Adventure Escape: Dark Ruins, Cube Escape: Paradox, Where Shadows Slumber, Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Dungeon Princess, Monster Hunter Stories, Meteorfall
Hi everyone and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I talk about all the games I’ve been playing over the past seven days. Some of you may have noticed that I skipped last week. That was only because I spent most of that week making a walkthrough for one game, so it seemed silly to write a post just for that. So instead, I’ll be covering the last two weeks of games today. There have been some pretty big releases, so this installment is more about quality than quantity. So without further ado, I bring you My Week Unwrapped!
Adventure Escape: Dark Ruins
Haiku Games have released fifteen(!) Adventure Escape games by now, with the latest one being Dark Ruins, a sequel to Hidden Ruins, where we were introduced to archaeologist Professor Burns and his student, television star Rachel. This new game is both darker and funnier than the first one, and I really enjoyed the story. There were some great lines, and a few of them even made me actually laugh out loud. Once again, the game is completely free without any ads to interrupt your play. You can buy stars for hints, but the developer is always generous with those as well, so you can earn plenty just by playing. It’s a very fair model, and if you feel like supporting the developers, you can throw them a few bucks. I also have a step-by-step walkthrough guide if you get stuck and a short interview with the founder of the company, Andrew Ow. And if you haven’t played the previous games, I collected all my walkthroughs here.
Cube Escape: Paradox
Speaking of fair developers, Rusty Lake is back with another Cube Escape game. This one is by far their biggest endeavor, consisting of two large chapters as well as hidden achievements and alternate endings to look for. But perhaps the most impressive part is that the game is intertwined with a short live action movie they released on the same day. Both game and movie are named Paradox, and they follow the same story. The movie also has clues inside it that you use to unlock the achievements in the game. The game is much longer and of course has all the puzzles the movie is missing. But they both follow Detective Dale Vandermeer as he tries to understand what happened to Laura Vanderboom and why she haunts his memories. Aside from a couple of puzzles that were a little too obtuse, I found the game moved along at a steady pace. This may be my favorite game of theirs yet, and it also makes me want to revisit all the previous games so I can put all the story pieces together. If you haven’t played any Cube Escape games yet, they’re all free without ads. There are also three Rusty Lake games that do cost money. Paradox is the one outlier in that it’s Cube Escape game where the first half is free and the second half has to be unlocked win an IAP. But $1.99 is a very fair price for such a solid game. I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes adventure games, puzzles, or just surreal and macabre experiences. I also have a step-by-step guide here as well as walkthroughs for all the other games here.
Where Shadows Slumber
I had the demo for Where Shadows Slumber on my devices for months, planning to play it, but never got to it. I loved the look of it, which is reminiscent of Monument Valley, but something else always came up and I never played it. Then all of a sudden, the full game was about to release and the developers sent me a code for it. Had I played the demo, I might have been more prepared for the violence in the game. Since I hadn’t, it came as a huge surprise, as you can see in my gameplay videos below. Having finished the game and ruminated on the story, I can’t say I’m satisfied with it. It definitely stood out and I’m unlikely to forget it anytime soon, but I was left with more questions than answers. It’s also too violent to recommend to kids, so a large chunk of Monument Valley‘s audience is off-limits. That said, the puzzles do a lot of interesting things. Your character, named Obe, carries around a lantern that creates shadows that change the environment. The mechanics evolve through each of the seven chapters, keeping things fresh and always surprising. There were some bugs and glitches and some puzzles that felt too closely inspired by Monument Valley, but overall I think it would be a great addition to any puzzle fan’s collection. You can read more about it in my review and if you get stuck, I have a partial walkthrough here.
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
I was excited when Life is Strange made its way over to iOS, as I had bought the first chapter on my PC but never got to it. I much rather play on my iPad. Unfortunately, the game didn’t grab me and I never got far. I also wasn’t a big fan of the controls. But the prequel, titled Before the Storm, released this week for free with a full game unlock inside, so I gave it a try. I actually like it more than the original game, except the controls seem even worse this time. I played through the free demo and am still deciding whether to spend the $11.99 on the full game, or even just to pay for one chapter to see if it holds my attention. If I play more, I’ll share more thoughts on it. But for now, I suggest just downloading and playing through the demo yourself to see if you like it.
I gave Dungeon Princess a try since I got a code to download it for free, but I didn’t really know much about it. It seems interesting enough, but I was bored to tears by the dialogue and the bad translations. Also, the buttons are really tiny on an iPhone, even though it’s iPhone-only and not optimized for iPad. I also didn’t like how you have to tap and hold the screen to skip dialogue instead of just tapping. It made everything a little more awkward than it needed to be. Anyway, you can watch my gameplay video below to see if it’s something you might like.
Monster Hunter Stories
Every time I see something about a Monster Hunter game, I think, “why can’t we just befriend the monsters instead of killing them?” Basically, like Pok╬ô├╢┬ú╬ô├«├ëmon but with bigger and more realistic monsters. When I see a giant dragon, I want to ride it, not kill it. So when I heard of Monster Hunter Stories releasing for the 3DS a while back, I was hoping for an eventual iOS release. It looked like exactly what I wanted. Well, today is that day. The game release on iOS, but for a pretty hefty price of $19.99. Thankfully, Capcom also included a free demo that allows you to play a big chunk of the game before deciding whether you want to buy the whole thing. You can even transfer your save file over so you don’t have to restart. The demo is so big that I played a full hour and twenty minutes and didn’t reach the end of it yet. I’ll likely do so, but I learned that I don’t really have patience these days for games that have endless amounts of meaningless dialogue. By the time I stopped playing, I wanted to hit the rhyming elder. I also was disappointed that you don’t really tame monsters like in Pok╬ô├╢┬ú╬ô├«├ëmon. You just steal their eggs and then hatch them so you can make them your mount. And then you hunt other monsters and use their skin and bones for crafting. So you steal an egg from its mother so you can basically hunt down the mother. Ehhhhhhh not really what I had in mind. I know a lot of people love this stuff, but between the overly cutesy dialogue and the somewhat repetitive gameplay, I don’t think I want to spend my time and money on this. The one thing that really did impress me, though, was the movie-like cutscenes. I really wanted to ride that black dragon that terrorized the village. If the whole game looked like that, I could probably get over any other hang ups I have with the game just to be able to witness those visuals. As is, though, I just don’t see it holding my attention enough to warrant spending the $20 on it. But you can watch my video below or play the demo yourself to make up your own mind about it.
I actually wrote about the Meteorfall update two weeks ago, but it’s finally available to everyone this week. I can’t stress enough how good this game is, and it’s just infinitely better with the Demon update. Muldorf is still my favorite character, and I beat all five levels of Hell with him, but I’m hoping to do the same with the others. Each character feels like a completely different experience. I can’t believe how far this game has come, and the developer has said this isn’t even the last content update! So go play it now, whether you’ve done so before or are new to the game.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to these past two weeks! I still want to make videos for the rest of Cube Escape: Paradox and get back to playing more of Barbearian, which I took a break from when a boss was giving me a hard time. And hopefully this week I’ll play more than a couple of games so there will be something to cover in the next My Week Unwrapped! Until then, make sure to tell me in the comments which games you’ve been playing and enjoying.