Hi everyone, and welcome back to My Week Unwrapped, where I discuss all the games I’ve been playing over the last seven days. I spent the first half of the week nursing my cold, but it’s gone now and just in time to play a whole bunch of games. My favorite game of the week is Square Valley, which came out of nowhere and sucked me in immediately. If I didn’t have other games I wanted to try, I would have spent even more time with it than I did. Some of the other games are also worthwhile, but none of them grabbed me in quite the same way. Continue reading to find out why.
I’ve played some town-building puzzle games before and, while I liked them just fine, none of them held my attention long-term. Square Valley, by solo developer rycekube, released just a couple of days ago and already I’ve spent nearly four hours with it. Basically, in each level you’re given a few tiles at a time to choose from and you have to decide which one to place and where. Each tile has specific rules that apply to it in order to get points from it. For example, a blacksmith has to be next to a road and it gets points for all other buildings along that road. Some tiles can even penalize you if you don’t follow their rules. For instance, cows need to be inside a fence or you’ll lose 20 points. All the points are added up at the end, so you don’t have to worry about the layout at the time of placement as long as you can get everything in order before you run out of turns. There’s a lot of elements that need to be taken into consideration with each placement, so it can be a little intimidating as you progress and are introduced to new kinds of tiles. It’s also not a game you play for a few minutes while waiting for the bus. This is something you sit down with and likely spend at least a half hour to complete a level. There’s also a ton of content, as it boasts a total of 45 levels that are randomly generated each time you play them. There’s also a daily challenge if you absolutely can’t get enough. And on top of all that, the game both looks and sounds great. If you have the time to devote to it, I highly recommend grabbing Square Valley.
SOULVARS is a deck-building JRPG that released a few months ago in some countries but only recently got an English translation. It’s got a great soundtrack and pixel art style going for it, but the gameplay is where it stands out. You move along a map at the bottom to different screens and can interact with people and items. You also automatically enter a battle if there’s a monster in the room. For the battles, you choose your moves from a few cards in or hand, building up energy with each turn. If you have enough, you can play two cards at once and create a stronger combo attack. There are also transformations that make your characters incredibly strong. I really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with the game so far, but there are a lot of things I’m still confused about. The last time I played, a boss with three phases ripped me to shreds. I think I need to sit down and really try to understand all the different systems going on before I continue playing. I recommend watching some of my videos below if you want to see what it’s like before buying.
As an English major, I was curious about Grammarian Ltd, a game that takes place in a dystopian future of 2099, where perfect grammar is demanded of everyone. You play as an employee of Grammarian Ltd., a grammar validation agency. Each day, you’re briefed about a certain grammar rule, such as singular and plural pronouns. You then have to go through your stack of documents and follow the instructions. It might just be to “find all the compound nouns” or to “correct the use of plural nouns.” To do so, you simply tap on the words. If the word needs to be fixed, there will be a drop-down menu with choices. Once you complete all your work, you get scored and earn money based on that score. You then go home to rest and replenish your energy. You can also buy things to spruce up your home and improve your mood. Overall, it’s a pretty decent idea. But a game like this is hard to pull off without perfect punctuation and grammar. In the short time I spent with it, I found some odd grammar mistakes and missing punctuation. I also got stuck on one of the documents about compound nouns. I needed to find six but could only find five, so I just handed it in before I ran out of time. It turned out the sixth word was supposed to be “shortage,” but everyone I ask agrees that that’s not a compound noun. I can’t find anyone who thinks it would be one. That, together with some annoying sentence structures that seem designed to trick the player, makes me hesitant to continue playing. If you can forgive a game like this for not having perfect grammar and punctuation, then by all means give it a try. But I’d recommend watching some of my gameplay video first.
