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November 21, 2020
Before the smartphone revolution, trivia contests were something that most of us watched rather than took part in. We tuned into game shows and shouted answers at the TV, with no prospect of recognition or reward for our general knowledge prowess.
Those days are behind us now. There are dozens of apps that let us participate in quizzes every single day, against other players, for real cash prizes. Skilli World is the latest to have caught our eye.
Set in a region of space where chunks of land are floating and, improbably, supporting human life in tropical resort-style settlements, Skilli World contains four main modes of play, three of which are available around the clock.
There’s the tutorial, which you can hop into whenever you like without restrictions, and there’s the 1v1 Friend Hut and the General Party Hut, which you can only play after you’ve linked your bank account to the app and made a deposit. More on that later.
Finally, there’s the main event, the Daily Mastermind Tournaments, which take place at the same time every day. These are often themed, so that one day you might be answering questions about Game of Thrones and the next you might be tested on your knowledge of South Park, or Friends.
For every themed quiz, more or less, there’s a general knowledge one too, so if you consider yourself an all-rounder you’ll have plenty of opportunities to strut your stuff. DMTs consist of up to 15 questions, and the answer to all of them is either True or False.
Skilli World’s distinguishing feature in the trivia genre is its unusual pay to play model. While most trivia games are free to play, but dangle lives in front of you as a way to monetize, Skilli World does things the other way around, letting you accumulate lives for free but charging you $5 to enter a DMT.
According to developer Under The Tree, Skilli World pays out more per player than its rivals. It would say that, of course, but it seems to have some supporting evidence.
For instance, during the app’s soft launch phase it was downloaded 4000 times, and its players managed to collectively win $30,000 - a highly respectable average. In total the app has given away $100,000 in prizes.
This is purportedly thanks to the restricted player numbers. While some of Skilli World’s major rivals might have a prize pot of $3000, there could be more than 100,000 players competing for it. By contrast, a maximum of 300 Skilli World players might compete for a prize pot of $1000.
On cost, too, Under The Tree claims that it represents better value than its rivals, since those games charge extortionate amounts for lives, or for in-game currency with which to buy lives. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to use those lives - you’ll just stand less of a chance of getting into the prizes if you don’t.
In any case, the variety of questions and the simple True/False format make Skilli World a fun trivia app, even if you stick to the prizeless and free tutorial mode.
Whether or not you prefer Skilli World’s way of doing things will likely be a matter of personal preference. Under The Tree’s perfectly valid arguments about player-to-prize ratios will fail to convince you if you lay down a cool $5 and crash out after the first question. At least those other apps let you fail for free.
In that sense, Skilli App could do with more modes that don’t require you to enter your bank details and deposit cash up front. While we’ve got no reason to question the offer that Under The Tree is making, some players will be hard to convince, and it would be nice if the app contained more for those cautious souls.
Skilli World is a polished, accessible, innovative trivia app that gives you a genuine chance of winning some cash - as long as you’ve got the knowledge. Make use of the free introductory DMT to establish whether you’re in with a chance.
Game Controls 8
Skilli World-Real Money Trivia
Under The Tree Ltd.
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from : Mid Atlantic Consulting, Inc.
Cryptract isn’t a title that rolls off the tongue, but that hasn’t stopped the game finding a massive audience in its native Japan, where its full name is Genjuu Keiyaku Cryptract. After four long years, the mobile version of Cryptract has finally arrived in the West. Was it worth the wait?
For the most part, yes. But before we get into the whys and wherefores, here’s the backstory.
Cryptract sees you playing as the ruler of a fantasy kingdom that has been attacked by a mystical creature and its army of minions. You’re left with no choice but to take up arms and send this beast back to the underworld (or wherever it came from).
That means getting into an endless succession of turn-based battles with squads of monsters. There are campaign battles, side missions, a tower, beast battles, and much more, all of it conforming to the same tripartite format.
The combat itself is equally familiar. You can take up to four units into the field, plus a friend - a character borrowed from another player’s army to lend a bit of extra firepower. Each unit has a basic attack and a skill, which can be an attack or something more wholesome, like healing or discovery.
