The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
After making a splash on consoles and PC last year, developer CMGE have brought their atmospheric 3D platformer Candleman [$ 2.99] to the App Store. Not being familiar with the game on other platforms, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I finally put my hands on Candleman on iOS this week. I knew that it looked really cool in its screenshots, but those also led me to believe that this would be some sort of auto-runner game. Not the case! This is in fact a full-movement platforming game, and while it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground in the genre, its platforming is solid and built around a really cool mechanic, and the game just oozes charm left and right.
In Candleman you play as a little sentient candle who is struggling to figure out who he is and why he is on fire. After you come to life you’re left to explore a very detailed but VERY dark world. The way lighting is used in this game is top-notch, and that cool mechanic I mentioned earlier is your candle man’s ability to light his wick on fire, lighting up the area you’re in or activating certain items. There’s a catch, though. You only have ten seconds total of light up time before your wax melts away, so using your own flame sparingly is part of the challenge in Candleman.
While the game doesn’t break any new platforming ground, the level designs here are strong and the simplistic controls help that shine. You run around using a virtual joystick and swipe to jump, and holding down on the screen lights your flame. There’s a purity to the entire game being just running and jumping, and before that has a chance to ever get stale the game does throw some interesting curveballs your way by using your flame mechanic. For example, certain platforms will only be activated by you lighting them up, and will slowly fade away until you light them again. This challenges both your platforming skills as well as your resource management skills, and it’s a lot of fun.
Candleman feels first and foremost about story, characters, and atmosphere, with the solid platforming and lighting mechanics there to string everything together. The only major drawback to the mobile version is that what’s available right now is only 6 of the normally 12 chapters of the full game. I’m not sure why they decided to split it up that way, but the rest of the chapters should be arriving at some point this year.
It’s not clear if they’ll be added via free update or as paid DLC, but considering the game is already finished and on other platforms I doubt there’s a risk of them never releasing the rest of the levels. Plus, right where the iOS version finishes off feels like a self-contained story anyway, so it’s not like you’ll get the feeling of playing something that’s unfinished or unresolved. Still, I can’t wait to play the second half of Candleman.
That oddity is easier to swallow given that Candleman on iOS is available for a heavy discount until April 10. Three bucks will get you the first 6 chapters, and it’s a good 2 or 3 hours worth of gameplay. It’s still cheaper than the full game on other platforms which typically sells for $ 14.99. So, if you like platformers and tremendous atmosphere, and you’re not up in arms about waiting for the final chapters to release at a later date, I really can’t recommend Candleman enough as even just half of this game has brought me more joy and entertainment than some full games with dozens of more hours of gameplay.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds continues to ramp up the changes as it fights back against Fortnite for the battle royal crown. One part of the plan that we'd already heard about is a smaller map option called Codename: Savage measuring at 4×4 Km, whic…
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Common sense IoT security principles drafted in the UK: Most of these may sound familiar to you since we’ve suggested them time and again on the podcast, but it’s nice to see some formalization. The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has drafted five best practices when it comes to securing and using IoT devices. These include not allowing devices to use default passwords, better communication of customer data usage, and a public contact for reporting issues. Perhaps best of all is the practice that requires device makers to keep software updated and, more importantly, to explain how long software updates will be made available. That sounds like our idea of an “expiration date” for IoT! The draft is open for public comment until April 25th. (National Law Review) — by Kevin Tofel
Nvidia’s deal with ARM is a big deal for AI at the edge: Nvidia announced that ARM will integrate its open sourced Nvidia Deep Learning Accelerator tech that helps run convolutional neural networks (CNNs) into ARM’s new Trillium architecture. ARM announced its Trillium architecture last month as a dedicated processor design for machine learning. The deal between the two is significant because it basically embeds Nvidia’s technology for CNNs in almost every potential chip used in the internet of things. CNNs are used for image recognition, and as this analyst notes, the deal means that Nvidia is giving this tech away for free because it believes the tech to solve CNNs is basically commodified. Nvidia would rather give it away to cement its market share. I also think it’s smart because the internet of things and edge devices will need a heck of a lot of image processing capability as noted in my story up above. All that video data isn’t going to make it to the cloud. (Forbes)
WannaCry is still hitting manufacturing plants: Last year, the WannaCry and the variant NotPetya ransomware took down DHL and Merck in a new style of attack. WannaCry was halted fairly quickly, but NotPetya and variants of the attack have continued to spread. Boeing was recently hit, and fears that it had affected the company’s production line and delivery of airplanes caused panic among its staff and customers. Buried in the story are two scary facts. One is that there’s a realization as to how many old, unpatched Windows machines there are in the manufacturing world, and the second is that WannaCry had recently hit at least two other manufacturing firms, taking their operations offline. (The Seattle Times)
