Humble Choice May 2020 Review Strategy games, Simulations games, and Platformers

Hello, I am Kinglink, and welcome to the Humble Choice May 2020 review.

You know last month’s games must have been pretty good, I barely left the house in April. In all seriousness, I did put in a ton of time into Hitman, so I’m excited to see if there’s another winner this month.

For new viewers, I play each game for 1 hour, give my opinions, rank the best and worst, and talk about the bundle as a whole. I am also using chapters so if you don’t want to hear about a specific game, check the timeline and the next game’s chapter should be marked. We do have 15 games to talk about, including the surprise of last month, so let’s get to it with a roar.

Jurassic World Evolution. This was made by Frontier Developments, which is the same developer who made Planet Coaster from two months ago, and Planet Zoo, on which I have done a video, I’ll link it at the end.

The thing is, don’t expect either of those games, this one is very different. Rather than directly building a park, it seems more story-based, or micromanagement based. You’re working with three divisions, Science, Entertainment, and Security and are balancing their needs or the requests they have. This idea is good, but there’s not much building of the park, instead, the focus is more on the animals themselves.

I get that, it’s dinosaurs, but if they had made Planet Zoo with dinosaurs I would have been happier. In Jurassic World Evolution you instead have to unlock a lot of dinosaurs and balance that with running a park. I have only seen four dinosaurs in the first hour and dealt a lot of requests. Money is also a major factor here, and, without a speed setting, I was waiting around for about ten minutes just to get more funds so I could click more buttons. There are very limited tutorials as well, which could be better.

So if you can’t hear it, I’m not sold on Jurassic World Evolution, but I’m not hating on it just yet. It’s a different game and I want to dive deeper. This is at least a 20-hour game if not more, and there are two interesting expansions. The voice acting is good, though some of the lines are groan-worthy, and some are pretty funny as well.

I’m going to play more eventually, but this game is what it says on the tin. It’s Jurassic World Evolution. If you like dinosaurs, you are going to have a good time here, but if you don’t like dinosaurs, I don’t think it is going to be the right game for you. I give it a hesitant nod.

Xcom2. quickly, I know the problem with this game and others , I’ll speak about it in the conclusion. This is Xcom 2, and it is a massive game focused on the fight against an alien occupation force.

The video on screen is from a later area in the game with a more advanced group of enemies, but I wanted to show how great this game looks when you’ve promoted your characters. I’ve played this game previously for 50 hours or so, never reviewed it but I liked this one, I found it to be an interesting upgrade from XCOM.

It’s not the same game though. XCOM 2 pushes a more aggressive playstyle and turtling for too long will lose many missions. There are interesting additions of stealth, and there’s also an imbalance where the player constantly feels like he’s punching upwards. You are not the elite commander here, you’re the insurgent fighting against the evil oppressor, and it works. The story is different, it feels like the first game ends differently than a win in XCOM 2’s timeline, but XCOM 2 is everything players should want from a sequel, with a few choices that can be discussed in a longer review.

Overall though if you’re a fan of strategic or tactical games, there’s been a few already from humble like Mutant Year Zero, this is the better version. XCOM is one of the best tactical games, and if you think you might like this, pick it up. It’s a great upgrade from the first game, Xcom 2 is everything you’ll want from a sequel.

Rise of Industry. Last month I said if Capitalism 2 was less than 20 years old it could be good, and I guess it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is. Rise of Industry is a modern take on the genre. This is a cute game where you’ll run a company, build up infrastructure and distribution lines all in the hopes of making what the game calls a “prototype”, just an end game object.

The tutorial is quite long but I recommend playing it as this game is very deep with a lot to do, and a lot to see. There are tons of screens, and the game feels both accessible and complex. I would recommend leaving the assistant on for your first game because the tutorial teaches you a lot but that’s only the shallow end and the assistant will go far more in-depth.

At the same time, I am not a fan of Rise of Industry, I just didn’t see anything here that made me feel I wanted to come back. This is a pretty good simulation and has a lot of features that fans who want to compete over economies will love. There’s a lot of depth, but I’m personally not a huge fan here. However, last month I called out Shoppe Keep 2 and Capitalism 2, and if those games sounded interesting, I would recommend this one instead.

Niche – a genetic survival game. I’m not going to make the joke about how niche this game is, but… it is. And if you want me to talk about the elephant in this room, again we’ll talk about it at the end.

This is a survival strategy game. You play a pokemon looking creature who finds others of his species, mates with them, creates offsprings, forages for food, and… that’s about it. Each day you can move around the current island and decide what actions you’ll do. You can do anything from mating to gathering food and many things in between. From there you’re… I’m not sure of the goal of the game.

