Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. This has been a pretty crazy week, between the Rusty Lake ARG (alternate reality game) and the new season in Sky. I also played a whole bunch of new games from the last couple of weeks. There’s a lot to cover, so I’m going to cut this intro short and dive right in.
The White Door
I had finished the main game in Rusty Lake’s latest puzzle adventure game, The White Door, last week. But one of the achievements led people to a message to check out a website after January 22nd. So that site went live a few days ago, and wow what a rabbit hole. If you browse through it and look for clues, they eventually lead you ten locations around the world where physical black cubes were hidden. The first person to get to each of those locations would get the cube, which played a recording with a series of numbers in it. Once that person input that information into the website, everyone else could see it and then use it in the game to get an alternate ending. It’s insanely elaborate and I can’t even imagine how they pulled off something like this. They even got local businesses involved, as some of the requirements were to do things like order a Bloody Mary at a specific restaurant. I wish I could have participated in the actual treasure hunt, but there were none near me. Even so, it was fun working things out with people, and it was all solved pretty fast, in about 24 hours. Anyway, definitely check out the game and try your hand at the ARG, even if it is solved already. It’s quite a sight to behold. And you can see my guide for it here, along with a video showing the in-game part.
WILL: A Worderful World
Even though it’s a port, I hadn’t heard of WMY Studio’s narrative game, WILL: A Wonderful World before. But I liked the idea of playing God and changing people’s fates, so I gave it a try. So far, I’ve spent about 1.5 hours with it and I’m really enjoying it. The way it works is people send you letters and ask you to fix their bad day. You do so by rearranging certain events so that things play out differently. Sometimes, though, two people’s fates are intertwined, so you have to swap parts of each other’s stories. I really appreciate how much attention was put into making the game feel right on mobile. It’s already a perfect fit for touchscreens, but it also works well with short sessions. You can mess around as much as you want without consequence (at least so far) instead of having to live with the choices you made and move on. That means you don’t have to replay the game over and over to try and get better endings. You can just work at it from within the same game. The writing is also high quality and features some adult themes, even though it is mostly about young people. And last but not least, it has iCloud sync, so you can take it with you and continue wherever you are. I look forward to spending more time with it and would recommend it to anyone who likes narrative-heavy games with unique puzzle mechanics.
Whykev’s TaniNani is a puzzle game that shares some mechanics with Splitter Critters and FRAMED. Each level is made up of four frames that can be swapped around. The goal is always to pick up the crystal and get the two fluffy creatures to touch. But each level has another goal, such as meeting all the requirements in a certain number of moves, or or finishing it in a certain amount of time. I really like the puzzles themselves, even if I’m not always sure I’m solving them the intended way. You see, it’s possible to to pause everything and then move them again, once they’ve already started moving. And I’m never sure if that’s considered cheating. I’ve kind of just accepted that whatever works goes. But there are some issues that make it hard for me to want to stick with it to the end. First off, the puzzle area is tiny on my big iPad, using only a small fraction of the screen space. It makes it harder on my eyes than it needs to be. Also, despite all that empty space, there’s no reset button within easy reach. Instead, you have to click through the menu three times to reset. It gets tiresome, because it’s easy to make a mistake and want to restart. And last, it’s the kind of game that really needs iCloud sync, but it doesn’t have it yet. The developer has expressed interest in improving things, as well as adding iCloud, so I’m hopeful that an update might fix all these problems. But if they don’t bother you, there’s a pretty solid puzzler here. You can see what it’s like in my gameplay videos below.
I first played Pascal’s Wager a few days ahead of release, but then the release version wouldn’t load my save. They fixed that now, so I continued playing. I made some more progress and made it to the first boss, but unfortunately he wiped the floor with me. I then went and found the item that makes things easier, but he still destroyed me very easily. So, as much as I want to explore this world, I think I’m just not cut out for the whole Dark Souls-like experience. I may still give it a chance with my controller, but if I’m using a controller I would prefer to play on Apple TV, and it doesn’t support that. I also use a controller so rarely, that I’m not sure it would help me that much. But don’t let my experience with the game deter you from picking it up if you think it looks like something you’d enjoy. You can also watch my second gameplay video below.
