#humblemonthly articles

Humble Monthly: June 2017

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And so ends the five-month run of games I already own when Dark Souls II is the primary game in the bundle next month. Of course, it isn't a game I'll play as it would shit me right up but at least it will be something different! In the mean time, there are several good looking titles this month...

Stellaris

The primary game of the bundle and one that was gifted to me by their acting engine lead a while back; this means that I won't be righting up a proper review but I have currently spent around 30 hours playing and I absolutely love it. I ended up gifting this copy to a friend who loves both 4X games and space... seemed a good match!

Plague Inc. Evolved

I've played a lot of Plague Inc. on the iPad as infecting people by air is the perfect game to play when you have a cold on a plane. Whilst the PC version is obviously very similar, I hadn't noticed that it now has co-op and competitive multiplayer modes so whilst I might not play it much in solo I can definitely see enjoying a few rounds in co-op.

SUPERHOT

I picked up SUPERHOT on launch day which happened to coincide with the launch of The Flame in the Flood. Unfortunately there were all kinds of launch issues with both games so it wasn't until a month or two later that I came back and completed it. Whilst I loved the core gameplay, the story, the lack of Xbox 360 controller support on Mac, and the annoying SUPERHOT SUPERHOT SUPERHOT over the in-game replay has meant that I've never really gone back to it. I gave this copy to somebody who had it on their wishlist for a while so it has gone to a good place - I may jump back in to it if I pick up a VR headset or if they release the free DLC expansion that was announced a year ago.

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Allegedly the creator of the first 64-bit RTS engine, Ashes of the Singularity looks to be a space-based RTS with some good visuals and a lot of great reviews. It hasn't been on my radar previously (although I recognised the name somehow) but I'm a sucker for a decent RTS so this is definitely going on the "to play" list.

Brigador: Up-Armored Edition

I wasn't sure about this from the artwork on the Humble Monthly website but the Steam page shows it to be an isometric game that looks a bit like the old Command & Conquer games. This isn't an RTS though but a roguelite with 100% destructible environments and 'Overwhelming Positive' reviews on Steam. I did't think this would be for me but I'm certainly going to give it a try.

Shoppe Keep

I was really excited to try this when I first read about this as the idea of running an adventurers shop seemed like a nice twist on the standard dungeon crawler. Instead it looks like a mid-90s 3D game which the developers have abandoned in favour of jumping on the VR bandwagon. The number of negative reviews means it is highly unlikely I'll even boot this one up - a shame!

Maize

This game pretty much had me with its description — "Maize is a first-person adventure game about what happens when two scientists misinterpret a memo from the U.S. Government and create sentient corn" — but they also get bonus points for the "cornucopia" pun on their Steam page. I'm always a fan of a short adventure game so I'll definitely give this a try.

Tiny Echo

I swear that the Humble Original titles have been more interesting than the other games in the bundle over the past few months. This is a beautiful looking game that looks like it should be a cartoon from the '90s. Couple that with some puzzles and a chilled soundtrack that make it reminiscent of Machinarium and it looks like a winner!

Humble Monthly: May 2017

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I'm starting to sound like a broken record but this is now four months in a row where I've already owned the featured game within the Humble Monthly Bundle and that is continuing yet again next month when Stellaris will be available. Fingers crossed that July's bundle will feature something I don't yet own! In the mean time, the May bundle just unlocked and includes the following...

INSIDE

I reviewed this successor to LIMBO back in January and commented that it was a "solid platformer with an intriguing premise and story". I've recommended it to several people since then and I'm keen to see what Playdead are working on next. Obviously I already own this one so it is being passed onto a friend but it is a great game to get in the bundle.

DiRT Rally

I've been having an absolute blast with Forza Horizon 3 over the past few months so I'll be interested to see if I take to this in the same way. I used to love rally games like Colin McRae back in the day so I can't imagine that I'll dislike it. Always happy to see Steam Workshop support in games like this as well.

This is the Police

This is a game that has been on my (police) radar for a little while but I hadn't got around to pulling the trigger on a purchase for some reason. What a happy coincidence that it should finally appear in my inbox! Not to be confused with the recently released Beat Cop, This is the Police is a management sim with some adventure game mechanics thrown in. Looks to be interesting and it is firmly in my "to play" list.

