Humble Choice – December, 2020

It’s December! And that means that it’s time for another Humble Choice!

This time around it’s rather disappointing. Like, Naithin already said it earlier this month but I feel like there are other reasons for it being disappointing than just the absence of AAA-titles.

Alas, let’s dive into this: This month’s Choice contains a total of fourteen games on top of a coupon for one month of “EA Play Pro”, which is… alright. I’m not interested in EA Play Pro, so I’m not opting in for that… it’s also not a month of it but rather just a little bit off it which is super “eh”.

The games themselves are alright, I think. In this month’s Choice, there are all kinds of games available but nothing really too thematic… More about that later.

RankGameDeveloperGenre
1Children of MortaDead MageRoguelite, Action, Story-Driven
2One Step From EdenThomas Moon KangCard-based, Strategy, Roguelite, Real-Time Action,…
heck i don’t even know
3Still ThereGhostSharkPoint n Click, Adventure, Space
4Shining Resonance RefrainSegaAction, RPG
5Frog Detective 1Grace Bruxner, Thomas BowkerAdventure
6Frog Detective 2Grace Bruxner, Thomas BowkerAdventure
7Overcooked! 2 + 2DLCsGhost Town Games, Team17 DigitalCo-Op, Cooking, Simulation …Madness
8The Beast InsideIllusion Ray StudioSurvival, Horror
9Zwei: The Ilvard InsurrectionNihon FalcomAction, JRPG
10Zwei: The Arges AdventureNihon FalcomAction, JRPG
11IndivisibleLab Zero GamesAction, RPG
12Path of GiantsJourney Bound GamesPuzzle, Adventure
13StrugglingChasing Rats GamesPhysics, Platformer
14Tabletop PlaygroundPlasticity StudiosSimulation

For now, the games included are actually rather nice. Children of Morta, One Step From Eden, Still There, and Shining Resonance Refrain look really promising. Children of Morta, in particular, is something that I personally have already played (and reviewed) but I could gift it to a friend and we could play it together. I feel like that could and would be really cool as it’s definitely a title that is better with friends.

One Step from Eden is this weird mix of Real-Time-Action, Roguelite mechanics, Strategy, and Deckbuilding… and it looks like it’s just up my alley. To begin with, I love Roguelite games when done well and when they’ve got their one spin on things… so, I’m looking forward to playing this title. Still There looks interesting, especially with the Space theme. I wonder what the story is going to be like. It’s a story about grief, technical puzzles, wacky AIs, dark humour, and… coffee? Idk, I actually have high hopes for this title and am looking forward to playing it myself in 2021. Shining Resonance Refrain looks like fun but I honestly don’t know if I’ll like it or not. Like, depending on much the characters interest me, it could be better or worse. 

I love the Frog Detective series and am looking forward to playing and writing about the second game! I ranked Overcooked 2 behind these two games as Humble Choice comes with two DLCs for that game but not with friends or time. Overcooked is a ton of fun, don’t get me wrong… but you’ll need to find people to play it with and then the stars need to align and all of that… it’s a hassle. 

As far as the rest is concerned, they are alright, I guess. The Beast Inside is a game that is “eh” from what I’ve heard. The Zwei Games are from a franchise that I’ve never heard of. I’d be happy to dive into them but honestly, I’m not typically a huge friend of JRPGs. The Ilvard Insurrection seems like it has the less annoying characters in it… but not too sure if it matters too much for the ranking. 

Path of Giants and Indivisible look interesting but I’m not in the mood for another puzzle game or a platformer, so I placed those behind the Zwei series. Struggling is a Physics-based platformer, which sucks because I don’t like that kind of games usually. And as far as the Tabletop Playground is concerned, I feel like you need to use the Tabletop Simulator most of the time since it’s just more popular. Most of my friends (if not all) use TTS and not TTP, so owning TTP is a waste, really, I think. Unless you go for local sessions or unless you have a friend group that uses TTP or got this game from this month’s Choice.

