Hi everyone, and welcome to the latest installment of My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. It’s been quite a busy week, and even though I’ve been playing some games I can’t share video for yet, I still have a ton of other games to cover. I somehow also managed to see The LEGO Movie 2 and BlackkKlansman, as well as the rest of Future Man. I should probably pull myself away from all these screens and read a book sometime. But anyway, let’s cut the small talk and get started.
The Stillness of the Wind
I was really looking forward to Memory of God’s The Stillness of the Wind. The art style is minimalistic but has a kind of beauty to it. I also like games that do something different and be more than escapism. I knew this was meant to be a melancholic experience, as you play as an elderly woman during her last days as a goat farmer. You milk the goats, churn the milk into cheese, collect eggs from your chickens, and a few other simple tasks. Her movement is slow, so the days are short and you can’t get too much done. I was on board for a while and wanted to see where it would go, but it overstayed its welcome. By the time it ended, I was so bored with the monotony of doing those same three things over and over again, that the ending had very little impact on me. It’s a shame, because I appreciate that it was striving to portray a message about life, death, and family. But all that got lost on me between then clunkiness of the controls, the bugs, and the doubt whether anything I did mattered anyway. If it was shorter, I would have had less time to get bored and frustrated and might have actually felt something besides relief when it ended. If you want to read more about my experience, you can check out my full review here. I also have a walkthrough guide if you decide to play and need some help.
I mentioned Fluttermind’s horror text adventure, The Horns, last week, but I was still learning how things work and struggling to survive. I’ve since managed to complete the game and get one of several possible endings. It’s written well and I enjoyed my time with it, but considering that one playthrough took me forty minutes, I’m not sure that I would replay it to get different endings. Not when I have so many other games to play, at least. But it costs only $1.99 and the presentation alone is worth it. I love the whole atmosphere, and once you get a good game going, it can be quite engrossing. I wish I could discover more of the story without having to start a new game, but that might just be me. Anyway, you can see more gameplay in the video below and check out my walkthrough guide if you need help surviving.
Lifting Journey, oddly enough, is not about someone’s adventure in weightlifting. It has a strange name, perhaps lost in translation, but it’s about a girl who’s looking for her dog, Coco, and she can use a balloon to fly up to higher platforms. So she’s getting lifted up, but it’s still not the best name for it. I did enjoy the game itself, even if it had a bizarre ending. It’s also not very long, only nine levels. But it’s cheap at only $0.99, so if you’re an adventure game fan, I think it’s worth checking out. The art style — and even the mechanics, to a degree — remind me of Love You to Bits. It’s quite charming. I only wish it was optimized for iPad, not just iPhone. I prefer to play point-and-click adventures on a bigger screen. There were a few times I felt I would have had an easier time seeing details if I was on an iPad instead of an iPhone. But if they doesn’t bother you, give it a try. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below and I have a walkthrough guide if you get stuck.
I was really excited about the idea of Match Mountain — a match-3 game free of ads or microtransactions, with just a one-time unlock if you like the trial. These are so rare, that I have to try any that come across my path. I also liked the hand-drawn art style, and it sounded like it had some interesting ideas. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy playing it. It’s similar to Tetris, in that four blocks fall together and you can move and rotate them to get them to fall how and where you want, with the goal being to make matches of three or more of the same color. The problem is, the distance between the starting point and the bottom feels very short, so I never feel like I have much time to think. On top of that, the tap to rotate and drag to move sometimes got confused and I ended up rotating when I only wanted to move it. It seemed a little too easy to input the wrong commands, which can mess up your game quite fast. Maybe others will like it, but I didn’t even get through the free trial.
Top Run: Retro Pixel Adventure
Top Run is another game that seems to have pretty fair monetization, as you can try it before deciding whether to remove ads or unlock the full game. I really like the pixel art, and the whole vibe it gives off. Unfortunately, I kept getting too distracted by the VHS-type flashing across the screen and it would mess me up. Beyond that, I quickly ran out of free tokens, so I didn’t even really get a good sense of whether I would want to keep playing and try to get used to the flashing. Still, it’s free, and kudos to the developers for not filling it with a bunch of pay-to-win junk. At least, from what I can tell. Anyway, since it’s free, it can’t hurt to give it a try and see if it’s something you would like.
