Apple Arcade Unwrapped: April 9, 2021 – Cut the Rope Remastered, The Oregon Trail, Simon’s Cat Story Time, World of Demons, FANTASIAN and More

Hi everyone, and welcome back to my roundups of Apple Arcade games, called Apple Arcade Unwrapped. It’s similar to my weekly roundup called My Week Unwrapped. As I make my way through the Apple Arcade games, I’ll be posting my impressions about the games I played since the previous issue. The idea is to include gameplay videos and blurbs to help my readers decide which games to play first. There are already over 100 games available and I’m only one person, so please bear with me. But as I cover more games, I’ll be linking to that coverage here so you can find it all easily. This week, I mostly spent time catching up on some of the games released last week, since there were so many. I focused first on the ones I was interested in and also revisited couple I had already started.

Cut the Rope Remastered

It’s nice to see classic games being revisited using Apple Arcade, and doing away with the ads and IAPs in the process. Cut the Rope Remastered brings back our beloved Om Nom without all the extra nonsense that we’ve seen added over the years. The game looks and plays great, and I like the way the map is inside a storybook. That said, I now remember why I never stuck with the Cut the Rope games to begin with. The physics puzzles sometimes require perfect timing with your cuts and and it often becomes less about figuring out the solution and more about carrying it out. I prefer my puzzle games more brainy and less reflex-based. It’s still a nice game for those who do enjoy these kinds of puzzles. I am confused, though, by the decision to make extra stars in each level so cryptic to find. I thought I got all the stars in the first chapter, only to discover that there are blue ones I have no idea how to even access. It’s still worth trying out, but be aware of these little quirks.

The Oregon Trail

I confess that I don’t really remember much at all about the original Oregon Trail and I’m not even sure I used to play it as a kid. The idea is that you play as a group of travelers on their way to Oregon, trying to survive the journey. This new version from Gameloft attempts to fix the racism in the old one and features Native American playable characters and stories. It’s nice to see, though I was a bit confused when the Native American we met in the tutorial abandoned his horse on the road when joining up with us. I was able to look past that, though, and complete my journey to the first town. It seems well-made for the kind of game it is and I don’t really have any complaints. It’s been a pleasant and polished experience. I especially like the environment art and the soothing soundtrack. There also seems to be a ton of replay value. I’m not sure how much more I’ll play of it, but I recommend at least trying it out.

Simon’s Cat – Story Time

I confess I really don’t know much about Simon’s Cat, to the extent that I didn’t even know his name was just Cat. So I was surprised to see just how many games there are in the App Store based on the franchise. Unsurprisingly, most — if not all — are free-to-play, full of ads and IAPs. So that’s where Apple Arcade comes in, offering a premium experience. Simon’s Cat – Story Time is an IAP-free match-three similar to Toon Blast, where you match two or more of a color by simply tapping on them. It’s not my favorite type of match-three, primarily because it is almost always dependent on boosts and power-ups that you buy outside the actual puzzles and then being with you for when you get stuck. It’s a very free-to-play mechanic and it makes it hard for me to take the game seriously, even if you can’t spend real money on those items. Still, I might have stuck with it more if the game wasn’t so incredibly slow. Starting a level takes so many taps when it could have just been one. There’s also no “restart” button if you see you’re not going to be able to complete the level with the remaining moves. You have to either use up your moves and let the game offer a restart, or quit the level completely and then find your way back to it with another bunch of taps. The soundtrack is also the same repetitive type of music you see in all these games, and shutting it means you play mostly in silence, which is also not great. The story between the levels, where you’re fixing up a garden and park, are cute but also really generic and predictable and incredibly slow, like everything else in the game. I doubt I’ll continue playing this one.

World of Demons

I absolutely love the art style of World of Demons, and I even enjoy playing it. It reminds me a bit of Infinity Blade, since you’re going through a series of battles, with some light exploration in between to open treasure chests and break pots to find items. That said, it’s not as touchscreen-friendly as Infinity Blade. Movement is easy enough, as you just swipe anywhere on the left side of the screen. But there are onscreen buttons for attacking, dodging and releasing your pet demons, which are especially special skills. I was doing fine for a while despite this, but then started to take a beating and ended a battle with half health. I couldn’t find any way to heal, as I’d already broken all the pots nearby and opened the chests. So I’m stuck in a sort of death loop until I give up and lose all my progress in the game so far. I’m not really willing to do that, so I’ll likely just abandon it. If there was a way to use the items I found to upgrade my demons before the next battle, I might have stuck with it. But I have no interest in starting from scratch. I still recommend trying it, but know what you’re getting into.

FANTASIAN

I wrote a bit about FANTASIAN last week, but I’ve since had a chance to spend more time with it. After a few hours, I still have some criticisms, but I’m enjoying it enough to stick with it. My favorite part is still the exploration, as the environments are all eye candy. It’s also fun to look for hidden treasure chests that might hold some powerful piece of equipment. Speaking of which, I managed to open the locked chest I saw in my first video and it turned out to hold a really nice weapon for my main character, Leo, that’s made battles a lot smoother. I also have two new members on my team, Kina, a healer, and Princess Cheryl, who can summon knights to her aid. I also unlocked the ability to skip and store random battles. This means I won’t be interrupted while running around, but I have to battle all the monsters I skipped at once. It’s a nice idea, but I have to mess around with it more to decide if I like it. I’m a bit worried about taking on so many enemies at once, but maybe it won’t be so bad. Overall, I’m enjoying the game, but I wish it had more settings — like to speed up battle animations and complete battles faster. I’d also like to lower just the battle music, as it’s very loud, but there’s only one toggle to control all the music in the game. Anyway, I’ll definitely be playing more of this, so keep an eye out for upcoming videos. I’m posting them here, along with important items I find in each one.

SP!NG

And last but not least, I finally completed all the current content in SP!NG. Again, I have a partial walkthrough here that I’ll hopefully compete at some point. This was one of my favorite experiences on Apple Arcade and I can’t wait to see what insanity the developers come up with for future content updates.

And that’s all the Apple Arcade games I’ve been playing this week! It’s certainly feast or famine with this service, and last week was a giant feast that I’m still working my way through. Make sure to let me know in the comments section which games you’re enjoying and I’ll see you back here next time with more Apple Arcade Unwrapped!

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