Undertale

A game I've heard of many times before but have never bothered to look at in any depth as the graphical style instantly put me off. I want to try and ignore the design and give it a try as it has incredibly positive reviews but I'm just not sure I'll be able to cope with the style. We'll see...

Metrico+

There always seems to be one particularly interesting curveball in the Humble Monthly and it looks like Metrico+ fits that bill this time. It's apparently a puzzle game based around infographics with a strong emphasis on "thinking outside of the box". Count me in!

GoNNER

A "tough as hell procedurally-generated 2D platformer" where you will "die a lot". I'm a sucker for games like this and the art style and soundtrack mean I'll likely be trying this out in the near future.

Kevin Eastman's Underwhere

Apparently we're getting comic books in the Humble Monthly from now on! I've never really bothered with comics and I doubt I'm going to start now...

The Turing Test

I had this on my wishlist for a long time waiting for a sale; when it finally came, a quick look at the reviews made me think twice and buy something else instead so I'm really glad to see it appear in the Humble Monthly. I've heard it compared to Portal several times before and I'm definitely keen to play this sooner rather than later.

Super Rude Bear Resurrection

This is a game that has an interesting concept — when you die, your corpses remain so you can stack them up and use them as platforms — but the art style is again one that makes me unlikely to want to give it a try.

A2Be

Billed as a "science fiction narrative", this is a Humble Original that looks fairly interesting. It's hard to get much of an impression from the few screenshots provided but I get the feeling this will be something I'll enjoy and then wish there was a lot more of. I should probably just play it rather than speculate!

Humble Monthly: April 2017

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Last month I mentioned that this bundle would be the third in a row where I have owned the early unlock game. That is set to continue again next month when INSIDE is available but it will also be coming with DiRT Rally which I'm definitely interested in. In the mean time, the April bundle just unlocked and includes the following...

The Witness

I bought this in the Humble Freedom Bundle a few months ago but have still yet to actually play it although I definitely want to. I'm trying to churn through my backlog quickly before an influx of new games comes in the summer so hopefully I'll get to it soon. I've have heard many good things about this interesting puzzler.

Layers of Fear (Masterpiece Edition)

I'm always impressed at the fairly new releases that Humble manage to give away for $12 a month but this is one I'll be passing on to a friend as it would shit me right up. There is no way I'd watch a video of it, let alone play it.

Black Mesa

I was always under the impression that Black Mesa was an ambitious vaporware mod that would be free so I was very surprised to find out that it was already released (in Early Access) and costs £15. It has been a very long time since I've played Half-Life and, whilst the visuals pail to most recent releases, I'd be willing to give this a try. I may wait until it is complete with the addition of the Xen planet coming at some point.

Kingdom: New Lands (Royal Edition)

This is apparently a follow-up to the game Kingdom which I must have procured from somewhere as it is also in my Steam library. I'm not clear, from the Steam page, entirely what it is beyond there being permadeath, no tutorial system and an award winning soundtrack. It looks good so I'm going to stick in my "To Play" list.

Event[0]

A short sci-fi narrative exploration game where you build a relationship with an AI. It's these kind of games that I find most interesting on Humble Monthly as I likely wouldn't take a chance on a £15 game I'd heard nothing about but this definitely piques my curiosity.

Tumblestone

Tumblestone is (apparently) the "first original action-puzzle game of the past fifteen years". I think the dearth of action-puzzle games on iOS would disagree with that statement but in any case the visual style of this game just doesn't appeal to me. I'm also not really a fan of games like this on the PC where I like to sink into something either artistic or meaty. This gets even trickier with the Switch which is eyeing up my platforming games on PC that I'd really prefer to play in bed or on the sofa. Either way, this one isn't for me.

Slime-san

A fast-paced retro style game most closely compared to Super Meat Boy. These things always seem to turn up in the Humble Monthly Debut and are nearly always in a pixel-art style. I've never been a huge fan of retro arcade games and I preferred the 16-bit era over these 8-bit styles. It has some good ratings so I'll keep it in my library but I can't imagine I'll be playing it any time soon.

