Downwell Review: A Leap of Faith Worth Taking (PC, iOS, Android)

Downwell1

As Downwell begins, you find yourself in control of a nondescript white humanoid, lounging in a state of relaxation.

Perhaps he’s lying on the bench, or sitting against a tree, or perched, legs dangling over the edge of a well. Press a button and he jumps to life. You can hang around at the top of the well as long as you’d like, but you’ll find there’s nothing to do, nothing with which you can interact.

Downwell never explicitly tells you, “Jump into the well to begin the game” but you know that’s what you have to do. I hope it’s a leap of faith you’ll take, because Downwell is one of the best – and most unappreciated – games of 2015.
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Razer Forge TV “Review” – $149 Android Micro-Console

Announced at CES in January 2015, the Razer Forge TV is an Android TV-based streaming device as well as an Android gaming platform. It is available with just the console for $99 or with the Serval Bluetooth controller in a bundle for $149. In addition to offering streaming video content and native Android apps and games, the Forge TV will offer Razer’s proprietary PC game streaming service via an update in the future, apparently Q4 2015, but launches without that functionality.

Today, I’ll give you my thoughts on this device and whether it is worth purchasing over competitors like the Nexus Player and Roku 3, and how it compares to spending a little extra for a low-end PC like the HP Stream Mini.

This was intended to be a full review, but due to certain events related to this device that I will detail below, there’s no real need for a full review.

forge tv and controller

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Android 5.0 Lollipop: 120 Day Checkup

Google recently released a major upgrade to its Android OS platform, moving from 4.4.4 KitKat to 5.0 Lollipop. This process has been uneven, to say the least.

Early reviews from all over the internet were exceedingly positive, even from sites with a general bend toward Apple and iOS, like The Verve. The new “Material Design” theme rolled out at Google I/O in 2014 was likewise popular with almost everyone from the first previews. Lollipop appeared ready to usher in a new era for Android devices… and yet, months after the Nexus 9 launched as the first Lollipop device, adoption is moving at a snail’s pace:

  • After 90 days, Android 5.0 Lollipop (and its subsequent upgrades) can claim less than 2% of Android’s total users.
  • After 150 days, iOS 8 (and its subsequent upgrades) claim over 70% adoption on iOS devices.

What is driving this?  Below, I give my thoughts about Lollipop thus far including my personal experiences with it on three tablets and one phone.

Moto X 2014 with Lollipop and Google Now Launcher:

Google Now Launcher

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