My Week Unwrapped: July 16, 2019 – What Remains of Edith Finch, ROOMS The Toymaker’s Mansion, Healer’s Quest, Rusty Pup, NimbleNaut, Jelly Shift and More

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Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. I’ve still got a mix of iOS and Switch games for you, including some that I mentioned last week, as well as others that aren’t out yet. It’s a mix across different genres, too, so hopefully there’s something here for for everyone.

What Remains of Edith Finch

After waiting patiently for years for What Remains of Edith Finch to come to iOS, I decided to play on my Switch when it released about a week ago. It’s hard to talk about it without spoiling things but I did my best in my full review here. I still recommend playing it without reading or watching anything, but I understand that $20 can be a lot to drop on a game you know nothing about. So hopefully my review is informative enough without ruining all the discovery. If you still need more than that, you can try watching part of my gameplay videos to get a better idea of what it’s like. But if you can take a blind plunge, I believe that’s the best way to experience it.

ROOMS: The Toymaker’s Mansion

I mentioned ROOMS: The Toymaker’s Mansion last week, but I was focused on other games so I didn’t get too far. I dove back into it this week and have made some great progress. It’s actually a really clever game with some dastardly difficult puzzles that are truly satisfying to solve. I still think it could cut back on some of the animations, especially when restarting a level. But I like it enough that I’ve been playing despite the bit of time wasted. I just posted an in-depth review and I’ve made some more progress with my walkthrough, as well. So instead of repeating myself, I’ll just let you go read those.

Healer’s Quest: Pocket Wand

Healer’s Quest is an RPG where you play the supporting role of a healer. You’re joined by a full party of heroes — a knight, archer, sorcerer and more — but you don’t get to do any of the attacking. Your job is to use healing spells to keep everyone else alive. It’s harder than it sounds, as everything takes place in real time instead of being turn-based. The main attraction for me so far, though, is the tongue-in-cheek fourth-wall-breaking humor. Starting from the character creation screen, where I chose a “strange hat” that looks like a Smurf hat and my inability to choose boobs, I knew this was going to be a lighthearted game. And this band of merry misfits loves to poke fun at microtransactions, RPG tropes, and pretty much anything under the sun. Despite struggling a bit to keep my heroes alive, I was enjoying it. The slow walking speed is a bit of a drain and the touch controls could use some improvements. For instance, if you hold down on something to see its description, it pops up under your thumb instead of above it. I could still work around that, though. What I can’t work around is the constant crashing to the title screen. It happened on my first game after just a few minutes, so I started over. I got farther the second time around, but it still happened. So as much as I want to recommend the game due to its sense of humor, I would suggest waiting for this game-breaking bug to be fixed first.

NimbleNaut

NimbleNaut is a vertical shoot ’em up (or shmup) with impressive pixel art graphics and something pretty unique for the genre — you can continue after you die as many times as you want and chip away at the game. Obviously, your score will suffer, as it resets with each death. But I still appreciated it. Usually, these games make you start over when you die, as the goal is to survive as long as possible. Since I find it very difficult, that option allowed me to get a lot farther than I would have otherwise. So it is nice. That said, I eventually gave up because I wasn’t finding it very much fun or satisfying to die every few seconds. If you’re better at these kinds of games than I am, though, you’ll likely enjoy it a lot more. I suggest watching some of my gameplay video below to see if it’s something you might like.

Mighty Quest for Epic Loot

Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is, as the name suggests, all about the loot. It’s a one-finger dungeon crawler where you drag your finger around the screen to move and tap to attack. Your character automatically springs onto enemies and other objects in the room, so you don’t have to worry about balancing the two actions with one finger. You can also swipe to dash out of harm’s way, but you’ll mostly use that with bosses. The dungeons I’ve played through so far have all been fairly small and the enemies didn’t vary too much. I could take most of them down by just tapping wildly and shooting off a few skills here and there. The bosses gave me more trouble, but it still seems pretty easy, at least early on. I can see there’s a lot of potential for it to start feeling like you need to spend money, as each run costs energy. Once you run out, you’ll have to wait or buy more. I didn’t play long enough for that to happen, though, as I was getting bored. It’s free to try, though, so give it a go if you’re curious about it.

Stranger Things 3: The Game

Last week I mentioned Stranger Things 3: The Game on Switch, as I was watching the show and playing the game simultaneously. I ended up finishing the show already, but now I’m behind on the game. I got past the fourth chapter boss that I was having trouble with. It was actually pretty easy once I crafter some better trinkets. But now I’m stuck on the fifth chapter boss. The problem is, it feels like it was designed for two players and doesn’t feel great playing solo. That’s because this boss is two separate people. They’re not too hard to damage, but you need to keep them separate. If they get close to each other, they heal — and fast! For two players, I can see this being a fun battle. But alone with an AI that does whatever it wants, I can’t seem to keep them apart. After a while, I managed to bump them down to almost no health, then they got near each other and healed back to full health. That’s where I gave up, frustrated. I’ll probably give it another go, but if I can’t find a way to keep them separated on my own, I’m not sure I’ll end up finishing the game. I also noticed there’s a lot of lag and frame drops over the last chapter or so. I didn’t notice it earlier in the game, but it’s been happening fairly often now. I still like running around Hawkins and completing quests — even if the story is just the same as the show — so hopefully I can get through it solo. You can see my progress here, and I’ll be adding any new videos I make.