Jawns

I feel I say this every month but I rarely bother with the Humble Originals as they aren't on Steam (so you have to download them manually and then remember to play them and *ugh*). I'll be making an exception for this intriguing board game though purely because of the amusing trailer that plays out like one of the skits on the first Tenacious D album. Looks great. It also seems to have online multiplayer and works on Mac so I can definitely see myself giving this a try in the near future. Screw it, I'm playing it now...

Humble Monthly: March 2017

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My run of already owning the headline game in each Humble Monthly is set to be 3-in-a-row next month when The Witness unlocks for April. In the mean time, the March bundle just unlocked and includes the following...

Total War: Warhammer

Unfortunately the headline game is one that I already own but I still find it impressive that Humble are able to give away what is a very recent game as part of a $12 bundle. I've played a few hours of this Warhammer twist on the Total War formula and really need to dedicate some time to getting further in the campaign. I was absolutely addicted to the original Total War: Rome back in the day (which is now available on iPad) so this should be a solid fit but something about it just didn't grab me as much.

Space Run Galaxy

I didn't play the original Space Run but I always heard good things about it. This is the sequel, released in June last year, and looks to be just as good with its unique twist on the tower defence genre (the massive number of "not recommended" reviews based on connection issues notwithstanding). I'll likely give this one a try at some point in the future as I do love a tower defence game, but this isn't going to be at the top of my growing "to play" list.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3

This definitely doesn't look like it is for me; a PS3 port of a Dragon Warriors clone which appears to have a very strange controller scheme (using left and right trigger to move the camera). This will stay "unclaimed" I think.

Flat Heroes

This is much more style with a frantic minimalist puzzle game in which you need to get a coloured square to the same coloured area of a board without getting hit by numerous obstacles. I'm having a few days gaming with some friends next week so will definitely be giving this a try.

RIVE

A 360-degree hybrid platformer twin stick shooter with a 6 hour campaign. It isn't a game I've heard of but the reviews on Steam all seem to rate it as a hidden gem plus it has voice acting from my namesake Mark Dodson who starred in Gremlins and Star Wars. Colour me intrigued!

Morphblade

Another minimalist puzzler, Morphblade was released last week and is a hex based fighting game in a similar vein to Hoplite on iOS. I might give this a try at some point as I generally love things like this; however, it likely would work better on mobile for me (and is indeed inspired by Imbroglio).

Uurnog

I so rarely install the Humble Originals games and there isn't anything in this platformer that particularly grabs me. From the trailer, the music sounds pretty good but there are too many other games to play at the moment.

Humble Monthly: February 2017

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The Humble Monthly subscription for February unlocked last month and, as the saying goes, "you win some you lose some". The top three games in the list were games I already owned and it looks like that trend is set to continue with Total War: Warhammer announced for next month!

In any case, this is what I have to look forward to...

XCOM 2

This was announced as the part of the bundle last month and so I gifted it to a friend as I've owned it since launch. I've spent around 12 hours playing it so far and I believe I've got to a point where I really need to restart the game; the Avatar project has gone too far as I didn't fully appreciate what I was doing until it was too late to roll it back. Whilst it is always a shame to be gifted a game I already own, I'm super impressed at the big titles Humble Monthly have been able to get as this is only a year old (as is Total War: Warhammer next month).

Ryse: Son of Rome

I bought this for the Xbox One at launch and completed the main game relatively quickly. It was pretty fun as you essentially kill people in slow-motion similar to that scene in 300. My main criticism was the lack of character models meaning you were always killing one of around 4 different people over and over and over again. In any case, I'll fire this up just to see how it looks on the PC but I doubt it has ultra-wide support and I'll bet it won't look that great; happy to be proven wrong though!

ABZÛ

This is a game I had on my wishlist for a while before it was gifted to me at Christmas; I returned the favour by gifting this copy to the person that bought it for me! I've already reviewed ABZÛ so here's a quote from that:

The biggest draw of this experience is the sheer beauty of it. Matt Nava (the Art Director for Journey) has done a fantastic job at building an underwater world that isn't just murky blue; areas blossom as you swim through them and there is an enormous variety of sea life that gets larger and larger until you are cruising along with sperm whales.

In many ways, ABZÛ is a glorified aquarium simulation; you can "meditate" at certain points that allow you to just watch the fish go by and see the names of each species. Whilst it is a peaceful way to pass the time, you'll also witness predation as eels swallow smaller fish whole. There were several times when I would just sit down and admire the work that must have gone into the realistic shoaling.

