My Week Unwrapped: June 5, 2018 – Scalak, Faraway 3, FEIST, Haunted Hunt, Hexologic, Space Pioneer, Doodle Cube and More

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Hi everyone and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the iOS games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. You may have noticed (or maybe you didn’t, in which case I’ll go cry in a corner) that I skipped last week’s roundup. I’ve been a bit stressed and sleep-deprived because something’s wrong with my site and I can’t figure out what. So if you’re reading this and have been having any trouble getting onto my site in the last month, please let me know. Maybe it can help me track down the problem. Anyway, since I skipped last week, you get a double whammy today! I’ll be covering all the games I’ve played over the last two weeks. So strap in and enjoy the ride!

Scalak

I actually had the opportunity to play Michal Pawlowski’s Scalak months ahead of release, seeing it through several updates. It came a long way since I first got to try it, and I love how new mechanics are added every few levels. It really keeps things fresh without straying too far from the core ideas. That said, this is a relaxed puzzler that is rarely taxing on the brain. But if you liked his previous game, Zenge, I think you’ll like this one, too. In it, your goal is to drag pieces to the central structure to fill in all its white spaces. Sometimes, you have to connect little gems so they glow, sometimes you have sliding tile puzzles to deal with, and often multiple mechanics come together. It’s all accompanied by a chill soundtrack, and I love how the pieces add to the music when you drop them in place. You can watch some gameplay video of it below and if you get stuck, I have a walkthrough here.

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Faraway 3: Arctic Escape

I’ve been a fan of Pine Studio’s Faraway series since the first one released last year, and recently the final game in the trilogy came out. Faraway 3 takes you to the snowy arctic, where the low-poly art is full of blues and whites. I’ve been working on a walkthrough as I play, so I haven’t completed it yet. But so far it feels a bit on the easy side except for finding the third letter in each level, which has always been my favorite part. I am still enjoying my time with it, even if the puzzles could have been more challenging. And I see there’s some weird stuff going on with the letters, so I’m eager to see how that plays out once I complete all eighteen levels. Again, you can watch some gameplay video below, but the first nine levels are free, so I recommend just playing through those to see if you want to buy the rest. And if you’re stuck, don’t forget to check out my walkthrough guide.

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FEIST

Finji’s gorgeous Limbo-like, FEIST, kind of ported to iOS out of nowhere this past week. I got a copy a couple of days early, but other than that I didn’t really know there were any plans to even bring it over to mobile. So far, I’m in love with the audiovisuals, especially the music, but am not too fond of the controls. Like Playdead’s games, you’re running to the right and everything wants to kill you. It’s not a typical platformer because you’re not really jumping platforms. But you do have to jump over obstacles and enemies and solve puzzles to progress. Unlike Limbo and INSIDE, though, it has onscreen buttons. I’m a big fan of games that do away with buttons and allow you to focus on the action instead of worrying about where your fingers land. With FEIST, you have left and right buttons in the lower left corner and then a jump and grab/throw button on the right. It’s not ideal, but works fairly well on a smaller screen like an iPhone. Unfortunately, it’s less comfortable on an iPad, as the buttons are all the way at the bottom edge of the screen. Still, I’m compelled to play more because of the atmosphere, as well as to see what lies ahead for the little fuzzy protagonist. The puzzles are different than in its inspiration, in that you’re dealing less with hidden dangers and more with creatures trying to kill you in broad daylight. I do have some complaints besides the onscreen buttons, but I’ll keep that for a full review if I ever get to writing one. For now, I recommend trying it since it’s free for the first few levels, then you can unlock the rest for one flat fee if you like it. You can also watch my gameplay video below if you prefer that.

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Adventure Escape: Haunted Hunt

As usual with Haiku Games, I had been checking for new ones every once in a while, and yet somehow missed their latest release by a day or two. That’s ok, though, because I’ve finished it by now and even completed my step-by-step walkthrough. I really liked my character in Haunted Hunt, as I play as a shapeshifter. This means you can change into different animals like a raven or cat so you can see the room from another perspective. I’m a big fan of mechanics like that, something you’d see in Panmorphia or The Lost City. For the most part, I enjoyed the game, despite the occasional annoying puzzle. Thankfully, there weren’t any ridiculously hard mini games this time around, so it goes at a nice relaxed pace. But I found at least four solutions for one puzzle and it only accepted one of them. The final form that my character, Moira, shifts into is also not my favorite. It involves looking at things through a tiny window. Still, the game is once again completely free without any forced ads and it’s very generous with stars for hints if you do get stuck. So if you’re a fan of the Adventure Escape series, this is a solid addition that’s worth picking up.

