May 2020 Humble Choice Overview

Gaming article by Luigi Savinelli on Friday, May 29, 2020 - 11:00
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Hear Me Roar

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 will grant you the chance to unleash righteous fury... or maybe try to keep it contained. Try to put a hold to the destroying power of a T-Rex in Jurassic World Evolution or unleash an arsenal against conquering aliens in XCOM 2. Fight for the survival of the species in Niche or for the survival of business in Rise of Industry. Whatever your preferred way to vent your rage, you'll find a suitable way this month.

Jurassic World Evolution + Deluxe Dinosaur Pack DLC

At the end of any Jurassic Park movie, there are two kinds of people. The vast majority falls into the category that, after the show, realize that making a theme park with actual, living dinosaurs might not be a brilliant idea. A small percentage of people, instead, see the movie and think, “Psh, it would have never happened under MY supervision." If you fall into the second category, congratulations, Jurassic World Evolution is the game for you (also get in contact with Universal Studios for a part in the unavoidable next film).

Jurassic World Evolution is exactly what it says on the tin: a theme park simulation and management game where the player is tasked to build and manage a dinosaur-themed park on the very isles where the movies happened.

The player will have to plan the building and maintenance of the facility but also organize expeditions to retrieve dinosaur fossils to extract DNA from. Once you get enough DNA, send it to the incubators and clone a whole new species to release in the enclosure!

The player will be given all the tools to attend to the dinosaurs’ needs. Each of them will have different requirements in space, social needs, food, and the like. Keep them happy so they won’t ram down the electrified fence and devour the park’s guests. Hopefully, the natural calamities that regularly happen on sub-tropical islands will not cause a sudden blackout or damage the enclosures… too much.

Oh, and you can mess with their DNA by including Shark, Chameleon, or other animals DNA in them in order to have a more unique and interesting specimens. Surely nothing will go wrong, right?

Why pick Jurassic World Evolution + Deluxe Dinosaur Pack DLC?

  • It’s freaking Jurassic Park!
  • The dinosaurs look fantastic
  • Planning and building a good park is a great satisfaction

Why skip Jurassic World Evolution + Deluxe Dinosaur Pack DLC?

  • Some repetition sets in after a while
  • The advisors sometimes get a bit on your nerves

XCOM 2 + XCOM 2: Reinforcement Pack and XCOM 2: Resistance Warrior Pack

XCOM is a franchise that needs no introductions. Its blend of tactical strategy combat and base management made the series a classic of the genre. in XCOM 2, for the first time, the team will not be in a position of defense against the alien threat but will have to actively strike back after the Earth lost the conflict and the planet is controlled by the interstellar menace

If you played the classic XCOM games or even just XCOM: Enemy Unknown you will feel right at home with this one. Every staple of the series is still present, from the base building (which is now a giant airship) to the infuriatingly missed shots on a 95% chance to hit, to the constant need to refocus and prioritize the objectives of the campaign.

This time around, the player will also have to account for a countdown. The aliens’ purpose in the game is to complete the “Avatar Project." The completion rate is shown on the mission select screen and allowing the bar to fill up will result in a game over. This provides an additional threat for the player to account for as they will have to take up missions to slow down the project in order to prevent it from seeing the light.

Why pick XCOM 2 + XCOM 2: Reinforcement Pack and XCOM 2: Resistance Warrior Pack?

  • Fantastic tactical gameplay
  • XCOM never looked so good
  • A lot of customization options

Why skip XCOM 2 + XCOM 2: Reinforcement Pack and XCOM 2: Resistance Warrior Pack?

  • Even at easier difficulty levels is damn challenging
  • Between permadeath and the constant countdown, it can get pretty frustrating

Read our review of XCOM 2 here.

Rise of Industry

Economics is a complicated thing, and the gamification of economics is often just slightly less complicated. Management games that aim to simulate supply and demand with all the tidbits that operate with these two things often end up in extremely articulated games that require a great deal of investment in time to fully grasp. The beautiful thing about Rise of Industry is that they managed to create a game that is easy to pick up but still manages to simulate a pretty convincing economic system.

The player takes the role of an industrialist with the aim to find a niche in the market and profit from it. The map is made out of several towns, each with their own stores that require stuff to sell and it’s the player’s job to provide for them. Sometimes stores will require raw material like wood. In that case, you just build some lumberyards and sawmills to ship the product. Sometimes they will require more complex items with many different parts which will require the player to build an entire infrastructure of many different buildings in order to create the final product.

Keeping the balance between supply and demand while, at the same time, building supply chains and competing with rival entrepreneurs is seemingly complex gameplay that is delivered in a very simple and elegant fashion. The basics are easy to pick up and the game just expands from there naturally.

Why pick Rise of Industry?

  • Simple but detailed capitalism simulator.
  • Beautiful low-poly art design and fantastic UI

Why skip Rise of Industry?

  • Probably not as detailed as die-hard fans of the genre would like.

Niche: a Genetics Survival Game

There are a lot of survival games out there. Horrors, survival-crafting, you name it. But as interesting as it is to play a game aimed around the survival of an individual, there are not many games where the main goal is the survival of the species. Niche: a Genetics Survival Game is a game that aims to fill that exact niche (pun intended) in the market.

The game is a turn-based strategy game with some 4X elements in it. The player takes control of a herd of lupine animals, starting from a single specimen, and it’s tasked to ensure the survival of the species. Each animal has three action points per turn that can be used to move around the hexagonal grid or interact with the nodes in order to gather resources, change the environment or interact with other animals

Once a second specimen is introduced and the two animals mate, the genetics part of the game kicks in. When a new puppy is conceived, the player can interact in few ways with its genetic code, starting from the DNA of the parents. They will have to take dominant and recessive genes into account and avoid incest in order to not weaken the new generation.

With this simple system, the player is able to provide new traits to each new generation. Maybe the next one will have horns. Maybe they will inherit a recessive gene from their grandfather that can finally emerge granting them camouflage, and so on. The herd will also have to migrate from time to time since exposure to new environments will be pivotal to the kind of genetic mutations the player has at their disposal

Why pick Niche: a Genetics Survival Game?

  • The animals are damn cute
  • Experimenting with genetics is great fun

Why skip Niche: a Genetics Survival Game?

  • Having to manage all the specimen individually is a lot of busy work

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War is a wargame thinly disguised as a 4X game. Mechanically it’s a pretty good civilization-style turn-based tactical game, but it’s pretty obvious that only the “Exterminate” part of the 4X formula got some love. Weirdly enough, that’s the biggest strength of the title

The game is set on the titular Gladius Prime planet, as the four factions of the game (Space Marines, Nekron, Orks, and the Astra Militarum) fight for the control of the ancient planet’s relics. Each of the four factions has unique mechanics that make their gameplay unique and all have a great arsenal of units to deploy on the hexagonal battlefield.

As already mentioned, the focus of the game is around the war, as one would expect from a Warhammer 40k setting. There is no diplomacy and resource management is more about reacting to new needs than long-term planning. This is balanced by the military side of things which is basically always ongoing. If you spend more than a couple of turns without shooting a unit, you’re doing something wrong.

Why pick Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War?

  • Warhammer 40K is a great setting for a 4X game
  • There’s always something exploding

Why skip Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War?

  • Not for the lovers of refined diplomacy or deep resource management

The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse

The endless cycle of the hero and the villain. This simple concept is the foundation of many stories and video games, like The Legend of Zelda. It’s from this game that The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse takes heavy inspiration. The game is extremely Zelda-inspired, but its cute visual style and roguelite elements make it really different and interesting than the saga it is inspired from.

In the game’s world, the dreadful Mormo and the heroic Sword of Ditto are locked in an endless battle. If The Sword of Ditto wins, Mormo will be locked for 100 years. If Mormo wins, the world is thrown into despair for 100 years waiting for the next hero to take up the sword. The story is pretty simple, but there are some deeper elements in the plot that are discovered by playing through it.

With each reborn hero, the world will be different than before (as in procedurally generated different), and the new owner of the sword will have to explore it and clear its dungeons in order to retrieve the tools to use to defeat Mormo. Said tools are the so-called “Toys of Legend." They are literal toys (nerf guns, yoyos, you name it) which really goes along with the amazing cartoonish atmosphere of the game.

A deceptively simple game that holds a lot of replayability and cool mechanics.

Why pick The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse?

  • Amazing visual style
  • The world is cute and interesting to explore

Why skip The Swords of Ditto: Mormo’s Curse?

  • Some might find it a bit childish

Warsaw

It is the end of World War 2, and the city of Warsaw starts an uprising against the German occupation. Common citizens, many with little to no military training, take up the weapons to fight back. In this context, the game Warsaw takes place.

The player takes control of an enclave of survivors and will have to manage the survival of their people. This will be done by organizing missions to strike against the Nazis and managing the resources of the hideout in a mix between This War of Mine meeting the combat mechanics of Darkest Dungeon

Why pick Warsaw?

  • Great hand-painted graphics
  • The setting is interesting and underused

Why skip Warsaw?

  • Not as mechanically deep as other games in the genre

Heave Ho

Heave Ho’s premise is as simple as it is elegant. It’s a physics platforming game where the players will have to move to the end of each level without falling to their death. The unique twist is that their characters are a head with outstretched arms. This means that jumping is out of the question. They will have to navigate the levels by gripping the platforms with their hands and tossing themselves to the next one.

While the game’s premise is hilarious enough on its own and the game is great fun in single player, it really shines when playing cooperative. Up to four players can join a game and help (or involuntary hinder) each other by grabbing each other limbs and creating long outstretched chains to create huge momentum for a very imprecise toss.

Why pick Heave Ho?

  • Simple but elegant core mechanic
  • Absolutely hilarious

Why skip Heave Ho?

  • It needs to be played multiplayer to reach full potential

Mo: Astray

The Humble Choice program proved again a great asset to put a spotlight on games that, otherwise, wouldn’t have been played by many people despite being of utmost quality. Mo: Astray is a game that I never heard before installing it this month, and I have to say, it’s almost criminal how underappreciated this puzzle platformer is.

The player takes the role of Mo, a weird blob-like entity that gains conscience in the middle of a futuristic human facility overrun by parasitic plants. Our little hero will have to navigate the compound and discover the truth. His only tools for survival (at least initially) are the ability to stick to surfaces and the possibility to stick to the head of the zombified humans that roam around. Oh, he can also relive the last memories of said people. It gets dark.

Mo: Astray has everything one might ask from a puzzle-platformer. Great visual style, amazing atmosphere, well-crafted lore and, of course, absolutely amazing platforming and puzzles. Sprinkle all that with some pretty entertaining boss fight and you have one of the best games you never heard of.

Why pick Mo: Astray?

  • Amazing gameplay
  • Great atmosphere

Why skip Mo: Astray?

  • Skip this only if you don’t like the genre

Neoverse

When Slay the Spire came out, its success inspired many indie developers to experiment with the deck-building roguelite genre, with various results. In the case of Neoverse, the developer managed to create a good implementation of the formula with a couple of twists and turns to keep it interesting.

Neoverse plays much like other roguelite deckbuilders with a couple of differences. The scantily clad main characters will be able to unlock skills from a skill tree by completing missions which will allow them to introduce new strategies in the game. It also has a “combo” mechanic where the player can play card types in a precise order to obtain in-game benefits. Nothing to write home about, but the game does its job and is really entertaining.

On the presentation side, it’s a bit of a mixed bag (here goes my monthly allowance of the use of the term “mixed bag”). On one hand, the 3D models are pretty decent. On the other hand, the animations feel a bit clunky. Not that it’s all paramount in a deckbuilder, of course.

Why pick Neoverse?

  • Good transposition of the Slay the Spire formula to a sci-fi setting
  • The combos and skill trees create interesting game situations

Why skip Neoverse?

  • Visually not that great

Chess Ultra

I have to confess that I’m not a great connoisseur of Chess so my impressions of Chess Ultra are pretty limited. That said, the game is, of course, a faithful transposition of the traditional board game with many additions to make it appetizing to the digital user.

It has a pretty in-depth tutorial that covers everything from “how to move the pawns” to the advanced strategies. After you learn the game, you can sharpen your claws against 10 AI levels or solving chess puzzles before jumping online and be absolutely stomped.

Chess Ultra offers a great choice of different chess boards and skins for the pieces. It also includes a VR mode to really get deep into the game.

Why pick Chess Ultra?

  • You can’t improve chess much more than this
  • If you like Chess and have a VR headset, you got to get this

Why skip Chess Ultra?

  • Definitely appeals to a pretty small niche

Horace

Horace is, to put it simply, a small game with a big heart. The titular anthropomorphic robot will grow on you and tug your heartstrings like few other game characters before. Which is weird because, despite its appearances, Horace is not really a lighthearted game.

As the game picks up, the player learns what Horace is capable of. The game is a platforming adventure that will have the main character sprinting, jumping, walking on walls, and picking up stuff all in the great purpose of gathering garbage. While it seems pretty simplistic on a surface level, Horace offers a narration that should definitely be experienced. Especially if you like British humor.

Why pick Horace?

  • Great narrative experience
  • Entertaining platforming mechanics

Why skip Horace?

  • Controls are sometimes a bit finicky

Rainy Season

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

This month’s Humble Original will fill you with the wonder and imagination of a child.

Rainy Season is a narrative experience where the player takes the role of a kid forced to stay at home with his family because of heavy rain while visiting their grandmother somewhere in Japan. In this time, the player will be able to explore the small house of the granny and talk to the main character’s relatives.

Since there are only a few things more powerful than a kid’s imagination, the player will be able to affect the world around him with his thoughts. He will be able to make flowers blossom in the garden by thinking about how nice it would be, having jellyfish flying around while reminiscing about a day at the aquarium, or even talk with that creepy old doll that grandma keeps in a glass display case.

It’s a small narrative experience that really encompasses these lazy days where a child can indulge in their own imagination and just make stuff happens because they can.

Fae Tactics Exclusive Sneak Peek

This month we get another treat other than the usual plethora of games. We have another sneak peek of a Humble Bundle-published game. This time we have the chance to have a gander at Fae Tactics, a tactical RPG set in a world where a universe without magic merged to the Fae universe, causing the catastrophic formation of a new world from the union of the two.

The demo will have us control our pink-haired main character with her two animal companions as she starts the quest to find her mother. The gameplay is pretty much what one would expect from a game inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics, but even at this early stage, the gameplay feels slick and simple with a couple of interesting mechanics to spice up the usual gameplay, like the possibility to combo attacks. Definitely keep an eye out for this one.


While the stars of this month's selection are definitely Jurassic World Evolution and XCOM 2, Humble Choice manages to offer a couple of ways to chill your head after all the death and destruction. Exploring an old Japanese home in Rainy Season, playing a game of chess in Chess Ultra, or even sitting down to experience the narration of Horace or Mo: Astray are great ways to lower your adrenaline while still playing amazing games.

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

Luigi Savinelli profile picture

Luigi Savinelli

Writer

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