Humble Choice – August 2020

Oh boy, August’s Humble Choice… is great! I was wondering what this month’s gonna be like and I was surprised at the number of games from my wishlist… but I feel like I’m drifting away here. 

What were my choices? Why did I pick them? In what order did I decide on picking them? 

Well,… Classic and Premium subscribers get all 12 choices this month only, so I had to pick all of them… but still, there are some games that I’m probably give/gift away while there are others that I picked because I’m excited about it. Hence the post. 

So here are my picks for August’s Choice:

1) Through The Darkest Of Times

Ever since I played the first chapter of it at last year’s GamesCom and ever since I had that interview with one of the devs back then, I have been meaning to play it… but other games always managed to find their way in first… So, now’s my chance to play it. It’s essentially a historic and very strategic management-game where you’re the leader of a small resistance group in 1933’s Berlin. It’s quite similar to the White Rose – and from what I’ve heard from the Devs, they’re going for a very detailed approach of what happened and how it happened. This is something that I find very applaudable. You essentially try to deal small blows to the Nazi regime by dropping leaflets or painting messages on walls, sabotaging them, gathering information and recruiting more people. This was basically an instant lock!

2) A Case Of Distrust

This was one of the aforementioned titles that just happened to be on my wishlist for ages now. It plays in 1924’s San Francisco and features a great soundtrack, an interesting story, lovely visuals and (just like TTDOT) historically accurate details. Honestly, it’s a narrative mystery game and someone once recommended it to me, so I wanted to try it out when it’s on Sale or whatever… and the themes of poverty, racism, and emancipation as well as other issues are something that is of interest to me. I really am looking forward to playing and possibly writing about this game!

3) Automachef

You build production lines for food… it’s a management game again… I want to play it. As you may be able to tell, I’m not really sure what to say about this one. From what I’ve seen it looks a bit like SpaceChem but less complicated and with some cute animations. I like the automation/optimization aspects of games like Satisfactory, Good Company or tycoon/management games like this one… so I’m looking forward to this title. Might be a lot of fun!

4) Wargroove

Being another title from my wishlist, I ended up picking this one without really looking at it. I mean, I thought it was like Fire Emblem… and the graphics are cute… and it’s by Chucklefish Ltd., which is always a good sign… and it’s a turn-based strategy game, which is always quite nice. I’m looking forward to this title.^^

5) Call of Cthulhu

As a Lovecraft fan (his works, not his views), I must say that I’m not a fan of Lovecraftian games. While that sounds contradicting (after all, I like games… and Lovecraft), it’s mostly due to a lot of games not depicting the aspects of Eldritch and Lovecraftian Horror too well. Therefore, I usually stray away from them since essentially too many games are calling themselves “Eldritch” or “Lovecraftian” these days. There are some good titles that depict the psychological aspect of Lovecraftian Stories quite well, like Call of Cthulhu: Darkest Corners of Earth… but a lot of other games are doing Lovecraft’s name no good, which is something that I always worry about. Call of Cthulhu, the game that I picked here, is a game that I have mixed feelings about. While the steam reviews are “mostly positive”, I still am a bit worried that it may be a disappointment. Either way, it’s now a choice and I’ll play it myself! Completely blind! Potentially during Spooktober on Twitch!

6) We Were Here Together

This seems to be a puzzle game that is Co-Op-ONLY and requires you to communicate with your partner in order to solve puzzles together. Duh. The concept sounds rad, the world looks cool, and it’s also been on my wishlist for not too long since I heard that it’s quite challenging at parts… so I’m looking forward to this. Potentially I could play this with MuddChi on Twitch since she likes Puzzle games! I’m excited!

7) Genesis Alpha One Deluxe Edition

Long title for a game that features an even longer list of genres… We’re in space and build our own ship and expand and create life forms and procedural generation and shooting and action and what the actual fuck is this abomination of a game? I love it! Looking forward to seeing what it’s actually like… it just seemed to be something that is a wild mix of all kinds of things… and I couldn’t be bothered to try to comprehend all the information on this title (maybe I need more coffee?), so I ended up just picking it up! 

