I’m Kinglink and it’s November 2021, so of course it’s time for the Humble Choice November 2021 Review.
So this month is a little odd… Normally there are 12 games to titles to choose from, but this month, for some reason, Humble has released the newest choice with only 10, though you get all ten. It’s something I’ve been asking for. I was hoping that instead of throwing in random cheap titles to get their numbers up, fewer titles could be higher quality. Did it work out that way? Let’s see.
I know some people will immediately dismiss this bundle and I get it. I thought this was a joke at first, and still question it, but give me under twenty minutes and I’ll see if I can find some value in here for you.
Due Process. Indie Rainbow Six.
I’m going to get this out of the way. Due Process is an Early Access, multiplayer-only tactical shooter very similar to Rainbow Six. The art here is good, but it’s clear this is made by a smaller team, which it was. Once you play Due Process though, everything just works together. Maps are randomized, so you constantly have to plan new approaches. The tilesets are great as well, I particularly like the Arena.
The tools for the tactics are well made, including a map that allows quick and easy strategic decisions. The gameplay all works together to the point you’ll be sitting and listening for the enemies’ approach and then reacting to their attacks. While the player base is weaker, the team I found was extremely welcoming and understanding of how new I was, and it was a very positive experience.
Pick this up if you like tactical shooters. It is multiplayer and that doesn’t diminish the fact that the player base might dry up, but I would also recommend getting together with up to four additional friends and joining as a group, I expect you will have a good time. Normally multiplayer is a no-go for me, but I was surprised at how solid this game was and enjoyed myself. I do wish them the best, this deserves a bigger audience and going up against an absolute giant.
House Flipper. 35k for a house? So we’re not going for realism.
House Flipper is a simple concept, you buy a house, do some construction and then sell it for massive money, and that’s the core of the game. At the beginning of the game you do small jobs for various people, everything from repainting a room to removing a wall and replacing it. It’s a simple idea to start with, but then you earn enough money to buy a house and this game gets going.
House Flipper is admittedly shallow though, this isn’t a deep construction simulator, it’s just a fun game where there are multiple different jobs such as cleaning up messes, replacing bad appliances, and more. Almost nothing takes more than a couple of seconds to pull off. You can quickly add a new sink to the wall with a few button presses, but that’s also what works here. It’s the fun of renovation without the absolute horror of it.
Pick this up if you want a fun relaxed sim. This reminds me of Train Station Renovation, a game I enjoyed a lot, but I would say House Flipper is the better of the two. There are a few minor bugs and issues here, but overall, they shouldn’t get in the way. Though I will say that, how the devs advertise DLC for the game in the shop of the actual game is kind of gaudy, and there’s a lot of DLC here, like 40 bucks worth. Still, I had fun and made a good profit.
Project Wingman. An indie Ace Combat that can hold its own.
Project Wingman is an arcade flight game where you shoot down enemies and take on large-scale missions. It is Ace Combat, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As a fan of that series, this gives all the same thrills, and it does it so well. I found out this was a game made by three developers and was a Kickstarter but I actually couldn’t tell either of those things. I’ve played now for four hours total and it’s a great game. Project Wingman looks Gorgeous and controls well, there’s also VR support but I didn’t have a chance to try that out yet.
Still, there are a few issues. The story isn’t great, but then again neither is Ace Combat in general. There don’t appear to be checkpoints in the missions and these missions are decently long. I would say the game scales a bit easy, though the harder difficulties will give fans of the genre a real challenge. But at the same time, none of that harms Project Wingman, for what it is, it’s well done.
Pick this up if you like Ace Combat. This isn’t a flight sim with realistic physics. You just jump in a wide range of planes, fly around, demolish bad guys, and do it in style. This is just an impressive game and made even more impressive by the size of the team, and the quality of the final product. Sector D2 deserves a lot of applause and you should check this one out.
Wingspan. Exactly how to make a digital version of a board game.
To start here, Wingspan is a very popular Euro board game. It’s ranked 21 overall on BoardGameGeek which is pretty reliable and that ranking is impressive. This is the digital version of the game and, honestly, they’ve captured the feeling. The tutorial takes an hour to go through, which is a pretty long time. After playing this though, I get why it’s popular, it’s well designed.
