Humble Choice June 2022 Review – Three Major Titles

I’m Kinglink and it’s time for the Humble Choice June 2022 Review.  

I’m quite excited about this month, I have previously played three of these games and am really looking forward to talking about them. 

As always I play each game for an hour on twitch, and will now tell you what I think of the game, who will enjoy them, or who should check them out. 

Humble appears to have settled in on eight titles to cover each month so let’s get started and see how they are. 

Star Wars Squadrons.  The Star Wars game I always wanted.

When I was a kid, I grew up with Star Wars: Tie Fighter and Star Wars: X-wing, and always wanted to fight in those epic space battles.   Well in 2020 EA answered that desire with the amazing Star Wars Squadrons, this was a budget title for 40 bucks but still is an amazing experience.  This game is also even better if you have a VR headset, and a flight stick.  The VR on this takes a great game and makes it legendary.

That being said, there are a couple of issues I have.  This is a budget title, coming out at 40 bucks, which was a good price point, but it still lacks content.  There are only a handful of multiplayer modes and maps which were great, but there’s been limited post launch support for the game.  There are 14 missions which again are quite enjoyable, but a little short.  Though I do appreciate playing as both the Rebels and the Empire.  And because of the limited support, the multiplayer is very wear.  It’s not dead, but it’s not healthy.   I have a feeling EA couldn’t or somehow didn’t want to monetize this game for some reason and let the online die, which is sad  

Pick this up if you have VR, or you always wanted to fly either an X-wing or a Tie Fighter.  The experience here is amazing, and you can get so close to the large ships and feel a sense of the size and scale.   This is a shorter experience but it’s one I can’t forget.

And yes, I know, it’s an Origin key, I’m going to mention it here, but I will dig into it at the end.  Just so no one thinks I’m pulling a fast one, I did play this on my Steam version of the game because that’s the version I prefer. 

Phoenix Point: Year One Edition.  XCOM 3, but not exactly. 

Phoenix Point was developed by Snapshot Games with the lead designer being Julian Gollop who is well known for helping found the original XCOM series.  I don’t know much about the validity of those claims but they do seem correct and Phoenix Point isn’t shy about that comparison.  Much of this game just feels like the modern XCOM titles and that’s quite reasonable.

Phoenix Point does seem to live up to the ideas behind the series, and presents a new game with a different enemy, from a virus plague.  The game did come out at the end of 2019 but you know….   However, there are a few solid changes here as well.  Instead of hit percentage, there’s a new hit system involving the targeting reticle that could use more explanation but I prefer it, though it does change up the game quite a bit.   At the same time, there’s also the ability to use vehicles as part of the combat, and I was loving the destructive ability when the attacks were available.

Pick this up if you like XCOM, this is a large beefy game.  It feels like XCOM but done in a different style, and I am curious to play, though I have to admit, I came nowhere close to the end of the tutorial because there’s a ton involved here, which is expected with the genre.  However, the experience I had was worth continuing. 

Call of the Sea.  A puzzle game set on an island.

Call of the Sea is a puzzle game that also feels like it’s a bit of a walking simulator.  Players will explore an island, finding tons of small items to pick up and investigate.  Many of which are involved in elaborate puzzles.  Truthfully I only was able to solve two or three puzzles during my time with the title, but all of them were solid, with the third one taking the majority of the time.

The issue with Call of the Sea is the puzzle I got stuck on, stumped me for a long time, however after getting a single hint, it all clicked into place, but that was after about twenty to thirty minutes.  I found one solution but there’s another explanation for it, and I appreciate that, but I can also see this game will challenge players.     

It’s the writing and voice acting that deserve a special mention because this is a compelling story from the first hour and I want to see where it goes.  There are a few tropes involved, but there’s also a lot of mystery and intrigue.

Pick this up if you like challenging puzzle games and solid stories. This feels like an absolute hit with the understanding the puzzles might be extremely hard to solve, but good puzzle games will be somewhere on the scale between challenging and obscure, and I think this was more about difficulty so far than poorly designed puzzles.  

