Humble Monthly: September 2019

Entering around round of Asheron’s Call mania, there’s a passing fair chance I’ll stop being tempted by every new shiny that passes my way. For a little while at least. Although on reflection, I have actually been fairly good at not impulse purchasing as much stuff as I might normally of late. The last thing I bought was Remnant: From the Ashes and before that… I don’t even know, but it’s been a while!1

Anywho — August’s headline titles are now here, Squad and Save the Spire. Squad I’ll be keeping for myself, but Save the Spire I already own so I can gift the copy to my son. :)

As for next headliner for October?

October Headline Title

Battletech

Recent reviews put the title at ‘Mixed’ on Steam — from people upset about bugs still existing a year post launch, to tabletop players unhappy with some of the translated elements. It probably also doesn’t help that the DLC has been particularly well received, either.

I kickstarted Battletech on the strength of the devs work on the Shadowrun RPGs and for my part I have no regrets. As someone not intimately familiar with the Battletech TTRPG, I found this variant to still offer a depth of customisation and tactics in play. After the initial weeks I never ran into any further crashes or gamestopper bugs — and I’ve picked this up to play a few times since it came out.

Perhaps best of all, it is incredibly moddable with unofficial expansions and total game overhauls being released. So if you haven’t picked this up yet and turn based tactics games fit within your wheelhouse then this is an easy recommend within the context of the Humble Monthly, even if you end up liking nothing else in the bundle.

But that’s probably a good thing — given it is the sole revealed headliner at this stage!

Revealed Titles

For a wonder, I only own one of these already — Distance. Distance might actually have been my first early access style purchase. If it isn’t, it’s right back there. As to what it is? Well… ‘Stunt Racer’ only begins to explain it. I mean… Your car can fly. But layer on top of that too an actually interesting story reminiscent of Tron, as you race deeper into the core of a corrupted system with weirder and weirder artifacts of this corruption appearing as you go.

At times it borders on the feeling of a horror (although there is nothing particularly scary about it — maybe better to say it is good at creating a sense of tension in both story and gameplay).

Of the others, I’d be most interested in trying out Mothergunship. It’s an FPS-roguelike basically, with the gimmick of the game being the crafting of the most preposterous multibarrel weapons you can imagine.

“Don’t worry recruit, sometimes life just takes a few tries.” xD

God’s Trigger could potentially be interesting too — it’s a top down ARPG style thing, where the story seems at least at surface level copied inspired by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens. You play as an angel and a demon out to stop the apocalypse by ending the four horsemen. (Who are bikers.) … Yep.

That aside, it does look like a potential spot of fun — but I just don’t think it’ll bust high enough up the list of things I want to play on the backlog to see the light of day any time soon.

Humble Monthly: August 2019

The revealed titles were my last bastion of hope for value out of the August bundle. As noted last month I already owned both of the headliners — Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Surviving Mars. This was a bit worrying, given it has been some time now since the revealed titles provided anything I’d truly wanted.

I noted back in May that a large part of the value of Humble Monthly to me is the mini-Christmas effect it delivers, of opening a box of goodies and finding those things you had secretly — or perhaps not so secretly — been wishing for.

It had been a while since Humble Monthly had delivered that from the Revealed Titles, and was holding on as an active subscription by the power of the headliners alone.

At last, the trend of opening a present containing only underwear and socks has been busted. A small squee of excitement may even have been heard from my general vicinity. And better still, the headline titles for next month ain’t too bad either!

So let’s start with those.

September Headline Titles

Squad

Squad rates very well on Steam, and has been seeing a constant stream of fairly significant updates since it first made an appearance back in 2015. It’s been in my core gaming group’s ‘Will we, won’t we?’ list for quite some time.

Looks like ‘Will we’ wins, thanks to next month’s bundle!

If you haven’t crossed paths with Squad yet, it’s a military shooter that aims to fall somewhere in the middle of the difficulty/complexity curve of say, Call of Duty and ARMA. Conceptually this sounds an awesome niche to try carve out in the market, so I’m curious to see how well it achieves this and which end of the complexity spectrum it leans toward.

Slay the Spire

Deckbuilder Card Game meets Roguelike in some mutant lovechild of the two. If X-MEN taught us anything though, it’s that not all mutants are bad.

And this one certainly isn’t, although I will admit that the trailer might make it difficult to tell. It has the coveted ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating on Steam, and for good reason. Sadly for me, I bought this in the last Steam sale. (Although after my initial purchase post, so it isn’t included in that list.)

But it does put me in position to say this thing is fantastic. It also recently came out on Switch which would be the perfect platform for this. The Humble Monthly pack will of course provide it for PC, but at the very least it might give you a taster to see whether the Switch version investment is worth it for you.

Revealed Titles

Ever wished your Metroidvania game had a little more… pinball in it? Wait, what do you mean ‘No’? Well, hopefully now that you’re thinking about it you can’t imagine anything better.1

Yoku’s Island express is this, and it looks fantastic. I’ve been close to pulling the trigger on purchasing it multiple times but has been exactly the sort of title I expected to eventually show up in the Humble Monthly. And here we are!

It’s another that I could see appreciating a lot on the Switch, actually. And if that’s you too — it is also out on that platform.

The others are of less interest to me, and less likely to see play time.

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam might though. It is from the Red Orchestra team, and sports 64 player online battles. It came out in 2017 though, so I’d have to take a squiz and see if there are any local and populated servers still.

The Adventure Pals and Almost There are both platformers. Adventure Pals wears its reference shamelessly on its sleeve across name, visual style and content, but for all that looks potentially the more appealing of the two. Almost There bills itself as a 100% dexterity based platformer, letting you have almost complete control over even aerial movement. It’s a low-fi but modern effects visual style which puts me in a mind of Geometry Dash a little.

Swords and Soldiers II is… well… It’s a sidescrolling RTS.

None of which the trailer adequately answered for me. So I had to turn to a let’s play.

Turns out this was originally on the Wii-u and didn’t garner a lot of attention there. More importantly from a gameplay perspective, RTS might well be overselling it. It appears that you cast skills and summon units essentially from a hotbar setup.

To the Humble Monthly Steam category graveyard, with ye then! ;D