A sensor made of gelatin? A startup named Mimica is making a food label out of gelatin that’s engineered to last as long as the particular food the label is attached to lasts. As the food spoils the label itself spoils, becoming bumpy to the touch, and in the process allowing someone to feel if their milk has soured or their two-year-old vial of sunflower oil has gone rancid. The original idea came out of a desire to build an expiration label for the visually impaired, but the idea resonated across a variety of food companies and now the founder is building a company around the tech. I love it. (The Spoon)
Who owns your outdoor camera data? After my colleague Kevin used a Nest cam to prove that a neighbor hit his parked car a few days back, I’ve been curious as to how much value that video would be to the police and the insurance companies, especially since Kevin’s neighbor denies she hit his car. However, there are a lot of other questions that arise when video doorbells and outdoor video cameras are positioned everywhere. One is how long a homeowner must keep the images; another is whether or not the police have a right to compel camera footage in the case of a crime. For more, check out the article. (CEPro)
IBM’s Watson could improve Siri: Apple and IBM announced yet another partnership, and although most of these deals focus on enterprise applications, the latest one could trickle down into Siri. At least that’s what my colleague Kevin thinks. His take is that using IBM Watson for pattern recognition and machine learning in the smart home might lead to a smarter Siri, one that doesn’t just handle your spoken commands better than she does today but a Siri that can anticipate your needs and actions. It sounds far-fetched, but when you follow his logic, you can see the potential. Semi-autonomous homes, anyone? (StaceyOnIoT) — by Kevin Tofel
Your next business idea? As someone with dozens of connected gadgets that require an outlet, I’m constantly tripping over wires, strategically placing circuit breakers everywhere, and bemoaning the invasion of tech in my well-designed spaces. This post offers some innovative ways to redesign power cords and outlets. Someone please implement them. (Medium)
From the biased algorithms department: This article and its radio version take a look at an MIT researcher’s efforts to show how certain machine-trained facial recognition models develop biases that result in the computer not being able to identify dark-skinned faces, especially those of women. What’s eye-opening was how bad they were at it. The accuracy rate of identifying light-skinned men’s faces was 99% across the board. However, when identifying darker-skinned women, IBM’s error rate was almost 35%, Facebook’s was 34.5%, and Microsoft’s was 20.8%. So when someone says we’re at 99% accuracy when it comes to facial recognition, it’s probably a good idea to ask what their sample population looked like. (WBGH News)
Does your AI need a therapist? Computer science, law, and business are rapidly trying to come to grips with the idea that artificial intelligence based on neural networks and computers training themselves how to understand the world are incomprehensible to people. We’re also becoming aware that not only do we infuse our own human bias into these algorithms, but that these machines “think” in a way that is foreign to us. And since we can’t understand them, they can behave in ways we can’t anticipate. This is terrifying if you’re trying to use neural networks to build a self-driving car or figure out the best business process to use. One idea proposed here is some sort of role for people who try to understand the world from the machine’s point of view, what the article calls a psychotherapist for algorithms. (FastCompany)
Apple launched its latest education offensive at a Tuesday press event, led by a refreshed 9.7-inch iPad. The week also saw key updates to iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, and some of the first detailed rumors about the Apple Watch Series 4.
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Last year Daedalic Entertainment adapted Ken Follett’s 1989 historical fiction novel The Pillars of the Earth into video game form, and after being well-received on both PC and console the game is now making its way to iOS next week. The game adaptation of The Pillars of the Earth takes the form of a point-and-click adventure game, and splits the roughly 1000 page novel into 21 different chapters spread across three different “books” or episodes. So far only the first two books have been released, with the third and final book scheduled for launch in the coming months. For the iOS release just the first book, which contains 7 chapters and is titled From the Ashes, will be arriving next week with mobile versions of both book 2 and 3 to arrive at some point after. You can see what the game is like in the following trailer.
Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth Book 1 – From the Ashes will cost $ 4.99 on iOS and will feature: “Interactive storyline events that can be changed, influencing the fates of its characters; Key decision points with meaningful, emotionally-engaging story choices; Over 200 hand-painted backgrounds featuring faithful rendition of 12th century life; Three main playable protagonists, plus two extra playable characters; And an orchestral soundtrack by the FILMharmonic Orchestra, Prague.” The game will also require devices with 2GB of RAM or more, so at least iPhone 6s or higher or iPad Air 2 or higher are required. It all seems quite awesome for adventure game fans, so look for The Pillars of the Earth Book 1 on iOS next week on April 4th.
This week’s new releases have landed on the App Store. There’s not a massive amount of new games this week, but there’s more than enough awesome digital entertainment to leave you pondering where to spend your hard-earned cash. Don’t worry though, that’s where we come in.
Did you claim all of your gifts from this week’s T-Mobile Tuesday? If so, here’s what you can look forward to next week. For the April 3 edition of T-Mobile Tuesdays, T-Mo customers can get a free $ 2 Dunkin’ Donuts card, a free one-night disc rental from Redbox, and a HotelStorm deal. Customers can also score a one-year magazine subscription from Hearst Magazines, which offers titles like Men’s Health, Woman’s Day, … [read full article]
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