This Made in India Game Is Easy to Pick Up, Really Hard to Master

This Made in India Game Is Easy to Pick Up, Really Hard to Master


  • Bluk is an isometric platformer
  • The developer is based in Kerala
  • It’s a premium game for iOS

Bluk is a puzzle game made by Kerala-based one-man studio Pixelape Games. The core of the game is simple. You play as a block in a world of towers. Your goal is to hop across from one tower to the next, until you clear the stage.

This sounds very easy, but the game is actually quite hard. This is because of the way jumping across works. To jump, you tap the screen and then drag in any direction, and you’ll see a dotted line that traces your trajectory. When you release your finger, the block jumps across. The dotted line only shows half of your trajectory, so you’ll take a long time to master the art of landing the block on a tower.

You can’t cheat the system by making the dotted line lead to the next tower, because when you lift your finger off the screen you’ll usually see the block falling into the abyss, as the jump had too much power. It took us over 600 leaps just to clear the first level, so you can imagine how hard the game is. You could put a part of this down to our lack of skills, but mostly it’s the game’s difficulty level.

On clearing the first level – after repeated trial and error – you might think that you have mastered the game, and can clear stages more quickly now. Nothing could be further from the truth. That’s because the second stage introduces different types of towers – a white tower that’s slippery and a black tower which is sticky. The block tends to slide across the top of white towers and sticks to black towers. When you’re plotting the jump, you need to take that into account.

bluk_next_level_itunes.jpgWe don’t think every game needs to be easy and in Bluk’s case, the difficulty level is definitely a plus. We did feel that we were getting better at the game with each try. However we did find the lack of a story a bit disappointing. The developer mentions that “you can also follow the hidden storyline and make your mark in the special Hall of Fame.”

There is a story in the game, but it’s not obvious at all. The game’s description says that there’s some kind of a darkness growing among the pillars and your block needs to find out why and try and restore harmony. We don’t think hiding the story is a good idea. For a game with such a high difficulty level, the story could push people to keep playing. After about 800 leaps or so, we didn’t feel the urge to keep trying to clear levels. That is where a story could have helped.

That said, the game has some great visuals. Right from the nice design of the block, the towers, and the background, we were pleased with its art. The game’s controls are quite responsive too; the tap and drag is the only control option available, but it worked well for us.

The game lets you unlock certain abilities such as letting you see more towers. These abilities appear as glyphs over towers and when you land on the tower, you unlock the ability. The problem is that the game doesn’t explain how to use the ability. We only unlocked one such ability and we’d really have appreciated an explanatory note on what it does and how to use the ability.

The problem with Bluk lies in its lack of communication. We feel that the game could have been a lot better with a story that isn’t hidden and with special abilities that are a bit more obvious. The game looks great, has a pretty good soundtrack, and the gameplay mechanics are quite solid. We even like its high difficulty level. It’s a premium game for iOS and we think it’s well worth the asking price of Rs. 190.

Bluk is available on the App Store. You can pick it up for Rs. 10 for a limited time, after which it will cost Rs. 190.


  • Great art
  • Difficult
  • Responsive controls


  • ‘Hidden’ story
  • Abilities need explanation

Rating (out of 10): 7

Tags: App Store, Bluk, Pixelape Games, iOS, iPad, iPhone



App to pick out Poorest ladies in India Can help save you Trafficking: Charity

App to Identify Poorest Girls in India Can Help Prevent Trafficking: Charity

A pillbased application that allows to perceive a number of the poorest ladies in eastern India has thepotential to prevent human trafficking, early marriage and baby labour, in step with a charity which hasdeveloped the app.

The GPower, or woman power, app evolved by way of Accenture Labs and the charity baby in needInstitute (CINI), has been used to track more than 6,000 families in 20 villages in West Bengal.

The software units out a series of questions on fitness, nutrition, protection and education todetermine the vulnerability of the respondent.

“The era allows us become aware of the most prone of the ladies in minutes,” CINI’s assistant director Indrani Bhattacharya advised the Thomson Reuters foundation.

“So we can plan our intervention and convey on the spot answers to save you the prevalence (of trafficking, child marriage and child labour), in preference to looking to do some thing after the fact.”

The questionnaire take about half-hour to finish and the evaluation takes minutes. primarily based on the facts amassed, a network employee makes a decision whether women are applicants forauthorities welfare schemes, counselling or vocational training, Bhattacharya said.

West Bengal is each a supply and a transit state for women and children trafficked into the sex trade. Thekingdom accounted for about a fifth of India’s 5,466 instances of human trafficking reported in 2014, in keeping with legit data.

some of the victims are from rural areas inside the state or from neighbouring Bangladesh, lured throughthe promise of good jobs or marriage. instead, they end up offered into prostitution in cities consisting ofMumbai and New Delhi.

GPower is particularly applicable for rural India, where cell connectivity is patchy and power deliver isabnormal, said Sanjay Podder, managing director at Accenture Labs in Bengaluru.

it could without difficulty be scaled up to consist of other parameters or to address different socialtroubles inside the usa,” he said.

India is the arena‘s 2ndbiggest market for mobile telephones, with more than 1 billion customers. cellprograms for services ranging from weather reports to commodity costs and health offerings are gainingrecognition among rural users.

“The hassle in India is certainly one of scale – there’s handiest so much that an NGO can do in phrases ofattain,” Podder stated.

“To address social problems, technology isn’t simply satisfactory to have, it’s miles important,” he said.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Accenture, Apps, virtual India, GPower, India

NCAA, Microsoft Team Up to Help Fans Pick Tournament Games

NCAA, Microsoft Team Up to Help Fans Pick Tournament Games

The NCAA has come up with a way to help fans fill out their brackets for March Madness.