Overall, this month’s choice has been alright. I’m not too bummed out by the lack of AAA titles… especially as I run an Indie blog and as some of those games have been on my wishlist actually… So, I’m getting a better deal here than at the Steam Sale right now. The issue is that I have CoM already and that I don’t care about JRPGs too much. They’ve been either hit or miss for me, which is annoying. 

I feel like there’s a bit of a missed opportunity here. The only “choice” we have is whether or not we take them all or not. I can rank them and write about it but I don’t feel like there actually is much of a Choice here. There are twelve games every time and only two drop out. As a Classic subscriber, I get all twelve of them each month. My Choice is literally “pay” or “pause”. 

Instead of giving us twelve games to chose ten out of. how about offering more games to make the choice more meaningful? Two drop-outs are nothing compared to five or ten, right? Or how about introducing a bundle system with fewer games but they’re all themed around similar topics, settings, genres, etc.? The Strategy bundle that both Nait and I would love, the Sim bundle for people that love those farming simulations, and the FPS bundle for fans of guns. Next month? Sports bundle, Tech Bundle, Roguelike Bundle. Next month? Action bundle, Puzzle Bundle, Party game Bundle. And so on.

Instead of giving you the choice to pause or unpause, they’d grant you the Choice of one of three bundles. It would be like Humble Monthly but potentially a bit cheaper or more predictable or maybe it’s just a thinner version of Humble Choice. 

Heck, you could also just create the selection using three themes and then have equal parts of different genres in there so that some people aren’t too upset about it. I was a bit disappointed at first as I saw a lot of JRPG-ish games in this choice but I still ended up going for it as I’m quite excited about trying some of these games out.

What are your thoughts? What suggestions would you have to change or improve Humble Choice? Have you grabbed this month’s Choice? 

On another note: I’m a Humble Partner and alas have this affiliate link right here: >>> Affiliate Link <<<

If you want to, you can use that link to get Humble Choice and also support me. No extra costs. It just supports me a little bit as well as the Trevor Project and it would be cool if you could consider it. There is also another deal for the annual plan and it’s a bit cheaper than usual, so if you wanna go for that annual plan… use this link here: >>> Affiliate Link for that offer <<< if you want to.

Either way, I hope you’re having a great time. It’s a bit late for this month’s choice but better late than sorry! December and 2020 aren’t over yet but we’re there soon. Hope you have some nice holidays and a great start into the new year!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Humble Choice – November 2020

For the past couple of months, I’ve been doing a few posts about Humble Choice and my choices. The idea for this originally stemmed from Naithin over at Time to Loot. I really like doing these kinds of posts but I feel like I haven’t credited him enough for it, so before I head into this month’s Choice, I wanted to stress how important it is to credit the original series of posts. Alas, please check out Naithin’s post on November’s Choice first before you head into mine. He’s probably got other views on this month’s Choice from me. I think that reading both sides would really enhance the experience, especially since he’s a great guy who’s really worth checking out! 

Just like last month, this Choice continues the trend of having great games and interesting choices!

RankGameDeveloperGenre
1Little MisfortuneKillmondays GamesDark Interactive Story
2Yakuza Kiwami 2SegaAction-Adventure
3DarksburgShiro GamesCo-Op Roguelite
4Smile For MeYugo LimboUnconventional Point & Click
5Darksiders 3Gunfire GamesHack & Slay
6Crying SunsAlt ShiftTactical Rogue-lite
7YouropafreclePuzzle Platformer
8TsioqueOhNoo StudioDark Point & Click
9Imperator: RomeParadoxGrand Strategy
10DarkwoodAcid WizardSurvival Horror
11Townsmen – A Kingdom RebuiltHandyGamesColony Sim
12Rover Mechanic SimulatorPyramid GamesSimulation

There are twelve games available and Classic/Premium subscribers get all twelve of them! Hence, I wanted to rank these in a similar way to what Nait does. The first spots obviously are games that I really am looking forward to while you could consider the last two spots “drop-outs” or rather game keys that I’ll gift to friends.

