My Week Unwrapped: April 16, 2021 – Cards! MonkeyBox 2, Day Repeat Day, Northgard, Alveole, Tiny Room Stories 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. It’s been a pretty busy week, with several notable releases. Some are easy to recommend, others less so. I also continued playing some games like Genshin Impact and Psycholonials, as well as the Apple Arcade game, FANTASIAN. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s not waste any more time.

Cards! – MonkeyBox 2

Cards! from TheCodingMonkeys is easily my game of the week. It’s a playful choose-your-own-adventure type game made up of cards. You need to choose from three different cards at each fork in the road, then watch it play out until the next choice comes up. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, but I liked that it encourages experimentation. I played through the game on my iPad for my YouTube channel, but have been messing around with it since on my iPhone and found some branching paths, as well as items, that I missed before. So even though it’s a short game, it still offers some replay value. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes innovative games that try something unique. But if you’re not convinced, you can read my full review here. There’s also a playable teaser that you can try first. And last, I have a walkthrough here if you get stuck.

Day Repeat Day

I played some of Day Repeat Day a little while back and wrote a short preview piece about it, admiring the unique combination between a choice-based narrative game and match-three puzzles. I’ve since finished the game and am surprised just how much your choices matter. You see, you work at a warehouse not that different from a place like Amazon, but all your work is in the form of match-three puzzles. The puzzles aren’t terribly groundbreaking, but I did appreciate that they have no nonsense like coins and boosts. If you fail, you just try again. But what’s really interesting is that after you finish your tasks for the day, you’re offered overtime work. That means more puzzles, but it also means you risk ruining relationships because you’re not giving anyone the time of day. It’s very much about work/life balance, which I have a lot of trouble figuring out myself. Since I didn’t want to miss out on puzzles, I often took the extra work and eventually most of my friends wouldn’t speak to me anymore. I couldn’t blame them, because I even missed a friend’s chemo appointment I promised I’d come to. There’s also a lot of little hidden things to find, and much of the story is satire and social commentary. It’s right up my alley and I was really impressed with the scope of it. I’m hoping to review it, but I want to first play through it a second time and try to be a better friend. Anyway, I recommend playing it, but you can see more of my gameplay videos here if you need more convincing.

Northgard

Playdigious brought the ambitious strategy game, Northgard, to iOS this week and I’ve only spent about an hour with it, but there’s a lot to like. You control a clan of Vikings as they explore a new land and build their home there. You need to build houses, training grounds, farmland, and other structures while also continuing to scout out more territory and lay claim to it. I managed to get through the first area in the story fairly easily, but I got a bit clumsy in the second area and built too many things before getting a farm so I’d have a food source. My people all went hungry, and I eventually lost. Thankfully, each area is self-contained, so I don’t have to replay the area I completed. I did find selecting and moving troops a bit finicky on my iPad, and I’d sometimes send them somewhere without intending to, or without enough backup. I also wish there was a bigger font than 2x magnified, but it’s still readable. I still want to spend more time with it, and I especially appreciate that it has iCloud sync so I can’t play on my iPhone if I’m away from my iPad. You can also watch some of my gameplay video below to get any idea of what it’s like.

Alveole

Alveole is a strange little puzzle game that doesn’t hold your hand at all. You control a man running on a giant hamster wheel. The only thing you can make him do is tap by jumping. Occasionally, a spike will appear on the wheel and you can either jump over it or trip over it. There are various images around the screen that serve as clues to tell you different sequences and when you complete them, you get a photograph. Once you have all the photos, you complete the game. It’s fun to figure out how to decipher each clue and get each photograph, though some were a little more obtuse than others. Overall, I enjoyed the game and would like to see more experimental games from this developer. If you get stuck, I have a full walkthrough guide here.

Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery

Tiny Room Stories: Town Mystery is a point-and-click adventure game that’s been out on other platforms for a little while now but finally made it over to iOS this week. It uses an isometric diorama view similar to The Almost Gone and NOX. You rotate the camera to see different sides of the room and look for objects or clues you can use. I’ve only played through the first chapter so far, but I enjoyed it enough to pay for the full game. It’s free to try, so I recommend doing so if you’re a fan of puzzle or adventure games. It’s well put together and I don’t have any complaints about it yet. There’s even some entertaining responses when you tap on some things, like “I’m not a raccoon” if you tap on trash. I also started a walkthrough guide here, which I’ll hopefully update as I continue playing.

