My Week Unwrapped: November 7, 2018 – Persephone, Into the Dark: Narakan, see/saw, Spitkiss, Pangolin’s Puzzle, Help! I’m Haunted!, Alphaputt and More

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Hi everyone, and welcome back for another juicy installment of My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. If you’re one of the five people who follow these roundups, you may have noticed I’m a day late. That’s because I was too busy both playing all the new releases this week, as well as watching news about the election. But there are a ton of games to cover today, so I’m sure you’ll be able to forgive my tardiness. So let’s get to it before this ends up getting pushed off yet another day!

Persephone

I knew very little about Persephone before I tried it, but I loved the artwork and the idea of using death as a puzzle mechanic. It ended up blowing me away in every way, and will most likely be on my GOTY list. I only wish it was longer, as I was sad when I finished it. Anyway, I have an in-depth review here and a walkthrough guide here, so I’ll let you read those instead of repeating myself here. But this is definitely one that puzzle fans should not miss.

Into the Dark: Narakan

I was looking forward to Into the Dark : Narakan for quite some time, as it looked like the perfect game to play in bits and pieces either before bed or between other games. Something to keep on my device forever and open it up here and there. It certainly seemed that way at first, and I did enjoy it for a while. But things don’t change enough from early game to late game, and I started to get bored. On top of that, I encountered game-breaking bugs that erased my progress before I could finish the game. You can read my full review here, but in its current state, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Spitkiss

I’ve only played through the first of five chapters, and the second chapter of Spitkiss is already giving me trouble. But I absolutely love the whole presentation, and the game itself is pretty darn fun, too. It’s a platformer designed around touchscreens, so you’re slingshotting spit around obstacles from one person to another. I need to spend more time with it before I make my verdict, but it seems highly polished so far. It’s also only $1.99, so if you think it looks like your cup of tea, just grab it. You can also watch my video below to see what it’s like.

see/saw

If there’s one thing you can say about Philipp Stollenmayer, aka Kamibox, it’s that his games are never boring. From throwing bacon on everyday items, to combining letters and physics, to climbing over your own corpses to get to the exit, each game he makes is completely bonkers. So when I saw the trailer for his latest, see/saw, I knew I had to play it even if I ragequit early on. It’s a platformer where you control the environment, not your character. You basically tilt the environment left or right to make him run in that direction. Or, if he dies, you use it to tilt his body in that direction. Because, once again, death doesn’t mean the end. It’s a very unique concept, and I was having fun with it until I got hopelessly stuck. I’ll likely go back to it and try to pass the levels I’m stuck on. But until then, you can watch me suffer in my video below. Also, let me know if you also hear the Exorcist theme song!

Pangolin’s Puzzle

I don’t know where to begin with Pangolin’s Puzzle. It seems to be a game aimed at children, with its storybook-like drawings and cutesy dialogue. The puzzles themselves rely on reading clues to determine where to place each piece in relation to each other. I had a fairly easy time at first, but then I got stuck on a puzzle where the hints just didn’t seem clear enough to me. I even got some extra hints, thanks to a promo code the developers provided for unlimited hints. I still couldn’t figure it out. I may feel silly once I do, but until then I can’t really say much about the puzzles in the game. Story-wise, it’s also a bit odd. You follow a young pangolin and her mother, as they’re kidnapped by poachers. The really strange part is that the poachers are all extremely stereotypical exaggerations of a black guy, a Middle Easterner, and a Chinese man. They look like Scar from The Lion King in human form, Jafar from Aladdin, and the last one I have no idea, but he looks ridiculous. The clincher is that the hero of the story is a white dude who is completely unexaggerated. This seems like too much of a coincidence to not be racist. I guess I’ll be able to tell more if I ever get past the puzzle I’m stuck on. But at the moment, I’m puzzled by more than just the puzzles. You can watch my video below if you want to see what I mean.

Alphaputt

Admittedly, I’m not very good at most golf games. But Sennep’s Alphaputt looked too compelling to skip. The basic idea is that you play through the twenty-six letters of the alphabet as mini golf courses. Each one has a different theme and different obstacles to deal with. For instance, if you spell out my name, L is a rollercoaster, or loop; I is ice cream; S is sushi; and A is an airport. In the first one, you have to avoid the rollercoaster while also picking up enough speed to get your ball around the loop. In the next one, sprinkles threaten to knock your ball off course. And in the next, you have to deal with the sushi belt going round and round. And last, you have to avoid the planes getting ready for takeoff. It’s a really stylish take on the genre. I want to spend more time with it, but I encountered some audio bugs that made it hard to play and ended up taking a break in favor of other games. But check out my video below to see what it’s like. I’ll probably have more about it over the next week.

Help! I’m Haunted!