I’m planning on coming back to this as soon as possible. 

Gamedec.  A great elevator pitch, but only that.

Here’s the idea, you’re a game detective, and you’re going to go into multiple different video games and solve crimes in a futuristic cyberpunk world.  That sounds great, and I’ll even ignore the fact that it’s a point-and-click adventure game rather than an action game or anything else.  There was a good concept at the core here.

The problem is that Gamedec tries to highlight its writing as a major element and pushes the player to appreciate the vast quantities of dialogue. This isn’t Disco Elysium, but it’s trying to be Disco Elysium at times.   The problem is that it is blunt with its exposition.  It feels more like a thirteen-year-old chuckling about the ability to discuss adult games than an interesting depiction of whatever subject matter it’s trying to reach, and oftentimes wants to just drop strange words when a better term exists.  Why call yourself a Gamedec if Game Detective exists and you have to say that often enough.  For an example of the writing, the very first case involves a son of a powerful exec that’s currently been on a multi-day bender in the virtual world with an erection.  And that’s delivered far more bluntly than you can imagine.

Pick this up if you like poor translations, or potentially know a different language.  The studio is in Poland, and I see a lot of Italian and Polish sites rate this game higher than others.  It’s likely a translation issue that puts the game in the state it’s in, but it’s still in a state that is hard to accept as is if you’re going to play it in English.

Just as a note, I did put a voice line in the audio, but the majority of the text is non-voiced, with characters only doing a single intro line.

Pumpkin Jack.  A competent platformer, but that’s it. 

The minute you start playing Pumpkin Jack you realize you’re playing a solid platformer.  The controls work well, the double jump just feels right, and the level gives just the right amount of hints on where to go next.   And then suddenly you found a secret item where your character does a little funky dance.  This is all part of the DNA of a typical platformer with a bit of a collect-a-thon.

But Pumpkin Jack is just that.  A solid platformer that doesn’t stand out.  The art looks acceptable, the level design is ok, and the story works, but that it.  There’s not a lot to buy with the collected items, and the game isn’t that long either.  But overall the game just feels ok.  This isn’t necessarily a bad or a good thing, it’s just average, and that’s probably the biggest issue I have with Pumpkin Jack. 

I will say this is created by a single developer, which is impressive, but as a gamer, this is a 30-dollar title, and my mind kept asking why I wasn’t playing something else like  A Hat in Time.    I want to see more by the Developer whose name I’d butcher, Nicolas Meyssonnier because he delivered a finished product, but maybe take a little more time with the design as well. 

Pick this up if you love 3d Platformers and need a new one after playing most of them.  The issue here is more about how much competition there is in the genre and how many have done this better.   The game also throws achievements at the player, I earned 10 out of 33 in under one hour.  Still, I want to stress, that this isn’t a negative review.  It’s just not a positive one either. 

Siege Survival: Gloria Victis.  This war of yore.

Siege Survival is a Medieval tale, where a Bastion is under siege by enemies, and the player has to survive, assist the knights fighting on their behalf, and scavenge goods in the large town as enemies hunt for them.  It’s a concept that made me wonder before I realized that this is just a different variant of This War of Mine.

The thing is this is a different take on the tale.  Siege Survival focuses more on a more direct representation of the siege.  Players will give arms and feed the soldiers defending their encampment.  The enemy will sometimes bombard the Bastion with trebuchet fire, and players will manage their soldiers’ wants and needs.  While there is depression and pain, it’s not so recognizable either, and that’s a good thing.  

Pick this up if you want a more relaxed version of This War is Mine, or just want a simple survival game during wartime.   Where This War of Mine tries to make a direct statement, Siege Survival is more of a pure game, and I want to thank my follower Royal for that point because it focuses on the difference between these titles.  This isn’t meant to say one is better than the other.  There’s room for both a thought experiment and a game in this space, and in that area, I think I prefer Siege Survival as This War of Mine depressed me quite a bit, though I fully understand why someone might see it differently. 

