Humble Bundle – December 2020

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The time has come! The last Humble Bundle subscription release for the year is here and I’m here to give you may thoughts on where I personally rank each title, mostly based off their promo vids and rankings. If you’re here just to see the bundle info then check out the summary below. If you want to hear what I think thenn have a flick through the smartlist underneath, and as always; join in the conversation on Discord.

What’s in December’s bundle?!

14. TABLETOP PLAYGROUND

 

This is a very new title by a very new studio, with their only 2 titles both released this year, Tabletop Playground is still in early access and allows you to play and customize a range of classic board games. I’ll come right out and say it… cool concept but fits being a tech demo much more than a marketable video game.

I can’t even think that this would topple the likes of the powerhouse that is Tabletop Simulator, but the tech and mechanics behind making it do whatever you want is impressive. Ultimately I think anyone play Tableplay Playground will be far too spoilt for choice and end up infintely tinkering and never actually playing. Even if you did make some crazy good altered version of a classic, there’s a large chance you would only ever play it will a small dedicated group of friends that agree with also find your take on the classic as enjoyable as you do.

13. ONE STEP FROM EDEN

 

I’m won’t lie to you fine people… deckbuilders are not my thing. Unless it’s Magic: The Gathering and I get to open physical packs of cards that is. One Step From Eden has thousands of great reviews and was only released around 6 months ago, but if I had to judge a book by it’s promotional video (and let’s face it, that’s exactly what I’m doing in this list!) I would say that this game looks both confused and confusing. Deck building, rogue-like, strategy, real-time action… without even loading it up I think this game is going to give me too much information to digest, and I simply don’t have the affinty with anything I see here to give it a go.

If I wanted RTS I’d look to RTS titles. If I wanted rogue-like I’d look to old classics or even newer titles such as Children of Morta. If I could bring myself to learn a deck building game on the PC I’d start with something like Slay The Spire or even something like Gods Unchained that comes with the bonus of using crypto-collectable assets… but this? Pass.

12. THE BEAST INSIDE

 

Single player indie horror adventure games are a staple in Humble Bundle monthly packs, and while I haven’t compared the numbers I will swear until I’m blue in the face that there are absolutely more of them being packed in than any other genre.. except maybe visual novel experiences. I can see why, every other streamer plays them because watching someone scream at something scary seems to be the new black, taking over from cat photo’s.

But I digress. A couple of thousand people rave about this game (seemingly a pre-requisite for a game to find it’s way into a Humble Bundle to start with, after all who want’s crap games?!), so if you like reliving the fear of playing Resident Evil for the first time but on camera for everyone to see your terror face, this could be the next title for you to gain a few more subscribers. The developer certainly has an.. ‘interesting’ catalogue.

11. SHINING RESONANCE REFRAIN

 

Unlike most games that Humble sell, this one hasn’t got the strongest review metrics, with ‘All reviews’ only coming out as mostly positive and < 1000 reviews total. Given it’s also developed and published by SEGA (e.g. a video game powerhouse) there’s a good chance that this is a throw-away title, made for the sake of concept and mechanics testing rather than to actually make money.

Released in 2018, the promo videos showing the gameplay for this title looks closer to 2010 era RPGs and the enemy movementn looks janky and unpolished. The story sections look phoned in (e.g. RPG Maker), and the whole B.A.N.D thing is possibly the least explained and worst ‘pun’ I’ve seen in a promo trailer… but meh. It has some anime cuties and dragons, and a soundtrack straight out of generic undubbed anime #156. I’d have to be feeling REALLY curious to load this one up. It does at least appeal to my interests by just being the type of game that it is.

10. THE HAUNTED ISLAND, A FROG DETECTIVE GAME

 

I honestly don’t know how to feel about this one.. I actually think the Steam category tags descrive it perfectly… ‘comedy, funny,, short, cute, detective’. The art style looks like someone who knows a thing or two about graphics decided they would try their hand at imitating a pre-school child, but hey at least they tell you right on the store page that it’s a short game (<1hr completion).

It’s got better reviews than some of the much higher budget games in this bundle and to be fair it’s only $6.50 normally. By the looks of it this quirky little game is utterly self-aware of what it is and what it isn’t, hell considering it could be knocked over in a single video I may even give it a run.

9. FROG DETECTIVE 2: THE CASE OF THE INVISIBLE WIZARD

 

Same frog time, same frog channel. Pretty much same frog comments from me! Another year (2019) another game for the frog detective with a new theme and by the looks of the promo possible an added inventory?

I especially love this post, and can’t help but think that this gentlemen is expecting a tad too much from a pair of $6.50 games about a frog detective that look like something I played in computer lab when I was finishing primary school in the mid 90’s. “0/10 this is what happens when game franchises extend for too long, they start writing themselves out and redoing all the deeper parts of the lore.” Classic.

8. STILL THERE

 

Still There looks quite interesting, which is saying a bit because I just don’t seem to gel with point & click titles. I usually palm them of and haven’t really connected with one since Broken Sword on the PS1, however this bad boy looks like it’s mixing in a lot of psychological emotions, likely to do with being isolated in a space station. It’s got a few accolades and good reviews mostly mentioning the puzzles which is a big plus for me.

Sadly I also noticed there’s ‘daily tasks’ to do and you can occupy yourself by playing Chess… certainly sounds like a boredom simulator to me, but the reviews and comments speak incredibly high of pretty much every aspect of the game. I think this would be a great game to play if you have time to kill and like immersing yourself in story to the point where you are absorbed into the character and acting out their life and emotions.

