April 2020 Humble Choice Overview

Published: Monday, April 27, 2020 - 13:00 | By: Luigi Savinelli
A Month of Great Visual Styles

Along with all of the good that Humble Bundle already brings to the table, they additionally offer players the chance to pick up to nine video games per month from a curated selection (10 if you're on the classic plan). Varying from popular titles to indie games you’ve probably never heard of, Humble Choice generates a diverse curated bundle to help establish the most paramount game libraries. In addition, every subscriber automatically receives up to 20% off titles in the Humble Store. You can’t beat the facts, folks—that’s one heck of a deal.

This month's Humble Choice games have all wildly different presentations. From the realism of Hitman 2, to the watercolors of Gris, passing through the minimalism of Molek-Syntez and the retro-3D of Turok 2. This month's Humble Choice will definitely satisfy the fans of any visual style. After all, looks are important, and if they can pair with great gameplay like these games, even better.

 
 

Hitman 2

To whoever has been around the world of gaming for at least a decade, the Hitman franchise needs no introduction. Its reboot back in 2016 encountered the favor of both public and critics despite the initial skepticism and this sequel arguably improves it in every way.

Hitman 2’s story picks off from where the first chapter left off and will lead Agent 47 to a plethora of different and amazingly crafted locations. As customary for the series, the environments are fully explorable and provide an astounding amount of different options to approach every mission. You can eliminate your target by disguising yourself as his bodyguard and poisoning their drink. Or maybe you might just want to lure them out while you climb to a vantage point with a sniper rifle. Maybe have them fall into an unfortunate accident involving a giant disco ball. The possibilities are almost endless.

Of course, the game actively discourages going in guns-a-blazing, so don’t expect an action game in the traditional sense. Hitman 2’s unique brand of stealth gameplay relies on deception and outsmarting your foes rather than firepower.

Why pick Hitman 2?

  • One of the best stealth games around
  • An improvement on the first chapter in every way
  • A lot of freedom of action

Why skip Hitman 2?

  • Not for the ones who are looking for a fast-paced action game
  • You often need to replay the level multiple times to understand what’s going on

Read our review of Hitman 2 here.

Gris

Gris is one of these games that transcends the media to tap into other art forms. It’s the closest I’ve ever seen a video game come to being an animated painting without sacrificing the “game” part.

 

This platformer doesn’t have a lot in the way of gameplay, but it still has enough mechanics to not devolve into just another artsy experience. Gris is a proper video game with mechanics, abilities to unlock and a light degree of challenge but the big part of it is the presentation.

It’s just gorgeous to see, with an amazing whimsical musical score and a visual style for the ages and just an absolutely awe-inspiring use of color. Avoid it only if it’s imperative to you for a game to have tens of hours of gameplay and replayability.

Why pick Gris?

 
  • Absolute joy for the eyes
  • Emotionally moving

Why skip Gris?

  • Not much in the way of challenge

Read our review of Gris here.

This is the Police 2

The original This is the Police offered a great combination of several gameplay styles. It was a visual novel, a resource management game, and a simulation all in one. This is the Police 2 takes this approach one step further by adding some tactical combat into the mix.

This time around, other than managing your staff and their activities, the player will have to take a direct part to the most critical missions with a tactical combat gameplay a la XCOM. This adds a new dimension to the gameplay and improves the longevity of the title.

The old parts are still present. You still have to manage your officers and deal with their bad habits (drinking too much, refusing to work with certain colleagues etc.) and still do some detective work by piecing together results of investigations. This is all encompassed by a well-crafted narration and an intriguing minimalist visual style.

Why pick This is the Police 2?

  • The new tactical combat mechanics is very well-done
  • Managing the sheriff’s office is a great challenge

Why skip This is the Police 2?

  • There is A LOT of exposition

Opus Magnum

Another month, another Zachtronics game for those who seek to burn a neuron or two in extreme concentration.

Opus Magnum takes place in a fantasy setting where the player impersonates a young and brilliant alchemist. Each mission requires the completion of an alchemy experiment which can be achieved by setting up a series of simple mechanisms on an alchemy table which will pick up, move and transform alchemic components to the desired outcome.

As customary for Zachtronics games, the mission itself will be completed just by obtaining the final result but the real challenge lies around minimizing the time employed and the component used to compare these stats to the rest of the world.

As usual for Zachtronics games, Opus Magnum offers a simple concept with simple individual features that can get incredibly complicated as mission requirements get more and more complex.

Why pick Opus Magnum?

  • If you like other Zachtronics games, you’ll enjoy this as well
  • The game offers an interesting story as well

Why skip Opus Magnum?

