My Week Unwrapped: June 26, 2018 – Golf Club: Wasteland, Up Left Out, Darkness Rises, Paperbark, Snake Time, Night of the Full Moon and More

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Hi everyone and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. You may have noticed (or maybe you didn’t 🙁 ) that I skipped last week. Unfortunately, I’m still trying to work out what’s wrong with my site (maybe you noticed the theme change), so I ran out of time last week for it. But that just means you get a double helping today! Yay! There’s actually a lot of great games to cover and I’m excited to talk about them.

Golf Club: Wasteland

I’m not usually keen on golf games. I can’t really think of any that I’ve started and finished. So I didn’t know what to expect with Golf Club: Wasteland. It turned out to be one of my favorite games in a long time and I still have some of the songs stuck in my head from trying to improve my scores. But I just published a full walkthrough for the game, so I’ll just let you read that instead of rehashing everything. I also have a walkthrough here if you need help.

Up Left Out

I actually played Maciej Targoni’s latest puzzle game, Up Left Out, last week ahead of release. But now it’s available to everyone and if you’re a puzzle fan, you should definitely pick it up. I’m not usually a fan of sliding tile puzzles in adventure games, but the developer did some really clever things to mix up the formula and create a satisfying game. It gets pretty tricky, especially for the second half, and I felt really good about solving some of those later puzzles. It’s also very relaxed with no move counter or scoring system, so you can just work on each level at your own pace. It’s not a terribly long game, but that also means it doesn’t wear out it’s welcome before the end. I highly recommend spending a night with this clever little game. I also have a walkthrough guide here if you get stuck.

Darkness Rises

I’m usually very apprehensive about playing free-to-play games, especially when I have every reason to believe that they’ll be geared towards getting players to spend money on consumables. But the screenshots for Nexon’s Darkness Rises showed a character riding a dragon and I just couldn’t pass it up, especially with those impressive graphics. I held my expectations at bay, but was pleasantly surprised to actually enjoy the game quite a bit. So far, I’ve only played the single-player mode, so I don’t know if multiplayer is more pay-to-win. But it’s been pretty easy fun, just hacking away at bad guys in a flurry of sword swipes. The graphics are impressive and so far the in-game currencies have been pretty generous. But the real selling point for me was that I got to ride and control a realistic fire-breathing dragon within the first half hour of the game! Sadly, I didn’t get to keep it, as much as I wanted to. But I’m enjoying the game enough to have spent a few hours with it already and I plan to continue with it. We’ll see how long it holds my attention, but for now it’s good old-fashioned brainless fun. You can watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like and I have more on my YouTube channel.

DR.MEEP

Muertitos dev, Hyperbeard, recently published developer Heckmouse’s premium match-three game and I had a chance to play it a bit early. In it, you play as a psychiatrist named DR.MEEP who has to try and help all sorts of quirky characters deal with their problems and emotions. You do so by matching their emotions in rows of three or more to get rid of them. It’s a game with a lot of character, but not without its flaws. Still, if you like match-threes and want to support premium games, give it a try. You can read my full review here and watch my gameplay videos below to see it in action.

Paperbark

I had been looking forward to Australian developer Paper House’s Paperbark ever since I saw it show up in the pre-order section if the App Store, despite not knowing whether it’s meant for adults or just kids. The roly-poly wombat and storybook feel of the artwork piqued my interest, so I grabbed it once it released. I have some mixed feelings about it, as it is very cute and the artwork is charming. I especially like how you can “paint” in the environment by swiping your finger around. That said, it’s pretty light on gameplay and would be better described as an interactive kids’ story. You tap around to move the wombat where you want and also have to collect certain items as you go along. Some are harder to miss, like purple flowers with an arrow pointing at them. Others take more work to find, like little cicadas hiding on trees or butterflies fluttering about. The fact that part of the screen is always white until you paint it in means you can easily miss a collectible if you don’t look carefully. I like the overall concept and it is a nice relaxing game. But I found it a bit too slow at times, and I didn’t like that I could accidentally complete a chapter before I was ready. I don’t mind retracing my steps looking for what I missed, but I don’t want to have to restart the area just to go back a little bit. I think a prompt warning you that you’re about to end the chapter would be nice, maybe giving you a chance to stay there until you’re ready to leave. I also went back and replayed the first chapter to find what I missed. I went through carefully and couldn’t find the yellow flowers, so that felt like a bug or something. At the very least, it was a bit of a waste of my time searching for something that seemingly doesn’t exist. I also would have liked to know how many cicadas and purple flowers are in each chapter so I don’t have to keep replaying them all to see where I missed one. It’s more likely that I just won’t bother trying to find them all. Anyway, it’s still an enjoyable game, especially if you play it with kids, but I’m not sure the collecting aspect works as well as it should. You can see my gameplay video below and I’ll be adding more to my walkthrough guide here.

Night of the Full Moon

After eyeballing Night of the Full Moon for a while, I finally gave it a try. I’m always looking for new one-handed games to play, especially roguelike card games that ask you to survive as long as you can. Night of the Full Moon was inspired by Dream Quest, which I heard good things about but couldn’t bring myself to play because of the graphics. This game instead has quality artwork and even voiceovers for the different enemies. The translations something leave something to be desired, but they’re not bad enough to ruin the game. The only thing that’s really keeping me from playing more is the tiny font on the cards. I don’t have all the cards memorized yet, so I need to read each one that appears. But I find myself squinting at my phone to read them and it’s very uncomfortable. Alternatively, the fantastic Meteorfall, which clearly took some inspiration from both this game and Dream Quest, has very easy-to-read cards so I don’t have to pause too long to read them. I was going to try and continue on my iPad to see if it’s better, but there’s no iCloud sync, so that’s out of the question. I may still give it a chance, but my eyes are bad enough from staring at screens all day, that I don’t think I need to damage them more reading tiny text. Still, if you’re not concerned about that, it seems like a solid game and it’s fully premium with just an optional character you can buy for $0.99. If you’re not sure, check out my gameplay videos below. The sound cut out in the first one but should be fine in the second.

