Humble Choice – January, 2021

Another year means another month means another Humble Choice. It’s 2021 and alas, it’s time to turn a new leaf. Since Humble Choice has been the most consistent series of posts, I was thinking of making it its own category and basically leaving them like that. Initially, I was thinking of adding a sub-category under the Gaming Journal but I’m honestly not happy with how that’s named and organised and I’ll have to change everything somehow anyways eventually… For now: New Category called something along the lines of “Humble Lich” (Name to be changed) and that should make it more organised in general. 

Alas, what’s up with this month’s Choice? Well, it returns to its roots by giving us a lot of value with just twelve games instead of fourteen like last month. Apart from that, I’ll have to link Naithin’s post and other bloggers’ posts later as well… but they’re not out yet, so there’s that.

Here’s my ranking of them:

RankGameDeveloperGenre
1Pathologic 2Ice-Pick LodgeRPG, Survival, Thriller
2Ancestors: The Humankind OdysseyPanache Digital GamesRPG, Open-World, Survival
3Tales of the Neon SeaPalm PioneerAdventure
4MinoriaBombserviceRPG, Adventure
5Song of HorrorProtocol GamesAdventure, Horror
6Warhammer: ChaosbaneEko SoftwareHack n Slash
7DeleveledToasterfuelPuzzle
8The Ambassador: Fractured TimelinesTinydino GamesAdventure
9Vampire: The Masquerade
Shadows of New York
Draw DistanceVisual Novel
10Total Tank SimulatorNoobz from PolandStrategy, Action, Simulation
11Not TonightPanicbarnSimulation
12PC Building SimulatorThe Irregular CorporationSimulation

Now, as you can see I placed Pathologic 2 right up there on the first spot because I love the setting and the idea behind it. Its tutorial is played on a stage, the story is dark and disturbing, and the game seems to be rather challenging. UltrViolet wrote about this game the other day and it seemed more than interesting, so this was the most certain title on this list. As for the other games, it was hard to rank them in any way…

Take the second space for instance, where I’d make room for Tales of the Neon Sea, a rather interesting neon-styled adventure with pixel art and a cyberpunk setting and… you can play as a cat apparently… Uh, so this title looks very interesting and I’m looking forward to *eventually* playing it but Ancestors has been on my wishlist for ages now and looks like something that I’d really enjoy. In Ancestors, you basically take control of the ancestors of humankind and try to survive, explore, expand, and evolve to become the humans we know today. 

Next up we have Minoria and Song of Horror. I don’t know the Minoria games that came before this one as I’m uneducated in the genre, but the graphics looked cute and the game’s combat looked cool and it kind of reminded me of Hollow Knight, so I placed it up there. Song of Horror, on the other hand, is a title that I’ve seen a bit of now and then while watching KingArgaroth (go follow him!) play it on Stream. It’s a bit of a Horror-Adventure with puzzles in it and I honestly can’t remember the story, which is a good thing because I’d like to experience it myself eventually. I’m not the biggest Horror fan, which is why I ranked Minoria higher than Song of Horror but from what I’ve heard SoH is great!

Alas, we get to the hard part. I’m not entirely sure what to say about the other games as I don’t really care about them. I mean, I already own a few Warhammer games, which is why I’m looking forward to giving Chaosbane a go eventually… but Deleveled seems like just another gravity-based puzzle game… or rather a game with a different world that is on the other side of your world… and I’ve seen that formula in a lot of other games as well, so I’m sceptical about this game. 

The Ambassador seems interesting to a degree but I’m not a fan of the art style and I also think that I know at least three other games that are older than this title with a similar premise, which is worrying. As far as Vampire goes, I’m not a fan of the franchise, so I placed it rather low as well. It’s gonna be another title to give away to people that actually like it a lot and can’t understand why I’d not like it.

Total Tank Simulator could be fun but it also be just not my cup of tea. Judging from the description and the art style alone, I don’t really have an opinion on it, just yet.