It’s not a very compelling game from what I’ve seen, though the animals are cute, I just found the game a little too difficult, and even then, I didn’t have a real purpose. It’s a rogue-lite I guess it’s about how long you can live and what you find but nothing I found seemed to change much in the game, I think this one is just going to appeal to a small group of people.

Niche just had nothing for me to come back to and I’m already starting to see a pattern in the game after an hour. It might get better somehow but with what appears to be one character type and a rather short lifespan it’s hard to connect to these characters. This is one that I think you can skip.

Warhammer 40,000 Gladius – Relics of War. That is the full title of this game. Now without knowing anything else, you can probably guess this is a Warhammer Game in the 40k universe. Good job. What’s surprising is this is also a bit like Civilization.

You have a very similar game to Civilization where you’re building up a city, moving units, fighting enemies, and conquering the map. It’s got the theme of Warhammer which both versions of Warhammer (Fantasy and 40k) are amazing. They have very deep and rich lore, interesting races, and an amazing universe.

Warhammer is almost always based on war, not a surprising thing either, so this game is going to focus on fighting. This is probably the most important thing, though. While this looks and feels like Civilization. It’s not. It’s not like many 4Xs because those are more expansive. Here, you’re going to be working towards the domination victory. That’s the only option here. There’s also no real tutorials, just hint messages.

Now if you are a fan of Civilization, and you prefer the domination victories, this game is for you. If you are a huge Warhammer fan, definitely pick this up. But I don’t think fans outside of those two realms will have as much fun here. Still, it’s an interesting combination that I wasn’t aware of before, and now own a copy.

The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse. I had to break a personal rule on this one but here we go. This game looks impressive, the art style is nice and the game feels slick. Swords of Ditto feels almost like a Legend of Zelda game and I was impressed in my first hour. I’ve always said if someone can capture the magic of a Nintendo game on PC that person will print money. Will Swords of Ditto satisfy me?

The fact is, the first hour or so has good combat, action, and even a story. You need to eliminate 2 of Mormo’s Anchors, and if you do that, you weaken her and should be able to win the game. There were only two things that bothered me. Dying made you return to your bed so you started over, which seemed extreme. Also, enemies leveled up along with you making the RPG Level system pointless, and I HATE RPG Leveling in non-RPGs. Also, it took an hour to get one level, which seems extremely too high.

But that doesn’t sound like deal-breakers, and they aren’t, we need to look beyond the first hour, and I went out and did the research. You see Swords of Ditto is based on Zelda, but also it’s not. It’s a rogue-lite and after dying to the final boss which you are forced to fight on a time limit, the world is regenerated.

This sounds cool, but the game hides this for over an hour and presents itself as something else. Instead, this is like a randomized version of Majora’s Mask, which again could work, but I just don’t get the feeling here. Now, the reason I researched was that this game has a 60 percent positive rating on Steam which is low, and there are a lot of different complaints there.

I enjoyed my hour here, but I played an extra 30 minutes and even saw what a new world would look like which is quite interesting and different. Yet, I don’t think I want to play this game. The RPG leveling already annoyed me in the first hour, and the fact that many dungeons and other features do similarly annoying stuff, I’m not a fan. Also, I’ve heard the combat doesn’t change, which is probably due to the randomized enemies, and unknown items you will have.

Still, if you like the style, and are getting other games, check this one out, but be prepared, it gives off the wrong impression at first. But If this was a classic adventure game, this could have been so much better.

Warsaw. This looks and feels like what I have seen Darkest Dungeon look like in the short time I’ve watched others play it. I’ve yet to play my copy, but Warsaw does many of the same things. Ironman mode all the time, Permadeath and more are also here. The big difference is this is set in World War 2 \with Nazis.

Warsaw is yet another tactical game, and yes I have noticed this. So once again action points appear but it’s one of the better choices in that genre this month, however, it is all about making the right decision. If your character gets injured in the game, there’s no way to heal those injuries without leaving them out of the next mission and there are not many characters here.

Still, I love the theming and the desire to avoid combat is real here, to the point where I was ducking around corners to spot patrols. So the theme works well with the game, though, I think it’s a little too hard on regular for a permadeath game, I still understand it.

If you like tactical games, maybe give this one a shot? It’s got a very solid theming around the resistance in World War 2, though it’s set in Poland, which is obvious from the name and a unique area. If you can get over the higher difficulty of the game, there seems like a good set of systems here, but I don’t know how well it does past that first hour.

Heave Ho. You are a little face with two arms and two hands, you grab onto things and have to maneuver your hands to move your body along the world. It’s yet another physics game exactly like that.

This seems simple and it is, but there’s a series of four levels which the game calls a run, and every run has an interesting mechanic after the first two. The only problem is that I got to the final run in just about an hour, though there appears to be harder difficulty after that point.

I also only played this game in single-player, I think it might be more entertaining in multiplayer as it has up to four player multiplayer, but I don’t know. It’s a good enough game if you have a party or want to play a drinking game with it, but I think most people will play through it and then move on quickly.

I don’t have much else to say, it’s a bit too simple for my tastes. It goes for 10 bucks on steam so… Not sure exactly why it’s here. There is a demo on Steam if you’re interested and want to know how it plays.

MO: AstrayThis is a puzzle platformer with a little bit of action here. You play the slime, who eventually gets called Mo. His main ability early on is to hop as you’re seeing and he recently got the upgrade to latch on to enemies’ heads to control them.

There’ are several clever rooms in the first area of the game that challenged me, though I will say the first chapter went on a little too long, cutting maybe 20 percent of it would have been better paced, but it seemed good. At the beginning of the second chapter, I ran into a new enemy and got a new ability that will make the game better, though I won’t spoil that for those who play it.

The downside is there’s nothing that challenging here except a few precision jumps so far. The second area does seem that it’ll up the challenge but the first area had moments like that and then not much after. I still like the art, and there are a few clever moments like I mentioned. Though the story is not exactly captivating and it doesn’t help that the game isn’t voice acted, so you have to read the dialogue in the middle of your screen as you’re platforming.

Mo Astray is a perfectly fine game, I won’t say it’s great, but it’s a bright point this month. It came out at the end of last year so it’s recent. Overall it’s worth a look.

Neoverse. So it’s a card-based tactical game. I’ll be honest, this game screams Slay the Spire, there’s no way to get away from that comparison, and yet I like this game. There’s a ton of personality here.

This is like Slay the Spire if you chose missions instead of paths, and I think the mission choices are a better option. I’ve seen two bosses, several elites, and they all look good, though not unique, I’ve seen a drill enemy, something like a malboro from Final Fantasy, and more, but the art looks good.

There’s a LOT of style to this game, perhaps too much, the camera will shake at certain moments which isn’t the best, and can be turned off, but at the same time, it is a very impressive game, and the action is great. I can’t talk much about the late game or if the mechanics of each character is different, I hope they are. But the one character I did play and the two bosses I downed in the first hour were interesting.

So let’s get to two issues I’ve seen so far out of the way. The playable characters are all very busty women, and yeah, I like busty women, but the outfits shown in the tutorial are a bit much. Also, the tutorial is horrible. It’s just a video and even the tracking on the bar was pretty bad. Yet neither is a real dealbreaker, and I don’t think it should affect many people’s opinions. There is an in-game tutorial as well that’s very useful.

Five minutes into the game I groaned about how similar this is to Slay the Spire, and it is. But this game just came out in February of this year, and it feels well done with a lot of unique ideas. If you are a fan of card games or a fan of Slay the Spire, I think you’ll have a good time here. If you hate that game, this one probably won’t change your mind, but I wouldn’t expect it to. Overall, it gets a recommendation.

Chess Ultra. I like chess, I think it might be one of the most satisfying board games of all time if you are playing with a similarly skilled opponent, and I’ve played a lot, I’ve mentioned before, I’m on Lichess, and more.

Chess Ultra is a rather standard chess game in the configuration most people will play it in. It has a decent tutorial, several challenge puzzles, and an AI that’s rather good, but not unbeatable around 1500. The AI makes good mistakes. The problem is, everything I’ve said is also available on several chess websites, chess programs, and more. So the question is going to be graphics and they’re… It’s good, not great, but acceptable.

However if you’re watching me play, you’ll notice it seems different than what you might expect. The fact is, I’m playing VR, and I lucked into playing the most interesting “location.” Gomorrah where you play against death. The other two locations out of four available that I tried didn’t have opponents.

But in VR, there’s not a lot of competition for chess. This is rather solid in VR, and if you must play chess in VR, try this, however, I will say I couldn’t move the board, so I had to play standing up which is a huge pain. Maybe there is a control but I couldn’t find it.

However, Chess Ultra isn’t a huge win outside of VR and if you have VR, I don’t know if you’re going to want to play a lot of chess, but it was decent for that. It’s not a major VR game, but you can move the pieces and that does feel pretty cool. Not many people have VR, and I’d still probably not recommend it to anyone except those who have a love of both chess and VR.

I do however have to call out what’s on the screen now. There’s DLC here, and it’s ridiculous. The game retails for 12 dollars, and you can buy more chess sets for 10 bucks a pop? Come on.

