My Week Unwrapped: November 21, 2020 – The First Tree, Okhlos Sigma, Bridge Constructor TWD, Moonlighter, Dark Odds, Tomb Toad 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 was a pretty busy week, but unfortunately most of the new releases disappointed me, even the ones I was looking forward to. The highlight for me was a game I wasn’t even expecting and never heard of before — go figure! I also continued some games I started last week and chipped away at some walkthroughs. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get to it.

The First Tree

The First Tree caught my attention when it first released on other platforms and, at least on paper, seemed to tick off all the right boxes for me. It’s an narrative-focused exploration game where you play as a fox running around pretty 3D landscapes. Unfortunately, a lot of things in the game clash with each other. For instance, it’s supposed to be a relaxing game, but since it only saves at the start of each chapter, there’s a lot of pressure to complete a chapter as soon as possible so you don’t lose your progress. It’s an especially odd choice for the mobile version, making it pretty impossible to play on the go. The fox also doesn’t feel as fox-like as I had hoped. It’s not all bad, but the negatives outweigh the positives for me. I wrote a full review here if you want to know more about it and I have more gameplay videos here.

Okhlos: Sigma

Devolver released a new game this week called Okhlos: Sigma, completely out of the blue. I’ve never heard of the series, but there does seem to have been a few releases on different platforms. I don’t know if this is a brand new game or a mobile-friendly port or what, but what I do know is that it was one of the highlights of this week for me. Basically, it has you taking on the Greek gods. You run around and recruit people to your mob, and then use that mob to attack soldiers, demigods and actual gods. The way it works is that the left side of the screen controls your prophet. You need to keep him safe, because you have a limited number of them and once they’re all gone it’s game over. He also can’t attack. That’s where the mob comes in. You control them using the right side of the screen. Simply throw them at enemies and they’ll attack. You can also tap both sides of the screen at the same time to defend. So it’s all pretty chaotic, with bodies flying everywhere and buildings being smashed. You can also recruit specific heroes that offer bonuses like extra space for mobs. My only real complaint at the moment is that the inventory buttons are so big and take up so much space on the left side, that it makes it a bit awkward to control my prophet. Items are pretty rare — at least so far — so it’s especially odd that they’re given so much space. But otherwise I’m enjoying it and look forward to playing more.

Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead

I’ve only ever tried one Bridge Constructor game before, and that was Bridge Constructor Portal. I enjoyed it for a little while, but my bridge-making skills proved minimal at best and I lost interest. I was still curious to see what ClockStone and Headup and in store for their latest mashup, Bridge Constructor: The Walking Dead. It doesn’t sound like it should work, but I actually find it more interesting than the usual theme, since you’re also focusing on destroying walkers/zombies. And since you’re not always in a car, the characters can perform certain actions and even have skills they can use, like throwing a doll as a distraction. I also like that you’re often focused not just on building a sturdy bridge, but sometimes even breaking it so it crushes walkers. There’s a lot of variety here to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, I’m once again learning that my bridge-building skills are not great and I’m stuck trying to build two steel ramps for a car and bus to use to fly over a gap. So far, my attempts have just led to both ramps crumbling right away, even though I used a lot more resources than I’m supposed to. I think the game is probably better in short bursts rather than sitting for hours iterating on a single structure. I’ll probably go back to it, but first I need to nurse my bruised ego a bit. I also started working on a walkthrough here.

Moonlighter

I played some of Moonlighter for you last week, and I liked the shop mechanic that has you selling off items you loot in dungeons to townsfolk. But I was having a lot of trouble in dungeons, especially with the tap-to-move controls. Well, the developers have since added a joystick option, and I’m finding it much more doable, though it’s still not perfect. The default make small, quick movements with the joystick register as rolls/dodges, and I kept rolling by accident, even into pits. Turning that off and changing the dodge to a button helped greatly. I also finally built a blacksmith and a potion shop so I can make better gear. But what was disappointing was learning that I sold off a bunch of things that I needed for crafting gear because I had no idea. It would have been nice to have some inkling of what those items were before I sold them off. I’m also playing the game so cautiously now because I’m afraid of dying in a dungeon and losing all my loot. It makes things go really slow and it’s feeling very grindy, so I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it. You can see some gameplay below using the joystick controls.

Dark Odds

Dark Odds is a choice-based horror game in the style of a graphic novel. You wake up tied to a tree in a forest, with some guy in a rabbit mask out to kill you. As with Reigns, it all comes down to binary decisions, where you swipe left or right to choose. Do you use the phone you found in your pocket or try to find another way out? Do you run or hide? Kick him or spit in his face? So far, most of my decisions have ended in bloody death, but I did manage to make my way to a cabin. But then I confronted the rabbit guy with some bizarre options and everything I do ends in death. I keep getting reverted back to a checkpoint a few choices back, which would imply that there’s a way to avoid death and make progress here. But none of the choices seem to make a difference and I’m stuck in a death loop. I wish there was a way to go back more than one checkpoint, rather than starting the whole game over from scratch, because I seemed to be headed towards a possible escape. I’ll probably give it another chance, but the death loop kind of ruined the mood for me at the moment. The game also doesn’t open on my iPhone SE right now, so I’ve been playing on my iPad, where it’s a bit cumbersome. Swiping left/right takes bigger swipes on there than I’d like, which makes it hard to use my thumb to play. But the developer said it should be fixed soon so it works on my iPhone and I look forward to giving it another chance on there. I do like the art style and general idea of it, so I’m not ready to dismiss it just yet.

