Humble Choice February 2022 Choice – Returning with a vengeance!

I’m Kinglink and it’s the first week of February, so it’s time for the Humble Choice February 2022 Review. 

There have been some changes to Humble this month but before diving into them, let’s go over the games first.  As a rule, I have played each game for an hour on stream and now can tell you all about them, who might enjoy them, and what to expect.  It’s a short month with 28 days, so let’s just get started because time is running out. 

Borderlands 3.  Ugh Streamers.

Borderlands 3 is the fourth game in the series, and once again the player is off to find a vault.  This time there’s a supposedly charismatic duo of villains, a brother and sister streamer pair who use their cult of followers to harass the players.  Borderlands 3 returns with the same solid Borderland experience of looting guns, gearing up, and having solid combat.  If you play it purely for the gameplay, you’ll still enjoy it here. 

However, the story just never clicks.  I’ve played for at least six hours with friends, and no character has resonated with me.  Beyond that, I hate the villains, not in a way I want them dead, but in a way, I just don’t care about them as villains, they’re stereotypes.  This is also a game that’s far better with friends, but there is a lot of content, interesting locations, and more. 

Pick this up if you like the Borderlands series, just don’t expect Handsome Jack or anything on the level of Borderland 2 or The Pre-Sequel’s writing.  I originally bought this game to play with buddies and I don’t mind picking it up to hang out with them, but I have no desire to play this on my own or finish the story, and that’s a pretty bad sign.   Still, it’s a fun game when my friends get together. 

Side note, you do get the Director’s cut DLC along with Borderlands 3, but I didn’t get a chance to dive in there, it is a nice addition though.

Black Book.  I’d probably just read something else. 

Black Book starts at a lightning pace.  You’re married to a man who suddenly dies and you have to break the seven seals to get him back from hell.  It’s a quick setup that works, but after that point, Black Book slows down to a crawl.  Everything in this game takes a long time to discuss and talk about, and this is a story about a woman becoming a witch and trying to break the seven seals.  There are a lot of elements in this game. 

The core combat in the game is based on Slay the Spire’s but this isn’t done in the same progression.  There’s a strange point and click system that feels unnecessary to have been added, and the gameplay is more decision-based than combat-based. However none of these features mesh together, and the story almost put me to sleep for some reason, it lacked any interesting moments for me to grasp. 

Pick this up if you want to learn about Russian mythology in the slowest way possible.  Admittedly this game is popular, I just don’t understand why.  It’s one of those games where reviewers seem to be harsher, whereas Steam reviews are extremely positive.  I’m willing to consider that I had a different experience but I’m not interested in returning to this title. 

Per Aspera.  Terraforming Mars as an AI.

Per Aspera, which means through hardship in Latin, is a game colonizing Mars, though rather than a human commander, you’re an AI, and sadly this doesn’t appear to be a game where you become Skynet and kill all humans.  Instead, it’s a story-based game with the gameplay of a city builder.  It reminds me a lot of Surviving Mars but where I just didn’t get into that game, Per Aspera had me working to understand and optimize my designs. 

That being said, the tutorial is a little barebone and skips a few steps.  The game isn’t always the clearest when something is going wrong, whether it be missing production or a lack of power.  There will be a small icon for the latter, but I missed it at least twice.  That might be due to needing to learn the UI over time.  There are some massive names for the voice acting with Troy Baker taking a major early role, but according to the opening, there’s Phil Lamarr, and Yong Yea in this game as well. 

Pick this up if you like city builders.  The story here is interesting and I’d like to play more to see what’s going on.  But it does seem like a straightforward story about terraforming Mar and perhaps leading to the singularity, though there are very large bases and eventually supply chain logistics to tackle as well. 

Just Die Already.  A game by the developers of Goat Simulator…. Hold onto your butts. 

Just Die Already calls itself an old person murder sandbox game, and kind of lives up to it.  After a short opening where the game teaches players how to be an old person.  Players are given a mythical “Bucket List” of tasks that range from eating many objects to getting hit while jaywalking.  From there the world is left open for the players to explore and experience.