Finally, we have Horace. Horace is a story based platformer with some puzzles. It is unique for several reasons, the big one being that it tries to tell a rather good story at least in the first hour with interesting characters and reasons for the player to be doing some actions.

I played about 70 minutes and around the 70-minute mark, there was an odd beat. “Why is the world destroyed.” “There was a war.” That’s it… That is all they say. However, I am enjoying myself and Horace feels like there’s a bit of Metroidvania. The goal of the game so far is for Horace to clean a million things, and yes that sounds very vague but there are story reasons for it. At the same time, there’s a lot of references to different things in the game but while that’s usually annoying, here it’s rather well done.

At the same time, I’m not a fan of a couple of things. The main character’s voice is the only one you hear, he reads other characters’ dialogue in narration. The voice is a text to speech type sound. It doesn’t work. Also, I’ll try to show here, but the game zooms in on a lot of this pixel art and it looks great at the right distance but looks bad close up and that’s where the game goes often. Also when the game flips as the character walks on walls, it’s very jarring, the transition from ground to ceiling made me look away a couple of times.

Still, I might return to play more, this is a rather good platformer, and is supposed to be about 15 hours long. I do have to mention it was free previously on Epic Games. So if you have collected the free Epic Games from the beginning of this year, you can just play it there. Try it out, it feels like a great game, but … come on Humble.

So once again we have two bonus games. The first game is Rainy Seasons and… I either don’t get it, or I don’t like it. The game starts by asking do you want a 20 minute, 40 minutes, or 60 minute day. This seems to set how fast the scene will change to other parts of the day.

Nothing happens here. There are some interesting daydreams of the kid like floating jellyfishes as you’ll see on the screen, but… they don’t do anything more. You can eat a meal, decide on dinner, help out your grandma or something else. Most of the game is spent wandering around, at least most of my game did.

I don’t know, considering the current situation, I don’t need a game about staying inside and there’s a piece at the end about the author remembering that day specifically. That’s fine just not sure why he felt the need to share it but I guess I’m now a part of his therapy in some way.

Overall, it’s nothing special and I would have been fine not playing it. I did have two glitches while playing this game for about thirty minutes, both requiring me to restart the game.

Next up we have the Fae Tactics demo and the one thing this bundle didn’t need is another tactics game. However, this is a game similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark from two months ago. There’s a decent story here, a lot of interesting additions to the tactics formula, and more.

I like the art, and the gameplay is good, though the main character is traveling with pets which is kind of interesting. I like the feeling that there’s almost a puzzle aspect to the levels, and players will have to think rather than trying to over level everything, at least that’s what I’m seeing here. I played 30 minutes, it’s a demo so I didn’t finish but it’s interesting.

Is it worth a bundle purchase? Of course not, and I might not pick this one up, but if you do buy the bundle, consider trying this one out.

So let’s get into this. This is a problematic month for me. There are three big issues. First, it feels like the price of most of the non-headline games are quite low, in the ten to fifteen dollar range. That’s outside of sale prices, which is even lower. On its own, that would not be a big problem.

The real problem to me is something that I’ve heard fans wanting, they want themed Humble Choices. This is a perfect example of why I didn’t want that. There are five turn-based tactics games Xcom, Niche, Warsaw, Warhammer 40,000 Gladius – Relics of War and Neoverse, two simulators, Jurassic World Evolution, and Rise of Industry. If you aren’t a fan of either of those genres, which honestly does have some overlap, you probably are limited to only 5 games, and of those five, Heave Ho and Chess Ultra are already probably out. So that leaves us with Mo Astray, Swords of Ditto, and Horace.

The thing is, I always like a variety in the Humble Choice so I’m trying different genres, maybe people will be happy about this but my follow up is how many simulators or strategy games do you want in one month? I don’t see someone playing Xcom, Warsaw, Warhammer 40k Gladius – Relics of War, Fae Tactics, Neoverse, and Niche all back to back… but maybe I’m wrong.

The final issue I have with this bundle is reuse. Xcom 2 was the headliner in a Humble Monthly, if you got that there, you already have half of the headliners, Niche has been in two Humble Bundles, Sword of Ditto has been in one, the One Special Day, and Horace was free on Epic Game Story earlier this year. That’s a lot of games we’ve seen before, and I could understand one of them, but the headliner as well as a game that’s been bundled twice already? Come on Humble.

So I have some serious issues with this, I’m not saying to avoid but I’m calling out what I find to be an issue.

Before I get to the awards, I want a quick mention of last month’s mystery game. I heard some insane predictions, full-priced games, just released games like X-Com: Chroma Squad, and other 60 dollar titles. It was never going to be any of those. Instead, we got Train Valley 2 which is perfectly reasonable for a bonus game.

