Oops. I.. uh.. sort of forgot to make a decision on whether or not to pause last month’s bundle. So that decision as made for me, and I own the bundle.

Turns out… That may not have been the worst thing ever. The ‘bonus game’ was Boundless. A sort of MMO-minecraft, that Jeromai was recently writing about. I haven’t really made much of a point of calling out the ‘bonus games’ to date, as they’ve often been smaller middle to lower tier games. I wouldn’t quite rate this as a headliner perhaps but it does straddle that line.

All to say — ultimately I’m glad I went with last month’s bundle despite my reservation. If the bonus games keep being of this quality or better, they will definitely become a hook similar to the mystery element of the earlier Humble Monthly construct.

In any case… July’s bundle? Let’s take a look. And as always — my list pretends I don’t own any of the games in the bundle and then ranks in order of descending preference.

My Picks for July 2020’s Humble Choice

1) Age of Wonders: Planetfall (Deluxe Edition)

Official Description: Age of Wonders: Planetfall is the new strategy game from Triumph Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed Age of Wonders series, bringing all the exciting tactical turn-based combat and in-depth empire building of its predecessors to space in an all-new, sci-fi setting.

With how much I loved Age of Wonders III (and the earlier entries too, perhaps none so much as the original where heroes could become rampaging forces of doom and destruction) its a little surprising I didn’t end up spending more time with this one. With each expansion that comes out (two so far) I edge a little closer to giving it another go. It’s inevitable that I will, it’s just a matter of when. :)

2) Void Bastards

Official Description: Inspired by BioShock and System Shock 2, Void Bastards is a revolutionary new strategy-shooter that will test your wits as well as exercise your aim. Can you lead the misfit prisoners of the Void Ark through the derelict spaceships and myriad dangers of the Sargasso Nebula?

I could be tempted to buy the bundle early for access to this. It has a strong pedigree and that mix of tactics and shooter play is something with my name all over it. Buuuut… Being published by Humble Games, I also knew it was just a matter of time before a bundle included it. ;)

3) Railway Empire

Official Description: In Railway Empire, you will create an elaborate and wide-ranging rail network, purchase over 40 different trains modelled in extraordinary detail, and buy or build railway stations, maintenance buildings, factories and tourist attractions to keep your travel network ahead of the competition.

After my stint with Transport Fever and the semi-disappointment of Transport Fever 2 I went on the prowl for other games from the genre that might be of interest.

This one rode fairly high in my wishlist for quite some time — really the only thing that held me back was the (likely accurate) concern that I was, for the moment at least, fairly well over my high with the transport/logistics tycoon genre and it was time to put it aside for a little break.

4) Sigma Theory: Global Cold War

Official Description: A Turn-based Strategy game in a futuristic global cold war from the award-winning creators of Out There. Recruit a squad of special agents and run your intel agency to secure the control of the singularity.

Sigma Theory lists a wide array of inspirations — each of which I like. I mean, sure… That’s the very purpose of listing inspirations in your marketing material.

And if I was looking to buy this off my own steam I’d need a little more. But given will have Sigma Theory as an option from the bundle anywho… Well; take a look for yourself.

Games that inspired us: XCom, Phantom Doctrine, Plague Inc, Pandemic (board game), Rocket Ranger, Tropico, Armello, Civilization, Curious Expedition and so much more

5) Beat Hazard 2

Official Description: Experience your music collection as never before with this intense music driven arcade shooter. Each of your songs will have its own unique ebb and flow based on the music.

A game in the genre started (I believe) by AudioSurf waaaay back in 2008. I still have AudioSurf 2 sitting in my wishlist which I added shortly after it came out all the way back in 2015.

I think mostly, I’ve loved the concept more than the actual gameplay behind them. But cor- look at it! SO PURTY. Also it has a means of utilising music played from audio services such as Spotify and YouTube which immediately makes it more useful to me than the mp3 driven solutions of old.

6) Verlet Swing

Official Description: Verlet Swing brings you energetic swinging in a world that would be best described as a fever dream. Swing fast, don’t crash and reach the goal as fast as possible!

This looks more like what I was expecting out of last month’s included Remnants of Naezith. … Well; sort of. It’s 3D. And the world generation looks like something I’d expect out of a Worms game.

But the grapple/tether looks aimable. Whereas in Naezith the grapple fires at a fixed angle. You ‘aim’ only insofar as you position yourself and time when to fire it.

7) Earthlock

Official Description: Earthlock is an indie developed, adventure RPG inspired by the classic 3D RPGs of the late 90’s, with a fresh take on turn based combat and character progression.

Earthlock was actually a title I kickstarted way back in the day. When it came out though… It was… not good.

Since then, it has apparently been reworked.

I haven’t given it another try since — but it’s enough to win the game a spot on my list rather than a guaranteed position in the drop-outs.

8) Basingstoke

Official Description: Basingstoke is a tense rogue-like that mixes stealth and arcade action. Explore the smouldering ruins of Basingstoke, a world of reanimated undead and ferocious alien monsters. Scavenge as you go, crafting equipment to help you in your mission: escape Basingstoke!

This looks like one of those poor games that never found an audience. It came out April 2018 and has a mere 147 reviews.

But… It actually looks OK. At least for a short jaunt. There are a few reviews saying it loses its lustre fairly quickly, with the procedural generation not doing enough to adjust the feel of how every level plays.

9) Don’t Escape: 4 Days to Survive

Official Description: Survive through four days at the end of the world in this post-apocalyptic point-and-click thriller where your choices could keep you alive… or not.

A cross of a classic point-and-click adventure game and a survival game?

Well… OK.

I’m pretty well ‘done’ on the survival game genre, but mix it with a P&C and I will at least listen.

10) Battlestar Galactica Deadlock

Official Description: In Battlestar Galactica Deadlock™ you’ll take command of the Colonial Fleet in defense of the Twelve Colonies during the First Cylon War. Lead many different types of ships in this 3D tactical game. Every decision counts, your strategy will be vital – can you ensure mankind’s survival?

I have been quite torn on where to place this. My bias against movie/TV tie-in games might be showing here. This especially flares up when I loved the source material.

But… It looks like there has been fairly consistent effort put into Deadlock over the years. Granted, much of it in the form of chargeable DLC, but hey. Also some free feature patches here and there.

So whether or not this should be higher on the list, I’ll certainly make sure it makes it into my 10 picks for the months so I can give it a look.

Which means…

The Drop Outs

…for me this month are:

Although… Yuppie Psycho has reviewed very well. I might have to consider it in place of Basingstoke. Possibly. Basingstoke while not reviewing nearly as well is more in-line with the style of game I typically prefer.

There’s time yet. I’ll give it some thought.