Blaugust Reviews – Humble Choice May 2023 Edition

I’m filling in for the incomparable UnwiseOwl again this month on summing up our group review of the offerings in this month’s Humble Choice bundle. Every month, when the bundle releases, a bunch of us get together on the Blaugust Discord and hash out which games we’re most excited about and divvy up the titles for us each to look at during the month. Some folks just take a quick look, and some really go all in, but we want to give you a jumping off point to help you decide if this month’s bundle is going to be worth it for you.

You have a little more than a day from the time this post goes live to decide if you want to pause this one, or if you want to add some (or all) of these games to your library! If you have an active subscription, you have until 1pm Eastern time on May 30th to pause before the auto-charge goes through, but if you are already paused (or don’t subscribe), you have another week before the June bundle is released on June 6th.

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters

Steam Store Price: $44.99

…if you’re a tactical game fan like me and don’t mind a little gratuitous grimdark then I think it’d be well worth your time to check it out too. Especially given that this is a Warhammer game with the traditional Warhammer tax in the price, so getting it as part of the Humble Monthly bundle is saving you a big wodge of the hefty $64.95 AU price tag.

Read UnwiseOwl’s full thoughts here: 40K: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters

Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition

Steam Store Price: $29.99

Naithin is still working his way through Spiritfarer, and hasn’t quite gotten deep enough into the game yet for a full post, but still, he had some thoughts to share.

Spiritfarer is a charming indie game with a hand-drawn art style that is nonetheless beautifully animated. It is a game that explores the themes of death and passing on, putting you in the role of a replacement-Charon, ushering the deceased onto the next stage of their journey while taking care of their needs in the present to prepare them for it.

It has elements reminiscent of a farming-game like Stardew Valley, albeit set upon the back of your upgradeable ship. You’ll explore different conditions at sea and atop a myriad of islands. But none of this is overly demanding or punishing. The gameplay is rather relaxed, and simply a vehicle through which you come to know your charges, before ultimately needing to let them go.

For the most part, these charges appear to be family and friends. So in my several hours of play- I began to wonder… Was I truly taking Charon’s role in assisting these folk…? Or was there perhaps something more to it, and I was being prepared? I don’t yet know. But if a narrative that might pull at your heartstrings is something up your alley, this bundle, and game, may well be worth your while.


Want another take on this one?

Spiritfarer is one of those games that I liked more and less than I expected at the same time. As a management game, it was … ok, I guess. The pacing was weird and frustrating. However, thematically and as a series of character studies, it was brilliant and heart-wrenching, and so much more powerful than I was anticipating.

Game Over – Spiritfarer

Bendy and the Dark Revival

Steam Store Price: $29.99

Bendy and the Dark Revival, however… it’s a valiant effort in the complex and thankless work of assembling video game assets together and publishing them, but it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression other than: “It was okay.”

Read UltraViolet’s full thoughts here: Bendy and the Dark Revival

Operation: Tango

Steam Store Price: $19.99

Having played through the first couple of missions, this is definitely a game I would go back to. It’s a nice pick-up for a Humble Choice offering, but it’s really only going to have value for someone who has someone to play with, as there is no matchmaking of any type in the game. It’s been discounted to below $10 on various platforms, so there’s maybe not enough value here to pick up the bundle solely for this title, but if you’re grabbing the bundle anyway, and you have a willing friend to play with, you’ll likely get a few hours of fun out of it.

Read my full thoughts here: Quick Look – Operation Tango (Humble Choice – May 2023)

Windjammers 2

Steam Store Price: $19.99

I just really wish this game was more accessible. Maybe it is easier for players who regularly play games like this.

If I wanted to get really good at the game, I would now go and read through all of [the guides for this game]. However, I don’t. It’s a fun little game but I don’t think it’s a game that I want to sink in hour after hour.

Read Paeroka’s full thoughts here: Windjammers 2 – Humble Choice Game May 2023

Builder Simulator

Steam Store Price: $19.99

An interesting concept that ultimately leaves me disappointed. I would like a lot more details, more freedom when it comes to designing and building houses, and less tedious work.

