My Week Unwrapped: December 6, 2019 – The House of Da Vinci 2, She Sees Red, Bloku!, Monopoly, Remember 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. My Apple Arcade coverage is winding down now that new games are no longer being released on a weekly basis. So, even though this post is a few days late, I’m going to try to get back on a schedule. There’s a lot of new games this week, so we have a lot to cover, especially for puzzle and adventure game fans. If you’re looking for a new game to cozy up with during this cold weather, you’ve come to the right place!

The House of Da Vinci 2

Blue Brain Games released The House of Da Vinci back in 2017 and I had a lot of great stuff to say about it in my review, but I also thought they took too much inspiration from The Room series. Well, now they’re back with the sequel, and I’m happy to say that it really stands out on its own. It’s still a Room-like, but it does so much to differentiate itself from its inspiration. You wake up in a cell, all filthy, and someone helps you escape by sneaking in a key and distracting the guard. From there, you find a device that allows you to peer into the past and make changes that will affect the future. I’m a big fan of time-manipulation in games, so that’s a huge selling point for me. After that, you need to make your way through a labyrinth full of puzzles designed by Leonardo Da Vinci to test you. You go back and forth between the past and present, and the puzzles are very satisfying to solve. The next chapter includes a puzzle box similar to the original Room, but it’s so elaborate and the way it unfolds is so impressive, that it’s impossible to brush this off as a clone. I’m not finished playing yet, as I’m trying to take my time and savor it, but I’m glad to see that the developers have really found their own way and designed a truly satisfying puzzle adventure game. I’m also enjoying the story, which is more fleshed out this time, and the fully voice-acted cutscenes. If you like adventure games or puzzle games, this is a must-have. I’ll be sure to give you my full impressions once I complete the game. And if you get stuck, I’m working on a walkthrough guide here.

She Sees Red

I already mentioned Rhinotales’ full motion video game (FMV), She Sees Red, last week, but now the game is available for everyone and I played through it a second time. Each playthrough is only about half an hour, but I was surprised how differently things turned out this time. You really do need to play more than once to get the full story. I found the whole plot gripping, holding my attention from beginning to end. It’s a little less so the second time around, but the changes I made still kept me on my toes. At the end of the day, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure movie more than a game, so just be aware of that before buying. I enjoyed it for what it is and may even play through it a third time, since I’ve only seen 2/3 of the clips. If you like interactive movies, give She Sees Red a chance. But know that it can be gory at times!

Bloku!

Bloku! is a new high score chaser from Wonderkid, the developer of Hexa Turn and Hexanome. It has some hints of Tetris, but it’s unique enough on its own to stand out. The goal is still to clear lines using the shapes given to you, but it’s done very differently. Three shapes are shown at the top of the screen. You can then draw any one of them on the board to remove those tiles from the board. But if you don’t clear a line with that move, the board inches up. If you do clear a line, you get a multiplier bonus and also some extra breathing room. Tiles don’t automatically drop down when there’s space under them, so it can get pretty hectic. I’m enjoying it a lot, but I’m not sure how high the ceiling is for scoring. It seems like there might be a good deal of luck involved and there’s not much you can do if you get the wrong shapes. But I could be wrong, so I’m still trying to improve score. The game is free with ads and a single IAP to remove ads, so definitely give it a try and see if it hooks you.

Monopoly

Marmalade Game Studio released a new version of the classic board game, Monopoly, this week, with fancy updated graphics and multiple ways to play. There’s single-player against one or more AIs, online multiplayer against strangers, pass-and-play with a local friend, or online with friends. There’s also the classic rules or quick play, which is supposed to offer faster games for folks with less time to devote to a normal Monopoly game. You skip some spaces and the game ends after the first bankruptcy. There’s also the option to customize the rules yourself, which is a microcosm touch. I only try the quick play against an AI so far, and it still wasn’t over after 45 minutes. Perhaps that’s my fault for playing against only one and not two or three. The game itself runs well, tho some animations seem unnecessary. I also got annoyed because my opponent kept trying to offer me trades every single turn even though I kept turning down those same offers over and over. It gets annoying after a while. That said, I’m not sure anyone’s meant to play Monopoly against a computer. Unfortunately, the online play is synchronous, not asynchronous, so you have to set aside a big chunk of time if you want to play. I started a multiplayer game, but it’s hard to stay interested with other people you can’t speak to. If anything, I think I might start a game with my friend next door and see if we can play a little every day for eternity. But I can’t see playing against a computer or strangers I can’t talk to. If you think you’d still enjoy it, give it a try. It is a well-made game and the classic board is cheap compared to the physical game. The base game is $3.99, but you can also buy other boards and tokens through IAPs. If you really like collecting different themes, you can buy all current and future packs for $29.99. There are no other IAPs. Everything is cosmetic and there are no pay-to-win mechanics. If you like Monopoly and want a digitized version, this a solid choice, but it’s best to play with friends.

