July Humble Monthly (The Rest)

Love is Dead is a fun little isometric platformer game where you can swap between controlling one of two zombies in love. In each level there are three screens, and on each screen (viewed in isometric view), your goal is to accomplish some specific objective and then reunite, plus there’s a pancake in the level somewhere, and you need a certain number of pancakes to advance from one world to the other, so better to grab them whenever you can. Sometimes the two lovers start separated and the only goal is to reunite, other times the lovers start together but need to split up to accomplish an objective like searching through a pet cemetery for their lost cat and dog, and must then reunite at the end. Naturally there are moving platforms, hostile zombies, crumbling platforms, and the like that require more of your reflexes than just walking across a screen to pick up a pancake, then turning around to walk back.

There are seven worlds and so far I completed all of 1 but have only nibbled on 2, so I don’t know if the game keeps up its new ideas and interesting mechanics through the whole thing, but it’s off to a promising start. There is a framing story, though I’m not sure if it’s ever going to grow beyond the excuse plot it was in the first world: the zombie lovers have lost their similarly deceased cat and dog and need to go and find them, and upon exhuming the pet cemetery and finding them not there, discover a friendly human who lets them know that the undead cat and dog were spotted heading into the nearby city. Is this going somewhere? Or is every world going to end with the cat and dog having been spotted going to ever more exotic and dangerous locales, with the only real plot beat being at the very end when the family is finally reunited? Only time will tell, and I’m trying to get a blog post covering three games out in two or three hours, so that’s time I don’t have. I will probably end up playing more of it in the future, though, because it’s cute and fun, so maybe I’ll have follow-up later.

Nairi: Tower of Shirin is an adventure game. I gave it 15 minutes on the merits of its art style, but lost interest at the first segment of actual gameplay. I’m not down for rubbing every item on my inventory against every bit of scenery until the plot finally agrees to move forward. I’d probably be happy to sit through this game as an animated movie, even if it did have a bunch of weird screen transitions and it was entirely sub-titled with no voice acting. A movie with some weird cost-saving stylization would be fine. A movie where I have to stop and solve a crossword puzzle every five minutes is not. I gave this one a whirl based on its art style (which is fantastic) and I wish I hadn’t, because now I wish I could gift it to someone who actually likes adventure games.

Mechanicus is a 40k-themed dungeon crawler in which you must lead techpriests and their servitors in battle against Necrons while crawling through a tomb world for techno goodies. It’s also got a bit of an XCom-y thing going where you don’t have a single dedicated party but instead have lots of little units, and you assign one party of them to a mission at a time. I played for less than an hour before running out of time before I needed to make this post, and that’s not nearly long enough to give a game like this a good once over, but in terms of “how valuable was this monthly bundle” I’m pretty confident I can already declare that Mechanicus is worth it on its own. Bear in mind the standard here is that most forms of entertainment cost about $3-$4 per hour and the Humble Monthly is $12/month (or slightly less if you buy in bulk), so really what I’m saying is that I anticipate it will take me at least another three hours to get bored of Mechanicus. That’s not a super high threshold to clear, but it’s not nothing, either.

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