And well, as far as Not Tonight goes, I don’t really think I have to say too much else. I had to google the studio to make sure that they didn’t work on Papers, Please… but it’s a separate studio. It’s a game that utilizes the Papers, Please formula… five years after Papers, Please came out… but it’s not as “Soviet” as the original game but plays in a dystopian British setting where Brexit failed and where you’re a… Bouncer? I mean, according to reviews, the game doesn’t really add a lot to the formula apart from being a bouncer and being able to sell drugs to people in line… and the Brexit of course, but I guess I’ll have to see for myself if it’s just a rip-off or if it feels like a different game. I mean, a lot of games share similarities or are based on the same idea. *winks at Rogue and the whole roguelike-genre until my eyelashes start bleeding* But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, inspiration is important… It turns into a problem when people make money off an idea without adding anything to it or without even trying. So, I don’t know if that’s the case here or if it’s going to feel like a different game or like a rip-off. I’ll have to see for myself.

At last, PC Building Simulator seems like it’s just not up my alley. I mean, I have built one PC… and it was interesting… but I don’t want to do it again unless, of course, it’s IRL. I just don’t usually enjoy simulation type games where you do mundane tasks without any form of expressing creativity. I mean, House Flipper at least leaves you the option of having fun and wrecking the house or doing a little bit extra for the job… Euro Truck Simulator is weirdly relaxing and rather enjoyable… PC Building Simulator could also be quite relaxing but I’m just not enough of a technical person to play it, I think. 

Alas, there are a lot of games that I have strong and positive opinions of while there are also a lot of games in this month’s Humble Choice that I have negative opinions of… and there are titles that are just not my cup of tea. It’s a weird mixture but I think it’s still a Choice that is worth grabbing, especially due to the first six games in my ranking up there. I feel like there is a lot of value to grab there.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, let me know what your ranking would be like. Do you think you’ll go for this month’s Humble Choice? Do you pass? What’s your opinion on “Not Tonight”? 

Cheers!

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

Binge Watch Sorrow 2: Electric Boogaloo

So, yesterday, Wilhelm over at TAGN published a fantastic post full of bullet points on different topics in regards to streaming shows on services like Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, HBO, and so on. Check that post out! It’s great!

Then Bhagpuss made a post as well on the topic and used those bullet points to give their opinion on the same topic. Check their post out as well if you haven’t yet. Another great post!

Alas, that’s why I wanted to write about this topic and why I’m considering streaming shows via Netflix despite not liking subscription-models too much. Before I head into that… context: 

I haven’t watched TV for about eight years now, really… I mean, I’ve watched shows via the internet and at times, I’d even just settle for YouTube videos, Anime or video games instead of watching a movie or a show on TV. There are a few reasons for that that I’ll get into later. Mostly since other media is more entertaining, anyway, in my opinion. For the most part, however, I’d opt-in for stuff that is available for free online instead of getting a Netflix subscription. I’m just hesitant about subscriptions because I usually don’t end up making full use of it… About five years ago, I got myself Spotify Premium to not have to download music onto my phone and ended up basically using it every day for hours upon hours. With Spotify, I’m making full use of my subscription since I listen to music all the time anyway. If I were to get into WoW, I probably wouldn’t be able to play it too much and would then regret the subscription. With Netflix, I wouldn’t watch enough shows to make it worth it. Alas, I ended up relying on watching shows on Netflix whenever I was at my parents’ since I can use my sister’s Netflix account to watch shows. Back to the post.

Screenshot from Milky Way Prince – Review over here.
  • Not having to deal with commercials is pretty nice.

Absolutely. The reason why I have Spotify Premium is mostly the fact that I can use it offline as well but also the fact that there are no ads every two songs or so. Some ads on Spotify would go on for three minutes, promoting a song that I don’t like at all, which was annoying. With TV it’s similar: I don’t watch TV because I hated the 7-minute-ad-breaks during movies, every twenty minutes or so. It’s annoying and I don’t really get why. Not having to deal with that is really nice… It’s incredibly nice to watch a show whenever you want to while still supporting the creators of it with the subscription. 

