Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. After a couple of underwhelming weeks in the world of mobile gaming, I find myself overwhelmed with everything releasing this week. I’m playing some games that just came out yesterday or last week, and others that aren’t releasing until tonight. I’m also trying to get some reviews and walkthroughs done, so keep an eye out for those later and over the rest of the week. But for now, here’s some impressions of all the games I’ve been playing.
Besides having the best app icon in the history of app icons, Cultist Simulator is a single-player card game that earned accolades from both players and critics when the PC version released a little while back. I was hoping it would come to iOS, and then they announced it about a month ago but without a release date. Well, that date turned out to be yesterday! I’ve only spent a couple of hours with it so far, but there’s a lot to like. The game throws you in without any tutorial, and you have to learn everything through play. My first two games didn’t go so well, especially since I didn’t realize I could pause it
to plan out my moves. But once I realized that, I got pretty engrossed in the game. I had one small victory as a detective and then tried being a detective again. I learned new things and seemed to last longer, but still lost in the end. What’s nice, though, is different endings give you different occupations that you can start with on your next game. I haven’t managed to create a cult yet, but I’m going to keep trying. I appreciate that the game has iCloud sync, since it’s best on a large iPad, but I can still continue my game on the go. That’s how all iOS games should be! It’s also a very time-consuming game, so being able to whip out my phone for a few minutes here and there should definitely keep me playing longer than if it was stuck on my iPad. Anyway, check out my gameplay videos below to see if it’s something you might be interested in. I might work on a proper review once I’ve spent a lot more time with it, but no promises.
The Elder Scrolls: Blades
I know it’s still in early access, so I should probably reserve judgement, but The Elder Scrolls: Blades is one of the biggest disappointments I’ve experienced in a long time. I was hoping for something like Infinity Blade, if not exactly then at least offering its own unique spin on mobile one-on-one sword battles. But what we got instead is a super generic and super bland game with shiny graphics slapped on top to try and make you forget that it offers nothing else of value. I enjoyed creating my dragon-like Argonian warrior with tons of customization options. But the combat is the core of the game and it’s both clunky and boring. You tap and hold, then release to attack. You also have a shield, which you can use to block and stun enemies. Other than that, you have skill trees and magic to use. But they don’t add enough depth to the battles. It’s nothing like the kind of choices you had to make in Infinity Blade, choosing between different weapons, magic, etc. and the tapping and holding just feels awkward. I would have preferred something more engrossing like Infinity Blade‘s battles if they had to do one-on-one combat. Barring that, I wish they would have let us use long-range attacks or set traps, since it’s not on rails and we have more freedom of movement. After a few battles, the combat feels very repetitive. And it doesn’t help that the game is hampered by in-app purchases (IAP) everywhere you look. You have a town to rebuild, where you can get a blacksmith and alchemist, but you need materials and currency for all of them. Your equipment also needs repairs, which eats into more funds. And, of course, you can buy gems and items with real cash to make everything much easier. And to top it all off, the chests you collect from quests are on a timer. You can only open one at a time and while one is on its 3-hour timer, you can’t open any others unless you spend gems to do so. You also have limited chest space, so if you run out, you simply can’t pick up any new ones. So you basically run around dungeons carrying ten heavy chests instead of opening them on the spot? Makes total sense! I was still trying to enjoy it for what it is, doing a quest here and there and letting my chests open while I took breaks. But then the game went from super easy to ridiculously hard. I died on my next story mission, despite drinking all my health potions. I was completely overwhelmed by a Wight. So I tried doing side quests for a while, and that worked — until those started becoming too difficult, as well. I don’t have very good gear and the game seems to think I’m stronger than I am. I lost interest at this point and haven’t touched the game since opening last chest. Maybe I’ll give it another chance after they tweak some things, but right now it feels like all the worst things about free-to-play games with some fancy graphics thrown in. You can watch my gameplay video if you want to see what it’s like. And I also made a quick guide just to help with some basic things.
