Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. The COVID-19 insanity continues, but one good thing to come out of it for iOS gamers is that many developers have temporarily made their games either cheap or completely free. I’ve been making daily posts for the sales here, though they seem to be dying down now. Still, most of the sales from the past two weeks are still in effect, so make sure to grab anything that catches your attention. I’ve managed to fill in some gaps in my own library, and even took the time to play some of them for you. I also played some upcoming games, so this roundup is a bit long, a mix of new releases, sales, and previews. If you’re stuck inside right now, you should have plenty of games to keep you busy.
Pixelatto released their rogue-like death-collecting game, Reventure, on PC last year, but this past week it finally got ported to iOS. As with so many adventure games, you head out on a quest to save the princess. But the difference here is that there are 100 different endings, most of them involving your death. Each time you die, you start from the beginning and head off on a new adventure, hopefully finding something new that you haven’t seen before. There are weapons and tools to pick up besides your sword and shield. For instance, you can dig if you have a shovel and can grapple your way to certain areas if you have the hookclaw. But each item you carry weighs you down and makes it harder to jump. And if you carry too many items, you’ll get crushed under their weight. So part of the game is figuring out what to take and what to leave behind each time you head out. For instance, it’s not too hard to survive without a shield and you can even forgo a sword for many areas. Eventually you also find little shortcuts that allow you to bypass an area without a certain tool. It’s very creative, and collecting those endings can be pretty satisfying. I was concerned when I saw the screenshots that the controls might feel awkward and I was puzzled by them taking up about a quarter of the screen at the bottom. But that hasn’t really been an issue in the 2+ hours I’ve spent with the game. My main issue at this point is that it starts to feel repetitive after a while. You can make it to a new area after a lot traveling and then die. Even if it’s a new ending, it would be nice to have some checkpoints. If there are any real checkpoints, I haven’t found them even after 23 endings. I did encounter a tool that allows you to rewind to a certain point, but it only works in certain areas and it has limited uses. I really just want to be able to return to an area I was still exploring without having to redo everything that took me to that point. I don’t think I’m going to stop playing yet, but I don’t have a lot of patience for redoing the same things over and over, so I’m sure my patience will wear thin way before I find all 100 endings. Still, I think it’s worth playing even if you don’t complete it. Just be aware it only works on iPhone, so don’t buy it expecting to play it on your iPad.
Interrogation: Deceived is another PC port, one that’s a perfect fit for touchscreens. The idea is that you interrogate suspects and try to get a confession out of them. You choose a question from the left side and then can choose another depending on their response. You have tools to use that monitor their pupil size and heart rate, and the idea is to ask the right questions to make them open up. Sometimes you have more than one suspect to work with at a time and have to get information from one to use on the other. I’ve only done two cases so far, and the second one was pretty stressful since I had to get a confession in under seven minutes. There are difficulty settings, though, if you want a more relaxed experience. I may eventually lower the difficulty, but for now I’m trying to play it the way it was intended. There seems to be a big underlying story that connects all the crimes, too. Anyway, my plate is full of great games right now, but I’m looking forward to continuing this as soon as possible. If you like detective games, I think you should enjoy it.
Missile Command: Recharged
Atari released a Missile Command: Recharge this past week, which is a reimagining of the classic Missile Command for touchscreen devices. Surprisingly, it’s completely free with one caveat. After three games, you have to wait twenty minutes for your “battery” to recharge. You can also watch ad ad to earn one charge right away. Or simply make it a fully premium game by buying unlimited energy for $2.99. So it’s essentially a free demo with a full game unlock, which is a lot fairer than I expected. That said, I don’t find the game particularly fun. It is designed well for touchscreens, since you tap where you want your missiles to land. But you need to take into consideration how long your missiles will take time get to the target so it doesn’t overshoot the bomb headed towards you. I started to get the hang of it after a while, but the difficulty ramps up a little too quickly. Your score at the end of each game is transferred into points that can be used to buy permanent upgrades. These are helpful, as you can make your missiles faster and stronger, and even improve up your rebuild speed. But this also makes it feel like a huge endless grind. Since the the game is a high score chaser, you’ll want to get all the upgrades in order to stand a chance against others on the leaderboards. But the upgrades cost a lot. For instance, my current high score is a little over 4000. But the upgrades available to me now cost either 10,000 or 25,000 points. That’s a lot of games to play just to earn my upgrades so I can compete. And I don’t know if there’s a level past 25,000. It’s too much grinding for my tastes. I see it as running a marathon wearing plastic bags on my feet while saving up for sneakers comparable to what my opponents are wearing. All it does is pad out the game at the start so that by the time you’re on equal footing with everyone else, you’re bored of the game. Still, it’s free, so give it a try for yourself.
