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Forza Horizon 4

‘Tis the season.by Edmond Tran on Sep 28, 2018 13:31 PM Forza Horizon is a series that has always managed to deftly balance accessibility and complexity. It takes the realistic driving mechanics of Forza Motorsport but ditches the intimidating nature of professional racing and ruthless competition. Instead, it uses vibrant locations and positive vibes to…

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Forza Horizon 4

‘Tis the season.

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Forza Horizon is a series that has always managed to deftly balance accessibility and complexity. It takes the realistic driving mechanics of Forza Motorsport but ditches the intimidating nature of professional racing and ruthless competition. Instead, it uses vibrant locations and positive vibes to amplify and celebrate the joys of driving–the giddiness of speed, the awe of vibrant scenery, and the spectacle of shiny cars. Forza Horizon 4 upholds this tradition. Meaningful changes add interesting gameplay considerations and improve progression flow, on top of its already accommodating difficulty options, a smorgasbord of vehicles, and a beautiful open world overflowing with activities. With Horizon 4, Playground Games continues to excel at making the act of virtual driving exciting, approachable, and entertaining without sacrificing complexity.

Horizon’s fourth open-world locale is a version of Great Britain that amalgamates and condenses iconic regions of England, Scotland, and Wales, offering some fantastic terrain to explore. The rolling hills of the English countryside make cross-country driving more thrilling, the Scottish Highlands offer breathtaking highway routes, and the city of Edinburgh’s windy, hilly streets serve as an interesting location for street races.

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But the biggest change to Horizon is the introduction of seasons. Horizon’s Britain cycles between summer, autumn, winter, and spring–and the weather in each season affects the world in tangible ways. These range from the obvious, like bodies of water freezing over, to the near-imperceptible, like the change in temperature affecting your tires. But seasons truly require you to adapt both your technique and your vehicle, and this variety produces a unique dynamic–the same dirt course you drive in summer will be boggy after an autumn rain, and asphalt roads will get slicker during the winter snow. In the first few hours of Horizon 4, the seasons will change after you’ve completed a number of activities, and this quick cycle reveals how necessary it is to consider and adjust your driving. But once you complete a whole cycle, the implementation of seasons changes: They’ll then be tied to an online server, synchronized for all players, and will rotate every seven days.

Online functionality has a larger emphasis in Horizon 4–when playing solo, the game will discreetly connect you into an online session with up to 72 other players. You can also form a convoy of up to 12 people, as well as compete in ranked or unranked team adventures for seasonal prizes. It’s still easy to focus on playing solo at your own pace, and you can still go offline completely and drive against AI. But Horizon 4’s expanded online functionality does offer worthwhile activities to encourage you to connect with other people. Head-to-head races are more interesting against actual human beings, and the weekly change in weather comes with a selection of limited-time, season-specific races and championships as well as challenge missions.

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Horizon also features recurring “#Forzathon Live” public events, which puts the call out to players in a session to gather together and cooperate to hit a combined score pool in a certain activity. You’ll earn currency to spend in an exclusive Forzathon shop if you’re successful, but these events become tedious quickly, as you’ll be running the same activity–like a single drift zone or danger jump–repeatedly until the group hits the score target.

But the missed opportunity of Forzathon Live events is just a tiny scuff in Horizon’s otherwise comprehensive and inviting gamut of activities. Irrespective of online seasonal events, there are a large number of vehicular disciplines to pursue, the majority of which allow you the great flexibility of shaping a race around your vehicle of choice–though you’ll still need to use your best cars to perform well in things like speed and drift challenges. You’re also now able to create your own custom courses, and the series’ more creative pursuits return with story missions–which feature things like stunt driving and nice homages to other racing games–and the entertaining, if highly choreographed, showcase races against things like planes, trains, and Halo‘s Warthogs.

Progression has changed from Forza Horizon 3–you no longer expand multiple festival sites to uncover activities. Instead, each discipline has its own corresponding progression meter. Participating in a particular kind of activity enough times, win or lose, will eventually level up that discipline, reward you, and unlock more activities of that kind on the map. It’s an exciting and friendly system that stretches you out to the furthest reaches of the world quickly, makes it feel like something new and interesting to do is always nearby, and rewards you no matter what you decide to participate in and how you perform. Even after hours and hours of play, Horizon 4 kept revealing surprises by introducing brand-new styles of activities, keeping the game’s flow feeling fresh.

It always feels like there’s a reward in reach, too. With both individual meters for disciplines and an overall progression meter, you’re often just a couple more races away from earning a level-up prize. The slot machine-style wheelspins also return, now with a variant that lets you pull for three prizes, and thankfully they still remain siloed from any real-world monetary transactions. Horizon 4 has a larger variety of potential rewards, too. The bigger focus on online interactions means driver customization is a big deal, which throws hundreds of unisex clothing options, quick chat phrases, and dance emotes into the pool. This means you might occasionally get a boring prize like a pair of shoes, but the pace of compensation is steady enough to make this negligible and also makes the rare occasion of nabbing a free car all the more satisfying.

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Horizon 4 boasts 100 more vehicles over its predecessor, with a total of 450 in the base game. While Japanese car enthusiasts will definitely notice the absence of Mitsubishi and Toyota vehicles (no more Initial D Sprinter), Volkswagen has held over from Motorsport 7 (bringing classic Beetles, Kombis, and Golfs), as have a few new vehicles like racing trucks. Once again, Horizon features an array of tinkering options for enthusiasts, as well as auto-upgrade options and a number of accommodating driving assists for those who’d rather only think about accelerating and turning.

Regardless of how you drive, vehicles feel weighty, handle believably, and each one now has its own individual perk tree. Earning skill points while performing both reckless and prudent driving maneuvers will allow you to unlock nodes that add buffs to your skill point accumulation, or earn one-off rewards like wheelspins or influence (the game’s experience measure). It’s a great change from Horizons 3’s global skill tree, because it encourages you to stick with a vehicle, get to know it intimately, and have the advantage of a higher rate of reward. Skill points come readily if you’re driving at least somewhat competently, and you’re free to use points you earn on any vehicle, which makes swapping your go-to car less of a blow to your progression if you’ve already banked some extra points.

Horizon’s global perks have been transferred to another new feature, Properties, which replace festival sites as your garage and customization hubs. Finding and buying properties around the map is relatively expensive, but the perks some contain are useful, and properties all act as valuable fast travel points. Fast travel still costs you in-game currency, at least until you find and break all 50 fast-travel boards, but Horizon 4 does make other very welcome improvements in the interest of accessibility and quality of life, including the ability to change cars for free and at any time.

There’s such a diverse range of activities stuffed into every corner of Horizon 4, and meaningful changes contribute to smart driving dynamics and a more consistent sense of achievement. Everything you do in Horizon feels valuable, no matter how big or small–from the basic thrills of speeding a fast car down a gorgeous mountain highway to spending time tinkering with your favorite ride to manage seasonal road conditions to just hanging out with friends and strangers online and goofing off in friendly games. The charm of the Horizon series is as palpable as ever, a winning, all-inclusive recipe that celebrates the joy of driving above all else.

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Dragon Quest 11 for Nintendo Switch gets Japanese release in 2019 – Polygon

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age is coming to Nintendo Switch next year, in Japan at least. At this weekend’s Jump Festa event in Japan, Square Enix released the first teaser trailer for Dragon Quest 11 S for Switch, showing off Japanese-language voice overs for the game. When Dragon Quest 11 was originally…

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Dragon Quest 11 for Nintendo Switch gets Japanese release in 2019 – Polygon

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age is coming to Nintendo Switch next year, in Japan at least. At this weekend’s Jump Festa event in Japan, Square Enix released the first teaser trailer for Dragon Quest 11 S for Switch, showing off Japanese-language voice overs for the game.

When Dragon Quest 11 was originally released in Japan on Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation 4, the role-playing game did not include voiced characters. Square Enix added English-language voice over for the North American release, as well as a handful of new gameplay options.

