Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. You may have noticed I skipped last week, mostly because there wasn’t much to talk about. But this week has been pretty crazy, so it should make up for it! Some of these games are pre-release and some are on Switch, not iOS. But there’s still plenty of iOS games here. So let’s not waste any more time and just cut to the chase!
Whispers of a Machine
I had been looking forward to Whispers of a Machine ever since it was announced, especially knowing it would come to iOS as well. I enjoyed the developer’s first game, Kathy Rain, so it was pretty much a no-brainer for me to play this one. In it, you take on the role of special agent Vera Englund, who is sent to the Nordic town of Nordsund to investigate a string of murders. The tools you start with allow for some really clever puzzles, and the way you answer dialogue questions shapes your personality and determines which tools you earn over the rest of the game. This means that each playthrough is different and there’s a ton of replay-ability. Even on my third way through the game, I got stuck a few times because the puzzles changed. Even though I knew the end goal, my tools were different, so I had to think differently. It’s really quite impressive. But I wrote an in-depth review, so I don’t want to keep rambling on about it here. I also have a walkthrough if you’re already playing and get stuck. And last, I have a giveaway for those who want to try winning it before buying it.
I had Flippfly’s high score-chasing puzzler, Twelvesmith, for about a month before it released and spent a lot of time with it. It’s a great one-handed game to whip out when you have a few minutes to kill. It’s turn-based and super chill, but also times how long it takes you to complete each game, if you care about those stats. The main goal is to spread and combine numbered tiles to create a 12 in as few moves as possible. It’s sort of a devolution of Evergarden, meant to be more streamlined and mobile-friendly. It’s not perfect, but there’s a lot to like about it. You can read my full review here and watch some gameplay video below.
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech
SteamWorld Quest is the latest game in the series by Image & Form. It’s first releasing this week on Switch, which is what I’ve been playing on, but it would be a great fit for mobile, so I do hope they port it over at some point. It’s an RPG where you collect cards and decide which ones to bring into battle. Each character can only have eight cards in their deck, so you really have to make some hard choices and work out a strategy. Each turn, you can select up the three cards, but there are limitations to prevent you from simply choosing your strongest cards for every move. There are also bonuses for making chains of three cards from the same character. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, even though I tend to take a more careful route of defending and healing often. You can’t really rely on checkpoints for healing, because if you do, all enemies get respawned and you’ll have to battle any that you need to backtrack through. I’ve so far played through the first four chapters and do plan to continue with it. I’m not sure if I’ll have the time for a full review, but I’ll certainly update you with my impressions when get deeper into it. Until then, you can watch my gameplay videos below.
I wrote about Mango Protocol’s MechaNika several years back, a game that’s got cute animations and appears to be for kids but really isn’t. I knew the developers were working on another game called Agatha Knife, which centers around a character from the first game. But it came to PC first and I wasn’t even sure it would make its way over to mobile. Well, this week I was pleasantly surprised to see that it got a mobile port. And it looks fantastic in full screen on my iPad. I don’t think I had an iPad back when MechaNika released, but it was widescreen only, so there were black bars at the top and bottom. Agatha Knife is also pretty dark, even darker than the first game. I’m not even sure how I feel about it. Basically, Agatha’s mother is a butcher and lets Agatha play with the animals and then kill them. Agatha loves the animals but also loves eating them. As an animal-lover who isn’t vegan, I can sort of understand the dilemma, except that I’m only able to eat meat if I don’t think about where it came from. I could never actually slaughter an animal. So this game is a bit uncomfortable for me. But I like the whole bizarre premise, which starts off making fun of religion and people who are willing to believe anything just so they don’t have to believe in nothing. Agatha finds someone who’s willing to help her create a religion to convince animals that it’s in their best interest to be killed and eaten. Yeah, weird. Anyway, I probably would have gotten further by now if it wasn’t such a crazy week, but I’ll definitely give more impressions once I’ve played through it. Until then, you can check out my gameplay video below.
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Not Not – A Brain-Buster
Not Not has actually been out for a while already, but I hadn’t heard of it before. It’s free with ads and IAPs, but the developer sent me a code that unlocks the rest of the game and makes it fully premium. I haven’t spent that much time with it yet, but it’s an interesting concept. You have a cube in front of you and words appear on it — like RIGHT, LEFT, BLUE, YELLOW — and you have to swipe in that direction. The name comes from the fact that sometimes it says NOT BLUE or NOT RIGHT or even NOT NOT RIGHT to try and trick you. You need to react fast, so there isn’t much time to think about it. The game can be stressful, but if you don’t mind that, it has a lot to offer. I also have a few codes left to unlock the full game, so just contact me on Twitter if you’d like one.
Spellsword Cards: Origins
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the solo card game, Spellsword Cards: Demontide. It’s a pretty deep game, but it plays in landscape mode, so is a better fit for playing at home on an iPad. But the same developer has been working on another card game, a roguelike similar to Meteorfall and Night of the Full Moon. Spellsword Cards: Origins releases in May and plays in portrait mode. I only played for about thirty minutes, and I didn’t do so well. I need to familiarize myself with the cards more and figure out a proper strategy to survive when the enemies get stronger. It’s definitely something to keep an eye out for, though I’m not sure yet if it will hold my attention the same way Meteorfall has.
And last, I got a copy of Layer Up ahead of its release in May. It’s from the same developer of last year’s Anamorph, which has a similar idea. In the first game, you needed to move sets of dots around until they formed an image. This time, you have layers of triangles that look like stained glass. I played the first 20 levels and it certainly feels a lot more approachable than Anamorph did. I’m not sure why there are so many fruits, but if you’re looking for a new puzzle game, keep an eye out for Layer Up. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below to see if it’s something you might enjoy.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to these last two weeks! I still have a bunch of games to catch up on and I just realized that Firewatch is on Switch, so I’m going to play some of that tomorrow. If you’re a game developer who’s making a Switch game, be sure to let me know, as I’d like to cover more for that platform. iOS peeps, don’t fret — mobile is still my first love! But I was missing out on a lot of great games before and the Switch is allowing me to play them without being chained to my dreaded PC. Anyway, 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!