Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. There have been some noteworthy new releases, but I also bought and played some games that were on sale for Black Friday, so this roundup ended up being longer than expected. Some of these new games are also free to try, so even if you don’t want to spend money up front, you should have a few new games to check out this week. Anyway, let’s get to it!
Machineboy’s Embracelet has you playing as a young Norwegian boy named Jesper who’s given a magic bracelet by his ailing grandfather. It allows him (and you) to lift heavy objects that would otherwise be impossible. Jesper visits the island of Slepp during his summer vacation and tries to figure out the mystery of the bracelet and also why his grandfather left the island. It’s a wholesome story accompanied by some interesting but not-too-taxing puzzles and I enjoyed it quite a bit, despite some wonky controls and a troublesome camera. I still highly recommend it, but you can read my full review if you want to know more.
Quest Hunter was the surprise delight for me this week. It’s an isometric action RPG that feels really great on an iPad, mainly because the developers included tap-to-move controls along with the optional joystick. There are a few instances — like walking over a bridge I built — where the joystick works better, but for the most part I’ve been able to stick with the touch controls and not worry about awkwardly holding my iPad in two hands. The battles themselves aren’t too sophisticated, as you mostly just hack with your sword, defend with your shield, and use your limited skills when necessary. You can either tap on enemies to automatically attack them or use the joystick and buttons, or a combination of both. But what I like most about the game is looking for hidden secrets. Each area has a certain number of them that might either be slightly highlighted by blue particles, or not. The ones that aren’t could involve digging up a treasure when your shovel icon pulses — something that’s easy to miss if you’re not paying close attention. Or it could be a switch hidden behind a tree. I spent two hours just playing the free content and I still haven’t found all the hidden secrets in the areas available to me. I’m considering paying the $9.99 to unlock the rest of the game because I really am enjoying looking for these hidden treasures. And I noticed in my last session that if I’m struggling, I can always just chop down lots of trees and rocks and sell them to the carpenter for gold, then buy upgrades for my armor. The only thing I don’t understand is why I keep encountering locks that require silver keys and then can’t find the silver keys anywhere. The game has a lot of freedom, though, so it’s easy to leave a place and come back to it later if you get tired of trying to find everything you missed. I highly recommend playing through the free content to decide if you want to buy the rest of the game.
Iris and the Giant
Iris and the Giant actually released a few weeks back, but I didn’t pick it up until it went on sale for the holidays. I was attracted to the art style and the promise of another turn-based roguelike card game. It has you playing as a young girl named Iris who must fight through enemies in her imaginary world. The idea is to make it through all 20 floors of the dungeon, building your deck of cards as you go. On each floor, you need to clear out enough enemies to make it to the exit. Each turn, Iris draws a few cards and can play one or more of them, depending on what they are. For instance, an axe hits all three enemies in a row. A sword only attacks one enemy but you can use as many as you want from your hand. A dagger instantly kills an enemy, no matter their armor. Besides weapons, there are shield cards and healing cards. You also can earn perks and upgrades if you make it far enough. I especially like the special areas you can warp to where you have to solve puzzle-like rooms by using a specific hand of cards to defeat all the enemies without getting hit even once. My main issue with Iris is that it’s not really a roguelike, but rather a roguelite. That means instead of getting further each playthrough primarily because you learned from your mistakes and honed your skills and strategy, you’re doing so because each run makes Iris stronger through different unlocks. That can make it feel like a tedious grind, because it’s designed around unlocking persistent upgrades instead of being able to beat it as is. It also takes a bit long for each floor to start, because you have to watch everything slowly appear. I’m still going to play more, but I’m already tiring somewhat after dying on the 9th floor of the dungeon. Anyway, check out my gameplay video below to see what it’s like.
Oceans Board Game Lite
Oceans is the underwater version of the Evolution board game and a digital version just released on iOS and Android. Both games are well-made, though I haven’t spent much time with either. The rules and mechanics aren’t the simplest, so it would take some practice for me to get used to them and actual time play properly. I still recommend checking it out, especially since you can play against the Easy AI for free to see how you like it. It then costs only $0.99 to unlock the Intermediate AI and Pass & Play. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any online play.
The Tree is a digital board game that, as far as I can tell, isn’t based on a physical board game. The rules are simple, making it easy to get into right away. The way it works is that there’s a tree in the center of the screen and each player has a number of resources to get rid of in order to win the game. These can be branches, leaves, buds, fruits and flowers. But they have to be placed in a specific order and you can only place them if you draw the cards for them. I love the art style, and especially appreciate that there are different themes so you don’t have to look at the same tree each game. I do find the music to be too repetitive, though, and I wish I could speed up my opponent’s moves instead of only skipping them. But the main drawback for me is that the only multiplayer option is pass and play. I think the game might be too simple to keep playing against an AI but I would love to play online against real people. I suggest watching some of my video below if you want a better idea of how it plays.
EMMA the story
I’d thought of buying Plug In Digital’s EMMA a number of times and finally took the plunge during the Black Friday sale. It’s not so much a game as a visual novel, and a very short one at that. But I enjoyed it for what it was. The writing is strong and I especially like the realistic artwork and weather effects. If you don’t mind spending a buck on a short experience, grab it while it’s on sale!
Type:Rider is another game I’d been eyeing for a long time and finally bought on sale. I like the overall idea of the game and the visuals. It’s kind of like Limbo but made of letters. The problem is I’m having a really hard time getting used to the controls. I appreciate that they’re gesture-based, so I don’t have to worry about a bunch of buttons on the screen. But both the left side and right sides of the screen work for both movement and jumping, so my fingers can’t really get into a rhythm. I’m constantly tapping the wrong side or frantically hitting both sides at the same to try and get it to do what I want. I don’t regret buying it, but I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it.
Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator
And yet another game I picked up during the sale is Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator. The idea is create an insult using the collection of words on the screen. But for the most part, both players have to pick from the same list. So you might have your eye on that “and” but your opponent grabs it before you can and then you’re stuck with a shorter and less effective insult. Mainly, you want to create insults that are worth more points so they’ll do more damage to your opponent and take them down. You also get bonus points for using words that your opponent is sensitive to. For instance, H.P. Lovecraft gets offended by anything that reminds him of reality, like the word “ordinary.” Overall, it’s an enjoyable diversion and I think $0.99 is a great deal for it. But I haven’t been able to try out the online multiplayer yet since no one’s playing. I’m going to try to get a friend to test it out with me this week and report back how it goes.
Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast
Oh…Sir! The Hollywood Roast is the sequel of Oh…Sir! The Insult Simulator in which you play as a parody of some well-known actor or character and face off against others. For instance, there’s Dirty Potter, which seems to be an older Harry Potter, The Greasy Wizard, who’s meant to be Gandalf, and Marilyn Nomore, which I’m sure you can guess who that’s supposed to be. It plays pretty much the same way as the original, but I like that it breaks down your points for you so you know why you scored the way you did. There’s also a power-up meter that you can use to do extra damage once it’s charged. These games seem to go a lot faster since I find it easier to build up points. But again, I haven’t been able to play against a human yet. I still think it’s worth buying for a few hours of entertainment.
I wrote about Dark Odds last week and had had some issues with it, one being that it didn’t work on my iPhone and the other being that I got stuck in a death loop. Well, it since got an update that fixed the crashing on my iPhone and also changed some of the choices. I lost access to my previous checkpoint and had to start over, but managed to reach a good ending. I’ve been told there are multiple good endings, but without some way to track them, I’m not sure how much effort I’ll want to put into finding them. I enjoyed the game for what it is, but would like to see it filled out with some features to make it more worthwhile to play. It’s hard to know when to stop playing otherwise. If I do play more and find other good endings, I’ll be listing them here.
Card Hog is a card-based dungeon crawler from pig aficionado, SnoutUp, that’s currently in beta on iOS. I played some of it in its current state and can definitely see a “one more game” pull to it, but some aspects are still a little unclear at the moment. I’ll definitely be giving it more attention and will see if things clear up. But this is a game to keep an eye on, especially if you’re a fan of other card-based dungeon crawlers.
And finally, I played some more Genshin Impact and completed all the meteor quests so I could get the most annoying character in the game, Fischl. I probably won’t use her, but I may change my mind in the future. I think I’m going to take a little break from Genshin, though, because I don’t like how I’m starting to feel pressured to play every day to get the resources I need. I’m not quitting, but I want to get back to playing casually again. There’s just too many games I want to play and I can’t give so much time to one that is practically endless.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week! Make sure to check out my list of Black Friday sales to grab some of these games and more. I also wrote up my impressions separately for the last few Apple Arcade games I played so they’re not included in this roundup. Over the next couple of weeks I’m also going to be working on my Game of the Year list, so you may see fewer gameplay videos from me. Anyway, let me know in the comments section which games you’re enjoying and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!
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