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Hexologic

MYTHICOWL’s math puzzler, Hexologic, sports a gorgeous art style and soundtrack that almost seems like too much effort for a game about numbers. In fact, I’m sure a big part of why I stuck with it to the end is because it just looks and feels so nice. Its level map takes you from underwater to bright, colorful skies as you climb up with each level you solve. The gameplay is fairly basic, as you’re given a cluster of hexagons (hence the name) with numbers on their sides. You need to fill each hexagon with one, two, or three dots, with the goal being for the dots in each row or column to add up to the numbers on the edges. It starts off easy, but new mechanics are added every fifteen levels to shake things up. For instance, the second world has pre-dotted tiles that you can’t change, while the next world has colored hexagons that are linked and therefore change together when you tap them. There are even tougher hidden puzzles that you might miss if you don’t know to look for them, so make sure you do! Overall, I enjoyed my time with Hexologic, even if it’s on the easy side. It’s relaxing, doesn’t have any penalties for messing up or taking too long. There’s no scoring system either. You just do it at your own pace while listening to the great soundtrack. One thing I do find odd is that I’ve never seen a puzzle where you’re meant to leave a hexagon blank, yet every level starts all blank. So my first step would always be to tap each hexagon once to add a dot and then work out the rest from there. It’s not a big deal, but made the puzzles feel weaker. Anyway, check out my gameplay video below to see if it’s something you might like and if you need help with it, I started a walkthrough here.

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Smoosh Lab

Smoosh Lab is the sequel to Curious Labs’ precious game, and the “Lab” refers to the inclusion of a level designer. Once you get through the story mode, you can solve puzzles that other players made and try your hand at creating your own. I do like the core gameplay, which involves pushing colored balls around the board to their goals. Sometimes, you have to mix colors like red and yellow to make orange or red and blue to make purple. New mechanics are introduced every few levels to make things more interesting and challenging. I do kind of wish it had an undo button, though, or at the very least less time between puzzles. Since the game makes its money off of IAPs used in the level creator, it rewards you points after each level you complete. You also level up an earn pieces you can use in the level creator. I would like to somehow do away with all the points and leveling, because all it does is kill the pacing every time I have to wait to get to the next level. Still, it’s free, with a very generous monetization system, so at least give it a chance. And if you get stuck, I started a walkthrough here.

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Logic Path!

I’m always on the lookout for interesting games that play with perspective, so when I saw Mindsense Games’ Logic Path! for only $0.99, I decided to take a gamble on it even though I never heard of it before. For the most part, I like the idea of it. You need to rotate and move cuboids to form a clear path between all cubes. It’s a neat idea, but I’m not a big fan of the controls. Instead of swiping a piece in the direction you want it to go, you have to tap a dot to rotate it. But sometimes the dot you need is hidden, so you have to keep messing with it until you get the right one. It feels a little too fiddly. Especially on an iPhone, I would often end up pressing the wrong dot and then have to waste time correcting my mistake. I also think I have some issue predicting what will happen when I press a dot, even though it’s pretty clear that it rotated around the dot as an axis. So the game’s not necessarily bad, but I just don’t think I enjoy it enough to continue with it at the moment. Anyway, you can check out my gameplay video below to see if it looks like your thing and I started a walkthrough here if you get stuck.

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Doodle Cube

Ryan Coletta’s Doodle Cube is a super generous game, as it’s completely free. No strings attached. No ads, no IAPs, just a delightful puzzler. I love everything about it, from the cube’s facial expressions to the crinkly paper background. The gameplay is pretty unique, too, as you roll the cube around on paint and then have to use that paint to color certain tiles. It’s fun to play with, but I really suck at it so it’s a bit frustrating. I kind of wish the move counter was always on screen instead of in the pause menu, as I tend to just go Wild when it seems I’m not being tracked. But it is indeed tracking my moves, so it would be nice to just see it all the time, including the moves needed to get three stars. Still, it’s free so I can’t complain too much. I definitely recommend picking it up and playing around if for nothing else than to see the silly artwork.

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Alleys

I’m still enjoying Alleys quite a bit, but taking my sweet time with it because I want to be relaxed and awake and be able to give my full attention to it when I play. I’ll likely write a proper review once I complete the game, so look out for that. Until then, I made another gameplay video you can watch below.

