My Week Unwrapped: January 17, 2020 – The White Door, Maze Machina, Pascal’s Wager, RogueJack 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. Once again, this roundup is a bit late, but mainly because I was spending a lot of time playing and covering a couple of games. There’s still plenty to cover, though, and some really great games to check out if you haven’t yet. So sit back and relax and let me tell you about them.

The White Door

Rusty Lake, the folks behind the bizarre Cube Escape games, released their latest point-and-click adventure this past week, called The White Door. They published it under their new label, Second Maze, but it’s still part of the same universe as their other games. It is very different, though. There’s no inventory this time, as it’s been replaced with a unique split-screen mechanic. For most of the game, you’re stuck in a hospital room that shows on the left side of the screen. If you walk up to an object or puzzle, it will appear on the right side of the screen so you can interact with it. The puzzles are much easier than we’re used to with their games, though the achievement hunting offers a bigger challenge. Overall, it was an interesting game and I enjoyed playing it, but do think the puzzles could have been a bit more complex. I’m still happy to see the company experimenting and trying new things instead of sticking to the same formula. And if you’re someone who follows all the lore, there’s bound to be some things here for you to pick apart and explore. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below and I have a complete walkthrough guide here if you need help with any achievements.

Maze Machina

I’ve been playing Tinytouchtales’ Maze Machina since its alpha version, and even showed you some gameplay a while back. Now that it’s finally out, I wrote a proper review, and also find it eating up all my free time (and my not-so-free time). I don’t always love Arnold Rauers’ games, due to the grind, but Maze Machina is a pure roguelike high score chaser where each run is self-contained. It’s a simple concept, but so much is going on at once that this turn-based game can feel pretty tense. If you’re looking for a game that plays with one hand and is, as the cliche goes, easy to pick up but hard to master, I highly recommend grabbing it. You can also watch some of my gameplay videos below, but I have even more on my YouTube channel.

Pascal’s Wager

Giant Network caught Apple’s attention with their Dark Souls-like game, Pascal’s Wager. It was used to show off the new phones that released last year, and now the game is finally out on iOS (with Android coming soon). I had the game a few days ahead of launch and spent some time with it, but then it released early and the update broke my current save. So I’m now waiting to see if the developers can fix that somehow before I start over. From what I’ve seen so far, the graphics are impressive, especially for mobile. I’m not a huge fan of all the bloom effects, as it makes it look blurry to me, but I did get used to it after a bit. I like the exploration aspect of the game, but the battles do stress me out. I’m a little out of my element here. So I’ve been taking it slow and healing when needed. There’s a catch, though — if you heal at an altar, all the enemies you killed respawn. That’s good for grinding currency (used for leveling up and useful items) but can slow down progress if you do it too often. Thankfully, there’s an object you can pick up fairly early in the game that makes everything easier, and I’m considering using it. But I’m not even sure yet whether I have enough interest in the story for that. The voice acting is a bit cringe-worthy, and the writing is a bit too serious for me. I really do enjoy exploring this world, though, so I may stick with it. I also want to try my controller with it, as the touch controls involve a lot of buttons on the screen and it can feel a bit cluttered. At the end of the day, your interest in these types of games will probably determine how much you enjoy it. If the idea of Dark Souls on your iPhone gets you excited, you probably won’t be disappointed. But if you like a more relaxed experience, it might be too hard and frustrating for you. You can also watch some of gameplay video below to see what it’s like.

1% Survival Escape

I liked the look and concept of Seeplay’s puzzle game, 1% Survival Escape, and since it’s free to try, I decided to do so. The idea is that you’re trapped in a room and have to open a series of doors, one after another. That’s not a unique concept, as many games have done that before. But the art style is polishes and I was optimistic that it would be a worthwhile addition to the genre. Unfortunately, I quit after just a few levels. The game is free, but there are banner ads at the bottom of the screen, as well as pop-up ads (I played in airplane mode for the video, which is why you don’t see them). But on top of that, there’s a hearts system. If you make a mistake, you lose a heart. If you run out of hearts, you have to buy more through IAPs or watch ads to earn more. There is an unlimited hearts IAP that’s a reasonable price of $2.99, but it doesn’t remove ads. So since I’m not going to pay for a game that has ads, I decided to just stop playing. The puzzles seem designed to trick you so you lose hearts and have to keep paying, so I don’t think I’m losing much. But feel free to check it out yourself if you’re curious.

RogueJack: RogueLike BlackJack

Ponywolf, the makers of The Knights of the Card Table, have a new game coming out in February, called RogueJack. I got an early copy and have spent some time with it, though not as much as I’d like. It’s a dungeon crawler that uses blackjack mechanics for battles. So when you bump into an enemy, you play blackjack against them, and whoever loses takes damage. Enemies have different abilities that affect the battles, though. For instance, normally no one takes damage in the event of a tie. But some enemies win in a tie. Others never draw a card if they have 16, and some turn into XP potions when they die. The idea is to get as far as you can in the dungeon before dying, picking up weapons and useful items from chests and enemies. But if you die, you don’t really start from scratch like with a real roguelike. You keep your level and abilities, but you’re sent back to the first floor without your gold or experience. You then have the option of climbing all the way back up or teleporting to your grave and earning some of your gold and XP back. I want to spend more time with it before I make any judgement, but I do think it might have been more interesting if it was a strict roguelike with leaderboards to compete in, or at least had a separate mode for that. But the game will be free when it releases with a single ad removal IAP, so you can try it for yourself. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s out, and you can also pre-order it right now so it downloads to your device automatically. Until then, you can watch some of my gameplay video below.

Sky: Children of the Light

And last but not least, the the next season in Sky is only a few days away and will be called the Season of Rhythm. Since the Winter season took place during the limited launch, they’ve brought back those spirits, expressions and cosmetics, with a few new ones as well. I’ve been playing it in the beta version over the last week and I’m absolutely in love with the cosmetics, as well as the expressions. (***Spoilers!***) There are four different bird masks, four sets of pants, two capes, and two instruments, as well as some funky hairstyles. There’s also a fun little ice skating rink at Home, so you can skate around whenever you feel like it. I’ve been wanting that since forever, and I’m so glad they listened. There’s even a few small ramps for performing tricks. And the new dance expression allows you to mess around with 15 different poses, even on ice! On top of all that, there’s new traveling spirits. They’re spirits from previous seasons that reappear for only a weekend, in which you can buy their expressions and cosmetics for in-game currency. So there’s quite a few changes. I’ve embedded a few videos below, but you can see all the spirits here if you don’t mind spoilers.

And that’s everything I’ve been up to over the last week or so. There’s plenty of great games releasing in January and February, so keep an eye out for the next installment of My Week Unwrapped. And let me know in the comments section what you think about the games I’ve mentioned.

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