  • I still don’t like pay-per-view.

The only movies that I ever bought DVDs of were Nightmare Before Christmas, Frankenweenie, 9, Corpse Bride, and two copies of (500) Days of Summer. Yes, I own that last movie twice, mostly since I wanted to watch that movie again but didn’t have the DVD at my place, so I just ordered it. You can rent it for three bucks or just buy it for ten. Buying it twice is twenty bucks. Watching it four times is already more worth it on the DVD I bought than when rented. And I have a spare at my parents’ place in case I wanna watch it over there and didn’t bring it from my flat. Pay-Per-View is a failed concept in my opinion as I still have that DVD available to me no matter what happens to that account of mine. I mean… would you rent a game for one play-session only to be charged again when you start it up again next time? 

  • There are too many streaming-services.

Yes. 100%. I’m thinking about getting Netflix so that I can watch some movies and shows I like on there… but not every show I wanna watch is on there as it’s somewhere else. Disney+ features a lot of Marvel stuff, for instance, so if a friend came over and wanted to watch that stuff, I’d have to have Disney+… and I don’t think I’ll get it anytime soon. In essence, it wouldn’t pay off for me personally as I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan and as I’m not the biggest Marvel fan either. I liked the Daredevil but I think that show is still on Netflix… and it got worse and worse after every season, so I stopped watching it eventually. There aren’t really any other Marvel shows that I’d watch apart from Agents of Shield… and even that one will probably never get watched.

I’d like it if there was a way for you to watch HBO shows on Netflix. I love Silicon Valley, for instance, but I’m not entirely sure if I’d like anything else on HBO really… Silicon Valley is a great show. If I was able to watch it on Netflix, I’d do that. Maybe Netflix would get a bit of money from HBO since they provided me with it and a lot of the money would go to HBO since they made the show. That kind of system or partnership between shows could work out quite well, I think. But then again, they are in competition, so they probably won’t do that.

And the problem with being on one service and “making full use of the subscription” is that you can’t really “make full use of it” when you also want to “make full use of” another subscription. I’m not sure if I’d ever subscribe to two different services at the same time, at least as a student.

  • Finding things is hard.

Netflix has a lot of shows. My Steam library has a lot of games. That doesn’t mean that you’ll always find the right thing to watch or play right away. “Die Qual der Wahl” is a German phrase that summarises that quite well. Having too many options results in you having a hard time choosing what to watch, which is annoying. Steam gives you a suggestion at times with the “Steam Play Next” shelf in the library’s homepage, which I find quite cool, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Netflix has a suggestion feature as well based on the shows that you watch but generally, it can be really hard to find shows to watch since you don’t have an “either-or” choice but rather an “either-or-or-…-or-or-or” choice with way too many shows which makes the choice even harder. On Steam, it at least is limited to games you own while Netflix just presents everything to you. Hence, I can see why that’s an issue and I’m glad that people are recommending shows on my discord, so at least I can fish for some shows on there or recommend shows to other people.

  • Weekly Releases vs. All-At-Once

Personally speaking, I’d rather have shows available All at Once! However, I can see how binging is quite unhealthy and how that shouldn’t be encouraged with cliffhangers in shows that make you want to go for “just another episode” or whatever. Having the next episode(s) available already means that there probably are spoilers out already but also that you won’t have to wait. When I watch Anime, I often watch shows that already are done. Alas, I can binge them. When I watch Airing Shows, I end up having to wait a week, which is a bit annoying… but I guess I can try and theory-craft with friends about the next episode, which is quite cool. There are, however, shows I really watch, so I binge watch and then it’s 8 am suddenly and my headspace is a mess and I just am tired but don’t want to ruin my sleep schedule which is kind of annoying.