  • It’s a hell of a brain teaser

Molek-Syntez

Fans of Zachtronics, rejoice. This month, Humble Choice gifted us with a second Zachtronics game to make your neurons work overtime.

Molek-Syntez is set in 2092 Romania. The player takes the role of a drug producer that uses a complex Molecule Synthesizer to convert industrial materials like acetone or benzene in drugs.

The synthesizer is a hexagonal board with six emitters that can be moved around its edges. The player can set up commands for the emitters to add or remove electrons to a molecule, rotate it, or push it away. With these simple commands, the goal is to manipulate the molecules to produce the desired drug.

Again, simple mechanics on paper, but they get way more complicated as the game progresses. At least this month doesn’t require you to print a PDF manual to play these two Zachtronics games.

Why pick Molek-Syntez?

  • Very challenging
  • Extremely rewarding when you complete a mission

Why skip Molek-Syntez?

  • Probably even more complicated than Opus Magnum

Raiden V: Director's Cut

The Raiden series is one of the forefathers of the bullet-hell subgenre. For this reason, many expectations come from any new chapter of this 25-year-old saga. Raiden V: Director's Cut makes justice to these expectations with local co-op, dynamic levels, and even a storyline which mutates depending on the player’s performance.

Raiden V: Director's Cut features all the good stuff that fans of the series love and add some more. You can pick between three ships to control in the increasingly chaotic levels and boss fights. The action is as fast-paced as ever, but this time it’s accompanied by a full voice-acted storyline and a side panel with information about enemies and hazards.

The game also introduces an online asynchronous “cheer” system. When someone other playing does something noteworthy, a notification appears on an angle of the screen. If you press a button, you cheer for them, increasing their gauge. Other people can do the same for you. Once the meter is full, you can unleash a powerful attack. It’s nothing major but it’s a nice little system that definitely improves the experience.

Why pick Raiden V: Director's Cut?

  • Fast-paced action like few others
  • A lot of improvements that long time fans will appreciate

Why skip Raiden V: Director's Cut?

  • Exceedingly chaotic at times

Read our review of Raiden V: Director's Cut here.

Driftland: The Magic Revival

After a long war where magic was abused, the world of Driftland: The Magic Revival shattered into pieces. The mages of the world tapped to all the remaining magical energy on the planet to allow the world to continue existing as countless floating islands in the sky. After years of isolation of the people, magic is starting to return and the player is one of such powerful magicians.

This interesting premise encompasses a pretty good real-time strategy game where the player can literally shape the world as they wish. Using the magic, the player can move the isles of the world around in order to connect them to their growing empire of isles so that they can exploit the resources on them.

The other factions will try to do the same, of course, and it’s only a matter of time until the heroes of these empires will clash. Note that I didn’t talk of armies but of heroes. In Driftlands, flying heroes will have some degree of free will so the main commander gives generic orders and they will operate accordingly. No micro management necessary.

Why pick Driftland: The Magic Revival?

  • Interesting premise and setting
  • No micro-management

Why skip Driftland: The Magic Revival?

  • Definitely not a mechanics-heavy or competitive RTS

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

It would be a shame to remaster the first Turok and leave its equally awesome sequel ignored. Fortunately, Nightdive Studios gives us another outlet to vent our thirst of destruction in Turok 2: Seeds of Evil.

Just like its predecessor, Turok 2: Seeds of Evil features the titular dinosaur hunter in his quest to destroy an ungodly amount of beasts and horrifying creatures. In this sequel, he will be able to do so in six new worlds and using 20 new weapons.

With this remaster, the game can now be played on 64-bit systems and received a number of improvements like improved AI, the possibility to climb ledges, and a free save system. Pretty great for a game as old as this.

Why pick Turok 2: Seeds of Evil?

  • An improved experience for whoever loved the game back when it was relevant
  • Just as fun today as it was back then

Why skip Turok 2: Seeds of Evil?

  • Despite the graphical improvements, it still looks dated

Truberbrook

You know what we don’t get enough nowadays? Simple point-and-click adventure games like they used to make them back in the '90s and early 2000s. Narrative adventures where normal people had to investigate amazing mysteries filled with interesting, well-written characters and obstacles that need to be overcome with creative solutions (like using an inflated rubber duck, a clamp and a clothesline to make a makeshift fishing pole). Truberbrook is an homage to those past games other than being a great game in its own right.

Set in the old German countryside, Truberbrook features Hans Tannhauser, a German-American quantum physicist that visits the titular German town and finds himself in a weird mystery. Hans’ adventure is filled with weird and interesting characters, great storytelling, and pretty good voice acting. The endearing and well-crafted visual style contributes greatly to set the feeling of the game.

