Humble Choice: September 2021
Perhaps I’m being unreasonably hard on PGA Tour 2K21 — maybe this is really your bag and the Sim Golf genre is one you just can’t get enough of. It’s possible. And if so- boy is this a Choice Bundle for you! Maybe? Probably if you’re in that bucket you already own the game, right?
Anyway, fortunately for us there are a number of pretty good smaller titles in this bundle. The only thing that might mar your desire for September’s Humble Choice bundle otherwise is the fact that a good number of these are also available through Xbox Gamepass. If you have that, you might want to take a look at what’s available there before deciding whether or not to pause this month.
For my money, I’m going to get this month’s pack — Xbox Gamepass doesn’t keep games in its catalogue forever, plus I like having my own copy (insofar as anyone does with digital libraries these days) anyway.
As always, I’ll attempt to rank the games in order of preference, starting with my most preferred and ending with my least preferred. Where I own a game already, I will pretend for the purposes of this list that I don’t.
My Picks for September 2021’s Humble Choice
Truth be told — I’ve had the opportunity to play Narita Boy already. It is on the Xbox Gamepass. It also doesn’t even cost very much. Despite the fact that I’ve had these opportunities and let them slip by, I’m really excited to get my own copy and give it a try. Clearly, the big headline draw is the aesthetic. But it’s worth noting that despite the retro-stylised appearance of the game, it isn’t attempting to recapture retro gameplay. It is a modernised Metroidvania experience wrapped up inside.
If you need further convincing still, take a squiz at Skill-ups more in-depth review.
As for everything else…
|Rank||Game||Genre(s) / Notes|
|1||Narita Boy||Metroidvania, Retro Pixel Artstyle|
|2||Heaven’s Vault||Interactive Story, Puzzle|
|3||Neon Abyss||Roguelite, Sidescroller|
|4||Atomicrops||Stardew Valley after a few dozen nukes|
|5||West of Dead||Isometric Action-Adventure, Procedural Level Generation|
|6||Orwell: Ignorance is Strength||Adventure / Govt. Simulation – First game is considered the better of the two.|
|7||Fort Triumph||Turn-Based Strategy (refers to HoMM & XCOM as inspirations)|
|8||Not for Broadcast||TV Broadcast and Propaganda sim — Early Access, but seems to be pretty well received, so far!|
|9||Röki||Adventure / Puzzle, make friends with monsters and romp through Nordic folklore.|
|10||PGA Tour 2K21||Golf Sim. … Yup.|
|11||FRAMED Collection||Puzzle, move and reorient images|
|12||Swag and Sorcery||RPG Heroes and Village Management|
It’s incredibly disappointing to have to place Swag and Sorcery so low; it’s a genre I love – RPG hero and village management – from the developer of Graveyard Keeper. Graveyard Keeper certainly had its grindy moments but all in all, was a fantastic game to play. Swag and Sorcery by all accounts take the grind elements to the extreme, largely in the way of repetitive click-based ‘gameplay’ reminiscent of a mobile title. Overall it holds a ‘Mixed’ 53% rating on Steam as I write this — but this may yet drop further as Recent Reviews are ‘Mostly Negative’ at 33% positive. Oof.
Even so, I didn’t quite have the heart to strike it down with an italic marking. Given that Humble Choice (at least for Classic and Premium subscribers) is still ‘Humble All-The-Things’ with no choice necessary, I’ll redeem it and maybe even give it a try to see for myself if it’s really as bad as the reviews are suggesting.
Otherwise this time around, I’m fairly comfortable with the relative ranking of things to my tastes. Depending on mood, West of Dead could potentially move up above Atomicrops and maybe Neon Abyss is worthy of the bold treatment too.
What I will say though is that it seems Humble is struggling more and more to get worthwhile AAA titles to headline these bundles. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve had one. Unless of course, you enjoy the whole Golf Sim thing, then congrats! ;)