When Dragon Quest 11 S is released in Japan next year, the game will include something new that affects the ending of the game. [Warning: Spoiler alert!] Now, instead of being locked into a single marriage choice, players will have the option of choosing their bride. Players can also choose to live with two male characters, Erik or Hendrik, Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii said in an interview with Famitsu.

Square Enix said it plans to reveal more details on the Switch version of Dragon Quest 11 during a livestream in January. We’ve reached out to Square Enix for an update on the North American release of Dragon Quest 11 S on Switch and will update when the company responds.

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age is available now on PS4 and Windows PC. The JRPG came in at No. 30 on Polygon’s best games of 2018.

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5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly – Android Authority

Welcome to the 274th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week: We announced our picks for the best new Android apps and best new Android games from 2018! Every app and game launched some time in 2018. Some notable selections include Bouncer, YouTube Music, Carrot Weather, Dolphin Emulator,…

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5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly – Android Authority

This is the featured image for Android Apps Weekly 12-20-2018


Welcome to the 274th edition of Android Apps Weekly! Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • We announced our picks for the best new Android apps and best new Android games from 2018! Every app and game launched some time in 2018. Some notable selections include Bouncer, YouTube Music, Carrot Weather, Dolphin Emulator, PUBG Mobile. Fortnite, Part Time UFO, and many others. There are over 50 total selections between both lists and each one’s honorable mentions. Check them out at the links above!
  • Google launched a huge update for the Google My Business app this week. It is basically a complete re-design with small businesses in mind. Business owners can now upload photos easier, add and edit information easier, and track various metrics. This is a redesign of an older app and that’s why it’s not below in the app section. Still, it’s a fairly significant update and it makes a lot of the functions easier to use.
  • Facebook had a couple of problems this week. The first was a bug that potentially exposed private photos to just about anybody. It only affects photos uploaded to the service but not publicly shared. The bug allegedly affected up to 6.8 million users in total. The second problem is a little more serious. Facebook gave Spotify and Netflix access to your private messages. Netflix denied that it ever asked for such permissions. This problem is still a work in progress, though. Hit the link to learn more!
  • A former Microsoft employee accused Google of sabotage in regards to the company’s Edge browser. Basically, the employee accused Google of changing YouTube site code for nefarious reasons. The change added a blank div space and that prevented Edge browser from recognizing it as a video site. Thus, Edge could not engage in its hardware acceleration mode. Google claims it was an accident. However, Google has intentionally thrown competitors under the bus like this before. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
  • On a positive note, Google Play and several developers are having massive year-end sales on the Play Store. Some of the stuff available includes subscriptions for HBO and Starz, image editor Picsart, and TuneIn Radio. Additionally, Clash Royale, Pokemon Go, Lineage 2, PUBG Mobile, and Summoners War. Some additional stuff includes John Wick and The Predator movies, several TV shows, and even a few bucks. Hit the link for more! Additionally, Square Enix is putting its popular series of Final Fantasy ports (along with Chrono Trigger) on sale as well. Happy hunting!

My Board Game Collection

My Board Game Collection

Price: Free

My Board Game Collection is what the name suggests. It keeps track of all of your board games. The industry is in the midst of a rise of popularity and collecting board games is actually fairly popular. Why shouldn’t we have an app to track them? The app uses Board Game Geek as its search engine and you can add all of your games. You can then access the game’s official website, game manuals, and other resources from there. You can also sort your games for things like complexity, number of players, and average length of time per game. My Board Game Collection is in beta right now. Thus, expect bugs and frequent changes. However, we actually really liked it.

My Board Game Collection

ROME: Total War

ROME: Total War

Price: $9.99

ROME: Total War is a new real-time strategy game. The game features a full RTS experience without any freemium nonsense. Additionally, the game features 19 playable factions, deep tactical game play, massive battles and more. Players train troops, manage their cities, and conduct combat against the bad guys. The touch screen UI is serviceable as well and we didn’t have any trouble playing the game. Some players reported crashes at the end of battles, but these reports are few and far between. It’s a shame that we already wrote our best Android games of 2018 list because this would probably be on it. Perhaps in 2019!


