My Week Unwrapped: November 14, 2020 – Lamplight City, MO Astray, Gnomitaire, Queen Rules, Trippy Escape, Lineweight 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 is yet another busy week and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down! I still managed to find some time to complete and review Lamplight City, make more progress in Genshin Impact (and nearly ragequit), and start a whole slew of new and upcoming games. So pull up a chair and get comfy while I talk about them.

Lamplight City mobile

I already mentioned Lamplight City in my last two roundups and I finally finished it this week. I enjoyed it quite a bit, despite some features missing, like the achievements that are available on other platforms. I would still very much recommend it, and you can read my full review here and see more videos here.

  • MO: Astray

  • I didn’t really know what to expect from Ryark’s MO: Astray, but I loved the screenshots I saw and knew I needed to play it. So far, I’ve only spent about an hour with and have seen barely 10% of the game, but I’m thoroughly impressed. I was a little nervous about playing it on an iPad, but those fears melted away as soon as I started the tutorial. The game features slingshot controls and uses the left side of the screen for directional movement and the right side for the slingshot. So you don’t have to stare at any buttons or have your finger covering the action. My absolute favorite part of the game, though, is that you can fling yourself onto monsters’ faces and both mind read and mind control them. So a level might have you jumping from zombie to zombie, or using one to open a door. I get strong Mushroom 11 vibes from it, because both games feel made for touchscreens and prioritize puzzles over action. Well, at least that’s what it seems so far. The checkpoints are also super generous, so I haven’t gotten frustrated from dying yet. If I have one complaint, it’s that the narrow passages you can sometimes squeeze through are often a little too well hidden. I was stuck on a particular level for a while because I just didn’t notice there was an opening, and unfortunately that seems to be a theme. I’d rather not have to spend my time searching for the way out. But I’m still loving the game and plan to keep playing.

    Gnomitaire

    Tinytouchtales, the maker of games like Card Crawl and Maze Machina, surprised us all with a new release this week out of nowhere. It’s called Gnomitaire, and it’s a Solitaire variation made up of just sixteen cards. It reminds me a lot of his other game, Miracle Merchant, though a bit simpler than that. The Casual mode is pretty straightforward, as you need to make four piles of cards with only one of each suit each pile. The catch is the the cards all have different suits on them, which indicates what cards can be placed on top of them. It’s still very easy to complete in the Casual mode. But the Expert mode shakes things up by adding an extra rule — there can only be one of each suit in each row, as well. I’m not sure I’m going to want to play 1000 games of Gnomitaire, but I am enjoying a game here and there. It’s also fun to try and climb the leaderboards by using as few moves as possible (the lowest is 16 since there are 16 cards) and as fast as possible. The game is also completely free, but there are opt-in ads that allow you to retry a run that went poorly. That might be an issue for those who care about their completion rate, but otherwise you can enjoy it without worrying about any ads or monetization whatsoever. So it’s absolutely worth downloading.

    Queen Rules

    Queens Rules is a relaxing puzzle game where you drag numbers around the board to spread them out and fill the board with all 1’s. I’ve played through the first 47 levels and I only really had trouble with a couple of levels, so we’ll see if it ever gets more challenging. I do like that new mechanics are being added, but it’s hard to tell yet how tricky it will get since the game takes a really long time to ramp things up. The first 10 levels alone were basically showing the same exact thing. I wish the developers trusted players to understand things without it being pummeled over the head with the rules. And even with all that, there’s still one aspect of the game that I don’t fully understand and I don’t think was ever explained. If you drag a large number, such as 4, it might split into two 2’s instead of pulling off one at a time. And I’m not really sure why that is. If anything needed explaining, I think it’s that, yet I don’t recall being told anything about it. Anyway, I’ll stick with it for now and see if it gets more interesting, but it’s not grabbing me yet. I also started a walkthrough here if you need help.

    Trippy Escape: Mindeater

    Trippy Escape: Mindeater starts with a strange dream, followed by a drug-induced hallucination that’s even, well, trippier. The idea is that you’re locked inside a woman named Cordelia’s mind, which is very much like a room. You have four walls to rotate between, all with objects and clues and puzzles to solve. I haven’t spent that much time with it yet, but I’ve enjoyed what I did play. I’ll be sure to update you with more impressions once I complete it. I also started making a walkthrough guide here.

