January 2020 Humble Choice Overview

Humble Choice Overview January 2020

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January 2020 Humble Choice Overview

January 15, 2020

By: Luigi Savinelli

 
 

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.

We left 2019 behind and we have a whole new year ahead of us. The first humble choice of this 2020 makes us choose from 12 awesome games, varying from small niche indies like Trailmakers and Unrailed to big names like Shadow of War and Street Fighter V. Of course, we have a limited number of games to pick (three, nine or 10 depending on your subscription plan), so let's give a look to what Humble Bundle is offering us this month.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War

Since the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in movie theaters, there have been a plethora of LOTR-inspired games on store shelves, but few turned heads as much as Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The Nemesis System that allows the player to manipulate the hierarchies of command in Sauron’s army and dynamically create rivalries and acts of vengeance definitely is one of the most interesting game mechanics of recent years. Its sequel, Shadow of War brings all of that to a new level by adding the possibility to get your own orc army to send clashing against the Dark Lord’s fortresses.

Shadow of War is a pretty standard open-world action game at its core, but so was Shadow of Mordor. The game really pops to life thanks to the Nemesis System and the simple but choreographic Arkham-style combat. The plot is a bit hit-or-miss at points, and characters can be bland at a closer inspection but the story definitely has its moments as well. Now that they removed the intrusive microtransaction store from the game (the biggest drawback in my opinion), Shadow of War is definitely worth playing.

 
 

Why pick Middle-Earth: Shadow of War?

  • The Nemesis System really is a little jewel of gameplay
  • The action is amazing
  • Lord of the Rings is always awesome

Why skip Middle-Earth: Shadow of War?

  • Without the Nemesis System, it’s just another open-world game
  • Named Orcs interrupt the action all the time with monologues

Read our review of Middle Earth: Shadow of War here.

Graveyard Keeper

This game is for those people who played Stardew Valley, enjoyed it, but would have loved it more if it was way more morbid.

Graveyard Keeper puts the players in the shoes of the titular keeper tasked with taking care of a graveyard. This thankless duty involves actions like repairing the grave, digging new graves, performing autopsies, and using the meat carved during the autopsies to cook food. Yeah…

With time, hard work, and patience, the player can unlock new facilities in the graveyard and to access new places outside of it, like the Village and the Town (that's literally the name) where all the NPCs lives. Just like Stardew Valley, the player is able to interact with many different NPCs and discover their stories. Unlike Stardew Valley, said stories are less about their interests, loves, and passions and more about hiding from the Inquisition.

Why pick Graveyard Keeper?

  • The management part is simple but pretty deep
  • It’s a relaxing game (maybe because of all the quiet, buried people)

Why skip Graveyard Keeper?

  • Definitely not a game for who seeks action

Two Point Hospital

Theme Hospital is a game that is often regarded among the forefathers of the simulation/management games. It was simple, tongue-in-cheek, fun, and all-around a great time. Unfortunately, the franchise never continued after the first game, much to the disappointment of the fans—that is until Two Point Hospital appeared on the storefronts.

Two Point Hospital is not an official sequel of Theme Hospital but definitely is its spiritual successor. The game wears its inspiration on its sleeve, being mechanically very similar to Theme Hospital but adding a ton of new features to the package. The player can enjoy the full experience of creating their own hospital and making it a success by treating made-up illnesses like the Mock Star Syndrome (where people dress up as Freddie Mercury and think they’re a rockstar) or Headcrabbedness (which should sound familiar to Half-Life fans).

 

Why pick Two Point Hospital?

  • If you liked, played, or even just heard of Theme Hospital, this one's for you
  • The humor is on point and does not get in the way of gameplay

Why skip Two Point Hospital?

  • If you prefer realism for your management games, you can safely move over

Read our review of Two Point Hospital here.

Dirt Rally 2.0

Speed, mud, and someone sitting beside you screaming directions all the time; Dirt Rally 2.0 really encapsulates the experience of a long car trip with my girlfriend.

Dirt Rally 2.0 really focuses the rally experience on realism and customization. The game gives the player a plethora of options to fine-tune the off-road races to their liking. Hire your staff, customize your vehicle, and, in general, feel like you’re in a real competition.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that even a small oversight might cost a championship. What tires would be better today? What’s the weather forecast? Do I need more grip on this kind of terrain? For all these questions, the player has many options to choose from in order to take on any unexpected outcome. And that’s just the preparation of the actual race.

