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Lego builds up to the Rowling magic

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Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released six expansion packs for Lego Dimensions, the Lego toy and videogame hybrid and the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced the release of six expansion packs for Lego Dimensions, the Lego toy and videogame hybrid, led by the Sonic The Hedgehog Level Pack and the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack, just in time for the South African release of Warner Bros. Pictures’ all-new adventure in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

All expansion packs in this latest wave feature Battle Arenas with competitive split-screen local gameplay for up to four players. Lego minifigures included in the expansion packs come with special golden Toy Tags which unlock a free play Adventure World of the corresponding entertainment brand, as well as a battle arena that can be reached through Vorton. Players can explore Adventure Worlds for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemSonic The HedgehogGremlinsE.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and Adventure Time, and also play four exciting gameplay modes within the battle arenas, including Capture the Flag, Objective, Base Bash, and Tick, Tag, Boom!. Each arena comes with its own traps, defenses, and special powers that make every Battle Arena unique. Battles can be played competitively or cooperatively in multiple player configurations including 2 vs 2, 3 vs 1, and individually against the system AI to create fun for the whole family.

The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack provides a complete movie-based gameplay experience that is full of secrets and surprises. It includes six action-packed levels and new Lego Gateway bricks to build the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) atop the Lego Toy Pad.  Players can build the Newt Scamander Lego minifigure and help him find his escaped magical creatures in New York City using a variety of spells, including DiffindoReparo and Lumos.  The pack will also come with the Niffler, which can be rebuilt into the Sinister Scorpion and Vicious Vulture. The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack will be the exclusive Lego construction toy offering this holiday for the exciting expansion of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Fans can also add the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Fun Pack with a Tina Goldstein Lego minifigure. She can cast Aguamenti to help solve puzzles and Protego to keep her safe from enemies. Players in need of rescue can build the Swooping Evil which can be rebuilt into the Brutal Bloom and Crawling Creeper.

With the Sonic The Hedgehog Level Pack, players can join Sonic and his friends in an epic battle against Eggman and Chaos and spin into action as they speed through iconic locations including Green Hill, Emerald Coast, Labyrinth and many more to collect all the Chaos Emeralds. Players can build the Sonic the Hedgehog Lego minifigure and use his Acrobat ability to swing off poles and avoid the Badniks, then use his famous grind rails move to make a quick escape.  The pack also includes a 3-in-1 Sonic Speedster which can be rebuilt into Blue Typhoon and Motobug, and a 3-in-1 The Tornado which can be rebuilt into Crabmeat and Eggcatcher.

Players wanting to bring Gremlins to life in Lego Dimensions can add the Gremlins Team Pack which includes popular rivals Gizmo and Stripe Lego minifigures. Each will unlock the Gremlins Adventure World, where players can explore the Cinema, Clamp Industries, the High School, and so much more. Gizmo’s Combat Roll and Dash Attack abilities can be used to get him out of sticky situations and Stripe uses his claws with his Vine Cut ability. Players can rebuild the 3-in-1 R.C. Racer vehicle into the Gadget-o-matic and Scarlet Scorpion and the 3-in-1 Flash ‘n’ Finish into a Rampage Record Player and Stripe’s Throne.

The E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Fun Pack includes an E.T. Lego minifigure with Illumination and Fix-It abilities, as well as special Stealth and Telekinesis skills to make his way around the LEGO multiverse.  With the corresponding Adventure World, players can build new experiences at Elliot’s house and in the suburbs, throughout the park and the forest, on the BMX trail, and even in E.T.’s spaceship. Players can build E.T.’s iconic Phone Home device, then rebuild it into the Mobile Uplink and Super-Charged Satellite for additional in-game abilities.

Fans of “Land of Ooo” can add a Fun Pack based on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time with a Marceline the Vampire Queen Lego minifigure. Players can activate her Sonar Smash and Bolt Deflector abilities using the Marceline Axe Guitar to solve puzzles and battle enemies. They can also build and use Marceline’s Lunatic Amp to make some noise, and then rebuild it into the Shadow Scorpion and Heavy Metal Monster for extra in-game powers.

Developed by TT Games and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Lego Dimensions is now available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 computer entertainment systems, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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