Hi everyone, and welcome to the first My Week Unwrapped of 2019! I skipped January 1st because I had just published my Game of the Year list and decided to combine the last two weeks into a single roundup instead. If you haven’t seen my GOTY list yet, I recommend checking it out, particularly if you like puzzle and adventure games. Otherwise, enjoy the first roundup of 2019! Here’s hoping the year will bring us some amazing iOS games!
Cat Lady – The Card Game
I don’t know why I didn’t buy Cat Lady – The Card Game sooner, as the name appealed to me as a cat lady myself. But the game was on sale for $0.99 over the holidays, so I grabbed it. While I think it would be more fun with friends, the three AI options are pretty robust, so I’m still enjoying it quite a bit. In fact, the hard AI usually either wins or comes close to it, so I feel like it puts up a good fight. There are also a ton of achievements for those who need something to work towards to keep them interested. I like that each game is self-contained and there’s no cards or any currency to grind for. It’s great for short bursts of play when you only have a few minutes to kill. And the artwork is charming. I even added it to my GOTY at the last moment. Rather than explain the rules to you, I suggest just watching my gameplay video, which includes the tutorial. And if you like it, just grab the game. It’s cheap!
Sheeping Around is another card game that’s great to kill a few minutes at a time. It’s releasing on January 17th and is up for pre-order if you’re into those. Basically, there are three sheep on the table and each player has to try and secure two of them to win. You have a deck of 50 cards that you can edit to fit your play style, though extra cards cost currency. I think the game is interesting, but I don’t know how long it will hold my attention. There’s a lot of grinding involved, as some cards are better than others. You need to level up to unlock the ability to buy more of the better cards, and you also have to earn enough gold for it — or buy more currency with cash. I would have had an easier time recommending the game if everyone just played with the same deck and you didn’t have to waste time and/or money to get better cards. The leveling aspect feels like it was wedged in to give the game more longevity (and obviously provide some extra revenue). But I’ll spend more time with it before declaring the verdict. If you want to see what it’s like, check out my video below. And I should have more to say closer to release.
If you’ve played any of the Hidden my game by mom room escape-like games, you know that Hap Inc. has a very strange sense of humor. The magician is a recurring character in those games, and apparently his name is Mr. Success. He also has his own spin-off now! It’s not a very difficult game, but it’s still amusing. Through its 35 levels, you’ll have to figure out what to tap or swipe at to solve the puzzles. There are three or four annoying ones that involve perfect timing, but otherwise it’s a relaxing game. It’s free with the occasional pop-up ad, and no way to pay to remove them. So you will need a little patience for that. If you get stuck, I made a full walkthrough guide here.
Ink, Mountains and Mystery
Ink, Mountains and Mystery is another completely free and gorgeous game by the makers of The Beautiful Dream. It takes place inside watercolor paintings, and and you learn about painting as well. The story follows a monk and a boy with a tail as they enter different paintings in order to help the people and creatures inside them. It’s a bit slow, so you do need some patience with it. The puzzles are also on the easy side. But it’s worth it for the visuals alone. And the story is moving at times, as well. I don’t have any videos for it yet, but I am working on a walkthrough here.
My Child Lebensborn
My Child Lebensborn is another game I grabbed during the holiday sales, as I was curious about it. It’s definitely a strange game. You adopt a child and then do things like feed them, tuck them into bed, give them advice, send them to school, go foraging with them. It’s kind of like you’re taking care of a pet, except it’s a child and things are more complicated. What I found hard to get used to was the way it was gamified. Each part of the day you have a limited number of time slots to perform different activities. So I once made the mistake of cooking in the morning and then there was no time for her to eat. She couldn’t even take something with her? It feels weird to me, and it’s a bit of a distraction. I think I’d be able to feel more of a connection with the child if it didn’t feel so much like a game. There’s something very unsettling about it, but maybe that’s the point. I just don’t see myself sticking with it to the end, because it started feeling more like busywork and less like I was raising a child. But if you want to see what it’s like, check out my gameplay video below.
