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 busy week with quite a few new releases. I also took advantage of the Steam Next Fest to play the demo of a PC game I’m looking forward to. Genshin Impact is still fairly quiet at the moment, but that’s given me more time to spend on other games. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s not dawdle.
I’ve been hyped over Loco Looper ever since I saw the developer tweet about it a while back, showing off its visual trick. It uses the device’s gyroscope to give a 3D effect and make it seem like the game is jumping off your screen. I knew nothing else about the game but that alone was enough to catch my attention. Now the game is out and available to purchase. I got access to it a couple of days ago and have barely been able to put it down. It turns out that it’s not just a cool gimmick, but a fun, streamlined puzzler as well. I wrote more about here, but the gist of it is that anyone who’s a puzzle fan should grab it.
Ace Attorney Trilogy
This may come as a shock, but I’ve never played any Ace Attorney games. I don’t know why. It’s not lack of interest. But in any case, that has now been rectified with the iOS release of the Ace Attorney Trilogy, which is the remastered version that came to Nintendo Switch a bit ago. I’ve only played about an hour so far, but I’m really digging it. The gist is that you play as Phoenix Wright, a new attorney at law, and you need to defend your clients, who usually seem to be accused of murder. The first case takes place completely in the court room and you’re given all the evidence you need. Then you look for contradictions between the evidence and what the witness says. But in the next case, you actually travel between different locations, look for evidence, and talk to different characters. I would say it’s a cross between a visual novel and an adventure game. The writing is humorous and seems to hold up pretty well after all this time. I’m definitely going to spend more time with it. I also like how the game so far had been broken up into 30-minute chunks. That’s usually a good amount of time for me to spend with a dialogue-heavy game before I need a break. Now, I’m aware there was another version of these games on the App Store before and for people who had those, this probably isn’t a good deal. But if you haven’t played them yet, the series is perfect for mobile and I believe the three games together take around 60 hours to complete. So if you’ve been curious about it, this is as good a time as any to pick it up. You can also watch my gameplay videos below to get a better sense of what it’s like.
The idea behind Abandon Ship is that you head out on a ship with your crew and need to take down enemy ships using cannons and fancy maneuvering. It’s also a roguelike, so you try to get as far as you can before dying and then start over. The game looks great, and I’m sure there’s an audience for it. But it’s just not for me. I don’t particularly like having to move a bunch of characters around in real time. I fumble with it and then get frustrated when things go awry. The core loop also feels a bit tedious to me, constantly having to fix damage and juggle my four characters between the damage and the canons. I tried to give it another chance after my first session, but I just couldn’t get into it. The game is free to try, though, so I recommend giving it a chance if you’re at all interested in it.
Barnard’s Star is a turn-based strategy game in which you command a team of soldiers to try and take down the enemy base before they destroy yours. It’s a multiplayer game where you play against other players, or you can play against the AI. I like the overall idea of the game, and the different characters have skills and weapons that can lead to fun strategies. But my problem with it is that battles against humans normally involve a lot of waiting between turns and I simply don’t have the patience. I tried to just play against the AI, but it does a lot of weird stuff, including (at least what appear to be) attacking its own base. I also encountered a bug where the enemy stopped moving even though it was their turn. The only thing I could think to do was just abandon the battle. I might have tried again, but the wonky AI made it feel like a waste of time. I think there’s a great game here if you can either find a friend to play with or don’t mind waiting a lot on random strangers. Again, I recommend watching some of my video below to see what the game is like in action.
99 Fails Lite
99 Fails Lite is a game that does not hold your hand. You’re thrown into it without much explanation. It took me a few deaths before I even understood what I was doing. But the goal is to hop across 99 platforms without falling. Each time you fall, the counter resets. What’s tricky is the controls, though. By design, you have no visual cues as to when you should jump. Instead, you have to listen and tap at a specific point in the tune that will make you land on the next platform. If you over- or under-shoot it, you’ll miss and fall. To make it harder, the game throws out all sorts of distractions, both visual and audio. My high score was 23 and I threw in the towel before ever getting close to that again. One thing I’m confused about, though, is the power-ups page. It looks like you can buy power-ups with cash, but the App Store doesn’t list any IAPs. And I was not willing to risk trying to buy one to test it out. I also think power-ups dilute a game like this, even more so if you can buy them with cash and not just what you earn through playing. But without knowing what’s going on with that shop, I can’t really say whether it’s pay-to-win or not. In any case, it’s free to play, so give it a try for yourself.
Old Skies is not planned for iOS, but after playing Wadjet Eye Games’ Unavowed, I couldn’t just skip it. The full game is not out yet, but there’s a demo available as part of Steam Next Fest. It’s a point-and-click adventure in which you play as Fia, a woman from the future who takes people on short trips back in time for a price. It’s about an hour long and feels like a self-contained story within the larger overarching story. There are some moral conundrums and it works really well as a teaser for the full game. I also wrote about how grounded it feels, that the characters are constantly checking whether their behavior might drastically alter history. If you have access to a PC, I highly recommend playing the demo before Steam Next Fest ends on June 20th.
Pawnbarian is roguelike that’s been out on other platforms for a while already, but is finally releasing on iOS in July. As you may have guessed from the name, it’s based on chess. You have a deck of cards made up of chess pieces and each turn you play one and then move to one of the spots allowed by that chess piece. The idea is to clear out all the enemies in a room in as few turns as possible so you can earn more gold and therefore afford more power-ups. I’ve only played through the first dungeon so far, but it’s a very well-designed game that moves swiftly so even a loss doesn’t feel like a waste of time. You learn from it and try to do better next time. Beating the first dungeon also unlocks a whole slew of other playable characters and I’m looking forward to trying them. You can be sure I’ll be playing more before the game is released, so I should have more to say by then. But if you’re a fan of roguelikes, it seems like a pretty easy recommendation based on what I’ve played so far.
Paragon Pioneers is an idle city builder that releases next week. I’ve spent a few hours with it and there’s a lot to like, though also some things I’m finding a bit confusing. I also have a hard time getting used to games like this that you’re supposed to step away from and check back in a few hours later. If you sit and watch it, you won’t be able to do a whole lot. It reminds me of Square Valley in some ways, though. It’s not level-based or scored, but you do need to place buildings down strategically so they can all work efficiently together. I’m still getting the hang of it but enjoying the ride. I just hope it’s not possible to make unfixable mistakes. I’m sure I’ll have more videos for you before it releases next week, but feel free to watch the ones below to get a better idea of what the game is like.
There isn’t a whole lot going on in Genshin Impact right now, as the only event is the Drumalong Festival, which involves a new rhythm game every day. I don’t particularly enjoy rhythm games, so I’m patiently waiting for the 2.8 update that will bring new islands to explore, something that’s much more my speed. I did decide to go all out and get Yelan’s C1, even after losing her 50/50 to Qiqi. She’s the character I’ve spent the most wishes on, but I think it was worth it. She’s so much fun and I don’t see myself benching her anytime soon. I just wish I had better luck, as it hurts to see others getting more with their wishes. But I guess that’s gacha for you.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week. I also finished watching Gentleman Jack and started on the latest season of The Boys. Other than that I’m just trying to survive the hot weather and not melt completely into my couch. 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!