The Company Game, Returner Zhero, BestLuck, SHI•RO, Tapioca Rider, Chaos Reborn: Adventures, Earth Impact, Stranger Cases, Valleys Between, Hungry Dragon, Meteorfall, Adventure Escape
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 I skipped last week’s. That’s because I wanted to get away from the Thursday schedule I had gotten stuck on. So now we should be back on our regular Tuesday schedule, barring any issues. I also want to take a moment to remember 9/11. I can’t believe it was seventeen years ago already. I wish the world was a better place today. So on that somber note, let’s get to the games.
The Company Game
I’ve mentioned The Company Game several times over the last month or so, and it’s finally out so everyone can play it! If you pre-ordered it, you got a solid twenty-five puzzles for just a buck. If you didn’t, you can still buy it for $1.99, and that price includes the two future updates that are planned. My only real gripe with the game is that it’s not finished yet, as I really wanted to know what this Company is up to and what they’re discussing in their secret meeting. There’s a lot going on that isn’t explained yet, and I didn’t expect that going in. Still, the game so far has been enjoyable and I’m looking forward to playing the rest whenever it comes. I’m still super impressed that this was made by a 14-year-old developer and I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with. Since I wrote a full review already, I’ll just stop here and let you read that. I also have a step-by-step guide here and some gameplay video below. But it shows you how to solve the first twelve levels, so SPOILER warning!
I was blown away by the visuals in last year’s puzzle adventure in space, Returner 77. So when I heard they were releasing a sequel, I was excited to see where they’d take the series. That game, called Returner Zhero, released this past week and once again, the graphics are the most impressive part of it. While I did enjoy my time with it, a number of issues hampered that enjoyment. But again, I have an in-depth review, so I’ll send you there instead of rehashing my thoughts here. I also have a step-by-step walkthrough guide if you need help with any of the puzzles.
I had never heard of the atmospheric puzzle adventure, BestLuck, before its release, but it looked right up my alley, so I was eager to try it. The game drops you in with no instructions, and you’re meant to just tinker around and figure things out on your own. You start off in your bedroom, very tired and wanted to go to sleep. But when you try to get into bed, everything glitches out and you’re transported to an eerie forest, with a ghostly woman guiding your way. I don’t want to spoil the story, but it’s an emotional one told through images without any dialogue or any other words. Each puzzle consists of a number of doors you need to figure out how to open. While it’s not a long game, I found the puzzles to be quite clever and the story was moving. My only real complaint with the game is its controls, especially on a bigger screen like an iPad. The joystick could use a little work. But there’s only one puzzle that’s on a timer and it’s a generous timer, so the controls are pretty forgivable. If you don’t mind its short length and slightly awkward controls, I think it’s very worth playing. I love these kinds of short narrative games that try and do something different. Even if it’s not perfect, it’s easy to recommend. While I haven’t written a proper review, I do have a walkthrough and some gameplay video below.
I only heard of and started playing SHI•RO a couple of days before release, so I haven’t finished the game yet or formed a complete opinion of it. It’s a very stylish puzzler, with the main gimmick being that you can tilt your device to see the gold and silver surfaces shimmer in the light. It’s a nice touch, and one that works well with the aesthetic, since it’s all simple shapes on a black background. The gameplay itself is a little hard to explain, but I’ll try my best. You need to drag rain drops from one moon to another, collecting them all into one moon and then dragging them over to the mountain. The catch is, only smaller amounts or equal amounts of drops can be added to another moon. And sometimes you have limited paths in which you can do it. Some of the puzzles have definitely challenged me, but the difficulty progression hasn’t been linear. I think I’m about halfway through the game, so if I complete it by next week, I’ll make sure to update you with my thoughts. At the moment, it’s not grabbing me as much as I would like, but I hesitate to write it off without playing more first. You can also watch some gameplay video I made below if you want to see what it’s like.
Aaron Steed is the developer who brought us one of my favorite match-three games this year, called Six Match. So when he released a new game, I was happy to try it out, even though it’s a very different genre. Tapioca Rider has simple controls — tap and hold left to move forward, and tap right to jump. You basically drive a dune buggy across the desert, avoiding flipping onto your back or falling into a hole. I believe there’s supposed to be nearly endless levels, inspired by Desert Golfing. While it’s true that it isn’t really my kind of game, I can see where the appeal would be for others, and I do think there’s an audience for it out there. So watch my gameplay video below and see if it looks like something you’d enjoy.
Chaos Reborn: Adventures
I’ve only spent a little time so far with Chaos Reborn: Adventures, the fantasy version of X-COM. In fact, in the half hour I played, I only got through the first part of the tutorial, as the second part already started to give me trouble. It seems like a very time-consuming game, especially if you don’t have a knack for it. So I’m not sure yet how much I’ll persist and try to get better. But you can see my gameplay video below if you’re interested. It seems to be a well-made port that translates well to a touchscreen, though I’d be concerned that an iPhone would be too small to see everything. I’ve only played on my iPad so far. Anyway, check it out and I’ll be sure to update you if I get any further.
I didn’t really know anything about Nicolas Schulz’ Earth Impact before I bought it. I just saw that it somehow climbed its way to number five in the top paid App Store charts, and I was curious to see why. It turns out it’s a puzzler in which, god knows why, you’re trying to wipe out the human race with asteroids. You’re basically shown a section of the planet and you have to choose where to drop each asteroid to wipe out the most people. You’re limited to the number of asteroids you have, but they grow in size with each one. You usually have to get the population under a certain percentage, and if you fail you have to start over. I didn’t find it terribly exciting, even if the views of the earth were fairly impressive. I couldn’t get a good handle on the mechanics, as I’d often think I chose the most congested areas, yet I’d still come up short. I don’t think I’ll continue with it, but feel free to check out my gameplay video to see if it’s something you’d enjoy.
Not much to report here. I made a video for the first eight levels of Stranger Cases and unlocked the rest to continue my walkthrough.
I was really enjoying Hungry Dragon for a while and even started a guide. But the grind for gold to unlock new dragons eventually became too much for me. You need to unlock several medium dragons before you can get a large dragon, and they each cost so much gold that you’ll have to play over and over and over to collect enough. It got too repetitive and I just couldn’t do it anymore. It’s a shame, because I really did like the game for a while and would have gladly paid a few bucks to get rid of all the free-to-play nonsense. But I will never spend real cash on currency or in-game items, so that’s it for me. But you can see some of my gameplay videos below.
Meteorfall is one of my favorite games that released this year, and it just keeps getting better and better. The latest content update adds demons and a sort of New Game+ mode for those who want more of a challenge. There’s no release date set, but it should be coming pretty soon. I wrote more about it here and made a couple of videos to show it off. It’s practically like a new game and I highly recommend checking it out when it’s available to everyone.
And last but not least, a new Adventure Escape game is releasing in a few days and I sat down with the founder of Haiku Games, Andrew Ow, to pick his brain about a few things. You can read that here and of course I’ll be making a walkthrough for the game once it’s out.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to the last week and a half. There are some big releases coming next week as well, like Cube Escape: Paradox and Where Shadows Slumber. So September looks to be a very busy month for iOS games. As I mentioned before, though, my site is having technical issues at the moment that we can’t pin down. It means my ad revenue is lower and sometimes I even have to shut them off completely as we test things. I hate begging, but if you value what I do and can spare even a dollar, it would help so much. And I really appreciate all the donations I’ve gotten so far. You have no idea how what it means when people are willing to give up some of their hard earned money so I can continue doing what I do. Here’s my Patreon link again in case anyone finds a few quarters under their couch cushion that they don’t need. Thanks for reading this far and I’ll see you next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!
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