7. ZWEI: THE ARGES ADVENTURE

 

Another JPRG this month, and this time from Nihon Falcom who have a depp JPRG pedegree with their long-running and expansive series The Legend of Heroes and Ys. Inn fact pretty much everything these guys have ever made is in the JPRG genre so there’s a certain leve of expectation straight off the bat here. The art style in this game is fun, light and bright using an almost pastel colour palette that not a lot of games opt for.

They’ve (for some reason) crammed in some remade arcade titles here too, though it’s questionable why… One promo video seemingly stating that they’re there in case you get sick of the core gameplay mechanic… usually when that happens I just play a different game all together, unless I’m really in love with the characters, which I don’t see happening on a game that’s on had 168 reviews on Steam. No drastic expectations here but my gut says it’ll be a quiet achiever rather than a flop with too much fanfare.

6. ZWEI: THE ILVARD INSURRECTION

 

Another title in the Zwei series by Nihon Falcom, this once looking markedly different from The Arges Adventure! Different art style, faster gameplay, and a much crazier theme throughout the trailer. Even looking quite different it still seems to have the same charm about it with characters,, colours, and UI that are all nicely balanced together.

While it’s a close call in my mind, I’m going to rank this (earlier) title above The Arges Adventure. I was dubious about seeing two titles from one franchise in the same pack but on further inspection I find myself wanting to play them both and see if they connect in any way.

5. STRUGGLING

 

What in the hell did I just watch?! This thing looks like Matt Groening had a nightmare about The Thing invading Ahhhhhh! Real Monsters and decided to shit out a video game about it. It’s rare to see such a new game (5 months since release) already in a Humble Bundle and typically this is the sort of promo where I’d watch it once and then move along with my life. There’s no real explanation of anything or anything to pique my interest, unless I happen to have a fetish for severed heads to massive arms attached where the ears should go (which I may, or may not..).

Looking slightly beneath the fleshy exposed skin shows me this is a co-op physics game that supports Remote Play Anywhere, and right then and there I was hooked in. Now instead of some cheap development experiemnt trying to be cool, my mind instantly compares it to something like Heave Ho, Unrailed!, or the ridiculously amazing Moving Out and for that reason alone I will now go out of my way to play this game with a buddy. It’s picked up some nice awards (Top 4 Coop Game @ PAX East is nothing to sneeze at), but doesn’t get of the runway as far as metacritic goes. All in all I think the game looks good and the marketing is shit, let’s hope the reality isn’t the other way around.

4. CHILDREN OF MORTA

 

This RPG / Hack ‘n’ Slash reminds me of a pixel-art Diablo, but with a whole family of characters and rouge-like procedureally generated dungeons the appeal is going up quickly. By the looks of it each family memeber if effectively a different character class and skill trees for each so I guess it’s like a pixel-art Diablo where you can play each character and pick between dungeons…

Dead Mage (Developer) has only released a few games so far and with some relative disasters coming out in 2011/2012 it looks like they went back to the drawing board for a few years before dropping Shadow Blade: Reload to some success. It appears they’ve come leaps and bounds in the 4 years between drinks and Children of Morta has faired quite well in the reviews in it’s first year on the market.

3. PATH OF GIANTS

 

What a cute looking puzzle game! Being a Nintendo fanboy the three character puzzle schtick instantly makes me think of TriForce Heroes (RIP) and the off-angle multi level puzzling throws me back to Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker. Neither of those points are a negative in any way so this one’s going straight to the Steam Library for a rainy day.

The three distinctly-not-Zelda-coloured characters with an obvious mix of Ice Climbers, Jawa’s, and Black Mages tell me (rightly or wrongly) that this team have grown up loving the same characters I have. The reviews are good, the awards are good. There’s nothing else to know, it is what it is and it looks damn good to me.

2. INDIVISIBLE

 

This game looks absolutely gorgeous. Handrawn and anime stlying (though fairly westernize in my opinion), this RPG looks fast and dripping with high quality production. Thank goodness it’s in a bundle because it takes a special breed of gamer these days to lay down $60 in the Steam store on a single game. Being purely cinical for the sake of it here, maybe the price wouldn’t be so damn high if they didn’t have all the ‘guest characters’ which I can only assume require some sort of financial licensing agreement with their creators, as neither the developer or publisher seem directly linked to the guest character IP’s (other than Skull Girls).

The combat footage doesn’t give much to go on and that can be a real deciding factor in how well any RPG plays, but the platforming elements remind me of a classic NES Duck Tales style (likely because she’s using a spear like a pogo stick…) and the combat combo’s are very Street Fighter’esque. Unsurprising seeings as Skull Girls was a fighter, inspiration could easily come from the Capcom money maker). Very much a title I’d like to give some time to.

1. OVERCOOKED! 2 + TOO MANY COOKS + SURF ‘N’ TURF PACK

 

This 2018 follow up to 2016’s revolutionary hit is every bit as amazing as the first one was, but with some fresh new touches that go beyond DLC (of which there is plenty of in this sequel!). You been called back to the Onion Kingdom to protect them from … The Unbread! Ghost Town Games humour remains on-point and Team 17’s publishing prowess knocked this out of the park. This is without a shadow of a doubt my #1 pick for this month, however as I’m such a fan I obviously already own it so I think it’s time for a giveaway!

Speaking from experience the best way to play Overcooked! 2 is with a partner, which is easier than ever seeings as it supports online play, split screen, keyboard + mouse, controllers, and remote play together. Whether it’s your husband, wife, best friend, child, make sure you play it with another person and be ready to have that relationship pushed to the limits! This game is the ultimate test of friendship (or marriage..) but comes with an amazing sense of satisfaction that will have you high-fiving each other and fist pumping every time you clear a new level.

If you’ve been sleeping on this title until now, it’s time to stop everything and get in the kitchen. This one is a timeless classic and will surely be enjoyed by any age group for many years to come.