Takeshi & Hiroshi (iOS): COMPLETED!

At first glance this is a JRPG, but actually, it’s somewhat different. There’s a wrapper story (with really nice puppet stop motion animation cutscenes) about a brother who is writing a JRPG to entertain his sick little brother.

The problem is, he doesn’t know how to code the AI, so he pretends to be the AI while his brother plays, and so, as him, you have to decide which enemies to have appear in the random battles. If you make them too hard, his character dies, but make them too easy and he gets bored. It’s actually really tricky, but pretty unusual in terms of gameplay.

It cute, and I really like the animation, but I did find the RPG bits too random.

Discoloured (iOS): COMPLETED!

I had no knowledge of what this game was going to be like, but from the screenshots I anticipated a narrative discovery game, hopefully with one or more toilets. Sadly, there were no toilets.

But I was mostly right about the narrative discovery bit. Discoloured is a first person puzzle game, although the puzzles require discovery more than logic. You are transported to a 50s style diner, but everything is in black and white. By finding and activating red, green and blue prisms, you put colour back into the world, but to do so involves looking at and activating everything, not always with obvious reason.

There’s a lot of to-ing and fro-ing as certain items and switches only appear or are useable when the correct prisms are enabled (or disabled), which is tiresome despite the very small area the game occupies. It’s all over pretty quickly, though.

It’s interesting but there’s no plot or story to follow, and the puzzles aren’t really the sort to give you any sense of achievement, and so coupled with the short length of the game I was just left with a thought of “is that it?”.

Marble It Up: Mayhem! (iOS): COMPLETED!

I was a big fan of Marble Blast Ultra on the Xbox 360, and this, apparently by the same team, coming to Apple Arcade was great… until I tried to play it and found it totally impossible to control with a touch screen. Then I realised I could use my 8bitdo controller with my iPad and, despite having to balance the system precariously on my lap, it actually worked well. Well enough to complete, even.

So the game isn’t as good as Marble Blast Ultra. I’m not sure what’s missing, but the levels all seem really easy and a bit bland. Perhaps the fun I had with the “original” was trying to beat friends’ times on the leaderboard and that’s not what I’m trying here, but I’m also not wanting to, so there’s still some spark not there.

That said, I did enjoy it. Except for that one level – called Escalation, I think – which I spent longer trying to complete one single jump on than I spent on the whole of the rest of the game combined. There’s a high platform you have to reach and you have to get a jump power up and then normal jump and immediately boost jump to get the height needed. Problem is, the timing is near impossible and until I did it by mistake there was no way of knowing if I was even doing the level correctly. Eventually I fluked it only to fall down higher up, triggering an earlier checkpoint on the way down, and then had to do it again.

Lego Builder’s Journey (iOS): COMPLETED!

What a lovely little game this turned out to be. It’s these tiny little Lego dioramas each with a little puzzle in – get you little lego boy to the other side of the screen, or make machinery do something, or build a thing in a certain way.

It isn’t difficult, although one of the puzzles introduced a new gimmick which I completely missed so it stumped me for a while, but it’s clever and looks incredible and if you have Apple Arcade already (as against all odds, I do) then it’s free and a wonderful thing I strongly suggest you play.

This screen involves building a path for your skateboard.

Pilgrims (iOS): COMPLETED!

This was a very short Apple Arcade point and click adventure game from the makers of Machinarium. You have to complete little tasks for people, some of whom join you in your quest, and then when everyone is happy, you win.

There’s not a lot more to say about it without spoiling anything, but it’s a nice little thing to play for the hour or so it lasts.