Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. I’ve been hard at work getting my walkthrough for Veritas ready for its release in a few days, but I still managed to find some time to play some other games. Unfortunately, I had issues with almost all of them, but I still want to give you my impressions. So pull up a chair and let me fill you in!
Those of you who follow me know by now that I’m a big puzzle fan. So I’m always eager to try new puzzlers and see if they grab my attention. Circuit Dude is the latest, and it seemed promising. The idea is to move Circuit Dude around to plug in all the chips before getting to the exit. The catch is that once you plug in a chip, it blocks your path. There are also other obstacles in your way, like potholes or conveyor belts. You need to navigate your way around the room without blocking yourself into a corner. It’s a pretty solid concept, and the puzzles do get tricky, even early on. Unfortunately, the two different control options both feel clunky. The swipe-to-move requires large swipes and the directional pad is so big on my iPad that I have to stretch my thumb to reach it. But on top of that, the game has no undo button. A puzzle can take a fair number of steps and then one mis-step would force you to have to restart. I’m also not a fan of how it keeps tracks of your restarts as “deaths” or that there’s a move counter but no indication of how many moves you should strive for. All these stats are just a distraction when I want to focus on the puzzle itself. Perhaps with a better control scheme and at least an undo button, I’d give it another try. But I play puzzle games to relax and this one is stressing me out instead. But you can watch some of my gameplay videos below to see if you might enjoy it despite its issues.
Dang! I Got Too Many Dang Gems
NOPOPO’s Dang! I Got Too Many Dang Gems has perhaps the greatest name of all time. I wish I was into the game itself as much as its title, though. It’s basically a bubble shooter game, where you shoot colored gems to match three or more and make them disappear. The screen keeps filling with more bubbles, so you have to love quick. I think my problem with it is that it speeds up too soon. It also feels a little rough around the edges. I might give it another try, but at the moment it’s not sucking me back in. Still, it’s free with just a one-time purchase to remove ads, so give it a try and see if you like it more than I did.
SwipeTrix is a stylish and minimalist puzzle game in which you swipe to move your character around the board, picking up all the gems and avoiding enemies. The difficulty curve seems a bit off, as I’ve had trouble with one level and then breezed through the next. But I still really enjoy the game itself and would stick with it, except for one issue. The soundtrack grates on my nerves. There’s a toggle in the settings to shut it off, but it also shuts the sound effects. And I miss the sound effects if I do so. I would like to see a way to turn off just the music and keep the sound effects. Also, there’s currently no way to replay levels, which seems silly, especially since there’s a skip button. If these improvements were made, I might even be willing to spend the money to remove ads and make it a premium game. But for now, I’m going to skip it. Again, I recommend giving it a try since it’s free with just an ad-removal IAP, but be aware of those concerns of mine.
Mutatis is a shoot ’em up that’s supposed to react to certain sensors on your device, such as brightness, battery life, and volume. It’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure I feel too good about starting with fewer lives in a high score chaser if my battery isn’t full. I can’t really tell how the other sensors affect the game, as it doesn’t explain it. But it’s a bit too fast-paced for me, especially when there are multiple enemies shooting at a time. It’s also strange that you’re supposed to take screenshots of enemies to collect stats on them. Doing so means taking my thumb off the screen while I’m being attacked and putting myself in harm’s way. It’s a strange choice. But what made me give up on the game entirely is that you can watch an ad to continue. I’d be ok with that if you could purchase an ad-free version of the game that would make the continues free. But as is, you can’t compete in the leaderboards unless you’re willing to watch ads, which I’m not. So my time with Mutatis was short-lived. Give it a try for yourself — it’s at least trying to do something interesting, even if I don’t agree with all the choices.
Battlecraft – Tactics Online
Battlecraft actually releases tomorrow, but I received an early copy and wanted to include it in my roundup. It seems like a pretty interesting turn-based tactics game, but I quit after just a few minutes when I got hit with a forced video ad and saw the in-game store. It seems to be yet another competitive game full of pay-to-win IAPs. I really don’t have patience for that, so you’ll have to see for yourself if you’re willing to put up with it. But I’m not.
Lyra – Minimalist Puzzle Game
Lyra is another minimalist puzzle game — as the name indicates — but this one takes inspiration from Lights Out. The idea it to turn off all the lights by tapping the right shapes. It’s a bit hard to keep track of all the rules, though. Different shapes affect the tiles around them in different ways, and I usually end up having to tap one to see what it does. It’s not a bad game, but I just don’t enjoy it. If you restart a level, it randomizes which tiles are turned on, so you could just end up with an easier start position. There’s also 1000 levels, which usually means a lot of filler, especially for a game with such a simple concept as this. I just don’t have any drive to continue playing it. But it’s free with just one payment to remove ads, so feel free to give it a try for yourself.
I wrote some nice things about inbento in my review back when it first released, and I’m happy to say that the first content update was added this past week. The two new chapters add a mechanic that lets you turn all of one color into another. It starts off simple, as usual, but before you know it your brain will turn to mush trying to solve the puzzles. I’ve completed one of the new chapters so far and made video of it below, but I’m still working on the other. Once again, I’m reminded what a great puzzle looks like. It takes easy and accessible controls, quick restarts, unlimited undos, and still manages to be incredibly difficult to solve. Both Golf Peaks and inbento are quality puzzlers and I can’t wait to see what developer Afterburn comes up with next.
Knights and Bikes
I’d been watching news of Foam Sword’s Knights and Bikes ever since it was announced, hoping it might come to one of my preferred platforms. It’s still not available on iOS, but it did release on Switch just a few days ago. It’s adventure game in which you can either play cooperatively with a friend or alone with the AI as your sidekick. I tried to play with a friend but our schedules didn’t match up, so I ended up going at it solo. I still enjoyed it thoroughly and played over an hour in one sitting before finally taking a break. I like how it’s a story about two little girls, but it’s not cheesy or overly cutesy. The two friends hunt down treasure together and fight golf balls that turn into furry monsters. The story blends fantasy and reality, as one of the girls learns some hard truths about her father’s business. I think the game is probably best with a friend, but if you can’t find anyone to play with you, don’t let that deter you from playing it yourself. I can’t speak for the entire game yet, but from what I’ve seen so far I would highly recommend it. I’ll update you with further impressions as I play more. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like.
Sky: Children of the Light
I don’t have much to report with Sky this week, but the new swing set that’s coming to the live version around Valentine’s Day did get some changes. It now costs $20 instead of $25 and includes a season gift pass for a friend. They also changed the shape a little and made it so they can’t stack anymore, unfortunately. There is a cute little addition, though — if you swing with someone, it will generate little red hearts that increase over time. It looks cute, but I still can’t see spending $20 on one in-game item, so I likely won’t buy it. But you’ll be able to try it out for yourself through some spells when it’s added, allowing you to make an educated decision whether to buy the permanent swing or not.
I’ve mentioned Glitch Games’ Veritas several times over the last few years, and it’s finally releasing this week on February 12th. I just finished playing through it myself and was impressed with the length and scope and the quality of the puzzles. I didn’t make any new gameplay videos, but I included an older one below for those who are interested. You can pre-order the game right now, but I also have a giveaway for the iOS version. You can enter here for a chance to win one of five codes. The winners will be drawn on Tuesday so the codes can be given out on the day of release. So don’t miss your chance!
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this past week. The next two weeks have a lot of notable releases, so make sure you check back here. And let me know in the comments section what you’ve been playing. Until next time, that’s My Week Unwrapped!