Humble Choice March 2020 Review – A surprising month with a lot of hidden gems

Hello, I’m Kinglink and it’s time for the Humble Choice March 2020 Review.

It’s another month and while I know some people are already writing this month off due to lack of recognizable names, hold on, let’s look at the games released this month. I’ve actually found a couple of gems in the choices, so let’s get to it.

If you’re a first time viewer, the fast version of the rules is that I play each game for only one hour. The exception this month is that the three games I’ve reviewed previously, My Friend Pedro, Planet Coaster, and Exapunks are in this bundle. I’ll go over each game, talking for about a minute per game and I’ll try to tell you who is going to enjoy each game. At the end I’ll have five games I can recommend and five games I would recommend skipping. With that out of the way let’s just get into the reviews.

Let’s start with My Friend Pedro, the first game I reviewed previously. What do you get when you cross Deadpool with… well, Deadpool. Yeah, this feels like a Deadpool game at times. You dual wield pistols along with other weapons, kill enemies, and the story gets pretty weird at some points.

It’s a great game, and I know people have enjoyed it, but while the game is fun, it’s very short, like 5 hours, and it almost feels like the game runs out of unique ideas by the end. Don’t get me wrong, this was a really solid five-hour game, but it’s set up to be an arcade game, so you’re supposed to speedrun it or master the gameplay to prolong the experience. That’s not a big thing for me.

I will recommend this game to people who like surreal humor, or just want a fun five-hour experience, or love leaderboards, speedrunning and combo systems. I gave this game a 3.5/5 but I also really recognize that it might not be everyone’s favorite game. Still a solid opener.

Planet Coaster, and again a game I’ve already reviewed. This is a theme park simulator similar to Roller Coaster Tycoon. If you like that series, you’re going to love this. This is a modern take on it by people who wanted to make a better version and I think they succeeded.

If you’ve played Planet Zoo or Jurassic World: Evolution, this is made by the same guys, Frontier Developments, and found a way to make it interesting to design theme parks. There are a few rules you’re going to have to learn outside of the game on how to min-max your way to success, but with Workshop support, tons of content, and the ability to ride each ride and coaster, this game is really fun.

I obviously will recommend this game to anyone who likes roller coasters, engineering or designing stuff, anyone who enjoyed Two Point Hospital from a couple of months ago or just likes simulators. I realize this isn’t for everyone, but it’s a huge title and I had a blast playing this one, and could easily slip back in. I’ll be covering Planet Zoo soon as well because I had so much fun with this.

F1 2019. Yes, this is last year’s model and I was ready to tell people how brutally hard this series was since I mostly played back over 5 years ago. I’ll be honest, I was wrong. F1 2019 is welcoming to new players, and it’s great because as a sport, F1 is interesting.

You get everything here, the feeling of speed, a pretty solid physics simulation. It also has adjustable difficulty and seems easy to play with a controller, so you won’t need a full wheel setup. It reminds me of Project Cars more than Dirt Rally 2 in that new players won’t be pushed away from the first moment.

There’s also what seems like a lot of stories, talking to the press, teammates and more. The graphics are good, and it could be a lot of fun. You’re playing the game for the racing but there’s a lot of stuff around the racing as well.

If you’re a fan of F1, a fan of racing, or just want something a little different, check this one out, but I want to stress that this is for hardcore racing fans who want to race F1 cars, there’s nothing else here.

Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. rough name, but this is our first hidden gem of the bundle. Let me just tell you who’s going to like this. This is Final Fantasy Tactics. Period. If you like Final Fantasy Tactics, you’ll love this.

Fell Seal is a Strategy RPG where players level up by using actions in battles, there’s a big bombastic story about succession. At least that’s what it seems to be in the first hour. There’s a ton of gameplay and more. Everything is turn-based, and you have the typical classes of RPGs, though warrior is mercenary here, the black mage is a wizard, you get the idea. Slight name changes.

This is a little weaker in some ways than Final Fantasy Tactics, but it’s a great attempt and while games like Disgaea 5 are my favorite Strategy RPGs, this is closer to Final Fantasy Tactics than other games in the genre.

