I’m going to do that thing that I do when I explain that I am not really an audiophile. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is what I do when I am reviewing headphones, because I often don’t hear a difference between two individual sets of phones. However, I had the opportunity to review Sonarworks True-Fi calibration software for my PC, and I can honestly say that I can definitely hear a difference.
All that is required to go the Sonarworks site and download it. From there, it asks some questions like your age and gender. Uh, why does this ask this, you might ask? Well, this is all about calibration. You can even see in the illustration the adjustable bar for an age bracket, and it has some interesting effects.
Of course, what you really want to do is calibrate your bass with your unique set of headphones. I had a chance to review it with the Marshall Monitor and the Samson SR920, which are two headphones that I have not had the opportunity to try.
From there, I could adjust the bass, and man, it is great to hear some seriously booming sound. You should be able to purchase this software on the Sonarworks site for $79.99.
It’s been a while since we reviewed a Matias product. In fact, it has been a year with the Aluminum Keyboard with Backlight (almost to the day), and now we will review the Wired Aluminum keyboard with RGB backlight. At this rate, we are doing a Matias keyboard per year.
At the first glance, I would have to say that the Matias Wired Aluminum Keyboard with RGB backlight looks like a MacBook product. Not only does it have that skinniness, but all of those keys look so Apple.
So, there is a terrific feature of a backlight, in case you missed that. So why is that feature there? Well, there is a blue-light exposure that apparently affects melatonin levels, and this isn’t the first time that I have heard of it. There is a color dial which is great for reducing the Blue Light, and changing it to other colors like red, green, and blue.
Oh, by the way, you can adjust the brightness of the backlight as well. Another great feature is that when you plug this keyboard into a USB, you don’t lose a USB port. In fact, you have a new USB port on the keyboard, so that helps a bunch.
You should be able to purchase the Matias Wired Aluminum Keyboard with RGB backlight on the Matias site for $99.
Once again, we have got our hands on Under Armor Gear (UAG) products, and they do make some of the greatest cases in the universe. I honestly don’t know if this is an accurate thing to say.
UAG Monarch Case for the iPhone XS Max
Once again, the Monarch Case has one of those five-layers of protection. You can see that it has that typical UAG look that always reminds me of a complex belt buckle.
This particular Monarch has a metal alloy and leather, and it even has this odd kind of hexagonal pattern that feels like…I don’t know, rubber? I am told it is called a honeycomb traction grip.
It’s completely set-up for drop protection approved by the Military. What is really cool is that it is set-up for the wireless charging, which is odd, considering all the layers of protection.
This sound good for you, you can get the Monarch case for the iPhone XS Max on the UAG site for $59.95.
UAG Pathfinder Case for the iPhone XS Max
I’m sure that you can see the difference between the Pathfinder and the Monarch, as the black leather areas are kind of sanded over. Yeah, I wasn’t certain how to describe that, but then again, I never really know how to describe the shape of UAG cases.
While I couldn’t confirm the 5 layers of protection, the Pathfinder sure looks tough, and it is much lighter too. I am guessing it is made for the hikers, and is it just me, or does the color of Carmine that you see in the photo seem perfect for hiking?
Well, it is good for the military protection and the wireless charging, and the UAG Pathfinder case for the iPhone XS Max is available on the UAG site for $39.95.
UAG Pathfinder SE Case for the iPhone XR Max
Okay, I was glad to review the Pathfinder SE for the iPhone XR, because I have been wanting to review stuff for the iPhone XR for a while. Besides the size, this Pathfinder SE case for the XR isn’t that much different from the Pathfinder for the iPhone XS Max. You can see that the Pathfinder SE has some camo pattern, and that seems to be one big difference.
Anything else I can say about this would be a cut and paste, and I see no reason to do that. I guess that I will just say what I forgot to say and that it is feather-light and has some scratch resistant pads.
For some reason, the UAG Pathfinder SE for the iPhone XR is more expensive than the Pathfinder regular, as it is available on the UAG site for $49.95.
In case you are not aware, I occasionally do video game reviews on my site, and it is rare that I review two games that are similar with their style. The style is that of surrealism, which can bring the player into worlds similar to that of a Salvador Dali painting. This is only one of the best aspects of The Gardens Between and My Brother Rabbit, and they are both great games in their own right.
The Gardens Between Game Review
It will be very difficult to describe the settings of these games, and I’ll try and let the visuals speak for themselves. Both of these games have some kind of real world event taking place, but then it slips into the surreal. In the case of The Gardens Between, it tells the story of a boy and girl who meet after one of them moves into town. If you ever had a best friend in childhood, you tend to do a lot of fun things together, and the surreal aspect celebrates this.
At the beginning of each stage, the boy and girl (Frendt and Ariana) go to some weird island that has oversized objects on it. For example, they go to one where there is a huge couch on it. From there, the two friends attempt to make it to the top of the island, where they put a lantern on top. Arina is the one that holds the lantern, while Frendt has the power to occasionally interact with objects.
The Gardens Between takes place is truly a unique game because the controller literally moves time forward. I am absolutely serious and I will try to describe this as best as I can. If you move the controller forward, the two friends go on their path like any other game. The issue is when you move the controller in the direction opposite of forward, the main characters go backward because time is going backward.
So how does it play out? Well, as I said before, you have to move a lantern to a certain point, but you can place it in places along the path. Also, since you can manipulate objects, imagine if you could go back in time, manipulate something, and then go forward again. This would cause things to change, and this is the puzzle-solving aspect to this game.
As you probably have probably predicted, I don’t have much time to do a game before I need to write a review of it. I can usually only give a game a few hours before I get into a game and can fairly write about it. The Gardens Between is a game that I didn’t want to stop playing, because it was so relaxing. Seriously, most video games really are full of intense action, but this game, with its cool new-agey theme song that really calms me down instead of winding me up. This is a good thing.
The Gardens Between is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (NA, EU), Steam, and Mac App Store for $19.99. It’s a small price, and I don’t know how long the game is, but it is worth double its price. You can find out more information about the game here.
My Brother Rabbit Game Review
I can’t help but compare My Brother Rabbit to the last game, because it also has a real world situation taking place in conjunction to a surreal one. The real world in this is a real problem based on a sad memory and not a happy one. The game starts with a family who has a daughter who is very sick. The daughter has a brother, who gives her a stuffed rabbit, who is the main character in the surreal world.
This story can’t help but feel sad, and I am reminded of The Velveteen Rabbit and its very bittersweet story. The rabbit main character has to help out his friend, a plant-like being, who is also sick. The world the stuff rabbit lives in is cartoonist’s surreal kingdom, with strange objects all around and everything kind of has a face.
The action of My Brother Rabbit is an old-fashioned point-and-click. The player has to solve puzzles to advance to the next world on the map, and a lot of these require a lot of hidden objects puzzles. The usual pattern is to find the hidden objects in order to open up a new puzzle, which will lead to another puzzle. It then becomes very fun to assemble a vehicle by putting pieces of puzzles together in order to advance.
I was able to play My Brother Rabbit all the way through, and I loved it. Some of the puzzles were pretty difficult and time-consuming, but that is part of the fun.
My Brother Rabbit is available for $14.99 in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Turkish on Nintendo Switch, Steam, Windows Store, Mac App Store, GOG, Humble Store, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One now. More information is available on the website here.
One of the things that is interesting about Downward Spiral: Horus Station is how it is an “anti-gravity game”. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I will have to say that the controls of this game are unique as they are confusing. I played it on the PS4, and what you need to do is use the left controller to grab on to an object, and then push off.
That’s right, you are trapped in an area (a space station) that has no gravity, so you must push yourself in order to get someplace. I suppose that is as close to being in space without a shuttle, and it creates a unique way of movement.
I will say that from the get go, I found the game was very difficult just to get around. Fortunately, this was quickly remedied when I found a gun that fired some kind of magnetic line which allowed me to reel myself in onto any wall.
Wait, wait, wait. I think I am getting very far ahead of myself. I think I had better start with the setting. The player finds himself (herself) in some kind of space station, which must be the Horus Station of the title. This would account for one half of the title, and I can only guess that something has set it on the Downward Spiral involved in the title.
Seriously, this game doesn’t really tell you what’s up. It starts out with some guy (done from a first-person POV) who looks like he’s walking on Mars, maybe, and then it goes into the space station. This is one of those games that has a lot of quiet atmosphere, which means that something creepy is definitely going on. I’ve been seeing a lot of games like this, such as The Station, for example. No, I’m not saying Horus Station is a rip-off.
