Hmmmm.

August 2020’s bundle is… Not great. If not for the top two picks (for me) of Vampyr and Wargroove there is no doubt I would have paused this month.

But that’s jumping ahead a little perhaps! Not too much else to say though — so let’s get to it. As always, my list assumes a priority order of picks (from most wanted to least) and pretends I don’t own any of the games on the list. … Although I think for perhaps the first time, this time I don’t have to pretend. I really don’t own a single one of these titles already. Huh.

Edit: Actually, as it turns out for Classic subscribers like myself (or for current Premium subscribers) there isn’t really any need to pick this month. We just get everything. (Thanks Magi for the pick-up!)

I wonder if this is in acknowledgement of the lower quality and value of the game bundle this month?

In any case… The post as it stands follows below!

My Picks for August 2020’s Humble Choice

1) Vampyr

Official Description: London, 1918. You are newly-turned Vampyr Dr. Jonathan Reid. As a doctor, you must find a cure to save the city’s flu-ravaged citizens. As a Vampyr, you are cursed to feed on those you vowed to heal.

Vampyr is one I’ve been meaning to try for quite some time. I never quite felt confident enough in it to pull the trigger on purchase at its full price. It was also in the Xbox Gamepass for a while, but I missed my opportunity there. And again more recently when it was 70% off on Steam. I had it in my cart, but I was still deciding when the sale ended.

Turns out — for the best!

Looking forward to giving it a go myself and seeing just how rough the combat is and whether or not the story beats can overcome it.

2) Wargroove

Official Description: Take to the battlefield with Wargroove, a strategy game for up to 4 players! Choose your Commander and wage turn-based war on battling factions. Design and share maps, cut-scenes and campaigns with easy-to-use editors and in-depth customization tools!

Wargroove sits on the cusp of being something I would rather play on the Switch, I think.

But pulling it back from the edge are the multiplayer elements — in particular the co-op campaign.

In any case, replete with campaign editor and publishing tools it sounds like a fairly complete package. Now just to find out whether the core combat and building mechanics are solid. The rather positive 85% rating on Steam suggests to me they are likely are, so I’m looking forward to giving it a shot!

3) Little Big Workshop

Official Description: Manage your workers, stations, machines and create awesome stuff as your little big workshop grows into your dream factory!

A factory tycoon game that appears to play out in miniature form atop a sheet of architect’s paper, perhaps?

I go through bouts of loving this style of game. Tycoon / Management style games done well are, in my opinion, the height of the promise of computer gaming.

I don’t know if this one lives up to such lofty heights. But sometimes it’s fun to just find out for yourself. :)

4) Genesis Alpha One

Official Description: Hyperjump into the dark recesses of space with Genesis Alpha One – a roguelike FPS where you must build, maintain and navigate your ship through a galaxy filled with hostile alien and human threats. Explore, create and survive the militarized space race in order to secure humanity’s future.

This might be one of those cases where the reach exceeded ability to execute. But the idea is fantastic.

A cross between a fully-fledged FPS, a colony sim and FTL.

There really is something about genre mashups which just tickles me in all the right ways, but as I noted before — I worry that the execution of this isn’t going to raise to the level of the concept.

5) Hello Neighbour

Official Description: Hello Neighbor is a Stealth Horror Game about sneaking into your neighbor’s house and figuring out what he’s hiding in the basement. Play against an advanced AI that learns from your actions.

I remember being interested in Hello Neighbour’s concept before it came out. But once it finally arrived, it was nigh universally panned. Unsatisfying ‘story’ conclusion. Wonky AI (when it was meant to be a selling point). Bad controls. You name it and people were hitting it.

So it isn’t without a certain degree of surprise then to see this sitting with an 80% ‘Very Positive’ rating on steam. Digging into it a little more, it seems development did continue post launch. There is even a multiplayer title in the franchise now, with a Hello Neighbour 2 in the works to boot.

So I guess now I’ll get to see in a relatively risk-free way how this thing turned out.

6) We Were Here Together

Official Description: As we explore these frozen wastes, misfortune strikes once again. Through the fierce blizzard, a flare lights the sky, followed by a cry for help over the radio – broken, dying… No one else can come to their rescue. Can we make it back – together?

One of the reviews I saw made a comment along the lines of, “Any puzzle game that requires a whiteboard to solve is 10/10 in my book.”

Which should rather quickly tell you if this sort of game would be of interest to you or not.

The final detail which may decide it for you one way or another is that this game is co-op only. There is no option to play through alone. Some puzzles will require you to communicate with your buddy while you separately and remotely operate different elements of the puzzles.

I suspect the whiteboard comment to be hyperbole truth be told — but I am also aware that the general feeling on this entry in the series is that it’s more difficult than the earlier entries. So perhaps not!

7) Call of Cthulhu

Official Description: Private Investigator Pierce is sent to look into the tragic death of the Hawkins family. Plunge into a world of creeping madness and cosmic horror. Cryptic clues, shadowy figures, and pure terror bar your way as you fight to retain your sanity and solve an otherworldly mystery.

Cyanide Studios is one of those game houses that is rather prolific, but never really seems to land any solid hits.

I think the only games I’ve especially liked from them have been the Blood Bowl games. Hmm, and perhaps they did well enough to invalidate my first claim. but even if so — beyond that, it seems to me that their catalogue is large but also of extremely middle of the road in terms of quality.

So while I’m interested in this title — I’m not expecting a great deal and would be incredibly unlikely to have ever picked it up on my own volition.

8) American Fugitive

Official Description: Framed for your father’s murder, you’ll need to do whatever it takes to unveil the real culprit. Tackle thrilling missions for the criminal underworld – just don’t let the cops track you down!

This feels to me as if the dev team behind this lifted Grand Theft Auto 1 or 2 into the modern age, at least graphically.

Perhaps after taking a look at the writing for the official description this isn’t going to surprise you any — but one of the common complaints in the reviews talks to the fact that at the end of it all — nothing really wraps up. There is no closure or clearing your name. It’s just… over.

Still — if the gameplay is good enough, for something like this it could be forgiven. But, er. Another of the complaints I’ve seen a number of times is around the controls.

Still, 75% positive. Worth a look, potentially. Although I was also disappointed to learn there is no multiplayer option whatsoever!

9) Automachef

Official Description: Welcome to Automachef, a resource management puzzler where you design kitchens, program machinery and watch your genius come to life! It’s time to engineer tomorrow’s kitchen, today!

A food Factorio! Or a smorgasbord Satisfactory perhaps.

It’s a production line game.

These scratch quite a different itch than management/tycoon games and at a different time perhaps this would be higher on my priority list. But given I’ve just recently got my hands on Satisfactory — I’m pretty good in this space for the time being.

The Drop Outs

I haven’t picked a #10 this time around. If not for Vampyr and Wargroove I would have, without a doubt, paused this month. There are some others in this bundle I’m going to pick-up since those two are here… But in any event, the three I’m leaving off this time around are: