National Day Special

Camera, lights, action ... and all made in Singapore

Since its December debut on Steam as an Early Access title, Sairento has become one of the top VR games on the platform, with very positive reviews from players.
Since its December debut on Steam as an Early Access title, Sairento has become one of the top VR games on the platform, with very positive reviews from players.PHOTO: MIXED REALMS

To mark the nation's 52nd birthday, The Straits Times Digital takes a look at seven home-grown games and gadgets

Spin and swing as you battle rogue ninjas 

Sairento VR

PRICE: $25

AVAILABLE ON: Steam (Early Access) for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headset

You get to hack and slash evil ninjas and flying robot geishas in this action-packed virtual-reality (VR) game from local developer Mixed Realms. Set in a futuristic Japan, Sairento lets you leap from great heights to decapitate and defeat enemies using different weapons. Players wear a VR headset from Oculus or HTC to enter the game world.

Going by user-made gameplay videos, the game looks like an intense workout - players are shown spinning around and swinging their controllers in real life as they engage wave after wave of enemies in the virtual world.

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Since its December debut on Steam as an Early Access title - basically an open beta for games that are in development - Sairento has become one of the top VR games on the platform, garnering very positive reviews from players.

Mixed Realms CEO Aldric Chang said the game recouped its production costs in 10 days. His team, too, has since grown from four to 13, and is busy working on a storyline and a cooperative game mode.

"Sairento is a covert group of skilful operatives trained in ancient samurai and ninja martial arts. The members turn berserk without warning one day and start killing ordinary citizens. The player takes on the role of Chieko Hatsuri, one of the Sairento members who is unaffected. She tries to uncover the cause and, in the process, faces off against her own comrades," he said.

The full game is expected to be released on Nov 15.


Ground control to Spudnik: Explore, fight

Holy Potatoes! We're In Space?!


Holy Potatoes! We're In Space?! is chock-ful of witty pop-culture references and food puns - and with a space cat too. PHOTO: DAYLIGHT STUDIOS

PRICE: $14.99

AVAILABLE ON: Steam (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)

Simulation games with cute potatoes is how developer Daylight Studios describes its Holy Potatoes! series of computer games.

While the first game Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! is about selling weapons to questing heroes, the sequel, Holy Potatoes! We're In Space?!, puts the spuds in a space exploration game with turn-based combat, a crew of anthropomorphic vegetables, and upgradeable spaceships.

It is chock-ful of witty pop-culture references and food puns. Oh, and there is a space cat, too.

"We hadn't really thought about making a series of Holy Potatoes! games, but we fell in love with the art style, humour and all the characters and so we wanted to expand the IP (intellectual property) and universe into more than one title," said the company's spokesman, Mr Ivan Moltini.

Last week, Daylight Studios launched a paid mobile version of Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! on iOS and Android platforms for smartphones and tablets.

Mr Moltini said that the other games in the series may be ported to mobile platforms in future but, at the moment, the company is working on the third game in the series, Holy Potatoes! What The Hell?!

Slated for an Oct 13 release, the upcoming game is a "hell-themed management simulator where players sort potato sinners into cooking stations to create sinfully delicious ingredients and cook up scrumptious meals to appease the Gods of the Afterlife".


Clear the tiles with spells and power-ups

Rescue Quest Gold


Rescue Quest Gold requires players to navigate a path to a location on the board within a limited number of turns. PHOTO: BOOMZAP ENTERTAINMENT

PRICE: $10.50

AVAILABLE ON: Steam (Windows and Mac OS X)

Rescue Quest Gold adds a strategic twist to the popular match-3 puzzle genre. While its basic gameplay is similar to Bejeweled or Candy Crush - match three tiles or more of the same type to remove them from the board - Rescue Quest Gold requires players to navigate a path to a location on the board within a limited number of turns.

The game has role-playing elements, such as spells to destroy tiles blocking the game character, as well as enemies that hinder your ability to swop tiles. As you progress, you unlock new spells. Players can earn power-ups that can remove multiple tiles at one go.

It has a thin veneer of a plot involving two magicians Boom and Zap on a quest to rescue spritelings, which are the sources of magic, from an evil sorcerer.

Created by Boomzap Entertainment, which also made last year's Legends Of Callasia, Rescue Quest Gold is a remastered version of Rescue Quest (released in 2014 for iOS devices and Android in 2015).

