My Week Unwrapped: August 27, 2019 – GRIS, Telling Lies, Path of Giants, Nimian Legends Vandgels, Dead Cells 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 actually skipped last week because I spent most of it playing Telling Lies, so it didn’t seem to make much sense to write a roundup for that and a couple of other games. I then spent most of this week playing GRIS, so this will still be a fairly light post. But it’s packed with quality premium games. There’s so many releasing that I can barely keep up with them. It also makes it easier to ignore all the free-to-play junk that’s designed around getting the most money out of players. With Apple Arcade around the corner and rumored to cost only $5 per month, things are looking up for iOS gamers who like quality, premium experiences. Anyway, let’s get to the games!

GRIS

I mentioned GRIS a few times already, as I played the demo at PlayNYC and also started the game on my Switch. But the iOS version blew me away from the first moments, as I mentioned here. Even though it’s a platformer that depends on precise movement, the controls never get in the way. That’s because they’re gesture-based instead of onscreen buttons. And they’re flawless. I could go on and on about them — and audiovisual bliss — for the third time, but I think it makes more sense to just let you read my review. But the short of it is that this game is a masterpiece and should be played by everyone.

Telling Lies

Sam Barlow’s Telling Lies is a game I’ve been eagerly waiting for ever since I played Her Story back in 2015. It’s been in development for over two years and finally released last week. I was lucky enough to have it ahead of time and therefore had a review ready in time. While it’s very different from Her Story and may not have the same shock value, it’s powerful in its own way. While playing and searching for new video clips, you’re constantly wondering if you should even be watching them. That’s because the videos are of private, intimate conversations between people who didn’t know they were being recorded. I felt like a bit of a creep, even though I knew it’s fictional. The game does require more time and patience than Her Story did, since there’s five times as much footage. There’s also a lot of rewinding and fast-forwarding involved, which can slow down the pace. I recommend playing this in hour-long chunks so you can make some decent progress and not feel rushed through it. I also have a walkthrough guide here that includes all the videos of my first playthrough.

Path of Giants

I’ve only played through a little under half of the new puzzler, Path of Giants, by Journey Bound Games, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit. It has you controlling three cute little guys bundled up in winter coats as they brave the freezing path of giants. Each one is a different color and you need to get them all to their individual goals. The catch is, they can’t reach higher platforms on their own. So they climb on each other’s heads! It’s adorable, too. I don’t think those animations can ever get old. There are also color-coded buttons that move platforms, as well as other mechanics that get introduced as you progress. Each level is split into multiple puzzles, so it’s longer than it appears at first glance. I do wish you could choose a specific puzzle to replay, though, instead of an entire level. There are coins to collect from hard you break, so it would be nice to be able to jump around to each puzzle individually to look for them. Since the game works in portrait mode, it can be played with one hand. And since there’s no reflexes involved, you can play anywhere. There’s even a way to change the colors of each of the characters so colorblind folks can find ones that are easier to differentiate. I thought that was really considerate and something you don’t often see. I’m still playing through the game, so I don’t have a final verdict yet. But you can follow along with my gameplay videos here and I’ll be sure to give more impressions once I complete the game.

Nimian Legends : Vandgels

I only spent a half hour with Protopop’s Nimian Legends: Vandgels, but I’ll share my impressions so far. I’m curious about where the story is going, especially since I seem to be staying with a suicide cult that believes in a process called Ascension. People willingly get nuked so they can reach the afterlife, even though no one really knows if it exists. Thankfully, my character is skeptical, so I don’t think I’ll be getting in the nuke tank anytime soon. I also like the creepy cult members and their weird hats. And my nice double-bladed weapon for slicing and dicing. I am getting motion sickness from the camera, but the developer has given me some advice on how to change the camera controls, so I’ll see if that helps. One thing you can depend on with Protopop is that there are a lot of settings and options for each player to tweak. Even the gameplay itself is customizable. There’s a story mode, a dungeon mode, and an exploration mode for those who just want to enjoy the scenery. I think you can even enter photograph mode to take pictures. So whatever your style, you should be able to find a way to enjoy the game. I do wish there was less walking up and down the same building during the story, but the developer is watching and listening and taking feedback into consideration. I really appreciate that, so even if I can’t get rid of the motion sickness right now, I would keep an eye on it to see what changes are made. Anyway, you can watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like. Unfortunately, it’s hard to hear my voice because it gets drowned out by the game’s sound. I’ll try to lower it for my next video

while True: learn()

while True: learn() is a programming game that recently made its way over to iOS from PC. The premise is that your cat fixes your program’s bugs in middle of the night, so you then decide you need to make a cat translator so you can ask him how he did it. So far, the game mostly involves dragging nodes to connect parts of the program and sort objects by color or shape. I got confused on a puzzle where I had to program a self-driving car and I haven’t been back since. I may still try to get past that point, but I’ve been getting distracted by other games, so I’m not sure when that will happen. Still, you can watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like.

Afterlife – Interactive 360 Film

Unfortunately, Afterlife bugged out on my after about fifteen minutes and then deleted my progress when I tried to close it and resume. So there’s not much to say about it at the moment other than that you should wait until the bugs are sorted out. If you’re curious what it’s like, check out my gameplay video below.

Dead Cells

Dead Cells actually doesn’t release until tonight, but I got it a few days early and spent some time with it. I again feel incredibly lucky that iOS is getting these quality games. It both looks and sounds great and I love the humor in it. I also appreciate that it’s a roguelite so those of us who have a harder time with it can still make some progress. That said, I’m struggling quite a bit, especially with the onscreen buttons. They’re fully customizable, but I just don’t know how to make six buttons work without having to keep looking to make sure my fingers land on the right ones. This is a game you should probably play with a controller. I think it’s supposed to get Apple TV support eventually, so maybe I’ll try it on there with a controller when that happens. I’m still able to make it to the second area fairly consistently, but it seems like it’s going to take a lot of grinding through that one area to be able to afford permanent upgrades that will make it easier for me to get further. I also got lucky on my first run, that my first drop was an electric whip. It was amazing and I was having a blast, and then I died and lost it. I haven’t seen anything yet that’s as powerful or as fun to use, so it’s kind of been downhill since then. But I’m not done with the game yet, so keep an eye out for more from me about it.

Rank Runner

Rank Runner releases tonight, but I got to play the beta a bit ahead of time. It’s a pretty cool idea, where you have to try and literally climb the leaderboard while dodging enemies. It’s got simple controls, but is not an easy game. I’m not sure how long I will hold my attention, but it’s free to play, supported by ads, so check it out when it releases tonight.

Sole Light

I wrote a bit about Sole Light a while back. It’s still in beta, but the developer just released the second chapter. I’m enjoying it and looking forward to the rest. I’ll make sure to keep you posted on any further updates.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing over the last two weeks! I also got Agent A Chapter 5 a few days ago and am really enjoying that. Look out for it this week, August 29th. I’m about to see Ready or Not, so I need to go. But 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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Rob Kabwe

Cool list – I’m going to buy GRIS – the animation in the game looks incredible. Im amazed at how new developers are able to create such movie quality fluid motions, and the imagination looks very high. Thanks also for the Vandgels shout out:)

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