Remember how I said that you are floating in this game? Well, once you get that aforementioned grappling/magnetic line, it is much easier to get around. This is one of those games where you can interact with objects, but of course, it is only the ones that the game allows you to. So not only can you get a grappling line, but you can also get a gun that can shoot enemies.
Yes, there are enemies. For some reason, some kind of automated floating robot guard thingys are trying to kill you. You can shoot back, and this is required to advance.
From what I can tell, this is one of those games that is linear in its format, requiring you to go through certain rooms at certain times to accomplish…something. From what I can tell, it would appear to be getting the Horus Station back online.
But how did it get offline? What has happened to it? Yeah, you can see the point of a game like this. So if this is your cup of tea, then I highly suggest drinking from it. So far, it is available for the PS4, and I would recommend the VR mode, as it is undoubtedly made for it.
The first thing that I am going to say about Human Fall Flat is it is a puzzle game. Puzzle games are always great because you use your mind, you solve something, but then the process repeats (both a blessing and a curse). The last two games that I reviewed, The Spectrum Retreat and The Path of Motus have had their series of puzzles, but they had a huge framing device of story.
Human Fall Flat is one of those games that is essentially one puzzle after another, and I’m not certain if there is some bigger story here (granted I am only at Level 5). The website describes it as “an open-ended physics based puzzle game in which you take control of builder Bob helping him resolve the mysteries behind his recurring dreams of falling”. Okay, so I can quote a website, but what is the game actually about?
Well, the game starts out with the main character Bob, who looks to be a white lump of clay in the shape of a person. Now, you can customize how you want Bob to look, but he is very blank and expressionless, even with clothes. Bob is falling at the beginning, and he lands without getting injured, because he is essentially Mr. Bill without the “Oh No”.
At the beginning, there is some narration that, as far as I know, is never heard of again. He comments about the nature of humans, as the how they just have to open doors and attempt to move on. This is definitely what you are doing in the game, and the way you do it is very unique.
Bob shows up in this world that is minimalist and yet has some kind of detail (powered by Unity). The player controls Bob, and Bob is capable of moving and jumping. Nothing new here, but what makes it interesting is how the player can interact with objects. Essentially, the end of your arm sticks to objects, and you can push and pull them.
From here, Bob goes from world to world, and he uses his limited abilities to advance past the walls of whatever level he is in. Trust me, that makes sense when you play it, but I have to admit that it is difficult to get used to his sticky fingers. For example, there are times in which you need to jump and grab onto a ledge, then pull yourself up. In most games, this is done automatically with a jump button and upward motion of the controller, but when I played Human Fall Flat on the PS4, it involved the bumper buttons and shifting the camera view.
This unique type of controls made for some interesting puzzles as you stick to things, and there are even sections where you are swinging from ropes and things. What is great is how the game doesn’t seem to have one way of solving worlds. Like Breath of the Wild, there are more than one way of beating a level, and there were times when I was wondering if the game ever intended me to do certain things. An example would be a puzzle where it is possible to use a catapult to destroy a wall or perhaps launch yourself with the catapult.
My only complaint is that I am not certain why the game is called Human Fall Flat. On my controls, I was able to make Bob fall flat, but I didn’t really find this helpful. All in all, I would say that Human Fall Flat is a very engaging game and will be loved who love puzzle gaming. Check out the info here if you are interested.
All right, it’s a great time to be reviewing Under Armor Gear (UAG) products again, and I am pleased to finally get my hands on two products for the new Galaxy Note 9 with the PYLO and the Monarch Series.
UAG PYLO for the Galaxy Note 9
So, when it comes to the PYLO, it is one of those really stiff and clear cases. When it comes to the corners, they are soft, clearly made for some serious corner impacts. Somehow, this case is pretty light and has some over-sized tactile buttons.
What I like about the PYLO is how it doesn’t have that kind of “buckle” look that is common for most UAG cases (I’ll get to that when I talk about the Monarch). The PYLO has at best a rainbow clear look, which means it is minimalist on the back, but very “busy” on the sides (again, something I will get to with the Monarch).
You should be able to purchase the PYLO for the Galaxy Note 9 for about $39.95 on the UAG site.
