Ladies and Gentlemen, we are back with Humble or Bumble, this time with 100% less salt… hopefully.
I’ve got a lovely line-up for you today, these games have a very positive (88% or higher if you want to be specific) rating on Steam so hopefully these titles I’ve never heard of before will prove a lot more satisfying than the last offering.
Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings
I can understand the appeal of controlling oddly proportioned little goofballs while they run around a field and fumble balls left right and centre, but it’s just not my kind of game. My entire time playing I was confused, frustrated and essentially everything I shouldn’t be. It’s not that the game was in any way bad, I just didn’t get it and that’s on me. The tutorial/instructions could be a lot clearer for someone who is neither a fan of baseball nor has any real knowledge of the game. If you enjoy the sport though then I’d say you’d enjoy this.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters
Here I was thinking Saints Row was the pinnacle of the meta piss take video game, boy was I wrong. The Deadly Tower of Monsters has you playing as one of two protagonists in a movie. Specifically, the DVD release of said movie which the director is commentating over. Deadly Tower does everything bar the “this would make a great video game” right up until it does and completes the glorious cringe worthy destruction of the fourth wall. Those quibbles aside the games really just a top down arcade beat/shoot ‘em up and I respect that. I’ve said this of other and I’ll say it here, this game knows what it wants to do and does it well, without trying to be something it’s not. The Deadly of Tower of Monsters is a lot like Saints Row in more aspects than the narrative, it’s got that same ‘just have fun’ vibe to it that really grabs me and makes me want to keep going while I still feel relaxed and casual about the whole thing. A solid game that’s a little cringe but ultimately proves to be pretty damn fun and for the $1 it is in this bundle, terrific value.
They Bleed Pixels
“I’m a kid now, I’m a monstrous demon murdering machine now” doesn’t really have the same ring to it as Splatoon’s theme but it’s the first impression I got when playing They Bleed Pixels. A game that doesn’t really focus much on its plot, you’re a teenage girl sent to a boarding school, find a demon book, have nightmares where you murder strange grey blobs in a confined space full of spikes. You’ve heard it all before right. With a solid combat system that puts the emphasis on your platforming skills as much as the timing and variety of strikes while also rewarding your use of the environment, They Bleed Pixels feels challenging but rewarding. The danger comes not so much from enemies but from the endless spikes almost covering every surface and your own panicked jumping into them if you’re me. The game does net points for an interesting checkpoint system that has you filling up a bar from kills to unlock the ability to drop a checkpoint whenever you stand still for two seconds. Having to think about when and where to save is an interesting mechanic because I’m prone to quick saving every five seconds. On the whole, a satisfying if at times frustrating action platformer that introduces new things while sitting comfortably in its little retro pixel blood spattered niche.
Because pretending to be a master hacker is probably better than the real thing. Hacknet feels like one of those magic kits you buy kids, the principle is the same and they’re doing the same tricks but it would never hold up in the real world. Despite that nagging sensation that this is ridiculous Hacknet proves to me enjoyable, it’s certainly not easy and keeping track of everything can be difficult, I almost feel like I need a second monitor with a word document just to remember all the commands I should be inputting. But points to Hacknet for having precisely that in game, with a notes system and even a pre-built quick reference sheet. I’d absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a change of pace, Hacknet encourages you to slow down and think your way through your problems rather than hacking and slashing your way through them as other games would.
I’m not sure what it was that won me over, the harmony of the opening singing of “Butterscotch Shenanigans”, the elevator music in loading screens, the fact that my character is purple by default or the adorable way she leaps and bounds around. Regardless it has to be said, Crashlands is adorable, it’s one of those titles where you can feel the love that went into creating it. If you’ve ever wondered what Don’t Starve in space would look like if it was less Terry Pratchet and more the stuff of a child’s dream then you have Crashlands. The story is straightforward, you and your stalwart robot companion are on a delivery run, your ship is blown up, you crash and have to begin working to rebuild. Like I said, Don’t Starve in space. Gameplay’s straightforward and your days are spent mainly gathering all the resources you can possibly find while murdering the local wildlife. But remember kids eco terrorism is okay because it’s in a super cute game. One refreshing note is the lack of a hunger and thirst meter, to quote Jim Sterling you don’t have to “baby sit the protagonist”. Crashlands is like many other titles in this bundle, while lacking depth of other games it makes up for it in its sheer fun, the game is the definition of the phrase “elegant in its simplicity.”
The phrase “Oh my god that’s Jason Bourne.” Springs to mind but with slight alteration to “Oh my god that’s Fallout but Metro.” When playing Underrail. Because quite simply that’s precisely what it is, with all the hallmarks of the original games and more exposition than even Hideo Kojima would want Underrail is a call back to the bygone days of RPGs. Back when stories were important, facial expressions were described in text and when you lived and died by the mercy of RNG. I won’t lie, Underail very much manages to capture that nostalgia but all the same does little to grip me. I feel like I’ve said it a thousand times in this review but it’s just x but x. I’m not denying the game is fun which indeed if you want Metro Fallout it certainly is but it leaves me wanting to go play those respective series not keep playing Underrail. I’m sure there’s a solid RPG here but I find myself in a particular state of ungripedness. The game’s done little to make me really give a damn about my character and even less about the world around him, likely I’ll come back to it eventually do a chaotic neutral run and steal everyone’s stuff but right now I just want to go play Fallout.
Stephens Sausage Roll
If you love puzzle games, if you love a challenge, if you love being dumped into a world with literally no instructions and having to figure out the rules as you go along, then you’ll adore this game. If you’re like me and think that being set on fire would be more enjoyable than that well… you’ll probably want to skip this one. Like Super Mega Baseball I can understand why people adore Stephens Sausage Roll. It’s quirky, it’s different, it’s not a flashy AAA title but a down to earth indie game that’s clearly had a lot of love poured into it. I’m doing my best to set aside my personal frustration but the lack of any rhyme or reason to what I was doing while playing is making it incredibly difficult. Perhaps you just have to really, really like puzzles to find a game where you have no idea what’s going on, how to win or how to even play, fun. Or maybe I’m missing something, either way my score comes solely from my experience as a player first so sorry Stephens Sausage Roll, you might have been an absolute masterpiece but I’ll never know.
The Curious Expedition
A rather odd title to round off with, it feels and plays like a 16bit version of Renowned Explores Guild only with a lot less emphasis on team composition and more on supplies. While I appreciate the realism, I’m struggling to see any other aspects of this that aren’t featured in Renowned Explorers. Ultimately, the game feels like it’s lacking a lot of depth, it’s so simple yet not in a good way like Crashlands, rather it feels like a lot more could, and indeed should, have gone into this game. It’s the typical become the best explorer plot as you journey through tile based plains to seek out the big treasure for that area and maybe eat some human meat with some natives along the way. The whole thing just comes across as stale to me, maybe it’s because I’m coloured by Renowned Exploreres or maybe because it genuinely is. There are other, better, games out there that do this exact thing and The Curious Expedition presents little to make itself noteworthy.
Humble? Or Bumble?
It’s rare for me to find myself regretting having purchased a full bundle but here I am. The final tier doesn’t seem worth the money to me in the slightest. My advice is pay the average ($6.30USD at the time of writing) for six fun and varied games that in all honesty are worth it even if you only specifically want one. Unless you’re a major fan of puzzles or explorer games ignore the final tier, you’re wasting your money.