My Week Unwrapped: December 8, 2023 – Death’s Door, Sonic Dream Team, Disney Dreamlight Valley, Puzzle & Dragons Story, The Longing and More

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 my time working on my walkthroughs for Vanishing Act and Homecoming, but there were a ton of new releases — mainly on subscription services — that I also made sure to try out. There’s quite a bit to discuss, so let’s get started.

Death’s Door

When Death’s Door was first announced for other platforms, I adored the aesthetic and hoped it might come to iOS one day. Thanks to Netflix, that day has some and I spent some time with it. The aesthetic is, indeed, superb, as is the soundtrack. I honestly love the whole idea of it. I just couldn’t get a good handle on the controls. I’d think I’m swinging my sword, but end up missing the button. (Or perhaps my little feathered friend can’t swing as fast as I’m tapping?) The controls are adjustable, but I think I just generally have a hard time keeping an eye on the action without my fingers missing the buttons. It’s probably best played with a controller, but I rarely feel like pulling out a controller for a game. Also, the onscreen buttons stay on the screen even with a controller, which is not ideal. At the end of the day, though, I think it’s the checkpoints that kill the game for me. I could handle dying sometimes but it always sets me far back from where I died and I have to make my way through enemies back to the same point, hopefully without losing health on the way. I think I would enjoy a more laid-back version of it. It’s also a very resource-demanding game, and the “balanced” graphics settings had some frame drops. The only other setting is “performance” and it downgraded the graphics so much I couldn’t get myself to play that way. It’s still very much worth checking out if you have a Netflix subscription. At least see if you can handle the action better than I can.

Sonic Dream Team

I haven’t played a Sonic the Hedgehog game in years and when I did play them, they were the 2D ones. I’m generally not a fan of 3D platformers/runners, but the game looks fantastic so I wanted to give it a try. It does seem to be more forgiving than other games I’ve played in the genre. You have a button that enables you to hook onto things in the distance, making it a lot more mobile-friendly. And it’s visually impressive, with crisp graphics that I would have expected from a console game. It also runs smoothly and it’s not actually an auto-runner, so I appreciated the control I had over my character. Still, I can’t say I’m infatuated with it or that it’s going to sell me on these kinds of games. I do want to try playing as Tails, though, so I may at least try to unlock him before moving on. If you have an Apple Arcade subscription, it’s certainly worth trying out.

Disney Dreamlight Valley

Disney Dreamlight Valley seems like a winning combination for Disney fans that want to feel like they’re living amongst all the different Disney characters and befriending them. Even though I’m not a huge fan of life sims, I do usually enjoy them for a bit. I stuck with both Wilde Flowers and Hello Kitty Island Adventure for a while until they started to feel a little too grindy. So I was willing to give Dreamlight Valley a chance. Unfortunately, the camera is so bad that I got some of the worst motion sickness I’ve ever had. I tried lowering the sensitivity all the way, which helped, but not enough. Maybe if they fix that sometime down the line I’ll give it another shot. But right now it’s not worth suffering for. I’ve heard others are getting motion sickness from it, too, but that it’s better with a controller. So if you are planning to play, keep that in mind.

Puzzle & Dragons Story

I never played the original Puzzle & Dragons because the free-to-play system in place were a major turn-off for me. Since this new version is made for Apple Arcade and doesn’t include any microtransactions, I was optimistic that it could be my new favorite match-three game. And there is a lot to like about it. What stood out the most for me was the way you make matches not by swapping two tiles, but by moving one tile around the bored and using it to push others around. I’ve not seen that in any other games I’ve played and I really like the concept, even if it’s taking me some time to get used to it. What I’m confused about, though, is why I had an extremely easy time with the first three chapters and then got my ass handed to me twice on the first level of the fourth chapter. I don’t know if it’s a difficulty spike or I didn’t bring the right monsters into battle with me. Or maybe even that they’re not leveled enough. I wish it was easier to tell what went wrong. I may give it another go, but in general I’m not a fan these days of having to manage a whole slew of characters or monsters to keep up with the main campaign. I like the actual match-three but not managing my teams and monsters. Match-three games are usually more meditative and let me zone out for a while. I don’t want to have to study up on which monsters I should create, build, use, and level up. There are so many options, too, and you need specific currencies to create and level them up. If you like that sort of thing, this is probably perfect for you, especially now that there’s no way to spend extra money on it. For me, I have to see if I can get past the whole monster-collecting aspect of it before I continue playing.