After years of fighting against tournament pools because of their staunch anti-gambling position, the organization announced Thursday it’s teaming up with Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, to pick winners in the men’s basketball tournament.

Bing Predicts will crunch statistical data from over the past decade to spot trends, dissect numbers and assess current thoughts in an effort to sort out the more than 9 quintillion potential outcomes in the 68-team field.

Mark Lewis, the NCAA’s executive vice president for championships and alliances, continues to insist that the NCAA prefers the results not be used for gambling purposes, including tourney pools.

“We know that fans enjoy filling out their brackets on Selection Sunday, however, we also know that money does not need to be involved for bracket activities to be fun,” Lewis said in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday night. “The bracket lets fans know when and who their team is going to play. Fans enjoy gathering information about all of the teams in the tournament to try and determine if their favorite team or another will get to the Final Four, and who will ultimately win the championship. Again, you can enjoy March Madness without linking money or gambling to the experience.”

Fans are likely to use the technology for a different reason – filling out brackets in office and personal pools.

What fans can expect to get is information based on team histories, past tourney performances, win-loss ratios and breakdowns of stats in home and road games. Derrick Connell, corporate vice president for Bing at Microsoft, called it a perfect partnership.

“Pairing our Bing Predicts … with sports analyst data that only the NCAA can provide is enabling a whole new bracket experience for all types of college basketball fans,” he said in a statement.

The NCAA believes Bing Predicts has a proven track record for accurately predicting winners in many important events, including the 2014 World Cup, midterm elections, award shows and reality shows.

The NCAA also said Thursday it will launch a new universal Windows 10 app that allows fans to live stream games on Windows 10 phones, tablets and PCs. It will be available before the start of the tournament on March 15 and will include Live Tiles, which allows fans to pin their favorite teams to their start menu.

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Tags: Bing, Internet, Microsoft, NCAA

Venture debt firms see pick up in demand as equity deals slow

Venture debt firms lend to new economy start-ups which are high-growth companies, asset-light and might have cash burn. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/MintVenture debt firms lend to new economy start-ups which are high-growth companies, asset-light and might have cash burn. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Mumbai: The slowdown in the availability of equity funding and a downward pressure on valuations in the venture capital ecosystem in the country has emerged as a business opportunity for firms which lend to technology start-ups.

Lending to start-ups is referred to as venture debt, and is substantially different from regular corporate lending which is generally asset-backed and provided to profit-making companies. Venture debt firms lend to new economy start-ups which are high-growth companies, asset-light and might have cash burn.

Typically venture debt firms charge interest rates in the mid teens, while equity investors look for returns which are above 25%.

While 2015 was a record year for venture capital (equity) funding, with $5.4 billion being invested across 473 deals, a majority of the investment activity occurred in the first half of the year. The second half of the year saw a marked slowdown, as several start-ups, especially in the food-tech sector, struggled to raise funds and had to scale back operations to conserve cash.

Temasek-backed InnoVen Capital closed 2015 with a lending of Rs.275 crore to 27 start-ups, the best year for the non-banking financial company (NBFC) since it started operations in India in 2009.

The firm has lent close to $150 million since starting operations here, having backed 70 start-ups so far.

“Recently, we have seen that equity capital is not easy to come by, so this (venture debt) becomes an important diversification tool for founders, said Vinod Murali, managing director at InnoVen Capital India, adding that there is a growing realization among start-up founders that equity is not the only source of capital.

“In the global arena too, venture debt has taken off with a lag with venture equity, I think even in India we are seeing that happen at this stage,” he added.

Trifecta Capital, which is registered as a category II alternative investment fund with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and has raised over Rs.200 crore from investors such as RBL Bank Ltd and others, is a relatively new company involved in the business.

Since starting operations in October, the fund has already lent Rs.50 crore to four start-ups and is witnessing a strong pipeline of deals.

“Clearly there are times when equity is available more easily and valuations tend to be more flexible, but what we are seeing in 2016 is that valuations are under pressure. Companies are realizing that they need to stretch their money as far as they can,” said Rahul Khanna, founder and managing partner at Trifecta Capital.

“In many ways, venture debt taken along with or after an equity round can give the company a three-to-five-month runway, which could mean a difference between raising money at X valuation or 1.5X valuation,” he said.

Apart from providing additional capital source to start-ups, venture debt has other benefits such as helping start-up founders reduce their equity dilution, while looking to raise capital to fund growth.

“To some extent if they are raising money and they are not getting the terms they want, then taking venture debt also helps in terms of dilution. For example, a start-up looking at raising $10 million, and not getting the targeted valuation, can raise $8 million in equity and the remaining $2 in debt, thereby reducing the equity dilution,” said Khanna.

Venture debt providers are hopeful that the current momentum in business will continue in 2016, given the current scenario in venture equity funding and the strong deal pipeline that they are witnessing.

InnoVen Capital is targeting to lend around $65-70 million (approximately Rs.350-400 crore) this calendar year.

“The final number would depend on opportunities, but we are feeling comfortable with that kind of estimate,” said Murali, adding that a recalibration is happening in the industry, which is making business more efficient and cutting flab.

According to Khanna, Trifecta is looking at making one or two investments every month, going ahead, with a ticket size ranging from Rs.5 crore to Rs.25 crore.

“Lot of financing activity happened in last 18-24 months, and many of those companies were consuming cash pretty quickly. So these start-ups are now looking at extending their runway, we are seeing some of that activity play through,” he said.