I mean if you have played Final Fantasy Tactics, you have an opinion on it, go with that. If you haven’t and want to see why people like that game, check this one out.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar. Battle Chasers has one of the worst openings with an exposition dump, just lines of the story about characters you don’t care about. But wait, this is another hidden gem, if you get through that opening, you’ll find an amazing RPG. This is an old school RPG with a lot of great design and interesting choices.

There’s tons to talk about here, exploration areas that allow you to walk around freely in a dungeon, a good solid map system, a great battle system, beautiful graphics, great character, and enemy designs, and an interesting story, outside of the opening minute. The dungeon that I got to at the end of my hour had three different difficulties as well. This was a real shock.

The thing is I had a blast playing this, and it is well crafted and interesting enough that I can imagine it’ll hold my attention. It’s supposed to be around 30 hours or more, so there’s a good length here as well.

As I said, this is a hidden gem of this month’s choice, and it’s the game I’m the most excited to play more of. This is easily recommendable to anyone who enjoys RPGs, especially turn-based RPGs, and worth picking up.

Exapunks Last month’s Humble Choice had Shenzen I/O. I said I loved it, I said it was a programming game and claimed maybe I would be the only one who liked that game. I’m going to have to repeat most of that.

Exapunks is a game released last year from Zachtronics. You program assembly into little EXAs and they execute your program to do tasks. Essentially everything you did in Shenzen I/O you do here but there’s a better graphical representation I think Exapunks is the very best game Zachtronics has ever put out, with Magnum Opus and maybe Infinifactory being the only competition for that.

So this is the same as last month, if you like programming games, if you like Shenzen I/O, if you want something VERY different than other games, or you want a really interesting logic puzzler. Check Exapunks out. I love this game, but I fully admit, it’s probably my guilty pleasure.

Turok… Jesus. This game is ugly. I know this is a port of an N64 game, but there is some very interesting and smart game design here. But this is released in 2016 now 2020 and dear god, what was the idea? They called it a remaster so maybe that’s the idea but then why not make it better?

Everything good in this game is related to the original game design and I’d love to go over the original game after playing this in a future video. But there’s a lot wrong here. You can’t use a controller on any menu, which makes no sense. There are awful jumping puzzles that belong back in 1997, the level design can be a bit shit, and they have said they improved that, and the character model and the enemy models look horrendous almost everything looks pretty bad. Also, you can’t switch ammo types. Why not?

I get that some people demanded a port of Turok and ok, for those people I understand the nostalgia, this isn’t a terrible game, but I also don’t see a reason to play this in 2020 unless you want to give up 20 years of modern advances. I think this game is more welcoming than Project Warlock from last month, but I also think that’s a better game, and I hated that game.

I recommend this game purely for the Turok fans, and that’s why it’s a bad inclusion for a Humble Bundle…. Yet I did have some fun playing it so yeah.

Death’s Gambit. It’s kind of hard to not call this game Dark Souls when the start of the game has you design a soul, so yes. It’s a 2D Dark Souls. I dislike Dark Souls due to the obscene difficulty. Yet I like Death’s Gambit. It’s not too hard, not too easy and a lot of fun.

This is kind of what you would expect from a 2D Dark Souls, there’s a lot of exploration, interesting systems, and solid design here. The art is good, the characters are interesting, tons of items to collect such as equipment, and more. However, there are a couple of glitches from what I saw, but not enough to ruin a fun experience.

The story seemed to be starting strong but it’s mostly told in flashbacks as you die and that’s not the best. Overall this game is similar to Blasphemous and that was a solid game too if you liked that, I recommend you check this out in some format.

Check it out if you like Metroidvanias, or Dark Souls type games, though it probably won’t be too difficult to master from what I saw. Even though I’m not a fan of Dark Souls games, I might come back for this one so consider that.

198X This is … awful. The game starts with a pretty weak beat-em-up level out of Final Fight with infinite continues. If the game was just that I might have said it’s fine though a little weak, but that’s not this game . You get to what seems like a boss, and instead of fighting him you spend no less than 5 minutes listening to the opening cutscene of credits and the character waxing nostalgic about arcade games or the 80s.

This is a storybook with a few levels. This isn’t a Visual novel, because you make no choices with the story, instead, you just hear a poorly told story from the main character with no way to skip. and then eventually get to play a game. I’ve heard this game is about 90 minutes long, and I believe it because I’m already on the last game, but I don’t see myself finishing this outside of maybe getting all the achievements.