Silent Abyss – fate of heroes
Silent Abyss is a card-based roguelike where you enter a dungeon with two characters — say a knight and a mage — and then play cards from each character until you run out of mana. Each turn, you earn more mana, and when you defeat a section of the dungeon, you earn new cards and even runes that can be slotted onto other cards to give you extra perks. It’s a pretty fun game, as things move at a brisk pace and there’s a lot of variety with the cards. It’s also fully premium, with the only IAPs being for extra character classes. The things that might keep me from playing long term are that it plays in landscape mode and doesn’t have iCloud sync, so I’d likely only ever play on my iPad — which is weird for a roguelike. The other issue is that it feels like you need to grind a lot to level up your characters and unlock more cards, and I don’t really enjoy playing the same battles over and over just to gain experience. I would much rather have my choices make a difference in each battle instead of the level of my characters. I look at all the things I need to unlock and level up and I just get overwhelmed. I’m sure there’s an audience for this kind of game, but I prefer something more like Night of the Full Moon, where you just focus on one game at a time, no grinding. It’s only $0.99, though, so if you’re curious, it might still be worth checking out.
Endless Road is another roguelike, but this time you have a character that’s following a path, opening treasure chests and battling monsters. You roll a die to see how many steps forward you take, and then your moves in battle also rely on a dice roll, as each card you play can be a random number of attack points. There’s some strategy to the battles, as only the person with the higher total of attack points gets to attack. So you need to decide if it’s worth trying to attack or to just defend and take less damage than if you end up having fewer attack points. Things get tricky, though, when enemies force you into playing cards, so you have no choice but to attack. I only narrowly defeated the first boss, so I can see I’m going to have to work on my strategy if I want to survive. The game is also free, with IAPs only for extra characters. There’s no consumables to buy or ads to watch, as far as I can tell. So there’s really no reason not to download it and give it a go. If you like it enough, you can buy the extra characters for more variety.
Arcane Quest Legends
I never played the other games in the Arcane Quest series, but the latest, Arcane Quest Legends, was free to try, so I decided to do so. While admire how much a single developer has made here, I just don’t find the game enjoyable to play. The fighting feels clunky, as does the movement. I often got stuck on props, forcing me to take roundabout paths to get where I wanted to go. I also don’t like how the camera is controlled by swiping the top of the screen. That means if you’re playing on an iPad, you need to lift your hand from the attack controls to adjust the camera. And that could be pretty often, as I’ve had my view blocked by trees, or just couldn’t get a could view of the enemies around me without adjusting the camera. I also don’t like that my AI sidekick is solid, so I can’t go through him. He gets in my way sometimes, and it can be frustrating. I also think I was tricked into playing an opt-in ad, as I tapped on “Collect Reward” and it played an ad. St the end, I saw “bonus received,” which sounds like I watched the ad in return for some extras, without even knowing it. And last, I finally gave up when I broke a barrel and a bunch of deadly snakes popped out and killed me before I even realized what was happening. They must have been a lot stronger than anything else I encountered, because I barely got any attacks in before I was dead. The game feels way too clunky for me to bother with it after that. But feel free to try it out, since the first part is free.
Adventure Escape Mysteries
While I finished my written walkthroughs for both Trapmaker and Cursed Crown, I’m still working on adding more screenshots and recording videos for all the chapters. I made some more progress this week, though. You can everything over here and here.
The Eyes of Ara
In case you missed it, I chose The Eyes of Ara as my 2018 Game of the Year. You can read more about that here. During Christmas, I played the Merry Mysteries content update that has too searching for Santa’s letters. It’s not the most exciting part of the game, but I liked having a reason to explore the castle again. There’s also a Halloween event that I didn’t play in time, so I have to wait until next year. If you missed either event, don’t worry — they return every year!
Cube Escape: Paradox
Rusty Lake’s Cube Escape: Paradox also got some Christmas content and I made a walkthrough guide to show you how to access it. It was a clever little puzzle that made me feel like a super sleuth when I solved it. So I recommend first trying to figure it out for yourself.
And that’s everting I played over the last two weeks! I can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for us. There’s already some interesting games on the horizon that I’m looking forward to, like Alien: Blackout. And we should hopefully be seeing ports of Night in the Woods and Bad North, and maybe even Jenny LeClue? In any case, you can count on me to play all the games that catch my attention and let you know what I think of them. So I’ll see you back here next week and every week after that for more of My Week Unwrapped!