  • Biases towards movies vs. shows

Wilhelm talks in his post about how a show feels like it’s “too long” to watch after a movie even though he spends probably the same amount of time watching four episodes on Netflix that evening anyways. I feel like that bias is there for everyone. A show usually is shorter and you can stop at any given time. A movie, however, is made in a less episodic way, resulting in you not being able to stop at any time, I think. I mean, there are three-hour-movies out there that don’t make any sense afterwards when you watch it after a day… or two… or whenever you get to it again. Usually, I end up making more time for movies than with shows only to use up more time with the shows compared to the movie. You can kind of estimate when you’ll end by watching a movie while you sometimes just feel like watching another episode after you just watched three or four.

  • Cut the Cord!

I really don’t watch TV. Wilhelm made a point about Sports but over here, at least, sports games often get broadcasted and streamed over the internet as well. Here in Germany, you still have to pay some fee for radio/tv/internet even when you don’t use any of those – “you have the opportunity to do it” after all, and you have to pay for that opportunity, I think… So, I don’t really have a reason to watch TV, especially with news, the weather, shows, movies and whatever else being available online already.

  • Internet problems suck!

Oh, tell me! It’s bad enough when my ping is high in games or when I’m dropping frames while streaming… but when the internet fails while watching a Stream on Twitch or a video on YT or a show on Netflix then that sucks super bad since you are invested in the show and suddenly have to do something else instead. Luckily, the neighbourhood at my parents’ and the neighbourhood at my dorm will both get better internet in 2021, so I’m excited about potentially streaming in 720p again on Twitch and watching more shows again!

  • Streaming at home > the cinema experience?

This one’s somewhat tricky. Watching a movie in the cinema/at the theatre is great a lot of the time… but as of late, I’ve been disliking it more and more whenever I thought back to all those bad experiences I’ve had with phones being used and being turned on super bright… or screaming babies… or chatty people… or people walking through the light, etc. Generally speaking, the experience can be so-so but I know that I want my kids to experience it for themselves for sure eventually when I have kids. I don’t want them to only know movies from TV/Netflix/DVDs… I mean, as a kid I loved the cinema. I can probably count the times I’ve been to the cinema on my fingertips, but I liked it most of the time during my childhood and not so much during recent years. Especially when you consider the price factor of it: Tickets and snacks are overpriced and you still don’t get a guaranteed “magical” experience depending on the people around you. Also, you still watch ads before the movie… Meanwhile, you get to have a great experience at home either way. It’s your own four walls, the people you love, you don’t have to wear pants, and you can stop any time to go to the toilet without missing anything… and as for snacks, you can have anything! I could have a can of Dr Pepper there… or a second one… or a third one… in the cinema, I wouldn’t be able to have Dr Pepper at all and if they did have it there it would cost way more than the store price.

  • There are still things not available.

A lot of Tim Burton movies, for instance, aren’t available on Netflix, which is weird… because they are great. A lot of older movies also can’t be watched on a lot of these services… and I don’t get why exactly that’s not a thing. At the same time, they are available in other countries, so using a VPN often is advised when it comes to Netflix and the like, which is something I personally don’t like too much… Why not make all languages, all subs and all shows/movies available to everyone and anyone? I mean, sure, there are countries that don’t allow stuff but just disable those over there! 

Screenshot from Milky Way Prince – Review over here.

Anyways, this is my (way too long) post on this topic. I again really recommend checking out Wilhelm’s post as it was the originator of all of this… and Bhagpuss’ post is also great, so check that post out! 

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you use Netflix, HBO, or whatever? Can you recommend one over the other or maybe give me some recommendations for shows? In that instance, name your favourite shows, if you want to. I’ll for one really liked Silicon Valley on HBO and I love American Vandal on Netflix! I can highly recommend both of those shows if you’re into comedy. I may actually grab Netflix for myself and try it out for a month or a few, depending on how I like it and how much I use it. I may even write a Stray Sheep or two about shows I watched and about shows that I’m watching. We’ll see!

Either way, happy holidays! Stay safe! 

Cheers!

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

Humble Choice July 2020

I forgot to pause July’s Humble Choice so here’s what I got this month – actually wasn’t too bad, so that’s quite awesome! 

