June 2020 Humble Choice Overview

Gaming article by Luigi Savinelli on Monday, June 29, 2020 - 13:00
Feature

Return of the Mystery Game

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.

Those who have been around the Humble Bundle subscription program for a while will remember that before the Humble Choice there was the Humble Monthly, a subscription model where they would reveal one or two games up front and the rest would be revealed as the next bundle would roll over. That model eventually was transformed in the current Humble Choice subscription but sometimes I miss the thrill of discovering the mystery games of the month. Apparently I'm not the only one with that itch since this month, as well as the usual Humble Choice games (including the awesome Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice), subscribers will also unlock a mystery game as the month comes to an end. 

As exciting as it is, let's talk about this month's bundle for the time being.

Supraland

Supraland is a first-person Metroidvania that takes the sandbox concept both literally and figuratively. The entirety of the game is set up in a world that has been built in a literal child’s sandbox, and the player gets to decide how to explore the world and approach its challenges.

Despite its childish looks, Supraland is a pretty well-built Metroidvania sandbox, with little focus on combat and a lot of focus on puzzles and squeezing the creative thinking of the player to overcome obstacles. There is only one overarching goal, and the player is completely free to explore and collect stuff at their own pace, unlocking skills that will give them access to new parts of the world.

All under the all-seeing gaze of the god-child.

Why pick Supraland?

  • Great freedom of exploration
  • Vibrant aesthetics

Why skip Supraland?

  • Childish art style might irk some people

Grid - Ultimate Edition

Honestly, there are racing games that are probably more realistic or deeper than Grid, but definitely there are very few games that can boast its accessibility and looks.

As far as racing games go, Grid - Ultimate Edition is a pretty simple one but that’s OK. It doesn’t play too much into the nuances of the driving in favor of just putting the player on the track and having them enjoy the race. It’s arcade racing at its best, and it plays this strength to the max.

In Grid - Ultimate Edition, the player has a lot of tournaments at their disposal and a decent amount of customization options. The Nemesis system, in which a specially tailored AI decides that their life reason is to kick you down, and the rewind feature contribute to making every race action-packed and dramatic.

Why pick Grid - Ultimate Edition?

  • Aesthetically gorgeous
  • Nemesis system creates some interesting scenarios
  • Easy to pick up and play

Why skip Grid - Ultimate Edition?

  • Forgettable soundtrack
  • Hardcore fans of the genre might find it too simplistic

Read our review of Grid - Ultimate Edition here.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

This one is just a no-brainer. If you never played Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and are interested in the genre, it should definitely be one of your picks. Even if you don’t really like third-person action games that much, you should still consider it.

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is one of the most impressive titles of recent years and a testament to the fact that AA games should definitely become more widespread (and in a way have did lately). What would look like a pretty basic third-person action game at a first glance hides a lot of depth under the surface. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice tackles difficult topics like mental disorders and psychosis in a respectful, meaningful way. What’s more impressive, it does so without sacrificing gameplay for narration. On the contrary, the themes are engraved in the world and in the actions of the player and the main character.

It does a great job of making the player feel uneasy all the time. If you play with headphones, you’ll constantly hear voices whispering from all directions and commenting on Senua’s actions and often belittling her. The game manages so well in making the player feel the weight of mental illnesses that I don’t want to spoil the experience. Just get this one.

Why pick Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice?

  • One of the most intense gaming experiences in a while
  • It looks just amazing
  • Prime example of “Show, don’t tell” game design

Why skip Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice?

  • Might be overwhelming for some people
  • A bit on the short side

Read our review of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice here.

The Messenger

This one is a throwback to times when games were the fresh new thing in people’s homes. The Messenger wears its Ninja Gaiden inspiration on its sleeve but it would be a mistake to think of it as a “clone.” The Messenger brings its own character, and it’s a great one.

The strong point of the game is its acrobatic action-platforming gameplay combined with a ton of humor and weird characters—all encompassed by an interesting and witty storyline that starts a bit flat to then reveal a lot of twists and turns.

The world of The Messenger is also filled with secrets and mysteries that the player will be able to discover by using the main character’s abilities at full. It's a great game for those who like to explore every niche of the environment.