While the original game was free to play with in-app purchases for items, the remastered version offers the full game of over 200 levels for $10.50, including bonus content such as desktop wallpapers, avatars and a downloadable soundtrack.

Expert players can also unlock higher difficulty levels after completing the game on normal mode.

I was hooked by its bright colours and lively animation. The standard level of difficulty is tuned just right (at least for me) - challenging, but not so hard that I would give up.


7 little Bluetooth speakers

X-Mini Bluetooth Speakers



PRICE: From $39.90 to $569.90

AVAILABLE FROM: www.x-mini.com; Best Denki, Courts, Challenger, Gain City, Harvey Norman and Popular

Local audio firm Xmi launched a new line of portable Bluetooth speakers this year to coincide with its 10th birthday, with seven products ranging from the ultra- portable to sleek, modern reinterpretations.

The cheapest and smallest X-Mini Click 2 (above) fits snugly in a pocket, weighing only 85g. It's good for about 6hr of music playback via Bluetooth.

The Xoundbar is longer and bulkier. Customised stereo tweeters are specially designed to squeeze into its slim frame so that sound quality is not compromised.

The Kai X series, in three sizes, harks back to Xmi's original capsule-shaped speakers of a decade ago.

The Supa offers vintage nostalgia, an old-school jukebox system with front grilles and metal body.

Finally, the Infiniti. The 60cm-tall cylinder can run for 4hr on a single charge, and comes with four speakers on top for 360-degree sound, and a subwoofer on the base for pleasing bass tones.


Bright lights, smart bulb

Qube Wi-Fi Smart Bulb



PRICE: US$29.99 (S$41)

AVAILABLE FROM: www.qube-smarthome.com

If you wish, you can light up your living room in hues of red and white to match the mood of National Day by tapping on a smartphone. The Qube Wi-Fi Smart Bulb, developed by Innova Technology, is capable of pushing out 1,000 lumens and 16 million colours, with varying shades of warm to cool white.

After setting up a smart lighting system with the accompanying Qube app, users can tweak and personalise their home lighting down to the last detail, as well as monitor their lights from outside. They can schedule the lights to turn on gently in the morning, so that they are not rudely awakened by sudden brightness.

Or they can be set to flash in different colours when the phone they are linked to receives an important notification - such as a call from a number you can't miss.

The bulbs are also equipped with Bluetooth sensors which can be linked to detect smart devices that users carry on them, such as a phone or a FitBit. When the bulbs detect such devices near them, they can be set to turn on or off, which lets users trigger the lights just by walking in or out of a room.

 


Tiny camera with punch

Tiny1 camera

PRICE: Starts from US$479 (S$653)

AVAILABLE FROM: www.tinymos.com

The Tiny1 camera, developed by a group of young Singaporeans who set up astronomy camera firm TinyMOS, aims to place DSLR-level astrophotography within the size of a smartphone.

With the proper set-up and clear skies, the Tiny1 camera can shoot anything from the entirety of a full moon to a time-lapse of the Milky Way.

The only drawback is that Singapore's light pollution may make it difficult to take clear, stunning pictures of the Milky Way.

The camera body is the size of a compact digital camera, but is able to take long-distance shots due to its 1/3-inch, 2-micron pixel size camera sensor.

The Tiny1 comes with an all-metallic body and a large touchscreen on the back, and runs on Android. It is pre-loaded with a custom version of Google Sky Map to locate specific stars and heavenly bodies to capture.

It's able to capture photos and videos up to 2688 x 1520 pixels. Users can purchase an adapter that lets them mount their Canon or Nikon lenses on the Tiny1 body as well.


30,000 songs to sing to

Popsical

PRICE: From $249

AVAILABLE FROM: popsical.com

The Popsical box is essentially a streaming device that connects a TV set and a smartphone to a music-video library that streams the karaoke video of your choice to the TV set.

It connects to the Internet either via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable, and connects to a television set through an HDMI cable.

Users then connect to the Popsical box on their smartphones through the Popsical app, which they use to select the songs they want to sing to.

The music library contains more than 30,000 songs, and you can find songs in more than eight languages, including English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, Hindi and Thai.

Latest hits and current tunes are constantly being added to the ever-growing Popsical library.

A basic account gives users a variety of songs to sing to, through lyrics that flash on a simple screen. A premium account, which costs $9.90 per month, gives users access to official music videos.

Those who are throwing a one-day party can pay $3.99 for 24-hour premium access.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Camera, lights, action ... and all made in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe