My Week Unwrapped: July 10, 2018

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Earth Atlantis, Isoland 2, Isoland, The Birdcage, Eternity: Farfalla, Ashi: Lake of Light, Cthulhu Chronicles, Yuso, Trism II, Anamorph, Rescue the Enchanter, Brath, Darkness Rises, Heroki, Star Ocean: Anamnesis

Hi everyone and welcome back to another jam-packed installment of My Week Unwrapped, where I bore you with all the details of the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. So many games have been releasing, faster than I can play them. But I’ve tried to spend some time with as many as possible and make gameplay videos for you. There’s a total of fifteen games to cover(!), so let’s dive right in.

Earth Atlantis

I actually had Pixel Perfex’s Earth Atlantis a week or two early, but was so swamped with games that I didn’t have a chance to try it out until this morning. And then I had to tear myself away from it so the video wouldn’t be absurdly long. When I first saw screenshots of it, I liked the artwork but wasn’t sure the gameplay would be for me. Oh how wrong I was! It turns out that even through it’s a PC port, it feels perfect on a touchscreen, even a big iPad. That’s because the controls are super simple. You play as a little submarine traveling underwater through caverns and collapsed infrastructure. You move by dragging your left thumb anywhere on the left side of the screen. You automatically shoot your guns constantly, so all you have to do is make sure the bullets hit enemies such as piranhas, jellyfish, crabs, and all sorts of other underwater creatures that want to kill you. Your sub shoots from both sides, and you can move backwards, but the front shoots more bullets. Thankfully, you can face the other direction with a simple tap anywhere on the right side of the screen. I love the super simple control scheme, because it means I can focus on avoiding enemy attacks and not worrying about whether my fingers land on the buttons. I’m a big fan of button-free action games, so I got sucked in pretty quickly. You also pick up power-ups like electricity or homing missiles. Some might think the game is too easy, as I’ve already taken out a bunch of bosses without enduring much damage. But I’m playing on Normal mode and there’s a Hard mode available. There are also other game modes I haven’t tried yet but have every intention to. I love that the game seems to be one big open world to explore and each time you defeat a boss, a new area opens up. And you can quit any time and save your progress, so there’s no pressure to play for hours in one sitting. The only thing I miss at the moment is iCloud sync, because I want to play on my nice big iPad at home but continue my game anywhere on my iPhone. Right now, I’m stuck playing only at home. The developers said they may add it in the future, though. Anyway, it’s great fun and there are no IAPs or ads to worry about. It’s a very simple and sleek design. So go grab it and kill some fishies!

Isoland 2: Ashes of Time

I admit that when the first Isoland released, I was a little turned off by the art style and decided to skip it, even though I’m a big adventure game fan. But the sequel released recently, called Isoland 2: Ashes of Time, and it looked more intriguing. So I gave it a try and am even working on a walkthrough guide for it. For the most part, I’m enjoying it, what with its quirky characters and plot dealing with time travel and aliens. Occasionally a puzzle can be annoying or clues a little too obscure. But I’m sticking with it and hope to have the walkthrough done this week. If you want to see it in action, check out my gameplay video below.

Isoland

After getting through a big chunk of the sequel, I decided to grab the original Isoland and work on a walkthrough for that as well. I don’t have any gameplay video yet, but so far it’s a pretty solid game. I’m stuck at the moment and need to figure out what to do next, but most things have been pretty straightforward. The only things that bothered me so far was realizing late into the game that I missed an item early on because I didn’t tap a not-so-obvious spot. I also didn’t like that a character gives an important clue when you talk to him again later in the game, but there’s no real indication that you should do so. I only did so by chance. Anyway, it’s only a buck, so check it out if you’re looking for a new adventure game to play.

The Birdcage

Pine Studio, makers of the touchscreen-friendly and portrait-mode adventure series, Faraway, are really churning out games these days. Their latest is called The Birdcage, and it’s meant to be similar to Fireproof’s The Room, but each level asks you to unlock a birdcage to set the bird free. The game looks good, and it’s especially nice seeing different birds. But it’s way too easy and limited. The first ten levels are free and I completed them very quickly without much trouble. It’s hard to miss the gems, letters, or get stuck on any of the puzzles. There are no hidden buttons or clues. Everything’s pretty much out in the open, very unlike the Room series. I kept hoping that something would be hidden in the base or the top of the cage, but nothing ever was. So at this point I’m not sure if I want to spend the couple of dollars to play another ten levels. I still might, though. In any case, I have a walkthrough here for the first ten levels if you get stuck.