00:37

00:37 is a minimal style fitness app. It doesn’t have any exercise routines or instructional videos. Instead, it lets you create timers for various exercises for your own routine. You can track each time you perform the exercise as well and organize your results for a variety of metrics like tags, routine, alphabetically, etc. It’s a little tedious at first. However, it actually works quite well once you get it all set up and ready to go. It’s an open beta so you can expect bugs and other potential problems. Otherwise, it’s a neat little minimal fitness app that cuts out a lot of the fluff.

00:37

Beach Buggy Racing 2

Beach Buggy Racing 2

Price: Freemium

Beach Buggy Racing 2 is the latest game from Vector Unit, developers of the popular Riptide GP series. This is a standard kart style racing game similar to its predecessor. It plays a lot like Mario Kart. You race through tracks, pick up weapon boxes, and launch weapons at the other racers for a competitive edge. There are several playable characters, over 40 cars to unlock, online multiplayer races, various customizations, and a couple of extra game modes not in the first game. The game ramps up its grind game rather quickly and we’re not fans of that. Additionally, it has the occasional bug like most new mobile games do. Otherwise, it’s quite enjoyable.


Widget Drawer

Widget Drawer

Price: $0.99

Widget Drawer is a neat idea for widget lovers out there. It essentially creates a whole new drawer similar to the app drawer. However, this drawer is solely for widgets. Some launcher apps have this functionality already, but this app works anywhere. Basically, you create the drawer, populate it with your favorite widgets, and that’s it. You then decide how to access the drawer with a little tab on the side of the screen that is also lightly customizable. We would like a free demo version. Thus, we recommend really giving it a shot inside of the refund time. Otherwise, it worked well for us.

Widget Drawer

Thank you for reading! Try these too!

If we missed any big Android apps or games news, updates, or releases, tell us about them in the comments! Also, check out our weekly Android Authority podcast here!

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The 10 Android apps that made the most money worldwide in 2018 – Business Insider

LightRocket via Getty Images Android smartphones are incredibly dominant in the worldwide market. As 2018 comes to a close, Sensor Tower has compiled data on which Android apps generated the most revenue from user downloads this year. Check out the list below of the 10 highest-grossing apps from the Google Play store in 2018. Social…

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The 10 Android apps that made the most money worldwide in 2018 – Business Insider


LightRocket via Getty Images

  • Android smartphones are incredibly dominant in the worldwide market.
  • As 2018 comes to a close, Sensor Tower has compiled data on which Android apps generated the most revenue from user downloads this year.
  • Check out the list below of the 10 highest-grossing apps from the Google Play store in 2018.

Social networking apps had some of the highest revenue numbers on Android phones this year, but the apps topping the charts may not be from the big American tech names you’re expecting.

That’s according to new data from Sensor Tower, which ranked the Android apps that had the highest revenue numbers in 2018. The data covers a period ending on November 30th.

Between Android and iOS devices, there are three apps that appeared on both devices’ top 10 lists of highest-grossing apps, and they’re all produced by US-based companies.

Here are the highest grossing Android apps in 2018, and how much revenue each app brought in:

10. HBO Now — $38.5 billion


HBO

What the app does: On-demand video service

Owned by: HBO

9. LINE Manga — $49.4 million


LINE Manga

What the app does: Manga comics ereader

Owned by: Line Corporation

8. KakaoTalk — $57.4 million


Shutterstock.com

What the app does: Instant messaging platform

Owned by: Kakao Corporation


Azar

What the app does: Random live-chatting service

Owned by: Hyperconnect

6. Netflix — $97.8 million


Getty Images

What the app does: Video streaming service

Owned by: Netflix

5. Bigo Live — $100.4 million


BIGO LIVE/Business Insider

What the app does: Live-streaming social network

Owned by: Bigo Technology


Line

What the app does: Instant messaging platform

Owned by: Line Corporation

3. Pandora — $132.0 million


Shutterstock

What the app does: Music streaming platform

Owned by: SiriusXM

2. Google Drive — $164.3 million


Nopparat Khokthong / Shutterstock.com

What the app does: Cloud-based file storage

Owned by: Google

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