I’m Kinglink and it’s sort of the first week of March which means it’s time for the Humble Choice March 2023 Review.
I’ve played all eight games on stream for an hour a piece, did a little research and now am here to tell you how they are, how they play, and who might enjoy them. I do want to remind people I’m looking at these games in a 12-dollar bundle, so this is more intended to see if they are worthy if they’re on sale.
Let’s get started with what’s already on screen.
Biomutant. A post-apocalyptic world to explore.
Biomutant is another in that style of open-world exploration games, usually talked about with Breath of the Wild and Immortals: Fenyx Rising. There’s a large map, multiple things to see and do, and a tight combat system that focuses on dodging or blocking attacks to help ramp up damage. The world is interesting to look at in the first hours, and the character and world are unique.
At the same time, the world-building, and especially the naming conventions, can be a bit too “cutesy”. There are also dad jokes that I enjoyed, but it’s not going to be for everyone and the dialogue is done in animal noises, and then the narrator translates over it. I’ve heard from people I trust the game starts strong and becomes blander over time, but after the first hour, I’m still engaged.
Pick this up if you want a large open world to explore, and find these characters interesting. I was initially turned off by some of the names of items but after I got used to the world and writing style I’m ready to play more. The large enemies and interesting environments at least got my attention and there are a decent amount of systems in that game that you can play with.
Jurassic World: Evolution 2. Just like the movies, they made a sequel.
Jurassic World: Evolution 2 is a sequel to a title that was in the Humble Choice in May 2020, now the sequel is also in the Choice. Once again, you are in charge of running the park, building it up, managing guests and attractions for them, and dinosaurs, a whole lot of dinosaurs. The same park management is still here, with many of the same tasks. There’s a new campaign mode, and 6 additional scenarios based on the movies.
Though one of the two big issues is the main campaign mode, which is only 5-6 hours long. The Chaos Theory scenarios will take longer, and that will be where you can stretch your legs. Also, I probably would recommend playing the original title over this one, as the story is more fleshed out and teaches players more of the functionality of the game. The new title do have more dinosaurs and more features, but if you already have the original, you’d do fine playing that first and finding out if you want more.
Pick this up if you like Dinosaurs, Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, or just Planet Zoo. There is a huge blast nostalgia for this game, and revisiting the original movies, with Jeff Goldblum’s voice did get me giddy. The first time I played this game, I focused on Campaign mode, but this time, playing Chaos Theory, definitely made me realize there’s a lot of magic with this title.
Edge Of Eternity. It is an Indie Final Fantasy which sounds strange.
Edge of Eternity is made by Midgar Studios, it was kickstarted in 2015, put into Early Access in 2018, and fully released in 2021, with continued post-release support up until the end of 2022, so far. This is done by a team that lists only 13 developers in the credits and this game is supposed to have 50 hours of gameplay. This is essentially a major title, done by a tiny team that tried to aim for the lofty goal of something like Final Fantasy.
For the size of the team, this is a massive accomplishment. This is a huge undertaking, and it seems like they delivered an enormous game. The combat feels interesting and there are a lot of different systems in the game. The world has a great feeling you can explore it for quite a bit. The story feels epically large at times, and it’s pretty obvious there’s going to be a lot to unpack.
But that’s also a problem. The opening has been modified from the original release, and it can be a little inconsistent at times, like the party feeling bad about one person who dies in a cutscene and ignoring the next character who dies in a battle. The initial release had a cutscene of their reactions, which was probably cut for pacing but it’s so jarring and calous. This is a game that took 7 years to fully realize and there’s varying quality over that time, but that’s to be expected.
Pick this up if you want a JRPG, especially if you want to see one from a smaller studio. When the writing grabs you this has an interesting premise, but you also will hear odd lines at times. Combat is going to be the star here, and the world feels like a place I want to explore.
Hero’s Hour. A fast-paced version of Heroes of Might and Magic.
In Hero’s Hour, players take a champion who belongs to one of 12 races and fight for supremacy against other characters, whether human or computer controlled. This is based on Heroes of Might and Magic and turn-based strategy, but in Hero’s Hour, the combat is real-time, with units not requiring micromanagement. Players can try to order units or cast magic, but this is more about the hero and unit management than focused on individual combat.
At the same time, taking away the deliberate combat does lose something special in Heroes of Might and Magic style, and units all feel like they chugged a few pixie sticks before jumping into battle. There’s sadly no campaign that was the best part of Heroes of Might and Magic, instead you play through randomized maps that you set up. The game promises a faster game for hot-seat fans, but I still imagine this game will take quite a long time to complete.
