January Humble Choice

I was a wee bit distracted in January, but now I’m dusting myself off and going through the January Humble Choice. This means it’s way too late for someone to decide based on my description whether they want to buy it, so I’m really just kinda spinning my wheels about what kind of games I add to my backlog, but hey, it helps fill out the queue.

Doom Eternal is this month’s headline game, which means you already know how it works. I’m giving this one a pass because I’ve heard it’s a difficulty spike compared to Doom 2016, and a game like Doom is a game I want to breeze through effortlessly. If I weren’t giving it a pass, I’d probably already own it.

Tribes of Midgard is some kind of build-y explore-y game themed around vikings fighting off mythological monsters, and this is hitting my twenty cliche pile-up alarms way too hard. Backlog’s too big to let something like this in when I’ve already got plenty of build-y explore-y games, especially when this one has an emphasis (like many of these games do) on PvE multiplayer. I like PvE multiplayer, but the reality is I’m never gonna find a group.

Encased is a post-apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi isometric RPG with tactical combat. I’m worried that this will, like build-y explore-y games, end up becoming something I wear out of long before I get down through the layers of the backlog to reach also-rans like Encased, but I haven’t hit that point yet so I’ll stick Encased in the backlog just in case this genre turns out to be like Metroidvanias where I just never get tired of them.

Olliolli World is a skateboarding platformer game that looks mediocre. I don’t normally put a huge emphasis on strong visuals, but a game with this premise can only hope to lure me in if it’s got a really strong style, and while Olliolli World is clearly trying to do that, I’m not vibing with the result at all. Pass.

Grow: Song of the Evertree is some kind of Animal Crossing knock-off with less of a cutesy animals aesthetic and more of a fantasy aesthetic. It’s not full on dragons and wizards (from what I can tell), but the general tech level caps out at the 18th century and it’s all very pastoral. If executed well, this could be a fantastic cozy game, so I am absolutely down to give it a shot.

Conan Chop Chop is some kinda mobile game? This is one of those things where it’s clearly totally dependent upon its IP to carry it, and while I like Conan, I am wise to the trick of slapping a good character/setting on a bad game.

Hokko Life is another Animal Crossing-esque game, one that looks like it’s got a much bigger emphasis on interior decorating? I suspect there’s definitely an audience for that, but I’m not in it. I can only sink so much time into designing a house or character or spaceship before I get bored and want to use it to actually do something, and if Hokko Life’s gameplay outside of the interior decorating is just Animal Crossing but again, then I’d rather just play Stardew Valley (or maybe Haunted Chocolatier, the Stardew Valley guy’s next project which looks spooky-cozy and I can’t wait).

The Serpent Rogue is the villain of its eponymous game, some kind of dragon-y thing, I guess? It isn’t directly depicted in any of the marketing I could find, but its evil aura is corrupting a fantasy world and you play as an alchemist in a plague doctor mask. It sells itself as a botanical RPG in which doing alchemy is a primary means of engaging with the world and I am very excited for that premise. Of course, a cool premise is no guarantee they’ll pull it off (for example, Moonlighter totally failed to do the “running a magic shop” premise in an engaging way – I’ve heard Reccetear is better), but I’m definitely going to play it and see for myself.

Three pick-ups from January, which is pretty standard. I’m still screaming back up well over 170 because 1) it also comes with Christmas, and a lot of people know to just give me games from my Steam wishlist for Christmas these days (the only other thing I really want are art assets for commercial projects, which isn’t exactly easy to shop for), and 2) I played very few video games in January as I nearly all of my free time was consumed by a sudden mad rush to pivot away from 5e (which ultimately turned out to be unnecessary, but I didn’t know that until January 26th). And we haven’t even got to February’s Humble Choice yet. I try not to get too wrapped up in the number, but as always, I do have one eye on it just because if it isn’t going down over time, that necessarily means there are games I want to play but never will.

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