I probably put up a completely clean clip but you should know, this game is bloody.  Oh wait, I used this clip… Yeah, very bloody.  There are so many ways to get injured and die, and it’s a wacky physics game but much like Goat Simulator, it can give the player a lot of control even while being over the top.  The list of challenges is long and will keep people busy for a while, but this is still like Goat Simulator, a game more built to be shown off rather than played by oneself.

Pick this up if you like any of these physics simulators, especially Goat Simulator.  This was fun but I don’t know if it would be as fun without the audience.  If you have a couple of people it might be fun to see what zaniness you can find and the game is outlandish enough to be worth a look. 

Before We Leave.  A post-apocalyptic city builder focuses on logistics. 

Before We leave reminds me of Cities Skylines, it’s a game about building and managing a civilization rather than trying to beat enemies.  According to multiple sources, there is no combat, even though some monsters are listed in the difficulty settings.  The core of the game is laying out your islands for your people to live on, and then letting them expand to other islands, and eventually worlds.  

Beyond that, players mostly will deal with managing trade routes.  If island A has green technology, and island B has red technology, ships can transport these goods in either direction or both.  Before We Leave allows the player to move on from Islands fully rather than micromanage it.  I have played this game for multiple hours to cover it for Game Pass, and the only times I returned to the previous islands was to maximize output or to set new trading routes, which is a relief. 

Pick this up if you like a casual city builder.  Some people might want more challenges, and there are harder and easier difficulties. Players can also just sit back and enjoy building a civilization that they choose to, whether it is optimal or not.   I enjoyed my time with this one and am very glad I now own the game on Steam. 

Paradise Lost.  A slow walk through remnants of the Nazis.

Paradise Lost takes place in an alternate history where Germany did a lot better in World War II.  It’s also a walking simulator of the worst kind.  It is a game that takes the walking part of the genre title way too literally and lets the player move at a snail’s pace, but don’t worry there’s a sprint button that walks at a snail’s pace if it was on ice.  And if you’re not sure that would make the snail faster, that’s exactly the problem. 

This is a slow game, made slower because of the slog.  Many interactable objects have to be triggered in the right position and looking in the right direction.  The letters left behind are relatively uninteresting, and often drop German, possibly Polish, dialect whenever they care to.   I gave up after about 40 minutes because I was getting bored with it, and annoyed because players are trudging through a Nazi bunker, but not in an interesting way.  Forced to walk slowly through locations that should infuriate most people for what they stood for, doesn’t make a good game.  This reminds me of the walking speed of Everybody’s Gone to Rapture and that’s a bad thing.

Pick this up if you want to walk through nazi bunkers, and follow a story.  The chapter titles talk about the stages of grief but doesn’t give a meaning for it yet, and I’m pretty firm on no longer being interested.   Paradise Lost makes me think this game is trying to say this is some form of hell, and I’ve heard there’s some Slavic mythology here?  But I didn’t see anything worth continuing for. 

Everhood.  Just getting this out of the way, musical Undertale. 

Everhood is an extremely unique game.  It’s an adventure game inspired by Undertale, where the player fights enemies or at least dodges their attacks.  While I’m sure the player can attack eventually, in the first hour the combat was all dodging, and that just meant playing a rhythm game where the notes were the incoming attacks. 

Playing on Hard mode was quite challenging but in general, this was well made, told a good story, and had me curious where it would lead.  I enjoyed the music, and the visuals were excellent, though it was hard to watch the enemy animations in some scenes because so much was going on.  Also, there’s a lot of trippy imagery, but it only makes this whole game better.  Just to be clear though, this isn’t exactly like Undertale, it just has a similar art style and some of the same types of humor. 

Pick this up if you like rhythm games.  This is completely rhythm-based, and players will have to master the music or lower the difficulty to get through some of these songs, but it was a completely enjoyable ride.  I hope this game did well enough because I want to see more from this developer. 

Calico.  It’s not just about cats.

Calico is pretty out there for a life simulator.  Players design their characters and then arrive on a magic island to run a cat cafe or at least an animal cafe.  From there, players can meet neighbors, do small quests, cook food, collect animals, and more.  This is just an outlandish game, where one second I was riding a giant rabbit, and then next I was shrunken down to make a delicious Bagel.

Much of the game is open-ended.  While there’s the main story, the focus seems to be on making your own fun and Calico is quite enjoyable.  It’s just a game where you can’t wait to see what it might throw at you next, whether it be placing an animal on your head, or finding a giant cat sleeping in a log.

Pick this up if you’re ready for anything.  I was expecting this to be a laid-back and chill game, but I found myself getting hooked by the game and wanting to see more of it.  I’ll probably even end up picking this game up again if I get the chance just to play through it as it will take about four hours to beat.  But I’m already having a great time. 

So that’s 8 games, and yeah, that’s all there is this month, but there’s now a new service, the Humble Game Collection, on which there are currently five titles. Wizard of Legend, Void Bastards, Forager, Unsighted, and Dodgeball Academia.  I’ve already covered Wizard of Legend, a great but easy rogue-lite, Void Bastards, an awesome… stealthy rogue-lite, and Forager, an incremental game.  Those were previously in Humble Choices.  But I’m going to try to cover more of these titles each month so we can talk about them.  This month is…

Dodgeball Academia. Super Dodgeball in a modern form. 

I played all of Dodgeball Academia on Game Pass.  I don’t play through entire games that much anymore but Dodgeball Academia got my focus and was fantastic.  If you’ve played Super Dodgeball for the NES, imagine a version of that made into a Super Nintendo RPG, with great writing, though quite a few dodgeball puns, or just dad jokes.  This feels like a fantastic way to revive a classic game and does it well. 

There are six characters, each given RPG stats, but done in a way that I shockingly don’t mind much, as the game plays like an RPG.  All combat is done through playing rounds of Super Dodgeball and with each character and most enemies having different patterns it keeps the game fresh. 

Pick this up if you like Super Dodgeball or RPGs, even if you don’t it’s probably worth checking out.  This was a fun one to play, and like I said it kept my attention far longer than I expected.

And that’s all the games I have to talk about, like I mentioned I don’t have anything important to say yet about the Director’s cut of Borderlands 3 but the reaction online is pretty bad, I think I may have seen the battle pass with daily progression, and honestly, I think that is a bad addition to any single-player story-based game. 

At the same time, this is a good bundle in my opinion.  Borderlands 3 is a worthy triple-A title.  I’m not a huge fan of it, but it is a return to that big-name headlining the bundle, and the price is right, I know people say it’s been cheaper, but remember this is also being packed with 7 other titles.  When I picked up my bundle, I knew Everhood and Before We Leave would be worth picking up and during the Lunar Sale, those two titles were going for around 18 dollars.  

Everhood was a game on my list, and Before We Leave was just added to Game Pass three months ago, and I’m thrilled to own that title.  There are a few other games I’m considering when I can fit them in.  

With only 8 games included every title needs to be at the top of its game, and the good news is there’s no Fantasy Blacksmith or Retrowave in sight, so I’m willing to be optimistic here, and I hope this is going to be the bar for a quality moving forward. 

Though a couple of games were bundled in different deals, most of them weren’t  bundles I heard of.  Just Die Already was in Jingle Jam 2021, and Everhood was in the Platinum bundle on Fanatical last month. 

The price is also right, returning the price to 12 dollars, getting rid of the choice, and just giving a deal on the games is the right move. I’m not sure why they didn’t go back to the name of Humble Monthly, but I guess it’s about a choice between buying the games or not.  Alright? 

Also, the Humble Game Collection is a good value for a month, if they will continue to add games to it, it will be interesting to see what they drop there.  However it’s never going to be as competitive as Game Pass, and I think they could have gotten more value with just packing in Dodgeball Academia or Unsighted into a Humble Choice month eventually.   I should also mention that Humble Game Collection includes the Trove.  The Trove is still DRM-free, but the five games in the Collection appear to have DRM of the app itself, and that’s limited to Windows currently.   There are also no achievements if you care about that, and admittedly I do. 

I’m not going to review the Humble Game Collection as part of the Tier list because that aren’t in the Humble Choice itself this month, but I did give it a 9/10, so there’s that. 

Let’s move on to that tier list, and this month I can just skip the first tier.  We don’t have any F-tier games, and I hope we can keep that up.  I like to think only games unworthy of inclusion in the Humble Choice can reach that tier.  

