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Supercell’s Brawl Stars is a mix of Fortnite and Clash Royale

For the last 18 months Finnish game developer Supercell has been testing its next big thing. Last year, the developer behind mobile hits like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale soft launched a new game called Brawl Stars. It’s very different from anything the studio had done before. It’s a competitive shooter, for one thing, with a variety of modes that call to mind some of the biggest games on the market. There‘s battle royale, where players fight to the death, much as they do in Fortnite, and team modes that require communication and coordination like in League of Legends. There are a range of quirky heroes, each with individual strengths, weaknesses, and colorful skins to unlock, just like in Overwatch.

Not only is Brawl Stars a mashup of all of those experiences, it’s also a game built specifically for mobile. No wonder it took so long to get right. “Every inch of it has been changed,” community manager Ryan Lighton says of the prolonged beta period.

During the beta, the game was only available in a handful of countries. But today Supercell is announcing that Brawl Stars’ long-gestating global launch is happening soon, on both iOS and Android, with pre-registration starting now. (Unfortunately the developer doesn’t have a specific release date yet.) And while it may look like a mixture of existing games and genres, the studio says it’s the result of an organic, iterative development process.

“Rather than saying we aimed to build a shooter for mobile,” explains Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen, “it’s more accurate to say we set out to make a game unlike any other, and it evolved into a fast-paced, multiplayer, cartoony brawler.”


Brawl Stars

 

I’ve been playing the game over the past week, and it’s a surprisingly seamless blend of all of those influences, but in a tight, streamlined package that fits comfortably on your phone. What Clash Royale is to complex strategy games, Brawl Stars is to competitive shooters. The main mode is a team-based battle where your squad needs to grab 10 gems, and then protect them before time runs out. Brawl Stars takes place from an overhead perspective, and it has a very loose, cartoony feel; if you step inside a bush you’ll disappear from view, and you attack by pulling back and firing like you had a slingshot.

The combatants include a gunslinger with big sideburns, a sentient cactus, and a girl in a bear suit. Progression is similar to Clash Royale: you earn coins and keys as you play, which provides loot boxes that can unlock new characters, as well as the ability to upgrade your current brawlers. There’s also a premium currency called gems that is primarily used for unlocking cosmetic skins.


Brawl Stars

 

You’ll also open up new modes the more you play, including battle royale. As you’d expect, things are scaled back quite a bit in that mode compared to the likes of PUBG or Fortnite. Instead fighting off against 100 other players, each arena is filled with 10 fighters, and the last person standing wins. There’s lots of cover to hide behind and, yes, a poisonous cloud steadily closes in, shrinking the battlefield. The most surprising thing about Brawl Stars is how good it feels; mobile shooters are notoriously frustrating due to the inaccuracy of touchscreens. Brawl Stars isn’t perfect, but somehow I never found myself fighting with the controls.

The game wasn’t always so smooth. Development on Brawl Stars began around four years ago, and according Jon Franzas, a designer and programmer who initially served as the project lead, it changed a lot over that time. When the game first hit soft launch, for instance, it was played in portrait mode and useda control scheme where you tapped the screen to move your character around. But once people started playing, the developers realized that movement wasn’t working. Most players wanted to use a virtual joystick, which was difficult to implement in portrait mode due to the limited screen space.

Soon after switching up the controls, the developers settled on playing in landscape, though Franzas says there were plenty of other changes after that, including multiple ground-up revisions of the user interface. That’s part of the reason Brawl Stars was in beta so early. “As a company we don’t have so much experience with this type of game,” Franzas explains. “So we wanted to launch it very early, in a very raw and unfinished state.”


Brawl Stars

 


Brawl Stars

 

2018 is turning into the year of battle royale games, with even the biggest franchises around, like Call of Duty and Battlefield, jumping on the trend that’s so closely associated with Fortnite. According to Franzas, though, Brawl Stars isn’t exactly an imitator, despite coming out so long after its competitors. “The very first version was actually more of a battle royale, where you play alone,” he says. “That was before battle royale was a big thing yet.” As the game progressed, it evolved into more of a team-based experience — Franzas is a big fan of League of Legends, and wanted to do something similar on mobile — and eventually the studio decided to offer both styles of play.