Eternity: Farfalla

I don’t play too many RPGs these days, mostly because they feel like a waste of time. But I loved the look of Eternity: Farfalla and the fact that it plays in portrait mode. I also like that it’s premium without any ads or IAPs. I’ve only played a bit so far, but I like what I’ve seen. The English translations could use some work and the story as a whole is pretty silly, but the battles require some planning and strategy. You have very limited mana, so you have to choose your skills wisely. I’ve come very close to dying on some of the early battles and even died once because I overlooked the fact that I had new skills available. Anyway, I plan to spend more time with it as soon as I can catch a breather from all these other games. If you’re looking for an RPG that doesn’t have any time-wasting or money-wasting nonsense and is cheap, this might be just what you need. You can also check out my gameplay video below if you’re not sure.

Ashi: Lake of Light

I showed you a little gameplay of Ashi: Lake of Light last week, a few days before release. Now that the game is out, I’ve started working on a walkthrough guide and played some more. I still think it’s a really solid puzzler, and I love how user-friendly it is. There are options to speed up the animations for those — like me — who are a little impatient. And it’s a very relaxing game in that you can try a strategy and if it doesn’t work, you just tweak it. It also gets trickier as new mechanics are added, though I haven’t gotten far enough to see all of them. I do plan to continue with the game and highly recommend checking it out. It’s free to download, and from what I can tell so far, there are no ads. The only IAPs seem to be for hints or for some extra content, but I’m not sure how much extra content. In any case, it’s pretty cheap if you’re enjoying the game and want to support the developers.

Cthulhu Chronicles

Between all these games I’m trying to play, plus taking advantage of my MoviePass and Netflix subscriptions, I don’t find much time these days to read, unfortunately. There’s just too much to consume! But occasionally a text adventure comes along that looks good enough for me to take a break from all the busier stuff and just read. Cthulhu Chronicles is an app that housed several stories of interactive fiction. You can play a bit for free to try it out before deciding whether to buy, and I already played through one story, though I’m sure there are probably multiple endings. The IAPs are a little confusing, so I’m not sure yet if I’ll buy any. But the writing is top-notch and I was engrossed in the story. So I may consider it. In any case, check out my gameplay video below and try the game for yourself. It’s very well-made and easy to read even on a small iPhone.

Yuso

Yuso is a puzzle game originally released on other platforms. It looks cute and easy at first, but does get pretty tricky. There’s something about it that reminds me of another game, but I can’t quite place it. Basically, you have these little colored faces and you need to clear all of them. You can only tap on one if there are others of the same color next to it. And then any surrounding faces that match its color will go poof! You can also change the color of other faces by exploding into them. New mechanics are added gradually to keep things interesting, but it’s a very relaxed game even when it gets tricky. There’s also an undo button, so if you mess up, you don’t have to start from scratch. You can also skip levels if you’re stuck on one. I really appreciate these user-friendly options. The only things really lacking for me are iCloud sync and portrait mode. A straight puzzle game like this seems like it would work so well as a one-handed game and I think I’d be much more likely to stick with it then. But it’s still a solid puzzler if you’re looking for one. There’s no nonsense and it has a very clean interface. You can watch some of my gameplay below to see what it’s like, because I don’t think I did it much justice describing it.

Trism II

Today was the tenth anniversary of the iOS App Store and a lot of developers had sales to celebrate. But one developer decided to take this opportunity to release a sequel to his game that came out on the very first day of the App Store. My first iPhone was the 4, so I had never heard of the game before, but it’s called Trism. I looked up some video of it on YouTube and it looked like a match-three with unique mechanics, so I decided to grab the sequel instead of the original. I figured it would probably be similar but improved upon. I was wrong. Trism II is basically Candy Crush without the in-app-purchases. I read that it was initially meant to be free-to-play and, while I commend the developer for not taking that easier route, it stills feels like a F2P game to me. The mechanics are also very same-y if you’ve played basically any other match-three. The idea of walking around the map like it’s an RPG seems cool, but the story is so kiddy-oriented that I found it hard to enjoy. Anyway, you can decide for yourself if it looks like your thing by reading my initial impressions here and watching my gameplay video.