8) VAMPYR

Honestly, I am not too much of a fan of vampires in games but I love it when you can be “the bad guy”… and that’s something you do in this game… I think… at least you can opt in to “embrace the monster within”. I can also decide on “dooming London” instead of saving it… so I may actually like this game. The aesthetic seemed cool, too… I’ll just have to see how much fun it actually is. 

9) Hello Neighbor

It’s a stealth horror game… but it’s less dark and less jump-scare-y than other games in the genre, so I thought this might be quite fun to play during Spooktober as well. Essentially the remaining few games are either “eh” or “alright”, so I didn’t really know what to pick out of the remaining ones. Luckily, Humble choice chooses me by just letting me pick ALL OF THEm. Btw, it’s spelt “neighbor” but I like the British variant more with the U… This game is gonna be interesting, so I’m looking forward to playing it! – Oh, and it also features extra content in the form of “Hello Neighbour: Hide and Seek”, so uh, make sure to grab that, if you grab this month’s Humble Choice!

10) Little Big Workshop

This one was harder. Spot 10 would have either been Little Big Workshop OR The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters… but why? Technically, Little Big Workshop would be exactly the kind of tycoon/management-style game that I like and adore… but it just seemed very similar to a lot of other games that I have tried before… and games that I have seen before. The art style is different but it really reminded me of the upcoming “Good Company”… so I was a bit hesitant… but in the end, I’d pick this title over The Coma 2 due to it being a tycoon/management game. 

Alas, the “drop-outs” that I’ll just give away since I get all 12 choices this month:

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters

It’s an atmospheric, story-driven Horror Game set in Korea (judging from the names) where you have to survive the horrors presented to you by Dark Song, solve puzzles, craft items and reveal clues. The game seemed interesting but also rather clunky in terms of design and art style. I’ve got to pick it up regardless of my thoughts on it but I would have dropped it if I didn’t have 12 choices. 

American Fugitive: State of Emergency

This title seemed just like a trashy title that I wouldn’t like at first… but then something caught my eye: Fallen Tree Games, the studio behind it, is run by two people that have worked on titles like Crysis and (more importantly) TimeSplitters before… and I loved the TimeSplitters games… so, I may check this game out on YouTube and then decide on whether or not to keep it or not… in any case, I would have dropped it if I had had only 10 choices.

These two titles will probably be given away. Again, I may reconsider that in the case of American Fugitive… but it probably is better as a gift/giveaway.

Oh, and since I was “loyal” to Humble Bundle and stuck around for the last couple of months, I now own the Bonus Game: “Vikings – Wolves of Midgard”, which seems to be a hack n slay title that is… uh… interesting. I don’t usually like Vikings but I accidentally redeemed this one instead of a different game, so now I own both of them. 

The DRM-free extras that are contained in the August 2020 Choice consist of Zodiac XX, Wildfire (Sneak Peek), and Booth! Wildfire is something that I’ve been aware of before… and I’m looking forward to eventually playing the full game… Playing this sneak peek now is going to be a treat! Zodiac XX looks interesting… Booth could also be quite cool… I’ll probably write about those games!

But yeah, that’s it for this month’s Choice. I feel like they are adding too many Simulation or Management type games these days, which probably upsets other people… I’ve heard that a lot of people pause it more often than not… and then there’s the issue of some of these games appearing in Bundles afterwards for a lot less money… It’s a total of 300€ worth of money if you were to buy them at their full price… but I doubt that everyone’s interested in all of them and I’d say that it isn’t necessarily “worth it” to get this Choice if you’re only interested in one of the games… In my case, I really was a fan of “A Case Of Distrust”, “Through the Darkest of Times”, “Call of Cthulhu”, “Wargroove”, “Automachef”, and “We Were Here Together”, so naturally I’d go for this. Totally worth it for me. “Vampyr” might be fun… and the other titles might be quite interesting. We’ll see!

