My Week Unwrapped: March 1, 2020 – MonkeyBox #1 Polarized!, Sticky Terms, Eri’s Forest, Story of a Gladiator 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. This week was a bit of a quiet one compared to the last two, so I spent much of it playing games I’ve already covered somewhat. But there’s still a few new ones to discuss and I want to update my impressions on games I’m still playing. So sit back and relax and let me fill you in.

MonkeyBox #1: Polarized!

I love when games use the iPhone’s features in unique ways, so I was excited when I received an email about TheCodingMonkeys new game, MonkeyBox #1: Polarized! It’s a text adventure that asks you to take photos of different objects to move the story along. While not perfect, I was enjoying looking for objects around my apartment to photograph. But the story connected to the photos just didn’t really hold my attention. And since it’s constantly broken up by the act of taking photos, it was easy to lose track of the details. I still stuck with it to see where it was going, but I was ultimately disappointed with it. You can read more of my thoughts in my full review here. Basically, I want to recommend it for the innovative use of the camera, but I’m hesitant to because of the story. If you want to see for yourself what it’s like, you can watch some of my gameplay video below before deciding whether to take a chance on it.

Sticky Terms

And last, I wrote a little preview piece for Philip Stollenmayer’s latest game, Sticky Terms, which just released tonight. It’s only been a short time since his previous release, but Philipp clearly never rests. Sticky Terms is about words that have no direct translation in other languages. The puzzles involve piecing together parts of letters to make a word, at which point the game will tell you the definition. It’s quite entertaining, and the monetization is super generous, too. But I’ve covered everything in my piece linked above, so just read that for more details.

Eri’s Forest

There’s no shortage of tower defense games on the App Store, but Eri’s Forest tries to stand out by having the battles take place on 3D trees that you can rotate 360°. You need to protect these trees from ants and other insects that have been hypnotized into attacking them. The game looks great, and even though most of the mechanics are familiar, I could still see spending more time with it if not for a few issues. First off, my iPad started heating up immediately, and I was worried for the half hour that I played that it might harm the battery. Besides that, it’s a free-to-play game where you can buy gold to purchase extra lanterns — which offer different abilities — as well as more in-game currency. Already I’ve seen how that could be an issue, because when you unlock a new lantern through play, you still have to buy it with in-game currency to use it. I’m easily turned off by those practices, especially in a game where currency is sold for real cash. I might have been more inclined to stick with the game had it been premium. But between the monetization and overheating issues, I likely won’t play anymore. But feel free to watch some of my gameplay video below or try it out for yourself to see if it’s for you.

Story of a Gladiator

Despite its name, Brain Seal’s Story of a Gladiator is light on story and pretty much what you’d expect from it as far as gameplay goes. You play as a gladiator in the arena, working your way up to champion. The campaign mode is level-based and lets you replay each level as much as you want to earn more coins and experience, as well as improve your score. You fight waves other warriors until you get to each boss, of which there are a total of three. As you progress, you can use your skill points to unlock new abilities and upgrade others. You can also use your coins to unlock new gear. But it’s all very grindy. You have to buy weaker gear in order to unlock stronger gear, so you can’t just save up your gold for the better stuff. That means you’re constantly replaying levels to earn gold. The controls are also hard to work with, even though it’s a floating joystick on the left and buttons on the right. I keep finding my thumb drifting all the way to the other side of the screen whether on my iPad or iPhone. It’s also hard to line up perfectly with the enemies, so I often end up getting hit but missing them entirely. There’s also a roguelike version where you just play until you die. Two of them even allow you to unlock lions, tigers or panthers as companions after just one wave. But there are so many enemies at once in this version that it can be hard to even keep track of my own character. When I’m surrounded, I can’t even tell if I’m the one doing the damage or taking the damage. And I was hoping my issues with the controls on my iPad would be better on my iPhone, but the joystick is still a problem and I have the added issue of not being able to make out all the buttons well. I’m sorry to say that in its current state, I can’t really recommend the game. But feel free to watch some of my videos below to see if you still want to give it a try.

WHO IS AWESOME

I haven’t played any of Azamat Bayzulaev’s games, but I was curious about his latest one, WHO IS AWESOME, that has you competing against three AIs in a series of mini games. Since it’s only $0.99, I decided to take a chance on it. The idea is to answer questions or solve puzzles correctly, and to do so before the other characters do. For instance, it might show you some cards and then hide them and ask you to choose the card that didn’t change. Or to copy a sequence of lights similar to the game Simon. There’s Lights Out puzzles, Three-card Monte, and even questions related to the date to try and trip you up. Overall, it’s a pretty well-designed game. My only real issue with it is that it’s not terribly exciting to play against the AI. I can see this being a lot of fun as a competitive game against friends, but alone on my couch I lost interest fairly quickly. It’s still very cheap, so if it interests you, give it a try. Just don’t expect the same excitement you’d get from playing with friends.