Why pick The Messenger?

  • Interesting, humorous writing
  • Great action-platforming gameplay

Why skip The Messenger?

  • Sometimes hints on what to do are a bit vague

Read our review of The Messenger here.

Barotrauma

The market is full of survival games, but even in such a crowd, Barotrauma stands out for more than one reason.

Barotrauma is a cooperative multiplayer online survival and exploration game where the players will have to manage a submarine and keep it running. The interesting part is that the submarine is not under any of our oceans but deep into the ocean of one of Jupiter’s moons: Europa

Players will have to collaborate to keep the submarine going by using the expertise of the 5 classes of the game to maintain the vessel, gather resources, command the ship and even keep the extremely hostile giant creatures of Europa’s ocean at bay.

Barotrauma should also be commended for its extreme modding possibilities. The source code of the game is, in fact, available for free on Github which allows modders everywhere to do all kinds of amazing stuff with it. The open-source code and the extensive in-game editor that allows you to make your own ships and monsters make Barotrauma a game that rewards creative thinking in and outside the game.

Why pick Barotrauma?

  • Challenging but satisfying gameplay
  • Extremely moddable

Why skip Barotrauma?

  • Not nearly as fun without a group of friends

Felix the Reaper

A puzzle game about a work day of Death itself (or at least one of its associates), Felix the Reaper brings a lot of humor and rhythm to the concept of depriving someone of their immortal soul.

At its core, Felix the Reaper is a puzzle game where the player controls the titular Felix in order to provoke the departure of the target person of the level. The way to do so is through a series of puzzles where blocks are moved around the scene. In addition, Felix can only move on squares that are not in direct sunlight (being a reaper and all). Luckily, the player is able to control the position of the sun, switching it between two positions, in order to create a suitable path for our reaper in a suit.

All in all, Felix the Reaper is an enjoyable little puzzle game with humorous visual gags and some good music.

Why pick Felix the Reaper?

  • Witty humor
  • Enjoyable puzzles

Why skip Felix the Reaper?

  • Gets repetitive after a while

Read our review of Felix the Reaper here.

Men of War: Assault Squad 2 - Warchest Edition

The historical series of military RTS returns with a remake of the original Men of War: Assault Squad 2. The Warchest Edition includes all the content released for the game and allows the player to challenge themselves in either single-player skirmish or multiplayer challenges from 1v1 to 4v4.

Men of War: Assault Squad 2 encourages experimentation because it’s filled with features but doesn’t tell the player about it directly. For example, the game never explicitly says that you can take direct control of your units and go in third-person with one of your soldiers, and the game is packed with stuff like that. While it’s great to figure out these features, sometimes it can be frustrating.

Why pick Men of War: Assault Squad 2 - Warchest Edition?

  • Great strategical gameplay
  • Many units, vehicles and campaign maps

Why skip Men of War: Assault Squad 2 - Warchest Edition?

  • It refuses to let you know how to play it

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

Most video games inspired by Lovecraft’s work revolve around the attempt to prevent the Old Gods of its literature from waking and destroying the world. In Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones, the cosmic horrors already won and the game takes place in the aftermath.

In this CRPG, the player creates a character based on 1920s stereotypes and is sent in a city that has been transported into the abyss of the formless monsters in Lovecraft’s mind. Dread, terror, and madness are commonplace as the games of power of whatever remains is played between the mob who hold the city by their neck and the cultists whose philosophy is “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Our character will pursue a man that appears in their dreams, and their quest will bring clarity on the events of the game. They could also just put all that at a pause and follow the many side quests and storylines that the game offers, which are quite a number.

Why pick Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones?

  • Nice hand-drawn illustration
  • Extremely well-written world

Why skip Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones?

  • Combat is the weakest part of the game

Read our first impressions of Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones here.

Remnants of Naezith

For being a time attack platformer, Remnants of Naezith has quite the attention of the storyline, with the main character finding the remains of the titular dragon which grants him the ability to protrude magical hooks off their fists. These hooks are used in the game to grab surfaces and swing from platform to platform towards the end of the level as fast as possible

That’s pretty much it gameplay-wise, but, as often happens for these games, the fun doesn’t come from the mechanics themselves but from the level design. In Remnants of Naezith, the player must make use of all their reflexes and calculate distances at a glance to avoid the countless obstacles and dangerous pits present everywhere.

Why pick Remnants of Naezith?

  • Super fast gameplay
  • Challenging levels

Why skip Remnants of Naezith?

  • Quite a one-trick pony

Overload

When I was a kid, I played a game where you manned a small one-person ship in a series of labyrinthine, technological underground buildings. It was called Forsaken and I absolutely loved it. Playing Overload I had vibes from that old video game, and it’s easy to see why. Overload is made by the same developers who made Descent, an even older game which was the main inspiration for Forsaken.

Whoever played and liked any of the games mentioned in the previous paragraph, should definitely pick this one. It’s a love letter to the genre, and it works pretty well at that. The sense of movement is unparalleled since direction is apparently just an opinion and up and down have no meaning. A great arsenal of weapons and power-ups allows for some great shooting action. Given the movement system, it might create some mild motion sickness for some.

Why pick Overload?

  • A great love letter to a great genre
  • Great sense of movement and lots of weapons

Why skip Overload?

  • Skip this if you risk motion sickness

The Stillness of the Wind

The Stillness of the Wind is a rare gem in the video games market for more than one reason. For once, it’s a nostalgic game not in the sense that it provokes nostalgia but rather than it talks about nostalgia.

Talma is the last of her large family remaining to tend to a little farm in the desert. Every day is punctuated by repeating the same routine of milking the goat, watering the plants, gathering the eggs, and making the cheese. Talma, however, is of old age, and there are not enough hours in a day to do everything as her every movement carries the slowness and the purposefulness of time itself.

Talma’s only contact with the external world is a traveling merchant which also carries her letters of her nephews and nieces that moved to the city. They all reminisce of their time on the farm and often would prefer to be back at that age.

While it might look like a smaller Harvest Moon at a glance, The Stillness of the Wind is an exercise in narration and patience where every movement is deliberate and, for some reason, such slowness brings peace rather than frustration.

Why pick The Stillness of the Wind?

  • Great experience from a great design
  • Awesome narration embedded in the game

Why skip The Stillness of the Wind?

  • Definitely not a game for who seeks action

The King's Bird

This month has been plentiful for lovers of the platformer genre. The King's Bird is a platforming game that puts a lot of focus on momentum and gliding mechanics.

The concept in the center of the game is the research of freedom, with our main character seeking to leave her “cage” and explore the outside world. She will do so with a series of mechanics that allow her to slide, wall-jump, and glide like the titular bird. It doesn’t offer a lot of mechanics but the ones it offers are really well-made.

Why pick The King's Bird?

  • Satisfying platforming mechanics
  • Nice minimal art style

Why skip The King's Bird?

  • Controls are a bit fiddly

Read our review of The King's Bird here.

Before I Forget

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

Humble Choice subscribers get the chance to play Before I Forget a whole month before its official launch on Steam.

Before I Forget aims to show the player how the world appears to a person with dementia. It does so in a sweet, thought-provoking way putting the player in such a person’s shoes thanks to the first-person perspective.

With the excuse of solving a mystery, Before I Forget forces the player to experience the loss of a lived life under the form of fading memories. It does so in a calm, almost subtle way that leaves a melancholic yet wholesome aftertaste.

Ikenfell Sneak Peek

Another month, another Sneak Peek.

This month, Humble Choice subscribers will be the first to check out Ikenfell, an upcoming turn-based RPG set in a world where magic comes from painting.

Considering the setting, it’s no surprise that the game is vibrant, upbeat, and colorful. The group of trouble-makers magic students will travel this world between grid-based tactical fights and a lot of interesting, weird characters. Additionally, the soundtrack is a real banger.


Such great games, a special title, a sneak peek, AND a mystery game to top it off? Humble Choice is definitely starting to spoil its subscribers! 

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

About the Author

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Luigi Savinelli

Writer

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