Loopy Wizard is another “Brough-like” from Jesse Venbrux, the maker of Seven Scrolls. It shares a lot of ideas with both its inspiration and the previous game, and is just as chaotic. You play as wizard, and you control him by swiping in the direction you want him to move. He can also shoot a beam from his staff to attack monsters if you swipe in the direction of one. But where things get crazy is with the wheel at the top of the screen called the Magic Clock. Each turn, the clock hand moves and if it lands on a spell, you need to choose someone to use that spell on, whether it be yourself or a monster. So it can be helpful if it lands on “Hurt” and you can damage a monster. But if there are no monsters on the board, you’ll be forced to harm yourself instead. The spells themselves drop from monsters you kill and you won’t know what they are until you collect them. But if you find one to be too troublesome, you can drag it to yourself or a monster to use it right away and remove it from the clock. So you’re not completely at the mercy of this clock. Overall, it’s an interesting concept, but I think I prefer Seven Scrolls. I also wish there were leaderboards to compare my score with others, as playing against myself is not very exciting. Again, I recommend watching some of my video below to get a better idea of what it’s like.
Lost Snowmen is a puzzle platformer that released a few months back on Xbox and other platforms, but is available now on iOS. It has you controlling three alien snowmen who each have different skills. In each level, need to use the three snowmen to collect all the fuel and take down the deserter. One showman can jump and also flatten himself out. The bigger, buffer snowman wheels along tightropes and can also punch enemies. He can even punch the jumping snowman to turn him into a ball and roll him through narrow passageways. The third snowman can shoot projectiles and also scrunch down to fit through narrow passages. He can also shoot at the bigger snowman to make him rocket upwards. So combining the skills of all three offers some nice complexity. I generally like games that have you controlling multiple characters and having them work together. And for the most part, it works. But switching between characters on a touchscreen is clunky and I’m constantly being reminded that there’s a timer. I don’t know why I game like this needs a timer, and I really wish it didn’t have one. I don’t know yet if missing the third star in most levels because of the timer will make me miss out on any content, but it just seems so unnecessary either way. I also find the dialogue absolutely mind-numbing. I feel my brain cells dying each time one of the snowmen says “bro.” The dialogue alone might be enough to scare me off, but I’m not giving up on it yet. Again, my video below should give you a better idea of what the game’s like.
I’m a big fan of Protostar’s games like Super Starfish, not least because of the gorgeous art style. Super Starfish combined a high score chasing arcade game with collectible playable fish and a tank that you can decorate. I stuck with it a long time before finally losing interest, so I was happy to see them out with a new game called Dream Hopper. It, too, is a beautiful game, and also features a great soundtrack. Unfortunately, I find the the rest of the game pretty lacking. All you do in each level is swipe to hop from shape to shape. Once you’ve touched all the shapes, they’ll zoom out and form an image. That’s it. Besides that, you can collect currency and unlock new hoppers. But from what I can tell, the gameplay itself doesn’t change much. It just feels like a time-waster and nothing more. If that’s what you’re looking for, by all means give it a go. But if you want something more meaningful from your games, I suggest looking elsewhere.
Neoverse The Trinity
Neoverse The Trinity is a deck-building roguelike that boasts impressive 3D graphics. I really tried to like it, but there’s several different currencies, the ability to watch ads, and I’m not even all that sure whether it’s a roguelike or roguelite based on the time I spent with it. To be honest, I don’t see the sense in even playing a game like this that offers rewards for watching an ad. You’re supposed to challenge yourself and try to beat the game without dying, but then you can make it easier if you’re just willing to watch a whole bunch of ads. And on top of that you can buy new characters and skins. It doesn’t seem like it can figure out whether it wants to be a premium game or a free-to-play game, and I don’t have enough interest in it to figure it out myself.
And last, I mostly just logged into Genshin Impact this week for my dailies. There’s also a new event that just started, but it only takes about 10 minutes per day to play through. I’m also making my way through the current Spiral Abyss and farming materials for Yelan because I’m pretty sure I’m going to pull for her. Other than that, it’s pretty quiet right now so it gives me time to focus on other games.
And that’s everything I’ve been playing this week. I also continued watching Suits, and I’m honestly surprised it lasted for so many seasons despite how many characters left. Still, I’m enjoying it, so I’ll probably see it through to the end. I see that the second season of Russian Doll is out, though, so I’ll probably switch to that soon. Anyway, let me know in the comments section which games you’re enjoying and I’ll see you back here next time for more of My Week Unwrapped!