Mini Impressions: April Humble Monthly

Another month has passed and another new bundle of games has been unlocked from Humble Monthly. The early unlock for April was The Witness which I already knew wasn’t my thing so I gifted that copy away to my sister. The remaining bits of the bundle unlocked earlier this month, and I finally had a chance to check out some of the pieces of the puzzle. I didn’t play all of the games but I still have thoughts to share, so let’s take a look at the list:

Black Mesa
Kingdom: New Lands

Layers of Fear
Tumblestone
Event Zero
Slime-San
Jawns

I’m not sure why, but I basically never play any of the Humble Originals. They’re always DRM free copies and I just don’t install games that aren’t via some sort of launcher. I don’t know why that is, but you can bet that I didn’t play Jawns for this reason. Same goes for prior months. I also didn’t play Event Zero which is one of those narrative games that bore me. Slime-San falls into the same uninterested category, as it was a pixellated platformer and I’m just not that into platforming these days.

Layers of Fear looks interesting. I get more of a Amnesia or SOMA vibe to it, but I haven’t played either of those titles despite owning both. If I remember correctly SOMA was in a bundle a few months back. Having just completed Resident Evil VII, I thought it might be worth jumping into right away to keep up with the creepy vibe, but I have yet to jump into it. Still on my to do list.

Black Mesa is a remake of the original Half-Life that is supposed to add some modern convenience along with better graphics to the beloved title. However, it’s still in Early Access and apparently the tail end of the game is not present just yet. I had my eye on this one for a while and wish to play it, but I think I’m going to let the developers finish it before diving in.

Now, on to the games I actually did try out. Kingdom is a cute little side scrolling base management game that came out a while back. I remember friends talking about it and I almost picked it up myself a couple of times. The bundle came packed with both the Classic version of the game, and the expansion “New Lands,” Though having experimented with them both, it doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot of difference between the two. Let me show you what I mean:

Kingdom Classic
Kingdom: New Lands

I mean honestly, do you see a difference? All I noticed was that my character went from having light skin to dark skin, and now there’s some clouds. I’m sure it’s one of those types of expansions that adds new stuff, I did notice that the tutorial was more fleshed out in the latter game. Both install and play seperately though, despite not being a sequel. They both had their own Steam cards and whatnot too, so it’s probably more like a directors cut or additional bits added in. You guys that have played more of the game could probably clear that up for me. Overall, it’s a fun little time waster but not a game I’d spend a load of time with.

Lastly, a little puzzle game called Tumblestone. It’s got match 3 elements, but you match bricks that are already existing, and don’t add to it. You also have to clear bricks to get to bricks behind them, so each puzzle has one or more ways to solve it, rather than being more like traditional match 3 games where you can add extra bricks and then clear them later. It seems alright as far as puzzle games go but nothing super engaging.

That’s it for this month’s games. The early unlock for next month was Dirt Rally, and if you’ve been paying attention, both Dirt 3 and one of the other titles in the series were free on Humble Bundle’s site over the past few months. So plenty of rally racing to be had. Apparently the 4th game in the series is coming out soon as well. Inside was the other early unlock (two this month, which is different) and it looks like a little platformer with some cool art direction and a mysterious story. I’ll check these out and get back to you next month. Until then.

Mini Impressions: March Humble Monthly

I’m a bit earlier with my initial thoughts for this month’s Humble Monthly lot, mainly because I have basically called it quits with Destiny and got stuck on a boss in RE7 long enough to experiment with the new games. I’ve made it a point to at least try the games I get each month (unless completely uninterested — in those cases I gift the keys or hold on to them to gift later) so as to not let the backlog completely stagnate. It’s true, I still have too many games to play and not enough time, but at least if I get a taste I can determine if a title is even worth keeping on my system. This month is the same as most months: there is one title I really enjoy and had on my wishlist, and then there are a couple of hidden gems I hadn’t really heard about prior. March’s bundle included the following titles:

Total War: Warhammer
Poly Bridge
Space Run Galaxy
One Piece Pirate Warriors 3
Flat Heroes
RIVE
Morphblade

The early unlock for April has already been paid for as well. It seems that through the early unlock you can glean a little something about the remaining titles that will come in the bundle. The pattern as of late for me personally has been either a title I know and love or one that I want being the early unlock, and then titles I’m less excited for composing the rest of the bundle, or vice versa. For example, this month’s early unlock was Total War: Warhammer and I was excited to be getting that for $12, but the rest of the bundle was less noteworthy. Next month’s unlock is The Witness (a game I’m uninterested in and already gifted to my Sister) which should mean that there will be something better coming in the bundle. Of course, this observation is clearly biased by my own opinions and interests, so your experience may vary.