I also want to mention that Kevin Haelterman kind of pointed out that I may have been a part of a self-fulfilling prophecy regarding Midnight Protocol and how I rank games, so rather than rank games based on what I think other people might like, I’ll give you my personal ranks on each one, without any slant trying to account for my background or history. 

So without the F tier, we can just move on up to the D tier. 

The one title in the D tier is Paradise Lost. I think it’s clear I didn’t click with this game.  The lack of speed in walking around, the experience of being in a Nazi bunker just didn’t make it an interesting experience.   It’s the gameplay that lost me, but without the story to make me keep playing there’s no real reason for me to return. 

And with that short tier, we can just move up to the C tier, at the bottom of the C tier, is Black Book.  There is a lot of positivity for this game, and I don’t know why.  It’s a slow plodding story, with uninteresting characters, and I was sitting around for most of the hour.   This is supposed to be a 25-hour game, but that sounds like torture to me.   This was on the cusp of being a D.

And on the other end of the C tier, we have Just Die Already.  I’m not the biggest fan of wacky physics games but Just Die Already is a quest-driven game, and I love doing little accomplishments or achievements.   However, it’s still just trying to be whacky even if it gives players purposes.  This could have been a B tier, but I think there’s a better game in this bundle.  

And this is how the Tier list looks with just two tiers down.  A reminder there are only 8 games this month, but with the final 5 in the A and B tiers, that’s a good start.

Moving on to the B tier, there are only two games left.  We’ll start with Before We leave.  I enjoyed this game, but there’s something about it that holds it back from being truly amazing.  Whether it’s the laid-back gameplay or the fact that it’s mostly managing shipping lanes, I think B is the proper place, yet this is still a game I’d like to pick up and play.  This is firmly in the middle of the B tier. 

The other game in B Tier is one I adored during my stream.  Calico.  Calico had me laughing and almost in tears because of some of the outlandish moments.  I just had so much fun playing with the cats, and there were even dogs, bunnies, birds, and more.  There are so many great moments here, including this giant cat butt.   But as fun as it was, it just wasn’t A-tier material. 

And this is what we have for B Tier,  there are three games left for the A tier, and that’s quite a few which makes the A tier the largest tier this month.  Let’s just move on and see what remains. 

At the bottom of the A tier is Per Aspera. There’s one big difference between Per Aspera and Before We Leave as well as many of these civilization builders and it’s the story.  I’m curious about what happens next, what the tech trees and story will bring, and how the story will play out.  There’s a decent-sized voice acting cast and I’ve only heard two voices so far.  This is on the cusp of being a B but the fact I’m hoping to play on is a very good sign. 

The second game in A tier is Borderlands 3, and yes, I am very harsh on the story here, as I should be, but this is still a 20-hour game that has a huge amount of replayability, as well as harder difficulties and more.  The director’s cut doesn’t add much but Borderlands 3 is still a quality game even if it doesn’t live up to the previous titles, and I am judging based on a 12 dollar value than full price.

And the best game of the month is Everhood.  There’s an easy reason this game is at the top of my list.  It is the game I’m trying to schedule to play this weekend.  I’m excited to play more of this game and see what it has in store, and I’ve had an absolute blast so far.  It’s also a game I’m trying the hardest not to spoil myself on because so far this has been a solid experience.   If I had to choose one game to play from this bundle, Everhood is going to be the choice for me. 

And that’s what I have for the Humble Choice.  As I said, I’m very hopeful for the future of Humble Choice, while only having 8 games is on the smaller side, if this was the line-up, I’d easily find a reason to drop 12 dollars on it, even without making this youtube video.  I’m hoping we’ll see more months like this. 

I’ll be honest, having only 8 games allowed me to get through the games a little bit faster which allowed me to get this video out on Friday, I hope you enjoyed that. 

If you enjoyed this video, consider subscribing and sticking around a while, also ringing that bell entitles you to free notifications when I post new content, it’s a special prize, that Youtube might actually not give you.  If you like to talk about games or be notified when I stream next month’s Humble Choice video, check out my Discord channel in the description.  If you want to help the channel, like, comment, and of course share, that’s always appreciated.

I also talked about the best Humble Choice game and month in my Best of 2022 video, if you want to check that out, I’ll pop that up on the screen, as well as my latest Game Pass video. 

See you next time. 

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