The biggest crime is they could have made the levels into actual games and it would have lasted longer and been more interesting even if the games weren’t that good. Instead just as each game gets interesting the game stops. Why? Just why?

Recommended for people who don’t actually want to play a game but instead wax nostalgic about gaming. I want my hour back.

Niffelheim… Ok Someone at Humble has a Viking Fetish. I’m going to say that with complete certainty. This is the fourth or fifth Viking related game in four months of the humble choice depending on how you want to score Warstone. With that being said. I don’t know if I get Niffelheim. I don’t even know in which genre to place it.

It’s probably a survival game with a focus on resources and materials and such, but I don’t know what I was surviving against. There’s a lot of grindy tasks but overall not a very interesting game from what I saw. It wasn’t a terrible game, just kind of dull. Nothing seems to actively play against you and while there is multiplayer, the game allows singleplayer with or without AI, and I played without AI. Maybe that will make it more interesting.

Like I said I don’t think I understand this game. I understand the goal, I read through the tutorial and I’m just not sucked into it.

This game is for survival fans, who want a more chill game, or people who love Vikings. I’m sure there’s a fan base for it, I just don’t understand the game in the first hour.

AI War 2. So a little backstory I hated the AI War Fleet Command. It was micromanagement hell and not that much fun. AI War 2 is a completely different game. Ok it’s not exactly but it’s clear Arcen learned a lot from the previous game and this time around there’s more focus on building fleets, and clearing areas, than necessarily dealing with every ship.

You build a factory, have a fleet command and given time your fleet will be full strength, even if they aren’t on the same planet. It’s nice. There are several quick-start scenarios, the opening ones seem to be pretty easy from the sound of it, and the tutorial makes me think it’s a game I can tackle.

Now hold on, the tutorial took me close to 50 minutes, and it feels like there is tons more to learn and do, so don’t expect to dive headfirst in and become a god. Still, you can learn, grow and get comfortable with this game far faster than in the past.

This is a good choice for 4x fans and people who want to focus on space battles, but the game is more for the strategist than the visceral game player. It’s probably at the bottom of my list this month, but still a worthy inclusion.

Etherborn. What if MC Esher made a puzzle game? That’s kind of the idea behind Etherborn. You’re able to move between floors, walls and even ceilings as long as there are these rounded curves to them. Overall not a bad concept.

There are good levels and designs here, but that’s most of the game, each level has a trick or a concept that it’ll play with. There are two big problems. First, if you make a wrong step sometimes you have to retrace most of the level and that can be frustrating. Second, I was on the final level after an hour. There is a New Game+ that reuses all the levels but this is obscenely short.

It’s a good start for a game but needed a lot more content to be something special. Though if you do like perspective puzzles and games where it’ll bend your mind a bit, this is perfectly fine, just not that strong choice this month.

So that’s twelve games, now with the Humble Choice we get some bonus games, and I’ll go over them a bit quickly here so players know what to expect.

The first is a game called Space Routine and it’s physics-based look at the life of the Jetsons, where you have to handle a bunch of meters similar to how the Sims works. The problem is this game moves WAY too fast, and the wacky physics doesn’t work well. Having to play as three characters plus a baby is frustrating especially when the game doesn’t have any AI for you to use.

There’s also the fact Space Routine wants you to keep everyone in the house to keep your family level high. So realize leaving the house for work, or school hurts your family levels. This is just an overly complicated system and needs a lot more work. It’s a shame because the Sims was fun at one point, and this could have worked, but it’s just not there yet.

You know… Some Youtubers are going to show the game, overact, and make the game look SOOO hilarious. But it’s not, it feels like this is a work in progress someone is showing off, not a finished game, and as a finished game, I spent under 20 minutes before moving on. It’s just not enjoyable. Not a huge negative, it is thrown in for free, but also one of the weakest of the month.

The other bonus game is a demo called One Step from Eden. This is a combination of Slay the Spire, and Megaman .EXE’s battle system. It’s pretty inventive, and the concept is really solid, though I do think the game moves way too fast. If they slowed it down by about half, I think it would have been more entertaining and it’s only a demo so once you hit the mini-boss at the end of the map, the game will end.