At the same time, it is a Euro board game. It’s complex, with a lot of different rules and scoring potential. Luckily, the game takes care of a lot of the counting and makes it easy to play quick moves and build out interesting strategies. This is a great way to play the game, normally a game is better in person, but I would boot this up with the family. It also supports up to five human players and allows you to play online.
Pick this up if you like board games or card games. It’s a fun, inventive game and once you learn the rules in that first hour, you’ll have a great time. There are a few different ways to play, as well as an online mode with a weekly leaderboard, which means you’ll be busy.
BPM: Bullets Per Minute. Rocking out to the sounds of your bullets.
Don’t adjust your speakers, I am playing music for this title. You see, BPM is an interesting concept. Your actions need to be done on the beat. Shooting, dashing, and jumping are all done at the rhythm of the music, and this music rocks. I couldn’t help but jam out and man it sounds so good when you’re in the flow. If you play this game rhythmically you’re going to have some awesome tunes.
The action is hot, the game very challenging, and all I wanted to do is play another round. There’s also a lot of difficulty levels, different characters, and assist modes including one that takes out the rhythm aspect of your actions. While you shouldn’t use it because it’s not the real game and because of how it works it feels like it induces lag, it’s available if you need it.
Pick this up if you like rock operas, rhythm games, or… oh yeah rogue-lites. This game is so good, I pretty much forgot it’s a rogue-lite. This was just a blast to play, if you’re not sold, check out the trailer, if you like that music, it’s an easy recommendation. And for a strange comparison, this is an FPS version of Crypto of the NecroDancer, though the music is far better.
Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion. Tax Evasion has never been this much fun.
Turnip Boy is a rather fun game, it’s hilarious at times. Just simple joke work such as instead of a checklist of what you’ve accomplished is listed as documents you’ve ripped up. The writing is extremely well done, there are interesting storylines and arcs, and everything feels enjoyable.
The gameplay is similar to a top-down adventure game. I’d say Zelda, but that over-sells this game. It’s more like Minit or something in that vein. The game has bosses that are challenging and the combat is engaging but not too deep. It’s just a fun little journey with inventive location, characters, and writing, such as a Blueberry trying to get together with a Strawberry, but when she gives you a letter to hand to him you rip it up instead because that’s what Turnip Boy does. Check that off the documents to rip.
Pick this up if you like some of the humor on screen, or want a game like Minit. As I said, this is not Zelda, even though there are traces of it in the style. It’s a two-hour game, but one I’m looking to return to and see how it turns out.
SimpleRockets 2. So many ways to crash and burn.
SimpleRockets 2 is a rocket-building game that is inspired by Kerbal Space Program. You build rockets, try to launch them, and see if you can complete different goals. The game is in early access, so eventually, there should be more features and missions, but right now there’s a simple tutorial that teaches some of the basics and a lot of tools. You can build everything from rockets to planes, to Mars Rovers.
The biggest thing though similar to Kerbal is you make your own fun. While there are a few missions in the game, most of the time you’ll come up with your task and then try to accomplish it without the game tracking progress. However, SimpleRockets 2 is just fun to build wild and outlandish designs. Unfortunately there’s a lot of UI work, so enjoy the video of me launching the starter rocket. Most of the time though, I stopped trying to beat a level and just enjoyed the insanity of a bad design.
Pick this up if you like Kerbal Space Program, and want to take a bit of a gamble on the final version. This is well supported and could be closing on a release. There’s also workshop support but it’s on their website not on Steam, likely due to the mobile version of this game and cross-play.
Timelie. A stealth puzzle game that’s a little too slow.
Timelie, at least that’s how I’m going to pronounce it, is a stealth game. When I play this game I think a lot about Hitman Go or Lara Croft Go. Slow methodical games that focus on puzzle-solving. There is also a time manipulation aspect to Timelie and this seems like the type of game I’d enjoy.
But after an hour I was ready to move on. I had seen a new character team up with the player, but the almost non-existent music, the boring levels, and the missing story just made me question why I would choose this over all the other games out there. There was very little challenge to Timelie and I felt like I had seen most of this done hundreds of times.
Pick this up if you want a stealth puzzle game, but I feel no pull to return to Timelie. The time manipulation should have been unique but just feels like a way to take back moves, rather than a deep mechanic.
Wrath: Aeon of Ruin. A game based on the Quake engine, the Quake 1 engine.