As far as June went: I did get the bundle but I forgot to post about it and with exams and everything going on, I ended up not caring enough about it. For anyone who’s interested, here are my choices for June:

Either way, it’s August already but I wanted to talk about my July games as you can still claim them if you want to! Overall, I’m quite happy about the July games. The selection this time around consisted of:

  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall – DELUXE EDITION
  • Void Bastards
  • Railway Empire
  • Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock
  • Yuppie Psycho
  • Beat Hazard 2
  • Sigma Theor: Global Cold War
  • Metal Unit
  • Don’t Escape: 4 Days To Survive
  • Verlet Swing
  • Basingstoke
  • EARTHLOCK

Now, most of these games seemed awesome but due to the 10 Game Limit, I couldn’t take them all and honestly I wouldn’t have needed to. The games I didn’t pick were Verlet Swing and Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock. 

I have no clue about Battlestar Galactica, so I didn’t go for that one… and Verlet Swing seemed a bit too fast-paced for me and I thought that I’d probably burn myself out too fast with it. Alas, I picked all the other games as I (worst case) can gift those away. 


Either way, let’s get into the choices!

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

I wanted to play more 4X and Strategy Games in general, so this one was a given. I’ve heard good things about Age of Wonders and this one is relatively new, so I’m looking forward to getting to this one eventually.

Void Bastards

While I didn’t recommend it in an earlier review, it felt like a better choice than the two that I didn’t pick… so, I’ll just gift this one away in one of my streams eventually and someone else is going to like it.

Beat Hazard 2

This title somewhat reminded me of REALLY BIG SKY but with the option of using your own music? Hell yeah! 

Yuppie Psycho

This title has been interesting from what I’ve seen. Alas, I thought I’d go for it. It’s a horror game. Spooktober is going to be crazy! Looking forward to it!

Sigma Theory: Global Cold War

Mi-Clos Studio’s title Sigma Theory seemed interesting… but I’m not too sure if I’ll get into it. While it is turn-based strategy and management, it felt a bit off. There was something about it, that I didn’t like but at the same time I knew that I should in theory like it. Weird feeling I had with this one. Alas, this one is on the “maybe I’ll redeem it later… or I’ll gift it away”-list. We’ll see!

Don’t Escape: 4 Days To Survive

This game seemed interesting. I’m not a fan of point n click games BUT the setting seemed cool and it has survival elements in there, so I’m looking forward to what the blend of the two genres is like! 

Railway Empire

Personally, I love management games and really am enjoying myself with them. Railway Empire has been on my wishlist for quite some time since it seemed absolutely stunning and since it does not only cover industrial management and simulation options but also tourist attractions and a vast variety of trains! Really excited to play this one eventually!

Basingstoke

Four Words: Action. Roguelike. Cute. Style. – It’s been on my wishlist as well for a while, so I’m looking forward to playing this one! 

EARTHLOCK

Snowcastle Games’ take on the JRPG genre seemed quite adorable, so I thought I’d give it a go. It has “a fresh take on turn-based combat and character progression” (according to the description text), so I thought it may be a good fit for a review as well, alas it’s in that collection on Steam as well, waiting for its time to shine. 

Metal Unit

JellySnow Studio created with Metal Unit a cute little side-scrolling platformer with rogue-lite features. It’s futuristic and combat seems cool. In its core, it’s an Action-RPG but I was intrigued as to what the rogue-lite features would be and why there is no “rogue-lite” tag in the Steam Store. Either way, I like the style and thought I’d go for it (even if I’m not a fan of platformers). 


As part of this month’s Humble Choice, we also received DRM-free sneak peeks for Grotto and Popup Dungeon – two games that I wanted to write about anyways in our Lookout Post! Alas, I hope that I’ll be able to get to these soon.

Overall, this month has been quite successful. It’s been a nice selection of games that I’d actually play and not just “like but never get to”. Just the other day, I finished Outer Wilds but I didn’t get to write about it just yet… and with one game done, a ton more have joined the library, resulting in an ever-growing library… a scary backlog is getting scarier by the day.