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Space Pioneer

Versus Evil’s Space Pioneer is super stylish and I wish it existed in a time when free-to-play games didn’t dominate the App Store. It reminds me of Crashlands, as you run around on alien planets shooting creatures. The reason it reminds me so much of Butterscotch Shenanigans’ game is because you’re constantly maneuvering around the trajectories of the enemies. You have to keep moving or they’ll hit you. It makes for some fast-paced and frantic battles. The game does seem to lack the crafting that was such a big part of Crashlands, but I actually don’t mind because I always found that to be a bit of a waste of time. My only real complaints with Space Pioneer is lack of iCloud sync, for one. I linked it to my Facebook account to sync my progress, but there was no way to log in on my other device without first replaying a whole bunch of it, so I didn’t bother. I also have the same problem I have with any free-to-play game — it’s hard to tell whether it was balanced to get you to spend money. I’m afraid to use the coins I earn to upgrade things in case I hit a point where it becomes impossible to earn enough to afford anything. Instead of just playing it and enjoying it, I’m constantly worried about the inevitable paywall. So I don’t know how long I’ll stick with it. That art style is just gorgeous, though. So give a try and see how you like it.

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Kamiori

Hanaji Games’ Kamiori is a puzzle game with some light plarforming elements. So far, I haven’t had to deal with any enemies, so it’s been a pretty relaxing experience. Basically, you fold the screen so that a “stamp” copies itself over to another part of the screen. The idea is to move it to a spot where it will act as a platform that your character can jump onto. It’s an interesting concept, though the joystick and the folding controls sometimes get confused with each other. The fact that I haven’t had to deal with any enemies or death has made it less problematic, but it can still be a little irritating. The character also moves very slowly, but I’ve since learned that you can change her speed in the settings, and that does help. I’m curious to see where this one goes, even if it feels like it could use some polishing. It helps that the characters and story are a bit weird and they have some attitude that keeps things entertaining. So you’ll likely see more video of this from me. Until then, check out the video below.

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Dungeon Maker: Dark Lord

I didn’t really know what to expect from Dungeon Maker: Dark Lord. From the name, I was kind of hoping I’d get to torture prisoners in a dungeon, but so far I just seem to take myself and some minions into a dungeon and tap them until they die. I’m finding parts of it confusing. It took me a while to even realize how to swap out my pets, and I’m still not sure I understand it. It feels very repetitive to me so far, but maybe it gets better later. I doubt I’ll stick with it to find out, though.

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Silverfish DX

Silverfish DX is actually a remastered version of an older game from ChaoticBox, updated to work on newer iOS versions and with a more intuitive control scheme. I played a bit and somehow managed to get my highest score on my first game and then it all went downhill from there. I need to mess with the settings a bit and find a sensitivity and position that feels comfortable for me. But I just might not have the reflexes for it, as I started to get fatigued after just a few minutes. Still, if you like these fast-paced games, check it out when it releases this Thursday or pre-order it right now.

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DR. MEEP

Premium match-three games are like unicorns these days. As a big fan of the genre, I get very excited when I see one and just have to have it. So when Hyperbeard’s DR. MEEP popped up in the pre-order section, I couldn’t wait and was able to get a code ahead of release. Well, let me just say — don’t let the cutesy appearance or the fact that it’s a match-three fool you. This is not an easy game. I’ve failed a lot of times, and have been having an especially hard time getting three stars on each level. The way it works is you play as DR. MEEP, a psychiatrist with some very strange patients. You need to help them deal with their emotions by matching them in rows of three or more. You do so by tapping on an emotion to get rid of it, causing anything above it to drop down. The catch is, every time you tap, more emotions start flooding in. And if they reach the top, it’s game over. There seems to be a lot of luck involved, but I’ve not spent enough time with it yet to determine just how much. In any case, I still have a lot of characters to play through, each with their own unique emotions that shake things up. For instance, a gravestone can’t be tapped, but it can be matched with other gravestones. Some other emotions can’t be matched at all, so you have to tap them to get rid of them. I love how each character has a story and some fun lines to entertain you in between failures. The game releases on June 21st, so expect more from me about it. Until then, you can watch my video and pre-order it if it looks like your kind of thing.

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Whew! That was a lot for one post. I hope I remember this next time I consider skipping a week and merging it into the next. Anyway, I just want to remind you that if you’ve been having any trouble at any point getting onto my site, please let me know. And I’d love to hear what games you’re playing and if you picked up any of the ones I’ve mentioned. Let me know in the comments section and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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Rachel lyons

I noticed you were gone last week! Just saying…:)

Awww thanks. 🙂

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