SteamWorld Heist

This was not a game I'd heard of but I'm totally sold on the trailer: "In a broken world, danger does not wait its turn... except it does; it's turn-based"! Described as a mashup of XCOM and Worms, it looks like a game I can sink a number of hours into. It's a shame that it isn't multiplayer as would likely have been a good one to play for Connecting to Host. In any case, this one has definitely been added to my "to play" list.

Okhlos

I like the premise of this game — rounding up an unruly mob to take down the mythological gods of Greece — but it is very rare that I can stand a modern pixel-art game. I'm not sure if the style has just been overused or whether it is because the people look more pixelated than the backgrounds but it just doesn't sit right with me. I may give this a try at some point but it'll likely just be stuck in the Steam library gathering dust.

Project Highrise

Now this is a game I can get behind. It kind of looks like a non-freemium more complex version of Tiny Tower where you have to build and then manage a skyscraper full of people. I'm always a fan of a management sim so I'm sure I'll be firing this up soon.

Husk

Oh hell no. Horror games are definitely not for me but this one also has mostly negative reviews on Steam to make me avoid it even if I was somehow brave enough to actually play something like this.

Hollow Knight

This isn't actually a full game but a self-titled "Sneak Peek" version before the game launches in the future. I don't usually try out the games from Humble Monthly that aren't on Steam but I'm going to make an exception as this looks great. You can get more details on their website but it has a nice art-style that reminds me of Child of Light. This is actually a Kickstarter project that seems to have run into a few problems (very late, issues with Wii U upgrade to Switch, backers haven't received this beta) so it'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

Oh, Deer!

I rarely download the Humble Originals games but this is another exception as it is old-style gaming done correctly. It looks like Road Rash but you have a station wagon and deer to hit (or avoid). The subject matter seems to have riled some people but I'll be interested to give it a try. The soundtrack sounds good to!

Humble Monthly: October 2016

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It's that time of the month when the Humble Monthly games become available. October has proven a bit of a haul for me with 4 games from my Steam wishlist - a new record!

Grim Dawn

An action RPG set in an "apocalyptic fantasy world where humanity is on the brink of extinction, iron is valued above gold and trust is hard earned". I've had this on my wishlist for a while as a possible co-op game to review on Connecting to Host but never got around to buying it (as we'd played a few games in the genre recently). Definitely excited to play through this as I've heard good things.

Slime Rancher

This is a funny looking game that has been on my wishlist for months. It looks like it has a Nintendo style to it and reminds me in some ways of Super Mario Sunshine. It's currently in Early Access so I may wait a little while before I give it a full try.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

I haven't heard much about this game or it's prequel 'Hotline Miami' but according to Steam I marked it as "Not interested"; I don't remember why but I'd guess it is the art style as top down semi-pixel art isn't really my thing. I'm determined to give it a try though as I'm intrigued by the soundtrack more than anything.

Deponia Doomsday

Another game from my wishlist, I came across this after completing Day of the Tentacle and I was desperate for more 'point and click' adventuring. At £23.99, I was going to wait for a sale before taking the plunge as seemed slightly steep when there are so many other great games in this genre around the £10 mark. That said, I'm really looking forward to starting this game and glad I didn't impulse purchase it last month!

Train Valley

The final game that was on my wishlist, Train Valley has been sitting awaiting purchase for as long as I can remember. I have a lot of great titles like this already on iOS (including Rails which is the official remake of the 90's classic 'Shortline Railroad') which is why it had been sat as a cheap "gift for your birthday" option. This will likely be the first game I start playing from this months bundle.

Action Henk

"Run, jump and butt-slide into the glorious toy-filled world of Action Henk!" - not a game I'm familiar with and, from the screenshots and video, not one I'm likely to enjoy.

THOTH

This is a really interesting looking indie game that will either frustrate the hell out of me or get me addicted. It's a twin-stick shooter with a really minimal art style which I love already. I might wait until I have a bit of time spare before trying this but I have a good feeling about it.

Fidel - Dungeon Rescue

I very rarely play the games from Humble Originals (especially if not a Steam download) but I like the look of this one. I get the feeling it would be better as a mobile game but it evokes memories of Chip's Challenge for some reason so I'll give it a go.