Mirages of Winter
I mentioned Mirari Games’ Mirages of Winter last week and had both good and bad things to say about it. I still like the soundtrack and the art style — especially the animals like a giant tortoise. Some of the puzzles are interesting, too. But after spending a lot more time with it, I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Part of the problem is the glacial pace at which everything moves. The fisherman takes forever just to sit and stand up. The camera pans that lead you from one area to the next feel like a century. Had the game lasted maybe an hour total, I’d probably have been fine with it. But after two hours, I’m not through it yet and I just can’t see playing any more. But it’s not just the slow pace. The way the game is designed leads to a lot of unnecessary frustration. At first, I liked the idea of being about to turn the camera to see your surroundings. But it makes interacting with items tricky. There’s no inventory, so instead you tap on one item to select it — say water — and then tap another item to use it on. But if you have to swipe to move the camera around, it’s not always clear if the first item is still selected. There was a music notes puzzle where I had to select different sea creatures in a specific order, but it took several attempts of doing the same exact thing before it finally worked. I’m not sure if it was because of the camera or just some glitch in the system, but it made it a lot more frustrating than it needed to be. And while some puzzles are relatively straightforward, others appear to be nothing but tapping on random things until something happens. Every time I would think I understand the game’s logic, I’d be back to just tapping everywhere and trying everything with everything until something happened. As much as I wanted to and expected to like Mirages of Winter, I sadly can’t recommend it in its current state. But you can watch my gameplay video below to see if you might feel different about it than I do.
Rogue Hearts – Standalone
A while back, I bought NINETAILS’ turn-based dungeon crawler, Rogue Hearts, which I wrote about here. I liked the overall gameplay, but didn’t like the monetization system built around it. I wished at the time that the game cost a bit more and did away with the premium currency. And then, out of the blue comes Rogue Hearts – Standalone, which is exactly that. I normally would scoff and buying the same game twice, but it’s rare that a developer even offers a fully premium version of their game when they can just keep making money off their mictrotransactions. And it turns out, the game is more enjoyable this way. I don’t have to spend extra money to unlock the better chests, so I’m collecting some nice gear. It actually might even make the game too easy, but I’ll have to see once I get deeper. I haven’t died yet, so I don’t know if there’s any catch to retrying a boss battle like there was in the original version. So I’ll have to get back to you on that. I don’t know when that will be, though, because catching up to where I was is going to take some time. It feels a little boring to have to start from scratch again. There’s also no iCloud sync, so my game is stuck on my iPad. Still, if you never played the game before, this is undoubtedly a much better deal than buying the original for $0.99 and having to deal with mictrotransactions.
I wrote about Philipp Stollenmayer’s wold puzzler, Sticky Terms, not too long ago, but it already got its first content update. With 100 new levels added, the game is almost double its original size. And again, if you own either supertype or see/saw, you get the update completely for free without having to watch any ads. I’m still playing through the new content, but I’m adding to my walkthrough guide as I go along. Anyway, definitely check out the game if you haven’t yet, and make sure to play the new levels if you already finished the original content.
I’ve owned Semidome’s color-mixing puzzler, Kotoro, for quite some time now, but I just never got to trying it. Then this past week it both got new content and went on sale for free, so I thought it would be a good time to give it a go. I’m actually surprised I didn’t play it sooner, as it’s exactly my kind of game. It plays in portrait mode, has nice, clean graphics and a relaxing soundtrack. The puzzles are tricky but not impossible, and new mechanics are added every chapter to keep things interesting. I started a walkthrough here, but haven’t had a chance to play as much as I’d like due to just the sheer number of games on my plate at the moment. But this is the kind of game I can see pulling out whenever I have a few minutes to spare here and there and try to solve a puzzle. It even lets you skip a level if you’re having trouble, so you don’t have to stare at the same one forever. It’s a shame this game didn’t get more attention when it released, because it’s probably my favorite of Semidome‘s releases. Definitely grab it if it’s still free, and if it’s not, check out some of my gameplay video below to see if it’s something you might enjoy.