Remember: A Puzzle Horror Game

I liked the idea of a room escape game with a horror twist, so I was eager to try David White’s Remember. I tried to overlook the fact that the game plays upside-down for me and forced me to rotate my iPad. I also tried to ignore the fact that it doesn’t fill the full screen of the iPad, and even the user interface is in the center, instead of being moved to the black space at the top and bottom. But what I had a hard time getting past was the awkward navigation. Sometimes if you zoom in on something, there’s an arrow back to zoom back out. But most times you have to navigate using left and right arrows, and it can be hard to find the exact perspective you’re looking for. I missed something early on because I was still trying to figure out what exactly I needed to do to get specific angles of the room. I found it so distracting, and I kept spinning in circles using the arrow buttons, that it was hard to enjoy the game and the puzzles themselves. I do like how the elevator has a combination lock that you enter codes into to get to different rooms. But the awkwardness of the navigation is keeping me from wanting to continue with it. I suggest at least trying the free version before deciding if you want to buy the full game. Or you can watch some of my gameplay video below. I should also warn you, though, that there are some bright flashing lights meant to cause jump scares. So if you’re sensitive to that, you should stay away.

Figment: Journey Into the Mind

I’ve been playing Bedtime Digital’s Figment since before it released, but haven’t finished it yet. I still like it a lot, especially the art style, puzzles, plentiful puns, and singing bosses. The story also deals with loss and depression and how the we humans handle it. I mentioned before that I find the battles stressful, even though death doesn’t set you back far. That’s still true, though I’ve been pushing through it and made it pretty far. I got more frustrated when timed puzzles were added, but luckily I’ve only come across two so far, and I managed to get past them in the end. I’m currently at a boss battle, but got distracted by other games. I do hope to complete it possibly write a proper review. But one of my gameplay videos got corrupted, so I stopped recording after that and have just been playing on my own. It’s a little less stressful that way, at least, as I don’t have performance anxiety. Once again, the game is free to try with a one-time $4.99 purchase yo unlock the full game. So there’s nothing to lose — give it a download!

Journey

I’ve been chipping away at thatgamecompany’s Journey a little bit at a time and I decided to play some more this week. It’s still weird coming to it after Sky, since flying is more limited and there’s no jump/leap button. The sand is more impressive, as it actually behaves like sand, but other aspects just feel dated to me after playing Sky. I can also see how much was borrowed from Journey, as the two games follow very similar paths. There’s a skiing race down a mountain and some dragon-like creature that I’m afraid to face because I’m worried he’ll steal my light like they do in Sky. I’m also still getting motion sickness, even though they did improve the camera controls so they don’t spin wildly anymore. I’m not sure why I get it here and not in Sky, but it means I’m very limited to how much and how often I can play. Anyway, you can see my latest experience with it in the video below.

Sky: Children of the Light

I’m still playing Sky, and this week the developers finally added the ultimate gift for the Season of Belonging, the campfire, to the beta version of the game. There’s also a new cosmetic for the holidays. You can see both in my video below and look forward to them in live sometime in the near future. The game also won Apple’s Game of the Year award, and I’m very happy for thatgamecompany, because they’ve put a lot of work into it. I may not agree with some choices they made, but it’s a gorgeous game with very talented people behind it. This season, especially, brings some expressions that are just so much fun to use. It’s a game that feels great to play if you can get past the repetitiveness of it. Anyway, it’s nice to see a unique game win that encourages friendship and cooperation instead of hunting each other down.

And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week! I’m going to get back to The House of Da Vinci 2 before bed, and see where Giacomo’s adventures take me. Let me know in the comments section which games you’re playing, and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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