Frog Puzzle

I mentioned Frog Puzzle last week, which I somehow missed back when it released. I’ve since played more and updated my walkthrough guide with the first forty levels. The more I play, the more impressed I am with the game. It’s very user-friendly, making it easy to test out solutions and edit them without any silly nonsense to deal with. It even saves your solution for every level, which made it a lot easier to make walkthrough videos. I still have another twenty levels to solve, and the newest mechanic is hurting my brain, so my progress has slowed. But I’m sticking with it and will hopefully make more progress next week. Anyway, the game is completely free with optional cosmetics you can buy and the option to watch ads for hints. But the game respects you and never tries to pressure you to use hints. Definitely give it a download if you haven’t yet.

Book of Demons: Tablet Edition

I’ve already been playing Book of Demons for the last few weeks and put in over four hours of playtime. I’m still thoroughly enjoying it, but spacing out my sessions so I don’t get burnt out. Today, I encountered some new enemies, and nearly died a few times. The spiders are especially troublesome, as they replicate when you kill one, and before you know it you’re surrounded by an entire swarm of them. It also doesn’t help if there are monsters nearby that can freeze you, making it harder to escape and recoup. I’ve still managed to avoid death so far, thanks to all the gear I’ve been using. I’m especially grateful for my fire axe, which creates rings of fire around enemies that cause continuous damage. I’m still playing the warrior and haven’t even tried the archer or mage yet. So I can see this game is going to give me many hours of entertainment. If you’re looking for a solid dungeon crawler that feels great on an iPad, Book of Demons is a solid choice. You can practically play it with one hand! I’ve compiled all my gameplay videos here if you want to see more.

Summer Catchers

I already gave some detailed impressions last week when Summer Catchers released, but I spent some more time with it this week. I beat the third boss, which was surprisingly easy for me compared to the second one. I also made some progress with the tasks in the fourth area. But I’m very confused with two of them and not really sure how to progress. For one, I’m supposed to fetch a pair of pants. I pass it but don’t know how to grab it. The game gave me a hint that I have to crash right before it — I think — but crashing on command is hard to pull off. And there seems to be only one chance to do so per run, making it feel like a huge grind. Basically, I have to crash on purpose and start a new run either way. The other one I’m having trouble with is catching a hat that flies around. I’m not sure if I can just fly at it or jump at it, but even attempting to do so seems next to impossible, as it moves around so fast. I’m worried this may be where I quit the game, but I’ll try to give it a few more tries before throwing in the towel for good. Anyway, my initial criticisms still hold up, especially since I would never want to have to do all these tasks over again for another attempt at the hidden secrets and achievements. I wish I only had positive things to say about the game, as I really do like so much about it. But it’s far from perfect. Anyway, you can watch my video below to see what I mean.

A Street Cat’s Tale

I somehow missed the release of A Street Cat’s Tale, but since I love cats, I had to try it out. You play as a kitten whose mom was injured and taken by humans to fix her up. Meanwhile, you need to survive alone on the streets by finding food and friends. You can rummage through garbage cans, steal fish, or even cozy up to humans who might feed you. The game is free to download, but you have to either wait five minutes for each night to pass, watch a video ad to skip it, or pay once to skip all nights immediately. The monetization seems fair, and if I were enjoying the game I’d probably pay for it. But there’s one big issue. You’re supposed to collect items for an NPC so you can upgrade your house. The game tells me how to give the items to the NPC, but doesn’t tell me how to pick them up. For instance, I need some bones. I’ve found a number of bones in the trash, but every time I select it, the only options I’m given are to eat it or drop it. Eating it makes me lose health and dropping does exactly what it says. I have absolutely no idea how to collect those items. And without them, I’m doing nothing but barely surviving. I don’t know if it’s a bug or what, but it’s pretty unplayable for me in this state. Feel free to check it out for yourself or even tell me why I can’t pick up items.

Sky: Children of the Light

And last, there’s some exciting Sky news this week! First off, another traveling spirit made an appearance this weekend. The Hidden Forest Lightseekers spirit is possibly the hardest one to complete, but if you do so you can buy her umbrella from her. She’s only around for a few more hours, though, so if you haven’t done so yet, don’t waste any more time! I also have a guide here for it, which includes a new video I made. The other exciting news is that fullscreen support was added for iPad in the beta version of the game. I’ve been waiting for that since day one and never even expected it to come. I did realize afterwards that it might cause me motion sickness, but the developers have listened to our concerns and said they’ll be adding a toggle so players can choose between fullscreen or widescreen. That should make everyone happy and allow me to use fullscreen only as much as I can handle it. In any case, this is really exciting news!

And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week! I also finished watching Hunters and am now watching Altered Carbon between play sessions. I feel really spoiled between all the great TV shows and games we have these days. Anyway, let me know in the comments section what you’ve been playing and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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