Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. Now that the first month of the year is over, the games are starting to pile up. But this hasn’t been too crazy a week. I even managed to fit in some time for new Switch releases. I’m also working on walkthroughs for upcoming games, which is why you might not see as much activity as usual. But I am hard at work bringing you quality content, even if you can’t see it. Anyway, let’s get started, since there’s a good deal to cover.
I never played the original SpellTower, but Zach Gage released a sort of remastered version this week and I’ve hardly been able to put it down. SpellTower+ includes the modes from the original game, but adds a whole bunch of new ones, as well. It’s also polished up so it works on newer devices. With eleven different modes, it’s hard to get bored of it — though I am finding that I’m way out of my league on some of the leaderboards. I wrote a proper review here, so go read that instead of having me rehash everything. But the game is free and supported by ads, with a one-time purchase to remove ads and unlock more game modes. So give it a try — there’s nothing to lose but your free time!
Old Oak Den’s Dungeon Faster has been on Android for a while now, but it finally made its way over this iOS this past week. I spent some time with it and there’s a lot I like. As the name suggests, it’s meant for quick sessions that feel perfect on mobile. It’s similar to some other games where you tap on a tile on the map to reveal what’s underneath — be it treasure, a trap, a monster or the key to the exit. You need to gather runes and coins so you can use spell cards against the boss in each room. You can also find swords and shields that increase your defense and attack. It feels familiar yet fresh, and I could see playing it a lot — if it were a proper roguelike. Unfortunately, it’s another roguelite that advertises itself as a roguelike, and there seems to be quite a big grind until you get to the point where everything is upgraded and you’re shooting for a high score. You see, the gold coins you find are only for the current game. But you also earn gold teeth that you keep even if you die. These are used for all sorts of upgrades, including leveling up your heroes and cards. It costs 100 teeth to increase a hero’s level, but that cost increases to 200 for Level 3. And there are five different playable characters, so it would take some time to level them all up, as well as their cards. It feels like a massive time sink to me. I wish it had been a proper roguelike, balanced so that it can be completed by managing the resources you find in the dungeon on a single playthrough. But it’s meant to be chipped away at until you upgrade everything, and I simply don’t have the time or patience for that. You can buy a tooth doubler for $3.99, and I would do that if I felt it would actually speed things up. But from what I’ve seen, there’s just too many things to upgrade to make me want to stick with it. I also don’t see any way to change a hero’s stats once you’ve upgraded them, which seems strange. I added 1 attack to my barbarian with his first level-up, but what if I don’t like my choice? I don’t see any way to move that point to defense or a different stat. That seems strange, considering how much time one needs to sink into the game for all the upgrades. I certainly wouldn’t want to start from scratch just to change my heroes’ stats. So at the end of the day, even though I like the core mechanics of the game, I don’t think I’ll stick with it for long. I’m sure there are others out there who enjoy the grind and will love it, but that’s not me. I want a game that’s balanced to be beaten through skill, not by pumping gold into my characters until I can’t possibly lose. I still recommend giving the game a try for yourself, since it’s completely free with just the optional currency doubler.
I played some of Peter Hijma’s minimalistic puzzler, Unitied, for you last week and was pretty impressed. It’s a simple concept, as you just swipe the screen to move all squares in that direction. The aim in each level is to get all the squares to the goals. It starts off pretty easy, but gets a lot trickier as you progress. I finished the last fifteen levels this week and many of them gave some trouble, even after solving them once. I completed my walkthrough guide with levels 1 – 40, but the developer has since added a couple of extra puzzles and said he plans to add even more. So I’ll make sure to update you when new content is added. Meanwhile, I think it’s a pretty good deal at only $0.99 for 42 levels. If you like puzzlers, it’s a nice relaxing one that won’t stress you out too much.
Gamezaur has made several games I’ve enjoyed, such as the endless match-three, Rings., and the perspective puzzler, Perspecto. Their latest is called Shapecraft, and it has you moving pieces into place to light up all the dots. It starts off very easy and I was worried there wouldn’t be much challenge. But one way it makes things trickier is by giving you limited space to move things around. As I was nearing the end of the game, some of the puzzles took me a good while to solve. It’s not too long, and it’s not going to blow your mind. But there’s some interesting mechanics that are added to keep things from getting stale. I’m glad I played it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a puzzle game to keep you occupied for a day or two. I also have a walkthrough guide here if you get stuck.
WILL: A Wonderful World
I mentioned WILL: A Wonderful World last week, and I spent more time with it since. Unfortunately, the writing started to fall apart for me and the stories got a little too absurd. I was excited to get a letter from a cat asking for help, but the way the cat talked completely turned me off. It didn’t know what a car was called, but did know what a hospital is. It was just very inconsistent and a very eye-opening moment for me, as I realized that it was all just getting too cringe-worthy. It also seems graphic for shock value and nothing more. There was a story about a young boy choking his own mother. I’m not sure I’ll continue, as the writing is everything. I liked the idea of changing a people’s fates, but I wish it didn’t get so cheesy. Maybe sometime I’ll pick it up again out of curiosity, but I think I need a break for now. You can see my latest gameplay videos below to see if you might still have some interest in it.
