Along with all of the good that Humble Bundle already brings to the table, they additionally offer players the chance to snatch up a medley of video games for a whopping $12 the first Friday of every month by becoming a subscriber. Varying from popular titles to indie games you’ve probably never heard of, Humble Monthly generates a diverse curated bundle to help establish the most paramount game libraries. In addition, every subscriber automatically receives 10% off titles in the Humble Store. You can’t beat the facts, folks—that’s one heck of a deal.
Humble Monthly teased us with three more stellar games in the form of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, Northgard and Absolver. Tactics, strategy, and reflexes tickled our minds while waiting for the fateful day where the other games would unlock. Once the day came, we were met with brainteasers, peaceful and stylistic games, and pure history. Every game in this batch is interesting in different ways and your brains will feel stimulated for one reason or another.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
The first title of this month is a little gem. Mutant Year Zero is a turn-based tactics game on the style of the XCOM series. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic earth where humans survive on the ashes of the previous civilization. The player takes control of a team of “Stalkers,” fighters specialized in exploring the ruins in search for scrap metal and other resources for the Ark, one of the last bastions of human civilizations. The game starts with a team of two mutants (a human/duck and a human/boar hybrids) but the squad will expand soon enough.
The players can explore the map more or less freely in search of resources to spend at the Ark and new equipment. When an enemy appears, they can ambush them, take them off one by one before fighting the main force, or even stealthily avoid the fight. The combat itself is very similar to XCOM, with characters taking turns and having two actions at their disposal, one to move and a second one to attack, use items, or use abilities.
The gameplay is challenging and stimulating. Using a cover strategically and being able to predict enemies’ actions is pivotal to success, especially since both enemies and allies can go down with just a couple of well-placed hits.
Yay or Nay?
If you’re into turn-based tactic games a-la-XCOM, this one is a no brainer. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden has all the charm of the franchise it is inspired from transplanted in an interesting post-apocalyptic setting.
Real Time Strategy games used to be a dying breed. While Starcraft 2 is still somewhat successful and some studios are trying to give a new spin to the genre (Tooth and Tail comes to mind), there used to be very few games that tried to innovate the formula made popular by the Age of Empires series. Luckily in recent times, the genre is picking up some more interest thanks to some interesting new titles. Northgard is one of those games. It tries to stay faithful to the spirit of the RTS games of old while offering gameplay that is interesting and accessible to modern times as well.
As tradition demands, a game starts with the main base and some workers. There’s a hard cap on how many buildings you can build, and to overcome it, you have to take control of the surrounding regions, each with its own resources and challenges to face. During the campaign, the player will get familiar with the four clans of the game and the mechanics of the title, one of which is the seasons’ rotation, which will force players to plan for the long period as resources in winter will become scarce.
Yay or Nay?
It’s been a while since I played an RTS game that was faithful to the classic gameplay while still changing it enough to keep it fresh and interesting. If you‘re into RTS games, Northgard is a must try.
Here’s a brawler that stays true to its genre. Absolver is a brawler where the technique and reflexes of the player are the only important assets needed to succeed. Don’t get fooled by the low-poly and simple aesthetics of the game, Absolver is relentless.
The game is an online based martial arts simulator. Players choose a fighting style and explore a small open world where they meet other players to fight. The combat system is complex but quite intuitive. Every style has a different focus, like hitting hard, dodging, parrying, hitting fast, etc. There are four possible stances available (two frontal and two posteriors) when fighting, and players can choose moves to associate to those stances. Many moves lead to a different stance, allowing players to create a personalized combat style where every hit leads to another stance that allows for different and unique combos.
It’s kind of simple to pick up yet hard to master kind of gameplay where players are rewarded for experimentation and thinking outside of the box. Of course, the payoff is the ability to surprise enemies when fighting against other playersm and the challenge is to predict the foes’ moves to look for an opening to attack as any martial artist should.
Yay or Nay?
Absolver is unlike any other brawler I have played. Its slow and methodical fighting style where you have to create an opening to attack your foe kinda reminds me of the more recent Sekiro, but with more complexity. If you like a battle of wits surrounding a battle of fists, Absolver has that in spades.
At launch, Battlefield 1 received some critique for sacrificing historical accuracy in favor of gameplay closer to modern military shooters. Some people (not all, but some) didn’t appreciate the presence of so many automatic weapons (which, of course, were not that common in World War 1) and would have preferred a gameplay loop that rewarded slower and more methodical actions. If you’re in that position, Tannenberg might be the game for you.
Tannenberg is an online shooter set in WWI. The main game mode, Maneuver, has two opposite factions (with 32 players each) spawn in two bases at the opposite sides of the map. The players then will have to conquer the point of interests neighboring their base. Such regions will give players advantages on the battlefield depending on the type of conquered territory and will allow them to respawn closer to the battlefront in case of death. The faction that controls more than half of available points of interest will drain the enemies’ resource points. If the resource points reach 0, your team loses.
The game is very faithful to the setting. The most common weapons are bolt action rifles, and you only need one or two shots to kill an enemy. Characters have different abilities depending on the role. For example, if a player takes control of an NCO, it will have the ability to call mustard gas strikes on enemies.
Yay or Nay?
I haven’t played a lot of multiplayer shooters since the original Modern Warfare but I have to say that Tannenberg surprised me. If you have a thing for a more methodical approach to the multiplayer FPS genre, it might be for you
Like any other game published by Devolver Digital, Minit is interesting, weird, and charmingly awesome. The main protagonist of this weird exploration/puzzle game is a duckling that finds a cursed sword. Once picked up, the sword causes our protagonist to die after 60 seconds and respawn in the latest house he visited. The goal of the game is to lift the sword’s curse. To do so, we’ll have to explore the world in pretty small increments, unlocking time after time the tools needed to proceed a little bit forward.
Minit offers an interesting concept and simple yet engaging gameplay. While exploring the world, our ducking will encounter NPCs that will give small quests or clues of what to do next. Paying attention and using the tools effectively will be the key to success in this extremely minimalistic world.
Yay or Nay?
Minit offers an experience like few others in the industry. It’s a relatively short game but definitely an experience that whoever like brain teasers should try
She Remembered Caterpillars
This is the first and only pure puzzle game of this month’s set. She Remembered Caterpillars sports a colorful and well-drawn fungus-inspired aesthetic at the service of relatively simple but interesting gameplay.
The goal of the game is to get all the anthropomorphic spores to the white platforms. These spores have different colors that dictate what they can do. For example, there are colored caterpillar bridges that can be crossed only by spores of the same color, while there also are colored antennae that will give passage to anyone except spores of the same color as them.
The player can also combine two spores in a single one, mixing their color. For example, merging a red and blue spore will generate a purple one. Mixed color spores count as being of both the original color so, for example, a purple spore can cross blue and red caterpillars but will be stopped by either red or blue antennae. A simple color matching concept in an extremely pleasurable to look at videogame.
Yay or Nay?
The challenges offered by She Remembered Caterpillars are pretty simple the first few levels but become more interesting and hard to beat as time goes on. A fun little game for any puzzle enthusiast
Dante was not the first to see a motorcycle and think “that would make a great weapon.” Steel Rats embraced the concept already at the end of the past year, although admittedly in a less peculiar way.
Steel Rats is a side scroller action game with racing elements that will test your reflexes and ability to make decisions in a heartbeat. It is set in a retro-futuristic USA in the 1940s where the players will take control of a biker gang that uses their own rides as a weapon. The main mechanic of the game is the ability to activate the sawed front wheel of the motorcycle that we can then use to crush obstacles in the way, fight enemies and even climb up walls. Each of the four riders also has their own abilities to help during platforming sections or to do awesome acrobatic feats and we can switch freely to any of them.
The story is a bit underplayed here but that’s because the gameplay is the star of the show. Cutting steel pipes and enemies in half while doing a double frontal somersault will never stop being great fun.
Yay or Nay?
Steel Rats is an interesting action/racing/platforming hybrid that makes the gameplay its focus. It’s simple and offers a lot of adrenaline-filled fun.
Dandara is a Metroidvania game with one simple thing to keep it apart from the competitors: the movement. Instead of moving across levels in the traditional side-scrolling way, Dandara (which is the protagonist) only moves by jumping from one surface to another and sticking to it like Spider-Man. Floors, ceilings, walls, everything goes as long as there’s a portion covered with white texture.
This peculiar way of traversing the levels opens the door to many possible gameplay situations where our heroine will have to dodge bullets and fight enemies by jumping all over the place. It’s not a perfect system, though as sometimes the game will not register correctly the direction you want to go and transport you somewhere else. It doesn’t happen often enough to be detrimental to the experience, though.
Aside from the movement, we have the trademarked Metroidvania experience with NPCs to talk to, abilities to unlock, and a lot of places locked out until you acquire a particular skill or tool. All encompassed by a colorful and interesting art style and a good soundtrack
Yay or Nay?
Dandara may not be the best Metroidvania around, but it definitely has its charm. Definitely worth a go, especially if you’re curious about the movement system
A Short Hyke
With this month’s Humble Original, Humble Bundle offers us the option to sit down and relax with a fascinating little exploration game that doesn’t require a lot of commitment. A Short Hyke will have us following a little anthropomorphic penguin during a camping trip, on the quest to reach the top of the hill to find some signal for his phone. Definitely not a game for the adrenaline-seeking players out there.
During the hyke, our main character will meet and talk with many NPCs, each with something to say and to offer. Some will teach him how to climb, others will sell stuff, others will just exchange some words and be on their way. Players will be free to roam off the given path and explore the entirety of the map, discovering hidden areas, interesting places and small secrets hidden all around the place.
Yay or Nay?
A short hyke reminds me a lot of Firewatch but without the mystery. While the gameplay might sound dull to many, there’s a charm in just sitting back, exploring, and getting to know all the interesting characters you will encounter.
Each game in this month’s Humble Monthly stimulates the mind a bit more. Some with action and fast decision making like Absolver, Steel Rates or Dandara, others with pure strategic thought like Mutant Year Zero, Tannenberg and Northgard, others will test your logical skills like Minit and She Remembered Caterpillars. Then you can have your brain catch a breath with A Short Hyke. Each of these games feeds your mind and makes you ask for a second serving.
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