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 not quite as busy as last week, but there’s still some notable games to cover. I’ve also been spending a lot of time playing the latest Apple Arcade game, Beyond a Steel Sky from Revolution Software. On top of that, I tried out several several upcoming games, some which are worth looking out for. So let’s get started!
The Almost Gone
I already mentioned The Almost Gone a few weeks back when I started it, but it finally released this past week. You can read my full review here, but the gist of it is that I liked the overall design and puzzles more than I did the writing. But since the story is told through descriptions of objects you interact with, you only need to focus on it as much as you want to. I wish the writing did more for me, but the rest of the game is so good that it really doesn’t bother me that much. I especially like the environmental puzzles and how everything in each chapter is connected. Definitely give it a try if you’re looking for a puzzle adventure game that doesn’t conform. And if you get stuck, I have a walkthrough guide here.
The Innsmouth Case
Assemble Entertainment’s The Innsmouth Case is a text adventure inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. You play as a private eye asked to investigate the disappearance of a young girl in Innsmouth. As would be expected, there are lots of strange things going on there, so this won’t be some run-of-the-mill investigation. I’ve spent a couple of hours with the game so far and saw two of the twenty-seven possible endings. I’ve been enjoying the humor mixed with horror, and the writing is generally strong — though does feel like it drags on sometimes. What I’m not so fond of is the navigation once you reach an ending. You can go back to certain areas right away, but inevitably it means repeating things you’ve seen and slowly skipping through pages if you don’t want to read them again. I also don’t see any way to change my mind if I chose the wrong checkpoint to go back to. My first ending had me beaten to death by a shovel and I was invested in the story and wanted to go back to my last few choices and see what would happen if I chose differently. But the menu confused me and I selected “Load Chapter,” thinking I would get a list of chapters to choose from. But the drop-down menu was actually above that choice and I overlooked it, thereby going back a lot further than I wanted. And there was no way to undo it. I much prefer these kinds of choose-your-own-adventure books to give more freedom to jump around after you die, similar to folding a page at choice in a physical book. As is, I’m not sure I’ll stick with it much longer, as it feels tedious to try and catch up to where you were just to see if you can change your fate. I did that with me second ending, but none of the choices after a certain point made any difference, so it just felt like a waste of time. So bottom line is that I like the game itself, but I wish it gave players more freedom to try to find those alternate paths with less backtracking. You can watch my gameplay videos below to see what it’s like before deciding for yourself.
Rising Sushi is a fast-paced, hectic arcade game in which you control a giant crane and use it to build a tower of sushi. You need to pick up ingredients one at a time — such as rice or fish or avocado — and drop them on the tower to create the right patterns that give you points. There are also orders to fill and dropping ingedients perfectly earns you bonuses, while losing a piece costs you a heart. I like the pixel art and the whole presentation, but I’m just terrible at the game and wasn’t enjoying it very much. I’m sure there’s an audience for it, but I have trouble gauging when to release the crane and it’s just too stressful for me. Still, it’s cheap, so check out my gameplay video below and grab the game if it looks like something you would enjoy.
End of Days: Survival
End of Days: Survival, by Black Void Studios, is a Reigns-like in which you make binary choices to try and survive the apocalypse. You choose from four characters at the start of the game, and I believe they each have different stats that can help you survive. There seems to be an interesting game here, but I lost patience pretty quickly. There’s a few issues that are too distracting for me. First off, the card-swiping mechanic needs some refining. If you swipe to the right, you can usually read the description easily before deciding whether to go with it. But if you swipe to the left, the text goes off the side of the screen unless you’re careful to only swipe a little bit. It makes for a clumsy experience when this formula has already been fine-tuned by other developers. But the bigger issue for me is that the game never believes I understand how the swiping works. If I take more than a couple of seconds to read a card, it starts moving it left and right to show me my choices. Like, I get it! I’ve done this before and I don’t need constant reminders how it works. It ends up meaning I either have to rush to read the card before it starts moving on its own and making it harder to do so, or I have to grab the card and hold it in place while reading. Neither option is great. I don’t understand why the game is like this. On top of that, the writing is pretty terrible. The game thinks it’s being funny, but it’s very cringe-worthy most of the time. What ultimately makes the game unredeemable to me, though, is that it has an up-front cost but there are opt-in ads. If the game notices you’re “weak,” it will offer you the ability to watch a video ad to gain strength. I might expect those in free games, but not in paid. You shouldn’t be enticed to watch ads to improve your odds when you already bought the game. Because of that alone, even without the other issues, I wouldn’t recommend it.
You may remember Chain Reaction Games from their puzzler, The Company Game. He was a teenager back when it released and, amazingly so is still one! His next game is called Circulous, which I’ve played a bit of, and I’m astounded that he keeps producing these games with puzzles that stump my feeble mind. You can read my short write-up if the game here, which includes about twenty minutes of gameplay video. If you like what you see you can pre-order the game for $3.99, or wait until August 13 when it releases and pay $4.99. It’s still a while off, so I should hopefully have more impressions for you by then if you’re not willing to take the plunge yet.
Petri: Blobs from Space!
Another upcoming game is Petri: Blobs from Space! by Beep Yeah! It’s a high-score chaser and a twist on the bubble shooting formula. You need to shoot colored blobs to match three or more to clear them so you can reach the Angry Blob in the middle. The goal is to clear that Angry Blob by hitting it a few times. In Arcade mode, you’re given an easy setup with a timer in which you have to destroy him. If you do so, you’ll be given increasingly harder levels until you run out of time on one of them. It can be hectic, and I’m still working out how to make the controls respond to me reliably when I’m working fast, because simply releasing my finger when I have the blob in place doesn’t always work. I think I actually prefer the Daily Puzzle and Endless Mode over the Arcade mode, but none of them have really hooked me yet. Still, the game will be free and supported by ads with one ad-removal IAP, so make sure to check it out on July 7th in case it becomes your latest high score addiction.
AWAY Journey to the Unexpected
Plug In Digital’s AWAY Journey to the Unexpected is yet another upcoming game, this one releasing in just a few days on July 1st. It’s already been on other platforms since last we year but I never heard about it before the mobile port was announced. I was intrigued by it, especially the anime opening. Unfortunately, it’s a first-person 3D game and within just a few minutes my stomach was reeling. It’s also a very confusing game, as not much is explained as you’re thrown out into the world to explore and kill monsters, I was also disappointed, from my brief time with it, that most of the environments just appear to be decorations and not much you can actually interact with. Anyway, the motion sickness it gave me after such a short time playing makes it impossible for me to give it any more time and see if the game gets interesting. But if you’re curious about it, you can watch my video below and decide whether to buy it.
Sky: Children of the Light
And last, Sky has a new Traveling Spirit that leaves tonight, so make sure to find them if you need their wing buff and/or cosmetics. This one is from the Season if Gratitude and has one of the best expressions in the game, which I’ve been calling “Yippee!” It also has one of my favorite masks, which is either a rabbit or a cat or a fox, depending on who you ask. If you need help finding them, you can watch my video below or use this guide I made. There’s also some new content in the beta version of the game, so stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers. The one-year anniversary of Sky is fast approaching and the developers are celebrating with a party in the office. I have a couple of videos below showing it off, or you can wait until it comes to the live version. Either way, there’s all sorts of hijinks to look forward to.
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week, aside from Beyond a Steel Sky on Apple Arcade, which will likely hold all my attention until I finish it. I’m intrigued by the story and want to find out what’s happening with these kidnapped children. I’m also loving the writing and voice acting, so I’m taking my time digging through all the dialogue options. The characters are all so full of personality. It’s definitely a game to savor and not rush through. I’m also working on a walkthrough guide here and should hopefully have a proper review when I finish it. But if you have an Apple Arcade subscription, go play it! Anyway, let me know in the comments section what you’re playing and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!