    Tiny Robots Recharged

    Snapbreak’s Tiny Robots Recharged has already been out on Android for a little while, but this week it made its way over to iOS. I played the first ten levels so far and, while the graphics are nice, I’m finding the actual puzzles to be too easy, to the point of boredom. It’s also strange that you’re penalized for not rushing through a level, as you run out of battery if you go too slow. You can earn more batteries through play or buy them with IAPs, but it just comes off as a bit of a desperate way to make money in a puzzle game. I think you’re better off just restarting a level if you run out of time instead of buying batteries. That said, you can play the whole game for free, so that is generous. I’ll be back with more impressions after I play some more, but until then you can see my walkthrough guide here.

    Lineweight

    I’m really not sure what to make of Lineweight. It’s a narrative-based game with minimal gameplay to it. It’s visually striking, but I actually found the animations and effects distracting. That said, there aren’t that many words to begin with, at least in the first chapter. It only took me a few minutes to get through that chapter and then it wanted me to pay for the rest of the game. I wasn’t drawn in enough to want to do that, so unfortunately I can’t say whether the rest of the game is worth the price. I recommend playing through the first chapter to see if it grabs you more than it did me.

    Moonlighter

    Moonlighter has been on other platforms for a while, but it’s finally coming to ios next week. I got access ahead of time and spent about an hour with it, but I’ve been having trouble getting into it. The controls are tap-to-move and tap-to-attack, with swipes for rolling and dodging. I’m having a hard time getting used to the battles like this, especially tougher bosses. I’ve died a bunch of times at the same boss and keep losing the loot I picked up. Part of the problem is that it’s hard to teleport out from the boss room so you can keep your loot, and I haven’t noticed any way to tell that you’re about to enter a boss room. I do like the shop aspect of the game, though. You try to sell the stuff you find in the dungeons by setting prices and waiting for customers to buy them. You need to keep adjusting the price until they’re willing to pay it. I might give the game another chance, but since I was struggling so much in just the first dungeon, I’m not sure I’ll get far. You can see what it’s like for yourself in my gameplay video below.

    Ninja Chowdown

    Ninja Chowdown is another game releasing soon that I got to play early. It’s a level-based auto-runner in which you play as a ninja with a donut obsession. In each level, you need to eat as many donuts as possible and take down enemies — or at least not get hit by them. The left side of the screen is for jumping and the right side is for attacking. You can just tap the right side to throw your weapon, or drag your finger in a direction to throw at an angle. I only played the first few levels and already it was getting a bit hectic for me. They are, thankfully, pretty short levels so far, so it’s not the end of the world to have to start over. I also like that you can buy pets and outfits with the coins you earn, and they seem to be entirely cosmetic. But I liked spinning around as a giant turtle with my pet dragon trailing behind. The game will be free, supported by ads, with a one-time IAP of $2.99 to remove ads and also get 5,000 free coins to use on cosmetics. I appreciate the fair monetization and recommend giving it a try when it releases on December 3rd. You can also pre-order it right now.

    Genshin Impact

    I’ve been spending more and more time with Genshin Impact, and finally took on Stormterror. That opened up a lot more quests, so I’ve had plenty to do each time I log in. But I almost ragequit after trying the Ascension quest and getting pulverized by the first Ruin Guard I met. I’ll probably keep playing and just accept that I’m stuck at Adventure Rank 25 for the time being. Again, you can see more of my videos here.

    All of You

    I already have some impressions last week on Alike Studio’s All of You, but I’ve since wrote a proper review. I had mixed feelings about it, but I’ll let you read the review rather than rehash my thoughts. I also have a walkthrough guide here if you need help.

    The Pathless

    And last, this week’s Apple Arcade game is one we’ve all been waiting for since Apple Arcade was announced. The Pathless is a game of exploration from Giant Squid and Annapurna Interactive, where you play as a huntress trying to rid the land of darkness with her trusty eagle friend to help her. I spent about an hour with it so far and I love petting my eagle and using him to solve puzzles or carry me over gaps and to higher ground. I just find it a bit confusing at times and I’m not particularly good at keeping control at a fast pace, so the whole sliding gimmick is kind of wasted on me. Though it looks cool to slide around at top speed, I prefer to go at a more normal speed and feel like I’m in control. I still plan to play more and was going to today, but it was very noisy around my apartment so I didn’t want to play such a quiet game. I’ll definitely play some more tomorrow, though, and hopefully have more impressions next week.

    And that’s everything I’ve been playing this past week! We’re being flooded by games right now, with more coming next week, including The First Tree. If you can’t find something to play, I’m not sure what to tell you. Anyway, let me know in the comments section which games you’re enjoying and I’ll see you back here next week with more of My Week Unwrapped!

    ***
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