My Week Unwrapped: April 19, 2020 – Beyond This Side, Nature Matters, 1/2 Halfway, Fancade 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. While there are some new games to cover today, there aren’t as many as last week. But it’s been a busy one for puzzle fans, some worthwhile and some less so. There’s also a lot of news for Sky players, so make sure to stick around for the entire roundup!

Beyond This Side

Crescent Moon Games published Glim Games’ supernatural point-and-click adventure, Beyond This Side, on iOS this past week. It’s about a guy named Sam whose wife disappeared, leaving no trace except her severed arm found in a dumpster. The police can’t figure out what happened to her and Same refused to give up. Meanwhile, he’s seeing strange things and those sightings are backed up by a homeless guy he buys donuts for. Soon he meets a woman who knows more and they team up to try and solve the mystery. I’m curious to see where it goes, and I like both the hand-drawn artwork and haunting soundtrack. Unfortunately, it’s only the first two of three episodes, so it’s hard to really recommend it at this point. The story ends abruptly, and it’s hard to tell whether it will have a satisfying final episode. Besides that, I didn’t find the puzzles particularly engaging. Most of them are either too easy, reliant on trial and error, or a couple of tedious tile-sliding puzzles that are almost exactly the same. But the biggest issue is that I encountered some nasty bugs where the game would just stop responding. I would have to kill the app and then continue to get it working again. But it happened again a few minutes later, and even though I managed to get past it somehow and complete the game once, it’s happening over and over on my second playthrough and I can’t get past it this time. Considering the game isn’t done yet, I would recommend holding off until the final episode is out, or at the very least when the bugs are fixed. Even though the puzzles are forgettable, I would gladly stick with it to see where the story goes. Hopefully the rest of the game will release sooner than later and I can give my final thoughts on it. Until then, play at your own risk. You can also try my walkthrough if you get stuck, though it ends where the game locked up for me.

Nature Matters

Digital Melody’s Nature Matters is a gorgeous puzzle game with a sweet and sparse story. You play as a plant looking for the boy who used to water it but then got too busy and forgot. You search for him through four chapters that represent the four seasons. The levels are basically line-drawing puzzles, where you need to walk over every tile on the board once. It starts off simple, but gets pretty tricky by the third chapter. New mechanics are added every once in a while to complicate things. First, there are portals that move you across the board to another tile. When there are multiple different colored portals, you really need to think things through and plan out your moves. Later, keys are added that open up blocked paths, and eventually you’ll come across tiles that need to be crossed twice instead of just once. I’ve nearly finished the game, with only about ten levels left, but made a walkthrough for the first two chapters here. I have mixed feelings about the game, as I love the art style and enjoy the puzzles. But the controls are finicky and often send me in a different direction than I swipe. I find I have to be very deliberate in my moves or I could end up having to restart the whole level from scratch. There’s no undo button, so any mistakes mean a do-over. I also find the music repetitive after a while, but at least it can be turned off. Overall, I think it’s a pretty solid puzzler that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, clocking in at 100 levels. The controls definitely need some fine tuning, but they’re not a complete dealbreaker. You can also watch some of my gameplay videos below to see if it’s something you might like.

1/2 Halfway

Tepes Ovidiu’s 1/2 Halfway is a puzzle game in which you need to make two stars meet in the middle of the screen. You simply swipe in any of the four directions to move both stars the same way. The screen is covered in arrows and other symbols that affect the stars when they touch them. For instance, a left arrow will send the star left, and if it hits a portal, it will exit through the other one and continue moving. Another symbol sends the star back the way it came, and another stops it in place. If either star falls off the edge of the screen or hits an X, you fail and have to start over. It’s an interesting idea, and there’s definitely some potential here for meatier puzzles. But the game has only 35 levels right now and most of them can be solved in just a few seconds, with the rest of the time spent watching the stars move. Many of the levels have one or two directions that could be dismissed right off the bat simply because one of the stars had nothing on the screen in that direction. Even many of the more complex ones could be easily solved just by following the symbols with my eyes. The only times I really had to work out the solution was when the first move ended at a stop. That made it harder to just work it out in my head and I had to actually try some options. The best puzzles had every direction ending in a stop so any of them could be the first move. But there were so few of those, that by the time I started to enjoy the game it was already over. I hope more levels will be added, ones that take more effort to solve. It’s still a pleasant puzzler and you probably won’t be too disappointed if you know what you’re getting into and don’t mind competing it in less than an hour. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like.