The puzzles in the game are not a great challenge honestly, but some of the solutions are pretty creative. The game in its entirety is a great throwback to a genre that often isn’t given enough justice.

Why pick Truberbrook?

  • If you’re a fan of classic point-and-click adventures, pick this
  • Charming and endearing story

Why skip Truberbrook?

  • If you don’t like the genre, this won’t change your mind

Read our review of Truberbrook here.

The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut

The RPG genre is really crowded and many of the games in it share a lot of similarities in gameplay. The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut is made for those who are looking for an RPG experience that stands out and is different from the rest of the market.

This first-person RPG with turn-based combat is filled with interesting characters and clever dialog. The player can create their party from scratch or recruit the heroes they meet as they proceed in the adventure. The turn-based combat rewards clever thinking and creativity, allowing the player to unleash devastating combos. A lot of exploration, puzzles, and an interesting story make The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut worth playing.

Why pick The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut?

  • Interesting combat mechanics
  • Clever dialogues

Why skip The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut?

  • Bugs can get annoying

Shoppe Keep 2

There have been some games in the last few years that delved into the life of a fantasy shopkeeper, each with their different twist on the concept. Shoppe Keep 2 goes all-in with the management process by allowing the player to be a part of the community and curate every possible detail of their fantasy enterprise.

The player will manage their own olde shoppe in great detail. Order merchandise to sell from the suppliers, adjust the price to follow the demand, pay the taxes to make the town grow and, of course, take the time to explore the town and meet its citizens.

As the shop grows, it will be necessary to expand the activities as well by hiring a robot to help with the shop while you visit the open world to gather rare materials and fight monsters to obtain more precious stuff to sell. The game is not a looker, but it’s good at what it aims to do.

Why pick Shoppe Keep 2?

  • Manage your own fantasy shop in great detail
  • The game offers a lot of possible activities

Why skip Shoppe Keep 2?

  • Definitely not visually impressive

Capitalism 2

Do you like numbers? Capitalism 2 has got you covered!

This is an in-depth business simulator where the player is appointed as CEO of a declining enterprise and starts building their own business empire. The game focuses on making the player face real-world business decisions and bear the consequences. Decide the price point of your products following supply/demand trends, invest in new land lots to build new locations, turn your empire into a soulless conglomerate and trade in a realistic version of the stock market to male long-term investments.

Play your cards correctly and Capitalism 2 will make you feel like someone that started selling books online and expended to the point of becoming the head of a giant corporation that controls a huge part of the world’s economy.

Why pick Capitalism 2?

  • Great simulation of real-world economic systems
  • Definitely one of the most accurate business simulators out there

Why skip Capitalism 2?

  • Definitely not appealing for most of the general public

Divinoids

Humble Originals are extra games already included in the subscription and don't factor into the choice count.

In this month’s Humble Original, the player controls giant alien shapeshifting mechs inspired by mythology and proceeds to wreak havoc through a planet much like our own

Divinoids is a retro-style side-scrolling action game with a lot of bombastic destruction. It allows the player to customize their mech with dozens of modular upgrades that sometimes have different effects depending on the current form of the character. Pair this with local co-op and you have a simple and engaging title with a lot of replayability.

Ring of Pain Exclusive Sneak Peek

Well, this is definitely a surprise. I was not aware of Ring of Pain and now I’m definitely hyped for it.

Ring of Pain is a mix between roguelike and card game. While we had a lot of those recently, this is a very different one. And that’s not only for its creepy vibe and visual style. Its simple mechanics of exploration, combat, and events all happen in the context of cards. Weird characters will offer riddles that will lead to different results depending on how the player acts on them.

In the game, the player is presented with a ring of cards. Of these, only the two on the front will be revealed. The focus is on resolving the cards to make them disappear in order to reach a door card to go to the next stage. Some cards are enemies that we need to fight, some are items or chests, some are weird characters that we can talk with. It’s possible to rotate the ring instead of resolving the cards we don’t want to deal with but to do so when an enemy is on the front will need a stealth check or we’ll give a free attack.

As far as we can tell from this very early demo, the simple concept is very well executed and the creepy vibe that transpires from the art and the sound give me chills up my spine.

 


This month's games are definitely a feast for the eyes. Even the Humble Original and the Sneak Peek games manage to differentiate themselves from the rest visually. This month is for the aesthetes out there that put a great deal of importance on how a game presents itself. They will surely find something that fits their taster here.

Disclosure: Humble Bundle works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from links in this article.


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Luigi Savinelli profile picture
Writer

Gamer since I can remember and now writer for your enjoyment. Can't say more. Those games will not play themselves