Little Misfortune is a game that I’ve been meaning to buy at one point eventually but I never got the chance to do so as “buying new games” is not a priority for me – especially with my 900+ game backlog… But I’ve heard great things about this game and I really like the art style and the direction they took this game in. While it looks all cute and innocent, it actually features a lot of mature, dark and potentially even gross topics. The narrator of the story is creepy while Misfortune is an innocent gem full of hopes and bad luck. The game presents some sort of deception as a friend of mine picked it up, streamed it on her family-friendly channel on Twitch (unaware of the 18+ tag that this game has) and deeply regretted it after a while. Personally speaking, I know only a few scenes from the game but stayed off from all sorts of media and articles on it since I didn’t want to spoil myself too much. I’m relatively sure that I’m going to play this game shortly over on Twitch and I’m looking forward to that!

As for the other titles, Yakuza Kiwami 2 and Darksiders 3 are games that I’ve heard great things about. The Yakuza series is a franchise that I haven’t looked into yet but from what I’ve heard it certainly is something that I’d enjoy, so I’m looking forward to that. This game being in this Choice just means that I’ve got yet another game in my library that I will play for sure, eventually! As for Darksiders 3, it has some interesting aspects to it with nice themes and a somewhat funny story about the apocalypse being initiated too early and one of the apocalyptic riders having to clean up (in the previous games), so I’m sure I’ll like it. 

Darksburg and Smile for Me are unconventional in a lot of ways. Darksburg focuses on co-op rogue-lite action, so I’m looking forward to maybe playing this with a friend of mine over on my discord. Smile For Me is a point & click adventure where you can’t speak and where you have to nod or shake your head to solve a mystery. I’m not typically a fan of point & click games but since Ms Magi is into those, I thought about picking some up and maybe enjoying them with her eventually. Smile For Me is also one of those titles that would be great for another Indietail

Crying Suns is a tactical Rogue-lite in the manner of FTL and some other titles and alas, I’m more than sure that I’m going to like this game. The style of it and the gameplay systems seemed quite interesting to me and as I no next to nothing else about it, I’m quite sure that I’ll review it eventually, too. 

Youropa is a 3D Puzzle Platformer about gravity and perception, I think. Apparently, it features some degree of Metroidvania systems in it as well, which is interesting. Overall, I’m looking forward to trying this out eventually and maybe writing a post on it. I’ve got a few puzzle games like this one lined up that I need to finish eventually and I love innovative puzzles a ton, so I’m really happy to have acquired this title. 

Now, Tsioque seems to be another Point & Click adventure but while I personally have no interest in it really since I don’t like the art style, I was thinking of gifting this to Ms Magi. I think this could be a nice game for her. 

Imperator: Rome is a Grand Strategy game by Paradox, so it should technically rank a lot higher than 9th place… but I’m actually not too keen on playing a game set in Rome. It’s something that I don’t like as much as I should maybe… the problem with Grand Strategy is that the tutorials can be long and that it can get quite hard to get into those games, at least for me. Alas, I’ve ranked this relatively low. Darkwood, on the other hand, has a new twist on Survival Horror Games but I’m not entirely sure if I’m going to like it, so I ranked that one also relatively low on the scale.

As for the last two entries, I frankly despise the art style of Townsmen and it feels way too similar to other games in the genre. In essence, all colony sims are… colony sims… and I love colony sims… but if a game doesn’t add any value to it or if a game doesn’t spin its own twist on the genre, I don’t feel too good about it. Rover Mechanic Simulator is a game that I also wouldn’t like at all. This title and Townsmen are titles that I probably would gift away to people that would probably enjoy them more than me. I have this one friend who is really into tech stuff and simulation games like this – so it would be a great birthday gift for him… but maybe I’m also just a bit worried that a Pyramid Games game is going to feel a bit janky or that it may disappoint me, on top of not being my cup of tea.

