March Humble Choice

Back on schedule! The March Humble Choice dropped on the 7th, and if all goes as planned, this post will be going up on the 8th. What’s in the box?

BioMutant is a post-apocalyptic kung fu RPG where you play as some kind of hyper-intelligent mutant raccoon. It kinda looks like someone looked at the basic concept of Rocket Raccoon, i.e. a mutant raccoon who’s ferocious in combat, and decided to make an entire video game about just him. I am definitely on board to give it a try.

Jurassic World Evolution 2 is the sequel to a game I kinda liked but never finished, because that is how I used to play basically all video games. I’ll go ahead and toss the sequel into the backlog, but I’ll make a more final decision about whether or not to actually bother with it after I’ve played the first one (or especially if the first one gets banished to Regrets).

Edge of Eterntiy is a sci-fi/fantasy anime-aesthetic game that’s probably a JRPG? I have similar reservations with Edge of Eternity as I had with Encased: I like this genre, but do I like it so much that I will still want more after I get through all the famously spectacular headline games? Like Encased, I’ll toss Edge of Eternity into the backlog just in case the answer is “yes,” but there might be a purge coming sometime in the future if I wear out on this genre.

I was just recently thinking that I’d like to get Hero’s Hour sometime, but with the shockwaves of the OGL crisis hitting my income in February, I’ve really had to consider even $5 purchases lately. And now here it is in a Humble Choice I paid an annual subscription for like eight months ago. It is a strategy game in the same very broad genre as Heroes of Might and Magic, but the details of the mechanics are very different, with the individual battles happening in realtime and with minimal intervention from the player, placing the emphasis much more firmly on the turn-based strategic/logistical gameplay (the individual battles seem like they could probably be resolved with a three-second calculation, so there’s some risk that the spectacle will wear out its welcome, but I’m game to check for myself).

Please, indie games, I am begging you, stop making Roguelikes. I love the aesthetic of Rogue Lords. I would’ve been super happy to play this game for 5 or even 10 hours. If it were a proper RPG promising me 35 hours of new content over the course of a single campaign, I would be even happier, but if the devs just don’t have that much content in the budget, then fair enough – give me the 5-10 hours. The Tim Burton-esque vampires-and-demons aesthetic will not carry me through 35 hours of repetitive Roguelike gameplay. I would’ve played this game if it were shorter!

Demon Turf is also in the “looks neat, but it’s too long” category, although in this case that’s only because it only looks kinda neat. As far as I can tell, the devs didn’t stretch their game out with mechanics designed to wring the longest possible playtime out of the smallest amount of content. It’s just a game for people who think a cutesy demon aesthetic platformer is a good way to spend 30 hours of their life, and I am not in that demographic.

Golden Light is a procedurally generated dark comedy survival horror Roguelike where there’s a talking bicycle and it’s super funny, you guys, just trust me, it’s hilarious, bro, come on. The marketing talks a lot about its comedic tone but doesn’t tell a single joke. Well, it does have a list of things you can eat or throw in the game that includes “Meat Apple,” “Fat Lips,” and “Corrupted Fetus,” so I guess the joke is that it’s all edgy and transgressive and stuff? A casually transgressive bite can make a joke pop, but it’s not a punchline by itself. This game’s sense of humor sounds interminably dull and it’s a Roguelike, because nothing punches up humor like seeing the same content slightly remixed dozens or hundreds of times.

As Pokemon steadily decays, a number of indie games are trying to step into the void. Monster Crown is one of those, and they’re one of the ones that’s growing up with the audience, presenting a darker story of sadistic rulers and looming tyranny. The aesthetic is pretty similar to gen 3-5 Pokemon, though, which seems like it’d be kind of jarring. I wonder how much of this comes from people who cut their teeth on mods? In the context of a modding scene, you expect to see large chunks of the game to be recycled from the original, which means new assets have to be made to match the old ones, so the aesthetic is set in stone unless you’re doing a total conversion. Under those circumstances, I’m perfectly willing to tolerate an aesthetic/story tone mismatch. Monster Crown is a new game with new assets, though, so if it’s a darker story, then how come it still looks like regular Pokemon? It’s a poor imitation of the Pokemon style, too. The game doesn’t seem to have much else to sell itself on besides being a darker take on Pokemon and it doesn’t seem to be doing either of those things especially well, so definitely giving it a pass.

I’ve also backed up to February to get Witcher: Thronebreaker after all on recommendation from a friend. My reason for vetting it out was pretty flimsy to begin with. I’m happy to use even flimsy reasons to vet games out of the backlog in general on the grounds that running out of games in my backlog is not much of a threat right now but letting duds pass my filters to waste my time with a bad game happens semi-frequently, but if the game comes recommended then that tips it over into the backlog.

Or at least, I’m going to try to get Thronebreaker. Something’s gone wrong with the CD key, so it might end up out of the backlog on grounds of technical difficulties.

Not counting Thronebreaker (yet) or Hero’s Hour (which I was excited to play, dove right into, and turns out it doesn’t have a campaign so it only took me two hours to “beat” by completing a duel scenario – I’ll probably play more of it, but there’s no particular endpoint to strive for), that brings me up to a surprisingly manageable 171. I’m still hovering around 170, but like I was back in December, but given the circumstances of January and February, that’s probably a good sign.

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