Jelly Shift

I usually ignore most of the hypercasual games topping the free App Store charts, but Jelly Shift caught my attention a little while back as something I might actually enjoy. It’s an auto-runner in which you need to stretch your jelly to squeeze through obstacles. It’s a clever idea and the controls feel great for touchscreens. Unfortunately, it’s level-based and there isn’t much reason to play for long. You don’t get scored or anything, and you can even mess up and continue anyway. The only thing to strive for is gems to unlock new skins. But the levels don’t get faster or longer or more difficult, at least not from the 35 levels I played through. Without any sort of progression or goal, it just feels boring and pointless. I would have preferred and endless high score chaser, where things get gradually more difficult and you need to survive as long as possible without crashing into an obstacle. In its current state, it seems like a lot of lost potential. The game does say that challenges are coming, but that doesn’t sound like an endless mode. I should also mention that the video below was taken right before an update went through that added sound effects. so you don’t have to play in complete silence if you do decide to download it.

Rusty Pup

Rusty Pup has been out for a little while now, but I finally got a chance to try it out. Unfortunately, the short time I spent with it was not a positive experience. In theory, the game sounds great — you help a little robotic dog named Rusty Pup get around the level and to the exit by manipulating the environment. Early on, this mostly means turning lights on and off — Rusty hates the dark — and laying bricks down over gaps so he can cross. It’s like Lemmings, but you only have one dog to worry about. But there are several problems, all which compound to make it a pretty awful experience for me. First, each level is on a timer. If you run out of time, you have to start over. So you can’t really stop and think. That might be easier to swallow if the environment wasn’t so busy, making it hard to see what you can and should be doing. You can pinch to zoom in and out, but meanwhile the clock is ticking. I can see this maybe being enjoyable if the graphics were cleaner and easier to make out the path. But it seems intentionally confusing and muddled. To confound matters, there’s no real way to scope out the level before starting and plan things out. It starts with Rusty asleep, and everything is black and white and slightly distorted until you wake him up. So if you’re really patient and persistent, maybe you can make something out from it, but, like I said, the environments are already hard to see normally, so good luck with that. And finally, the narrator has what is quite possibly the most annoying voice I have ever heard. It grated on my nerves and exacerbated my discomfort. It sounds like it’s aimed at children, but clearly the difficulty level of the game means it’s geared towards adults. I could have maybe tried to give this game a chance if at least one of these factors were different, but combined it just makes for an unplayable game for me. And this was on my nice big iPad — I can’t even imagine playing this on a small iPhone.

Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter isn’t releasing until July 25th, but I got access to it ahead of time. It’s a gorgeous game with an equally stunning soundtrack, but it’s tough as nails. After struggling with the intended difficulty, I started a new save on the easier mode. I am enjoying it more now, but still having trouble when stuck in a confined space with lots of enemies. Sadly, my session with the easy mode didn’t record, but I’ll try to get some footage for you later, before the official release. This is a game that should be played with a controller if you have one, but I’m trying to make do with the onscreen buttons. I’ll hopefully have more to show and say when the game releases, but for now you can watch some of my gameplay video below. And you can also pre-order the game if you don’t want to wait.

Solisquare

Solisquare doesn’t release until September, but if you want to try it before then, it started as a puzzle inside The Company Game. That insanely talented teenaged developer, Chain Reaction Games, mixed up solitaire by stuffing it into a square. It’s a great fit for mobile, as you’re never dealing with more than nine cards at a time. It also plays in both portrait and landscape mode, has tvOS support and iCloud sync across all the devices. And as you play, you earn coins that can be used to unlock new decks. So far I have the Pizza deck and Llama deck and they both make me smile. There’s a bug that’s been preventing me from earning all my coins, so I haven’t been able to unlock as many decks as I should have. But I’m sure that will be ironed out by September, as well as some overall polishing. But the game is pretty much feature complete now and is great for short games when you have a few minutes to kill. You can watch some of my gameplay below if you want to see what it’s like in action.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing this past week! I also tried Flappy Royale, but it turns out I don’t like the game any better when playing against 99 other people. And since my high score was two pipes, I decided not to record any video. I also got news of an upcoming game by Golf Peaks developer, Lukasz Spierewka. It’s called inbento and features sushi and cats all wrapped up in what looks to be a stylish puzzler. You can pre-order it here or wait until I have impressions. Anyway, let me know in the comments section what games you’ve been enjoying and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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