 

The driving itself is smooth and responsive, and the car really behaves differently depending on what’s been picked as its equipment. Dirt Rally 2.0 definitely is one of the most faithful recreations of this sport.

Why pick Dirt Rally 2.0?

  • An all-around complete experience for rally enthusiasts
  • This game will scratch your optimization itch

Why skip Dirt Rally 2.0?

  • Racing is kind of a niche genre, and rally even more so

Read our review of Dirt Rally 2.0 here.

Street Fighter V

Street Fighter is the prince of fighting games. The fifth installment of the series has been around for quite a while but continues to be updated with new content and still has a respectable player base.

Street Fighter V had a rickety release. It lacked many features that people wanted (like the story mode) and, at the end of the day, felt rushed. Since 2016, Capcom put a lot of work into the game in order to add the stuff players wanted, and a huge amount of cosmetics as well. Now, Street Fighter V is a fighting game that has nothing to envy in any other in the field.

Except for the netcode. That part still a bit dodgy.

The version included in this month’s Humble Choice is the base game which includes all the game modes but only 16 fighters unlocked. You can unlock more fighters by playing the game and spending currency in the store, or you can get them with microtransactions. There’s also the possibility to unlock everything (all cosmetics and fighters, including the next one to be released in February) by purchasing the Champion Edition upgrade on Steam if you really want everything right away.

Why pick Street Fighter V?

  • The game looks great, feels great, and generally plays great
  • Still one of the most historical series in the fighting game genre
  • 16 characters is not that bad to start

Why skip Street Fighter V?

  • There are four years of content to catch up on, and not everyone is willing to invest the time (or the money)
  • The online part still has some issues despite the game being around for so long

Read our review of Street Fighter V here.

Bad North: Jotunn Edition

Bad North is definitely one of the most interesting indies of 2018. This mix of tactical roguelite in real-time, with just a hint of tower defense mixed in it for good measure, creates a gameplay loop that is as simple as it is engaging.

In Bad North, the player takes the lead of a number of Viking generals and has to guide them through a series of procedurally generated isles. Each island needs to be defended from the invaders by tactically placing the units on the battlefield. Different unit types will be good at certain things, and making use of each platoon’s strengths is of utmost importance. Each successfully defended island will reward some gold that can then be invested in improving the army.

Why pick Bad North: Jotunn Edition?

  • Pretty simple idea but masterfully executed
  • The low-poly art style is charming and beautifully done

Why skip Bad North: Jotunn Edition?

  • As for most roguelites, the “play, die, repeat” cycle can get old after a while

Trailmakers

Stranded on a foreign planet, with little supplies and no communication. Luckily there is enough material around to build a car. Or maybe a truck. Even a plane!

In Trailmakers, the player explores a vast open-world using vehicles of their own making to retrieve materials to unlock parts to make even more vehicles and repeat the cycle. The building system is extremely intuitive and, at the same time, powerful enough to allow anyone to design the wackiest of means of transport.

While there’s no limit to one’s imagination, the game also provides a number of designs shared by the community, which is very welcome in case you want to just grab a vehicle and drop into one of the multiplayer modes.

Why pick Trailmakers?

  • Building stuff is simple and fun. It’s really as easy as putting Legos together
  • Managing to build a vehicle capable of getting that hard-to-reach energy core is a great feeling

Why skip Trailmakers?

  • The building part is honestly way more interesting than the rest of the gameplay

Unrailed!

Unrailed is a simple and fun cooperative party game that can destroy lifelong friendships.

Four people are tasked to build the rails to allow a train to reach the next station. Little problem: the train won’t stay still waiting for the railroad to be complete.

Players have to collect wood and rocks to bring to the train’s wagons in order to build pieces of rail to put in front of the locomotive before it reaches the end of the trail, all while preventing brigands and animals from stealing or destroying resources and, most important of all, while keeping out of everyone else’s way.

Between levels, the train can be upgraded with new fancy stuff—if you’re not shouting at each other for blocking someone else’s way before then.

Why pick Unrailed!?

  • It’s a simple game to pull out when with a group of friends and play for hours
  • There will never be a moment where your character can stay idle

Why skip Unrailed!?

  • Playing online with random people is not as fun

Whispers of a Machine

It’s been a while since I played a point-and-click adventure game that entertained me as much as Whispers of a Machine. This sci-fi noir adventure throws some interesting gameplay options in the classic mix of “combine items and see what happens."

