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Find the key to adventure

Adventure gamers take note! This one’s for you. Explore different worlds, seek “answers” and save humankind from an eternity of slavery. Allan Glogauer goes on a quest to find the pieces of the Grand Key…

If I were a country and western singer who had been ditched by a mean-hearted personal computer, I might write a song that went a li’l like-a this (please feel free to add your own accent and sing along):

PC, you been treatin’ me unkindly

Gone ‘n locked me out with my secrets in yaw registrys

And muh personal stuff’s lyin’ all over yaw hard-drive

‘m beggin you – please just gimme the keys

Well, I may not be no country singer, but aah am a darn tootin’ fine adventure game player, yessirree. And finding keys and discovering secrets is generally what adventure games are all about.

The Crystal Key is just such an adventure, with a little slant on the keys angle – it’s your job to find all the pieces of one grand key. In the process, you evade a pretty ominous bad guy and his foot soldiers, and save your planet and its people from destruction and eternal slavery.

Think you’re up to it? Then let’s hold The Crystal Key to the light of the Gadget Four Question User test, and check its quality.

1. Is it ready to use?
The set-up file is on the first of the Key’s two CDs, and double-clicking it puts the 115 MB game files and other bits and pieces on your hard-drive.

2. Is it easy to use?
The game offers a short introduction from its title screen. The Evil (and he looks it) Ozgar and co. have shown up in their space craft and caused havoc on your planet, so it`s time for you to get into your own craft to go and jolly well sort them out.

You also have to gather the pieces of the crystal key of the title. As you do so, the key allows access to a number of different “”worlds””. The worlds, quite different from one another, offer visual variety and maintain interest.

Some of the puzzles are pretty tricky, while the initial ones are easy enough to let you explore a little and get you intrigued. The final one, in which you get to fry the bad guy, though an imaginative peril for the dastardly creature, takes quite some figuring out and – er – executing.

3. Does it work as advertised?
It certainly does. Navigation is easy, as is managing your inventory. And the game is exciting and its puzzles interesting. Three points, though. Yes, I appreciate the hard work that goes into developing atmospheric background music – but sometimes, after a while, the music is intrusive and you can`t turn it off. Also, while moving from one place to another, the animated graphics are great, but at some locations, the static and panoramic pictures don`t match that quality. Finally, to continue playing after saving a game, you have to restore the game you`ve just saved. An annoying waste of time.

4. Is it value for money?
The Crystal Key’s Web page says that it offers exciting, non-violent game play, beautifully rendered graphics and an imaginative story. All this is true, and the game’s pros outweigh my niggling concerns

The game is surprisingly lengthy for its two CD’s, and should keep the average player busy for a while. That makes its price of $19.99, from http://www.dreamcatchergames.com, a fair one.

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Warriors of Waterdeep RPG gets mobile launch

Top game developer Ludia has announced the global launch of Warriors of Waterdeep, a mobile turn-based RPG game, based on the ever-popular Dungeons & Dragons franchise for the App Store and Google Play Store. This release marks the first partnership between Ludia and Wizards of The Coast, leaders in fantasy role-playing games.

In Warriors of Waterdeep, players will need to summon a team of heroes as the great city of Waterdeep is threatened by powerful dark forces. Players will need to take their heroes into battle against monsters from the Forgotten Realms in tactical, turn-based combat. Level up and upgrade your heroes with free daily chests, and win rewards in exciting limited-time events.

“We are excited to bring the Dungeons & Dragons experience to mobile devices,” said Alex Thabet, CEO of Ludia. “We believe fans of the franchise will find Warriors of Waterdeep stays true to the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons with challenging storylines and innovative turn-based gameplay.”

Warriors of Waterdeep will launch with a real-time Player-vs-Player (PvP) mode. Take on teams of four in order to earn trophies, collect rewards and unlock new arenas. Rewards improve with every arena level up, to further improve your team of heroes.

Warriors of Waterdeep is now available to download for free, with in-app purchases, on the App Store and Google Play Store.

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Bixby brings AI shopping to SA

Samsung has announced a strategic partnership with visual search provider Syte to power the first visual AI marketplace within Samsung devices.  Syte’s AI technology will power Bixby Vision’s Shopping Assistant, enabling users to browse and shop visually similar products directly from their camera and through a gallery of similar products. Outlets that will be enabled on devices include Superbalist, Zando, Cotton On, Wantitall, Homechoice and Bid or Buy.

“South Africa has enthusiastic consumers that expect engaging and convenient experiences that fit their lifestyle. We, therefore, decided to expand our partnership with Syte so our devices deliver just that,” says Justin Hume, director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa. “With visual search, South Africans can shop with ease, and connect better with their favourite retailers and brands and vice versa.”

Syte retail clients will populate the shopping results, which means access to purchase-ready traffic to retailers. Samsung says it aims to create the first visual AI ecosystem, where real-life inspiration leads directly to product discovery and purchase. The retailers that appear on the shoppable feed will create a consistent experience, from snapping a picture through to check-out.

“Our partnership with Samsung and its expansion to South Africa are meaningful achievements for us,” said Ofer Fryman, CEO of Syte. “By powering the end-to-end journeys of shoppers, we bring more value and increase the engagement between our retail clients and consumers.”

With Bixby Vision already built into the camera on select Samsung devices, users can translate foreign languages, identify landmarks or businesses to learn more about them and keep track of calories. Samsung says this is all aligned to its greater vision of helping people “Do What You Can’t”.

Supported devices for Bixby Vision and Shopping include Galaxy S10+/S10/ S10e, S9/S9+, Note8/S8/S8+/A7 2018/A5 2018.

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