My Week Unwrapped: July 31, 2018

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holedown, The Eyes of Ara, Super Starfish, Hello Neighbor, Hidden my game by mom 3, Waking Violet, Pocket City, Candleman: Walk with Shadows, Escape from Chernobyl

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday again, and that means it’s time for another installment of My Week Unwrapped! To be honest, I’m running out of ideas of what to to say in these intros. Maybe talk about other parts of my week besides games? Well, MoviePass sadly seems to be dying, or at least drastically changing their service. Considering how rarely I saw movies in the theater before I joined, I’m really going to miss it. With my membership, I’ve seen movies like Sorry to Bother You, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and so many others. But I always knew it was too good a deal to last. At least there’s still Netflix, right? Anyway, let’s talk about the games I played this past week!

holedown

I had a rough start with holedown, as it deleted my progress after I was already lamenting all the grinding. But I liked the gameplay enough to restart (thanks to some advice from the developer on how to prevent another wipe) and completed the game to unlock the endless mode. I sunk so much time into this game over the last week and I still keep going back to it when I’m supposed to be playing other games. Rather than repeat myself, though, I’ll let you read my lengthy review instead.

The Eyes of Ara

I know I’ve been talking a lot about The Eyes of Ara for a while now, but I finally finished the game and my walkthrough, as well as my review. Besides a frustrating puzzle near the end that required knowledge I didn’t have, I enjoyed the game immensely. It was one of the best 3D adventure and exploration games I’ve played and most of the puzzles were logical and satisfying to solve. I look forward to the solo developer’s next game, however long it takes to get here. Again, I wrote a proper review for this, so I’ll let you read that instead of rehashing everything.

Super Starfish

I was looking forward to Protostar’s high score chaser, Super Starfish, ever since I saw it in the list of games available for pre-order. It just looked so darned pretty. Now that it’s out, I’ve spent some time with it and the graphics and animations are even nicer than I imagined. You play as a fish that swims through the cosmos, picking up stars and avoiding obstacles like planets and asteroids. It also seems pretty friendly on the IAP side of things, as I haven’t seen any way to buy your way ahead, even by watching an ad. It may be that I just haven’t gotten there yet, but if not, they did free-to-play the right way. The only problem I have with it is that it’s too hard for me! You’re scored on the stars you pick up, not the distance you fly. And it can be dastardly difficult to pick up stars while dodging obstacles. I’m hoping they’ll rebalance it a bit, but even if they don’t, it’s a game that’s definitely worth checking out.

Hello Neighbor

I’ve not been having a great time with tinyBuild’s Hello Neighbor, but people seem to enjoy watching me suffer, so go ahead and watch my videos below. I also wrote up some impressions based on my experience here. It’s free to try, but the game seems so nonsensical that I never even hit the paywall. The controls also leave something to be desired, but they have gotten some improvements. I won’t be sticking with this one, but feel free to try it yourself!

Hidden my game by mom 3

I mentioned Hidden my game by mom 3 last week when I started my walkthrough for it. I finally finished it and made a video as well. Something that’s easy to miss is the area with extra stages, so make sure to look for those! Overall, it was a nice addition to the series and I look forward to the next one!

Waking Violet

I heard about Waking Violet not too long ago but didn’t realize it was coming to iOS. That was a nice surprise, especially since I appreciate a good Sokoban puzzler. The game has you guiding Violet through dreamlike maps where she has to push boxes around to get to the exit. Ghosts sometimes chase her and will kill her if they touch her. But death is never the end, as the game has a very welcome undo button. So you can experiment as much as you want and make as many mistakes as you need. A nice addition to the genre is magic. You can pick up bottles of mana and then use it to either burn up boxes in your way or walk on water for a short while. There are other spells you learn, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. Overall, I like the game so far except for the controls. Instead of swiping to move in a direction, you have a directional pad in the lower left corner. It makes things a bit clunky. On top of that, it takes two steps for Violet to move one square on the grid and she can only push boxes if she’s in the right position. It leads to a lot of adjusting, which makes the game feel more tedious than it should. I’ve been told that the half-steps are necessary for later puzzles, but the developer is considering alternate controls. Hopefully I can get past the part I’m stuck on and se what else the game has to offer. Overall, it seems like a solid puzzler that just requires some patience to deal with the controls. You can watch my video below to see if it’s something you might like.

Pocket City

I don’t know why I keep thinking there might be a city building and management game that will appeal to me, but a premium one without any in-app purchases or other nonsense definitely had a better chance at grabbing me than all the free-to-play junk out there. But after spending an hour building a city, and then scrapping that to build a new one, it just felt like a waste of time to me. There doesn’t seem to be that much challenge yet. As long as you wait long enough for money to accumulate, it doesn’t seem like you should run into trouble. I did find that trying to keep the industrial zone separate from the residential areas made things a bit more difficult, but again it was just a matter of waiting. I’m not even sure what the wait for money adds to the game. There is a sandbox mode, though, that starts you off with 99,000 dollars, so maybe I should give that a try. But I think this genre just isn’t for me. If you do like city-building games and want one that’s pretty chill and also premium, this might be what you need. You can also check out my video below. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the sound to record, though.

Candleman: Walk with Shadows

I had my frustrations with the first six chapters of the iOS port of Candleman, but it was breathtaking enough and impressive enough that I stuck with it to the end. I also reviewed it here. This past week, the developers added three more chapters for free and I finally had a chance to try it. The first new chapter gave me some trouble but I managed to get through it with only a few candles missing. The next chapter is a different story, though. The mechanics are interesting, as you have a reflection that moves with you. There are also shadows you can walk on, but they disappear if you light up. The real tricky part comes when ghosts start attacking you and the only way to keep them at bay is to light your flame. But lighting your flame makes you fall. It’s a tricky situation made worse by shadow spikes that kill you if you touch them. It seems difficult enough with a physical controller, but with touch controls I just couldn’t do it. I gave up on the second level of Chapter 8. I would love to finish the game, but that level of difficulty and precision in a platformer just isn’t fun for me. Still, if you have the game, definitely give the new content a try. There’s also now a Lite version available if you want to see how you like the game before buying it.

Escape from Chernobyl

Escape from Chernobyl is an upcoming first-person survival game by Atypical Games, the folks behind Radiation Island and Radiation City. It boasts an accurate recreation of Chernobyl but with zombies. While this isn’t my typical genre, I did enjoy my time spent with it. I thought the radiation poisoning added an interesting twist, though it was a bit forgiving about it. Death also doesn’t seem too bad, as you don’t have to start from scratch. You just get set back a tiny bit. The only real problems for me were that I was having trouble sometimes following the compass and the goal point. That and I got some bad motion sickness from it that I spent about an hour or so recovering from. I know I get motion sickness from some first-person games, but since it’s not always, I try to give games a chance. Unfortunately, this is one of those times my stomach did not get along with the game. But if you liked the developer’s other games, this seems like a solid addition. You can play it yourself on August 9th and watch my video below to see it in action.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing this past week! There are a whole lot of games I’m looking forward to in August, so make sure to check back here and see what I’ve been playing. And be sure to let me know what games you’ve been enjoying, as well! Either way, I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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