This sums up another Humble Choice. I personally never really liked the “list”-style post that I did for Humble Choice. Naithin’s approach of adding a table to the post and ranking the games, however, was something that I wanted to try out eventually, too, and I think I actually like it. While Naithin puts his own spin on things and has a different perspective on these games, on top of adding his own personality to his posts, I’m trying to justify the ranking or the reason for picking up these games. I feel like this adds a bit more insight into the post instead of it just becoming “yet another list” or “yet another top 10 post”. 

Now, lately, I’ve been trying to use affiliate links that I have at my disposal (as I’m a humble partner) more often in my posts. This was the case for my review on Submerged, for instance, where I plugged the link at the end of the post. I don’t want to do that sneakily and not disclaim it or use any other unjust ways of getting you to click on something that will ultimately make me profit a little bit. Alas, here’s a disclaimer: This following link is an affiliate link and if you subscribe to Humble Monthly using that link, I may get a little bit of money and it will support The Trevor Project, a charity organisation that supports LGBTQIA+ youth. This link here basically lets you sign up for Humble Choice if you want to

By clicking on it, you’ll get to the subscription page but you won’t have to subscribe or anything. It just leads you there and it has my partner-code in the URL as a referrer, as well as the charity-code for The Trevor Project. According to the Humble Partner dashboard, I’ll be able to get up to US$15 for every new subscriber and it would help me out but you, of course, don’t have to do so if you don’t want. New Subscriptions don’t cost more because of the link – it just supports me and that charity organisation.

I’m being a bit weird about that, so I’m sorry for that long paragraph. Anyways, I hope you had fun with this post. Are you picking up this month’s Choice? Are there any games that you personally really are looking forward to or do you have any other opinions on the type of games? Make sure to let me know and make sure to be kind to others and stay healthy! Always remember that you matter!

Cheers!

Indietail – Submerged

I enjoy exploration-based games a lot. That’s a statement that I made in the past when I reviewed Outer Wilds, a game all about exploration. Similarly, I really enjoy other games like Subnautica or Breathedge where you end up challenging the oxygen limit that has been placed onto you or where you try to survive at all costs and still explore the world. Today’s Indietail is about Uppercut Games’ “Submerged”, an exploration-based Adventure game playing in a post-apocalyptic world.

Developer: Uppercut Games
Publisher: Uppercut Games
Genres: Exploration, Adventure, Third-Person, Single-Player, Parkour
Release Date: August 4th, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PS4, XB1, IOS, Switch
Copy was purchased.

Our younger brother is sick, the world is flooded and the resources are scarce. Playing as Miku our main goal is to explore the world in search of rations, medicine and other items to help cure our brother. Other humans? We can’t seem to find any as nature seemingly won its fight against civilisation and as the city is in ruins. What has happened? What is this sickness? Is there a way to cure it? Questions among questions enter my head but luckily, the little drawings and journal pieces seem to help me out to understand the situation better.

What’s that place over there?

Since our brother lies sick in the little base we built, we need to find these rations. To do so, we map out the city, search for shiny objects on rooftops and other places and we set out on our fishing boat to take care of our brother. The premise is straightforward but it seems to work quite well. 

As we map out areas and look through our telescope, we find entrances to the ruined areas. While the movement on the ship is very horizontal and limited to the waterways, we get to climb these high places and ruins of hotels, libraries and hospitals. The game picks up pace as we climb higher and higher, explore different paths to find collectables, and eventually reach these red chests with the rations we need. The sudden verticalness of the game was much to my liking as you suddenly gain access to points that allow you to spy farther. Once you’re up at some of the high areas, you’re able to search for more rations and collectables. It works quite well together.

Gotta climb up this place!

These collectables range from drawings (lore) to boat-upgrades that increase the duration of your boost. As you go on, you get to see landmarks and fauna, eventually filling out your journal, which gives you a nice sense of accomplishment. The exploration aspects of the game seem more than satisfactory, which was surprising since I felt a bit overwhelmed with those sixty lore-entries and the landmarks, creatures and other collectables. Eventually, I noticed that it’s actually quite doable. 

