My Week Unwrapped: November 5, 2019 – reky, Bad North, Undead Horde, Swords of Ditto, Return of the Obra Dinn 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. Despite being swamped with Apple Arcade games, there were still a lot of free-standing iOS games to play this past week or so. You might have noticed this post is a week late, so there’s a lot of games to cover. I didn’t love all of them, but there’s plenty that are worth your time, so read up to see which ones.

reky

I was off to rough start with reky, mainly because there was no undo button, making every mistake lead to a restart. So I gave up on it fairly early and explained why here. Not long after, the developers responded to all my feedback by adding an undo button, as well as a proper move counter. Since then, I’ve been enjoying the game so much that I’ve completed it at par — or under par — for almost all the levels. I’ve also been having a bit of a competition with another player for the top spot on the leaderboard. I may have to let him have it, though, because there aren’t many points left for me to squeeze out of the game. As much as I like it, I don’t really have the time to replay the same levels over and over to try to find the optimal solution. But I did write a proper review here. The gist of it is that, after the update, it’s easy to recommend to any puzzle fans. So make reky your next puzzle obsession! And if you get stuck, I started a walkthrough guide here.

Bad North: Jotunn Edition

I already mentioned Raw Fury and Plausible Concept’s Bad North when it released a few weeks back, but my first two games didn’t go so well. It seems the third time’s the charm, though, as my current game has gone exceptionally well so far. I enabled level restarts for a more stress-free experience and I’ve been enjoying it a lot more that way. I even managed to get several turns ahead of the dotted line that swallows up islands and prevents you from taking them. That said, I’m having a lot of trouble with the final island, The Last Stand. None of my strategies have worked yet, as my men keep getting overwhelmed by all the enemies attacking at once. I’m also still not that great at using skills, as I often have the timing off. I’m going to keep working at it, though, and hope I find the right strategy to beat the game. Overall, it’s a great game, with lots of options to make it easier or harder, depending on your preference. The iCloud sync is also working now, and I really appreciate the five save slots so I can have multiple games going at once. If you’re at all interested in it, I recommend grabbing it. And if you want to see more of it in action, I posted my entire current playthrough here.

Undead Horde

10tons’ Undead Horde has you playing as a necromancer who can raise soldiers — and chickens — from the dead and then command them as his army. The idea is to travel the lands, killing and burning everything in sight. As your soldiers die, you can raise new ones from the remains of those they killed, but your powers are limited. You can only control so many undead at once, and your re-animation power has a cool-down timer. Thankfully, you have other ways to help, like swinging your axe at enemies or shooting fire from your staff. I’m enjoying the game, and I personally like that I don’t have to worry too much if I’m in a tight spot, as I can usually just run to a safe area and teleport back to the crypt. From there, you can summon a new army and then teleport back to the area where you were having trouble. I think any tents you burned down will stay burned, so you shouldn’t lose much progress doing that. I can see how the game might get repetitive over time, but I hope the different kinds of enemies and undead too can recruit will keep it interesting. That said, I do think the joystick could use a bit of work, at least on iPad. It’s a floating joystick but doesn’t always move to where I drop my thumb. It’s not a huge deal, but does cause trouble occasionally. I also wish it had iCloud sync so I could play the same game on my iPhone. Anyway, you can check out my gameplay videos below to see if it’s something you might like.

The Swords of Ditto

Publisher Devolver Digital ported Onebitbeyond’s The Swords of Ditto to iOS almost without warning and I was eager to try it. The colorful cartoon style is hard to resist, and the humor is pretty amusing, as well. The idea of it is that you start as one hero, and then when you die a new one takes your place. It reminds me a bit of Minit, but not quite as frantic. I’m also not quite sure what you lose when you’re reincarnated and what carries over. The game starts you off with some nice items, including bow and arrows, and I was enjoying being able to attack enemies from afar. But then a boss killed me, and I don’t think I had a choice in the matter. But now that I’m a new hero, I have no bow, just my sword. And I’m finding movement and combat with the sword a little cumbersome. The joystick is floating, so it works wherever your thumb lands. The buttons are also somewhat customizable, so those aren’t the problem. The issue is that movement feels slow and unpredictable. Considering how many monsters are running around, it’s making the game a little hard to enjoy. There is a dodge button, which perhaps I should get more used to using, but I have trouble using several onscreen buttons in the heat of battle. I would prefer movement to just be faster so I could get out of their way easily. It also doesn’t have iCloud sync, so I can’t load my save on my iPhone and see if it feels more natural. Perhaps it’s better with a controller, but as is I’m not sure I’ll stick with it for long, however charming the art style and humor is. It even has voice acting, which I didn’t expect. You can watch some of my gameplay video below to see if it’s something you might like.

Adventure Escape Mysteries: Pirate’s Treasure

Haiku Games is back with yet another Adventure Escape game. This one has you playing as a pair of pirates as they hunt for the lost Crown Jewels. You need to download the Adventure Escape Mysteries app in order to play it, and like all the other games on there, you have to wait for keys or buy them in order to unlock new chapters. It’s not too bad, though, and the game is otherwise free. I enjoyed this one, and it only had one puzzle that annoyed me. Overall, I think it’s worth checking out if you liked their other games. And if you get stuck, you can use my walkthrough guide to help you out.

Meridian 157: Chapter 1

A little while ago, NovaSoft Interactive released the prologue their first-person point-and-click adventure, Meridian 157. It gave us a taste of what’s to come and, even though it was short, it had some tricky puzzles and set up an interesting story. This week, they released the next part of the game, Chapter 1. I’m still playing through it, but it seems a lot bigger and there are quite a few puzzles. I’m currently stuck with only some fan blades in my bag and no idea what to use them for, but hopefully I’ll figure it out soon. There are in-game hints, but I’m trying to avoid using them. I should have more impressions once I finish the chapter, but until then you can watch some of my gameplay videos to see if it looks interesting to you. And if you get stuck, I’m working on a walkthrough guide here.

