My Week Unwrapped: March 5, 2019 – Avo!, The Birdcage 2, Card Crusade, Scorcher, Pirates Outlaws, Overlink, ELOH and More

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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. I played fewer games this week, as I was focusing most of of my attention on a couple, including one about a sentient fruit. Some of these also aren’t releasing for another day or two, but I figured it could help to see some video and read my impressions before deciding whether to purchase. So let’s dive in!

Avo!

This came out of nowhere, but it was just the right level of absurdity, so I was eager to try it out. Avo is about a sentient avocado that you control by drawing paths for him on the screen. It all takes place inside interactive video that blends seamlessly between the playable parts and the cutscenes. Though Avo can’t talk, his creator, Billie, has more than enough to say to make up for it. Katy Reece’s performance, together with Ryan North’s and Gemma Arrowsmith’s writing, make for a pretty unforgettable experience. While aimed at kids, there’s some sharp humor here that should entertain adults as well. The first three episodes are completely free and then you can purchase the rest if you’re enjoying it. There’s also a free augmented reality (AR) feature that lets you bring Avo into your own home. I wrote a full review earlier today, so I don’t want to rehash everything. But this is a game I think everyone should check out. Sadly, it’s not getting a ton of attention, when I think a few years ago something like this would have been topping the free charts. I also have a walkthrough if you’re already playing and need some help finding the bonuses.

The Birdcage 2: Magical Creatures

Last year, Pine Studio released The Birdcage, a room escape game in which you have to solve puzzles around a birdcage in order to find the key that unlocks it. I only played through the first three packs, as I was finding it a bit too easy. Now they’ve released a sequel, and although the first two free packs were on the easy side, I can see with the Phoenix pack that it’s starting to get trickier. I plan to stick with it this time, not least because there are dragons and I have a weakness for those scaly beasts. I’m also looking forward to unlocking all the clues for the meta puzzle, which promises to be quite tricky to solve. I’m going through it a bit slowly since I’m working on my walkthrough at the same time. So you’ll probably hear more about the game next week when I’ve gotten even deeper. Hopefully I’ll also be able to tell you then whether it’s worth buying the full game. For now, at least, I recommend downloading it and seeing if you enjoy the ten free levels.

ELOH

ELOH was one of my favorite games of 2018, but I mentioned in my review that I wished there was more, specifically trickier puzzles. Well, I get to eat my words now, because the developers released 14 new levels that have turned my brain to mush. I’m still working out the last three, but I made a walkthrough guide for the rest of them. I really should be careful what I ask for! Hopefully I’ll figure out the rest by the end of the week and get a video up. But if you were holding back on buying this because it sounded too easy, now’s a good time to grab it. The artwork is done by the same artist who worked on Old Man’s Journey, and it makes being stuck on a puzzle pretty painless.

Overlink

Overlink is a completely free, no strings attached, puzzle game that actually gets pretty tricky. I got stuck near the end of the first chapter and haven’t had a chance to go back and make more progress. The game has a familiar feel to it, as you need to draw a path that covers all the tiles without crossing over the path at any point. The twist here is that you have 3D shapes to work around, so you’re not just drawing along one flat surface. I can see from screenshots in the App Store that new mechanics are added later to shake things up, so there should be plenty to keep you entertained. If you’re looking for a new puzzle game and are tight on cash, this is a great choice. I’m not sure why it’s completely free, but take advantage of it and enjoy!

Card Crusade

Card Crusade might not be much to look at, and it uses sprites that you may have seen in other games since they’re sold for that purpose. But the gameplay is pretty solid. It’s a roguelike dungeon crawler where you walk around each floor looking for loot. When you encounter some enemies, it triggers a turn-based battle. The loot you find is in the form cards, and each turn you can choose from four in front of you. You have limited energy, though, and each card uses up a different amount. For instance, a shield uses 2 energy, but an ice bow might use 3. You need to choose wisely, especially early on when you start off with only four energy. Health doesn’t regenerate automatically, so you if you don’t drink potions or use leaching weapons, you could end up dead way before your prime. I only started playing a few hours ago, so I’m still getting the hang of it and working out the best strategies. Like Meteorfall, the coins you have at the end of the game add to your score, so there’s a risk/reward element. You can choose to take gold from a chest instead of a card, but then you’re risking being underpowered against stronger enemies. I’ve been trying to save my coins and not buy anything in the shop, but so far all my games have ended on the 4th and 5th floors. Those bosses that spawn new minions each turn really wear down my defenses. I like that there’s no grind, though, as each game is self-contained. You unlock new classes by achieving certain goals, not by grinding for a million years. It’s also in portrait mode, making it easier to pull out at any time. I look forward to spending more time with it and honing my strategy.