Pick this up if you like Heroes of Might and Magic or King’s Bounty. Realize the game is more fast-paced in battles as you’ve seen, but that can also be a benefit. However, this is a slow methodical game outside of the combat, so players will ultimately have to be dealing with how best to use their units and resources. This also has a decent learning curve that will take time before players fully understand the choices in the game.
Rogue Lords. An RPG version of Slay the Spire.
Rogue Lords is going to look like yet another Slay the Spire title, and it borrows a lot from that game, especially the map design. However, Rogue Lords also does a lot differently. Instead of a card or a deck, players have three characters, and each uses attacks and skills. Players are playing the Devil, using disciples like Dracula, fighting against Van Helsing, and trying to increase the terror. And the design of the world is quite good. It’s a unique idea.
Yet with this being a rogue-lite, RNG is going to be important, and there appears to be a focus on getting three of each skill to level it up, meaning players may have to invest in certain abilities with the hope of getting a payoff that may never come. Also, Rogue Lords talks about each book, their form of a run, having six chapters, which sounds like a lot, but the tutorial is far faster than a typical run.
Pick this up if you want yet another rogue-lite. This is the issue I have. I have so many rogue-lites I doubt I’d have space to add this to the rotation. Nothing here jumped out at me as must-play, but if you have more time or really like the idea of a more RPG-style combat system as I’ve been showing here, check this out. It’s an interesting twist on a common style.
Demon Turf. A demonic platformer with a good set of collectibles and exploration.
Demon Turf starts with the main character, a young demon girl named Beebz, having a dream where she and the devil trade insults, and then she learns about her abilities. The controls here are tight, and the game has a lot to offer, with great levels, a speed run challenge per level, mini-games outside of the normal progression, and a variety of locations from what I’ve seen.
I want to say this is another top-tier platformer but the art style isn’t perfect,and, while 90 percent of the game feels excellent, there’s a lack of polish on the game that is sadly noticeable. This isn’t an awful game but it’s also lacking something that made Hat in Time stand out. The writing though is good enough to keep me interested in the game and its characters.
Pick this up if you want a platformer. It may struggle to find a fanbase, but this is a game I want to see a sequel to, hoping the developers can give the next game that little extra polish. There’s also a free DLC that came out on the 6th of March, and it’s a much harder experience, probably more designed for the type of players who tackle Super Mario 64 romhacks. So if you want a real challenge, that will be for you. I’m going to play more of the main game to see how it goes.
Golden Light. What is this?
Golden Light is a rogue-lite, but it’s also a First Person Horror game, it gets weirder than that. You can eat any item, including maps, and weapons. The game and story are very jumpy, even having a few jump scares, especially with a focus on mimics. This is a strange game, with an even stranger UI at times. Though I will say after an hour I can appreciate the amount of work that went into some of the art.
The thing is, this game feels like it’s purposefully trying to annoy the player. The Options menu isn’t just bad, it’s intentionally bad. The gameplay feels very random, the controls are annoying to use, and while it supports a gamepad, it requires a keyboard for important functionality. That’s not even talking about the gameplay itself which just seems to frustrate me more with how much it tries to frustrate me. I don’t like horror, I just wish horror was the only thing I disliked here.
Pick this up if… Listen, don’t pick this up… unless you love everything on the screen right now. This is well reviewed on Steam, with 1600 reviews, 90 percent positive, but I can’t find anything to like about this, this feels like the insane ramblings of a man, who got other people to listen to him. Maybe I’m wrong, but this is still my review, and I can’t recommend this in good faith.
Monster Crown. A seriously lacking Pokemon clone.
Monster Crown is obvious about where its inspiration comes from. Collecting monsters, forcing them to sign pacts, leveling them up, and tackling other monsters. We’re going to ignore how problematic some of that sounds. It is interesting to see an indie developer’s take on a famous franchise, especially fresh ideas added to the concept.
But Monster Crown just isn’t that good. It’s lacking a lot of small pieces that should be essential. Monsters don’t make noises, while they have good animation, the swap out and death animations are missing so the monsters just flash to another. The experience screen is awful and wasted. The interface and settings menu are buggy. There are so many pieces here that need work. This is almost three years old and made in Unity, there’s no excuse for some of these issues.
Pick this up if you want an indie Pokemon. It lacks the charm you might be hoping for and could be better, but for my money, I’d probably just go play Monster Sanctuary, or look at something like TemTem, which admittedly I haven’t played. I was looking forward to this game, but I feel like for me to return, someone would have to force me, which is a shame.