Disgaea 1 Complete
To be honest, I don’t really know much about the Disgaea series, but developer Nippon Ichi Software offered me access to the new iOS version of the original, Disgaea 1 Complete, so I gave it a try. This is a remastered version of the strategy RPG that originally hit consoles back in 2003. Unfortunately, I don’t have much patience for full-blown RPGs these days, and some aspects of the game make me even less eager to stick with it. For starters, moving around the map is a little awkward. You tap to move, but there’s no pathfinding. So if there isn’t a straight path to where you want to go, you’ll have to keep tapping a bit at a time. Otherwise you’ll just get stuck on things that are in the way. I don’t think you spend too much time walking around, as much of the game takes place on the battle screen. But battles are clunky, too. When you start them, you first have to summon each character individually by tapping through some menus. Then you have to tap on the character again and choose MOVE and select a tile. Then you have to tap on them again and choose whether you want to attack, defend, or even lift up another character. The whole system is way too time-consuming than it needs to be. I’m not sure why the next menu doesn’t automatically pop up after you move a character, as is is common in most turn-based games like this. By the time I was done with the tutorial, I was already tired of the game. I also don’t have any nostalgia for the series, so I’m not really willing to push through these issues to get deeper into the game. And at over $30, I’m not sure anyone but those who are already fans of it and now want it in their pocket will buy it. If that’s you, you probably know what to expect and don’t care what I have to say. For everyone else, I recommend watching some of my gameplay video below — and maybe some others you find — before deciding whether to buy.
Sky: Children of the Light
I know Sky shows up here every week, but that’s because I’m still playing regularly and they’re still adding new things. This weekend, the first Traveling Spirit made its appearance. It’s the Sassy fox from the Season of Gratitude, and you can find her in the Isle of Dawn. She’s only here for the weekend, but if you have enough regular candles and ascended candles, you can buy her fox mask — assuming you don’t have it already. Even if you do, I suggest finding her and using two ascended candles to buy her wing buff. It will give you an extra wing when you leave Eden. With just three more traveling spirits — who will come every two weeks — we’ll be able to hit 120 wings and 10 stars on our backs! Besides that, the beta version got to test out a new swing set that acts like a chat bench. You carry it on your back and can pull it out anywhere. It’s very cute, and will be part of a special event for Valentine’s Day, called Days of Love. The big catch is that the current price is set at $24.99. That’s a bit much for one item. Everyone will get three free Swing Spells to try it out before deciding whether to buy it permanently. And last, the out-of-bounds area dubbed “The Rainbow Bridge” was accidentally removed in an update and then added back, so I thought this would be a good time to make a video of how to get there. Enjoy!
Kentucky Route Zero
I’d been hoping Cardboard Computer’s road trip game, Kentucky Route Zero, would come to iOS, but it hasn’t yet. Since the final act just released and Annapurna Interactive brought it over to the Nintendo Switch, I decided to play it on there in case it never comes to mobile. So far, I’ve played the first of five acts and I’m really enjoying it. It’s mostly dialogue and interacting with people you meet, but it’s written well and there’s definitely something strange going on. I’m looking forward to playing more and seeing what exactly that is. Unfortunately, the text isn’t very readable in my video because it’s recorded at 720p. I made it bigger now so maybe the next video will be more legible. But it might just not be a good game to record. I still plan to play it myself and report back with my impressions, even if I don’t record more of it. Anyway, if you’re like me and don’t enjoy playing games on PC but have a Switch, it plays well on there. The text might be a bit small if you play in handheld mode, but there are settings to make it bigger. In any case, I think it’s a better experience on a big screen. Just relax with it like you would a good book.
PanicBarn’s and No More Robots’ post-Brexit management game, Not Tonight, has been out on PC for a couple of years now, but it just got ported over to Switch. I like games that feature social commentary, and I was intrigued by its use of Papers, Please‘s mechanics. The idea is that you play a bouncer in a post-Brexit world and need to check IDs before deciding who to let through. So far, the only things I’ve had to look for are birth dates and expiration dates, though I’m sure it will get more complex further on. Between jobs, you have your own story that plays out, as well as some news clippings to read that fill you in on what’s happening around you. Unfortunately, I don’t think a controller is the best way to play a game like this. Whereas on a PC — or touchscreen if it ever makes it over to iOS — would have you simply clicking on things around the screen — like your bag, your tablet, your notebook — the Switch version has you using both joysticks, as well and the four directional buttons to cycle through things. It makes the whole experience feel very clunky, when it really doesn’t need to be. I think touchscreens would be perfect for this, and make for a much more streamlined approach. On top of it, I had an issue where some important information got cut off on my TV and I couldn’t see it at all. Since I was mirroring it to my PC to record, I squinted at the expiration dates on there, but it was not a great fix. And it’s even harder to make out if you play it on a Switch. If it ever comes to iPad, I might give it another go, but I don’t see myself continuing this way.
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this past week! February has a lot of notable releases coming — including Glitch Games’ anticipated Veritas and Noodlecake’s Summer Catchers — so expect more activity from me than in January. Let me know in the comments section what you’ve been playing and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!