The Longing Mobile

The Longing first released on other platforms in 2020, just around the start of COVID. I had heard about it and was intrigued, but I avoided learning too much about it in case it came to mobile one day. Well, it’s now releasing on iOS and Android on December 18th and I got an early copy so I could get a head start on it. Not that that’s going to help me all that much, since the basic premise is that you’re a Shade that has to wait 400 days to wake the king from his slumber. We’re talking 400 real days, not in-game days. It’s a cross between an idle game and an adventure game, and time also passes when you’re not playing. As I understand it, there are indeed ways to speed up the time so it takes less than an entire year. There are also at least five different endings and a whole bunch of hidden secrets to discover. I spent about an hour with it yesterday and I have very mixed feelings — which I’m sure is intentional. I’ll save my impressions for when the game is out, but if you want to know whether to pre-order it, there are plenty of reviews out there for it on other platforms that should be able to help you decide.

Adventure Escape Mysteries – Homecoming

I had a bit of a situation this week where my radiators were making a lot of noise. I was trying to avoid making my Vanishing Act videos while it was really bad, because they’re quiet games and I was worried my mic would pick up all that noise. So I took a break from it to start Homecoming, which is a single chapter that is only available with the VIP package. It has us playing as young Kate Gray during her high school years. She has a group project to turn in, but her partner’s half of it went missing. If they want a passing grade, she has to help him find it. We get some more time with her little sister Allie, who we met in Vanishing Act and get to see more of their dynamic. I’m still working my way through it, but the writing on these games has really come far. I genuinely enjoy reading all the dialogue. However, I can’t say that it’s worth $9 on its own unless you really hate the idea of missing out on an Adventure Escape game, no matter how small. It really depends on how much you like these games, especially the Kate Gray stories, and how big a deal it is for you to spend $9. If you’ve played their other 30 or so games completely for free, it can be a great way to finally support the developers. It’ll be interesting to see if they continue to offer paid-only games in the future as a compromise to keep most of the games free for everyone. I’ll also make a video when I finish it, but for now you can look at my walkthrough guide if you want an idea of what it’s like.

Adventure Escape Mysteries – Vanishing Act

I finished Vanishing Act a few days ago and, even though the puzzles were all on the easy side, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked learning more about Kate Gray’s past and she Murphy got more screen time, too. Magic shows are also fun themes in general, and they combined all the different elements well. The puzzles also came off as more logical and part of the story, not just some random puzzles inserted just because it’s a puzzle game. Overall, I think this was one of the better Adventure Escape games, though it could have benefitted from some trickier puzzles. Again, I think whether you should spend the $9 to play the game early depends on how much you would hate to miss out on the extra chapter, Homecoming, and whether you feel like supporting the developers. If you do decide to play, you can use my walkthrough guide if you get stuck.

Genshin Impact

Last but not least, I’m still making time for Genshin Impact every day. I’ve managed to complete all of Fontaine to nearly 100%, so I decided to finally go back to the desert of Sumeru and complete all the content I abandoned. I found world quests I missed, tons of puzzles and chests, and I’m still not done. So I guess I have what to do while I wait for the next area to be added. There’s also, of course, limited events and new characters arriving that I may want wish for. It’s pretty insane how massive this game has gotten in the last three years and that I still find it fun.

And that’s everything I’ve been up to this week. I also started watching Scream Queens and I’m not sure why I waited this long to do so. I also began The Curse, which is incredibly strange but also compelling. I recommend both shows if you haven’t seen them yet. 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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