Noodlecake’s Dig Deep! is another game that I missed when it released but grabbed when it went free temporarily. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’ve enjoyed other digging games so wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too hard — and grindy — for me. Basically, the idea is to keep digging downward without dying. You tap the left side of the screen to move left and the right side to move right. Your character digs automatically when he hits dirt, thought you can make him dig faster by tapping rapidly. You want to try and steer him towards gold and away from mines or aliens trying to kill him. There are shields and power-ups you can pick up, and there are upgrades you can buy, as well as characters to unlock. But one of my issues with it is that you have three missions to achieve in order to level up, and if you clear two but are having trouble with the last, you can’t replace the two you cleared with new ones. You have to complete all three to get fresh missions. And I got frustrated with the one I have left, because it involves first filling up a meter to power up my special ability, and then I have to tap on my character to use the ability. But even when it powers up, I’m too busy focusing on not dying to worry about that mission. I’m not sure what the solution is, but when obstacles abound and I’m trying not to get blown up, that time it takes me to tap on my character can easily cause me to die. It’s a fun idea, but I think it’s overall just too stressful and grindy for me. But if it’s still free, give it a try. And if it’s not, you can watch some of my gameplay video to see what it’s like.
Yet another game I missed went on sale for free this past week and I finally had a chance to play. Kevin John’s #Breakforcist is a breakfast-themed brick breaker with adorable cartoon artwork. I really wanted to like this one, since it is made well. But I found it a bit too hectic. There’s so much stuff flying all over the screen that it was hard to even keep track of my ball. I still enjoyed the few minutes I spent with it, but I don’t think it will become an obsession. Still, if you like brick breakers, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot more than I did.
I honestly don’t know what to make of ivan perfetti’s Brainjection. The cyberpunk story around the puzzles, relating to brain implants, seems interesting. But the puzzles themselves start off requiring no thought at all, and by the time the game wanted me to actually do any work, I didn’t have a clue how how to do it. And to make things worse, the game plays in portrait mode but you need to keep swiping around to see the full puzzle. It just couldn’t make me care enough to want to work through all the clunkiness. I’ve already deleted the game from my device, but feel free to check out my gameplay video and see if it’s something you might be interested in.
Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You
Orwell: Keeping an Eye on You is a surveillance game by Osmotic Studios that released on PC in 2016 but is being ported over to iOS by publisher Fellow Traveller on March 31st. I was lucky enough to get an early copy and have so far played through the first two episodes. I’m really impressed with the job they did adapting it to touchscreens. It works in either portrait or landscape orientations. I initially thought I would want to play it on my iPad, but after some time with it in portrait mode on my iPhone, I can’t imagine playing it any other way. It’s as though it was designed for iPhone from the very beginning. It’s easy to read and is as natural as browsing through different apps on your phone. I’ve played similar games where you’re meant to comb through information on people and report back what you find — Replica is one that comes to mind. These games are perfect for touchscreens and Orwell is no different. I still have a long way to go, but I’m hoping to complete it and review it around its release. But you can watch some of my gameplay videos to get an idea of what it’s like before then. There’s no pr-order link, but I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s available to purchase.
I’m not exactly sure where the name Cubether comes from or how to pronounce it, but that doesn’t really matter since the the game itself is pretty darn clever. Aesthetically, it reminds me of Michal Pawlowski’s games, but gameplay-wise it’s very original. The idea is to get each of the colored pieces to their goals. But since each one can only move in a specific direction, you have to use the others to help them get there. So say you need a green piece to go up but it only goes left or right. If you position a blue piece right above the green piece, you can use the blue piece to swap their positions and get the green where it needs to be. It sounds simple enough, but wait till you have pink pieces that move diagonally, or one piece split into three. You then have to decide when’s the best time to join them. I appreciate that there’s no timers or move counter and that you can work out the puzzles at your own pace. But as things get more complex, I’m starting to see the need for an undo button. I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I absolutely won’t continue playing without one, but it may get to that point. In any case, this is definitely a game that puzzle fans should look out for. It’s releasing April 2nd, but you can pre-order it now. If you want to see what it’s like before doing so, you can watch some of my gameplay video below.
