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    OK, hear me out: Having a desk bike is actually pretty great / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 5 September, 2021 - 13:15 · 1 minute

the bike seat and desktop of the desk bike with a laptop and wireless keyboard on top

Enlarge / Behold: It is both desk and bike. (credit: Corey Gaskin)

If you work from home, it's a good idea to spice up the home office from time to time. Some of us have been living the telecommuting life for longer than others, and while we at Ars have some extensive experience (and an equally comprehensive guide on the best gear for home offices ), we still like to periodically change things up to meet our dynamic needs. That's how I found the Desk Bike.

Well, that, and I'm recovering from a foot injury that recently got me into biking as a mode of low-impact exercise. Nevertheless, Flexispot's V9 Desk Bike now sits in my room and gets consistent use. You (or your kids) might have seen this very bike make waves on TikTok recently—Flexispot's ad campaign proved a savvy and fruitful move, garnering over 2.5 million likes and coverage from many media outlets.

It's well-known that exercise, even in the form of a 30-minute daily walk, produces a wide range of positive impacts on physical and mental health . But as of 2018, 80% of American adults don't meet that daily threshold. It can be hard to peel ourselves away from the computer and actually move our bodies, but not doing so is literally killing us . The Desk Bike isn't a magic bullet for healthy living, but it can help you be more active and get out pent-up, fidgety energy during the day.

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    The absolutely awesome action-platformer shooter HUNTDOWN is out now for Linux / GamingOnLinux · Thursday, 13 May, 2021 - 13:55 · 2 minutes

After some time of being an Epic exclusive, HUNTDOWN has now released on GOG and Steam making it available for Linux from developer Easy Trigger Games. Note: personal purchase.

Was it worth the wait? Absolutely. It's insane - in the best way possible. It reminds me of Broforce for the over the topic action, which remains as my all time favourite action platformer. However, HUNTDOWN is already looking like it might end up taking the number 2 slot - it's just that good.

"In the mayhem-filled streets of the future where criminal gangs rule and cops fear to tread, only the bounty hunters can free the city from the corrupt fist of felony. Lay waste to the criminal underworld and make a killing in this hard boiled action comedy arcade shooter."


Featuring hand-painted gorgeous 16-bit styled pixel-art, it's an absolute feast for the eyes combined with the incredible fluid action back up by the pumping soundtrack. The voice acting is absolutely spot on too, fits in perfectly with each character. It's weapons and boss battles that make it ridiculously enjoyable though with such a fantastic mix available. Small guns, shotguns, machine guns, huge mounted weapons, a guitar, a bat and the list goes on - blowing things up just feels seriously epic here.

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Characters available:

  • Anna Conda: Ex-commando, firearms expert, and full-time loose-cannon, Anna will assassinate without question or mercy, as long as you don’t mind the collateral damage.
  • John Sawyer: Once a Special Forces cop who left the law behind. This scarred veteran has lost so many limbs in combat he’s practically half robot.
  • Mow Man: Modified recon droid, stolen and empowered with banned software. Trades bodies for cold hard cash. Don’t expect to be taken alive if Mow Man’s on your six.

Gangs to take on:

  • Hoodlum Dolls: Violent feral punks winning the gang war with the toothless authorities
  • Misconducts: Organised hockey hooligans, experts in robbery and extortion with a penchant for explosives
  • The Heatseekers: Murderous motorcycle club. These rockabilly villains style themselves on the centurions of Ancient Rome
  • NO.1 Suspects: Masters of discipline and organised crime. Martial arts experts, these slick psychopaths control the night through their casinos and nightclubs

It's an easy recommendation to go get it. Honestly it was love at first sight with HUNTDOWN. Not just because I grew up with similarly styled games but HUNTDOWN is close to perfection. As for the Linux version? Absolutely great! You just can't help but small and maniacally laugh as you blast your way through it. If you loved games like Metal Slug, and other similar explosive experience do check it out. In a word — fantastic.

You can buy it on GOG and Steam .

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    The Land Rover Defender—rugged, charming, but drinks like a fish / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 18 February, 2021 - 22:49 · 1 minute

I wasn't expecting to be quite as charmed as I was by the Land Rover Defender. We first saw the new Defender at 2019's Frankfurt auto show , where it proved to be a hit by marrying rugged looks and off-road skills with a healthy helping of tech. Even though I fell for its looks, I was trepidatious about spending a week with one, having failed to gel with most Land Rovers in the past. As I found out, those fears were misplaced (mostly), for the Defender was not at all agricultural in behavior, unlike its 20th-century forerunners.

