This week on The Shift, Shane Hewitt and I talked about the special edition Tears of the Kingdom Nintendo Switch OLED, three new games in the Apple Arcade, four new PS VR2 games we’ve played, and Jabra’s Evolve2Buds.
Nintendo has a Zelda-themed OLED Switch coming, three recommendations on Apple Arcade, and the latest PS VR2 games we’ve played.
Tears of the Kingdom Edition Nintendo Switch announced
A lovely Nintendo Switch OLED with colours and designs from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is being released on April 28, in advance of the game’s release on May 12.
The console, a dock that puts the display onto a television, and the Joy-Con controllers are priced at $470.
Also available is a Pro Controller ($100) and a carrying case ($33) which will be available on May 12 when the game launches.
The console and accessories are available for preorder now.
Clue, Osmos, and Human Fall Flat among new games on Apple Arcade
Apple Arcade, the subscription service providing ad- and micro-transaction-free games for your iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV boxes, adds new games to the library every month.
Among the recent additions is Clue: The Class Mystery Game+, which puts the classic board game onto your phone and lets you play against AI or with friends.
Another game I’ve enjoyed is Osmos+, which comes from Hemisphere Games, a studio run out of Nelson, B.C. by Eddy Boxerman and a host of talented helpers.
The objective is to grow a bubble by absorbing smaller bubbles in the arena. But you must be careful about how you move around, because the faster you move, the more size you lose. And larger bubbles will consume you if they touch you.
Human Fall Flat is a physics-based platformer that we’ve enjoyed on console, and the whacky fun that comes from the rag doll bodies moving through the world will translate nicely to iPhones and iPads.
PS VR2 games we played this week
Kayak VR: Mirage is less interesting than I’d hoped. It’s a kayak simulator, which might be more fun to people who don’t have ready access to real kayaking like we do.
We’ve spent a great deal of time in the past couple of years talking about how to make sure your home office is kitted out for all the meetings you need to have online. But with people heading back into offices, it’s worth thinking about whether you’ve got the right kit for that space, too.
Which is where Jabra’s Evolve2 Buds ($350) come into the conversation.
Like the other Jabra earbuds I’ve reviewed – they’ve all been great – the Evolve2 fit nicely, sound great, have excellent microphones with software designed to cut out background noise. And they are multipoint, so you can have two devices connected to them at the same time.
What makes the Evolve2 great for the modern office is the USB-C or USB-A adapter that is included, which you can plug into your computer.
This adapter means that your audio connection to your computer is more stable than Bluetooth alone. This is especially important in an office environment where everybody else is using Bluetooth headsets.
This week on The Shift, Shane Hewitt and I talked about the arrival of Amazon’s Luna game streaming service in Canada, the Diablo IV open beta, the new Fire TVs from Amazon, and the ambient experience in the Omni QLED FireTV screens.
Amazon’s game streaming service is now available in Canada, and the Diablo IV beta sets the stage for June’s launch.
Amazon’s streaming web service, Luna, launches in Canada
Starting today, Amazon Luna is available in Canada. The video game streaming service, which runs on the cloud technology of Amazon Web Services, has been available in the U.S. since the fall of 2020.
Luna is also launching in Germany and the UK.
This is similar to what Google tried to do with Stadia. Playstation and Xbox also have cloud streaming services.
But the basic Amazon Luna service is now free to Canadians with an Amazon Prime membership, and provides a selection of games for free that can be played on computers, smartphones, and Fire TV televisions or screens with a Fire TV streaming stick.
A Luna+ subscription costs $13 a month, and provides a larger catalogue of games to play, including favourites like the Castlevania Collection, Control, and Overcooked.
Ubisoft is all-in on Luna, providing access to its entire catalogue of games to be streamed for a subscription of $23 a month. That gives you Assassin’s Creed games, Far Cry, Tom Clancy franchise games, and Watch Dogs.
You can use PS4 and Xbox One controllers to play, or you can opt for the Luna Controller ($90), which allows you to switch screens – from your TV to your computer, for example – without any delay.
The Amazon Luna service delivers all of this without you needing to own a console. Although you will need a decent internet connection.
First impressions of Diablo IV
Last weekend was the early access beta release of Diablo IV, and I spent a couple of hours playing as a rogue and learning about the world of Sanctuary, where the demon, Lilith, has been summoned.
I played through part of the first section of the game, Fractured Peaks, and was completely taken in by the environments and running around collecting loot and killing dark creatures. This game is fully voiced, and the range of talent included here is phenomenal.
While I only scraped the surface of the world, it’s vast and extensive, and there’s a broader story being told than you might expect from a top-down action role-playing game.
Starting Friday, March 24 (at 9 a.m.), everyone can get in on the beta, which will run until Monday, March 27 (at noon), and the full lineup of classes will be available, including barbarians, druids, necromancers, rogues, and sorcerers.
And if you get a character to level 20, you’ll get a wolf companion when you play the final release.
The beta provides the developers at Blizzard with an opportunity to test a number of aspects of the game, particularly how to balance the load on servers from the volume of people wanting to play the game. As such, there may be performance issues and hiccups when you’re playing.
Be patient knowing that having to deal with those frustrations now means, hopefully, you won’t have to deal with them when Diablo IV releases for real on June 6.