Ultra Sharp

Back when 1Button released their physics puzzler, Super Sharp, as a premium game, the App Store was a little more friendly to paid games. So I don’t blame the developer for going the route of free with ads and an in-app purchase to remove the ads for the sequel, Ultra Sharp. In fact, I appreciated that I could try it before buying, even though I liked the first game and would have probably bought it anyway. Despite feeing a little rehashed from the original, I decided to spent the $1.99 to remove the ads and have a better experience, while also supporting the devs for choosing a fair payment model. Between reused puzzles and just an overall easier difficulty curve, I was breezing through levels and noticed the SKIP button at the bottom, but never needed to use it. That is, until I was in the third section of the game, after paying to remove ads. I was momentarily stumped by a puzzle and figured I’d skip it and come back later. Unfortunately, that’s where I learned that to do so, I would have to either watch an ad or pay for a pack of skips. Having just paid to remove ads, I was pretty livid that such a basic quality of life feature got locked behind more ads or cash. I was so upset that I immediately wrote up a review. I’ve since gotten much further without using a skip, but it still bothers me, especially since I would currently like to use one but refuse to give them ad revenue or more money after pulling something like this. Also, after playing more, I see that a lot of levels are reused from the first game, so I would recommend just playing that one instead. If you can’t spend and money on games and prefer to watch ads, by all means, play the sequel. But if you do have the $1.99 to spend, you’re better off spending it on Super Sharp instead. If you do play Ultra Sharp, though, you can try my walkthrough if you get stuck.

ARK: Survival Evolved

Like I said above, I’m not too enthusiastic about free-to-play games, knowing that I’ll likely feel the pressure to spend money on consumables eventually. But I can’t pass up the opportunity to ride dinosaurs, especially pterodactyls! So I decided to give ARK: Survival Evolved a try. I was actually enjoying it for a while, despite dying a lot, and even tamed a cute little dino. But I eventually stopped playing because running back and forth breaking down trees for wood or rocks for flint was starting to feel like a massive waste of time. But rather than rehash my thoughts, I’ll let you read my more detailed impressions here, along with some gameplay videos.

Starman: Tale of Light

I already reviewed nada studio’s Starman: Tale of Light back when it first released and I had lot of good things to say about it. But they weren’t done with it yet! The developers recently released an update for it called Flow Mode, which is a relaxed open world area where you can just walk or boat around and solve puzzles. You can change the seasons — and something must in order to solve a puzzle. You’ll make some music, plant some trees, and can even pet the geese to make them talk. Overall, it was a really nice addition to the game and I had a great time working out all the puzzles. I also have a full walkthrough for the game here and a video for the new content below.

DARK WAVE

Semidome is known for making some visually striking games and each one of them has very different gameplay. Last Voyage was a short experimental puzzle game with some arcade action thrown in. Nightgate was longer and more action oriented, involving maneuvering around enemies to get to the goal. Their latest game, DARK WAVE, may have a little in common with its predecessors, but its also quite different. As a paid autorunner free of ads or IAPs, it’s pretty unique. The visuals are trippy, too. Unfortunately, the game was a bit too hard for me since the balls you have to avoid can change lanes. I also started to get motion sickness from the waves, so I had to stop playing. But if you want a challenge and don’t think the waves will be an issue for you, give it a try. You can also check out some gameplay video below.

Snake Time

Snake Time is an upcoming jazzy and stylish puzzle game by 19-year-old developer ThoseSixFaces who is making me feel quite inadequate. I’ve only played through the tutorial levels and the first ten regular levels, but I really like what I’ve seen so far. It takes a puzzle idea you’re already familiar with — following a path and stepping on all the tiles — but adds playful visuals and a jazzy soundtrack, along with mechanics like time travel. Things get tricky pretty quickly, so I don’t think this is a game I’ll be rushing through. But I am going to stick with it and you should definitely check it out when it releases July 14th.

Alleys

Not much new to say here. I played some more of Alleys and found the pirate’s treasure! I also used a phone booth to teleport, kind of like Doctor Who. I’m still backtracking a lot and looking for anything I’ve missed, but you can see the rest of my progress here.

The Enchanted Books

I started making a walkthrough for Syntaxity’s adventure game, The Enchanted Books, a few weeks ago, and I finally finished it. I still need to make a video, but if you’re stuck, my step-by-step walkthrough guide should help you.

And that’s everything! Whew, I’m exhausted! And there are still a whole bunch of games in my backlog that I need to try. I think if no new games were released ever again, I’d still have plenty to play and never run out. But of course I’ll keep trying new games and let you know which ones are worth your time and which aren’t. Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section and I’ll be back with more of My Week Unwrapped next week, after I hopefully get a few good nights’ sleep.

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John

I look forward to your week unwrapped more than any other article on any other site …. I definitely noticed the missing week! No more skips, please!

I knew something didn’t seem right, but I wasn’t sure if you had missed a week or I had just had a really long one 🙂