Along with all of the good that Humble Bundle already brings to the table, they additionally offer players the chance to snatch up a mixed bag of video games for a whopping $12 the first Friday of every month by becoming a subscriber. Varying from popular titles to indie games you’ve probably never heard of, Humble Monthly generates a diverse curated bundle to help establish the most paramount game libraries. In addition, every subscriber automatically receives 10% off titles in the Humble Store. You can’t beat the facts, folks—that’s one heck of a deal.
In July's bundle, subscribers got the chance to rack their brains over strategy games with a couple of black sheep thrown into the mix. How did Humble Bundle do with meeting one subscriber's standards? Take a gander at my first impressions of the nine distinctive titles featured in July's bundle.
Forts: Tons of GunsWhether you’re a physics geek or not, this real-time strategy game will steal your heart with a ton of guns and a ton of blowing stuff up. Your goal in Forts involves designing a hardcore base, arming it with powerful weaponry, and then blowing your opponent’s base to smithereens. Thankfully, the game walks you through how to achieve all of this, but in a fun interactive way.
A lot of Forts requires some basic knowledge of physics, but the game kind of lays that out for you. Though cartoony and cute, constructing an indestructible base takes the cake because it is just so much fun to watch your opponents attempt to destroy you and fail. Playing with a group is fun too, but there’s a single player campaign mode specifically for those who want to take the throne all on their own. Building the perfect fort takes skill, patience, and a solid foundation. Avoiding bomb attacks, however, isn't as plausible.
Yay or Nay?
Forts is a very easy game to get into. The gameplay is fun and fairly elementary. Do you have what it takes to create the most heavy-duty fort imaginable? I bet you do.
Titan Quest: Anniversary EditionThe first hour of Titan Quests ’gameplay is basically getting your footing, talking to townsfolk, and swinging your weak melee weapon at Satyrs. If you think it’s a snoozefest – just give it time. Though I never ventured through the original version of Titan Quest back in 2006, I’m happy to say that the Anniversary Edition delivers on many aspects. This beloved action-roleplaying adventure starts you out with limited character customization but permits in-depth class modifications as the story unfolds.
Almost instantly, I noticed a lot of features resembled what you’d experience in Diablo II. Point-and-click your way through dynamic enemies and check the boxes as quests are concluded. Loot some radical armor and powerful weapons as you beast your way through the Ancient World. Titan Quest hits a lot of high notes, but the gameplay does get repetitive.
Yay or Nay?
If you’re a fan of the Diablo series, Titan Quest may be the kind of game you’re looking for. Instead of warding off demons, you’re going up against mythical creatures and legendary monsters. To me, that’s pretty cool.
Hearts of Iron IVTo be completely honest, I was overwhelmed by the complex nature of Hearts of Iron IV when I dived headfirst into the gameplay. You don’t have much of a choice though. A comprehensive tutorial would be beneficial to players who aren’t familiar with complex strategy games. However, after an hour or so of studying the command center, attempting to negotiate with opposing forces, and clicking around to make war things happen…yeah, I still had no idea what I was doing.
The key feature of Hearts of Iron IV requires your decision on what nations to control within the heart of World War II. Though remarkable in terms of historical material, real-time battles, and content, you may find yourself dumbfounded. Take your time and eventually (hopefully) you will conquer all.
Yay or Nay?
You know how you typically skip over tutorials in games because who even has the time for those? Though minimal, any tips Hearts of Iron IV offers you, take to heart. If you’re a fan of complex strategy games, this game is right up your alley.
Read our full review of Hearts of Iron IV here.
BlackwakeOne word that sums up Blackwake: cannons – lots and lots of canons. In this multiplayer naval first-person shooter, cooperation is key. You don’t get to be the hero all on your own. Whether you’re defending your ship or board another one, the actuality of either can be a little hectic. Luckily (or hopefully) your crew can assist with repairs, reload cannons, and sustain a sailable ship.
Not only do you have to defend your ship, but volcanoes can erupt. There’s also the possibility of pulling a Titanic and crashing smackdab into an iceberg. Keep yer mighty pirate-eye open, mate. Try not to embarrass yourself too much either.
Yay or Nay?
One negative feature derives from the inability to try the game solo. You have to be a fan of multiplayer games to really get the most out of Blackwake. Otherwise, it’s kind of a waste of time. Teaming up with pals is a hoot and a half, though – especially when you play the part and impersonate a pirate. Arrrr.
Portal KnightsAt first glance, Portal Knights immediately emitted a Minecraft vibe with its seemingly blocky visuals. You can adventure alongside pals, but I crafted and conquered lone-wolf style. Though the resolution is a bit wonky, the gameplay proved to be solid. Starting out, you create a simple character with an array of hairstyles and eyes without eyebrows to choose from. Shortly after, you’re transferred to the world of Elysia to become the ultimate portal knight.
