Humble Choice September 2020 Review – Another Solid Month

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

Simple rules, I played each game for at least an hour, and now I’m ready to tell you what I think. However, this month I made a small change. I randomized the order that I played the games. I often preferred games that I played earlier, so I wasn’t sure if it’s just because they were the headliners or just preferable. Either way, I’ll leave the play order in the description, but the results seem to say it didn’t change my opinions, however, I’ll probably continue to do that because I like the mixture.

And once again premium and classic subscribers get 12 games instead of ten. I’m a huge fan of that. I don’t prefer the choice, and getting all the games is a better deal. With the two bonus games we are talking about 14 games this month, so let’s get started.

Forager. Quick disclaimer, back when I originally got this game, I got a review copy from Hopfrog. It shouldn’t affect my opinions on it now, but I feel the need to disclose this.

Forager is an incremental game, though it doesn’t look nor play like one. If you’re not familiar with the incremental genre, it’s a group of games that focus on removing gameplay flash and polishing the gameplay loop where players will spend hours playing games just to see numbers grow. There are a lot of them out there, like Cookie Clicker or Clicker Heroes, but Forager is kind of similar.

Forager is mostly about building up. At the beginning chopping down, trees and rocks are all you’ll have but before long you’ll start building forges and anvils, minting coins, and buying new lands. Much of Forager is about the short term goals which players can earn in a few minutes.

Sadly the one thing missing in Forager is an end game. I played the game for about thirty hours before I had done everything I felt was possible in the base game. The game has grown in size so one day I’ll have to get back to the end game and see what has changed, as I lost my save game at some point.

You should play this game if you like incremental games or like more passive games. It’s a nice chill experience, with minor combat. On the other hand, if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you might want to skip this because that’s what the majority of the game is about.

Golf with Your Friends. Golf With Your Friends is a mini-golf game that feels simultaneously lacking a lot of features and still a lot of fun to share with someone. I played through an 18 hole course with my daughter. The idea here is to play with friends and family whether it be online simultaneously or offline. Well, offline might be a bit rough. You see there’s no split-screen so you play Hotseat, and you can’t even assign controllers or keyboards to each person so everyone controls the game at the same time.

The missing feature of no split-screen is what I’m talking about. There’s no way to play only a couple of holes or randomize the order. Even playing together, I was player one so I teed off at every hole, and she was always second, so she got an advantage.

Yet, it’s still a lot of fun, I would recommend skipping Classic, as it’s just mini-golf. Instead focus on Party mode, which adds power-ups, or Hockey mode which changes the hole to a goalie, they use the same levels but it’s a better experience. There is also a basketball and an explore mode, there’s good and unique courses, workshop support, and a level editor, so you can always get more.

I got a second copy of the game when I bought it so if you have a remote friend, don’t worry, they can now play with you. Also, I’ve heard the online mode lets you all putt at the same time which I could imagine is a far better experience

Pick this up if you want to play golf, especially if you have friends who already have it. It’s a great concept but I didn’t see anyone playing it online, you probably want to either play hotseat mode (which is still fun) or with a group of friends who you can gather together. If you want to play solo, I think you might be disappointed.

Strange Brigade. Strange Brigade screamed Zombie Army Trilogy as I played it, and for a good reason. This is made by Rebellion who also made the Zombie Army games, as well as Sniper Elite. The big difference is Strange Brigade has an over the top campaign mode complete with an energetic announcer that feels like he would be at home in those campy serials that Indiana Jones was based on. It adds a much-needed element to the game and makes the game even more enjoyable to play.

While the game is made for four player multiplayer co-op. I was easily able to play through the first level of the campaign solo and had a great time with it even though I typically struggle with this horde style, and while I’m sure it gets harder, I would consider playing more in only single-player mode.

Overall a solid and interesting game, that I hadn’t heard of before and this is once again what I look at Humble Choice for.

Pick this up if you have a group of friends and you want to tackle a new game or want a campaign to play through. Even if you just want to try to play through this in single-player, you’ll probably have a good time, though I expect solo players to struggle after a while.

Lethal League Blaze. Lethal League the predecessor to this game has floated around and been bundled a few times. I was never really a fan. Lethal League was a mixture of baseball meets a fighting game. As if playing a season with Corona still rampant wasn’t dangerous enough. The biggest problem in the original game is there were very weak offerings for a single player.

Lethal League Blaze is essentially an updated Lethal League, but it’s added a story mode as well, and admittedly it’s a solid story, though it probably will only take a couple of hours to play through. The rest of the game is bigger and better versions of Lethal League.

If you have a group of friends, I imagine you could have a great time playing through this with them. There is an online component that I was able to find a game in so you can play other players online, but I think there’s a couch or party component that would make the gameplay much sweeter.

Pick this up if you liked Lethal League, want a game to play with a group of friends, or like what you’re seeing. It’s a strange one, but it’s really going to be for multiplayer. Skip it if you’re going to play it alone.

Generation Zero. Generation Zero is like a multiplayer survival horror zombie game. But there’s robots instead of Zombies. Robots that can shoot you from a great distance, and take what feels like entirely too many bullets to kill.

I’m sure there are people out there looking for another multiplayer survival game, and there is a high level of scavenging here. I constantly feel that I’m out of ammo, and looking for loot so I can get more. The enemies are aggressive when you’re seen and this might be someone’s dream.

I was playing solo though, and I will be honest, I think you need another player to make this work. The gameplay is average at best, and the experience is lacking. You go to a location look for loot, look for special items, and then get told about another location. Granted at the end of my hour with the game, I found an interesting location but I just dislike the gameplay enough. I will never come back, but as I said, I’m sure there’s a fan base out there for this, it’s just not me. But it never was going to be.

Play this if you have friends and want to play a survival horror game with robots. Don’t play this otherwise.

Yooka Laylee And the Impossible Lair. The original Yooka Laylee was based on Banjo Kazooie and was ok. It was a game with a 20-year-old game design which felt like it was made 20 years ago, it just felt outdated. So I wasn’t looking forward to the sequel, but I should have been. Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair is not a Banjo Game, instead the team of ex-Rare employees revived another of their classic franchises, Donkey Kong Country.

I mean look at this game, it’s so Donkey Kong Country it hurts, but it hurts so good. This is a great revival that breathes new life into the franchise and is worth playing. There’s a lot that I love here but the twenty levels in the game have a remixed version as well and it’s so fun to replay the levels to see what changed. Each of the ways the level gets remixed is different.

The overworld as well is a thing of pure joy, and my only complaint of Yooka Laylee and The Impossible Lair is that the final level is extremely hard. It really is the Impossible Lair. I’ve heard they’ve added some changes to hopefully make it better, but yikes. Still, one super hard level and 20 or 40 great levels? I’m all about this and it may even get on the best of the year list. Although that’s a bit more about the lack of great games I’ve played this year than this one being at that tier, but it’s fantastic.

Get this if you like Platformers at all, if you like retro games, if you like Rare. I think this game alone is probably worth the price of the bundle. I heavily recommend this one.

Just as a note, I got this game for free from Epic on New Year’s Day, it’s possible you already have the game there as well. Though Steam achievements make me want to play through this one again.

The Occupation. The Occupation has a political story at least that’s what I assume. The opening minutes of the game have an angry woman and a slick-talking guy, who argue and then the game flashes back to a tutorial area that is honestly a bit confusing and the story struggles to connect to the player. Then it flashes forward to what you are seeing now.

I don’t know if I understand the purpose of The Occupation. It claims to be an immersive sim and the world does have qualities of that. There’s a large number of scripted actions that players will see, and multiple ways to do many things but then the game bobbles the immersion by having a single guard who told me on five different occasions to stop letting him see me sneak around.

It doesn’t help that there’s no in-chapter save and it feels like the game has real-time progression so a meeting planned in 60 minutes means the player has to find things to do during that time. There are enough options, but nothing feels like it is advancing the plot because the game lacks a reason for the player to care about the stakes.

Play this if you want to be an journalist who acts like a secret agent or a spy. Or really if you want to play Deus Ex with none of the action or the stakes. All others can skip it safely/

Catherine Classic. Catherine Classic is a fantastic action puzzle game. The gameplay is as you see, it’s a version of Sokoban where the goal is to climb higher before the ground falls from underneath you. This is the primary gameplay of the puzzle sections.

However what makes Catherine stand out is the rest of the game, which is almost a visual novel as it tells its story focus on the main character Vincent and his relationship with Katherine with a K, and how he cheats on her with Catherine with a C as well as what happens after that point.

There’s a lot of interesting moral choices that the game presents, as well as tough but fair puzzle sections. There are no randomized levels as part of the storyline so the only challenge is to use a variety of skills to climb ever higher, and yes that does become quite challenging.

The only real issue I have with the game is that there’s a better version out there called Catherine Full Body. For some reason it has yet to be released on PC, perhaps it may never be, but I hope to see that version one day, though it does just expand this story.

Pick this up if you like puzzles. Really if you don’t, you’re going to struggle with this one. You also should check this out if you like interesting stories and moral dilemmas, but to get to them you will have to beat the block puzzles.

Vampire: the Masquerade – Coteries of New York. Vampire the Masquerade is a long-running tabletop RPG and video game franchise. There have been multiple RPG entries in the series and it’s quite popular. This… well isn’t one of them. Instead this time it’s a Visual Novel.

I like the concept of Visual Novels. If it tells a good story, it’s fine, even if it is mostly like a storybook or a choose your own adventure. As for that Vampire: The Masquerade, the writing though… I mean there’s references to Musk, All the Things She Said by TATU, and other stuff that feel out of place. In general, I am not a fan of writing. Maybe this is typical of the Vampire: The Masquerade franchise.

If you want some relatively easy achievements you can hold the x buttons and hammer A and beat the story in around 10 minutes for a playthrough. Otherwise, you’ll sit through a lot of stories about vampires, masquerading, and keeping the secret from normies. I’m sure this is what fans of the franchise like but as I sat through it, I kind of heard myself sighing because the writing didn’t pull me in.

Grab this if you love Vampire the Masquerade, or you love Visual Novels and want one about vampires. Otherwise, this is probably a skip for everyone else.

The Shapeshifting Detective. The Shapeshifting Detective is an FMV game where the player talks to several different people and… well yeah, he shapeshifts. It’s an interesting concept, and unlike the studio’s previous title, the Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, everything to say is on the screen. Players just click what they want to say and listen.

This is very similar to old adventure games with a focus on talking to people rather than hunting for clues. The story on this one is a bit strange, and the acting is a little off. However, I am curious about what I’ve seen and want to see more, though I will say the writing is more than a little suggestive than I expected.

It’s also a bit of a shorter game, between two and three hours, but it feels like a unique 2-3 hours. There’s just something about it. There’s a lot of cuts in the videos however so it’s a little distracting.

Pick this up if you like strange stories or FMV games, or just want to see something unique. The level of interaction that you’re seeing is about it though.

Evoland Legendary Edition. The original Evoland feels like a video game version of Airplane, where the focus is on analyzing, dissecting, and looking at the various pieces of the RPG genre and adding them in, one at a time. If you remember the NES version of Zelda, any 16 bit RPG, or even Diablo, I highly recommend this game. The experience is unlike any other video game I’ve played and as a fan of classic RPGs, it’s an enjoyable journey though a bit on the short side.

Evoland 2 moves away from the pure parody formula but produces a far longer and meatier RPG that toys with other features, and still injects some of the same humor as the original game did.

Evoland Legendary Edition adds the original Evoland along with its sequel into a single package. The two games are a bit different but RPG fans will almost certainly enjoy both of them. I think Evoland 1 is very clever, and you’re seeing the opening of it here. I played through the first 50 minutes of the sequel and had a good time as well.

I would recommend this game to fans of the RPG genre. There’s a lot of brilliant and unique moments here. However, since both games are spoofing the formula at some level, even though the second game plays it mostly straight. If you don’t like RPGs, you’ll probably dislike this game as well.

Fun With Ragdolls. Fun With Ragdolls is a sandbox game where you make your own fun. Ok tagline done. This game is just terrible. Imagine Minecraft, but without any gameplay and just building stuff then ragdolling your character. There’s not even a way to make a level interesting or an adventure, just ragdoll your character, how fun.

I went through the tutorial. Then you’re given a sandbox or a world browser to download other people’s maps. I didn’t feel like building a level so I went to see what the very best levels looked like. They look like Fall Guys levels, but even there it’s a replica of the format without scripting to make it interesting.

Someone clearly likes it, there’s a 90 percent approval rating on Steam, but I can’t believe this game is in the bundle. I know I crapped on 198X earlier this year…. This game makes that game look great. I just don’t understand this game and stopped after 30 minutes. I don’t get this, and I liked Minecraft, so it’s not that.

This game made me think about the PS3 game Pain, and how somehow this is still beneath even that game, which was mostly throwing ragdolls around a level. Why?

Play this if… you like ragdolls. I don’t know, I’d rather spend my time building in games that have a little more structure… really any structure. Safe to just skip this one.

So that’s the 12 choices for the Humble Choice this month. We also have two Bonus games and they’re quite interesting.

Alt254. Alt254 is what I call a developer game. Alt254 is described as a minimalist open-world action-adventure and… yeah I get that. The open-world aspects are probably not what you expect, but you can explore this world and try to gather pixels or something else. I honestly am not 100 percent sure what this game is about but it looks great.

Alt254 refers to the binary code which is a single black square that represents the main character. So that makes sense. The fact that everything is just pixels in this game, whether it be keys, doors, enemies, or even the bosses.

It’s an interesting concept and as a free add-on, I’d recommend people check it out just for how unique a concept the game is but I’m not sure how far I’ll go with this one. Still, this is a great bonus game. It’s just something unique and different. Good job.

Carto. This month’s demo is Carto and this is good. Carto is a reference to cartographers, and in Carto, our main character can rearrange the world and change the map at any time. It’s a very interesting and slick concept and I liked what I saw here.

Two issues, it’s a demo and it’s 10 minutes long. Neither makes it a bad game, but I want more of it, which means I’ll be wishlisting the final game. It’s done its job. If you pick up the bundle, try this one out. I mean ten minutes isn’t going to kill anyone and it’s such a novel concept you should play it.

With that out of the way, what I do think of this bundle. There’s a big issue I had with the bundle but it’s also why this is a great bundle. This month I have played four of these games previously, Forager, Yooka Laylee, Catherine Classic, And Evoland, even though I only owned half of it. Also, I had purchased The Shapeshifting Detective a week ago.

I think this is a great month, I can accept that I probably have more games than most people I am closing in on 2000 games owned, so yeah, this will happen, and honestly… that’s not the worst problem when the games I already owned are games I would recommend to other people.

The only small issue I have is that at least four games here really need to be played in multiplayer to have fun with them. Those are Golf with Friends, Strange Brigade, Generation Zero, and Lethal League Blaze. That’s not a huge negative, but a bit disappointing.

So let’s look at the weakest and strongest. Since premium and classic get all the games, you don’t have to choose, but I do want to call out the three games at the bottom this month because that’s the fun of reviewing stuff.

The third weakest, Vampire the Masquerade – Coteries of New York. It was either this one or the Occupation, and I might go back and play the Occupation when I’m not under a time crunch. The fact is I’m not already a Vampire the Masquerade fan. I like visual novels but I feel like you have to like Vampire the Masquerade to go all-in on this one, and I don’t feel the pull to continue. I’m sure some people would love this game, but ask yourself if this is the first game in the series you would recommend. I’m guessing not.

The second weakest. Generation Zero. It has bad steam reviews, it has bad Metacritic. I think there are several better choices out there. The idea of doing an open-world survival horror could work, but I don’t think replacing zombies with robots was enough to make this game work. After an hour… I’m not coming back.

The weakest is Fun with Ragdolls. A couple of months ago we got Boundless as a surprise game. That is a fantastic game. Minecraft is everywhere. Fun with Ragdolls… just lacks any of the pieces that make those games interesting. Sandboxes, Cats and poop. I’ll let you make your own joke because this game makes you make your own levels.

Which brings us to the strongest games of the month.

Fifth strongest. I try to put a game that is a little strange in each month’s top five. This month it’s Shapeshifting Detective. Yes, it’s not perfect, but I can’t deny I want to play more. I like the concept, and I know the studio’s previous work. This should be interesting

Fourth Strongest. Catherine Classic. I’d love to put this higher but it is going to appeal to puzzle fans, however, it’s a clever and interesting game and deals with adult topics and concepts in a great way. I’m a huge fan of Catherine Classic, and I think everyone should give it a shot.

Third Strongest Strange Brigade. I found this game to be entertaining and I think it’s a clever concept. The over-the-top announcer, the level design, and gameplay make me want to play more and I’m considering returning in what probably should be a multiplayer-only focused game. That’s unique.

Second Strongest. Evoland Legendary Edition. Yes, I did say this game is really for fans of the RPG genre, but the RPG genre is everywhere and this game tackles a lot of different parts of the genre, everything from Zelda (not an RPG), to Diablo (not a typical RPG) to Final Fantasy (such an RPG). The sequel fixes the first game’s length issues, and again I will be returning to play the rest of this one.

The Strongest of the Month. Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair. I love this game, and I think it may be in the running for my game of the year. The only issue I had with it previously was that I didn’t have it on Steam, and now I do. The gameplay is solid, the experience is fun and inventive. The map that you’re seeing now is easily one of my favorite parts of the game. And I think they’ve made the Impossible \Lair a little less impossible, so I’m excited to play this again.

I don’t understand why that’s not the headliner, because it’s a fantastic game and I think it’s worth the full price of the bundle. Maybe they are aware it was available on Epic for free, but.. .it’s still a great game.

And that’s what we have for the bundle itself. Now if you want to know my opinions. I will try to play The Shapeshifting Detective in the next month, and I’ve been writing short steam and website reviews. If you’re interested, you can sign up to my website to get emails when I post new articles there. I’ll leave a link in the description.

I’m going to pop up two videos this week. I have my old review of Forager.that you can learn more about that game from. And I have my video from last week talking about FMVs, and maybe that’ll show you why I’m excited to play Shapeshifting Detective, as it covers The Insane Madness of Doctor Dekker

Until then I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.

Order of playthrough

  1. GENERATION ZERO®
  2. VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE – COTERIES OF NEW YORK
  3. GOLF WITH YOUR FRIENDS + CADDYPACK DLC + OST
  4. THE SHAPESHIFTING DETECTIVE
  5. THE OCCUPATION
  6. YOOKA-LAYLEE AND THE IMPOSSIBLE LAIR
  7. FORAGER
  8. STRANGE BRIGADE
  9. FUN WITH RAGDOLLS: THE GA
  10. EVOLAND LEGENDARY EDITION
  11. LETHAL LEAGUE BLAZE
  12. CATHERINE CLASSIC

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