19:00 – 80% [46% in previous test] Well I have nearly 50% more battery with the Mugen in place which is fantastic news. Even though I’ve just done a 20 minute workout with the “Multi Reps” app (which keeps the screen on when in use) you can see I’ve still got plenty of juice left.

20:00 – 79%  [N/A in previous test]

21:00 – 77%  [N/A in previous test] Well, it’s been 12 hours now and my Mugen Extended Battery has only lost 23% of it’s charge. That’s less than a quarter! If my calculations are correct then that means the battery could last up to 48 hours of “constant” use. I say “constant” because obviously the phone has been used during this 12 hour shift. Overnight the phone will not be syncing or being used at all so the drainage should be very little. We’ll see how things are in 12 hours from now… PS – I actually had my GPS (location) active until about an hour ago. Although I hadn’t used Google Maps at all, the GPS may have kicked in from time to time – who knows but it doesn’t seemed to have caused too much of an issue battery-wise.

23:00 – 74% [34% in previous test] OK last update of the night. As you can tell, it’s been a huge success! I’m starting to wonder how long it’ll actually last without a charge. Most the weekend as well? Surely not?!

=======================================

DAY 2

14:00 - Nearly 30 hours online!

09:00 – 69% – Well, 24 hours on and I’ve still got nearly three quarters of the battery remaining. Overnight the phone was left on but all features were turned off. All that was active was the cellular network. So it looks like you’ll lose around 5% of the battery life if the phone is not being used for 9 hours or so – not bad at all.

14:00 – 54% Still more than half my battery remaining and the phone has been on and active for nearly 30 hours – not bad going at all!

23:00 – 34% Well after a fairly decent afternoon’s worth of usage I’ve lost 20% of the battery. I did some video recording, photography and also used the GPS a bit so it’s fair game. It looks like I’m going to get a good 48 hours out of this.

=======================================

DAY 3

09:00 28% – Well I didn’t think I’d see the battery last this long! Let’s see how far it can get me through Sunday. Bearing in mind Mugen recommend not to run the battery ’til it’s flat I will probably take it out at around 5% remaining.

Mugen Battery Test final 118:08 – 5% – Well it’s time to call it a day (or 3?!). The battery has lasted so well today when I really though it would give in. A day spent texting e-mailing and even listening to music and it lasted until the early evening. If I had been anal I could have carried on with battery but used my battery saving tips to extend it as long as possible but no, I thought I’d give the Mugen battery a well earnt rest in my charging dock.

The only niggle I had with the extended battery over the 3 days was when I had the phone on a desk and tried to use the buttons on the bottom of the phone. As the protruding cover makes the phone slightly raised I found using the buttons a bit more difficult. Because they aren’t capacitive like the Nexus One, the phone would tip when I pressed one of them. I tend the use the phone like this if while I’m at work or eating my breakfast but this really isn’t an issue you should be worried of.

Oh and here’s the main proof that my phone was left unplugged and away from power for so long:

mugen standby time

It goes to show that Mugen really do make damn-good batteries.

So, to sum up whether you should buy one of these or not: if you have an HTC Desire – you’d be stupid not to.


You can buy a Mugen Extended 3400mAh battery for your HTC Desire by clicking here.

.

 

[Update] I thought I’d include my Battery Saving Tips video now you’ve read through this article. It’ll show you how to save even more power when using your phone

 

 

 

Mugen Battery Test Tomorrow

April 14, 2011

I’m currently downgrading my Desire back down to Froyo 2.2 so I can perform a fair test with the new Mugen Power extended battery. By fair test I mean my previous battery tests were done with HTC Sense ROMs before Gingerbread was available.

It will be a normal work day tomorrow so it will be as close to the previous test as possible.

I’m quietly confident it’s going to do well 🙂

HTC Desire Mugen Extended Battery 3200mAh

April 11, 2011

Still not quite ready to do the test yet as I am being patient and waiting the recommended 5 cycles before the battery is in it’s best state.