Wrath: Aeon of Ruin is a classic FPS, and means that in every sense of the word. While there’s a lot here, this is a game running on an engine from over 25 years ago, a heavily modified version of the original Quake 1 engine, and is doing pretty well with it. There are updated weapons, enemies, and even a crazy new save system where you have to find items to save. It’s pretty fun.
At the same time, this is an ancient engine and shows its age. There’s no controller support, the menus are pretty bad, and while the save system is good, it’s also a little wonky. The game is decently difficult, but difficult for a 25-year-old game, it’s going to be a heavy challenge. It’s a game made for fans of Quake and fast-paced shooters, which is good for those players but this is a game that knows the audience it is aiming for.
Pick this up if you want a game similar to Quake or old-school FPSes. If you remember Project Warlock from the Humble Choice in February 2020 and want an even faster-paced game, this is perfect for you. I’m not a huge fan but this is an impressive effort. Though I will mention this is still Early Access, it does seem close to finished from what I can find.
Mobius Front ’83. Zachtronics meets Advance Wars, and I’m loving it.
Mobius Front is a hexagon-based tactical shooter. Your units can move and shoot, as can the enemy, but there’s a ton of information on display and decisions you have to make based on what you can see. Even this game, which is not a puzzle game, can feel like a puzzle game when Zachtronics gets their hands on it. It has the most amazing feeling when you make a plan, execute it and suddenly everything goes your way.
This is a slow-paced game though, you’ll move your units and then have to wait to see what your enemy responds with. It’s extremely tactical and plan-heavy, where you’re going to study the situation and can use logic and reason to find strong and interesting moves. Like most Zachtronics games this is going to appeal to… well people who like Zachtronics games, like Magnum Opus, Exapunks, and Spacechem. Even when this is a completely different genre, it still has a similar feeling.
Pick this up if you like Wargroove or Advance Wars, this is very similar to both of those titles, while still feeling fresh and new. Personal opinion, I love Zachtronics games, and I picked this one up at launch because I’m a huge fan, but I also fully recognize this is still a game that’s pretty much made for that programmer part of my brain.
Naiad. A game that needs an explanation.
Naiad says it’s a relaxing minimalist colorful exploration, and I found those words in an option on the main menu after I played the game for thirty minutes and couldn’t figure out what the game was doing or was trying to do. Humble once again provides a game that could use a little explanation.
Naiad is serene, and maybe it was after playing House Flipper, Timelie, and Wingspan that I didn’t need another serene game. However, I also couldn’t figure out why I should complete tasks for this cloud that gave me hints for different things. This feels like a game that is lacking a purpose and is called minimalist because there’s nothing else. It’s not bad, it just feels like it’s either hiding the creator’s vision or the creator lacked one.
Pick this up if you want to chill out with something calm and soothing. Naiad gives you the freedom to play your own way, maybe if I’m in a different mood I’ll pick it up again and it’ll chill me right out.
But I do think Humble could have given this game a small blurb on their site, just so I knew what I was getting myself into.
So that’s what I have for the Humble Choice… and coming into this bundle seeing the list of games, I was pretty sure I was going to hate this. I even wrote down my first thoughts in a comment. There are fewer games and the games aren’t exactly major titles, but as I started covering them, I noticed something. I enjoyed almost all these titles or at least understood who would.
In the past, we’ve had Fantasy Blacksmith, Hiveswarm Friendsim, and Swag and Sorcery, these were bad choices for Humble Choice. Now, there are 10 games in the Choice which had been something I’d asked for previously.
Is it exactly what I wanted? No. At the end of the day, November’s Humble Choice has a major issue. There’s not an extremely strong central game that will appeal to everyone. There’s no Katana Zero, or even PGA golf, for a 60 dollar title. And yes PGA Golf was a bad choice on its own but at least it was a major title. Due Process isn’t exactly it, House Flipper also feels as odd as PC Builder Simulator, and while I love Project Wingman, it probably only appeals to me.
That’s kind of the big problem with this month, every game is a niche, meaning every game is going to appeal to a specific fan base, and those fan bases are a bit small. There’s not a large wide-scale mainstream game here or a big headliner that everyone was looking forward to. I’m not saying every game should be AAA but at least a game that a majority of gamers will be interested in. Here, everything is in well-defined but small corners.