Those large-scale changes also apply to the way the game looks. Initially Brawl Stars had a sci-fi style, with astronauts and aliens, which slowly morphed into more of a Western look to better fit the style of game. Characters like Colt and Bull are typical gunslingers, with big guns and bigger hair, but from there things get strange, and move well beyond the Wild West. “That was just our jumping off point,” says artist Paul Chambers. “We never intended to stay there.” Later characters you can unlock include a toxic crow in a leather jacket, a tarot-card wielding fighter, a robotic pirate shaped like a barrel, and an engineer with a cute gun turret.


Brawl Stars

 

Theme aside, Brawl Stars also has a very different look compared to past Supercell games. The likes of Clash Royale or Boom Beach have a style reminiscent of a CG movie, whereas Brawl Stars is cleaner and simpler. “Maybe before we had a Pixar style, but this time we were aiming for Cartoon Network,” Chambers explains. In order to keep the game approachable for a wide audience, the art team also wanted to deemphasize the gun aspect of the experience. Brawl Stars is a shooter, but it’s not especially violent. There are no blood or death animations. In fact, some of the characters don’t have guns at all, like the luchador with a punch so big it’s almost like a shotgun blast. “We’re avoiding the violence as much as we can,” says Chambers. “It’s like a Nerf gun. It’s not a violent thing.”

Like most Supercell games, Brawl Stars was built by a relatively small team. There are around 13 developers working on the game, not including support staff like the community team, though that number fluctuates at times. With the global launch looming, for instance, the group will need all hands on deck. As part of that shift, Franzas, who has been leading the project, is stepping back to a more design-focused role. Frank Keienburg, who has more experience at Supercell with customer support and marketing, has taken over.

It may sound like a demotion, but it’s actually in-keeping with Supercell’s structural philosophy, which — similar to game studios like Valve — emphasizes a flatter organizational chart, without managers.. The idea is to keep people focused on what they’re good at. For Franzas, that means developing Brawl Stars, and not dealing with all of the additional complications that come from a big, global release. “It’s a matter of thinking about what makes sense for the game,” he says. “I want the game to succeed and be as great as possible.”

When Brawl Stars does come out, it’ll have a lot of pressure. Currently, Supercell only operates four other games; it kills off titles in beta if they don’t catch on with players, focusing its energy on the more likely hits. After so long in development, Brawl Stars is primed to join that elusive club, but with a completely different style of game that has the potential to reach a whole new audience. And Paananen has high hopes. “This is a huge moment for us.”

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How to play retro games on android.

How to play Retro Games on Android (ANY Device and ANY Game)
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Best Mid Range Smartphone

The best mid range Smartphone phone of 2018 reviewed and rated

What constitutes as the best ‘mid-range’ phone has changed rather dramatically in recent years. With flagship phones like the iPhone XS Max and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comfortably pushing passed the £1000 mark, from a price perspective the goalposts have undoubtedly shifted in the same direction. So here are a comprehensive list of Best Mid Range Smartphone , click on the associated link to purchase or view Moree information too.  All us content creators ensure we bring you the very latest news and information in the world of tech and its new. So want to see what other have to offer after this post. Well head over to the following site, which I personally use too.

At the same time, there are new handsets taking a fresh approach – offering the best possible hardware at the lowest possible price – that also fit within what we would consider mid-range in 2018; handsets like the Pocophone F1, which offer flagship specs without the price-tag.

With these factors in mind, here you’ll find a rundown of phones that we think offer the best bang for your buck while costing around half as much as you would expect to pay for a 2018 flagship.

How we select the best budget smartphones

Just as with any of our other ‘best smartphone’ roundups, this list is designed to reflect the best that the current smartphone market has to offer based on constraints like price and feature-set. We review every phone we consider before it can be placed in a line-up such as this, slipping our SIM cards in and using each phone as our main device solidly for a week at the very minimum.

We test claims on performance and battery life with both real-world and artificial benchmarks, we trial new features and cast a scrutinous eye over every facet and flaw that these phones might possess, all in the pursuit of providing a clear, concise review of the latest smartphone to make your buying decision as easy as possible.

OnePlus 6T Best Mid Range Smartphone

Best Mid Range Smartphone
£409.95 View at eBay
£439.00 View at Amazon
£469.00 View at OnePlus

Pros

  • A huge leap in OnePlus design
  • Seriously fast
  • Fast Charge is still great
  • A well thought-out version of Android with great extras

Cons

  • Camera still needs improvement
  • Missing a few ‘flagship’ features

The OnePlus 6T is arguably the phone that demonstrates just how much OnePlus as a company has grown up in its short lifespan. While at the upper end in this mid-range roundup, starting at £499, the OnePlus 6T feels practically as much of a flagship as any iPhone or top-tier Samsung does.