That being said, the concept and execution are really solid, and while I think the UI could be a little more fleshed out, I did enjoy this one. The game is coming out on March 26th, so if you want an early peek, it’s free with a Humble Choice purchase. It’s good, not great, but a fun taster, and worth checking out.

So that’s the Humble Choice like I mentioned before, we’ll do the best and worst of the month so if you buy 3 you know which three you should get, and if you have to skip two or three of them, well hopefully I can help you with that as well.

Starting with the worst.

Number 5. Niffelheim, I just don’t get it. I’m sure some people will like it, I’m sure there’s a depth to the game that comes up after the first hour, but I’m so lukewarm on this, I’ll put it as number 5. I’m indifferent on this one, I don’t hate it.

Number 4. AI War 2 Listen if you’re a fan of AI War, understand I do like AI War 2, but there are 12 games, and I think this month has a lot of solid content. AI War though is a really hard game to get into, it’s a 4x without a real story, but it does have interesting combat. It’s just not enough to be recommended over 7 other games to the general public.

Number 3. Etherborn. It’s here because it’s short. I enjoyed my hour with Etherborn. Yet I’m almost done with it in an hour, which is a big problem. I think it’s a solid game, but there are, again, 8 other games that I think are better. It’s easily skippable.

Number 2. Turok. Listen, Turok seems like it would be an impressive game in 1997. But it’s no longer 1997, it’s 2020, and this feels extremely dated. Doom 2016, versus Turok, you get the idea. The thing is, I did have some fun with this, but not enough to recommend this to anyone other than someone who already would own this. Sorry, Turok.

And Number 1. Yeah, there’s only one game I hated this month. Still, I have to name names, and it shouldn’t be a surprise.. 198X. It’s too short, too unplayable, and too weak to be recommended. It’s just not good, sorry to the devs, but this one is really weak. I used to visit arcade when I was young in the 80s and while I have nostalgia, you somehow didn’t trigger that for me. Oh well.

So that’s the Worst, with that said, it’s time to switch gears and talk about the best. I’m really happy this month, there were 10 out of the 12 games that could have been on this list, and I avoided my personal bias for EXAPUNKS understanding that people probably won’t love that game, and instead gave you the games I think the most people will enjoy.

Starting with Number 5. Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. People love Final Fantasy Tactics, I get it, and you know, that’s what you get from Fell Seal. It’s worth checking out especially if you’re getting more than three games. It doesn’t hurt that there isn’t a version of Final Fantasy Tactics on PC, so this is a great substitute. PS: Square, fix that.

Number 4. Death’s Gambit. I liked this game and I didn’t think I would. It’s fun, adventure Metroidvania Dark Souls, game. One thing I didn’t mention before, is when you die you lose what is essentially Estus Flask charges instead of your souls, it’s different.

Number 3. Battle Chasers: Nightwar. I love RPGs like a lot of people and I want to play more of this one. It’s a good length, good gameplay, and my buddy who loves RPGs said he picked this one up and had a great time with it. He’s pretty harsh on RPGs so that’s extremely high praise.

Number 2. Planet Coaster. This might not be everyone’s favorite game, but it’s a fun one, you get to build coasters, you get to ride them, and get the feeling of running an amusement park or Disneyland. It’s entertaining and even if you don’t want to design coasters, the Steam Workshop has you covered.

Finally, Number 1. My Friend Pedro, it’s short, there could be more content, but it’s also extremely inventive and fun, and there’s a ton of great moments in the game. I have to give it props for being so unique in an industry that doesn’t innovate that much.

I left off F1 and Exapunks from both of these lists, but they’re both good games. Though both of them could be skipped. It depends on what you’re looking for.

This month has been an absolute joy to cover. I was having a good time with 11 out of 12 of these games at some level, and the choices for the worst was harder than ever. So I can fully recommend this month, and I know some people are down on this as they don’t know the titles, but I can tell you, give some of these games a shot, there are some real hidden gems here.

With that said, it’s time for me to go. If you enjoyed this video consider subscribing, I appreciate it and ring that bell for notifications. Feel free to disagree with me on anything down in the comments.

I’ll be popping up four videos for you to check out. I did a monthly review of games I’ve played recently in the same format as this, just fast bite-sized reviews. I also have video reviews of Exapunks, My Friend Pedro, and Planet Coaster, so if you want to hear more about any of those, click the links.

Until then I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.