The main character, Vera, is a special agent sent to investigate a series of murders in a small town. Of course, as often happens with this kind of game, the murders hide a much darker secret behind them, but let’s not spoil anything.

Vera has at her disposal some pretty cool cybernetic tools. She can scan her surroundings for tracks and clues and can understand when someone is lying by tracking their heartbeat. These futuristic tools advance throughout the game, depending on the attitude Vera holds during dialogues.

While interacting with NPCs, Vera can choose to be empathetic, analytical, or assertive. Depending on her behavior, new tools will become available to match these choices that allow different interactions, which makes for an interesting development in gameplay in a genre that is historically tied to the narrative.

Why pick Whispers of a Machine?

  • A very well done point-and-click adventure with unique twists
  • Using Vera’s cybernetic gadgets makes you feel like a real detective

Why skip Whispers of a Machine?

  • Like any point-and-click adventure, the story proceeds very slowly, and it’s easy to get stuck in a puzzle

Read our review of Whispers of a Machine here.

Them’s Fightin’ Herds

This… is a weird one

Some of you might remember a little game called Fighting is Magic. It was a small, fan-made fighting game featuring characters from the kid’s show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Despite the unusual combination of a fighting game and the cutesy art style of a show for little girls, the game gained quite the following among the fans of MLP—at least until Hasbro hit the development team with a cease and desist. After that, the development was discarded.

Them’s Fightin’ Herds is the spiritual successor of that small fan-made game from the same group of developers. This time, the game uses all original characters and assets, but it maintains all the influence of Fighting is Magic.

The strange thing is that, despite the concept of having four-legged cute animals as characters for a fighting game, the gameplay itself is quite competent. Each character of the small roster of six has their own quirks and different moves, making playing each of them a wildly different experience. It still feels a bit eerie to control a lamb hitting an enemy using puppies or a deer throwing ice shards, but at the same time, the combat is well crafted and honestly a ton of fun.

Why pick Them’s Fightin’ Herds?

  • The concept is definitely original
  • A cute art style surrounds a core of great fighting gameplay

Why skip Them’s Fightin’ Herds?

  • Definitely not a title for purists of the genre

Mages of Mystralia

One of the most fun parts of Magicka was the way you could craft different spells on the fly by mixing elements together for different effects. It was a great time and the reason for many unintended deaths. Borealys Games asked themselves, “What if spells could be designed on a blueprint with all the calm of the world?" Mages of Mystralia is the answer to that question.

Mage of Mystralia is, at its core, a Diablo-like with slower pacing and more exploration and puzzles. The defining feature of the game is, as mentioned earlier, the ability to craft your own spells. Zia, the main character, has the ability to design her own incantations by combining runes with different effects together on the pages of her grimoire.

This feature opens a multitude of gameplay possibilities in terms of strategies during combat and puzzle-solving. Experimenting with this mechanic is a ton of fun.

Why pick Mages of Mystralia?

  • The spell-crafting system is really enjoyable and offers many options for gameplay
  • The visual style is charming and makes the world all the more vivid

Why skip Mages of Mystralia?

  • If you’re looking for an action-packed hack and slash, this is not it

Grip

If there’s a genre that deserves more love in this industry, it’s arcade racers. They’re always fun, and there’s not a whole lot of them on the PC. Grip is one such game which comes to fill the niche.

Playing Grip means going fast, hitting hard, and not being bothered by trivialities such as “gravity.” The game offers a large number of tracks to run on at breakneck speed while collecting powerups to hit your rivals with. The track design is made even more intricate by the possibility for the vehicles to drive on the ceiling or along the walls, as long as they are moving forward. This simple feature makes any race feel all the more exciting and adrenaline fueled.

Why pick Grip?

  • The driving, specifically with the possibility to drive on walls, make for exciting races
  • Track design is insane

Why skip Grip?

  • It will hardly hold your attention for long play sessions

Humble Original: Unparallel

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

As customary for Humble Bundle's subscription services, we have a Humble Original in this month's Humble Choice as well.

Unparallel is a pixel-art puzzle game that will challenge the player's perceptions. The mirrors will reveal hidden paths and objects that will need to be taken advantage of in order to proceed to the next obstacle. It's a neat little game with some interesting ideas, which is definitely worth a play.


2020 is definitely off to a great start. With titles like Shadow of War, Graveyard Keeper, and Street Fighter V (among the others), this month's Humble Choice offers plenty of games to carry through the relatively slow release calendar of the following couple of months.

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

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

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