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 most of the week working on my walkthrough for the latest Adventure Escape game, but the highlight of my week was Hindsight. It got to me in ways few games have, but I’ll talk more about that below. I also revisited a couple of games I had beta access to that are now out. It wasn’t the busiest week, but there’s still a lot to talk about, so let’s begin.
Like anyone else, I mostly prefer my games to be fun distractions from real life. But, just as movies can deal with heavier, emotional subjects, we’ve been seeing an influx of games exploring things like loss and grief, focusing more on the intimacy that interactive art can offer and less on pure entertainment. That Dragon, Cancer comes to mind and, more recently, Before Your Eyes came to mobile via Netflix. I was quite moved by Before Your Eyes and I also loved Joel McDonald’s first game, Prune, so I was eager to see what he’d do with his newest game, Hindsight. I ended up playing it in one sitting, and I recommend you do the same. It follows a woman as she cleans out her mother’s house in the days after her death and we get to revisit her memories with her. We see that her relationship with her mother was strained, but as she looks through her belongings and thinks back more on their past, she realizes she was being too hard on her. There’s a lot to take away from the game, both about relationships with loved ones and how much time we devote to our work. I related to this woman, as she started her own business and had trouble finding a work/life balance. I struggle in the same way and let too many relationships dissolve because I can’t find the time to nurture them. I also felt the urge to call my mom immediately after completing the game, even though we have a pretty good relationship. I realize that I don’t know as much about her past as I should. I also told her about the game and she agreed with its messages and even went further to lecture me about all the things in my life that I need to work on. Uhh… thanks, game? There’s really a lot to unpack in Hindsight, as it touches on several heavy ideas. But I can definitely say I took a lot away from it and I hope I don’t forget about it before I make some changes for myself. I also loved the whole presentation of the game. Mostly, you rotate the camera around objects to find the right perspective so you can tap through to the next memory. But you can stay in each memory as long as you want and move the camera around to see a moment frozen in time from every angle. There are also some really beautiful and surprising scenes. A highlight for me was dragging some water droplets together to form an image. The game is available on multiple platforms, but playing on my iPad made it feel especially intimate. It’s also a narrative-heavy game, and fully voice acted. For the most part, the writing was strong, but some of it felt a bit forced and cliche. Overall, the message got across and affected me enough that I’m not going to nitpick and demand perfection. This is a game well worth your time as long as you’re open to an emotional experience that’s doesn’t exist simply to entertain.
Card Crawl Adventure
I played a bit of Card Crawl Adventure during its beta phase, but now that it’s finally out I wanted to revisit it. It’s another card-based roguelike that combines a lot of familiar ideas from Arnold Rauers’ previous games like Card Crawl and Card Thief, but it feels even more complex to me. I like the overall idea of it and I can see there’s a ton of depth, but I’m still having trouble grasping all the rules. I think I need to spend some time with it, practicing and getting a better handle on it all. Thankfully, it’s all turn-based so there’s no skill issue. I just need to make my brain understand everything the game throws at me. It’s also free with just some IAPs for additional characters, so if you have any interest in it at all, just give it a try for yourself.
Pawnbarian is another roguelike that I had access to way ahead of release. The rules aren’t too complex, as it combines chess rules with dungeon crawling. But there’s still a lot of strategy involved and one bad move could be the difference between a win and loss. Basically, your deck is comprised of chess pieces. You draw three each round and choose which one to play and where to move your character to. Some cards are plain without any bonus effects. But others can give you a shield, an extra move, or even attack enemies adjacent to where you land. After you complete a floor, you can buy either more health or upgrades for your pieces. All these little choices make a difference as you delve deeper into the dungeon. And if you manage to complete all seven floors of a dungeon, there’s a gauntlet mode in which you keep the same deck and try to get as far as you can without any more upgrades. I’m still trying to complete the second dungeon, so it’s really not an easy game. But I did make it to the seventh floor before dying. There are also a whole bunch of different classes to play that are unlocked after you complete the first dungeon. So there’s plenty of variety. I would highly recommend Pawnbarian to any roguelike fans. It’s — pardon the cliche — easy to play but hard to master. It’s super accessible, too, and you don’t really need any chess knowledge, since the game highlights the possible moves for you. And it’s free to try with a one-time purchase to unlock the full game. So check it out for yourself and watch my video below to see what kinds of enemies you’ll face later in the game.
Adventure Escape Mysteries – Mirror Man
I mentioned Haiku Games’ latest adventure game, Mirror Man, last week but I had only just started it. Since then, I completed it, along with my walkthrough. It was one of their easier games, which isn’t surprising since it was tagged for beginners. I was thankful that there weren’t any super annoying mini games and the story was entertaining enough to keep me interested until the end. I personally like when Haiku explores these sillier and over-the-top themes. I mean, a serial killer who wears a mirror for a mask and shows up every ten years to terrorize this kid that got away? I’m all in! The “escape room” chapter was especially entertaining and I hope we see more of this tongue-in-cheek humor from them. While this wasn’t the most mentally stimulating Adventure Escape game, it was enjoyable enough to recommend.
And last, I spent some time with Genshin Impact this week, though not quite as much as the previous week. I’m down to the last 14 chests in the Golden Apple Archipelago and I don’t even know where to look. There was also the Dire Straits event that gave us some battle challenges that were more difficult than usual, but I managed to get all the rewards. I also got all stars in Spiral Abyss again, so I’m feeling pretty good about the characters I’ve built. There’s also a co-op event going on at the moment that seems pretty laid back. And most notable of all, Yoimiya’s banner is back and I tried to get her but decided to stop at 55 pity. I like her but I don’t like her enough to sacrifice upcoming characters that I want more. Maybe on her third banner? We’ll see. But for now I’m just going to save for the upcoming Sumeru characters.
And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week. I also watched Prehistoric Planet and am still having trouble convincing my brain that those weren’t real live dinosaurs. I highly recommend watching it if you can. I’m now in the middle of Trying, another solid show on Apple TV+ about a couple trying to adopt a child. 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.
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I’ve had the Haiku Games app on my iPad for quite some time, but didn’t actually get around to trying it until Mirror Man came out (full disclosure, I actually played a couple of chapters of Legend of the Sacred Stones before I dove into Mirror Man). First of all, in general I like the bite sized chunks of the chapters. I can play one a night and feel like I’ve accomplished something without much effort. As for Mirror Man specifically, I really like the slasher movie vibe, and the story is interesting enough in that regards. I do wish there weren’t quite so many mini-games (I actually used your walk-through to complete one that particularly annoyed me), but overall I’ve found the game quite enjoyable.