Not only does it adopt a beautiful metal and glass design, and a notch-laden extended display, just like the rest of 2018’s flagships, it also offers some of the best smartphone performance on the market. There’s a cleanly-skinned Android 9.0 Pie experience with some meaningful tweaks and the company’s excellent Fast Charge technology. Making out one of the Best Mid Range Smartphone

The primary cameras are also a massive improvement on their predecessors, even if they still lag slightly behind the best in the business. There’s no headphone jack, however OnePlus has added a slick in-display fingerprint scanner that’s the final futuristic feature.

Pocophone F1

Best Mid Range Smartphone
£275.00 View at eBay
£310.00 View at Amazon Marketplace
£320.00 View at Amazon

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Superb performance
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Decent cameras

Cons

  • MIUI for Poco will take some getting used to
  • Thick bezels
  • Plastic build
  • No NFC

Being supported by Chinese tech giant Xiaomi’s manufacturing infrastructure has allowed new player Pocophone to make a serious splash with its first handset, the Pocophone F1. For around $/£300 you get a liquid-cooled Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with at least 6GB of RAM, a huge 4000mAh battery, a decent notched Full HD+ display and a surprisingly good pair of AI-enhanced main cameras making this also one of the Best Mid Range Smartphone

The MIUI for Poco skinned Android experience will take a little getting used for anyone who hasn’t used a Xiaomi phone before, but the price/performance balance this handset strikes borders on astonishing.

It comes in three polycarbonate finishes (red, blue or black) or, if you’re willing to fork out a little more cash, the Kevlar-backed ‘Armored Edition’ seen above.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)

Pros

  • Great OLED screen
  • Solid value
  • Ultra-wide camera is fun

Cons

  • Weak GPU
  • Slow charging and no USB-C

The Samsung Galaxy A7  is a lower-cost alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9. It’s a compelling choice with some neat extras including an extra ultra-wide camera and a strong OLED screen; two things you’d rarely normally find at this price.

This is far from a gaming phone, though. The Galaxy A7 has a solid CPU, but its graphics chipset is among the weakest in this class and we’d recommend something else if you love mobile gaming.

The ultra-wide secondary camera is a great feature too, giving some variety to the shots you take. The main camera is perfectly adequate, especially at the £309 price.

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Honor 10

£324.99 View at eBay
£289.00 View at Appliances Direct
£289.00 View at Laptopsdirect

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Powerful hardware
  • Good value

Cons

  • EMUI Android skin is bloated
  • Some performance bugs

Honor has released a lot of great value-for-money smartphones in 2018 but its latest flagship, the Honor 10, is the best. It’s a stylish and capable smartphone that gives you most of what the pricier Huawei P20 does for under £400.

You get dual AI-enhanced cameras set within the phone’s eye-catching ‘Aurora’ reflective glass back, fast charging and the same Kirin 970 processor that powers Huawei’s current top smartphones, complete with NPU (neural processing unit) for AI-based tasks.

The company’s EMUI software experience is highly customisable but might be the biggest issue as it also brings with it a few bugs and a little slow-down from time to time. Nothing some focussed software updates can’t fix, though.

Nokia 7 Plus

£246.25 View at eBay
£279.95 View at John Lewis

Pros

  • Big, bright screen
  • Impressive battery life
  • Android One has potential

Cons

  • Lots of app crashes and software bugs
  • Could do with some design tweaks

A big display, a big battery, lossless optical zoom on its primary dual camera and a clean and up-to-date Android One experience make the Nokia 7 Plus an easy recommendation.

One of HMD Global’s best phones since licensing the Nokia brand, the Nokia 7 Plus left us pleasantly surprised by what it brought to the table, considering it can be had for under £350. The polycarbonate body of the Plus comes with the Nokia line’s signature copper accents, helping it stand out from the crowd. There’s a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor too.

The Snapdragon 660 processor is more conservative than what the majority of phones in this lineup come packing, but paired with clean Android One software onboard, this phone feels just as fast and fluid as any more premium handset. Don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful. Best Mid Range Smartphone

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