It could be a lot better if they added more variety to it. RPGs, Shooters, Horror, Simulations, Indie, AA, AAA, Story Games, Casual Games, etc. Mix it up a bit more. Especially when October comes, the choices should be more “special” to attract more people. While I like Simulation and Management games… I don’t think that everyone is going to agree with all of this and just continue their sub for this service if it’s really for just one game and one game only, every month.

Anyways, I hope this post helped you make your *choice* (haha.) and I hope you enjoyed this one! 

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

The Stray Sheep #20 – GamesCom-Interviews #2 – Through The Darkest of Times & Resort

Okay in today’s Stray Sheep, we’re traveling in time as we’re not only visiting the darkest of times (in Through the Darkest of Times) and the 60s/70s (in Resort) but also going back into the future (in a short bit about GravityLane). These are the second and the third GamesCom-Interview! Sadly, I couldn’t interview GravityLane 981’s devs, but I will for sure, next time!

So, for Through the Darkest of Times, I’ve asked the questions in German! This was, of course, because of the fact that the game is about Nazi-Germany and all that – not because of me and the dev being German. No, that’d be too much of a coincidence, wouldn’t it?

Anyways, I haven’t thought it through all that much since I, now, have to translate the dev’s answers into English again, although he could’ve answered in English all along. Yep. I’m stupid. But I didn’t have my morning coffee on that day, so I guess I can be forgiven.

Okay, so, Through the Darkest of Times is basically a strategic simulation based on the horrible events of the years of 1933 to 1945 where you lead an underground resistance group to fight the NS-regime.

After having played the game for a bit (and it was great gameplay at that btw), I had the chance to talk to one of the devs of Paintbucket Games, Jan-Dirk Verbeek, and ask a few questions about him and the game.

Since I’ve been too busy worrying about halls filled with people and my anxieties and all that stuff, I ended up not thinking up all that many different questions, leading to me asking every dev the same questions (apart from the weird ones). GG, I’d say.

That way we get the most interesting answers and can compare them! Yep. All planned. For sure.

What was your biggest inspiration for the game?

“The biggest inspiration for the game? Well, I’d like to point at Paintbucket Games’ founders as I joined a bit later. I myself was really intrigued by the topic. I found it really interesting to work on a game with a topic this dark that isn’t ‘funny’ but still ‘entertaining’.”

What was the most exciting part of developing this project?

“Oh, well, I’d have to think about that for a bit. I myself am only a programmer. I’d say, 80% programmer, 20% game designer. Most of the time [the most exciting part] is planning a feature or a game mechanic together with my other game designer co-workers and then to actually turn that plan into reality, as a programmer. It’s a lot of fun to find cool solutions to make it as efficient as possible.”

How satisfied are you with the game at its current state?

“Well, we fundamentally have built everything now and are now in the process of actually polishing everything. Now it all becomes really pretty, I’m satisfied, and of course, there are a few features that we’d like to implement before the release but other than that I’m quite satisfied.”

Gestapo knocking

Okay, so now we’ll get to a few “different” questions, cause there’s probably a ton of other, actual journalists that only ask the boring ones.

“Oh, so, now’s the point where I should flee, right?” (laughs)

What’s your favourite game?

“I’m developing games, I’m not playing them anymore. (laughs) Jokes aside, that sounds stupid but it’s really often the case that you don’t get the chance to play videogames as a game dev.”

Oh, well, then let me rephrase the question: Of all time?

“I really enjoyed playing strategy and roleplaying games, but also games like Desperados and [inaudible]. I’ve also played Gothic for quite some time. And, well, more strategy, I guess.”

If you could meet one videogame-character IRL, who would it be and what would you do together?

“That’s quite a difficult question! (thinks) Maybe going into some sort of Video Game Hell with Kate O’Hara from Desperados… I know, quite a droll answer.”

What’s your favourite videogame-antagonist?

“A really great antagonist? Oooh, I’ll have to think of something… I can’t name one right now but I really like it when you’re able to understand an antagonist’s motives even when you’re disliking his or her methods.”

Okay, so last question: If you were a superhero, what would your hero name and quirk be?