BACKFIRE

A while back, I reviewed Gryn Sqyd’s arena shooter, BACKFIRE, and I had mostly good things to say. The only thing I felt was missing was a proper high score chasing mode. Well, the developer has been hard at work on the Purgatory mode, which is just that. You fight waves of monsters just like in the Classic mode, but there’s some big differences. In Classic, the game saves after you defeat a boss, so if you die you begin on the same chapter. You can also earn coins to use for upgrades, and those upgrades stick with you even after death. Once you beat all the bosses, there’s not much more to do, though. That’s where Purgatory comes in. It’s more challenging in some ways, since you start from scratch each game and have to last as long as you can. If you die, you start over, but you also have a score for bragging rights. What also changes in this mode is that you don’t use coins to buy upgrades. Instead, you choose one of three upgrades at the end of each wave. And there are a lot of new ones specific to this mode that change the game up quite a bit. My favorite combo is Poison together with Vampiric. That means any enemy that gets close to me takes damage and I heal from that damage. It actually enabled me to defeat the main boss fairly easily. Unfortunately, I paused the game to brag on Twitter and when I opened the game again, it restarted the app and my progress was gone. It appears there’s no way to save your place in the Purgatory mode, which seems like a huge oversight. I’m a big fan of endless modes in games, but since the goal is to last as long as possible, I need to be able to take breaks when needed. As is, my progress could be lost just from a call or simply needing a break. And it’s just not worth investing time into it if my progress can be lost so easily. I hope this can be fixed, because it really is a ton of fun and I want to get back to playing.

Veritas

I wrote about Glitch Games’ upcoming adventure game, Veritas, a while back, but they’ve just now announced the release date of February 12th. The game takes place in a sort of asylum, where tests on human subjects take place. It’s a dark game, like their others, but still has that Glitch humor you would expect. A lot has changed since I last played it, so I started a new game and recorded some gameplay to show off. I should have more closer to release, but from what I played so far, this is definitely one to look forward to. You’ll be able to play it on iOS, Android and PC come February 12th, which will be here sooner than you think!

Boolitaire

Mobile has been a magnet for card games that put a spin on Solitaire. They work great on the platform because they don’t require fancy controls, can usually fit well in portrait mode, and they’re good for short play sessions. I’m always on the lookout for new ones to try, so Boolitaire seemed like a no-brainer at only $1.99. Unfortunately, I’m struggling a lot with it. I can’t seem to win, and it feels like it’s too reliant on luck. The way it works is that you draw four cards at a time. Black suits are enemies, diamonds are shields, and hearts are health. You have to play at least three cards before you can pass and draw the next four. You have a maximum of 21 health and you can only play a heart card after another suit. If you play an enemy card, it attacks you for the number of damage shown on it. If you have a strong enough shield with high enough durability, you won’t take damage. Unfortunately, it’s very confusing how the damage is determined. I get that the shield’s durability needs to be high enough, as well as the shield’s strength. But I don’t get why a durability of 8 can’t take 8 damage. Instead, I would lose 8 health and break my shield. Between those confusing mechanics and the possibility of drawing a hand entirely made up of high-numbered enemies, I’m not really enjoying it. The only way you can mitigate your luck is if you play all four cards one turn and then you’re free to pass the entire next hand without having to play any of them. But if the next hand is bad, you’re screwed. Perhaps if there were some sort of skills to use in a pinch, I’d feel like I have more control over my destiny. But as is, I’m not sure I’ll stick with it. But you can watch my gameplay video and make up your own mind.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn isn’t available on iOS yet, even though it seems like a great fit for touchscreens. But it did release on Nintendo Switch recently and I wanted to give it a try. I planned to only play about 20 – 30 minutes for my first session, but had a hard time putting it down and played for almost an hour. You play as an insurance investigator who needs to assess the damages of the ship named the Obra Dinn. The entire crew is dead and you have to inspect each body and identify the person, determine what killed them, and by whom, if there’s a killer. It’s a trippy experience, since each body takes you to a scene where their death is frozen in time. You can walk around the scene and look at all the details, including the murder weapon. The hardest part is identifying each person, as there are about 60 of them in the game. Some of the scenes include dialogue and, early on, some names are called out that make it easier to identify them. But I can see it’s already getting trickier. I’m eager to go back in, but playing on my Switch takes more conscious effort than playing on my iPad, so the game has been pushed aside a bit for others. I do want to continue playing, though, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to feel like a super sleuth.

Faif

Faif is actually a fairly old game, but I kept thinking about buying it and never did for some reason. It was developed by Beavl but stopped being supported, so I lost my opportunity. That is, until GameClub revived it. They got it working for modern devices and added it to their subscription service that’s similar to Apple Arcade. So far, all their games are old ones, most of them brought back after being removed from the App Store due to being 32-bit apps or just lack of funds to update them. If you already had the game, you can play it without the subscription. Otherwise, it costs $5 per month to access the whole GameClub library. As for Faif, I like it to some extent, but I think it’s too reliant on luck and gambling for my tastes. I’m not much of a gambler, so I’m afraid of taking risks in the game. That means I’m playing it very safe and things get drawn out as I’m healing myself instead of damaging my opponent. It’s still an interesting and unique game, but it doesn’t have that hook for me. But check out my gameplay video below to see if it looks like your thing. And take a look at GameClub’s entire library to see if you might want to subscribe.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing over the last two weeks — aside from Apple Arcade games. So if you’re not subscribing, you should still be able to find plenty of quality games to play. Let me know in the comments section what you think of these games, and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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