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You can now hear sound from Mars & Twitter was here for it

Google Science Feeds - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:54
The InSight lander spacecraft from NASA has relayed the first ever sounds of Martian wind from the Red Planet. The lander, with 2.2 meter long solar panels, touched down in late November.

'Weigh-ins help prevent piling on pounds at Christmas'

Health News BBC - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:13
Researchers said self-weighing and other simple tips were effective at helping to beat the Christmas bulge.

Secret of red hair is all in the genes

Google Science Feeds - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 05:11
IT is as defining a Scottish characteristic as a love of whisky, an appreciation for golf and an urge to wear a kilt no matter what the formal occasion.

East Antarctica's glaciers are stirring

Google Science Feeds - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 04:44
Nasa says it has detected the first signs of significant melting in a swathe of glaciers in East Antarctica. The region has long been considered stable and unaffected by some of the more dramatic changes occurring elsewhere on the continent.

SpaceX makes another space station cargo delivery

Google Science Feeds - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 02:16
SpaceX's Dragon supply ship approaches the International Space Station on Saturday. Credit: Alexander Gerst/ESA/NASA. A commercial supply ship owned and operated by SpaceX arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, delivering a pair of ...

Russians Prepare for Spacewalk, Aiming to Solve a Space Station Mystery

Google Science Feeds - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 02:09
On Tuesday, Russian astronauts hope to gather clues in a whodunit at the International Space Station. The astronauts, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev, are to conduct a spacewalk to examine the outside of a Soyuz capsule currently docked at the ...

Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom Review - Thy Kingdom Come

Game Spot Reviews - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 02:00

It's difficult to talk about Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom without discussing Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap and its 2017 remake, because despite being produced by an entirely different development team, this game is, in fact, an official successor in the Wonder Boy series. But even though its history might be confusing, Monster Boy is a fantastic adventure in its own right, one that distinctly builds upon the best parts of Wonder Boy and adds some welcome modern conveniences for good measure.

You play as Jin, a blue-haired young man who must stop his drunk uncle Nabu from inflicting curses upon the kingdom's inhabitants and transforming them into animals. Unfortunately, the plot doesn't really expand beyond that initial premise. With the exception of some moments of levity provided by the cast of interesting supporting characters, the story is uninspired and concludes on a final act that feels shoehorned. But where Monster Boy's narrative lacks in imagination, it more than makes up for it with its well-honed character transformation mechanic.

Over the course of the game, Jin unlocks an arsenal of equipment and gains five animal transformations--pig, snake, frog, lion, and dragon--each of whom has their own unique abilities. Jin's human, frog, lion, and dragon forms are also able to equip a variety of weapons, shields, and armor, all of which can be upgraded. Equipping items unlocks new abilities--one type of boots allow you to walk on clouds, while another allows you to double jump, for instance. Quickly swapping between all these different forms to take advantage of their strengths adds a continually enjoyable layer of thought to the platforming experience, and its strengths are regularly showcased by Monster Boy's excellent puzzle design.

You're eased into each new animal form and piece of equipment with some basic obstacles and enemies before being set loose to explore the titular Cursed Kingdom. Puzzles scattered throughout require some thought; on several occasions, you'll be forced to combine the use of several different powers and abilities in creative ways in order to progress forward or reach a treasure. It might be juggling two different animal forms, using particular equipment abilities, or taking advantage of environmental items, and when you eventually figure out how to get there, it always feels rewarding. Puzzles become increasingly complex, the variety of enemies becomes tougher, and the platforming sections feature additional obstacles that require more precise timing as you progress, but the growing challenges are balanced out well by a forgiving number of checkpoints, which help you keep motivated to give things another try.

While the game is primarily linear, the Cursed Kingdom itself is enormous and features several different secret-filled areas (discovering everything will likely blow out your playtime to roughly 15-20 hours), and the variety of puzzles and charming locations that you find in far corners of the world are themselves an attractive incentive to reach. The experience is doubly rewarding when you unearth new paths while revisiting a previously-discovered area armed with a bigger arsenal of animal forms and skills, and Monster Boy even implements a teleportation mechanic to alleviate frustrations of excessive backtracking.