There’s also an auto button, and you’ll spend most of the game with this button activated, since the game’s AI can handle combat perfectly well for the most part.
Instead, you’ll concentrate on strategy - creating the strongest possible party using the best possible combination of units. You can have up to ten parties ready to deploy, all of them suited to different battlefield conditions.
Winning is not just a matter of stuffing your strongest, starriest, most levelled-up units into a party. Each unit also has an elemental attribute, such as wood, fire, and water, and these interact with each other in different ways. Fire beats wood, water beats fire, and so on.
To give yourself a tactical advantage you need to ensure that the party you send into battle has the right combination of elemental attributes to defeat your opponent. As the saying goes, never bring fire to a water fight.
While it’s not exactly groundbreaking on the gameplay front, Cryptract does what it does very well. The gacha system is fair, there’s always a battle you can win from the huge selection of missions available, and your progress through the campaign always feels steady.
But Cryptract’s undisputed ace card is its well-written and impeccably localized text. The campaign and side missions are all introduced by segments of an unfolding narrative in which characters have inner lives, anxieties, and motivations. You carry these with you into battle.
The side missions in particular add an extra layer to Cryptract, padding out the main story with neat little subplots that exist not to change the course of events by to add color and depth to the gameworld and place your actions in a larger context.
The presentation is in a storybook style, too, with entirely 2D graphics and fairly modest animation Cryptract is about words at least as much as pictures, which is refreshing.
There’s relatively little in the way of innovation in the world of fantasy RPGs with gacha mechanics, and Cryptract is no exception to this rule. Over time the game can become grindy, with you having to watch battle after battle in order to earn orbs to summon new units.
Cryptract is better balanced than most, and there’s plenty of fun to be had in tweaking your parties to try and get through a particularly rough mission or beast battle, but grind will get you in the end.
And if you’re a fan of technically impressive 3D RPGs you may find yourself underwhelmed by Cryptract’s deliberately modest presentation.
There are plenty of gacha-powered fantasy RPGs to choose from, and in gameplay terms it can be hard to tell them apart. Cryptract makes an effort with a strong sense of narrative and exceptional localization.
It’s a well-balanced RPG, too, thanks no doubt to its years of playtesting in Japan. If you’re on the lookout for a new gacha RPG, Cryptract is a solid prospect. It may look modest, but it’s polished in the right ways.
Game Controls 8.2
With the popularity of video clips, video editing tools on mobile are not in short supply. Such apps are often swamped with new features, including rich filters, special effects, cute stickers, variable speeds, rough cuts, and even adding recordings. It can often all be a bit much.
In that case, is there a video editing app that is powerful and comprehensive enough to cover all the features provided by existing video editing apps? The answer is – yes, StoryCut is the only video editing app you need on your phone. So if you’re a big fan of clip creation, try StoryCut, which allows you to quickly finish what you want and share it on your desired social media platform.
If you are an amateur, StoryCut also customizes the clip sizes suitable for various social platforms, such as Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube - so that you can share the clip with one click after making it. StoryCut has standard editing functions, such as video cut and filters. It’s worth looking at the features in StoryCut that are absent from most editing apps.
PIP (picture in picture) allows you to merge images with a video. When we tried to overlay an image of a starry sky with my portrait, we saw an incredible double exposure. Using the green screen matting feature, we placed a video in a Jurassic Park scene, and created a Hollywood-style effect.
Keyframe is a dominant feature of StoryCut, a feature previously only available in professional clipping tools on the PC. In this feature, you only need to set a few keyframes to make any material move according to the trajectory you set. For example, if you want the object to move in sync with a moving car, you just need to add two keyframes. This feature can even achieve special effects like those seen in science fiction movies.
StoryCut offers a vast number of popular effects for short video platforms. Add an old TV frame to the video, or a gold dust effect can give you a dreamlike image. There are also some split-screen effects you can utilise.
You might think that video speed adjustment is a regular feature - but StoryCut can increase the speed by eight times, with many similar apps only offering half that. We imported a video of some skateboarding and got amazing results after adjusting the speed and combining it with the reverse play function.
StoryCut contains 18 fine adjustment parameters, which can make up for the shortage of filters, saving the poorest videos that even filters cannot do anything about. I imported a video taken on a cloudy day with poor lighting, for example, but found that even with a filter, I could not get a nice color. Then I turned on the image quality adjustment. After a series of parameter adjustments, including brightness, sharpness, contrast, saturation enhancement, and color temperature reduction, the video looked brand-new, just like the image quality of a movie, and the clarity was significantly improved.
Very satisfactory results were obtained.
As detailed above, StoryCut has everything. You can perform every edit imaginable, and the interface is intuitive
enough to allow you to do it in no time at all. It’s entirely conceivable that you could have a video or slideshow with sound effects, cuts, transition, custom audio, double-exposure effects, and picture-in-picture ready in under five minutes.
For the most part, the effects and filters are tasteful and stylish, too, so StoryCut will let you turn out productive, high-quality content at speed. Curious prospective video editors could easily spend hours experimenting with all the tools and functions on offer, some of which are surprisingly advanced.
While tools like Instagram and your phone’s camera software will enable you to apply basic filters and stickers and so on, none of them contains anything like the depth of functionality available in StoryCut. In that sense, the app emphatically earns its place as an advanced, bespoke video tool.
StoryCut can recognize voices to generate subtitles. With one tap, you will see subtitles auto-generated from the voices in your clips. For now, this feature is only supported on Android, but we hope the dev team will implement this feature on iOS sooner so users can also enjoy the ease of subtitling that the app provides.
Check out StoryCut via the App Store (and Google Play) and also its official site, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channels.
StoryCut is a comprehensive and intuitive video and picture editing app. VIP users will get the most out of it, as long as they don’t mind being subscribers rather than owners, but anyone looking for a richer alternative to Instagram should check it out.
iPhone Integration 9
Lasting appeal 8.1
User Interface 8
Is engaging 8.2
Does it well 8.3
StoryCut - Video Editor &Maker
Wenzhou XunChi Digital Technology Co., Ltd.
Music is a more powerful storytelling tool than most people realize. It’s the vital seasoning that makes every movie, TV show, advertisement, and internet video meme work how it should, manipulating your emotions in exactly the right way.
The problem is, using an existing piece of music involves paying exorbitant fees or drawing on classical pieces that everybody has already heard a trillion times.
MovieMusic aims to solve that problem for you by providing a library of compositions that you can dip into for every conceivable dramatic context.
These tracks, which have been written by a company of jobbing professional composers and performed by a live orchestra, tend to be around a minute long. They fall into 70+ albums, with titles like “Attractive”, “Badness”, “Excitement”, “Light”, “Christmas”, and so on.
The tracks themselves have titles too. In the “Love” album, for instance, you’ll find “Bond”, “Bliss”, “Longing”, “Intimacy”, and more. Each album contains 30 tracks, meaning there are over 2000 in all.
There are a couple of chapters of Orchestral Tools as well - subtle accents to create mood rather than full-blown musical compositions.
The first two tracks in each chapter are free, while the remaining 28 cost 99c a pop. The reason MovieMusic is able to sell its music so cheaply is that the files are restricted to a bitrate of 128kbs, and the tracks are licensed for personal, non-commercial use. So if you’re looking for a cheap way to score your next Hollywood project, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
MovieMusic is simple to use and it works surprisingly well. The Christmas music sounds Christmassy, the Comedy music sounds suitably quirky and upbeat (think Curb Your Enthusiasm), and the Disgusting music, somehow, sounds disgusting.
A bit of imagination is required when it comes to the individual track names, such as “Baking” (“Bright pizzicato helps show off the intricacies of the expert in full flow”), but on the whole MovieMusic provides snippets of music that intuitively belong in their categories and do what they’re supposed to do.
Every single one of the app’s 2000+ tracks is in the same key and tempo, too, so you can in principle blend them into a seamless orchestral score. It’s very clever.
This really helps when navigating the 2000+ tracks, as does the simple preview - or “audition” - facility that lets you listen to each track in full before deciding whether to spend money on it.
It’s also worth mentioning that each track in MovieMusic has three versions: Cinematic (the default), Intimate, and Modern. While the quality levels of the different versions naturally vary according to the track, in general we find that Cinematic is the one to go for.