Mindsweeper: Puzzle Adventure
Mindsweeper might sound like it has something to do with the classic game of determining where mines are located so you can avoid them, but it’s actually a point-and-click adventure where you play inside the memories of a doctor, looking for a cure buried deep in her memories. So you’re sweeping her mind for information. Get it? It’s from Snapbreak Games, who published the Faraway series. I only played the first two chapters — which are free — and although it’s on the way side, it does seem to be getting more interesting, especially the last free level. I might spend the $2.99 to unlock the rest of the game and remove ads, but I’m not sure when I’ll have a chance to play more. I’m a bit swamped with games at the moment. But if you’re looking for a new adventure game to play, definitely give it a try. The free content is more than generous, and the full game is also a reasonable price if you decide you like it. And if you get stuck, I have a walkthrough guide for the first two chapters, including all collectibles.
Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?!
I mentioned Holy Potatoes! A Spy Story?! last week, but it wasn’t out yet. Now it is! I’ve spent a little more time with it and I still like it, but it’s not pulling me in the way other games are at the moment, so I’m not sure when I’ll get back to it. Perhaps I should take advantage of the iCloud sync and play in bits and pieces while I’m out. Anyway, if you like potato-centric management games and espionage, this is there game for you! You can check out more of my gameplay videos below to see what it’s like. Unfortunately, the sound cut out from my videos, but there’s nothing wrong with the sound in the game! Also, if you like this game, the developers have put the rest of the series on sale as part of a bundle!
Photographs – Puzzle Stories
Photographs is the latest game from You Must Build a Boat developer Luca Redwood, releasing tonight. Despite there being some match-three elements at one point, the game is very different from what we’re used to getting from Luca. It’s a narrative-heavy game that’s split up into five different stories. Each one has its own unique puzzles, and those puzzles weave into the story and help move it along. I don’t want to say too much here, as I’m working on a review that should hopefully be ready for release. But I highly recommend this one if you don’t mind a game ripping your heart out and eating it right in front of you. It also has a top-notch soundtrack and voice acting that really pull the whole thing together. I also have some gameplay video you can watch, but I recommend just going in blind if you already know you want to play it.
Letters & Sodas
Letters & Sodas is named after the lyrics in a Liz Phair song. A NSFW Liz Phair song, at that. I used to be a big Liz Phair fan years ago, so I was curious enough to give it a try. I also like puzzle games, so why not? And there’s nothing inherently wrong with the game. It’s stylish and Each puzzle asks you to make a four-letter word by sliding blocks around. It starts off super basic, but it does get a little trickier as new mechanics are added, such as locks. It does feel like the difficulty takes a bit too long to ramp up, though, and it doesn’t climb reliably. I could have trouble with one level and then the next five are no-brainers. I think I might have enjoyed it more if the difficulty ramped up faster. I also have other games to play that are much more interesting to me, so I didn’t stick with it. But if you’re looking for a new one-handed puzzle game, give it a go. You get a few levels free to try out (with the occasional pop-up ad) and then can pay $0.99 to unlock the rest if you like it.
I really don’t know what to make of Rad Trails. It’s a dirt bike game that seems to want to be a little like Alto’s Adventure, but it’s not so obvious what the goals are. Basically, you have the left button for turning while in the air, and the right button for speeding up when you’re on the ground. I know I’m being scored based on how long it takes me to complete a track. But what’s not clear is what’s required to unlock the next one. Or what bananas are. I see a banana count, but no bananas or anything else to pick up. All I see is dirt. And when I completed Level 2, it didn’t unlock Level 3 until I replayed Level 2 several times. I don’t know what exactly unlocked the next level. It makes it really hard to want to continue playing when I don’t even know what my goal is. Anyway, check out my video below if you’re curious.
Baba is You
And last, but certainly not least, I’ve gotten even more engrossed in Baba is You now that I have a Switch to play it on. I’ve solved about 120 levels so far and things have really gotten crazy. It’s a bit hard to pull myself away from the game to play mobile games, to be honest. But this week has had some strong competition for my attention, as you can see above. Anyway, if you’re stuck on any levels and want help, I’ve been adding to my walkthrough as I play, and even started making videos for individual levels. Hopefully the game will come to iOS one day, but if you have a Switch or PC you can play it on, please do so!
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week! Keep an eye out for some reviews and walkthroughs in the coming days, as well as videos for other upcoming games. And make sure to let me know in the comments sections which games you’ve been playing! Until next time, that’s My Week Unwrapped!