Chaser Tracer

Chaser Tracer is a neon-soaked arcade game inspired by the 80’s, in which you use your finger to trace shapes the pop up on the screen. You need to act fast or you’ll lose a life, because if you lose all three it’s game over. I’m not exactly sure why the lives matter, though. The game is level-based and I made it to level 9 before dying. But if I choose to continue, I can pick up from level 9 with three hearts. So it’s not very clear to me what the lives system does. It’s possible it related to the leaderboards, but that’s not clear either, as I haven’t made it on there yet. I’m also finding the game somehow both boring and hectic at the same time. When there’s only 1 or 2 shapes on the screen at a time, it feels too easy, but if there are 3 to 4, my hand gets tired trying to trace them all in time. The shapes also just seem to be the same few repeating, so by level 9 it was already feeling like I’ve seen everything the game has to offer. There are also power-ups you can use as a crutch, but again I’m not sure why I’m doing this if I can just continue where I left off but with full health. It’s free to play with some IAPs, including one that makes it premium, so I recommend just trying it for yourself to see if you like it.

fio!

I started playing fio! last week and was impressed with its new take on sliding tile puzzles. I’ve since completed the game and it was quite a challenge. The first 30 levels didn’t take me too long to complete, but the last 30 took me over an hour. There are a lot of interesting mechanics added that kept it from getting stale, so I enjoyed it from start to finish. I appreciated that there was no move counter, so I could just relax and work on solving the puzzles without thinking about whether I was doing it in the most optimal way. But if you like that sort of challenge, the move counter unlocks after you complete the game for the first time. I think that’s a nice balance, as it’s easy to just ignore it if you want, while those who want more can take on the task. I’d easily recommend the game to any puzzle fans, but check out my gameplay video below if you want to see it in action.

Psycholonials

The eighth chapter of Psycholonials released this week, which means we’re just one chapter away from the end. Things are getting pretty insane and it looks like Z is about to wage war against the United States government. I’ve come this far, so I’m definitely seeing it through. I’m also curious whether we’ll be able to change the story after we complete chapter 9. It’s been implied at the beginning of each chapter, but it’s hard to tell if anything will come of it. Anyway, you can see more of my gameplay videos here and I’ll have more impressions once the game is complete.

Genshin Impact

This week, we got to team up with a baby Oceanid named Endora and have her spit bubbles at water creatures to catch them. At the end of the event, I collected her as a pet and she’s just adorable. Once that event ended, I decided to take a few days off from recording and just logged in on my own to complete the daily quests and use up my resin. I’ve been working on artifact domains a lot lately because I want to get my characters built up properly for the Spiral Abyss. I’ve been focusing on Ganyu the most, since she’s my Dvalin killer, and it’s going nicely. There’s also a new event that started this week, but it’s just more Marvelous Merchandise where you can collect some primogems and other items in exchange for a few plants. The 1.5 update is coming soon, though, and it should be a big one!

Sky: Children of the Light

There isn’t much to report in Sky this week. The Season of Assembly continues and my seasonal candle guide is now complete. I also got some video of the beach clean-up event in beta, which is coming to the live version on Monday as part of the Days of Nature. It was a bit anticlimactic, but I did collect a few candles’ worth of light.

FANTASIAN

And last, I spent a lot more time with the Apple Arcade game, FANTASIAN. I’m still enjoying it, especially the visuals and the exploration. But I still wish there was a way to speed up the battle animations, because the battles feel way too slow for me. I also fought a crazy boss called the Lyranodon, who made an impressive entrance and then wiped my team twice. I beat him on the third try, but only by having my new character, Ez, use up a lot of items crafting attacks. I’ll definitely continue playing the game, but I do hope they make some quality of life improvements so certain things don’t feel like such a slog. Again, you can see more of my gameplay videos here.

And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week! I also watched the first season of Made for Love, which was exactly my kind of show. It’s over-the-top silly satire but it has its dark moments too. I just started Lovecraft Country and am enjoying that so far. Anyway, let me know in the comments section which games you’re playing and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!

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Ian
4 months ago

Hi! Just wanted to say I really enjoy reading your weekly wrap ups and they’ve led me to some great games and helped me dodge some others! I’m playing FANTASIAN at the moment which I’m really enjoying and started say no more which is crackers but fun 🙂 Thanks again for the weekly wrap up, they’re much appreciated!