But before we go any further, an apology of sorts, or at least an explanation. Last September, Land Rover held a media first-drive event for the SUV, where journalists got to spend a couple of days driving up and down Mount Equinox in the Taconics. Alas, Ars couldn't attend because of scheduling conflicts—instead, we used that time to test a couple of electric vehicles instead. And so, although the Defender is built to go off-road, the best I managed during my week with it was some radical parking, as seen in the gallery above.

Therefore, I don't know how well it fords water up to 35.4 inches (900mm) deep. I don't know how well it approaches breaks-over or departs from obstacles (at angles of 38˚, 28˚, and 40˚, respectively). I can't really tell you how good the permanent four-wheel-drive system, with twin speed transfer case and optional locking center and rear differentials, works on rough ground. I can't opine on how well the various software systems—Terrain Response 2, All Terrain Progress Control, Hill Descent Control—manage the task of keeping you right-side up and moving in the intended direction. Which makes this review somewhat lacking, given that stuff is basically the Defender's raison d'être . Mea culpa .

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    Movim | Basic Review & Beginner's Guide

    Timothée Jaussoin · / Movim · Sunday, 14 February, 2021 - 11:17 edit

Thanks for this awesome guide by UbuntuBuzz. With a lot of details and some ideas of improvements for the future. #Movim #review #guide

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    10 April, 2021 preptorrent

    Please can you put Movim back so html tables can be written in our posts the old way?

    Sadly, Movim have now changed the ability to write in html so your tables end up garbled. What a terrible shame. I wish Movim had just left it as it was before. It was fine as html! Nowadays it forces your markup to be their Movim markdown which is simply nowhere as neatly laid out as html with tables. Also, people have long understood html.

    I feel gutted about this. I'm not a fan of markdown being mandatory in place of html. Please can you put Movim back so html can be written the old way? I used to show people how cool movim was for that. It used to be so cool.

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    Resource distribution puzzle-strategy Mini Countries is out now / GamingOnLinux · Friday, 12 February, 2021 - 20:31 · 2 minutes

Do you enjoy setting up elaborate production chains and resource management tycoon style gameplay? Mini Countries offers up a very curious take on it all. Note : key provided by the developer.

Each level offers up, as the name suggests, a mini country. Over time new cities pop up all over the map, and it's your job to satisfy their resource demands. Functionally, it feels quite a bit like Train Valley 2 in the way you're drawing up networks across the map. Here it gets just as complicated with you needing to setup the production, then transport the goods to a city and then deal with the cities that don't have direct connections to resources as you then begin to ferry resources between cities.

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Getting to grips with the transport system takes a little time, as each city and production building have limits on the amount of transport connections they can have so it all takes a bit of planning. That's the puzzling part and what makes it quite interesting to play through. It has some nice replay value too thanks to the randomization of cities. Each time you replay a level, the position of cities will be different so it forces you to think anew each time. The levels aren't particularly long either, so each level gives a tasty bite-size puzzling strategy experience.

Like most puzzle games it starts off seriously tame and then gradually sprinkles in the difficulty. Don't be fooled by the first few levels, the design really comes through once you learn the basics and it starts getting you to do a whole lot more. Lots of moving pieces and it looks wonderful while doing so too thanks to the soft colours and sweet visuals.


  • Build trade buildings to produce resources in your country
  • Make sufficient storage buildings available
  • Transport resources from storage buildings to demanding cities
  • Choose new items each month to bring your country forward
  • Plan your resource production according to different seasons
  • Upgrade resources by constructing industry buildings
  • Import resources which are not produced in your country
  • Export resources to generate knowledge
  • Integrate famous landmarks into your country
  • Decide on one branch for the development of your cities: Workers' cities allow trade and industry buildings to produce resources faster and science cities improve the growth rate and thus the generation of further knowledge points

You can buy Mini Countries on and Steam .

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    qomp is a brilliant example of minimalist mechanics and a fantastic idea / GamingOnLinux · Friday, 5 February, 2021 - 19:39 · 1 minute

In the game qomp you are the ball, the ball that has been thrown around games like Pong for a very long time and you've had enough - it's time to escape. Note : personal purchase.

qomp is a small game about freedom. It won't take you long to get through, it's not complicated and it's absolutely brilliant. Using a single button, you will be changing the direction of the ball to get through various different challenges and overcome several different game mechanics. It really doesn't look or sound like much but its one of those times were the simplicity makes it so good.