Tomb Toad

Tomb Toad is another game I was really looking forward to. It’s a gravity-based maze game in which you swipe to rotate the screen and make your frog — and enemies on the board — move around, pulled by gravity. It looks great and I loved the idea of it. I thought it would be puzzly, at least to start, rather than being skill-based. But I got stuck immediately after the tutorial. It requires mastery of the controls and the ability to make both small and large movements quickly and often. There is nothing relaxed about this game. Even with the update that added a sensitivity scaler, it’s just too stressful for me. I recommend checking out my short videos below to see if it’s something you might gravitate to more than I did.

DeLight: The Journey Home

I love the idea of DeLight: The Journey Home, as it has you playing as a blind girl accompanied by her seeing eye dog. But I hate the execution. Everything about the game is just painful. Originally, I had to play with the joystick in the middle of the screen on my iPad, which was its own level of torture. But even with that being fixed, I just can’t bring myself to play this game anymore. The first issue is that the girl, Sammy, moves so incredibly slow. I get that she’s blind, but if a game is actually painful to play, I’m not going to want to do so. There has to be a way to get her disability across without making the game so unpleasant. It’s an interesting idea having everything being dark except the small area around her, and maybe that should have been enough. I finally threw in the towel during some stealth section where I needed to avoid guards, but again using her slow-as-molasses movement. My dumb dog also led me to a dead end, so I would have had to go back through the guards again. It also doesn’t save frequently, as I took a break because of the broken joystick and when I came back it had reset the whole area. I do like the choice-based dialogue that unlocks achievements, and Deli the dog is cute, but just about everything else about this game is pure misery. I haven’t even made it through the first free chapter, so you can be sure I won’t be buying any of the paid chapters. At least you can try it for yourself and see if it’s as painful to play for you as it was for me.

Circulous

I wrote about the new content update for Circulous not long ago, and this week that update finally came. I completed it and enjoyed it quite a bit. I really like where this whole game is going and I’m eager to see how the whole story unravels. I’m also working on a walkthrough guide here if you need help.

MO: Astray

I wrote about MO: Astray last week and was really impressed with it. I made more progress since, and unlocked a new ability to clone my little blob so I could use him to help me solve puzzles. Everything was going really well and then I encountered my very first boss and panicked. I’m sure it’s not as bad as it seems and I just need to work out the patterns, but I haven’t been back to the game since. I’m definitely not done with it, though. I just need to muster up the courage and work on beating that boss when I have a clear mind and don’t have fifteen other games vying for my attention. I still love the game and, if I do end up desperate, I could always drop the difficulty level. If you want to see more of the gameplay, check out my video below.

Queen Rules

I wrote about Queen Rules last week and mentioned how there’s a bit too much filler for my tastes. That hasn’t changed, but the puzzles are getting trickier. I still wish things moved faster and it didn’t keep wasting my time with easier levels. But I’ll probably stick with it to the end to see how it evolves. I’m also working on a walkthrough here.

Genshin Impact

I’m still playing Genshin Impact and have now invested over fifty hours into the game. This week introduced a new event involving a meteor shower. Little meteors crashed into the planet all over the place and when someone gets near them they fall into a deep sleep. So you’re tasked with finding and collecting these meteors. They’re indicated by a blue circle on the map as you get closer to them, and then your elemental symbol glows blue and sings when you’re right near it, getting louder and brighter the closer you get to it. I’ve been having fun searching for them, like a sort of treasure hunt. You can also exchange them for some nice rewards in the event shop. The second part of the quest is harder and not as enjoyable for me, but I’m still participating for the rewards. The story itself is kind of annoying, not least because you have to hear Fischl talk nonsense. I will say that Paimon and I have bonded over our hatred of Fischl, though. This week I also tried multiplayer for the first time and invited a higher level friend to help me take down some bosses so I could ascend some of my characters. It was fun and I’m going to try to do it more often.

The Pathless

And last, I tried to play more of The Pathless on Apple Arcade but got frustrated and bored pretty quickly. I don’t like how the game expects and encourages you to explore and refuses to give any real guidance, but then punishes you for it. While trying to figure out a couple of puzzles, I got sucked into the red zone two more times and had to suffer through that whole stealth section again. It was interesting maybe the first couple of times, but now it just feels like an utter waste of time doing that same thing over and over just because I didn’t do a good enough job keeping away from the red zones. Maybe if there was some variety to them it would actually be fun to play through and not just feel like punishment. I actually quit just as I got sucked into one because I just couldn’t stomach doing it again. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be continuing with The Pathless.

And that’s everything I’ve been up to this past week. I also caught up on a few Netflix series and movies, and I still keep trying to beat my high score in Kavel. This year is coming to an end and I should get started on my GOTY list, but there are still some notable games on the way, such as Embracelet. I noticed All of You also fixed their achievements so they don’t pop up after every level, so I can finally get to work on a a proper walkthrough for it. Anyway, let me know in the comments section what you’re enjoying and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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Dr Renier Palland
4 days ago

Jesus take the wheel! I can’t breathe! This is some of the best writing I’ve read in years. Hahahah! Wait till I crazy-tweet the best quotes!