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 turned out to be a much busier week than expected, so there’s quite a bit to cover. Some of these are older games that I started playing when I thought I’d have the time for them. But there are still plenty of new games to discuss. There was also a Grindstone update that added fifty new levels, as well as the Daily Grind mode, which I wrote about here. I also made a walkthrough for the first ten new levels here. Anyway, there’s a lot of games to talk about, so let’s get started!
As we get further from the Holocaust and the remaining survivors pass away, it becomes easier and easier to forget the horrific events that transpired. So I can really appreciate what Charles Games have brought us with their historically accurate Attentat 1942. The game is a mix of media, but primarily full motion video footage. You interview your grandmother and other survivors — all played by actors — and try to find out why your grandfather was arrested by the Gestapo during World War 2. He’s currently too sick to talk, so you have to get the information from documents you find lying around and the other survivors. The story focuses on the Nazi-occupied Czech Republic, so all the dialogue is in Czech with English subtitles. As a granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, I’m finding the acting to be pretty believable for all the characters, but especially the grandmother. I find the interviewing aspects interesting and informative, even if the motivation is not the strongest. The idea is to choose the right questions that will get people talking to you so you can fill in the blanks. There’s also footage from the Holocaust, as well as comic-style playable cutscenes where you need to start the right thing to appease the Nazis, as well as some other light puzzles. What concerns me is that if you mess up an interview and don’t learn enough, the only way to redo it is by spending a coin. You earn the coins through the mini games, but I’ve gotten very close to not having enough to redo an interview. I’m not sure what happens in that case, whether you’re forced to start over. But the coin situation seems a bit heavy-handed for an educational game. I’m not sure why we can’t just redo an interview if we mess up. I’m still impressed with the game, but you need to be prepared for a lot of reading and listening and light gameplay. You can watch some of my videos below to see what it’s like and whether it’s something you can see playing.
Keen: One Girl Army
Keen: One Girl Army, from Cat Nigiri, attempts to blend sliding puzzles with combat, as well as an RPG-like story. You swipe to slide around the map, and each area you enter counts as one giant puzzle with its own move counter and requirements to meet to earn three stars. As you slide around, you’ll encounter enemies you need to defeat. If you dash through them, they die. If you land next to them, you damage and temporarily stun them. The goal is usually to kill all enemies and get out of the dungeon in as few moves as possible without taking any damage. It’s an interesting blend of ideas and I do want to explore it further. But at the moment, there’s some issues with responsiveness on iPad. Swipes work fine, but tapping to move dialogue along often takes either multiple taps or long presses to work. Because of that, I’ve been distracted while reading and haven’t really been following the story much. Thankfully, the developers are working on a fix for that. But even on iPhone, I’m finding some odd choices as far as touch controls go. Instead of being able to tap anywhere to enter the next room or to interact with a character, you have to tap directly on the exit or the character. It’s a little clumsy and seems unnecessary. It’s especially awkward because for most of the game you’re able to just keep your hands on the sides of your device and swipe a thumb across it. So I’m hoping that can be improved upon. I’m also not sure how I feel about the way areas are divided. There are some checkpoints that allow you replay a room, but sometimes they set you further back than you need. The move counter seems generous so far, so that hasn’t been an issue, but I normally would prefer each room to be a self-contained puzzle with its own move counter. I’ll still give it another chance when the touch sensitivity issues have been resolved. Until then, you can watch my gameplay video below to see if it looks like something you might enjoy.
Blahberf’s Gun Rounds is a 2-bit roguelike shooter that’s both turn-based and fast-paced. I know, that sounds crazy, but that’s what it is! It takes inspiration from Downwell, but its gameplay is entirely different. It also has touch-friendly controls and a very simple concept that’s difficult — at least for me — to pull off. Basically, you stand in place while each round a number of enemies attack you. You take your turn and choose which weapon to use, then aim and release it at the monsters. After they take their damage, they return fire. This is where the fast-paced part comes in. It’s like a rhythm or QTE game, where you have to tap the screen the second the projectiles touch your shield. If you do, you’ll block the damage and also earn some ammo. If your timing is off and you get hit, you lose health, which is not easy to replenish. Furthermore, if you run out of ammo, you have to waste a turn reloading, giving the enemies a free round of shots at you, basically. I really like the overall look and feel of the game, and it certainly begs to be played “one more time.” But I’ve never been very good at rhythm games I’m not sure I have the reflexes to get far here. So far, my best game had me lasting only to round 2-3, which isn’t very far at all. Still, it’s an easy game to pull out every once in a while for a few minutes here and there, so I’m not giving up on it yet. And if you don’t mind games that demand fast reflexes, give it a try for yourself.
I really wanted to like Anchorite Games’ Interloper, but I’m having a hard time with the controls. It’s a space flight combat simulator in which the entire game takes place from the cockpit. You fly around and take down waves enemy ships and try to avoid their gunfire. The game looks great, but I do find the screen to be a bit too cluttered at times, making it hard to tell what’s happening. The controls are also giving me problems. The joystick is static and a bit too small both on my iPad and my iPhone. So I keep missing it unless I’m looking at my hand, which is not a great way to play. I don’t feel like I can just keep my finger on the joystick, because then I tend to overshoot enemies. Even as is, I’ll swipe a tiny bit to try and match up my crosshairs with an enemy and it will go past him. I lowered the controls sensitivity a lot, but now it feels too slow to move around to different enemies. I’m not sure what the balance is. On top of that, I’m just not finding the missions to be all that varied. They have different names and descriptions, but I do the same thing in each one — aim for the red and yellow crosshairs in the distance. I’ll keep an eye on it to see what improvements it gets, but I think for now I’m taking a break from it. I do appreciate that the developer took the time to make it work in both portrait and landscape mode and also include iCloud sync. So I’m hopeful it will become a better game over time.
PUSS! is a game that’s been out on other platforms for a while now, but is releasing on iOS and Android on August 6th. I got a copy this past week and so far beat the first world. I was going to play more, but, as I said, there were a lot more releases this week than I expected. But I plan to spend more time with it over the next few days. It’s not an easy game, but it’s somewhat forgiving in the number of lives you can earn. I also like that it’s split into worlds of ten levels each. So even if you lose, you don’t have to repeat too much. The levels are randomly selected, too, so each game will be different. Anyway, I wrote more about it here and have some gameplay video below, so that should give you a good idea what it’s like. From what I’ve seen so far, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a trippy experience unlike any other.
I played Dark Mist a little while back and liked the overall game but was put off by it being stuck in landscape mode. Well, that changed this week when it was updated to support both landscape and portrait. Now that I can play it with one hand on my iPhone, I’m finding it hard to put down. I haven’t even won a game yet, but its portability and ease of use make me want to keep trying. If you’re looking for a new card-based dungeon crawler, Dark Mist is a solid choice. The way your deck of cards represent your health and defense really changes the strategy compared to similar games. Again, you can watch some of my gameplay below if you still need help making a decision. But this update makes it easy to recommend.
Glitch Games just added the third puzzle pack to Great Escapes, their collection of room escape games. These three rooms revisit classic environments from their bigger games — Forever Lost, A Short Tale, and All That Remains. I already finished and made videos for the first two, which you can find here. I’m still playing through the third one, which seems to be a lot bigger. Overall, I’m impressed with this new pack and found the puzzles to be far more challenging to work out than with the previous packs. If you thought those were too easy, hopefully this one will satisfy your craving for a Glitch game while waiting for their next big project called Another Tomorrow.
Detective Di: The Silk Rose Murders
Detective Di is a point-and-click adventure based on a real life detective who was famous in ancient China. It’s been out on other platforms for a little while already but recently made its way over to iOS. I was sitting on it for a few weeks and finally took the time to try it out. You play as Di Renjie and you were called in to solve a series of murders. I only played about a half hour before I got stuck, unsure what to do next. The puzzles so far seem straightforward, but I haven’t encountered many yet. I’m not sure if it will hold my attention, but I’ll try to get past the sticking point and make more progress so I can give you further impressions. Until then, you can watch some of my gameplay video to try and decide for yourself.
Finished! by Friedemann Friese
Eric Snider has been working on a digital adaptation of Friedemann Friese’s solitaire card game, Finished!, and it’s almost ready for release. I got access to the beta version and played through the tutorial and my first game, but I lost. I never played the game before, but it seems like a well-made adaptation. I just need to take some time to understand the rules and strategies a bit. Again, it was a busy week so I didn’t have much time to play, but I hope to delve deeper into it in the coming weeks. You can watch my gameplay video below to see what it’s like and I’ll be sure to let you know when the game is available to purchase.
After finishing Creaks, I was craving more from Amanita Games and figured it was a good opportunity to finally give Machinarium another try. I first attempted to play it years ago before I had an iPad, and the touch controls on iPhone were abysmal. They’ve since fixed that and I also have an iPad now, so I’ve been meaning to try it again. I believe I got stuck at the same spot as last time, but I I’m still blown away by the creativity behind this team. I love how you stretch and shrink the robot to get to heights and depths he couldn’t otherwise reach. And the way he swallows items you pick up and keeps them in his belly is just adorable. I’m trying to avoid using hints, so I’m going to take my time with it and try to work out the puzzles on my own, even if it takes me a long time to finish. Anyway, it does seem like one of their trickier games, but from what I’ve seen so far I would recommend it if you somehow haven’t played it yet.
While I was on an Amanita kick, I realized that I didn’t remember that much about Botanicula and wanted to play through it again. I know last time I finished it in a couple of days, so it’s not a very long game. But again, I had less time this week than I first thought, so it got pushed aside for newer games. I still plan to play through it this week and record all of it this time, since I didn’t when I first played it. It’s such a charming and playful game, where you control a group of five little seed creatures, each with their own abilities. When you encounter an obstacle, you choose which one to try and deal with the problem. It’s very relaxed, so there’s no penalty for being wrong. You just keep trying until you get it right. There are also over a hundred cards to unlock by poking and prodding at things and finding hidden secrets. I highly recommend playing it if you haven’t yet. I just wish it could get iCloud sync like their other games. And there’s one puzzle I got stuck on both times I played, made more problematic by the fact that it’s too easy to accidentally tap the arrows that send you to the next screen. But it’s a small complaint for an otherwise lovely game.
No Paint is a bizarre little toy that I’d been curious about for a while. It went free this past week, so I tried it out. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a game, but it’s certainly intriguing. The idea is that some sort of paint tool starts painting on the screen and you press either NO to undo it or PAINT to keep it. You just continue doing this as lo as you want and then can save and share your masterpiece with the world. I enjoyed the few minutes I spent with it making weird art, but I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it. Still, for free it’s worth grabbing. And if it’s no longer on sale, just watch some of my video to see what it’s like before deciding whether to purchase.
Sky: Children of the Light
And last, Sky got a new bell quest, which you can see below or use my step-by-step guide here. There’s not much else to report, as the season has been under way for a few weeks now and the season is over in beta.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week! I’ve also gotten sucked into the Showtime series, The Borgias, which I started mainly for Jeremy Irons and discovered it’s an all-around entertaining show. Anyway, 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!