MovieMusic has a seamlessly simple interface. You just choose a chapter, pick a song, and tap the play icon to listen. Once you buy and download a song you’re given the option of sharing it via iMessage, WhatsApp, Mail, or even opening it in iMovie or another video-editing program. It couldn’t be easier.
While MovieMusic’s interface is intuitive and easy to use, its presentation is functional rather than enjoyable.
You could argue that the same applies to the music itself. This isn’t a criticism of the compositions, all of which sound polished and professional. But the wall-to-wall orchestral arrangements don’t reflect the breadth and variety of music right now.
There’s a bit of digital percussion overlaid on the tracks in Modern mode, but few other nods to contemporary musical styles. If you’re looking for a traditional sound, it’s perfect. Otherwise, you may struggle to find what you’re looking for - even in the Technology chapter.
MovieMusic is a slightly odd proposition. While asset libraries are usually for commercial use, this one is just for fun.
But it’s a fun tool that will add a pleasing sheen to your personal and non-commercial YouTube videos. It’s incredibly easy to use, too, and it contains a generous supply of musical morsels.
User Interface 9
Lasting appeal 8.4
iPhone Integration 8.5
Is engaging 8.1
Does it well 8
MovieMusic | Music For Videos
Athenion might not have the pedigree of some other deck-building card games available for mobile, but that shouldn't put you off. This is a game that's packed full of bright ideas, fresh new gameplay modes and enough content that you can lose hours of your life to.
Battles take place on a 4x4 grid, and see you taking it in turns with your opponent to lay down cards. You draw up to five cards from your deck of forty at the start of every turn.
These are the units you're playing in the fight, and they range from hulking monsters to flighty fairies, from magical trees to fearsome undead dragons.
Your cards have arrows on them that you show you which direction they can attack. You'll also notice a bunch of other numbers on the cards. These let you know the hit points a card has, how powerful its attack is and how many soul points it grants you.
Those soul points let you attack your opponent and they're the key to victory. The first player to lose all of their own hit points is the loser.
There's a lot more going on than that though. For one thing you need to pick from one of six different factions before you even get to the fights.
These factions have different strengths and weaknesses and figuring out which of them best suits the way you want to play is the first step of a pretty long journey.
Different factions have different special moves as well. Some let you link together cards to make them more powerful, others are all about sacrificing weaker units to create pockets of dark magical energy. One lets you build giant rock walls that you can use to protect some of your units or power up others.
There are single-player challenges, regular events and much, much more as well. You're never short of something to do in Athenion, and the pace of the matches lets you get a lot of them in in a single setting.
There's a staggering amount of depth to Athenion. It's going to take you a good while to get to grips with the basics and once you've done that there are layers and layers to peel back. Every time you win you'll figure out a new strategy and every time you lose you'll be trying to find a way to right that wrong.
The game looks amazing too. The cards all sport a brilliant anime art-style and you'll want to collect all of them just so you can check them out. The speed of the fights is a massive plus too - they deliver huge chunks of tactical action in the sort of short-blast sessions that are perfect for mobile play.
On top of that there's a brilliant community to the game, and you never have to wait long to find an online battle. There are a number of different modes that let you practice with different decks, take part in intriguing events and fight it out in ranked and casual multiplayer matches.
There's a pretty steep learning curve here, so if you're not in for the long haul then you might be better finding your card-based fun somewhere else. Even when you've got the basics down you've still got a lot to learn and it can be punishing to come up against an opponent who knows more than you do.
There are also a lot of currencies, crafting materials and other rewards to figure out. The game does tell you what they do, but the tutorials are pretty brief and you're left on your own for a lot of the time to try and get to the bottom of things.
Athenion might not be the easiest game to understand, but once things start clicking it becomes something really rather special. There are some brilliant ideas here and they're woven into a bright tapestry of gorgeous visuals and wonderfully paced mobile play.
It won't be to everyone's taste, and it's fair to say that some players are going to put it down before they've even got to the good bits, but this is one CCG that it's well worth sticking with.
Athenion: Tactical CCG
ZERO-bit Company Limited
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