Total War: Warhammer appears to be a great game. It runs smoothly on my system at max settings. The lore feels appropriate. I’ve played for a while and have enjoyed what I played. The only real thing keeping me from playing it very seriously at the moment is the fact that it will take some time to learn the game. Oddly enough I have never played a Total War game. They always looked interesting and I’ve almost bought several of them in various sales and bundles, but never pulled the trigger. As is I have several unplayed or unfinished 4x games on my hard drive, so I don’t want to delve too deeply just yet. I have heard positive things about it though and know it will get its due eventually. This title alone made the bundle.

Poly Bridge is one that I passed on. It’s one of those build-a-bridge-over-a-chasm type games, complete with a physics engine. Not my cup-o-tea. If you guys are reading (and we’re friends elsewhere, like on Twitter/Steam) feel free to hit me up for spare keys. I have quite a few from the past near-year of monthly bundles. This title is one of them.

Space Run Galaxy took me by surprise. At first it appeared to be an indie game that I would quickly lose interest in, but after having played it last night, I was impressed. It feels like sort of a Faster Than Light sort of Rogue-lite experience, but doesn’t feel quite as randomized. Perhaps it isn’t random at all. What is interesting is that you have a hexagonal ship that can have various parts affixed to each hex. One hex comprises your bridge, and you’ll start with certain pieces that you can add as a “run” takes place. You’ll be delivering goods too, which also take up spaces. You’ll be building thrusters to move through space faster, and laser cannons to destroy obstacles and enemy pirate ships. There isn’t twitch game play, it is purely strategic and your ship flies in a straight line to the destination while various sensors warn you of what dangers are coming. You gather resources from things you destroy to continue to upgrade your ship. The run ends, you get some upgrades and you do another, but you then have to rebuild these upgrades during each level. I’m not sure if it’s endless or if this story has a conclusion, but the gameplay was fun for short spurts and I will be spending more time with this title for sure. Take a look:

In theory, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is a game that would appeal to me. In practice, not so much. It’s a Dynasty Warriors sort of game, which means you control a hero, mash buttons and kick the living shit out of huge groups of enemies. Sounds cool right? Well… this port leaves things to be desired. I read somewhere that it’s not even a port of a recent game, that it’s actually a port of a Playstation 3 title. It did look alright on max settings on my PC, but the controls are wonky even with a controller, and I’d imagine that it would be downright unplayable with the keyboard (no mouse support at all). The graphics weren’t impressive and it’s a manga I know nothing about so there is absolutely no appeal. I’d avoid this one were I you.

I’m not into minimalist games. Flat Heroes is one of those types, and I’m not a fan. This key is up for grabs too.

RIVE was the other hidden gem this month. A game I had never heard of though it’s been out for 6 months at least, it’s a run and gun platformer along with having some sci-fi elements. Think games like Galak-Z or Cryptark. Side scrolling, bullet-hell, shoot-em-up with some puzzling bits. There really isn’t much to say there, besides it looks great, plays great, and I had a good time with it. Would recommend. Take a look:

Lastly, a title called Morphblade. Another key up for grabs, it appears to be a puzzle game but didn’t appeal to me.

There are other titles that have been added each month that I haven’t even tried. Like other Bundles on the site, many times there are DRM-Free copies of games that are included but aren’t linked through services like Steam, and I tend to like to keep most of my games in one place. Humble Originals that are supposed exclusives to the monthly format have been there from the start and I don’t think I’ve played a single one. Just more shit to clutter up my hard drive most likely, but if any of you think I’m missing a good title in there, let me know in the comments. Have you been enjoying Humble’s Monthly service? Or do you find most of it not worth your time?