Hi everyone, and welcome back to another installment of My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. Much of my time was spent finishing up the Adventure Escape Mysteries walkthroughs I’d been working on for almost a month. I finally got all the videos done and out of the way so I can focus on other games. And boy is 2019 off to a strong start. This past week alone brought several gems I wasn’t expecting and was completely blown away by. I’m hoping to do full reviews on at least some of them at some point, but for now enjoy my blurbs below.
Fast-paced games are not my forte, but once in a while I like to play something frantic that gets my heart rate up. It helps if there are ways to make the game a little easier, either by the way of difficulty settings or earned upgrades. BACKFIRE, a cleverly-named shooter from sole developer GRYN SQYD, is the latest stress-inducing game to grab my attention. I don’t want to say too much here, because I’d like to leave something for a review. But it’s a shooter with a twist — your gun fires out the back instead of the front. So you need to let enemies get close to you in order to hit them, but you don’t want them to get close enough to catch you. The controls are also perfect for touchscreens, as your ship moves and fires automatically. You just tap to turn and speed it up. It works really well, and it doesn’t hurt that the artwork is super stylish and the soundtrack is super chill. I especially love how the enemies look like clusters of eyeballs when they swarm at you. It’s also very generous with in-game currency so you usually have enough to upgrade a few things at the end of a run. And it’s broken up into chapters, so you can work on beating one boss and then focus on the next without having to start from scratch. I think there might be an endless mode once you beat the game, but I have to get confirmation about that. Anyway, I plan to keep playing and hopefully review it one day. If you don’t have the game yet, you can enter my giveaway that ends on Thursday. I have five iOS codes to give out to some of my lucky readers! You can also watch some of my gameplay videos below. I messed up the second one by not plugging in headphones, so my voice is low and there are popping sounds. Sorry about that! You can still see a lot of the action.
Somehow I had never heard of Maginary before, but this week it became available in English after being out in other languages for about a year. The developer has mentioned Device 6 as inspiration, but it’s a unique experience in its own right. The idea is that you have a book that wouldn’t work on paper, as the iPhone allows for both special effects and puzzles. The puzzles are very reminiscent of games like Blackbox, asking you to mess with your phone’s settings or do things like talk into your microphone. On top of that, the story is compelling, as it it puts you inside it. The characters are aware of you and communicate with you. The whole experience is very polished, and it’s made me audibly gasp a number of times. It even integrates into the game the cost to unlock the rest of the story and the extra data that needs to be downloaded. I highly recommend recommend giving the free chapters a try, at the very least. I’m still playing through the game, so I’m not ready to give my opinion on the story as a whole. But I’m enjoying it and am eager to get back to playing. You can also watch my video below and the rest of my playthrough here.
As a puzzle fan, there’s no shortage of games for me to try, but not all of them grab my attention. Cosmo-s had a clean interface and simple but pleasing appearance, so I decided to give it a download. It’s completely free and ad supported, so why not? It turned out to be a well-designed and clever puzzler in which you have to guide a light to the goals by rotating the tracks that direct it. It’s something you’ve seen before, I’m sure. But it throws new mechanics in every few levels and the game progresses at a nice speed instead of bogging you down with tons of filler. There’s only fifty levels, but I would have gladly paid one or two bucks to remove the ads. I hope the developer adds that option, as well as new content. I also would have liked a way to shut the music, as I found it unbearable and had to play with my phone on mute instead. Still, it’s a game very much worth playing, so I highly recommend downloading it and seeing if you can live with the ads for the fifty levels. I also made a walkthrough guide if you get stuck.
Unicycle Giraffe is exactly what the name implies — you’re a giraffe riding a unicycle. It’s by the same folks who made Adventure Pals, and I’m pretty sure it’s also the same giraffe, but I could be wrong. It’s a high score chaser and you can unlock different animal skins, as well as hats, with the coins you collect. I’m not particularly good at it, and the fact that you can watch ads for continues makes me not want to bother trying to get better. I wish those would get the hell out of my games, but these days it’s in almost every high score chaser. To me, it defeats the whole point of the game, but I guess it means I can delete and move on to something else. It’s a shame, though, because that giraffe is cute.
I already started playing Sheeping Around ahead of release, but I spent a bit more time with it this week after it became available to everyone. Basically, you either play as the shepherd or the wolf, protecting the sheep or stealing them. The player to claim two sheep first wins. I think the core idea is interesting enough to play a round once in a while, and the cute artwork helps it stand out. But I don’t like that it expects you to grind for hours to unlock all the cards and earn enough gold to buy the ones you want. I know that’s there to add longevity to the game, but I can’t see sinking all that time into a two-player card game that’s meant to play in 5-10 minute bursts. If I am going to play a competitive card game, I’m more likely to pull out Cat Lady, as each game is self-contained and there’s no leveling or currency to worry about. You just jump in and play and that’s it. Sheeping Around also has in-app purchased for extra currency, and that also rubs me the wrong way, especially in a competitive game. But there’s still an interesting game here, so I suggest watching some of my gameplay video and then deciding for yourself it the negatives I mention bother you.
Rollshot – World War Puzzle
Rollshot is something you don’t see often — a turn-based puzzler in a WWII setting. I usually think of puzzle games as non-violent, yet here we have one where you need to shoot the enemies in the right order and at the right time so that they can’t shoot you back. The puzzles themselves are interesting enough, and they have forced me to stop and think — even though I’ve only played through the first 10 levels. My issues with it are that you swipe to move and tap to shoot, and sometimes the game registers a swipe as a tap. It wouldn’t be a big deal if there was an undo button to fix the mistakes, but without one it can mean restarting the level. It also means you have to be super careful and deliberate with your swipes and taps, which can make it more stressful than it needs to be. Still, there’s only 25 levels, so I suppose restarting isn’t the end of the world. But the other thing that bothers me is the star system. It rewards you a number of stars based on how many moves you used, but it doesn’t tell you what the optimal move count is. Or how many moves you made. I only ever got less than three stars once, but it was hard to tell what I did to get three stars on my next attempt. I think the game could benefit from a move counter and a specific number for each level to make those three stars more meaningful. Anyway, if you’re looking for a puzzler where you get to shoot enemies, Rollshot is only $0.99, so it won’t break the bank.
Adventure Escape Mysteries
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week! I also saw the horror movie, Escape Room, which was every bit as silly as I expected it to be. If you’re a room escape fan like I am, though, I think you’ll enjoy it. I want to get back to playing BACKFIRE and Maginary now, as well as some upcoming games like Alien: Blackout. I hope the quality premium games keep coming like they are this month. I was worried the Switch took all our games, but it looks like iOS is still putting up a fight! So I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped and other amazing games!