July 2020 Humble Choice Overview

Published: Monday, August 3, 2020 - 11:00 | By: Luigi Savinelli
Average Joe

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.

As fun as it is to play the mighty hero that saves the world or, generally, a badass, it's sometimes fun to play an average shmuck that finds themselves forced to take an unexpected role. After all, that's how Dr. Gordon Freeman became the hero we all love.

 
 

This month's Humble Choice provides plenty of unlikely heroes that are not heroes at all. Maybe you'll be asked to kill a witch on the first day of your first job like in Yuppie Psycho, or maybe the company you work for accidentally provokes an alien invasion like in Basingstoke, or maybe the freaking moon decides to crack in half, forcing you to find a way to survive in the subsequent apocalyptic environmental fallout like in Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive. Unlikely heroes, as we said, but heroes nonetheless.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Deluxe Edition

Fans of the Age of Wonders franchise will find themselves a bit out of place with Age of Wonders: Planetfall because of its sci-fi setting. Let me tell you, that’s just until the muscle memory from the fantasy series takes over and makes you realize that, no matter if throwing fireballs or shooting lasers, Age of Wonders is always great fun to play.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall brings the 4X action to the outer space, allowing the player to take control of their chosen alien race and colonize entire planets. The races themselves are pretty creative and range from the classic humans to hyper-intelligent jellyfishes to a race of alien beings that rebuild themselves using the remains of the fallen enemies. The combat is also pretty well crafted with battalions of up to six units that can occupy a single hex and some mechanics that seem pretty reminiscent of the XCOM series.

Why pick Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Deluxe Edition?

  • Great 4X gameplay
  • A lot of extra content in the Deluxe Edition

Why skip Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Deluxe Edition?

  • The in-game codex could be better

Void Bastards

Roguelites are so rampant that you can’t throw a stone into the bottomless pit which is Steam’s new release list without hitting one. In this scenario, it’s pretty hard for a new roguelite to offer something new or interesting. Void Bastards manages to distinguish itself from the competition thanks to great gameplay, amazing aesthetics and, in general, very well-designed mechanics.

In Void Bastards the player takes the role of a prisoner from a jail ship that was removed from stasis to be sent in a voyage to escape the nebula the ship is stuck in. To do so, the player will have to fly from ship to ship, much like in FTL, and explore these vessels retrieving fuel, materials, and story items. The roguelite element comes into play as the main character eventually dies. At that point, a new prisoner is resurrected and takes on from where its predecessor left off. Each revived prisoner has a set of randomized perks, both good ones and bad ones. For example, a prisoner could be a heavy smoker that can alert nearby enemies with its cough.

 

While the story of the game is not very clear at points, the gameplay is damn good. Ships have a lot of enemies, and often it’s more valuable to avoid the combat by sneaking around and finding secondary routes or maybe even running off with just a few items instead of risking fighting too many strong enemies.

Why pick Void Bastards?

  • Great visual presentation
  • Addicting gameplay

Why skip Void Bastards?

 
  • Story is not great

Read our review of Void Bastards here.

Railway Empire

Americans take great pride in the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. It is considered one of the greatest achievements of the industrial revolution in the U.S. and a reminder of what entrepreneurship can achieve. Railway Empire allows players to take a primary part in the construction of such a monumental work.

Railway Empire is a management game set in the late 1800s where the player will have to create and manage the first railways of the United States. A great deal of planning is needed to achieve this goal as each move must be closely considered. Should we build the rails in a way that gives access to those corn farms over there? Doing so would require the train to have to stop midway to refill in fuel and water but would increase the goods on the move.

Railway Empire is an extremely complex game, and even after putting in some time, expect to be challenged by new features and challenges that have never occurred before. On the one hand, it is good to throw new challenges to the player. On the other, it can become overwhelming pretty quickly.

Why pick Railway Empire?

  • Deep management mechanics
  • It’s great to see a busy well-planned railway

Why skip Railway Empire?

  • Very complex

Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock

I’ll be 100% honest and say right off the bat that I never watched Battlestar Galactica. For this reason, I’m unable to tell you how close to the source material Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock is. What I can tell you is that this space combat simulator is challenging and entertaining and can keep both fans and non-fans of the series engaged.

Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock’s battles use a simultaneous turn-based system where both the player and the enemies set up the orders for their ship, confirm them and see said orders take place simultaneously in the combat map. This system encourages the player to plan their moves to avoid collisions between ships, especially considering that the vessels are pretty slow and might require multiple turns to reach the desired position. While the ships move, they can perform other actions like attacking enemies in range, repair subsystems or deploy fighters.