Portal Knights presents easy-to-follow guidelines as your hero stumbles upon new challenges. It doesn’t take long to get the swing of things though, considering the gameplay is pretty straightforward. Crafting isn’t too exciting in the beginning, but then again, the best things take time. For now, I’ll annihilate a couple green slimes, chop down some trees, and call it a day.
Yay or Nay?
Portal Knights is a nifty little sandbox game. I would recommend teaming up with some friends for a more entertaining experience though. At some point, I wouldn’t mind building my own princess castle. I’ll get there.
Shiness: The Lightning KingdomIn this colorful action-RPG, you play as a furry little fellow named Chado who has crash-landed upon a hostile land. The story commences with Chado conversing with the mystical spirit, Shiness – whom only he can see. His interactions with Shiness escort him through a series of events to assist you in perceiving the general nuts and bolts of Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom’s gameplay.
Though Chado’s surroundings are nice to look at, the combat is mediocre and a little rough around the edges. Parrying with an enemy shouldn’t be rocket science, but the delayed command response says otherwise. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom is also layered with puzzles. Okay, maybe declaring them as “puzzles” gives these minuscule obstacles too much credit. You’re basically spawning boulders onto switches to expose passageways. These hindrances feel like they exist only to cause a dramatic eye-roll – which they succeed at.
Yay or Nay?
Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom unveiled a smile, raised eyebrow, and an exasperated sigh – all within the first hour of gameplay. The adorable little spirit holds your hand through gameplay elements as they are introduced, preparing you up for future bumps in the road. Even though the combat is a little wonky, it’s worth giving Shiness a shot.
Check out our overall thoughts on Shiness: The Lightnight Kingdom here.
Interplanetary: Enhanced EditionPlanets are cool, so a turn-based strategy experience revolving around a galactic war ought to bless our Steam libraries. Just like Hearts of Iron IV, you’re on your own in terms of getting the lay of the land. An interactive tutorial isn’t present, though there is an information panel you can read through. You’ll forget what you read ten seconds in though.
Gathering resources, building a solid organization, and developing technologies are only a couple of must do's in order to accommodate your civilization’s success. Luckily, you can play against yourself to become familiar with the basic gameplay mechanics so, you know, you don’t look like a total dweeb and get crushed by the AI.
Yay or Nay?
It was very difficult to get into Interplanetary: Enhanced Edition. Being forced to read through a lengthy tutorial rather than the game interact with me directly on what’s expected put a damper on the excitement. I want to blow things up, but I also need to know how to blow things up. Do you see my problem here?
Serial CleanerPicture this: you live at home with your mom, you guys watch an amateur wrestling program on TV every night, and you make the big bucks as a professional crime scene cleaner. Um, sign me up. Serial Cleaner is a comical stealth game that entails cleaning up blood, removing dead bodies, and snatching any incriminating evidence from a murder scene without being caught by the police. Otherwise, they beat you senseless and you have to start all over again.
Set in the 1970s, the simple visuals and groovy soundtrack complement Serial Cleaner wonderfully. The gameplay keeps you on your toes, testing your patience and, most importantly, how good you are at hiding from those pesky police officers. Luckily, you can jump into a closet or dumpster if you’re spotted. The cops are unnaturally fast runners, though.
Yay or Nay?
Serial Cleaner is a wonderful addition to July’s bundle. The elementary gameplay negates the need for a lengthy tutorial, and a challenge is constantly present. There are always more murder scenes to clean, money to make, and wrestling programs to watch with Mom. Ah, what a life.
StumblehillStumblehill was July’s Humble Original, which is a unique video game produced specifically for Humble Monthly subscribers. I was instantly swooned by this adorable platformer. The hand-drawn visuals harmonize effortlessly with the carefree atmosphere, even if Ecki – our delightful penguin friend – is quite the clumsy fella.
Due to Ecki being a walking disaster, transferring him from one point to the other is not a walk in the park. He falls down – A LOT – which requires consistently putting him back on his flippers. There is also no such thing as death and you can repeatedly press the “Z” key to respawn at the nearest checkpoint. You know, just in case you royally screw up.
Yay or Nay?
Adventuring the world and overcoming obstacles as a quirky little penguin will make your heart smile. You’ll get frustrated, but only temporarily. Stumblehill has my vote.
July's bundle demanded creativity, intelligence, patience, and most importantly common sense. Subscribers got to see what it felt like to sneakily clean up a murder scene, control a nation in the middle of World War II, and experience many other unique circumstances. What games did you find most entertaining in July's Humble monthly? Most boring? Let us know in the comments!
Disclosure: Humble Bundle works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from links in this article.