I Am Fish.  Wacky zany physics for you to stream.

I Am Fish is by Bossa Studios, just to give you a list, they made I Am Bread, Surgeon Simulator, as well as the VR version, and the sequel.  These are games that were made popular by Youtubers reacting to them, and I am Fish is definitely in that same vein.  Players have just enough control so that things will go wrong, and it’s usually due to trying to master the strange control. 

I Am Fish does give players a simplified control as well as a full Bossa Tier control scheme, just titled Bossa Mode.  Most of the time I Am Fish works well, though some parts are extremely frustrating, namely a specific jar that the fish get trapped in.  There are four different fish each with special abilities, and there’s an interesting level design.  At the end of the day though this is a game designed to be observed by others rather than playing alone. 

Pick this game up if you like any of the previous Bossa titles, Goat Simulator, or similar games.  I’m never been sure if the goal of these titles is to be enjoyed by streamers, or played by end-users, but I think the type of players who will enjoy I am Fish already knows that they will, though I will say this is probably my favorite title from Bossa.  

Superhot: Mind Control Delete.  The better version of Superhot.   

I enjoyed the original Superhot, but when the developer released Superhot: Mind Control Delete, I finally found the version of Superhot I always wanted to play.  Normally I would say a rogue-lite could never beat a well-scripted narrative but Superhot: Mind Control Delete is the only exception I have for that rule. 

The original Superhot was a simple idea, time moves when the player moves.  Superhot: Mind Control Delete uses the same format but pushes players to beat escalating levels of challenges, battling against enemies in a procedural format and even giving players bonuses to assist in tackling the waves and rooms of enemies.  Though after only a couple of mistakes, players will be reset and have to tackle a new randomized set of levels.  It’s the same gameplay that made the original Superhot popular but done in a way that will make every run of a level as intense as the first time.

Pick this up if you enjoyed the original Superhot.  Technically this was given away to people who owned Superhot before it came out, but if you somehow don’t have it and enjoyed the original or at least the concept of it, I recommend checking this title out.  I put in over twelve hours into this title and was extremely happy with the experience. 

And with those eight titles out of the way, let’s take a look at something from the Humble Choice collection.  This is a game that you can check out if you subscribe to Humble Choice at any time in the future.   This month we’re going to talk about. 

Next Space Rebel.  Be your own SpaceX

Next Space Rebel combines two things, launching Rockets and being a social influencer.  It’s a weird mix, but Next Space Rebel pulls it off by focusing on a simplified builder program.  This game will draw comparisons to Kerbal Space Program but it’s doing something a bit different, with more of a focus on giving players strange goals to try to accomplish, rather than attempting to simulate realistic physics. 

There’s also a pretty strong storyline that evolves out of players trying to accomplish various goals and collaborate with other creators but then grows into a far more serious subject matter as the game goes on.  Also, some of the challenges are a bit out there, a few being more trial and error than a specific build, but overall I enjoyed this game a lot, putting in about eight to ten hours so far on Game Pass. 

Pick this up if you want a simplified version of the Kerbal Space Program.  If your goal is to launch satellites or fly to the moon, this might not be for you, but if you like to just launch rockets and oftentimes watch them fail in horrible ways, well Next Space Rebel is exactly what you’re looking for. 

With that said, let’s talk about the bundle, and there’s a lot to say. 

First off, it’s worth repeating over and over.  Star Wars Squadrons is an Origin key.   I’m a Steam purist, and while I can understand an Epic key, I don’t like Origin or EA app at all and think the key’s less valuable because of that.  Some people won’t care, and that’s understandable, but if you expect the games on Steam, this one will upset you.   

Now the bundle itself is quite fresh, though Star Wars Squadrons again is an issue, as it was previously part of Amazon Prime’s free games, so some users may have that.  Superhot Mind Control Delete was free to people who bought super hot before July 16th, 2020.  It also is currently part of the fantastical Diamond Collection for May 2022, which is active as this airs, but will end within a couple of weeks. 

