Hi everyone, and welcome back to another installment of my weekly roundup called My Week Unwrapped. Following last week’s insanity, this week is fairly quiet. But there are still some fantastic games to discuss. So I’ll cut this intro short and get right to it!
I always like the idea of a golf video game more than I end up liking it in practice. I often find them frustrating and relying too heavily on getting that perfect angle for a shot. So when I saw Golf Peaks, a puzzle game with a golf theme, I knew this was the gold game for me. It turns out I was right and it’s a quality puzzler full of great ideas. I couldn’t put it down until I finished, which was sadly sooner than I’d wanted. That’s actually my only complaint about Golf Peaks — that it isn’t longer. But I hear the developer has a content update planned, so I’m looking forward to that. I still think the game is very worth picking up in its current state. There are 72 levels with some acting as tutorials, but others offering a solid challenge. We’ve been blessed with a whole slew of premium, polished puzzle games this year, and this is definitely one that should be in every puzzle fan’s collection. If you need more convincing, you can read my full review here and I also have a complete walkthrough guide here.
SIMULACRA: Pipe Dreams
I’m a big fan of games that simulate a smartphone, complete with people to text message, fake Twitter and Facebook apps, and all sorts of other apps. Last year’s SIMULACRA, by the same folks who made Sara is Missing, was one of the best of its kind. Combining humor with horror, it held my attention from beginning to end. I browsed through its Jabbr app and met other singles through Spark, all while trying to figure out what happened to Anna, whose phone I found. I had no idea a sequel was in the works, and then all of a sudden it was out this week. And it’s completely free! This time, you didn’t find someone else’s phone. You’re using your own phone to text your friend Teddy, who’s gotten addicted to a game called Flapee Bird. There’s so many layers to peel off here, with its commentary on free-to-play games, ads that felt like personal attacks the way they portray YouTubers, and all sorts of other references to mobile gaming. I was disappointed to get a real ad at one point when I thought there were only fake ads. But I think those are avoidable once you know what triggers them. Overall, I highly recommend this to just about anyone, but especially folks who play too many F2P games. This is really well-made game and it’ll take you on a ride you won’t see coming. I’m still working out the alternate endings and some Easter eggs, but you can find my walkthrough in progress here.
I hadn’t heard of Rogue Cards before, but it was on sale for $0.99 this week and looked like my kind of game, so I took the plunge. And since then, I’ve spent way too much time playing it. I keep getting pulled back in for another game. Basically, it’s inspired by Look Your Loot!, in which you navigate a dungeon made of cards. You swipe to move into a weapon card to pick it up, and then swipe to move at an enemy to attack. If your weapon has more power than he has health, the enemy will die and turn into a coin that you can then pick up. If you attack the enemy without a weapon equipped, you’ll instead have his health points deducted from your own. There are also potions, traps, treasure chests and other surprises to encounter. It’s a great one-handed game to play in bed. My only gripe is that it feels very grindy. I’m never sure if I’m unable to get a higher score because I didn’t invest enough coins into leveling up a character or a skill. There’s also a lot of characters to unlock, some through achieving a certain score in a dungeon, and others through coins. So it really does feel like there’s a lot to to spend the coins on. The grind may cause me to lose interest, but we’ll see. There’s also no GameCenter Leaderboards, and without a sense of other people’s scores, it’s hard to really gauge how I’m doing. Still, I think I’ve gotten more than enough entertainment for my $0.99.
I’ve actually had Black Paradox for several weeks now, despite it just releasing today. It’s a “fast-paced rogue-lite shoot ’em up” with 80’s-style pixel art and it feels great on a touchscreen due to its lack of onscreen buttons. You simply drag your left thumb around the screen to move your ship and press and hold your right thumb to shoot. Each time you play, the enemies and weapons will be randomized, offering a unique experience. The only problem for me is that I’m terrible at it and haven’t even beaten the second of seven bosses. Unfortunately, death means starting back at the beginning, since this is a rogue-lite. You can use your hard-earned currency to purchase chips that work as upgrades. The problem is, they offer very small upgrades and after each game you’ll only have a choice between two random chips. You also can only install two on your ship unless you buy more slots (all with in-game currency, thankfully! This is a premium game!). I think if I could either pick up after the previous boss or have more significant upgrades, I might feel like I stand a chance. But right now, I’ve failed too many times to have much hope. Still, if you’re better at these games than I am, there’s a lot to like here and you should have a good time with it.
Paintiles is a new puzzle game where you, well, paint tiles. In each level, you have a limited number of moves to make all the tiles disappear. You do this by changing the color of one of them so that it matches the color of the tiles near it. You only need to match two tiles, but the trick is that you have to make a match with your move. You can’t just expect the tiles to clear because there’s two or more of the same color touching. Things also get more interesting as dissolving ground and bombs are added. Overall, it seems to be a pretty decent game. I’m just having a hard time staying interested due to its very plain presentation and its lack of an undo button. It feels like the kind of game that would benefit from the trial-and-error that an undo button allows, and without it I’m finding it a bit tedious. Still, I suggest checking out my gameplay video below to decide for yourself if it looks like something you’d be interested in.
A Mortician’s Tale
Back when it released on PC, I thought that A Mortician’s Tale looked like a great fit for mobile. And now, here we are and it’s releasing on November 22nd on iOS! I was lucky enough to get the game a bit early and so far I’m very impressed. This is not a game for people who care about gameplay, but if you’re looking for a moving narrative experience with excellent writing that’s both emotional and informative, you won’t be disappointed. I’ll have more to say about it next week after I finish it, but for now you can check out my gameplay videos below to see what it’s like.
Planescape: Torment is another game that I grabbed on sale recently. I’d never played any of the classic Beamdog games and I’d heard a lot of praise for this one, so I thought I’d give it a chance. I actually really like the dialogue, though I was sad it wasn’t completely voice acted. The first few lines that were really sucked me in. But I think I’m too spoiled these days to deal with a game with so many menus. I zoned out during the tutorial so I sped through it, just to suffer for it later by spending fifteen minutes locating the weapon I picked up. I then spent another fifteen minutes trying to find the door that my key would unlock. The rest of my short time playing was spent running around killing things pretty aimlessly. Maybe if I didn’t have 1000 other games vying for my attention I’d give this one a chance, but as is I don’t see it happening.
And that brings us to Hatoful Boyfriend, the pigeon dating simulator. I wasn’t convinced it was for me back when it released, but I took a chance when it went on sale a few weeks back. I finally gave it a try, hoping it would be all sorts of ridiculous fun. Instead, I was bored from the moment I started playing until I finished my first playthrough that lasted about a half hour. There were moments that stood out and made me think there might be something worthwhile under all this useless dialogue. But I was falling asleep while playing. I guess it’s just not my kind of humor. I had the same problem with Purrfect Date, where I was expected it to be outrageously silly and instead I found it dull. Maybe I just don’t like dating simulators. In any case, I’m glad I finally tried it so I could stop wondering what I was missing.
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week, besides the Fidel dailies and more Six Match. I’m also playing some games releasing later this week and next week that I can’t talk about. But wow has November been a busy month! Let me know what you’ve been playing in the comments section and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!