My Week Unwrapped: June 14, 2020 – Slay the Spire, Viticulture, Tiny Step, Spirit Sprint, The Almost Gone 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 has been a weird week for me, as I’m still suffering from COVID-19, but instead of not being able to smell anything, everything smells really bad. Still, games are one of the best distractions, so I spent a lot of time time playing them! I have a mix of new releases, older games, and even upcoming games to discuss in this roundup. But I’m also completely absorbed by the latest Apple Arcade Game, Little Orpheus, which speaks to me on so many levels. In fact, I had trouble pulling myself away so I could write this. So let’s not waste any more time!

Slay the Spire

The mobile port of the card-based roguelike, Slay the Spire, is probably one of the most anticipated releases in recent history. It gained a huge fan base since its debut on PC and, as card games are perfect for touchscreens, it makes sense that everyone would want it on their mobile devices. Well, it had a surprise release yesterday, but since I had the game ahead of time, I had been playing all week. I’m still getting the hang of things, but you can read my full review here, along with several gameplay videos. The gist of it is that there’s a lot to like about the game itself, it’s incredibly deep, and I can see why it’s so popular. But the port could use some tweaking to make it feel better on touchscreens. As is, interacting with the cards is awkward and clunky. It’s also lacking iCloud sync, so you either have to stick with one device or have two separate games going. Anyway, I’ll let you read my review rather than rehash it all.

Viticulture

For the board game fans out there, Digidiced digitized Stonemaier Games’ Viticulture this week and it seems like a pretty good adaptation for those who are already familiar with the game. Unfortunately, I never played it before and the tutorial didn’t really prepare me for it. It’s a flood of information instead of being hands-on, so most of what I was shown was forgotten five minutes later. I would like to study up on the rules at some point and give it another go, but right now I just don’t have the time for that. I do like that it has multiple ways to play, though, including local and online. You can watch my gameplay video below to see what it’s like, but I warn you that I really had no idea what I was doing. This game is probably best for people who already know they like the physical version.

Spirit Sprint

I’d been looking forward to Spirit Sprint ever since I saw its gameplay trailer, as it’s hard not to be excited about a game where you get to play as a wolf — and other animals. It finally released and I spent a little time with it. I like how you change between species, going from a wolf running on land to a fish swimming in the sea, and then to a bird flying through the sky. Even though the controls always involve a single tap, each animal feels very different. The wolf is your typical runner, where you tap to jump over obstacles. The bird is like a less demanding Flappy Bird, and the fish is kind of the opposite of the bird. I find the fish the hardest to get used to, though the wolf’s jumps don’t feel particularly tight to me either. The game has goals you complete similar to the Alto games, and you pick up coins to earn points and also unlock different animal skins and other perks. There are also bonus animals you can pick up on your runs that give you a temporary boost — like a boar or a shark. I might have invested some time into the game to see if my skills improve, but there’s one feature that’s standing in my way. I’m completely turned off by high-score chasers that allow players to watch an ad to continue when they die. If there was a way to make it premium and not have to worry about ads or coins to continue, then I might give it another chance. But as is, there’s no point in trying to compete with others if I’m not willing to watch an ad. I’ll always be at a disadvantage because of it. I don’t like when ads are used to give someone a clear advantage, so I’m just not going to waste my time with it. If that doesn’t bother you, though, by all means, give it a try.

Tiny Step

POKET APPS’ brainy puzzler, Tiny Step, actually released about a month ago, but I somehow missed it. It caught my attention this week, though, and I was instantly pulled in by its clever gameplay and cute but clean art style. The way it works is that you have colored critters that you need to get to their goals. They can only move in the direction they’re pointing, but they can also push each other. There are arrows on the board that can turn them around in another direction, as well as switches that open doors and portals that teleport them. The puzzles can get quite tricky, so I’ve been slowly working my way through the forty levels. I’m currently about 3/4 of the way there, but I got distracted by all these other releases. It’s free and supported by ads with a one-time IAP to remove ads, so I highly recommend trying it out if you’re a puzzle fan.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

I started playing Brothers a couple of weeks ago and was enjoying it despite some frustrations. I completed it this past week and again was impressed with some parts — like flying on the back of a gryphon — but felt other sections overstayed their welcome. The part where the two brothers are tied together and help each other scale buildings was clear at first, but it dragged on for way too long without really adding much to it. Despite that, I still enjoyed the journey. But my whole experience was soured by what was possibly the worst ending I’ve seen in a game. It just didn’t fit and made everything feel so pointless. I don’t regret playing, but I do wish it would have left me more satisfied. Anyway, you can watch the rest of my videos below if you’re curious.

The Almost Gone

The Almost Gone is another game I’ve been eagerly awaiting for what seems like forever. It’s finally releasing on June 25th and I was lucky enough to get a copy ahead of time. I made some gameplay video to show what it’s like and also wrote a preview piece here, but at the time I had only just started the second chapter. Since then, I’ve finished the game and was really impressed with it. The puzzle design is clever and often put a smile on my face when I realized what I needed to do. I don’t want to say too much now, since I plan to review it, but this is definitely one to look out for. You can also pre-order it here if you want to make sure you get it as soon as it’s out.

Sky: Children of the Light

And last, the final Forgotten Ark quest finally made its way into Sky. If you need help finding any of the colored lights, you can check this guide. The final transformation adds a shop to the ark, where you can buy all sorts of spells. On top of that, the game was celebrating the Days of Rainbow event for the past five days. You can still catch the end of it today. There were rainbows in a different realm each day — which you can find in my guide — and the Forgotten Ark spell shop has four free Rainbow Scrolls for each player. Make sure to collect them before the event ends or your only option will be to buy them for ascended candles. There’s also a new traveling spirit that leaves tonight, and you can use my seasonal spirit guide to find him. I believe there will also be some extra seasonal candles this coming week for those who need. Other than that, it’s just about waiting for the season to end so the next one can start.

And that’s all the games I’ve been playing this week, aside from the latest Apple Arcade release, Little Orpheus. It’s actually the game I’ve been enjoying the most this week and I’m eager to get back to it tomorrow and finish the last two episodes. You can see all my gameplay videos for it here and I’ll hopefully have a review ready in the near future. But let’s just say, this is the kind of game that makes me value my Apple Arcade subscription. There’s some other notable releases coming this week, like Pine Studio’s The Academy, so June is quite the busy month, especially for adventure fans. Anyway, let me know in the comments section what you’ve been playing and I’ll see you back here next week for more of My Week Unwrapped!

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