Humble Choice August 2020 Review – One of the best months yet

I’m Kinglink and it’s time for a look at the August 2020 Humble Choice.

It is my birthday month, so I guess as a gift to me there’s a slight change this month, where subscribers at the classic and premium tiers get all 12 games. I think this is great, especially because I needed 11 games this month. It probably is limited to just this month of Humble Choice, but the good news is you can get them all.

There are a LOT of games, including a bonus game from last month, and three additional DRM free games, so we’ll get started with

Vampyr. This is an RPG from Dontnod and from the name I’m sure you can guess it’s all about Vampires. It opens with you having recently been turned into a vampire, likely from an attack, and then you, unfortunately, attack your sister. From there, Vampyr will have you try to hunt down the man who turned you and explore the city to find them.

The first hour is solid but could be misleading. There’s a good action- based combat system here, I’ve already seen a few weapons and took down my first boss. There’s also a rather solid RPG system and even an enhanced dialogue system with some discussions which appear to give choices to the player. There’s also what appears to be an aggressive save system, which makes me think there’s going to be critical choices, along with the idea you’re a vampire, and there are hints of systems that seem to focus on killing or charming characters.

I like what I see here, and if it wasn’t for Horizon Zero Dawn’s being released on Friday, I’d probably already be playing more of this one. I almost definitely will be returning. I’m not huge on supernatural topics, as writers usually adopt the lore rather than develop it themselves, but Vampyr sounds like it does a great job with the concept.

This game will appeal to RPG fans, especially those who like an engaging conversation system. The combat is solid, and the story and writing are engaging. Of course, if you hate Vampires or RPGs, this is probably not for you. So far there’s about a 50/50 split between story and action, so be prepared for a decent amount of both.

I am going to link a video in the description from a fellow Youtuber, NeverKnowBest, who does great in-depth critiques of games. I would recommend you check out his video if you want to know everything about Vampyr to make a fully informed decision.

Hello Neighbor. I’m just going to come out and say. I loathe this game. I’ve heard a lot about how great this game is over the years and how unique it was, but this is the second time I have played it, and within 10 minutes I was looking for a guide.

I followed the guide to even beat the first area, but without the guide, I would have given up within minutes. There’s no tutorial, and there really needs to be one, but beyond that Hello Neighbor expects you to know to do strange physics manipulations which are hard to do due to controls and lack of understanding of what Hello Neighbor wants. And while the enemy AI is interesting, it’s entirely too aggressive while trying to understand the obtuse tasks the game expects you to figure out.

I get no joy from this game, but it goes beyond that. There are some games I understand why other people like them. I hated Sigma Theory last month but I get why people like it. Here I can’t fathom why this has an 80 percent positive on Steam. Several reviews there are negative and yet marked positively. Do people like bugs and bad controls and a game where it gives absolutely no information? Like some games are challenging and then there are games where you have to understand what the designer wanted with no clue.

This was an episodic game so I assumed that Hide and Seek would fix many of these issues, but oddly enough, they’re all still there, and Hello Neighbor Hide and Seek is equally frustrating.

I don’t recommend either Hello Neighbor game at all, I know there’s a fan base out there for it, but I won’t embellish or lie on this game, I don’t get the popularity other than from streamers who overact for their fans pretending it’s super scary

Wargroove. If the first thing that comes to mind when you see this game is Advance Wars, you’re on the right track. This is a PC version of Advance Wars and it’s rather fantastic. You’re able to move your characters tactically and then the enemy gets a move. Each attack is spelled out so there’s no guesswork on the damage you’ll do, and there’s a good challenge without being too hard.

I’ve reviewed this game previously and gave it a 4.5/5 because I enjoyed this game. But the campaign isn’t everything. There’s an arcade mode as well which has you playing on randomized but mirrored maps, multiplayer both online and offline. If that’s still not enough there are customized maps, even full campaigns that other players have designed including new cutscenes.

If you’re not sure due to difficulty, Wargroove offers a customizable difficulty even allowing you to tweak different parts of the experience so it’s quite welcoming to new fans as well.

Overall, I think Wargroove is one of the best games I’ve played on PC. I definitely would recommend it to fans of Advance Wars, Disgaea, pretty much any turn-based tactical game. But beyond that, if what you’re seeing interests you pick this up. Oh, and that is Caesar, the cutest little dog general ever made. Chase your tail buddy!

Call of Cthulhu. Never judge a book by its cover and Call of Cthulhu teaches that lesson once again. I assumed we’d get another game like Stygian from a couple of months ago. After playing for a couple of minutes I was ready for something closer to Elder scrolls, and after 60 minutes, I’ve yet to see combat and the writing so far is interesting and compelling.

Several characters already make me want to know more, including the man who offers you the job is hiding something. The story is strange and macabre without aping the language of Lovecraft. This was based on a Call of Cthulhu tabletop game, so there’s a good legacy here.

At the same time, there are supposed to be horror elements here which I haven’t seen yet, so I can’t tell you much about that or the stealth I haven’t seen. However, the investigation and discussion mechanics are strong, especially the way looking at something might give you a clue that allows you to continue a discussion with someone else.

If you like a game with great dialogue, you’ll probably enjoy this one, but I also feel like I haven’t gotten far enough to decide if I want to go the distance. I feel like I need to play more because I typically don’t like horror but I haven’t seen any of the survival horror elements promised in the first hour yet.

The good news is that a video just released by Mandalore, another Youtuber you should consider checking out, where he reviews this game. I’ll put that link in the description as well as I trust him without even seeing this specific review.

Little Big Workshop. This is another economic simulator, we’ve had a few of these with Railway Empire, and Capitalism 2, this one is focused on a workshop where you build goods and sell them at markets, as well as filling contracts with other businesses.

I like the micromanagement aspects, and the whole game revolves around building “plans” and then letting your worker assemble the goods. I’m not sure how much more there is to Little Big Workshop other than offering larger and larger plans with a focus on optimization. Also, a large amount of the game seems to be focused on setting up a plan and letting run in a relatively passive move.

The art though is great, and there is a feeling that you’re just looking at stuff placed on desk or table. You also can grow the business and floor plan over time which will keep the players coming back.

I’d recommend it if you already love games Tropico, Planet Coaster, or Cities Skylines, but it’s a heavy sim. It’s pretty enjoyable and has a decent challenge.

Genesis Alpha One. Genesis Alpha One starts with the player attempting to find a new planet for people to populate. It is a spaceship builder/first-person shooter/management sim/roguelike. Confused yet?

So it’s all those things. You build a spaceship with modules, you fly it to different galaxies, gather resources from space debris, land on planets to farm loot, and it’s all randomized. It’s quite a bit of fun, though I failed my first playthrough in under thirty minutes. There’s also a lot of cool features, such as modules on the ship can get attacked and even destroyed, and the player has to handle a lot of desires while trying to get more parts to build onto the ship.

The one piece I already love is that the spaceship you build is the main level for the game and you can continue to grow and enhance it. So if you attach a refinery in someplace, there will suddenly be a door to the refinery. The layout also matters as enemies will be trying to damage the ship and if they succeed… it can go south fast.

If you want to play a resource manager that’s quite different this is a good game. It’s unique and that’s what excites me about the Humble Choice games. At the same time, it’s quite busy with a lot of different desires pulling on the player to do many things, so if you aren’t a fan of management games this one might not be for you.

Automachef. Have you ever played a game and just know it’s pretty much only for you, that most people you tell about it probably won’t be into it, but it’s going to be your favorite. Automachef is that kind of game for me.

Automachef has you running an automatic restaurant, where you build out production lines for food, and try to avoid being wasteful. Don’t cook too much, don’t use too much energy, and deliver the right orders and you’ll be perfect. The challenge is in creating these production lines. If you abstract it a little more you’re programming, and yes, it gets into the realms of Zachtronics, with Shenzen I/O, Infinifactory or even a little Opus Magnum pretty quickly

At the same time, this is well done, and quite different from what Zachtronics traditionally does. There are several extra modes, including a career mode where you run a business that takes contracts and more, but at the end of the day, you’re pretty much going to be building restaurant production lines as you see me doing.

As I said, I like this one, and I struggle with Automachef because, I mostly enjoy it because I’m a programmer, I love machines, I love making them work, and I love tinkering with complex systems. If you’re a fan of Factorio, Satisfactory, any Zachtronics game, or strange puzzle games about optimization, this is for you, Everyone else might want to skip this one.

Through the Darkest of Times. This is called a historical resistance strategy game. What it is, is a historical retelling of Nazi Germany with a few gameplay sections requiring players to try to overthrow… well, Hitler because of course, it is.

Through the Darkest of Times feels like two games. There’s the gameplay section that is interesting but doesn’t have much to do with the setting. And then what amounts to almost a visual novel about life in Nazi Germany, and I use heavy quotes around life because it’s very clear this is manipulative writing trying to evoke feelings instead of actual occurrences or dialogue.

I got a game over about 50 minutes in and I think my characters are in a no-win situation. However, if I have to restart it means I have to sit through the same writing and the writing here isn’t worth a second playthrough.

If you want to play a resource management game where you assign workers to different tasks, Through the Darkest of Times will do that, but I think there are many better games out there in the genre. I think much of the appeal of Through the Darkest of Times is the Nazi Germany theme, but I didn’t find that to be particularly strong.

American Fugitive. As I played American Fugitive I tried to think of the last time I played a top-down sandbox game, and while it probably wasn’t Grand Theft Auto, that is the one that comes to mine. American Fugitive is a classic Grand Theft Auto clone for 2020. It has the polish and upgrades that should be expected in any game released in the last ten years with the classic mission-based gameplay.

In the first hour, you’re mostly running jobs for your cousin after breaking out of prison in a mostly scripted scene, however, there are some interesting features here. Instead of showing interiors, American Fugitive switches to an interior floor plan where you spend time searching for different areas of the house. This is made even more intense when the cops are bearing down and time is slipping away.

American Fugitive is a pretty fun and inventive take on the formula that helped spawn the juggernaut that is Grand Theft Auto. It probably won’t appeal as much to people who never played the original Grand Theft Autos, but it’s a great take on the genre.

Check it out if you like sandbox games, or just want to try something a bit different. Though it probably won’t replace third-person sandbox games, it’s fun to play a throwback now and then.

The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters. Once again we have another horror game and as you’ll see on the screen this is trying very hard to unsettle and scare people, which it worked on me. I’m not normally a horror fan and The Coma 2 has not changed that.

Similar to Yuppie Psycho from last month I will praise The Coma 2. It’s well animated, well designed, unsettling, atmospheric, and can be intense. The story is supernatural in origins but something a horror fan would like. There’s a great design and I get the feeling many of the characters will look amazing if I pressed on. There are also quick-time events that I still am not a fan of even in a tense stealth situation.

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I’m not a horror fan, I said this last month with Yuppie Psycho, though I think this is a little less scary than Yuppie Psycho. I gave up on The Coma 2 after about 45 minutes, It’s not for me. I can totally see horror fans flocking to this and for them, I think they’ll have a great time.

So yes, play this if you like horror or like what you see on the screen and if not, this is probably worth skipping because it does get worse than this.

We Were Here Together. This is equally a problematic game and one of the best of the month. We Were Here Together is a puzzle game that has two players solving puzzles using voice communication, and being forced to tell each other what they are seeing to get the clues to solve puzzles.

At the same time… it’s two people. You have to play with a partner, and while it might be possible to find a random person online, there were only between 5 and 7 people playing at any one-time midday on Saturday, the day after this bundle came out. Considering you’re going to spend hours with this other random person, you’re probably going to want to play this with a friend.

Though to do that you need a second person to own a copy of We Were here Together, as there’s no couch co-op. After dealing with all these hurdles, I had a great time, and I think my buddy Josh who you’ll be seeing on the screen did as well. This is just the warmup section in the game but after this part, you’ll be separated into two different paths and have to figure out a number of puzzles.

We spent almost two hours because we got hooked, but I also want to say that the solution of the puzzles doesn’t seem to change, so sadly there’s very limited replayability.

We Were Here together is an absolute blast if you like puzzle games and you have someone else you want to play with. It is a less stressful version of Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. I realize though that’s not for everyone and having to have a second copy of the game to play it does kind of suck.

If you’re unsure about this game, the first game in the series which should do the same stuff, We Were Here is free, so check that out or the sequel, We Were Here Too.

A Case of Distrust. This is a visual novel, similar to Ace Attorney, where the goal is to solve a case while playing a private detective. It’s an interesting take on the genre and style, as it’s set in the 1920s, with a female private investigator with that film noir style of writing.

Much of A Case of Distrust is going between locations and talking to different people and then contradicting their statements and figuring out what’s going on. The first part of the case is pretty straight forward, but after you learn about the bootlegger who hires you, he is killed suddenly and now the game opens up, giving you more people and a less linear story.

The writing is excellent, evoking the Noir Detective novel story that they’re going for, the characters are interesting and unique, and the visual style to A Case of Distrust is amazing to watch a scene transition to another. There are also multiple branches where the game will give you one of two responses depending on your choices, though I don’t think it’ll be worth a second playthrough as the core game doesn’t appear to change.

I recommend this one to any visual novel or detective fan, however, it’s all done through text, and there’s a lot of it. If you want some action or adventure, you might be in trouble.

So that’s the twelve games you’re going to get in the Humble Choice. We have two bonus games and a demo this month, let’s quickly talk about each.

Zodiac XX is an underwater version of Ace Combat, your ship pretty much moves like a plane, you zip around, shoot at targets and blow them up. I’m a huge fan of Ace Combat, but Zodiac XX is hard to love. The second mission has players cruising through an underwater trench that’s very tight and quite frustrating and the levels seem to be based on score attack rather than standard missions.

It’s an interesting concept and I love the idea, but the areas for the missions are a bit too small for what it’s expecting. It’s an interesting concept, I just wish the execution was better.

Booth. If this is reminding you of Papers Please, that’s probably not an accident. This is Papers Please, but you’re a food inspector instead of a border control guard. Booth pushes a heavier story for sure, but the way it layers its story outside of gameplay doesn’t produce a better experience.

The font and text size is a little too hard to read at times, and the same is true about the items being moved. I wish they were a little clearer especially when you are supposed to be spotting differences. It is a fun concept worth checking out for fans of Papers Please.

Finally, we have a demo of a game called Wildfire, which is a game that’s been out since May. It’s a pixel art style platformer with a focus on using magic and elemental forces. The demo is pretty interesting but I’m a bit confused as to why it’s in the Humble Choice when it probably should just be available on Steam.

Still, the first two levels I played through were interesting and it has potential as a game, but obviously like always, it’s a demo, it’s not going to change your opinion of the bundle.

Finally, we have a bonus game from last month. If you bought last month’s bundle you should now have a key for it. The bonus game is Vikings: Wolves of Midgard. It’s an action RPG, it’s a diablo clone. You wade through a sea of enemies from Viking lore and collect goodies.

I wish there was more loot, at least there wasn’t much on the first couple of maps. There’s an odd exposure system on one of the maps that I wasn’t fully in love with, but truthfully I find this genre a bit too grindy in general. It is a free game so give it a shot if you got it in last month’s Humble Choice.

So that’s it for this month’s Humble Choice games. Since I usually am turned off by horror or Lovecraftian games, I expected not to find anything that I’d want to play past the review and I actually found quite a bit to like this month. I think it’s a stronger than average month, and the fact that there are all 12 games instead of a choice is preferable. I hope this is the standard, even if it means there’s less need for my videos.

Speaking of which since you get all 12 of the choices at the premium or classic tier, there’s no reason for the weakest list. Though I think the reviews showed Hello Neighbor, Through the Darkest of Time, and The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters would be on it.

As for the Strongest list, since the three-game option is still there, let’s go through my favorites.

Fifth Strongest is Automachef. As I said, this might just be my bias, but I like this game and I think there’s a lot of potential here. It’s definitely more automation and puzzle than anything else, but it’s quite clever with the setup and worth checking out.

Fourth Strongest is We Were Here Together. It’s not a single-player game and you need a second copy, but I guarantee I’ll be playing more of this before long. It’s a unique experience and I think that is what makes it shine. Though again, you need a friend with a copy.

Third Strongest is Wargroove. I found this to be one of the best Strategy RPGs. It’s very similar to Advance Wars, but it’s also a style that I find quite enjoyable. There’s a lot of additional content as well, so you’ll have more to play through if you enjoy it.

Second Strongest is Call of Cthulhu. Like I said I need to play more to decide if this is actually as good as the first hour, but so far it’s enjoyable and I want to see how the story and game shake out.

The Strongest this month: so I hate giving it to the headliner because that should be expected but Vampyr really makes me want to play more. It sounds like it’s a meaty game too that will run over twenty hours, and the story makes me want to see quite a bit more.

Truthfully the top three are probably on the same level, with each of them being worthy of being the strongest of the month,

Thanks again for watching, it’s been a blast making this video. If you enjoyed it, please consider subscribing or ringing that bell. I do a couple of videos every month, between the Humble Choice and then I’ll be back next month to talk about the next set.

On-screen now should be my Wargroove review if you want an in-depth look at that, as well as a look at SUPERHOT: Mind Control Delete that recently came out.

Until then I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.

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