I’s been hoping that Nitrome’s Bomb Chicken might come to iOS one day, as I loved the idea of a chicken laying bombs to solve puzzles and reach platforms. Now it’s almost here, releasing on April 1st, and I’ve been lucky enough to play a bit early. I have mixed feelings about it, though. I absolutely love the whole aesthetic, and the mechanics are as creative as I was hoping. You play as a chicken that can’t jump or fly, so instead you lay piles of bombs to get up higher. But if you don’t get off in time, you can blow yourself up. For the most part, the touchscreen controls work great, as you can swipe left and and right anywhere to move. You then tap the screen to lay a bomb, and get next to a bomb and tap to roll it in that direction. Since it’s all gesture-based, you never have to worry about whether your fingers hit the buttons. You can just focus on the action. But it is pretty easy to accidentally lay a bomb when you don’t mean to, causing unnecessary deaths. I wouldn’t be so bothered by them, except for the fact that if you lose all your hearts, you have to start the whole level back from the beginning. I know there are plenty of people who will be fine with this. But as someone who’s not particularly good at platformers, I was hoping it would be a bit more forgiving, stressing the puzzling aspect over the action. If you do get hurt, you normally restart back in the same room. But it’s when you take a few hits than it becomes an issue. I personally would have enjoyed the game more if each room were like a puzzle, and as long as I get through it I’m ok. I’m not sure what it adds to the game to have to restart from the beginning if you die. I already started rage-quitting on the third level, since there are lots and lots of spikes to avoid, while also avoiding blowing yourself up. I might give it another chance, but the unforgiving nature will probably make me give up sooner than later. Anyway, if you’re less concerned about that than I am, definitely give it a try when it releases in a couple of days.
I used to love Pokémon games back on my Game Boy Color and Advance, and even enjoyed some monster-collecting games on my iPhone in the past, such as Dragon Island Blue. So I still get excited when I hear about a new Pokémon-inspired iOS game, especially if it’s fully premium. Coromon is currently in beta and I thought it looked promising, so I wanted to try it out. I spent about an hour with it and it’s probably as close to a Pokemon game as we’ll get. That said, I think I just no longer have the time or patience for monster-collecting games. As a kid, it was fun, but as an adult with way too many games in my backlog, it feels like a massive time sink. It doesn’t help that the spinners (read: poké balls) have been trickling in and aren’t that cheap to buy. Perhaps these things will be balanced more by the time it releases, but even so, I’m not sure I have the patience to walk from town to town trying to catch monsters. But if you still enjoy that, definitely keep an eye out for Coromon. I believe the plan is to release it as a premium game without IAPs, which would be very rare for a game like this. In the meantime, you can watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like.
Sky: Children of the Light
And last, the next season of Sky was announced this week. The beta version of the game as already been updated with the content and the season will start in there tomorrow. I already explored the new area they added and collected a few spirits and expressions before the game was patched to prevent it. So I’ll have more for you tomorrow when it’s officially out. There’s also some confusion over whether the season is called Enchantment or Awakening, but hopefully that will also become clear tomorrow. What’s exciting about this new season is that they added a whole new area to the Wasteland that you get to via a flying boat ride. The cosmetics also seem to be inspired by Middle Eastern garb. Besides that, they’re also testing out a new pre-order feature that gives you ten extra seasonal candles if you purchase the pass ahead of time. I covered all this in my two videos below and showed off a lot of the new content, but watch them at your own risk, as spoilers abound! I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us, and I’ll definitely have some more video to share with you tomorrow.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week! Being stuck inside gives me a lot of time to play games and there isn’t any shortage with all the sales going on. I also completed the latest Apple Arcade game, Spyder, and wrote a proper review for it here. There’s just so many great options on iOS that if you can’t find a good game to play right now, then we must be on different planets. So let me know in the comments section which games you’ve been playing and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!
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