Between combat missions, the player will have to plan their next moves on the commanding table. There are several missions available at any one point but never enough ships and/or resources to do them all, which causes a lot of pressure. The player job is to prioritize missions accordingly to assure the success of the campaign.

Why pick Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock?

  • Great simulation of combat between huge ships
  • Good enemy AI

Why skip Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock?

  • UI sometimes not easy to navigate

Yuppie Psycho

Survival horrors come in all forms and shape, but it’s pretty uncommon to see one in pixel art these days. Yuppie Psycho, while being a survival horror with a pretty classic formula most of the time, adds some new stuff to the mix, like a general goofiness and the main character that is impossible not relate to.

Brian Pasternack is the newest hire of Sintracorp, despite the fact that he never applied for a job there. Once he signs the contract, he discovers that he was selected to find and kill the witch that is rotting the company from the inside. Brian will explore the building gathering clues and tools to complete his weird task, all while facing monstrous creatures like disembodied humans hurtling at you with a file cabinet tied to their back.

While Yuppie Psycho is definitely a horror game and manages to maintain a pretty creepy tone most of the time, there definitely is some comedy into it. Aside from the weirdness of the situation and the naive comments of Brian, many characters don't fit your usual horror game tropes. They often are your average office sit-com tropes instead. While I found this dichotomy endearing, I would not blame anyone for thinking that it makes it difficult to understand what the game wants to be. I still liked it though.

Why pick Yuppie Psycho?

  • Interesting characters
  • Proves that pixel art can be scary too

Why skip Yuppie Psycho?

  • Someone might dislike the inconsistent tone

Read our review of Yuppie Psycho here.

Beat Hazard 2

What I liked the most from the first Beat Hazard is that it took the best from two genres I like (rhythm games and twin-stick shooters) and made something unique with them. Beat Hazard 2 cranks that philosophy up to 11 by adding a lot of new stuff and, of course, new ways to play with your music.

Beat Hazard 2 at its core is a pretty standard twin-stick shooter. What sets it apart from other games of that genre is that the gameplay is powered by the music the player selects. Depending on each track, weapons will be more or less powerful, enemies will be faster or slower and even bosses will be generated depending on the beat of the music. The game supports all streaming platforms so you can just fire up Spotify, Amazon Music, or even your MP3 collection and play a different game with each different track. Be careful of the flashing lights though. There’s a lot of those.

Why pick Beat Hazard 2?

  • Infinitely replayable (as long as you have new music)
  • It’s great to see the game react to the music’s changes

Why skip Beat Hazard 2?

  • The core gameplay is pretty standard

Sigma Theory: Global Cold War

The world is close to a new groundbreaking discovery: a scientific paradigm that might have the humanity leap centuries ahead… or destroy it completely. The research for this Sigma Theory put all the countries in the world in a cold war since everyone wants to be the one to seize its power. The player is the director of one of these countries’ espionage office and needs to fight this war in the shadows.

Sigma Theory: Global Cold War is an espionage game where the player will have to recruit a small team of elite operatives and conduct missions in order to find the best scientists to study on the Sigma Theory while at the same time making sure that no other country can discover it before them. To do so, the player has several tools at its disposal, mostly revolving around gathering information. Maybe a representative of another country has some dark secrets that can be leveraged during diplomatic visits. Maybe it’s worth looking into the rumors surrounding a scientist in order to have the defect to our country. Or maybe the cartel of other armed groups might be useful for once.

Why pick Sigma Theory: Global Cold War?

  • Good take into espionage and strategy
  • Quite a few mechanics to keep a look on

Why skip Sigma Theory: Global Cold War?

  • Presentation is lackluster

Metal Unit

Who doesn’t love some side-scrolling Metroidvania action from time to time? Metal Unit brings on the heat in the genre with its take on the Japanese robot trope which brings a lot to the table in terms of weapon loadout and skills.

The main character of Metal Unit is a rookie in a war against a whole lot of monstrous enemies. The only way to fight these menaces is with the titular Metal Units, a kind of Iron-Man style robotic suits that give the pilot the power to fight back the monsters. There’s a bit more to that to the story of course but I’ll leave that part to you.

Metal Unit is at its core a Metroidvania. The main character dashes around the map hitting the enemies with a huge arsenal of weapons and skill and some of the said skills are needed to unlock other sections of the map. Everything is rendered lovely with a pretty well-made pixel art style and the gameplay is enjoyable, even if pretty basic.

Why pick Metal Unit?

  • Great retro art style
  • Huge arsenal of weapons and skills

Why skip Metal Unit?

  • Some issues with the English localization

Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive

Survival horror games and point-and-click adventures don’t often play well together. In Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive the mechanics of both genres work beautifully with each other.