Peter Hijma’s minimalistic puzzle game, Unitied, has been out for a little while now, but I finally decided to grab it and give it a try. It’s a no-frills game where you swipe in one of the four directions to slide all squares that way. They’ll all slide until they hit a wall. The aim is to get a square in each goal. It starts off simple, but gets increasingly harder, especially as moving obstacles are added. There’s no move counter or timer, so you can just mess around to your heart’s content. And there’s a reset button within easy reach if you mess up. There seems to be only 40 levels, but I got stuck on level 26, so it looks like it does get tricky. I’ll update you with my full impressions once I’ve completed the game, but at only $0.99, it’s not much of a gamble. You can also check out my gameplay video below.
Cecconoid has also been our for a week or two now, but I finally gave it a try. It’s meant to be an old school hardcore twin-stick shooter, and it’s clearly too hardcore for me. I was able to make a little progress, but each time I die it starts me back at the beginning. I’m fine with that in turn-based roguelikes, but when it’s skill-based, I need to be able to make progress bit by bit. Otherwise I’ll never get anywhere. Besides that, I don’t like how the two floating joysticks only work on the lower half of the screen. I hold my iPad slightly above the hit zone, so I keep hitting the dead zone and then my ship doesn’t move. I’m not sure why it wasn’t just straight split screen. But even if that was fixed, the lack of checkpoints means it’s just not the game for me. But if it looks like your kind of thing, it will only set you back $1.99, with no ads or IAPs.
Grand Mountain Adventure
Toppluva’s open world skiing game, Grand Mountain Adventure, released this week as a free demo with a single full-game unlock IAP. I spent a bit of time with it and it seems well-made, but in the end it just wasn’t for me. I thought it would be a more relaxing experience, but it was stressing me out instead. I might give it another try, but if you’re interested in it, I recommend just playing the demo and deciding for yourself whether you want to purchase the rest of the game.
bludgeonsoft’s Vilmonic is a strange little game about breeding life forms and evolving them. It’s a mix of crafting and survival, as you dig up mushrooms that you then plant or use to craft other items. You can build walls to keep out the strange zombies that just won’t let you garden in peace. There’s a lot going on and I’ve only scratched the surface, but I’m not sure I’ll stick with it for long. I’m not big on these farming games. But I appreciate that it plays in landscape on iPad and portrait on iPhone. It’s also completely free without any ads. There are some IAPs, but they’re only for expansions, like making a bigger map. You can still play without those upgrades and enjoy the game. So check it out and see if you can unlock all its secrets and potential.
Sky: Children of the Light
And last but not least, the Season of Rhythm started in Sky this week. I posted previews of it from the beta version, but now everyone can enjoy it. My absolute favorite part of this season is the new Home ice skating rink, but the cosmetics are all top-notch, too. I’m especially excited about all the new fancy pants, the two capes, and the dodo and duck masks. There’s also a dance expression that’s basically like 15 emotes rolled into one. There’s really a lot to like here. And of course, that means new seasonal spirits, as well as candles to find each day. I’ve already put a guide together if you need help finding them. Anyone can collect the spirits and their basic expressions. Then you need seasonal candles to unlock emote upgrades and cosmetics. Some are locked behind the Adventure Pass, though, so you’ll need one in order to get everything. They also made some changes to the friend pack, as it now costs $20 but the gift passes include the bonus 20 candles. And you can also buy extra gift passes for $10. So if you’re not able to afford it yourself, maybe a nice friend will gift it to you! I’ve already posted a lot of videos during the beta, but here are some more I’ve taken in the live version. Whether you decide to try and get all the cosmetics or not, make sure to at least use the ice rink and test out your tightroping skills. This season will last 10 weeks, so there’s plenty of time to check it out.
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this past week! I also saw Uncut Gems, which I initially didn’t want to see but ended up really enjoying it. Crazy movie! Anyway, let me know in the comments section which games you’re playing lately, and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!