I have a hunch that Mr. Yamagishi, the former Sony headphone and speaker designer behind Ocharaku was drinking tea before he ever sipped into the idea of the Tornado Equaliser. That singular technology has since revolutionised the upgrade earphone market among price-conscious portable audiophiles in Japan. And with the introduction of Flat-4 SUI – and TE’s successor, TEE – in 2011, the technology has found itself in a new, better pot. Twin Equalised Elements (TEE) is the new leaf that Mr. Yamagishi turned over to create SUI and now KAEDE. If you’re interested in a few different views of KAEDE, check out Ω image’s KAEDE post.
Triad Audio’s L3 is one of the biggest battery-powered carry-around headphone amps that TMA has gone over. The other, MST’s FiQuest, is a champion of customisation and performance. While not nearly as customisable as the FiQuest, the L3 commutes from HiFi component to road warrior with less hassle. It is also one of the handsomest large amps this audio fool has seen.
Lately I’ve been more focused on RPG hybrids when it comes to my match 3 experiences (like Dungeon Story), but I’m all for a good old fashioned pure match 3 romp, given the right game. Sadly, those options don’t come along much any more. Now we have Jelly Duel, however, and my faith in the genre is slowly returning. Unfortunately, this game will only do you some good if you have WiFi or data connectivity since it is an online offering. Still, as much as I don’t like “connected” gaming, I’m seeing a lot of potential in Jelly Duel.
I love physics puzzle game, but there is certainly more than a fair share to choose from. Still, if one seems to offer something new or do something proven really well I’m more than happy to give it a shot. In the case of Block Blasters you get to use various forms of explosives to shuffle the board around, so who wouldn’t want to give that a go? Unfortunately, while the game is conceptually intriguing, in practice it’s more burdensome than anything else. Imprecise controls, frustrating puzzles and annoying sound effects highlight what should have been a fun little puzzle game.
Back in the day, by which I mean a time I barely remember and which many of you probably weren’t born yet for, there existed a game called Rogue that quite possibly started one of the first trends of copycats, known as rouge-likes. The games were simple in some ways such as consisting of only ASCII graphics, but complex in others like having a myriad of commands to remember and randomly generated dungeons that were revealed as you moved through them. While I actually enjoyed several games of this type, I’m happy to see that modern variants such as Dungelot have revamped graphics and streamlined control schemes. Unfortunately one challenging feature still remains in many modern rogue-likes: death is death.
Cut The Rope was one of the first games to be billed as an “Angry Birds killer”, and while I don’t believe it quite made it to that status, there’s no denying the game’s impact on the mobile puzzle game genre. The developers are back with an entirely different concept in Pudding Monsters, but the important thing is that the game is just as entertaining as Cut The Rope. Gamers looking for a challenge might be a bit disappointed, as the current level sets are a bit on the easy side overall, but those looking for a cute casual gaming experience are sure to love the whole package.
Super Dragon is another physics based puzzle game, but at least it doesn’t have the same “topple buildings and defeat the opponents within” type feel that the Angry Birds movement spurred. This time around you play a dragon that simply wants to get his teeth back so he won’t be laughed at by all his friends. Naturally, though, your teeth end up in all sorts of precarious spots, and it’s to you and your fireballs to figure out how to get them back without knocking yourself out in the process.
There’s something to be said about holiday themed games, and that’s by and large I don’t care for them. When it comes to Christmas these days the games usually seem to revolve around delivering presents or destroying renegade elves, both of which might be good for one or two variants apiece. Now don’t get me wrong – Santa Rockstar is still about saving Christmas, but at least the game format is one that hasn’t been touched so far in the holiday makeover realm. Ironically enough I’m not really a big fan of Tap Tap Revenge style music games, but in this case the theme and choice of music seems to make all the difference in the world.
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there’s something about wandering around an asylum that’s always been oddly intriguing to me, which I think is why I tend to gravitate towards such games. It’s also a well visited subject, as I can recall games back as far as my Radio Shack color computer dealing with the topic (if you don’t know what that is, congrats on being a younger gamer). Forever Lost: Episode 1 HD is a more recent entry in the list, and it’s actually one of the best ones I’ve played in quite a while. I do miss the fact that there are no wacky inmates to converse with, but otherwise it has managed to nail the atmosphere pretty well, and has a nice balance of object puzzle solving and mini-games to complete. Now if I could just find the skip button for the puzzle I’m stuck on…
Truly audiophiling an iPod touch is no mean feat. It takes no less than a Cypher Labs AlgoRhthym Solo DAC, and a Vorzüge or ALO Rx class headphone amp. Throw in some shielded interconnects and your’re done. But at what cost? The once slim touch is now a knobby and unholy hamburger of aluminium and winking LEDs. Personally, I’m tired of ordering sides with the main meal. The iBasso DX100 is a single-box solution that will outperform most if not all audio stacks without sacrificing much of what makes the iPod touch worthwhile.
And how pray tell were iBasso, an amplifier maker, able to retain most of what makes the iPod touch worthwhile? Android.