It’s quite frustrating really. I’m charging over night for at least 8 hours and then running the battery down to around 15%.

This is not as easy as it sounds. I’m having to leave the display on all day on full brightness with every feature the Desire has turned on. 30 minute timeout on the display and even whilst playing music too. This is as much as I can do to drain the battery. At one point I even left Reckless Racing on and running for a couple of hours to boost the drainage!

So far this looks well for the Mugen battery as it’s taking so long for me to discharge it to as low a percentage so that I can recharge it fully (hope that makes sense). If it copes half as well as this when it’s ready to use then I’m thinking that there’s a huge improvement with this battery over the stock HTC one – which is to be expected as it’s more than twice the capacity.

Two more cycles to go and I can be ready to do the full test and see how long the phone lasts with the new extended battery.

I suppose to make it a fair test I should downgrade my firmware back to Froyo 2.2 and then I can compare it fairly to the previous test I did.

App of the week: Pulse News

April 7, 2011

android app of the weekApp: Pulse News
Cost: FREE
Developer: alphonsolabs.com
Developer page: alphonsolabs.com

 

This week I have been mostly using Pulse News. Now normally, reading news on your mobile phone is a pretty boring task. Pulse News takes that and makes it, dare I say, ‘sexy’ [giggles like a school girl].


Pulse News 1This free app will combine your news feeds and bring them to you in a way that makes them interesting to read. Combining pictures and text in the feed and allowing you to quickly browse through articles is Pulse News’ strong point. Want to read an item? Just tap it and the feed you selected slides down to the bottom of the screen to reveal the article. It’s a pretty slick interface to say the least.

Each feed can be scrolled through horizontally with the flick of your finger and this works well in both portrait and horizontal mode.

Pulse News comes with a huge library of popular and interesting feeds built-in but what makes it better is the Google Reader import. If you use Google Reader to store your RSS feeds then it’s just a case of adding in as many or a few of your feeds as you want. This negates the need to tediously add in each of your favourite feeds manually, one by one, by inserting the URL.

You can have multiple pages of feeds so you could split them depending on subject or preference and, with 12 feeds per page, you can have up to 60 feeds in total. The usual sharing links are given so you can post a news article to your Facebook, Twitter, E-mail or text.

The app is being updated frequently at the time of writing to improve performance and speed. I have noticed it stutter a bit when scrolling around but if these issues can be ironed out then this is definitely going to be the best RSS reader out there.

Check out some more screenshots below and be sure to give the app a try – you’ve got nothing to lose!

Pulse News 2Pulse News 3Pulse News 4

HTC Desire Extended Battery 3200mAh Test

April 7, 2011

Mugen Power Battery 3200mAh HTC DesireThe very lovely people at Mugen Power Batteries have sent me an extended battery to test and review for the site.

I have always been dubious about un-official batteries after having quite a few bad experiences in the past so it was good to see @MugenBatteries offer me one of their products to test. A company coming to you to say how proud they are of their products is good to see so I will definitely be putting this to the test.

The HTC Desire comes with a could-have-been-better 1400mAh battery which means this Mugen battery has more than twice the capacity (in theory) than the stock one.

Mugen recommend charging the battery for 8-12 hours before the first use so it is currently sat in my desk charger in the bedroom. They also recommend charging and discharging it 4-5 times before the battery is good to go so the main test won’t be for a few days.

I’m really interested t0 see how the battery fares compared to the HTC one. Like I said, I have previously had problems with ‘non-official’ batteries so I really hope Mugen can pull something out of the bag.

HTC Desire running Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 rom (HD)

March 15, 2011

Hi all, have just uploaded a new video going through some of the features and improvements on Gingerbread which I have running on my HTC Desire. Take a look below and let me know what you think!

Click here for the full-HD version: HTC Desire running Android Gingerbread 2.3.3 rom (HD)


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