Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last week. As 2018 winds down, I’m scrambling to get my Game of the Year list done, as well as finishing up any reviews I’ve been meaning to write. But developers won’t take a break, so this week has also brought with it some surprise releases, with more coming! And if you’ve been trying to save some money by waiting for sales, there’s a ton of games that dropped in price for the holidays. I’ve compiled a list here, which I’ll be updating as new sales pop up. I’ve even played some of the discounted games for the first time this week, so my impressions below might help you decide whether to buy them. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to it!
I waited so long for Gone Home to come to iOS. Even though I had bought it on my PC and never played it, I eagerly grabbed it again on my iPad. I’d been wanting to play it on there so badly and I didn’t think it would ever happen. I know this isn’t a game for everyone, but I finished it a few days ago and am still thinking about it. The story and setting really resonated with me. I had some suggestions in my review on how to improve the controls, but they work pretty well even as is. If iOS is your preferred platform to game on, I highly recommend picking it up on there. It’s also cheaper than any other platform. I also recorded my whole playthrough here if you want to see more videos before purchasing.
I somehow missed the news that Fire Maple Games was working on a new point-and-click adventure, so when it released this week, it was quite a surprise for me. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Thickety Creek so far but haven’t finished it yet. The Lost City is my favorite game of theirs, due to the use of the four seasons. This one doesn’t have anything like that, but I’m still enjoying it. The artwork is great, as usual, and it’s full of surprises. I’ll likely have more impressions once I finish it, but until then, you can use my walkthrough guide if you get stuck.
E.V.A.L is a clever auto-runner in which you need to change your character’s shape and color to match doors before you go through them. There are two control schemes, and I made the poor choice of starting with buttons, which basically requires you to memorize the location of six different buttons so you can locate and tap them in a moment’s notice. I almost gave up on the game after that, but then I tried the touch controls, which has you drawing shapes in different sections of the screen. The screen is split up into three colors, so depending on where you draw the shape, that’s the color you’ll turn into. It’s much easier to act quickly using that control scheme, and it’s just more fun in general. The game is also pretty good at recognizing the shapes even when they’re sloppy. There was only one instance where it mistook my shape for something else. The game is free to try, so definitely grab it and give it a go.
If you like crossword puzzles, you should definitely give Crossgrams a try. It reminds me a bit of Typeshift, since you’re given the letters and need to move them around to form words. Instead of moving letters up and down, you’re moving them side-to-side. And you have to make all the words at once instead of looking for one at a time. I’m most impressed with the fact that there are no ads and that hints are completely free. You also get a few free puzzle packs, along with the dailies. You just pay for extra puzzle packs. So there’s really no reason not to give it a try.
Triangul8 is a new game from the makers of Tiny Bubbles, one of my favorite games to release this year. This one is very different, as it’s a multiplayer board game of sorts, which you’re meant to play in the same device as a friend. I didn’t try playing against a friend yet, so I can’t speak for how much fun that is. But the game does include an AI you can play against, and I spent some time learning the ropes that way. It is an interesting concept. You place triangles down on the board, with the goal being to make a bigger triangle that encompasses the red triangle. So you need to both plan out how to complete a triangle yourself while making sure to block any triangles your opponent might make. It requires keeping an eagle eye on the board, as it’s very easy to miss that your opponent is one move away from winning. I do like the overall idea, but I’m afraid playing against an AI feels like it’s lacking something. More specifically, there’s no score, no reward for winning or penalty for losing. There are skins to unlock, but you don’t earn them through play. It would be nice to have some incentive for playing, because right now winning and losing don’t feel like they mean much. Still, it’s free to play with an IAP to remove ads, so give it try. Maybe you even have friends to play it with.
My only complaint about Golf Peaks when it released not too long ago was that it was on the short side. When I completed all the puzzles, I was sad and wanted more. Well, the developer listened and updated it with another twelve levels. There are no new mechanics, but these puzzles are pretty devious. It took me a while just to solve the first one! If you haven’t played Golf Peaks yet, I highly recommend it. And if you need help on any of the new levels, try my walkthrough guide.
Pizza the Pie
Pizza the Pie has both a clever name and a clever concept. I was enjoying it for a while, even though I prefer more relaxed puzzle games. This one isn’t too fast-paced at least not yet, so I’ve been able to manage without getting frustrated. The only problem is the randomization component. Basically, you have a pizza pie without any toppings on it. You need to construct individual slices of three ingredients each, based on what the customer orders. So a slice might be mushroom, onion and pepper. Or two slices of pineapple and some ham. The meat-lover’s slice would have bacon, pepperoni and ham. The ingredients drop from the top and you spin the pizza to get them to land where you need it. It’s a neat idea, but the problem is there’s a star system that’s too reliant on luck. For instance, you may need to complete all the slices in under 40 moves to get three stars, but the game didn’t give you the right ingredients to make that happen. There’s also an endless mode, and I found luck was a problem there, too. Sometimes I had no choice but to mess up some slices, and the game didn’t give me enough hot peppers to remove ingredients I didn’t need. A game like this can only work if the player stands a chance. Otherwise it’s just imbalance and unfair. The game was updated recently and it was supposed to have taken this into account, but I still ran into the same issues. So at this moment, I don’t know that I would recommend the game.
The TREASURE – Escape Game –
I’ve only played a bit of this new room escape game by Mani Morishita. It seems pretty tricky and I’m stuck at the moment, but I started a walkthrough guide here. The game is free banner ads, but I think the pop-up ads are only opt-in for hints. So if you’re looking for a new room escape game and don’t want to spend any money, give it a try.
Marching Order only released a week or two ago, and I almost bought it last week. I wasn’t sure if it was for kids or adults, though, so I passed on it. Then it went on sale this week and I figured for a buck I’d give it a try. It’s a cute logic puzzler, where you’re given clues and then need to put the animals in the right order. You have a love limit to make it trickier. I like the overall idea, but I find the high score chasing aspect a little strange. You want to try and go as long as possible without messing up. But when you restart, you can start with 3, 4, 5 or more animals. If you’re having an easy time of it, you may want to start with a bigger number. But you won’t get any bonus for it, as far as I can tell. So if you want a high score, it makes more sense to start with only three animals. I’m also disappointed that the music and sound effects are tied to the same toggle in settings. I got annoyed with the music, but there’s no way to shut the music and keep the sound effects. So I’m forced to play the game in silence, which is not ideal. Anyway, check out my gameplay video below to see if it’s something you’d be interested in.
Bury me, my Love
Bury me, my Love has been out for a while now, but I didn’t grab it until it went on sale this week. Like A Normal Lost Phone by the same publisher, it takes place through text messages. What makes it unique, though, is that you’re trying to help a refugee friend smuggle herself into the UK. I’ve only played about a half hour so far, so I want to reserve judgement until I get deeper in. I do appreciate that the game allows you to play in “fast mode” if you don’t want to play in real time. It means I can play in half hour chunks instead of five minutes at a time. I’ll likely play more over the next few days and have more impressions next week.
Spirit Roots isn’t releasing until January, but I got a copy ahead of time and decided to give it a try. I started on my iPad, but the fixed on-screen buttons made it hard to play. It’s a platformer, and my thumb would often land in the wrong place because the screen is so big. I tried starting over on my iPhone, but it keeps freezing on there in the same spot every time. So at the moment, I can’t really say much, hopefully these issues will be resolved by the time of release.
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week! I’m going to go pass out now, but remember to check in on the Christmas sales list for any games you’ve been wanting to grab. I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped and hopefully my Game of the Year list!