I started my free trial to Apple Arcade (the subscription iOS games service) because I was in the mood for mobile games and I didn’t want to deal with ads or microtransactions. I played Sayonara Wild Hearts and Assemble with Care, both of which are also on Steam. And then also Stardew Valley and Love Live, for normal gaming.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
A dreamy pop album video game. It’s got simple ‘endless runner’ mechanics (i.e. your character goes forward at a breakneck pace and all you do is control the left/right swerving) but the execution is perfect and the entire aesthetic is so strong and extremely my kind of thing. It takes an hour or two to play through, is very forgiving with mistakes (you can skip any section you keep dying in), and is never boring. I loved it and am obsessed with the soundtrack.
in their own words:
Sayonara Wild Hearts is a euphoric music video dream about being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords and breaking hearts at 200mph.
(Note: there are lots of flashing lights and stuff, so don’t play this if that’s an issue.)
Assemble with Care
Brought to you buy the studio that made Monument Valley, so you know. It’s a simple game where you fix broken objects by dragging components together and using tools. The art is beautiful and the sound design is excellent. It’s mixed in with a narrated story. It takes a couple of hours to play through and feels satisfying.
This blog post about the technical details of making the art is also interesting.
I also started a new Stardew Valley farm (my second one!) which sucked up all my attention again. It was surprisingly replayable, as I was focused on optimizing all my time and making as much money as soon as possible. I’m in year 2 winter now and am rich enough that I can chill out.
I also looked back at my first farm to compare my progress and I’m surprised by how much further I’ve progressed in my second farm, now that I know exactly what I’m doing.
Surprisingly, I haven’t written about Love Live: School Idol Festival (LLSIF) on here yet, considering how consuming its gacha lootbox mechanism is. Gambling is bad, don’t get into gacha games. With that said, I play LLSIF to accumulate rare cards of my best girl, get a momentary high when I do get a card I like, and then immediately forget about it. Sometimes I play a song or two when I remember.
To reiterate: gacha games are bad. Don’t do it.
In other things, music for these trying times: