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Take on all Pokemon

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A Pokken Tournament kicks off on 18 March for Wii U players. It gives them the chance to go head-to head, playing as their favourite Pokemon character. Players will also have the option to battle it out in the newly developed Ferrum region and their winnings can be used for character upgrades.

Pokémon players wanting to be the very best will need to conquer the new region of Ferrum, take on all-comers in a variety of game modes including single-player and multiplayer battles, and defeat  powerful Pokémon such as Shadow Mewtwo when Pokkén Tournament launches for Wii U on 18 March.

Developed with Tekken franchise developers BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, Pokkén Tournament brings versus fighting action to the world of Pokémon for the very first time, along with a roster of fan-favourite Pokémon to play as. For the first time ever prepare to do battle in the region of Ferrum, a new region introduced in Pokkén Tournament that is the stage for a battle style unique to this region, where Pokémon and their Battle Trainers compete to see who is the strongest in the Ferrum League.

The Ferrum League is the new single-player game mode exclusive to the Wii U version of Pokkén Tournament. As players win their way through the league, new Pokémon will be unlocked to be used as Support Pokémon and the number of selectable stages will also increase. Players can also go head to head as two players can take on each other in local or online multiplayer. In Local Battles, one player will use the Wii U GamePad while the other uses a Pokkén Tournament-compatible controller.

Online Battles consist of Rank or Friendly Matches. In Rank Matches, players will take on the world and rise through the global rankings based on the points collected from their wins. Friendly Matches allow quick battles with others, even friends who have exchanged VS codes or Nintendo Network IDs. Pokkén Tournament also features a LAN Battle mode that allows players to connect two Wii U consoles together to experience local head-to-head action at a full 60 frames per second on separate TVs. In this mode each player can use any compatible controller.

For the first time players will be able to play with the powerful Shadow Mewtwo, a Pokémon shrouded in mystery and possessing overwhelming strength. As players win their way through the Ferrum League, Shadow Mewtwo will suddenly appear, and only successful players will finally bring the secrets of this mysterious Pokémon to light. Fans who purchase a first-run version of the game at retail will receive a limited edition Shadow Mewtwo amiibo card that immediately unlocks the character in the game after tapping it to the Wii U GamePad.

By winning through the Ferrum League players will earn Poké Gold (PG), which can be spent on customising their Battle Trainer. By going to the My Town section of the game, players can use their hard-earned PG to purchase and equip new customisation items such as hair styles, outfits and accessories. Pokkén Tournament is also compatible with all amiibo accessories to unlock in-game items.

Pokkén Tournament also features a deep Practice Mode that will allow players to practice battling as much as they like without worrying about time limits or HP. In addition to the open practice of Free Training, the Combo Dojo will introduce powerful combos for each Pokémon and let players try them out. With a playable cast of Pokémon and dozens of additional support Pokémon to unlock, there are hundreds of combos to learn and take into battle.

With the new Ferrum League, a variety of multiplayer options, new battle and support Pokémon, and the mysteries of Shadow Mewtwo finally revealed, there is plenty to excite Pokémon and versus fighting game fans alike on 18th March when  Pokkén Tournament launches for Wii U.

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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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