Daigo Sato is known for making quirky pixel art adventure games like Bluebird of Happiness. His latest is Bear’s Restaurant, which is about a restaurant that makes people’s favorite meal one last time before they go to the afterlife. You play as Bear’s server, a cat who had to dive into people’s memories to find out more about their favorite meal, as well as other aspects of their lives. It’s bittersweet and emotional and very well-written. I didn’t play the sequel yet, so I only really saw half the story. But I enjoyed it so far, despite it being mostly an interactive story without any real puzzles. It’s free and ad-supported or you can pay to remove the ads. But the sequel is paid and there’s no way to play it for free. The total price is on the high end for mobile, but since you get the first part for free, it’s hard to complain. Anyway, check it out or watch some of my gameplay video to see if it’s your kind of thing.
Ding Dong XL
Ding Dong XL is another game with a really strange name. It’s not about extra large ding dongs, though. It’s a high score chaser with a simple concept and even simpler control scheme. Basically, you tap to make your disc go from the top of the screen to the bottom, or vice versa. Shapes will be going back and forth across the screen and you have to avoid hitting them or you die. Each time you cross safely, you get a point. There are also power-ups to collect that slow down time, allow you to hit enemies for a short time, or destroy everything on the board so you can get a few extra points in. Some things are still unclear to me, like why enemies don’t always kill me. But overall, it’s a pretty fun game. There are far worse ways you could spend a buck, so if you like these kinds of high score chasers, I would recommend it. I do seem to always die around the 50-point mark, so I need to practice. You can watch my gameplay video below to get an idea of what it’s like.
Afterburn’s brilliant puzzler, Golf Peaks, was one of my favorite games of 2018, and it just keeps getting better. My only complaint in my review was that it was on the short side, and since then it got a new world a little while back and two new worlds this past week. This week’s update also introduces two new mechanics — moving floors and ice! The moving floors send your ball in the direction of the arrows. The ice makes a ball roll until it hits something that’s well, not ice. Some of the new levels are quite tricky, and I had a great time solving them all. I still need to make a video for World 9, but I added World 8 to my walkthrough guide. I should also mention that the game is on sale for $1.99, down from $2.99, but only until February 14th, Valentine’s Day. You may also notice that the icon has hearts to celebrate the holiday. So grab the game and curl up with your partner or pet or anyone you want and solve some golf puzzles together!
Evolution: The Video Game
I never played the physical version of the Evolution board game, but I’ve been hearing about its digital adaptation for a while now. It was in development for quite some time and is finally available on multiple platforms. I only played a bit, and I was a little confused about the rules, so I need to spend more time with it. I stopped playing when it asked me to create an account, so I’ll have to go back and do that. But the gist of it is that you create species and give them traits, add to their population, and then try to feed them. But there’s competition for the food, and if any of your animals don’t eat, they die. There are also carnivores that could eat you if they’re bigger than you. I’m a little fuzzy on the scoring system because the tutorial kept blocking the final stats screen. But I hope to spend more time with it when I get a chance. It’s free with a full game unlock, but I didn’t hit the paywall yet, so I can’t say how much you get as part of the trial. Anyway, it can’t hurt to check it out for free.
Knights of the Card Table
Ponywolf’s Knights of the Card Table actually releases either tonight or tomorrow, and I’m hoping to write a proper review. So I won’t say too much here. But I’ve spent a couple of hours with it and have some mixed feelings. I like the overall idea of it, as well as the art and humor. But some aspects make it hard to really get invested in it. It starts to feel a bit same-y after a while, and it’s a fairly long game considering. Again, I want to expand on my thoughts in my review, so I’ll leave it at that. But while there’s nothing necessarily to hate about it, I can’t say I’m in love with it either. You can watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like and decide if you want to buy it before you see my review.
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week, at least what I’m able to show you. I should have some video and hopefully a review for Crescent Moon Games’ Linn: Path of Orchards once it’s available, and I’m also playing the iOS port of Pipe Push Paradise, which releases next week along with The Shapeshifting Detective. Busy month! It’s great to see that there are still some solid premium games to look forward to! So let me know in the comments section what you’re playing and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!