Anamorph

I got a very early copy of Anamorph, a puzzle game that releases in August. I really like the idea of it, which is to rotate a cluster of dots until they form an image. Unfortunately, my first experience with the game has had some road bumps. I still like the game as a whole, but the controls were making it hard to play. Sometimes the object stops rotating altogether or it rotates in a different direction than I told it to. But I spoke to the developer and he said he’s already pushed through an update that should improve the controls. So don’t write it off just yet! I’ll try to have some newer gameplay soon with the updated controls so you can see if they make the game more enjoyable. So watch this space!

Rescue the Enchanter

Not long ago, I wrote a walkthrough guide for Syntaxity’s first person point-and-click game, The Enchanted Books. This week, the sequel, Rescue the Enchanter, was free for a short time, so I decided to finish my walkthrough for it. Overall, it was a solid game, but it did suffer from too much backtracking. I especially didn’t like how you have to tap eight times in the desert to get between each location. That is, unless you pay for fast travel that allows you to tap on a spot on the map and instantly go there. This game seemed to have a lot more backtracking than there others, especially the previous one which had books that teleported you between locations. This one had a blimp instead, and you had to walk to it instead of just tap it in your inventory. Still, if you liked their other games, this is a pretty good bet. I don’t have video of it yet but hope to in the near future.

Brath: Brain and Math

Brath is a very strange name that comes from the combination of the words “brain” and “math.” I didn’t know much about it going in but loved the presentation that mimicked an old board game. So I gave it a try without reading up on it. It turns out it’s a memory game but instead of just matching two cards that look the same, you have to solve math problems. So for instance, if your goal is 6, you need to find a 1 and a 5. I’m already not a fan of memory games, so adding math to the mix didn’t really change much for me. But if you do like this kind of thing, there are various different game modes to keep you occupied. I don’t see myself playing any more of it, but check out my gameplay video to see if it’s something you might enjoy.

Darkness Rises

I don’t have too much to report here, as I already summed up my thoughts on Darkness Riseshere. But in my latest video, I made some more progress with the story and learned some surprising things. I also got to a new area, the desert, which has some pretty cool enemies like humanoid lizards. Also, I got a new outfit and got to slay demons in a bathing suit and flip-flops. The game has remained super generous with its in-game currency and items, so I still haven’t felt pressured to spend any money and still recommend the game.

Heroki

Heroki actually releases a few years back and I bought it when it went on sale, but never got to trying it. It was recently re-released under the developer’s name instead of the publisher and they updated it to make better use of newer devices. It seemed like a good time to finally give it a try, so played a little bit. Unfortunately, it’s not my kind of game. I love the art style and the characters are charming. But the joystick feels too loose on my iPad and I find it awkward that I can only attack enemies by throwing crates at them. That probably changes later as you acquire more skills, but I’m not finding the game enjoyable enough to get that far. Still, others seem to like it and it does have alternate control schemes. But I couldn’t see dragging my finger around my iPad to control Heroki. Perhaps it plays better on a smaller iPhone. I just don’t feel comfortable enough with the controls to want to stick with it.

Star Ocean: Anamnesis

From the video and screenshots on the App Store, I thought Square Enix’s Star Ocean: Anamnesis might be something I’d enjoy, even though it’s a free-to-play game. But despite the impressive visuals, I found the characters and dialogue made it hard to sit through. I didn’t want to just skip the whole story, since it’s an RPG, but I just couldn’t stomach anymore of that annoying AI. I also found the tutorials and menus too busy and confusing. I have too many games to play at the moment to suffer through this, so I likely won’t be spending any more time with it. But feel free to check out my video below to see if it’s something you might enjoy.

Aaaaaand that’s everything! I’m wiped and will probably go relax with some Luke Cage before I collapse into bed. But I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped. Let me know what you thought in the comments section and feel free to recommend a game you’d like me to try out. See you next time!

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