It’s a fun little game that combines tasks for the player to do, along with grading that will make completionists sweat. There’s a lot of resource management that has to be done by the player, such as sending the right amount of people to the wheat fields early enough so they can start to send wheat to the cows and similar.

It’s a bonus game, I consider it free because you have already bought last month’s bundle or didn’t. If you missed out you shouldn’t feel cheated, but if you did pick that choice up go back and check it out, it’s a nice addition to what I thought was a great bundle. PS. I spent over 50 hours on Hitman 2 so I got my money’s worth on that one.

So best and worst of this month. As a note, I am not considering if people have the games ahead of time. I literally can’t do that, it would be complicated for most months, and near impossible this month. If you do have a game, you can just skip that one on the list. So let’s do five worst then five best.

The fifth worst this month is Rise of Industry. Let me be clear, it’s not that bad, and while I found this to be a weak month, I just don’t think economy games are a huge seller. It’s better than Capitalism 2, but probably on the bottom half of this chart.

The fourth worst this month is Warhammer 40,000 Gladius – Relics of War. If you’re surprised or disagree immediately with this, hold up, you’re completely right for your choice. If you love Warhammer, get this game, if you love the domination victory of Civ, get this game. For everyone else, I just don’t see a real reason to pick this over other games this month.

The third worst this month, Niche. I probably am not the target audience for this but the same problem exists as Warhammer. There are just so many turn-based tactical games, some of them have to be on this list, and Niche is the weakest of them.

The second worst this month. I love Chess, I love VR, I wouldn’t have bought Chess Ultra. If you love chess, you probably already know many free or cheap solutions that already have what you are looking for. Chess Ultra doesn’t have a reason to buy outside of it being the first VR chess game, and I would argue it doesn’t do it that well, and I probably would just play Tabletop Simulator instead.

The worst game this month. I’m going to give it Heave Ho. It’s a fun, interesting game, but the single-player is a little weak. I can’t imagine multi-player being that much better, but if you need a party game in the Humble Choice, this is it. For anyone else, I think you would be fine skipping this one.

People will disagree with that list, but that’s why I go for five instead of just three, so you have some options to disagree with me. Let’s talk about the best.

The fifth best this month is Jurassic World Evolution. If you love dinosaurs or Jurassic Park, this immediately goes to number 1. It’s also the most expensive game on this list, and the biggest, but honestly, I prefer Planet Coaster or Planet Zoo right now. I’ll probably return and play more, but I doubt it’ll be immediately. Still, it’s a good game.

The fourth best this month is Warsaw. I don’t know how good this game is, I haven’t played Darkest Dungeon so I can’t compare it to its direct competition, but I had a good time here and would probably like to start over and try again because it seems interesting and Poland in World War 2 is not overdone so hopefully there’s something fresh there. Ps. Nazis suck.

The third best this month is Horace. I am returning to this game, I’m not sure exactly when. I do have issues with this game but none of them make me want to skip it, and the fact is it’s an interesting game that I look forward to knowing more about. If you do already have this one, consider Mo: Astray in its place. It’s a strange platformer as well.

The second best this month is Neoverse. I like Slay the Spire, I don’t need another Slay the Spire, but I do want Neoverse. This game feels similar but different and that’s a great thing. If you are like me and like card games, check this one out, it’s also newly released from Early Access, which means it’s fresh.

Finally, the best of the month. Well, it’s already been a headliner, I already have fifty hours in and it’s both extremely polished, and well designed. It’s Xcom 2. I wanted something to take the top spot because we’ve had this in Monthly before, but it’s still a top tier game and in this month, it’s the one that shines for me, which is more a statement on what’s available this month, then the game itself.

So those are my thoughts on the Humble Choice for May 2020. This is a very long video but we had to talk about fifteen games. If you’ve made it this far though, congratulation, you’re like one of a third of my viewers so I appreciate that a lot. Let me know what you think about this month, are you finding something to pick up or are you pausing.

On the other hand, consider subscribing and ringing that bell on my channel. It helps grow the channel, I appreciate and it’s what keeps me going. Also please feel free to share this video with friends.

I have three follow up videos for you today. If you like this short review format, I do these every couple of months on just random games I’ve played. Check this one out with Doom Eternal and Resident Evil 7. Spoiler, neither gets the game of the month there. I also have a video on the big game last month, Hitman 2 about why it stands out in the world of Stealth and Puzzle games, and finally I have a video on Planet Zoo, another game from the same publisher as Jurassic World Evolution.

Until then I’m Kinglink and thank you for watching.