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 week was even busier than last, as there were quite a few notable games released. I also spent a lot more time with Square Valley, as I’m still really enjoying it. If you’re a fan of puzzle and adventure games, you’ll have plenty to choose from this week, including a fantastic new game from Zach Gage, called Knotwords. Keep reading to learn more.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’m still playing Wordle religiously, usually around 5am when I wake up and can’t fall asleep again. I also play Quordle, the four-word knockoff of the original, but I stopped tweeting my results a little while back. So when I saw Zach Gage and Jack Schlesinger’s new word game, Knotwords, I knew it was something I’d be adding to my daily ritual. It’s basically like a crossword puzzle but instead of clues for each word, the board is broken up into sections and each piece lists the pool of letters that can be used there. But the pieces often cross through multiple words. Early on, when you only have a choice between two or three letters, it’s pretty easy. But as the pieces start spanning four or five tiles, it can get quite tricky. Knotwords is meant as a daily game you can play (hopefully) forever, but there are also monthly levels. The standard thirty are included completely for free, and you can buy the Pro version to gain access to an extra thirty harder puzzles each month, as well as dailies. I like that the monthly puzzles can be played at your leisure, but I do wish the game had released a few days earlier or later so we wouldn’t have been at the very end of a month. Due to a bug, I may not be able to finish April’s levels in time and then they’ll be gone. Still, it’s a small complaint in the big scheme of things, and all it really means is I got a few extra puzzles in before May starts. I really can’t complain about a game that’s this enjoyable and even ad-free whether you pay or not. So if you have any interest in word games or logic games, don’t even hesitate to download Knotwords. And if you need any help on the April puzzles, I’ve posted more of my videos here.
We’ll always have Paris
We’ll always have Paris is a short, impactful and emotional game about dementia. You play as Simon, who is struggling to deal with his wife, Claire’s, memory loss. He tries to find ways to jog her memory, like printing out articles that mention her and her family’s accomplishments. There are some light puzzles, but it’s pretty stress-free, focusing more on conveying what life is like with dementia than trying to offer a challenge. I found the game to be quite effective at its goal and it’s something I won’t forget easily. I know a 30-minute game can be a hard sell, but highly recommend playing this if you’re open to short, memorable experiences.
I previewed Panmorphia: Awakened a few weeks ago when it first went up for pre-order and was excited to delve deeper into the game. Well, now it’s officially out and I’ve also completed it. For those who enjoyed the first two games of the series but found them to be on the short side, I think the new one should satisfy. You can change from human to cat to bird to fish at any point (as long as the environment allows it) in order to access new areas and look for clues. I’m a big fan of point-and-click adventures that allow you to change your environment in some way, so I was thrilled to be able to explore this universe once again. If you don’t use hints, you’ll really need to make sure to change your shape frequently so as not to miss things. And I’m glad to see that the ending implies another Panmorphia game is in the works. I’d recommend this to any fans of the genre, but if you’re not sure tin can also pick up the first two games for free at the moment and try those out. If you’re already playing this one and need help, I’ve started a walkthrough guide here, but the game also has free hints. I don’t have a new video yet, but I included the preview from a few weeks ago below.
Circles – Pleasing Puzzles
Circles is another short game, but, as the name suggests, a very pleasant one. It took me only about 30 minutes to complete, but it was a joy to play through. There’s no instructions other than a visual aid to show that you need to move the solid circle to the open circle. But you’ll soon learn that if you hit another solid circle, you’ll fail and have to start the level over. Every few levels the colors change and, with them, the behavior of the circles. You need to experiment and figure out how to get around them. Some might grow if you move too slowly, or shrink if you circle them clockwise. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure what I did to make it work. But I looked forward to every new level to see what the new trick might be. There are also satisfying transition screens between each level, where you sort of suck up a bunch of circles with your finger. The sound effects and visual effects make it feel more satisfying than you’d think. Overall, I had a really nice time with the game and am glad it didn’t overstay its welcome with a ton of filler. Again, if you’re open to a short, unique experience, give Circles a go. You can also watch my full walkthrough here, but be warned it will spoil the experience if you’re planning to play it.
