My Week Unwrapped: March 18, 2017

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So, this week has been absolutely insane. I don’t know if you noticed, but Apple has been featuring one or two new indie games every day for a little over a week now. So instead of maybe two or three must-have games that we’d see on a normal week, there are eight to ten. Luckily, I played Mushroom 11 ahead of time or I’d have even more games to juggle right now. Anyway, if you like quality games that let you play and don’t constantly nag you for more money, this is a good week for you. So, without further ado, I bring you the craziest My Week Unwrapped yet!

First off, I never played Love You to Bits when it first released, so I grabbed it while it was the free game of the week. I finished it, along with my walkthrough, this week. Overall, I enjoyed the game but had some issues with it. It’s cute, has some clever puzzles, and I loved all the references to other games. But the music is on a super repetitive short loop for each level and there’s no way to shut the music without muting the sound effects as well. Then, there’s no way to speed up the slow walking speed. Considering some extras are easy to miss and require repeated play-throughs to find them, this becomes incredibly tedious. And on top of that, the game doesn’t save mid-level if you take a break. So if you’re stuck on a puzzle and come back the next day, you’ll have to catch up again. At a very slow pace. Still, the game has a lot of charm. I just wish it took players’ time into consideration. In any case, I am looking forward to the last bit of content coming this month.

I started Euclidean Lands, developed by Miro Straka and published by Kunabi Brother, last week but was having some issues with it. Primarily, the bosses were giving me trouble and I didn’t like the lack of a move counter in a game that has a three-star rating based on the number of moves you use to solve a level. Thankfully, this week it was updated with a move counter and I was able to get red flags on the first boss. I still need to work on the second boss, but I feel more confident about it now that it’s not a guessing game. It’s still a pretty punishing game, as there’s no undo button and you have to start over if you die or otherwise fail. It’s basically like Hitman Go on a Rubik’s Cube. You rotate the cube and parts of the cube, then move your hero to defeat all the enemies and get to the exit. I’ve only beaten twenty-three of the forty levels so far, but almost every one made me stop and think. If you’re looking for a good turn-based challenge, it’s worth checking out.

What drew me to Robot Circus’ Ticket to Earth is that it’s a cross between a match-three line-drawing puzzler and an RPG strategy game, as well as the gorgeous comic book-style artwork. From what I’ve played so far, it does a good job mixing these genres, but this week has been so crazy that I haven’t really had a chance to sit down with it more. I likely won’t be able to give it my full attention until I finish some shorter games first. But it feels very polished. You can watch my video below to see if it looks like something you’d enjoy.

Cosmic Express is another brain-frying but user-friendly puzzler from the sadistic mind of Alan Hazelden, aka Draknek. Benjamin Davis, who worked with him on the adorable A Good Snowman is Hard to Build, also worked on this one, and Tyu is responsible for the artwork. In it, you basically help the monster from A Good Snowman drive trains across different constellations to pick up cute little aliens and drop them off in the correct boxes before moving on to the next planet. The catch is, space is limited on both the train and the board. You’re basically drawing a track around the board, and it can’t cross over itself. You need to slither it around in knots to get to the exit. Later on, you’ll encounter slimes that make the seat all nasty so regular aliens don’t want to sit there. And there are wormholes and tracks that do criss-cross. It may seem easy at first, but it gets diabolically tricky. And of course there are some secrets to discover. On top of it all, you can unlock all levels from the very beginning and there’s iCloud sync. Even though I’ve had the game for a week or so now, I still have barely scratched the surface because of the difficulty level and the sheer number of games I’m playing at the moment. But it’s a superb game that any puzzle fans should grab. I’m also working on a walkthrough here.

OXENFREE is by the folks behind the Mr. Robot game, Night School Studio. I really wanted to play it when it came out on PC and even bought it during a sale, hoping I would play it one day. It looked like something that would be perfect for iOS, but there was never any word on whether it would make it over. I still hate playing games on my PC, so I never got to it. But I bought it as soon as I saw it on the App Store and have already spent about two hours with it. I love the artwork, the atmosphere, the voice acting, and especially the pace. At first I thought it would bother me to have to choose dialogue options quickly, but it really helps move the game along at a good pace instead of feeling slogged down by all the dialogue. The characters can walk while they talk, so you’re rarely standing in one place. On top of that, the choices do seem to matter and there’s some bizarre science fiction stuff going on that I won’t spoil for you here. But you also have a hand-held radio you can use at certain times to pick up strange readings. As expected, the game plays beautifully on an iPad. You just tap to move or drag your finger to make your character, Alex, go to it. Everything feels perfectly natural. I did encounter a couple of small bugs that weren’t game-breaking and it is weird that Alex walks to the spot you tap when you choose a speech bubble. But it’s no big deal. If you like narrative games and don’t mind that it’s light on puzzles, you’ll probably like this one. My first video doesn’t spoil much if you want to just get a taste of it. I stop it before any of the strange stuff happens.

Typeshift is a clever word game done in collaboration between Zach Gage and Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I had it a few days early and have already spent over five hours with it. It’s free to download so definitely check it out, but if you need more convincing you can read my review or watch my video below (spoilers!).

I’m still playing Alec Thomson’s and Jenny Jiao Hsia’s match-three and minesweeper mashup, Beglitched, but it’s proving rather difficult for me. I made some more video, but there is a lot going on in this game and it can be brutal. I still love it, though!

I finally finished binging all three seasons of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix, so I start playing the game based on the show, Miss Fisher and the Deathly Maze – Ep. 1, by Tin Man Game. I haven’t gotten too far yet, but it seems to capture the feel of the show well, and a lot of familiar locations are recreated for it. I kind of wish it had voice acting to pull me into it more, but I’m still enjoying it for what it is. It’s going to be most enjoyable for fans of the show, but check out my video below to see if it’s something you might like.

And last but certainly not least, I’m in middle of playing the absolutely stunning Pavilion: Touch Edition by Visiontrick Media. It released on PC a few years back and was supposed to come to iOS sooner, but the wait was worth it. It is just stunning to look at on an iPad. On top of it, the puzzles are unique and fun to mess around with. Add to all that the terrific soundtrack and I could get lost in it for hours. I did encounter the occasional bug and the iOS version seems to be missing some extras from the PC version, as well as the achievements. But so far, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself with it. It reminds me of Samorost 3 because of its lack of words or instructions and it’s breathtaking audiovisuals. You basically manipulate the environment and try to get the little guy to go where you want him without directly controlling him. You ring bells, turn lights on and off, push cubes around. All the while looking at some of the most gorgeous artwork I’ve seen in a game. If you like puzzles and eye candy, definitely grab this one. I’m also working on a walkthrough here.

Whew! Like I said, busy week. And the craziness is not over yet! There’s still some games coming as part of Apple’s promotion and I think one of them is going to be really big. I still have a lot to catch up on, but if you’re in the need of some quality games, there’s never been a better time to be an iOS gamer. I’m going to go relax with a movie now because I need a break from games. But I hope you’ll pick some of these up and let me know what you think of them. Until next time, that’s My Week Unwrapped!

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