In the beginning, I felt more than overwhelmed with how the game did things. I was just thrown into it and had to figure out stuff on my own. Luckily, the game’s premise and the gameplay that doesn’t rely on combat at all is rather simple and straight-forward: You start at one point and try to explore the world and when your eye catches something of interest, you go there and see if you can dock somewhere and enter the building’s ruins. Then you climb up and find stuff to progress the story. 

Very lovely landmark!

Personally, I feel like this game does that quite well. Thatgamecompany’s “Journey” also had this premise of exploring the world and just going to points of interest, also known as “eyecatchers”. In Submerged, you see a Ferris wheel for instance or the outlines of a bridge or a very high building at the horizon, so you’re naturally drawn to those and see the entry point where you dock your boat and explore the building. By climbing up ledges, ivies, boards and other structures, you end up finding what you need before seeing another cutscene. Exploration feels rewarding which is really important in games like these that rely so heavily on it. 

Meanwhile, we find and see the wildlife of this world over time. Whales, dolphins and birds accompany our boat as we travel alongside them. Are there no humans left, though? What happened to everyone? 

Oooh, pretty and foggy!

Again, these questions pop up and as you progress through the story, you get ominous clues as to what happened or what is happening. You slowly piece it together as the language is obscure and as you only get drawings for the lore pieces. 

While this game is already five years old, I’d like to mention that it’s beautiful. There is a day-night cycle in the game with its own weather and all of that but even when it’s raining, the game manages to look spectacular. Being a rather vertical game, the perspective tends to get switched up now and then, showing you climb up a ladder or balance yourself to the other side of a building from a different point of view, which really showcases the beautiful scenery. Despite being somewhat old, Submerged is a pretty game. Sure, you have some graphical glitches here and there and the graphics settings are somewhat limited but overall, I feel like it certainly aged well.

Slowly… Slowly…

But despite all of that praise, I’ll have to say that the game is not too accessible. While you’re able to remap keys on both the keyboard and the controller, I would have liked to see other options supported in the game, like audio subtitles for waves, animal sounds or other options for people that don’t hear that well. On top of that, the game is way too loud in the beginning and it’s really hard to adjust to a “normal” volume level without nearly turning off the beautiful music directed by Jeff van Dyck. 

On top of that, I was a bit bothered by the fact that there is no jump or sprint button. A game with this much platforming and freedom seems a bit limited by not being able to choose freely where you go. I would have liked it a bit more if I was able to go and climb wherever I want to, maybe with a stamina bar as a limiter or some gadgets or whatever. You certainly are free… and yet you’re quite bound to ledges that are rather conveniently placed on the buildings.

There is a photo-mode for your postcard-needs!

And while I get that the red chests are your main goal, I would have liked it if you were prompted something along the lines of “return to base?” instead of just getting teleported home. It’s just a small thing that annoyed me as I’d have to climb all the way up again and remember the other paths if I wanted to explore more.

Regardless of that, however, I enjoyed this game. The world is beautiful, the exploration is highly enjoyable, and while the story seems melancholic, it is also very lovely, despite not using a single word. I hence recommend this experience to all fans of combat-free and chill exploration-based games. 

A ship part!

You can find the game on Steam over here – but if you want to support me (and the Trevor Project), you may want to use this affiliate link of mine to grab the game over at the Humble Store where it’s currently 92% off for the next week or so. You can also use my link to make other purchases and I’ll get some revenue as well unless of course, you use the honey-browser extension as that one overrides affiliate-links.  

Oooh, Birds!

Either way, I hope you enjoyed this post. I had a lot of fun playing Submerged and was happy to cross off another game of my big plan-to-play list on Steam! I haven’t posted reviews in a while since the university has been keeping me busy but if you want to get notified immediately whenever I post something on this blog, consider joining my discord server and grabbing the Scholars role over there! 

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.