The player controls David, a lone survivor of a cataclysmic event that cracked the moon in half and threw the planet in an environmental fallout. In this post-apocalyptic world, the player uses their point-and-click abilities to gather resources and solve puzzles in order to survive the night. Find shelter and barricade windows and doors to survive the night is the primary objective but to do that a lot of other stuff will be needed. Recycle an old greenhouse to retrieve nails, fix up the irrigation system of the farm, and fix up a car to travel to the next location for example. All this must be accomplished taking into account the ticking of the time and a pretty unforgiving weight system. Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive is a harsh but fair experience.

Why pick Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive?

  • Always keeps you on your toes
  • A lot of lore and good characters

Why skip Don't Escape: 4 Days to Survive?

  • Sometimes the puzzles are a bit out there

Verlet Swing

Do you like time-attack platformers? Do you like vaporwave? If one of the answers is yes, you should give Verlet Swing a shot. If both are yes, then it’s a no brainer.

Verlet Swing is a first-person physics-based platforming time-attack game with an awesome vaporwave soundtrack and aesthetic. The sole purpose of each level is to get from the starting point to the finish line by throwing a rope and swinging from point to point in the shortest amount of time possible. If you touch any element of the terrain or any obstacle, the level resets instantly and you try again. Pretty simple but also extremely challenging, as it’s customary for this genre.

Why pick Verlet Swing?

  • Vaporwave galore
  • Simple but challenging

Why skip Verlet Swing?

  • You must be able to enjoy the only game mechanics it offers

Basingstoke

What if Half-Life was a goofy isometric stealth game and also set in England? The developers of Basingstoke probably asked themselves this question and produced this game in existence as their answer.

The Omnicorp company conducted an ill-advised science experiment that resulted in an alien invasion and a whole lot of zombies roaming the small town of Basingstoke, England. As one of the surviving workers, the player will have to find a safe place and survive the whole ordeal. Since this is England and not the U.S., there’s no easy access to firearms so the main instrument of survival will be to sneak and throwing typical delicacies of the place to distract the roaming enemies. Kebabs, for example.

Why pick Basingstoke?

  • Goofy and creepy at the same time
  • Great stealth gameplay

Why skip Basingstoke?

  • Aiming is definitely tricky

Earthlock

A Japanese-style RPG made in Norway? Now, that’s something you don’t see every day.

Earthlock is a JRPG at its core despite its origins are far from the land of the rising sun. Its endearing characters, writing, and its beautiful world would not be out of place in a Final Fantasy game.

Earthlock plays like a classic JRPG of old, alternating exploration sections with a bird’s eye view to turn battles with a side view. Each character has its own specialization in combat, making it crucial to take advantage of their strengths. The game also features a pretty interesting talent system. The talents are present on board and represented as cards and can be switched on and off at will. It’s a pretty fascinating take on the classic skill trees, especially considering that some talents and perks can be crafted or retrieved in the world and added to the board, creating a unique progression system.

Why pick Earthlock?

  • Engrossing world and characters
  • A classic JRPG with some unique mechanics

Why skip Earthlock?

  • As any JRPG, it requires a good deal of grind

Grotto

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

This month’s Humble Original is pretty unique. It’s pretty hard to give it a genre, to be honest. In Grotto, the player wakes up in a cave and finds out that they’re the new shaman sent by the gods to interpret their signs.

From that moment, people come into the cave to search counsel, each with their questions and woes. The player will have to give them an answer by connecting the stars in the sky into constellations, each with their own meaning, and give the people the answer behind the constellation. Sounds a bit confusing but it’s actually pretty simple. The interesting part is that the response does not come from the gods but from the player which can connect the stars however they want to obtain the desired symbol, prompting the story to proceed in different ways.

Popup Dungeon Sneak Peek

This month’s Sneak Peek promises to allow the players to leave their creativity run wild.

Popup Dungeon Sneak Peek is a Dungeon Crawler simulator with a great cardboard visual style. The demo allows the player to play a tutorial scenario that introduces the base mechanics of the game, but the full game promises to be much more.

The most promising feature of Popup Dungeon Sneak Peek is the creation mode, which should allow the players to create their own tokens, spells, equipment and even entire scenarios from scratch, starting from their own pictures up to creating particle effects for each spell and item. Hell, the game promises that the players can create whole games within it without having any technical skills!

There’s a lot of promises there and at this point I’m pretty curious to see what interesting stuff pops into the Steam Workshop when the game launches.


Don't forget that other than the games hereby listed, Humble Choice subscribers get an extra secret game unlocked when the new bundle is revealed, the first Friday of each month. Another unlikely hero maybe?

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