UAG Monarch for the Galaxy Note 9
Now, here’s a review of the Monarch case, and, as you can see, it has a distinct look that I have seen on UAG products before. That is the “buckle” look that I don’t know how to describe any other way. I mean, look at the pattern on it, it looks like a buckle, right?
Apparently, the design is all engineered that way. It meets a military standard for drop and shock protection, and it has 5 layers of protection with leather and alloy. It also has a honeycomb traction grip, as well as those places for screws. Like the PYLO, it is hard to believe that it is as light as it is.
If you would like to purchase the Monarch for the Galaxy Note 9, it is available on the UAG site for $59.95 in black or crimson.
I feel bad criticizing Matt Groening’s work, the man who gave us such wonderful shows like The Simpsons and Futurama really made the last two decades. I have a theory that eventually artists lose their creative streak, or at least go into some kind of downward slide. I mean, just compare Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark with Ready Player One. The former is a game-changing action film that has withstood the test of time (for the most part), but the other is just kind of a movie with a lot of special effects.
Perhaps the way to combat this downward slope of creativity is to constantly evolve. After all, most people in the eighties knew Clint Eastwood as a successful actor, but in his twilight years, he has become quite the director. If one looks at Seth MacFarlene, you can see that Family Guy has declined in quality, but The Orville brought back the Star Trek fun to TV again (mostly by imitating).
So it is interesting to see Groening, with The Simpsons also in constant quality decline, attempt something new with Disenchantment. This Netflix show promised Groening’s subversive humor, but in an epic fantasy setting. Before I get into the show, I will say that The Simpsons already did a high fantasy episode on their Season 29 pilot called “The Serfsons”. Generally, The Simpsons has one good gem every season, but even the giant medieval look did not make this particular episode stand out. Any show that is near its 3rd decade will probably not produce something decent, even by accident. I get the feeling that “The Serfsons” was some sort of test by the animation department to get the visuals right on Disenchantment. By the way, the visuals of this show look fantastic.
Unfortunately, Disenchantment is not good with its story and characters, and this is 10 reasons why Disenchantment fails to enchant. There are spoilers ahead.
I think it is going to be very clear that all cars will be complete with a camera as a standard feature. It just makes a lot of sense if you think about it, because why wouldn’t you take advantage of this technology? For those that don’t have the camera now, you might be interested in the DriveHD Dash Camera with Dual View System from Cobra.
Yes, this is dual views, as there is one camera for the front (1080p) and one for the rear (720p). Both of these are on a loop for recording continuously, and there is a G-Sensor for detecting impacts and there is even a parking mode for recording when motion is detected.
Speaking of detection, this product has lane departure and forward collision warnings to let the driver know if you are drifting out of your lane and even if there is an object coming.
So is it easy to install? Well, there is an adhesive windshield mount and the front camera goes, and the back one can mount as easily. It includes a 16 GB SD made for the footage, and the product comes with some video editing software as well. It might not be Movavi, but hey.
If you want to purchase the DriveHD (Dash 2216D), you can purchase from the Cobra website for about $209.95.
I review a lot of great products here, but this would be the very first time that I have reviewed an umbrella. I’m guessing that umbrella technology hasn’t changed much in the past…however long umbrellas have been around. This UnbelievaBrella is a step in the right direction.
You can see in the image how this umbrella looks like it has been blown away by the wind. I’ve had some umbrellas turn inside-out before, but the UnbelievaBrella opens in reverse on purpose. So what sort of purpose could a reverse-opening umbrella serve?
Well, the website says that the water will stay away from you by funneling into the umbrella when it is closed. It does create a very beautiful blooming effect when you open it.
Too bad it doesn’t have that push the button and it opens feature. It has that button that you have to push to keep it open, and sometimes, it takes a moment before it catches. That’s so far is the only drawback, and I haven’t the chance to try it in the rain.
In addition to its unique opening feature, it also has a handle that is not a U-shape, but a C-shape. In case you are wondering it has this for a reason, and that is because it allows for hands-free usability. Basically, you need to put your hand in the C shape and let the umbrella pole rest on your shoulder. Heck, that is a feature to sell the UnbelievaBrella, and it is available on the ShedRain site for $20.00 in many different colors.