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For a game that has nothing but a single button and the same main mechanic all the way through, as you click click click to constantly change direction and avoid all sorts of hazards - it's surprisingly atmospheric. It gives off dungeon vibes with the camera effect and dark colouring, along with the pumping music to keep you going.

Difficult too. I've cursed at my screen and my slow clicking ability numerous times while bouncing through the various levels it offers. It's a good test of reaction timing and your ability to think quickly often, as well as understanding how the angles of everything you're bouncing off will affect your ball trajectory to plan ahead. I'm really not joking on the difficulty of some parts of it, I even held my breath a few times and hoped for a bit of luck. No punishments here though, just go back to a checkpoint and click around around and see if you can bounce to safety.

I will admit to the below section kicking my butt for a while but it shows the great design work that went into it.

So close!

You're an escaped pong ball trying to escape to freedom, what more could you want for a few hours? Honestly I think it's absolutely brilliant and well worth picking up.

A finely polished experience you won't forget.

You can buy it on and Steam .

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    Rogue Star Rescue is a fun mix of twin-stick bullet-hell and tower defence out now / GamingOnLinux · Friday, 5 February, 2021 - 15:46 · 1 minute

Released out of Early Access as a full game on February 4, Rogue Star Rescue blends together a furiously good mix of twin-stick bullet-hell action with tower defence. Note : copy personally purchased.

A game we've never covered here before and were completely unaware of it until the full release, which is a shame because it deserves a bit more attention. Featuring a non-linear story-mode along with local and online co-op options, there's a lot to like about it with the fast-paced action.

The story? The Rogue Star. A massive Rogue Star has formed from the cosmos and is on a direct collision path with us! It threatens to vaporize everything. Leaders from planets around the galaxy have assembled a top team of fighters to stop the Rogue Star at all costs. Choose your own non-linear path through the galaxy and explore each of the 10+ planets carefully.

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It really is a curious blend that works somewhat like Orcs Must Die in 2D with a little more exploration. You pick between different planets to try and save, making a few decision along the way that will affect the outcome. During each mission you explore, take down enemies, find resources and traps and then eventually it turns into a wave-based tower defence game where you need to deal with lots of enemies coming through and a mini-boss. You need to manage your inventory, upgrade traps as you progress and pick between different playable characters to get you through.

There's also some persistent progress too with a level up system. You can put attribute points into health, speed, traps and more. Since it's a twin-stick shooter at the core, there's also a decent variety in the weapons you will be using with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Absolutely loads to love about it and it really hits that satisfying over the top action feeling.

You can buy it on Humble Store , and Steam .

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    Skul: The Hero Slayer is a delightful repeatable head-swapping action rogue-lite out now / GamingOnLinux · Friday, 22 January, 2021 - 22:29 · 2 minutes

After being in Early Access since February 2020, SouthPAW Games have now released their head-swapping rogue-lite action platformer Skul: The Hero Slayer.

Taking place in a world where it seems that things are a bit backwards. The heroes appear to be going on a rampage, enslaving other creatures to help with their dirty work and destroy the demons once and for all. Everyone has been taken prisoner, except for you, a little little Skul. With action comparable to the likes of Dead Cells which I adore, and Hollow Knight, this is a rogue-lite you're going to want to keep on playing.

You're no ordinary fighter though, as you can swap your regular boring old skul with another. When you do this, you gain some pretty impressive abilities and there's quite a lot of different skul's to find. This makes it quite unique because it can end up being very different on each run.

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Like a lot of games that work on repetition, it can get a little…repetitive. It all depends on how much you enjoy jumping around platforms, and slicing through every enemy possible while also unleashing some admittedly awesome abilities. At times you feel ridiculously overpowered, others it's like you're an ant and they're just a big shoe waiting to step on you. RNG can be an issue here though, as it can often depend on what skull you can find to help you progress.

The good news is that for all the repetition needed, the combat is absolutely brilliant mechanically. It feels so good! Swapping between heads which gives you an instant ability firing off (great in a pinch), and then unleash some abilities while you wait to be able to switch back. So much fun to the action and it's not bad looking either, some of the pixel-art that went into Skul is really pretty with lots of little details.


I should note that the current build on Linux has an issue of a black screen instead of the main menu, although all it does it get you to click a button to load back into the game which does work so it's not a big problem. I've let the developer know.

Overall though if you're up for a challenge and you love your pixel-art, rogue-lite action-platforming with plenty of character variation with all the skulls then it's an easy recommendation to go and pick up.

You can buy Skul: The Hero Slayer on Humble Store and Steam .

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