Monster Boy also boasts a brilliant visual and audio presentation that makes the Wonder Boy aesthetic shine, featuring a meticulously detailed hand-drawn art style. Each character is beautifully realized with their own delightful animation--little details, like the pig's sheepish look as he farts after eating a power-up plant or the frog eyeballing some flies as part of his idle animation, adds volumes to Jin's characterization and the game's charm. Every area of the Cursed Kingdom is also visually distinct and beautifully animated, and a couple of superb anime-style sequences that bookend the game help give it a slick, cohesive feel. The game's strong soundtrack helps round out the package and features both original pieces influenced by Wonder Boy's soundtrack, combined with new, rock-influenced arrangements of Wonder Boy's most memorable tunes, making it a great collection of music both new and old.

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom not only pays faithful homage to Wonder Boy, particularly The Dragon's Trap, but by refining the solid foundations of its spiritual predecessors with modern affordances, it becomes a rich platforming adventure in its own right. With a well-realized world filled to the brim with secrets and excellent platforming mechanics that always keeps things interesting, the Cursed Kingdom is a place you will want to discover every corner of.

Young highly sceptical of social mobility

Health News BBC - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 01:16
Many young adults think your social background gets you further in life than talent, a survey says.

Puzzle solving 'won't stop mental decline'

Health News BBC - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 01:14
A new study suggests that doing intellectual activities throughout life is best.

Breastfeeding and formula feeding mums share stories

Health News BBC - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 01:12
From breastfeeding to formula, five mums tell us how they found their way - and shunned mum shaming,

Key Largo Reef Restoration Conference Fueled By Urgency To Save Corals

Google Science Feeds - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 00:29
Time is running out to save the world's coral reefs from irreversible damage, according to numerous studies. Scientists, engineers and environmentalists dedicated to saving dwindling coral reef populations are gathering in Key Largo this week for a ...

Child advice chatbots fail to spot sexual abuse

Health News BBC - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 00:00
Two leading chat apps also struggled with questions about drugs and bulimia.

Comet, Geminid meteor shower this week make for bright, festive skies

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 23:54
The night skies this week will blaze with the celestial version of holiday lights, from the brightest comet to one of the most notable meteor showers this year.

Asteroid Bennu Had Water! NASA Probe Makes Tantalizing Find

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 22:23
It looks like NASA chose the right space rock for its asteroid-sampling mission. The agency's OSIRIS-REx probe, which just arrived at Bennu last week, has already found hydrated minerals on the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) near-Earth asteroid, mission ...

There May Be a 'Glimmer of Hope' for the Great Barrier Reef

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 22:09
This story was originally published by HuffPost and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The Great Barrier Reef fared better during an oceanic heat wave last year than during sizzling weather a year earlier that caused hundreds of ...

Voyager 2 Has Entered the Space Between Solar Systems

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 22:03
The Voyager 2 spacecraft is now in interstellar space, NASA announced on Monday, making it the second human-made machine to cross a boundary that divides our solar system from the rest of the Milky Way galaxy.

Scientists Find Some Hope for Coral Reefs: The Strong May Survive

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 21:34
Among the threatened corals of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world that has been ravaged by global warming, researchers have found a reason for optimism - or at least a reason not to despair completely.

Earth's Mysterious 'Deep Biosphere' Is Home to Millions of Undiscovered Species, Scientists Say

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 19:58
Life on Earth takes billions of shapes, but to see most of them you'll have to dig deep below the planet's surface. For the past 10 years, that's what the scientists of the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) have been doing.

Brightest Comet of 2018 Will Zip Past Earth This Week; Here's How to See It

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:36
The comet will make its closest pass to Earth on Sunday, Dec. 16. While it's the brightest comet of 2018, it's not necessarily bright enough to see with the naked eye.

What We Can Learn From A 252-Million-Year-Old Ocean Extinction

Google Science Feeds - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 17:01
Approximately 252 million years ago, when the continents were still fused together as Pangea, our planet experienced an unparalleled loss of plant and animal life.

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