Yet even without the headliner, I’m oddly impressed by this choice, there’s a lot of quality games, and there are games people are going to enjoy here, including some hidden gems. This is also a bundle that has never been bundled before, at least that was true until Fanatical announced their November Platinum Bundle that has Wingspan in it. Still, this is a very fresh offering.
Is Humble listening to the fans? I hope so, if they realized they could give us only ten titles, and make them higher quality, great. If they are going to stop bundling games, or giving games that are available elsewhere? That’s fantastic news. I would say this is a great first step, and I hope they can push this farther because November is an oddly strong month in my book, and like I said I was pretty harsh on this bundle when it was first announced.
Though Due Process, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, and SimpleRocket 2 are all Early Access, and Due Process is definitely struggling with the player base, so Humble, you still can do better, I have faith in you.
I’m also going to make a change. Normally I rank the strongest and the weakest of the month. This month, I don’t think I should make the weakest list. People have been asking to rank all the games, so let’s try it. We’ll have a low-tier, a mid-tier, and a high-tier. This is all personal opinion, going from what I enjoyed the most.
Starting with the low-tier, there are two games.
At the bottom of the low tier, we have Wrath: Aeon of Ruin. This is the one game I just didn’t enjoy as much as the others. It has an audience, but that audience is going to be just Quake 1 fans. Still, impressive effort on this one.
At the top of the low-tier, we have Timelie. I just didn’t click with this game, and it feels a bit bare bones. I’m sure people will enjoy it, but as I said, I feel no pull to return to this title, and that’s a bad sign for a puzzle game.
That’s the low-tier and yeah we have a nice little tier list for you to look at. Hopefully, this will make it easier to summarize these games.
Next up let’s talk about mid-tier.
The bottom of the mid-tier is SimpleRockets 2. This is a good solid game, but I struggle with an important question, is it better than Kerbal, or would I recommend this compared to Kerbal. The answer is I don’t know but I also do hope that the final version will make this an easy recommendation.
The next game in mid-tier is Due Process. Due Process is good, but with some small asterisks. I do feel like this game’s player base is a little worrisome, but I could find a match. Yet I also think this is a great tactical shooter and worth trying out. Thanks to the players who welcomed me.
The next game in mid-tier is House Flipper. This is a very solid title, which is quite fun, but it is a simulator game and feels a little cheesy at times. Still, I loved the repair and how easy it is to work on a house, god I wish housework was like that.
The final game in mid-tier is Mobius Front ‘83. Yeah, Zachtronics, This is a fantastic take on Advance wars, and I love the tactical gameplay here. However, I also do acknowledge this will probably appeal to the same audience all Zachtronics games do. Which is me, and that’s perfectly fine.
That’s the mid-tier, which means you should be able to figure out what’s in the high-tier, but what’s the order. Yes, including Mobius Front this is still the top five… which means…
The Bottom of the high-tier, and number four is Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion. This is only so low because of the length, I laughed so hard on stream when playing this game. Maybe it’s humor that’s going to only work for me, but it nailed it. Definitely going to finish this one.
The next game in high-tier and number three is Wingspan. This is a great adaptation of the Eurogame, though it is very slow-paced. Still, this is a perfect game for all ages, and it’s so well designed. Kudos again to the designer of the board game, Elizabeth Hargrave.
The next game in high-tier and number two is BPM: Bullets Per Minute. Just rocking out to this game was so much fun. It’s a blast to play and pure adrenaline. I’m curious what else the game has because I’ve yet to unlock anything outside of a few levels in practice mode but I will be back.
The final game in high-tier and my game of the month? Project Wingman. As I said, I’m a fan of Ace Combat, and Project Wingman delivers that same experience. The high octane flight, the massive combat, watching enemies and friends getting blown out of the sky, and I’m saying this without even trying VR or the conquest mode yet. I’m thrilled to have covered this game again.
And let’s show that final tier list. So what do you think of the tier list guys, or what do you think of the Humble Choice, am I overselling it, or is this better than it looks at first? If next month looks like this again, I wouldn’t have a huge issue with that. I do prefer bigger titles, but 10 games where I can say there’s not a clunker in them? I don’t know if I could ever say that for Humble Choice.
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I’m going to pop up some more videos if you want to see more from me, these are the last two Xbox Game Pass videos, there’s a ton of interesting games in there, and worth checking out even if you’re not a subscriber.
See you next time.