Humble Choice May 2021 Review – Metro Exodus and some other games

I’m Kinglink and it’s time for the Humble Choice for May 2021.  

As always I play each game for an hour, and then try to summarize the game in terms of who will enjoy it or want to play it. As almost always we have 12 games to check out, and premium and classic members get all twelve, so let’s dive in. 

Metro Exodus.  This is an excellent first-person shooter with stealth and survival elements, though neither of those categories is as strong as the words may seem.  Players can sneak around behind enemies and will have to scavenge ammo, filters, and even gas masks in a post-apocalyptic setting. 

The story in Metro Exodus has taken a huge step forward in how they tell the story.  From an opening train ride that gives you the back story or short but efficient cutscenes, I was hooked almost immediately and wanted to know more.  There’s also a big action set piece about an hour into the game, which got me to play a little more. 

The graphics are especially good and will probably look better with the enhanced version that came on the 6th.  I accidentally played the original version for the video and it still looked extremely good.

Pick this up if you like the Metro Series, or want an FPS with more story and an adventure.  Though this is not a run and gun shooter, and the story here will be depressing with the post-apocalyptic setting.  This isn’t necessarily a happy story, but it’s a well-told one. 

Darksiders Genesis. This is a perfectly acceptable game.  No better no worse.  There’s nothing that stands out in Darksiders Genesis.  It’s a prequel to the main franchise’s story done in a Diablo-style of a top-down view where players take the role of Stryfe and War and kill as many demons as they can. 

The first hour here is quite mindless and while there are supposed to be some puzzle elements in the game, what was available here was a trudge through what starts as an interesting looking location but becomes more of the same after thirty to forty minutes.  The level ends with a rather underwhelming boss fight, a weak cutscene, and players are sent to the next location, the void. 

This feels like a Diablo clone made by someone on a strict budget, and who put just enough work into the game.  There’s a feeling of grinding lurking around the corner, and while the whiff of the original game is here, the experience here really doesn’t live up to the three earlier titles. 

Pick this up if you want another Diablo clone, and don’t mind a weaker version, or if you must have everything Darksiders.  But as a fan of the series I really couldn’t get up any excitement for this title, though nothing ruined my experience.  It just felt average, which is disappointing for the series. 

Hellpoint.  This is a souls-like game, at least that’s the easiest way to describe Hellpoint,  but it’s nowhere near the quality or level of most souls-like games.  Souls-like games have a lot of competition and while Hellpoint has some good character models, it also lacks the atmosphere which drives the genre. 

Hellpoint seems to use the same mechanics that so many games in the genre have, the slow methodical attacks, the high damage and danger from enemies, and a level system that feels like it was pulled from every game before it.  It’s just a shame it never really reaches the same quality bar as those previous titles. 

The biggest frustration is that fighting the boss was interesting, but there’s an enemy that feels significantly harder and more damaging than the first boss right outside of her arena, and if that’s the case, why isn’t he the boss. 

Pick this one up if you’ve played every souls-like game.  It’s not bad, but it’s going to come after Nioh, Dark Souls, Demon Souls, Bloodborne, The Surge, and probably twelve other titles I forgot to mention.  This isn’t even pretending to be different like in the case of Blasphemous.  Otherwise, you can probably find better entertainment.

Cook, Serve Delicious?! 3.  This is a family favorite.  My daughter and I have previously dropped over 20 hours into the game, and are looking to play more.  Cook Serve Delicious?! 3 is an intense cooking game, that will have you racing to fill orders while juggling multiple tickets. 

Each game in this franchise is a little different, this time around players are cooking in a food truck that is racing between locations.  Rather than run a full day, players will have to serve food in at least three different locations and prep between them.  Players will create their menu and hopefully avoid upsetting customers. 

The food in Cook Serve Delicious 3?! is beautiful, and makes me hungry even if I’ve just finished dinner.  The co-op mode is extremely well made but will challenge players, and there’s a lot of different dishes and setups that will keep players from becoming complacent. 

Pick this up if you like cooking games or want a hectic rush.  This can be overwhelming but enjoyable.  It is a bit simplistic in what it expects of the player but will become increasingly challenging especially if you’re trying to push for gold medals for every level in the game.   Though it is just cooking, so if you want something more, you’ll probably be underwhelmed. 

Levelhead.  This is Mario Maker.  I could dance around this fact but this is a very solid platformer with a level editor that is focused on allowing players to create, design, and share their levels and play other players’ levels, and for that it’s excellent. 

I love Mario Maker but wanted a game like it on the PC and Levelhead does that and more, but also gives players a humorous story in cutscenes and a new character that isn’t bogged down with 30 years of previous games.  In fact with a substantial campaign, and what appears to be many levels with a well-thought-out discovery system, players are going to have a ton of content to keep them busy.

There are good challenges, interesting designs, creative uses, levels that will push players’ abilities, and as mentioned a fantastic online system that will give players ways to keep finding new levels to tackle. 

Pick this up if you like platformers, like Mario maker, or want to create something and share it with others.  The ability to create your levels is going to be huge for some players and others will love playing and experiencing those levels.  At the same time, this is mostly a platformer with some deep tools.  If you don’t love platformers or don’t want to see user-created content, this probably won’t be up your alley. 

Fury Unleashed.  Take the rogue-lite genre, add in a comic book aesthetic and story about a comic book character coming to life and you’ll find a rather solid and interesting game.  Players are here to take down enemies, and there are more than enough of them for players to fight through.

Fury Unleashed is a hard but fair rogue-lite.  The game will require a high level of precision at times but also offers numerous bonuses and upgrades as players play through it.  Player’s builds are mostly customized by the weapons and items they find. 

Fury Unleashed looks great too, the boss battles feel quite epic, the enemy choices are solid, and something was making me want to keep coming back even after my session.  I wish the developers went a little further with the comic style, but there’s enough here to shine.

Pick this up if you want a solid Roguelite.  This will never rival the top tier of the genre, but it is extremely enjoyable.  There’s also a difficulty option if you want an easier playthrough and the game becomes too challenging.  If you’re not a fan of roguelites, this one might not speak to you. 

Size Matters.  I dislike games that forget to tell players the goal or give them a purpose.  Size Matters focuses on a scientist who has accidentally created a potion that will make him shrink over time, and must create the antidote before he shrinks too small. That’s what I’ve learned from the description and gameplay at least.  It’s an interesting concept but poor execution.  

Much of Size Matters is about running around and finding ingredients and recipes, then following those instructions to create the antidote, and that’s it.  After you solve a level, you’ll repeat the process in different rooms and slightly different situations.  The idea of a shrinking player could have been more interesting, but mostly it’s just about restricting access to some areas, and if planned out, players can ensure they won’t have problems reaching what they have to find.

The big problem is there’s nothing that makes it exciting.  It feels like a streamer game as you can name the elements after anyone you want.  Putting Bucky in the microwave for my review?  Oh no.  It’s entertaining to laugh about as someone plays, but there’s very little purpose to play it more than a few times.  After an hour I was starting to enjoy the concept, but it also felt like I saw everything the game had to offer. 

Pick this up if you want a great concept that doesn’t stick around too long.  But in reality, there’s probably a better version of the game somewhere, because this didn’t hold my attention. There are also some bugs like getting stuck in the tutorial part of the game which was annoying.

Morkredd.  This is what the devs call a physics-based puzzler, but it’s a cooperative game that can be played by one person.  The goal of the game is to avoid the shadows and guide a giant light ball through a dungeon.  

In single-player, it’s an extremely challenging game similar to patting your head and rubbing your belly.  Each character is controlled with a thumbstick on your controller and while most of the game isn’t time-based, you will find yourself mixing up which character is which.  Getting caught in the shadows, even the shadows of your partner will kill you.  

On the other hand, the two-player couch co-op is very well done and brings an enjoyable experience.  This is one of the few games I’ve played that almost requires two players, and when you work together there’s an enjoyable exploration at the core of this game, though the difficulty drops an extreme amount.

Pick this up if you want to challenge your motor skills or want a relaxing chill game you can play with someone.  The challenge from Morkredd is more about working as a team and in that Morkredd works rather well.   Otherwise, I think it’s safe to skip.

Relicta.  This is a first-person physics-based puzzler, which means it’s like Portal or Talos Principle, though this time around, the big gimmick is the ability to enable or disable gravity for the blocks as well as magnetize them.

There’s also a story that Relicta keeps trying to make the player care about.  The concept is fine, but I found myself tuning out after the first hour, I didn’t care about any of the characters, and a few of them felt like they were having vicious mood swings in between each line.  Relicta could have been better off just focusing on the levels which were well designed. 

The puzzles in Relicta are rather solid, and after the first couple of sets, they started to introduce interesting and unique concepts that kept me having to understand the rules for the world.

Pick this up if you enjoy block puzzle games, though I would say this isn’t as well done as either Talos Principle or Portal.  If you don’t like puzzle games, there’s not much here for you. 

Retimed.  This is a multiplayer platforming and shooting game with players trying to kill each other a set number of times.  The controls here are good, and there’s even a single-player set of levels.

The single-player levels are just waves of enemies with the player having to kill them all.  At higher difficulties, players need to avoid dying to get better results. The controls are well done, and the gameplay is interesting, but the experience is lacking especially as this feels almost like a practice mode. 

The real meat of the game is intended to be multiplayer.  Up to four people can join and fight each other trying to shoot each other and avoid the other players’ attacks.  The big concept here is that when a bullet is about to hit a player, they can try to move out of the way in a time bubble.  

The big problem though is this is another dead multiplayer game, and it’s focused on that.  While you can play local multiplayer, the game is designed for a large online community that it lacks, this game had 0 players before it was in Humble, and even with 50 players online, I couldn’t match with anyone.  Luckily, I was streaming.  Someone on my stream played, Bio Hazard Battle, thank you very much for your assistance.   

Pick this up if you want a weak single-player tutorial or have a group of friends who want to play something new and you like the look of this.  I had a good time playing online, but I don’t think this game has any longevity with online multiplayer.  Unless you know people who want to play this, skip it. 

Family Man.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  Family Man proves that the old adage is correct.   This is a pretty rough-looking game, so when I picked it up I thought It would also be a rough experience, but instead, Family Man is a solid game with a great opening.

The game starts with the player moving through life, getting married, having a kid, being forced to make a hard choice, and being punished for that.  What follows leads the player to need to pay back a mafioso and barely any time to do that.  Family Man continually pushes the player to earn money and try to save his family as well as avoid death.  

At its core, Family Man is a time management game.  You have 10 minutes a day to do various tasks and need to earn money and keep the family happy, though both of those tasks become more challenging each day.   The game also says there are multiple endings, but has a substantial length. 

Pick this up if you like time management games.  It’s an interesting concept, and I think this is done well.  Though I also wonder how much I’ll play because the experience is a bit draining.  Still, this is a game you’ll probably sit down with for a couple of hours at least to get a good grasp of everything going on. 

Vane. The first thirty minutes of my playthrough were rough.   There’s a beautiful experience of flying around as a bird, which gets rather boring as nothing much happens, however after that time I suddenly found where the game wanted me to go, and Vane begins, as you’ll see here.

Vane is beautiful no matter what it does.  It’s very stylized but also impressive in its graphics and art.  I constantly thought about how unique the game felt, and how beautiful it could be.   While the game could be frustrating in forcing the player to wander, the world the player is exploring is consistently worth exploring. 

Vane’s biggest problem is its unwillingness to tell the player where it wants them to go or what it wants them to do, so players will either “get it or be forced to mindlessly wander the massive land before them and hope they don’t lose their way. 

Pick this up if you want a relatively short but impressive game.  While the opening is rough, once the story and experience started going, I found the second half of my hour to have me wanting to see and experience more.  Though it is an exploration heavy game, with no action, and a few annoyances, it still will satisfy those looking to have a unique experience.

That’s all for the twelve games in the choice, but there’s one bonus game.  This month it’s…

Summertime Madness.  In this game, a painter who lives in war-torn Prague accepts a deal where he can explore his painted landscapes, but must leave them after a set time.  It’s an odd but mostly unnecessary setup.  Players will have either 3 or 6 hours depending on which mode players chose, and it appears these are real-time limits.  

Players can explore the beautiful landscapes and will be presented with many very solid and well-designed puzzles.  The puzzles I worked my way through all felt unique, rather than puzzles I had seen before or could be solved by just looking at the layout for long enough, though the final puzzle I reached stumped me, I’m tempted to return to play more. 

Pick this up if you want a solid puzzle game.  I’d say this is more in the realm of Braid, Fez, or The Witness, in that it’s extremely well crafted and designed and will mentally challenge most players. 

So that’s the bundle for this month.  What do I think about it?  Well you know, most of the time I like the variety of the bundle, and this month there are quite a few different games, but everything felt rather average for the most part with only three or four games standing out.   Nothing was that terrible either.

The big game is of course Metro Exodus and I think this is the first month I might recommend people consider the 3 game option if they don’t already have a deal that gives them all the games for cheaper.

I know people want a big game every month, but I feel like this is the choice we’ll get for those big massive games, and I’m not a huge fan after seeing everything here.  I think the quality here is a bit low, even though the high is pretty freaking good. 

Let’s just talk about the weakest and the strongest of the month and see what’s on those lists. 

The third weakest of the month is Darksiders Genesis. As mentioned this is an average game but from this franchise that’s so beneath where it should be.  Darksiders is a great concept, so I’m really sad that they couldn’t create something unique here. I could easily have put Hellpoint here for also being a headliner, but I was more excited to see Darksiders and equally ambivalent after playing it. 

The second weakest of the month is Size Matters.  I just didn’t find this game to be that enjoyable and it was one of the only games this month that I was finished playing after an hour of game time, in that I had no reason to return.  I’ll keep saying good concept but kind of weak execution. 

The weakest of the month is Retimed. Dead game dead game, dead game.  It’s the only game that shouldn’t be in this bundle at all.  I understand why the devs want to be here, but I don’t understand why Humble puts these games in.   I’m honestly sick of talking about them, but they will consistently be my weakest.

So from there, we can talk about the strongest of the month.

The fifth strongest of the month is Relicta.  This is just a personal choice, I like the block puzzle games, and I want more of this.  Also, nothing else really spoke to me, you could put Family Man or Morkredd here, but this is kind of a participation award this month which speaks to the quality of the bundle. 

The fourth strongest is Fury Unleashed.  I’d like to see more of this game, roguelites are good, and I like what Fury Unleashed did.  There’s a good progression, and there are tons of systems I want to figure out over time.  Oh and I forgot to mention you can use the steam workshop and get different heads for your character, such as the Disturbed face, or the T-800.   Pretty cool.

The third strongest of the month is Cook Serve Delicious 3?! This is a fun game, and like mentioned my daughter and I love this one.  I’ve put in 20 hours already and I’d probably put in more if we could get our schedules to work out.  She also wants to play more, and it doesn’t hurt that the game looks and plays great, even if it is intense.

The second strongest of the month is Levelhead.  I played 90 minutes of this and I’ll play more.  I love the idea of creating levels and playing them.  The story was funny, which I rarely say about a game, and I had a great time seeing what other players have already made.  I’m sitting here thinking about when can I play more. 

The strongest of the month is Metro Exodus, nothing else was close.  This is the game that will decide if you should grab the bundle.  It’s that easy.  Honestly, this looks awesome, having the enhanced edition on PC now makes it even better, and after the two previous games, it’s clear this team knows what they’re doing. If you’re curious about this title, give it a go. 

And that’s what I have for the Humble Choice.  As a follow-up to a previous video on Humble and the site taking a 30 percent cut of bundle sales, Humble has relented and has restored the Sliders, so you can set your division.  I just wanted to quickly mention that if you saw that video.  I’m not going to praise them, they handled this whole situation horribly, and it leads to them doing bad and then people praising them for doing less bad.  This is a situation they created and resolved.  At least the sliders are back. 

If you haven’t already, consider subscribing to my channel, and ringing the bell, that means a lot, liking, and sharing the video means even more.  Feel free to tell me what games you enjoyed this month, or which game made you hold off.   Also, I played through these games on Twitch and there’s a nice small community there who I enjoy interacting with, if you want to check that out next month I’ll put a link in the description, my channel is Kinglink Reviews with an underscore.  

I’m going to pop up a video from last year where my daughter and I talk about games we play together, one of which is, of course, Cook Serve Delicious 3, and we talk more in-depth about that as well.  At the same time, I’ll also put up my video that I  just released talking as a former game developer on emulation and ROMs. I have a great little story in there, and I hope you’ll check that out.

Until then I’m Kinglink and thanks for watching.

One thought on “Humble Choice May 2021 Review – Metro Exodus and some other games

  1. Great coverage as always! I have been deactivated for the last 2 months as i’ve had all of the games in both months through various other channels. While I have exodus via game pass, I think I’ll still grab this for that and your other top 5 strongest (I love the Cook Serve Delicious?! series!). Thanks for the udpate!

    Like

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