And that’s the bundle. Now there’s again no new Humble Game Collection release this month. It’s a shame, Humble threw that out as a way to get their games out but already they’ve run out of titles to release. They’re also removing Hat in Time, and Wild at Heart on March 15th, and just announced they are now removing Fae Tactics and Archvale on April 19th. I’m not sure I understand the point of the Humble Game Collection anymore.
As for this bundle, let’s start by checking the price, and that’s probably an issue. Almost every game here has gone for less than the Bundle price, and even right now the prices are still pretty low, I don’t even think there’s a major sale going on, it’s just not that expensive.
Golden Light has been bundled twice before, but that game has other stuff going on….
As I played these titles, I focused on a voice at the back of my head. Almost every title here is a AA version or an Indie version of a far more popular game and they struggle to keep up. Biomutant could be linked to Breath of the Wild, Edge of Eternity tries so hard to be Final Fantasy, Rogue Lords is a slight variation on Slay the Spire, Monster Crown, and Pokemon… That’s not to say this is a bad bundle, but it doesn’t have a massive stand-out.
As always I don’t try to look at the current value when making my tiers and I’m going to ignore it again, but I can’t say this is a huge bounty of value.
Speaking of the Tiers, let’s go through them. There are four tiers. Misses, Average, Strong Contenders, and Full Bundle.
At the bottom of the tier list there’s a single title in the Misses is Golden Light. This game is overly popular on Steam, with a huge number of positive ratings, which means there are a lot of wrong people on Steam. I have tried, but I don’t think I can recommend this game to anyone, and at the end of the day, I feel like the game actively makes me not want to play it, which is the worst sin… slightly worse than having an intentionally bad UI.
The bottom of the Average tier is Monster Crown. Another title I struggled with but this feels more like a developer who failed to live up to a lofty goal, than a developer antagonizing the player. I want a pokemon on PC, but this isn’t good enough and there are better choices out there. Damn….
The top of the Average tier this month is Rogue Lords. It’s a rogue-lite but it’s not one that stood out which is becoming more of a problem as I find that I’m somehow collecting that genre. Good concept though, and I’m sure it’ll have its fans, it’s just such a crowded genre at this point.
And this is how the tier list looks after two tiers. Still, five games to go. Let’s see what is in the Strong Contender tier.
Starting at the bottom of the Strong Contender tier we have Hero’s Hour. This is a pretty interesting concept, and it’s a revival of a style of game that has been missed but, it lacks a campaign mode that I think would have elevated it, and the pixel art graphics are good but feel a bit cheap unfortunately. I still like it though.
At the top of the Strong Contender tier, we have Biomutant. This feels like a mechanically sound game, and I am curious about playing more, but it also feels like I’ve seen the main pieces of the combat already, and it’s just going to be focused on that type of looter shooter with an open-world style.
We still have three titles to go but let’s take a look at the tier list so far. A decent list, but let’s see how the rest fall out.
The bottom of the Full Bundle tier is Demon Turf. This game clicked with me, I have small nitpicks with it, but this is a game that makes me want to play more, and I’m looking forward to playing more this month. The new DLC though is brutally hard, so even experienced 3D platformer fans will have something to challenge them.
The middle of the Full Bundle tier is Edge of Eternity. It’s an indie Final Fantasy, and for many people, I’m sure that won’t excite them, but to see anyone try to tackle a game of this size is impressive and for such a small studio… I’m thrilled to have this in my library.
This brings us to the game of the month. This month it’s Jurassic World Evolution 2. As a fan of the original movies, there’s a part of me that wants to go research dinosaurs right now. The first time I played this the campaign mode dragged down my opinion, but playing Chaos Theory this time makes me want to see more of this title. I’m hoping to get a chance to do that soon.
And that’s where we leave the bundle. I’m quite pleased personally, I got Edge of Eternity, which is a game that was on my wishlist, and I had picked up Jurassic World Evolution 2 previously.
But if this isn’t for you, let me put up one other choice. Humble Heroines just came out on Wednesday this week, and there are 5 great titles I’ve already covered, a few in Humble Choice, but if you’ve missed them, it’s a great time to fill out your library.
I played Sable on Game Pass, it’s very colorful, Call of the Sea is an excellent puzzle game, Dreamscaper is a rogue-lite that is somewhat similar to Hades, Control is an excellent adventure game that is sort of based on the SCP mythos with some amazing raytracing graphics, and Hellblade is brilliant, I’m looking forward to its sequel this year.
With that said, we come to the end of our monthly discussion of games. Thanks for hanging out and listening to me prattle on about these titles. I hope it’s been helpful to you, I’ve certainly enjoyed it.
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See you next time.