Plunder Kings

Plunder Kings is a bullet hell shooter with a twist — you can wager against yourself how far you think you’ll make it. But honestly, I haven’t even gotten to that point yet. I was enjoying the game to an extent, but didn’t like how I could only keep my loot if I quit when I get to a checkpoint. If I die, I lose everything I earned. It’s a really weird concept for me that doesn’t really make me want to invest the time. If I have to always quit in order to keep my loot and afford permanent upgrades, then I’m never going to want to push myself to try and last longer. Maybe I’m misunderstanding how it works, but from the few games I played, I didn’t get to keep any of my loot, so I couldn’t afford any upgrades. That meant I was just as weak for my next game. Games with permanent upgrades like that can already feel grindy, so if I have to keep quitting just to make progress, it’s going to feel like a much bigger slog to me. Maybe others will find that aspect interesting, but I think this just isn’t the game for me. I do appreciate that it’s premium with no ads or IAPs, though, as that would certainly make the game a whole lot worse.

Scorcher

Scorcher is a game that’s releasing in a day or two. It’s by Radiangames, developer who made Slydris 2, which I’ve spent way too many hours playing, even at 5 am when I should be going back to sleep instead. But Slydris 2 is a relaxed endless high score chasing puzzler and well, Scorcher is anything but. It’s still a high score chaser, but it’s frantic and fast-paced. You need to navigate a vehicle through winding desert paths, crushing sand sharks and avoiding sand worms. I’m completely out of my element here, but I can appreciate the game for what it is. It’s in portrait mode and has one-finger controls. You simply drag your finger anywhere to move your vehicle and lift your finger off the screen to jump. It works really well, except for the fact that I keep inching my thumb up the screen so it covers my ship. The graphics are slick and there’s no ads or IAPs. You simply unlock new tracks by meeting certain scores. You can also unlock new ships by collecting sand sharks. I’m not sure how much I’ll stick with the game, but if you like this kind of stuff, definitely watch some of my gameplay video and give the game a try in a couple of days when it’s out.

Pirates Outlaws

I love the art style of Pirates Outlaws and, despite its odd name with double plurals, I really wanted to give it a chance. The gameplay is kind of similar to Card Crusade’s, in that you have a deck of cards to use in each battle. You have energy and each card costs a certain amount of energy. Instead of roaming around a dungeon, you’re sailing the high seas. You choose a location on a map and that dictates that route you can take. One stop could be a battle, another might be a treasure chest, and the next might be a merchant. The problem is, unlike Card Crusade, there are persistent upgrades you can buy. And they cost a lot of gold. A lot more gold than I was earning through play. And to save enough gold for those upgrades, you would have to abstain from using them on temporary upgrades or new cards during a run. The clincher is that you can buy more gold with real cash. When I saw the cost for the upgrades and the cash shop, I stopped playing immediately. There’s a chance the game is balanced not to need to spend any money, but I would always feel like the grinding I’m doing is punishment for not wanting to buy the gold outright. I prefer the look of this game over others of its kind, but I just can’t deal with that kind of grind. It’s too bad Card Crusade doesn’t look like this, because that would combine the best from both games. If you want to still try it out, it’s only $0.99, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Dragons: Titan Uprising

I swore I was done playing Dragons: Titan Uprising when I wrote this pretty negative review. But then it sucked me back in with its limited time movie tie-in event where you can earn a Light Fury. I didn’t earn nearly enough trust to be able to use her in battle, but I do have a baby Light Fury now. I’ve also since leveled up enough to breed dragons, and that’s made the game a lot more interesting. It took so long to get there, that I was starting to wonder if it’s even an existing feature. But it appears that the game has managed to put me on its schedule, waking up in the morning to check on my new babies and get some new dragons breeding for four hours. I kind of hate myself for it because I usually don’t let games do this to me. But it found my weakness — dragons. On a similar note, since I have an AMC A-List membership, I was also able to see the new movie, The Hidden World this week. While not quite on the storytelling level of the original movie, it was visually stunning. It also packed quite an emotional punch at the end that helped make up for the predictability of most of the movie. Anyway, it didn’t help break my new attachment to the game, but hopefully I can at least fit it around my schedule instead of the other way around. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below with some of the new dragons I got.

Aedo Episodes

I feel weird even writing about Aedo Episodes. I downloaded it this week when I saw it went on sale for free. It looked like an interesting puzzle game, so I gave it a try. But while parts of it were compelling, I found the logic and in-game rules very confusing, not really sure whether there were any at all. It turned out that the developer already knew there were problems with it and made it free to try and get some feedback towards his next game. So if that’s something you’re interested in doing, give it a download and see how you like it. There’s certainly some interesting ideas, but the issues I had with it made it too frustrating to play. You can also watch some of my gameplay video to see what it’s like.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week! I still want to go back and find some bonuses I’m missing in Avo!, play through The Shapeshifting Detective again, solve those last few ELOH levels, continue playing Lost Echo and The Birdcage 2, and of course try and make it to the tenth floor in Card Crusade. So I’ve got plenty keep me busy over the next week, and I’m sure there will be some other notable releases, as well. Hopefully this helped you find some new games to pick up — and decide which ones to avoid. Let me know in the comments section what you’ve been playing, and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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