Indies

September 2018 Humble Monthly Review

Another month, another Humble Monthly.  Let’s see what games I’ll be able to dive into this month!  I will be giving a general first impression based on the first few minutes of the game, as well as the likelihood that I’ll continue to play the game as time goes on.  There’s a lot of games to cover, so let’s get started!

ETHEREAL

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Humble Original Title

ETHEREAL is an abstract puzzle game that is really difficult to summarize.  The player controls a circular blob on screen, and it can only move horizontally across the plane unless there is a wall that the blob can warp through.  The goal is to press certain buttons and ultimately get to the end of the level and warp to a new maze-like series of blocks to navigate through.  I do tend to love puzzle games, but this one felt a little too open-ended and strange for my tastes.  While the art style is actually quite nice, I don’t envision myself coming back to this one anytime soon.

 

Battle Chef Brigade

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Release Date:  November 20, 2017

Price:  $19.99

Match-three puzzle games are something of a guilty pleasure of mine, so Battle Chef Brigade is a great pick for me.  This game combines side-scrolling action fighting with match-3 puzzling to create an interesting game about a cooking competition.  Gathering ingredients and cooking them up under a time limit to make a better dish than my opponent got my heart pumping, and I loved every second of it.  There’s also a cute story at the center of the game about a young woman who wants to become a master chef, and the characters I have met so far make me really intrigued to keep playing and see where the story goes from here.

 

Darksiders II:  Deathinitive Edition

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Release Date:  November 5, 2015

Price:  $29.99

I’m behind on the Darksiders franchise, as I haven’t even played the first game, so I tried to keep my time in this game brief, so as not to spoil myself for the series.  The first thing I want to say is that the keyboard and mouse controls are absolutely awful.  O opens the inventory, getting my horse to sprint is the Alt key, and there are some menus where I can’t click on options with my mouse and have to navigate exclusively using WASD and the Spacebar.  This isn’t a big deal because I have a controller and can likely rebind the keyboard controls if I’m dedicated enough, but it’s kind of irritating that bad port controls still exist these days, and that they show up in my monthly bundles.  Apart from that, the game’s combat is really fun and will tide me over until Kingdom Hearts III comes out, and it’s a very pretty game, as well.  I’ll play the first game before this, but I plan on tackling this series ahead of the release of the third game.

 

Figment

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Release Date:  September 22, 2017

Price:  $19.99

Figment is what happens when the item-collection puzzles of point-and-click games combine forces with the action combat of Bastion, and it feels great.  The player controls Dusty through a story that takes place inside a person’s mind.  There has been a sudden increase in scary monsters appearing inside the mind, and Dusty’s job is to determine why and put a stop to this event.  The puzzles are fairly basic so far, and the combat is functional, though I wouldn’t say it’s anything special.  The art style and music, however, are just spot-on and for that alone, I want to play more.

 

Little Nightmares

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Release Date:  April 27, 2017

Price:  $19.99

I am a huge baby when it comes to horror titles, and Little Nightmares is no exception.  My playtime with this was brief because I got scared almost immediately by the harrowing atmosphere.  Still, I’ve had my eye on this game since long before its release, but was worried I was too much of a wimp to play it.  The game’s art style and 2.5D camera angle reminds me of a more grotesque LittleBigPlanet, and I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for that series.  Ultimately, I can probably muster up the courage to play this game eventually if I get someone to sit down with me and keep me from crying.

 

Sniper Elite 4

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Release Date:  February 13, 2017

Price:  $59.99

The title of Sniper Elite 4 pretty much sells the game.  It’s a sniping title set in World War II, so the game involves lots of gun-play and stealth.  Personally, I rarely like stealth in my games and can give or take using guns as my weapon of choice, so this really wasn’t the title for me.  Still, I played a little bit in the firing range and some of the story campaign, and everything feels good.  The stealth is fun and successfully sniping gives that perfect shot of adrenaline from pulling a tricky move off.  It’s unlikely I’ll ever play this again, but this is more because of my own disinterest in the game more than a testament to its quality.

 

Staxel

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Release Date:  January 23, 2018 (Early Access)

Price:  $19.99

Staxel is a farming simulator with a voxel-based art style, similar to games like Minecraft.  When I first found out about this game, I immediately wanted it because I absolutely love farming simulators, so getting this game in the monthly bundle was really exciting.  My experience starting the game, however, wasn’t fantastic.  The tutorial is bare-bones at best, and left me without any knowledge of how to actually do anything in my game or how to progress further.  The UI elements also leave much to be desired, and menus are cumbersome to use, which is an issue in a game that requires a lot of crafting.  Honestly, I want to love this game and will probably continue with it, but not until I’ve run out of interesting things to do in my Stardew Valley playthrough.

 

Tales of Berseria

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Release Date:  January 26, 2017

Price:  $49.99

I’ve actually played about ten hours of Tales of Berseria so far, since it was one of the early unlock titles for this bundle.  Since I’ve played more of it, I clearly love it.  This is a massive JRPG, and as someone who has never tackled the Tales series, this feels like a good entry point.  The action-oriented combat feels smooth and responsive, the characters have a lot of depth to them, and the story is interesting enough to keep me going back.  The only concern with a JRPG like this is whether the game will get stale over sixty or more hours played, but I’m sure I will continue and see how I enjoy it.

 

Zombie Night Terror

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Release Date:   July 20, 2016

Price:  $12.99

When I first saw Zombie Night Terror in the bundle, I was scared it would be a generic zombie-themed horror game.  I have never been so happy to be wrong, because this game is a ton of fun.  Yes, this game is still zombie-themed, so for anyone who is totally over the zombie obsession pop culture has, this may not be a great choice.  For everyone else, however, this game plays like a cross between Plague Inc. and Lemmings.  The player is given a set of syringes and other tools to infect the population with the zombie virus.  From there, the zombies can wreak havoc, with the player able to give basic guidance, such as which doors to break down and whether the horde should go up the stairs or pass by them.  This is a great refresher for the otherwise stale zombie game genre, and I can’t wait to play more later.

 

Final Thoughts

The early unlocks for this bundle were great, with Staxel and Tales of Berseria both showing promise, and this bundle just continued to deliver.  Other than a weak original title and my lack of interest in Sniper Elite 4, I intend to put some more hours into every game I got this month.  Ultimately, this may be one of the strongest bundles ever for my personal interests.

Next month, the early unlock is Overwatch, which I bought on release and don’t even enjoy a whole lot.  I passed the key to a friend so maybe we can play some together, but overall, this feels like an odd early unlock choice.  Everyone who has interest in Overwatch has probably long since bought the game, so I’m not sure who this bundle is marketing to with this inclusion.  Still, in the history of my time with the monthly bundles, I’ve only had one bundle I didn’t have interest in a single game from, so I’m hopeful there will be some inclusions I enjoy when the full bundle drops next month.

Let me know what your thoughts on this bundle are!

Note:  This post is imported from a prior blog, HannieBee Games.

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