“Oh, man, if I were a superhero, I wouldn’t be here. No, (laughs) I’d probably just wait somewhere for something to happen and then jump into the action heroicly to save the day. Just kidding. (thinks)

Well, as for a quirk, I couldn’t give a real answer right now…maybe something with math and system engineering! I know, it’s really concrete for a theoretical answer…”

Reshaping the world…

“Exactly, just having intuitive knowledge about different systems and maybe the ability to manipulate them…”

Using an Apple Macbook (laughs)

“Nope, not that. I’m not an Apple user!”

Well, this hero remains unknown to the world since he always vanishes and clears the data cache and browser history of your minds! Nobody knows who he is! I guess that’s why I don’t have an answer to the hero-name-part of this question… That must be it!

Well, Through the Darkest of Times was really fun to play as I love managing resources, planning out missions and all that stuff. I kind of felt reminded of games like Beholder and Do Not Feed The Monkeys as there’re multiple ways of doing things here and as you’re able to play the game differently, every time you start it.

There’s also a rogue-like-aspects to it, as your character and crew always get randomly generated and as there always are different events mixed into the actual historical events that make the experience unique every time you start a campagne. Lovely!

Another German Dev I found was Matthias Nikutta from Backwoods Entertainment, the studio behind Resort, an atmospheric mystery-thriller-game where you’re interviewing people refusing to leave the former health resort, Larburnum Creek, as the writer Laura Tanner before a comet is threatening to destroy the whole area! “But there’s something rotten at the heart of this picturesque town. A story exploration game between dreams and reality.”

Of course, there’s a reason why I asked him the questions in german: I was lazy and stupid, which is why I now, again, have to translate the answers into English without losing the meaning (I’ll try my best!). I hope you don’t mind. The other interviews all are in English, though!

What was the most exciting part about developing this game?

“We’re still in development, at an early stage as well. It’s the first time that we’re showing the game anywhere in public. We’ve been working on this project for about a year now. We’ve developed a prototype before that but weren’t satisfied with that one, so we just threw it all away and started working on this prototype here. What you’re able to see is only about two to three months old, though.”

What was your biggest inspiration for this title?

“Story-wise, we’ve been inspired by a lot of tv-shows like Twin Peaks, X-Files, Fargo, and mystery-stories like that, and style-wise, we were inspired by games like Firewatch, Dead Static Drive, a bit of Kentucky Road Zero, and a lot of those 60s/70s nature park/resort posters. We used the latter for fictive world-building of some places and the setting in the game, which you can see here on these postcards and posters.”

Okay, so, Uhm, now I’m asking a few weird questions since I am no professional… If you were a super-hero, what would your hero name and your quirk be?

“My her name would be….. Matmoiselle and.. my quirk would be teleportation! That’d be practical.”

And Matmaiselle..?

“That’s my stage name.” (laughs)

Dr Pepper is the best soft-drink, right?

“Nope, not at all. I don’t like Dr Pepper at all, the name is cool but the taste is not. Sorry.”

Awww… 😦

If you could meet one videogame-character from any game in our world here to do something together for one day, who would it be and what would you do together?

“I really like Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island and […] just relax outside a bit. I like being outside.”

[We laugh about a joke I made that I can’t talk about on here.]

Okay, so what’s your favourite videogame-antagonist?

“My favourite antagonist? Let me think a bit..” (thinks for about 28 seconds) “Maybe Gravelord Nito from Dark Souls. He’s got a very epic character design, and…yeah.”

To round it all up, I really enjoyed talking to these devs. I should’ve known but I didn’t, at all, know that there’d be this many german devs. There were also ByteRockers’ Games who presented their homage to Portal, Gravity Lane 981, a game where you solve puzzles with a hamster-powered portal-gun that also is able to control gravity and do other things. Really interesting, but only in development for about four months now. Still looked really cool.

Since the devs looked quite busy, I ended up not interviewing them. But I’d be glad to check out their game once it’s out, since I’m a huge Portal-fan!

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed these two interviews! Feel free to leave some feedback and always remember:

If you’re 50 Gold short, destroy the enemy nexus! – LoL

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.