I was sent a code around Halloween for the pixel art run ‘n gun, Help! I’m Haunted!, so I gave it a try. I had a difficult time with it, though. Presumably, it’s inspired by Kero Blaster and copied its controls. Since I never played that, the controls felt awkward to me. Basically, you have your left/right arrow buttons on the left and a jump button on the right. But there’s also a controller for your gun to the left of the jump button. You basically drag it either left, right or up and your gun continuously shoots in that direction. The problem is, it felt really awkward to me using me right then to both jump and change the gun’s direction. I kept wanting to change the direction of the gun by simply moving in that direction, and when it didn’t happen I just got annoyed with the game. If you liked Kero Blaster, I guess this game is for you. But it’s definitely not for me.

Sometimes You Die

I mentioned Philipp Stollenmayer’s new game above, but this week I also decided to finally give Sometimes You Die a try. Both games are platformers that use death as a mechanic, so I figured it would be good to be able to compare the two, as well as Persephone. I was actually enjoying it for a while despite its controls being unresponsive at times. I finally ragequit when it demanded perfection that I couldn’t provide. Maybe one day I’ll go back to, though. It does have a unique way of telling a story, as well as providing game design critique. If you haven’t played it yet, I do think it’s worth trying even if you get stuck like I did.

Hidden Folks

One of my favorite games of all time, Hidden Folks, recently got some DLC named The Beach, which you can access through a $1.99 IAP. For me it was a no-brainer, as I’ve loved all the content provided so far, and I all the previous updates were generously free. I was not disappointed in the Beach areas, as there are pirates, hidden treasure, mermaids, crabs, sand castles, and even a kraken! I loved solving all the puzzles to find every last item, even the super sneaky inflatable horse. If you liked the rest of Hidden Folks, just spend the $2 and play this new content. It’s simply joyful! I also have a walkthrough guide here if you need help finding any of the items.

Bunnymare: Circus Escape

Bunnymare has a bit of a sinister idea behind it. There are these poor little bunnies trapped in a circus, being forced to do tricks against their will. I’m a little confused about the story, something to do with a hat that’s a portal to a happier place. But the gist of the game is that you need to lead bunnies up and down platforms, picking up pieces of candy and fruit. The catch is that the bunny runs automatically and you can direct him where you want to go by manipulating the environment. There are also mini games that allow you to earn currency, though I haven’t seen anything to spend them on yet. I also haven’t seen any ads yet despite it being a free game. So it seems very generous. That said, it’s not quite my kind of game, as I prefer my puzzle games more relaxed. But I would definitely recommend downloading it if you’re looking for something that’s free and not too pushy with its monetization or ads.

Barbearian

Yes, I’m still working my way through Barbearian. This week, I defeated a sort of secret boss and unlocked the Sheepinator. I also completed all the Master Classes except for two that I’m still working on. They’re pretty difficult, though, so I may end up lowering the difficulty, at least one device to see if it helps me get past the boss that’s giving me trouble. Either way, I hope to write a review once this November craziness dies down a bit!

Teslagrad

Teslagrad is a puzzle platformer that released on PC a few years ago and finally made its way to iOS today. It features stunning hand-drawn artwork and puzzles that make use of magnets. I’m confused about the story, but for whatever reason, you’re running and running and running until you discover this glove that can manipulate the magnetic pull of certain objects, mainly platforms. You have two buttons, one red and one blue. Depending on the one you use when you punch certain platforms, it will either get pulled down or fly up. You need to use these gloves to help you traverse dangerous areas full of electricity and other dangers. I’m currently stuck on the first boss, named Fernus, as there’s a lot of fire trying to toast me (successfully). Thankfully, the game is generous with checkpoints and I can retry that boss battle whenever I feel like it, without having to backtrack. Hopefully I can figure it out, as there’s a lot to like in this game and I’m curious to see where it goes, even if I’m not quite sure where I’m running to. You can watch my gameplay video below to see what it’s like.

Tsuki Adventure

Tsuki Adventure is an idle game from the masters of all things cute, Hyperbeard. It doesn’t release until next week, but they were kind enough to send me the game a bit early. As usual, it featured adorable animals, though this time it’s a little toned down. Everything’s in muted colors and reminds me of some of the storybooks I read as a kid, like Country Mouse and City Mouse. Basically, it starts with this little rabbit named Tsuki in a horrible office job. He inherits his grandfather’s carrot farm and decides to move out to the country. I really do love the art style. I just wish there was more to do. Carrots take two hours to grow, so there’s really no point in checking in more often than that. And when you do, there will only be maybe a couple of other things you can do, like eat a bowl of ramen or buy a rubber ducky. Since there’s so little to do, I think I’m likely to just forget about the game eventually. But if you don’t mind a game that you check in on once in a while, Tsuki Adventure is worth downloading when it releases November 15th.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing this past week! I’m pretty overwhelmed by the sheer number of notable games releasing this month. It’s not even letting up, as there are more coming next week. Hopefully my blurbs and videos will help you decide which games are worth your time and money. If you do pick any up, make sure to tell me about them in the comments section. And I’ll see you next week for more of My Week Unwrapped!

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