Vía

I wrote about Tortuga Xel Studio’s Vía last week and had mostly good things to say about it. Since then, I’ve completed the game and my walkthrough guide. It was a very enjoyable experience, even if the puzzles never got to the point where they seemed unsolvable. Some did have me stumped for a bit, but never long enough to cause frustration. Overall, it was a solid puzzler with slick presentation and a great game to play in bed before going to sleep. It’s a steal at only $0.99 for 100 levels, but you can play the first 30 levels absolutely free before even spending any money. So go do that!

The City of Time

The City of Time has been out for a while now and has even gone on sale for free a few times. I picked unit up at some point but forgot about it until it went free again today. So I finally gave it a try, but have mixed feelings. The way it works is you swipe left or right on the left side of the screen to move your character through time. Then you tap and hold on the right side of the screen to reverse time. The goal is to pick up the gems in the level and then touch the flower. At first it seems simple, but in just the second level a new mechanic is introduced. It’s not explained well, especially because of the broken English. But after experimenting a bit, I realized it allows you reverse time for your surroundings while you stay in place. So if a platform rises before you get to it, you rewind and have it come back down while you remain next to it and ready to hop on. You can carry this ability with you, but it disappears after one use. So deciding where to use it is part of the puzzle. It gets pretty complicated, especially when you have to do some fancy falling and reversing to pick up gems. I’m about halfway through through the twenty levels and just encountered springs that allow you to bounce. I like that each level is unique and there doesn’t seem to be any filler, even if it is a short game. I’ll probably continue with it, but the level I ended my video on was a bit overwhelming at the time. Anyway, it’s free, so try it for yourself. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below to see what it’s like.

Sky: Children of the Light

And now the exciting Sky news! The date of the upcoming Season of Enchantment was officially announced and its coming tomorrow! This is your last chance to pre-order the pass and get ten extra seasonal candles. But you can also wait and see what the cosmetics are and get the usual number of candles later. I’ve been playing in the beta version of the game and I’m really excited for everyone else to see what’s coming. It’s unlike anything else you’ve seen before in Sky, and I’m really impressed with it. There’s also fun expressions and some stylish new cosmetics. Besides there’s another traveling spirit this weekend, but she leaves tonight. So make sure to get your wing buff from her and any cosmetics you want. She’s a Lightseekers spirit and you can watch my video below to see how to find her or use my walkthrough guide here. And last, for those who don’t mind spoilers, I unlocked the ultimate gift in beta and showed it off in a video below. And that’s it! Make sure to stop by tomorrow if you need any help with the new season.

The Greater Good

I mentioned the upcoming RPG, The Greater Good, last week and had some issues with it, such as the joystick being stuck in the corner and making it awkward to hold my iPad. I also didn’t like that I couldn’t tell how much health enemies had and that there’s a timer that counts down before I can make my move. But the developer took my feedback to heart and already added a floating joystick that makes a huge difference. I also continued playing and acquired a party member who can scan enemies to see their health meter. That makes battles much more enjoyable. The developer also said the game speeds up later, which is a relief, but I admit I still don’t understand the need for the timer at all. Perhaps it will make more sense later. Anyway, it’s always nice to see a developer work to improve their game, and now that I’ve gotten a little deeper into it I’m interested in seeing where it goes. You can watch my gameplay video below if you want to se whether you should pre-order it, or you can wait just a few days for it to release on April 22nd.

Fancade

And last, Martin Magni of Mekorama fame is back with another game centered around player-crafted levels. This one has much more freedom, and you can tell just from the puzzles I played so far that there’s a lot of variety in the types of puzzles and mini games. Some are similar to Mekorama, others are line-drawing puzzles, and there’s even one that reminds me of Donut County, where you play as a hole. I didn’t try the level creator yet, but I like that the game mixes things up every few levels to keep things from getting stale. What I don’t like is that I kept getting interrupted by ads. There seems to be a premium subscription service that removes ads and timers. But I couldn’t activate it before the game goes live and I also couldn’t see the price. But without that subscription, it seems there’s no other way to get rid of the ads or long timers between sections. Hopefully whatever the price is it will be fair. The game releases April 30th, so we don’t have to wait much longer to find out. And you can watch some of my gameplay video in the meantime to whet your appetite.

And that’s everything I’ve been up to this past week! I also played some more Apple Arcade games, such as Beyond Blue and A Fold Apart, and even wrote a full review for A Fold Apart. I plan to play more of Beyond Blue, as it’s a very relaxing underwater exploration game. But I heard of save loss bugs plaguing many people’s games, so I was waiting a bit to see if they were fixed. Hopefully I’ll be able to make more progress with that and have an Apple Arcade roundup out in the next few days. Anyway, let me know in the comments section what you’ve been playing while being stuck at home all this time, and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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