Humble Choice February 2021 Review – A very strong and diverse month

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

As always, I’ve played each of these games for an hour and now it’s my chance to tell you what I think about them, as well as who should like them or not.  I’ve had a pretty good weekend as this is a very interesting bundle.  So let’s go down the list, starting with…

Outward.  With this being the big headliner, and this calling it an open-world RPG, I was expecting a lot but the actual game is a very punishing game that will challenge players with its combat and world.  There’s no nice neat path to follow or a list of objectives that players will have to do.  Players will be thrown into the world to fend for themselves.

The problem is, Outward hasn’t found a game mechanic it didn’t want to include.  It has cold and hot weather mechanics that can harm the player. Multiple status effects, weight management, the ability to drop your bag to avoid its weight in combat, durability systems, survival systems, water, and hunger,  This game even has a split-screen mode for two players as well online.  There’s just a ton here. 

This would be an extremely impressive game if it executed everything well but it’s a very rough game as well.  The tutorial feels off, as do several systems.  The combat is like Dark Souls but the rest of the game is not, even the menus feel like they’re taken from Dark Souls so I get why that comparison is there. Outward is a hard one to judge.  

I would say if you liked Kingdom Come: Deliverance you’ll probably enjoy this game, it’s a very challenging game where you grow from nothing.  However, after an hour, I’m just not enjoying it myself, and won’t be returning.  It’s going to appeal to other people, but this is not a game I’d recommend. 

Valkyria Chronicles 4.  This is a strategy RPG, which allows you to move your units like you’re in a third-person shooter and tactically takes shots and move to cover. It’s rather unique but also pretty well done. 

This is a long game, like 40ish hours, as well as having a large RPG story revolving around… listen this is world war 2, no matter how they dress it up.  This mission I’m on, took me about 30 minutes, and this is the first mission after the training so they will be beefy mission.  The Valkyria Chronicles is also very tactical, you can’t just run out and be the hero, instead, you need to plan your moves and utilize all your units. 

The actual moves your characters make play out like snippets of an action game.  You move your units, possibly getting shot at, and then have to aim and take your shot.  Time pauses so you can line up your shot, which makes sniping rather easy.  This is more strategy than action, even though it might look like the opposite. 

I’m having a blast with it, but I also really like Disgaea and games like Fae Tactics where it’s a slower but more complex system.

If you like SRPGs, definitely pick this up, this is a great series, I’m glad it came to PC and it’s worth checking out. It’s more active than a Paradox Interactive game, but it’s on the slower side of the RPG genre.  But as a fan of SRPGs, I’m enjoying it so far. 

Truthfully this has been on my wishlist for a couple of years, probably since it was released, so I’m thrilled to get this. 

Endless Space 2.  This is a 4X game like Civilization, which means this will be large, long, and complex.

I don’t know if I can honestly review this after an hour.  This is a game that will take many hours, likely multiple days to get comfortable with, and from there, it’s going to be a love it or hate it affair.  The entire game is galactic conquest where you have to compete against multiple different factions and of course have different ways to win. Civilization in space, but more complex.

The good news is that Endless Space2 has fixed almost every issue I had from the original game.  There’s now automation of both systems and ship construction, a lot more helpful hints, and more.  There probably should be more, but it’s still limited.  The tutorial is still absolutely awful.  If you want to learn this, I’d probably recommend a youtube tutorial instead. 

I recommend this game to people who like 4X games, especially civilization but are willing to invest twenty or thirty hours before they feel like they understand what they’re doing.  For most games that would be the full run time, here I think that’s what you need to even feel like you understand what you’re doing for most of the game.   It’s not bad, just very complicated.

Moving Out.  So take Overcooked 2 from two months ago, add in stricter time limits, more intensity and you have Moving out,  Oh yeah, you’re moving someone else’s stuff instead of making food for customers. 

Moving Out’s premise is simple, take all the tagged items, put them on your truck and that’s it.  It’s a simple concept but it can get complicated fast.  Space is usually at a premium for your truck, there are several large objects that you need more than one person to carry, and the time limits are pretty tight.  

I teamed up with my daughter, Daylyn, on this one and as completionists, we were trying to get gold and spent about 40 minutes trying to beat the first level.  This is not an easy game.  But don’t worry, there are Assist modes that I applaud, reminding me of Celeste, though a bit simpler.  The assist modes mean everyone should be able to tackle the rather challenging game. 

I played for fifteen minutes in single-player mode also… It’s not awful, but this is a game intended for two or more players, as important mechanics are missing in singleplayer. 

Play this if you thought Overcooked 2 was too easy or didn’t end in enough shouting matches.  Also, play this if you want to play a good co-op game, but be prepared for a really solid challenge and a serious need for teamwork, because you will need it. 

Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince,  This is the fourth game of the Trine series and the second one I enjoyed.  The first game in the series felt good, the second game felt a little like you had to exploit the physics system, I missed the third one due to negative opinions but Trine 4 is exactly what I wish this series had always been.  

There’s an interesting and solid story so far, the characters feel less gimmicky and more like they have defined purposes.  All three of them have small physics abilities, but it’s less hacky, and more like deliberate puzzles and challenges.  

After the first thirty minutes of introducing the characters, the first level with all three characters was well-paced.  Trine 4 has very solid combat that’s enjoyable, but not constant enemies.  The graphics are great, and there are also unique puzzles that had me using all three characters in almost equal amounts.  There are tons of collectibles of which many are mini puzzles.  

Pick this up if you ever liked a Trine game before, because this feels like the franchise as it should be. If you like physics puzzle games or unique platformers, you’ll have a good time here.   I’m excited to play more.

The Wild Eight.  Snow, graphics, those bars in the lower left.  It’s yet another survival game with a snowy backdrop. 

I honestly don’t know how to evaluate this genre.  Yes, you have to have food, warmth, and not take too much damage, but I find this one quite challenging.  There are a few quests I’ve already seen, nothing too amazing.  The tutorial somehow skips “upgrading” your Shelter and workshop which are major elements of the game that I figured out after 50 minutes.  The combat is average at best.

There is a multiplayer server system so maybe that’s what I’m missing, and the story so far is mostly going to different bunkers and find stuff, which gives me memories of Generation Zero.  It’s not an awful experience but I’ve never been big on this genre, and The Wild Eight isn’t changing it, but I’ll recognize it’s a pretty good game for what it’s trying to be.

Pick this up if you like survival games, This feels good and there’s a lot of tension, but there’s also very little reason to stay alive.  There’s this nice and great bunker you find early on with electricity, tv, and more and I just wonder why you don’t just stay there. The rest of the game should be deciding where to place a chair.

Train Station Renovation. I love that name.  It’s so silly and out there yet describes a game with three words.  Train Station Renovation is a game where you renovate Train Stations.

 I thought this would be a silly simulator game, like Blacksmith Simulator, and it is, but it’s also extremely good.  There’s a zen-like quality to the game where the player slowly renovates a train station from a run-down mess to a pristine location out in the middle of nowhere.   There are enough tools and abilities to make this a reasonable task, but also there’s something cathartic about cleaning up the station as well.  I went for 100 percent on the first level and felt rather good doing it. 

At the same time, this is a simulator game.  You scrub off graffiti, you repair broken windows, you pick up a lot of trash.  This game reminds me of Viscera Cleanup Detail but with better tools and a less frustrating experience. While I normally hate cleaning up, this is just an enjoyable experience. 

If you liked PC Building Simulator or believe in the “zen of cleaning” you’ll enjoy this.  If you like the simulator genre, you probably should check this out.  There’s no action or violence, but there’s also a good warm feeling as you play.  Marie Kondo would love this game. 

Valfaris.  So back in 1992, this group of heavy metal fans got together and released a game that would change the industry called Doom.  I bring this up because it is impossible to remove the concept of Heavy Metal from Doom, and similarly Valfaris feels like a game that is also tied to Heavy Metal. 

From a kicking soundtrack to this insane art, then there’s the level design and more.  Valfaris will make players rock out.  Even the character will headbang each time he gets a new weapon.  This just feels right and awesome. 

Valfaris is a level based side scroller, which is something that isn’t being made anymore, but Valfaris makes me question why not.  It brings back that feeling of shooting through massive levels even having mini-bosses, and arena rooms.  There’s an inventive twist where players get resurrection icons that allow them to activate checkpoints or skip checkpoints to increase their health and energy levels.  It’s a strange reward, as good players gain benefits, but bad players who would need better health and energy, get penalized. 

The combat is fun, the music here is awesome, the enemies feel unique and there’s a decent challenge to this game.  Honestly, I rocked out for an hour and had a blast playing this. 

Pick this up if you like Heavy Metal.  Also check it out if you like old school level based game, like Contra.  This is not a Metroidvania, it’s not a game expecting you to replay levels for some currency, it’s just an old school 2d action platformer, and for that, it feels great. 

Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart of the Forest.  It’s another World of Darkness text adventure in that same universe as both Vampire the Masquerade games we’ve had recently.  This time though, it’s a little different. 

Heart of the Forest focuses on werewolf lore, revolving around Poland rather than America, and has the main character Maia following her family’s history and lore as it relates to this one forest, the last primordial forest.  In the first hour, there’s been an exploration of the town, as well as numerous characters and even a protest. 

Werewolf: The Apocalypse seems to give players a decent amount of control by letting them try to manipulate their rage levels.  If the rage gets higher, Maia will be more aggressive and players get less control over her choices or require her to use willpower to hold her back.  On the other hand, that aggression will help Maia get out of other situations so it’s a balancing act.  At least that’s what it seems like so far. 

This is a typical visual novel with a focus on werewolf lore.  The story seems good and I like the setting, but it’s not going to change many people’s minds. 

If you liked the Vampire the Masquerade visual novels you’ll like this.  Even if you don’t, I think this is still an interesting take on the series and promises to have more meaningful choices, but in the end, this will still play out like a visual novel and that’s only going to appeal to some players.   I had fun with it. 

Lovecraft’s Untold Stories.  Yet another Lovecraft game, I think someone in Humble is a huge fan of this genre of Lovecraftian tales, or maybe they just don’t sell well either way, this month’s Lovecraft game is rather good.  

Rather than just an attempt to ape the style of writing of Lovecraft, this is an Action Roguelite where the player takes one of a few characters and tries to survive the nightmare.  There’s of course a health meter, and stamina meter, but also a sanity meter.   Tons of little mini-events can harm, heal or provide you with information, a form of currency in this world, each one is interesting.

However, this is an action game more than a lore game.  While different old gods are referenced, you fight cultists and there are various references to Lovecraft, 90 percent of the game is just surviving the horrors and killing enemies.  Also, there’s no permadeath, so there’s a continue system, even though it says to restart.

I found this game to be a bit challenging, especially the first boss, but as someone who hasn’t loved Lovecraftian games before, this is fun.  

If you’re a Lovecraft fan this is an easy recommendation, but even if you’re don’t, it’s a good solid twin-stick shooter with a lot of rogue-lite elements, even having randomized maps and more.  Of course, it’s procedurally generated, so if you want more lore or story, this feels lacking that. 

Iris and the Giant.  You know ever since Slay the Spire, it seems like every three months we have a card-based Roguelite, it might be longer than that, but we’ve seen Ring of Pain Demo, Neoverse, One Step From Eden demo, and then the full game, I’m sure there’s a couple of others I’m forgetting.  And you know what.  I’m not that mad.  Iris and the Giant is another card-based rogue-lite, but that’s not a bad thing. 

The art style is going to be a love it or hate it, and the story here… listen this is a downer.  It seems to be about memories of depression and I honestly think the game could have survived without it.  The gameplay though is both simple and interesting, and there’s a lot of great strategies, as well as multiple different sets of collectibles in upgrades, cards, companions, enemies, and more.   

The big thing here is every card or item you get is single-use.  If you use a weapon, you lose the card permanently, so rather than deck building it’s more resource management, and I think that’s a good addition as it means you’ll have to constantly evaluate if you want to spend a card on something or save it for the next level or battle. 

Basically at this point, you probably already know if you like card-based roguelites.  If you do, this is a great addition, if you don’t, I don’t think this is the game to change your mind.  I’m a fan, but I’m already a fan of Slay The Spire, One Step from Eden, and more, so that’s not a surprise. 

Boomerang Fu.  I started this game and thought this was a bit of a simplistic game.  You have a short melee attack, a ranged attack in a thrown boomerang, and a dash.  You kill your opponents or they kill you and you get points for kills.  A bit simple. 

However, after playing it for an hour with my wife and daughter I’m impressed and we had some serious fun.  This is a great light-hearted party game, the more players the better, and I would recommend adding bots to fill it out because this game is a little sparse at 3 players.  Having six players, even easy bots, will make this engaging. 

There’s a lot of stories I could tell, whether it be the time my wife killed everyone in one go or when I used a trap and squished my daughter or when my daughter won the game after trailing my score throughout the rounds.  So we had a blast.  The three game modes are a bit sparse, though there are minor modifiers. It is a great pick up and play game, or for a pass the controller type game for a group.   Also, the art and animations are great. 

Pick this up if you find yourself with 4 or more players, or always need a quick game for a few minutes with a group of people.  If you want to play solo or want a longer gaming session, this is so not the game for that. 

With the twelve choices out of the way, we get our usual bonus game.  For this month it’s…

Co-open.  This is a very experimental indie unique type of game.  It’s about the player being a small child and going to the store themselves for the first time.

The entire game is going around talking to people to solve their tasks but while I found a bunch of people there’s no quest tracker and a few of the quests will mention what they want then never mention it again.  There’s also no obvious way to get to some of the content like a ball that’s on the ceiling of a greenhouse, that’s on the top floor of a store, that has a massive ice cavern in the basement too.  And this is all treated as completely normal? 

I’m sure there’s going to be an audience for this one, there are always people who love these quirky indie games that are different to be different, but this one really didn’t speak to me, it’s too strange and too absurd.  Like there’s Smile for Me from November 2020 which was freaking weird, and then there’s this which is just not meshing.

If you do pick up the bundle and like those quirky games though, you’ll probably like this, but as always, bonus games should never be the reason why you buy the bundle, but this one, this is a hard pass and I look forward to not thinking about it again.   

And that’s what we have on tap for this month.  Honestly, I think it’s a great month, there are a ton of choices in a lot of different categories.  Almost all of them are fresh games, that haven’t been bundled before, and there are some major titles. 

I did a video a couple of weeks ago about Humble Choice, and I’ll link it at the end but essentially I said, we can’t live in the past and say “man I miss X month” when it was a Humble Monthly bundle from over a year or two ago. Humble Choice is different, but I think if this what Humble can deliver in the choice going forward, I would not have a problem with this being the expectation of future bundles.  I know next month I’m going to be disappointed with that expectation, but I think this is one of the best and it’s a great value with a lot of diversity in the genres. 

But we come to my favorite part of the month, it’s the Strongest and Weakest, and honestly, I struggled with both of these lists. 

The third weakest of this month is… Boomerang Fu. I will go to bat for this game, it doesn’t have a ton of content, but it is a very fun and entertaining game, but I have three games in the weakest, and boomerang fu is on this list for two reasons.  I would say you need at least three players but more likely four or greater, which is a lot of controllers for a PC.  I also will say it’s not going to last, it’s a party game.  Still, it was fun. 

The second weakest of this month is …. The Wild Eight.  I’m not a fan of the survival genre, and I don’t think this is that bad.  I think there’s some average gameplay here, but it’s also one of the two games I didn’t enjoy this month. 

The weakest of this month is … Outward.  I’m sure some people will love this game, I just couldn’t get into it.  I disliked how punishing it was, and how unpolished it was.  But unlike The Wild Eight, I am definitely not returning.  There are enough other games for me to sink time into, and Outward just put me off. If this is the one that excites you, that’s fine, but it’s not for me.   

Now with that out of the way, let’s talk about the strongest of the month and there was a lot I could put on this list, I’ve changed it a few times, but let’s see what’s actually on there. 

The fifth strongest of this month is… Train Station Renovation.  This game shocked me, it’s quirky, fun, entertaining, just peaceful.  I don’t know, I just like this game for some strange reason and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

The fourth strongest of the month is…  Iris and the Giant.  I love card-based rogue-lites but they all feel very similar, except for Iris and the Giant.  This is a fresh take on the formula especially with each card being a single-use.  I kind of want to play more so I can check out more of this system and see what it does. 

The third strongest of this month is … Endless Space 2.  I almost didn’t put this on the list, I almost put it first, I don’t know what to do with it.  I’m giving it third because I’m trusting that it’ll become more understandable the more time I put into the game, and I think it might be the best game this month, but the amount of time I think players will have to invest before it feels right is a lot, so… third it is. 

The second strongest of the month is… Trine 4.  This was a surprise for me, I liked the original Trine, and I feel like this is the first game in that series that lives up to the promise of the original.  The fact that it is absolutely beautiful at times doesn’t hurt, and the concept still feels rather unique. If you disliked Trine in the past, you may still want to give this one a shot. 

The strongest of the month is… Valkyria Chronicles 4.  This may just be my love of the Strategy RPG genre talking but this is the one I’m most excited about.  It’s also a forty-hour game so there’s a good length with it and completionists will have even more time to sink in.  

So that’s what I have for my review this month.  What did you guys think?  Is this what you’re hoping Humble delivers moving forward, or is there something that you felt was missing? Let me know down in the comments. 

As always, subscribe, and ring the bell, that always helps the channel, and consider liking the video.  It’s a simple way to say thanks and I appreciate it. 

And since you’re fans of the Humble Choice, I’m going to pop up my video on what’s happening with the Humble Choice.  It’s a look back at the first year and a few concerning issues with Humble Choice.  Check that if you’re interested.  I also have a video on the Open World games and why they can be boring.  It’s a good video, I just can’t tie it directly into any game this month, but pretend I did. 

Until then I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching. 

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