The Great Deer
The Great Deer was developed by a high school student and, ever since covering The Company Game I’ve learned not to underestimate teenaged game developers. The game was admittedly inspired by the Rusty Lake and Cube Escape series and wears its inspiration on its sleeve. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with it looking and feeling so similar to those games, but the puzzles themselves do stand out and I can see a lot of effort went into making them satisfying to solve. I’m still working my way through it, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far. The art style is a little janky but it works for the weird atmosphere it’s going for. If you don’t mind the fact that it’s nearly copying the mood and look of the Rusty Lake series, give it a try. There’s definitely a lot to like about it and it’s seriously impressive for a high school student. I also have more videos here if you want to see more.
I used to love barcode-scanning games probably 10 years ago. There’s just something about scanning something from your fridge and turning it into an in-game item or characters. It’s been so long since I’ve seen any games like this, though, and I would have expected any new ones to be free-to-play and packed with mictrotransactions. So I was pleasantly surprised to see Barcode Fingermon for just $0.99 and no IAPs. I spent about an hour with it and I like the idea of it, where you fling your Fingermon at opponents to try and bounce them against walls and do more damage. I just wish there was more. I couldn’t find any actual story, only battles to fight. It’s possible I didn’t explore enough, but the map is zoomed all the way in so it was hard to see what else was out there. Every time I wandered a bit, I just bumped into another arena for battling and nothing else. I also wish it was cheaper to scan a code. In the time I played, I only got the original two Fingermon that the game gave me and I scanned one more besides that. I think I had enough coins left to scan maybe two more times. With the scanning mechanic being the main draw for me, I was really hoping to be able to do a lot more of it. I might still revisit the game, but battling over and over with little else in between got a bit old. I’ll have to see if I can find something to do besides battle in arenas. You can watch my video below if you want a better sense of what the game is like.
Watcher Chronicles promises a difficult souls-like experience, so I’m not sure why I expected anything else. Let’s just say I barely made it through the tutorial and then died immediately upon meeting the first boss. There’s a lot going on in the game, as you have two movement buttons, swipe to jump, tap on the right to attack with your sword, a long-distance attack button, and then swiping on the left side for dodging and blocking. That alone is enough to overwhelm me, but there’s also stamina. If you run out of stamina, you won’t be able to attack. You can block to restore some, but that stamina really runs out fast. I’m sure there are folks who will love the hardcore difficulty of this game, but I’d had enough after 10 minutes. The nice thing is that it’s free to try, so you can see how you like it before spending the money to unlock the full game.
I mentioned Square Valley last week and how much I was enjoying it. I made a lot more progress this week, completing the whole first chapter and some of the second. I’m amazed at how many different tiles there are in the game and how much has to be taken into consideration when placing them. I also like how each level is thoughtfully designed around a specific idea but also has RNG aspects so each playthrough is different. There are still some things that need work, though. I’ve encountered a few bugs and also some unclear rules. The developer has been fixing bugs and clarifying descriptions, though, and another update should be coming soon. I’m currently waiting for that update, but plan to play more as soon as it’s out. It’s one of the most compelling puzzle games I’ve played in a while and I’m sure it will only get better as the developer works out the kinks. I also have some videos here if you want to see more.
And last, I’m still playing Genshin Impact daily. The latest event, Vibro-Crystal Research, ended a few days ago and there hasn’t been much else to do since. The 2.7 update is also getting postponed due to the lockdown in Shanghai. Right now, I’m mostly just farming for Yelan and hoping I get her when her banner finally does come.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week. I also binged the second season of Russian Doll, which wasn’t as good as the first season but was still plenty entertaining. I see Undone is back, too, so I’ll likely start watching that over the weekend. Anyway, let me know in the comments section which games you’ve been playing and I’ll see you back here next time with more of My Week Unwrapped!