I do have to say three games stand out this month, which are Phoenix Point, Star Wars Squadrons, and Superhot: Mind Control Delete. If you’re interested in all three then this is a pretty good deal, even wanting two or one of them will be a good pickup, but it’s hard to ignore that many players will already own the titles that they want here.   The rest of the bundle is just not as interesting as these three titles.  Granted there are three pretty major games here but I feel like Superhot and Star Wars saturated the market.

With all that said, let’s just move on to the tier list, and as always we use the American school system, A through F, and as has been the case for quite a while, we skip F because again, nothing deserves to be there, as much as one game tried. 

The D tier has a single title this month.  It’s Gamedec.  I’ll show the dialogue for when the player first interacts with the main victim of the primary case but this game consistently struggled with its writing and that’s going to kill most text-heavy games.  I wanted to like this one and gave it a shot, but I have no interest in returning and this game should appeal to me.  Damn.

Moving up to the C-tier, we have two games, The first is Pumpkin Jack.  As mentioned this is the most average game on the list.  It is exactly what I look for in a C-tier title, not better than a C, not worse, just ok.  And that’s Pumpkin Jack.

The other C-tier game is I Am Fish.  I’m still not sure who will enjoy this, or if this is viable outside of streaming.  I know some people enjoy the game, and I know there’s a small market for the genre, but I also question if it’s just impulse buys, or if there’s a decent-sized community for this type of game.  I don’t have those answers today.

What I do have is the tier list up to C tier, and it’s good so far, with three games down, there are still five to go and that’s a good sign for the bundle as a whole. 

Moving up to the B tier, we have the bottom of B Tier Siege Survival: Gloria Victis.  As I said this is a more gamified version of This War of Mine, and I also prefer that. There are several interesting mechanics in the system, and the scavenging is both intense and impactful.  

And the top of the B tier is Call of the Sea.  It’s the game that hooked me the most and made me want to play more.  I love the art design, the mystery, and the experience so far.  I know puzzle games are hit and miss, and it’s entirely possible the puzzles become impossible, but I also got a huge sense of joy just from solving one of the puzzles I was struggling with.  I want more. 

And that’s what we have after B.  honestly, I think of B as titles that are worth playing, but maybe not worth buying the entire bundle on their own, which only leaves the very best.  I’m sure most of you know what they are but let’s see.

The bottom of the A tier is Star Wars Squadrons.  I probably would have put this as the best game of the month, but it’s the Origin key that knocks this down a huge amount.  Yet the game is still good, and worth checking out.  And if you have a good VR setup, this is easily my top suggestion of the month.  Man, this game is frustrating to grade.

The second best title of the month is Phoenix Point.  It’s XCOM, period.  If you like that, you’ll be able to put in at least 30 hours into this game with no problem.  It also comes with a decent amount of DLC, though there is more.  I also think the changes to the formula are strong enough here, that it will stand alongside XCOM one day as equals. 

And The best of the month is Superhot: Mind Control Delete.  I put so many hours into this title, and if you’ve heard of Superhot, you probably already know this series is great, but the Mind Control Delete takes it to all-new levels.   Even playing it again for this video makes me want to dive back in and just take down wave after wave of faceless red enemies. 

And that’s what I have for this month’s Choice.  Now I’m sure like always there’s going to be some people who don’t love this selection, and for them, I’ll say fair enough.  However, I’ll throw out an alternative.  Currently Humble is also offering a Capcom bundle, and for 20 bucks, you get 9 titles, including most of the Devil May Cry series, as well as two coupons.  Pretty good deal for anyone who needs to fill out their collection. 

If you enjoyed this video considered subscribing, and if you want to hang out I’ll throw up a discord link in the description so come hang out, find out when I rarely stream, or just discuss anything on your mind.   If you want to help the channel, comment, like, and share the video always helps, and stay safe out there. 

I’ll throw up a link to my video on Superhot, that design review, and my latest video on Game Pass with a ton of games on that service as well. 

See you next time. 

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