Read StalkingVengeance’s full thoughts here: The Videogame Corner: Builder Simulator

Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery

Steam Store Price: $12.99

Overall, though, Behind The Frame: The Finest Scenery is a pretty short yet beautiful puzzle game that you may wanna pick up during this month’s Humble Choice. The story and animations are lovely; you can even pet the cat, which is pretty great – frankly, it’s a nice little title to experience at least once and it lends itself very well to shorter sessions!

Read Magi’s full thoughts here: Indietail – Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery


Want another take on this one?

Everything about this game is beautiful aesthetically. The animation is movie-quality, the sound design is immersive, and it leads you through a heartwarming little story. However, if you prioritize gameplay, you may find yourself disappointed. This is definitely a game that wants to take you on a journey – the puzzle aspects almost feel like an afterthought.

Game Over – Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery (#JustOnePercent 74/100)

The Invisible Hand

Steam Store Price: $12.99

I am really bad with it as I am always too impatient, selling or buying too fast instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity. Oh well. It is still a good game and there aren’t many others with a similar topic…

Read Paeroka’s full thoughts here: The Invisible Hand – Humble Choice Game May 2023


Want another take on this one?

I managed to work my way through two promotions, but I can’t say at any point I was having fun. I couldn’t even let myself root for the playable character (who you know almost nothing about) because everything about the job and the company and even your friend who got your foot in the door felt profoundly icky. Which I think was the point, so good on you Power Struggle Games. I may not have liked anything I was feeling while playing, but The Invisible Hand definitely made me feel things.

Quick Look – The Invisible Hand (#JustOnePercent 33/100)

In conclusion:

Like most Humble Choice bundles, they’re almost always worth picking up if you’re interested in three or more titles. If you only want a single game from this bundle, and that game is Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters, then you’re getting your money’s worth from this bundle. If you’re even vaguely interested in any of the other titles, that’s a bonus.

Spiritfarer is a good pickup but it’s been bundled before and on some pretty deep discounts, so if this is a game you’ve been interested in, it’s probably already in your library, so it’s tough to say that this one can carry the bundle on its own. If you’re very specifically interested in Bendy and the Dark Revival, Operation Tango, or Windjammers 2, and anything else looks good to you, it’s probably worth it.

If you’re only interested in Behind the Frame – The Finest Scenery or The Invisible Hand, you can probably find a better deal on those titles individually. Builder Simulator is probably the biggest dud in this month’s offering, and will probably only appeal to the gamer who gobbles up every simulation game they come across.

Quick Look – Operation Tango (Humble Choice – May 2023)

Although I am – for the most part – a single player game kind of person, I will admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for two player co-op where communication is key. Operation Tango was a game already on my radar, but my typical puzzle-gaming co-op partner and I were unable to get anything scheduled, so I convinced my (somewhat reluctant husband to play through the first couple of missions with me. According to IsThereAnyDeal, this is the first time Operation Tango has appeared in a bundle, and it retails for $19.99.

I feel like I need to start with the one thing that Operation Tango does better than a lot of two-player, co-op required games. It does not require both players to purchase the game in order to play. As long as one player owns the game, they can direct their friend to install the free Friend Pass, and invite them to a game. Achievements are not available for players using the friend pass instead of the full game, and the person who owns the game needs to create the session, but otherwise, it allows the second player to engage fully with the content.

You’ll need to decide which of your team is going to play as the agent, and which as the hacker. I left the choice up to my husband, and he picked agent, and I was relieved. I expected that meant that I was going to be the one primarily working my way through databases and checking out security cameras, while he dealt with the actual threats, but there are definitely some places where even the hacker needs to be fast on their feet. Each mission starts with a little scrap of story, and then you’re each dumped into your side of the mission and you need to start figuring things out. You work your way through a sequence of objectives, and hopefully don’t get each other killed.

However, if you do, the penalty for death is almost nothing. You’re brought back to the precise place that you failed (or as close as you can be without getting caught in a failure loop), and any puzzles you’ve already completed stay that way. I feel like this cuts way down on the potential for one or both players to get frustrated, and I really appreciated this design decision.

I also liked that a lot of the information is randomized – you can’t just memorize the answers and speedrun your way through the game. If I was too slow in entering a code, it would always be different the next time. Which maybe drove my husband a little crazy, as he had to keep dodging lasers in order to access the terminal and read me the code, but it definitely adds replay value, beyond that of playing from the opposite perspective.

There are seven scripted missions, and an additional challenge mode, so if you’re satisfied with playing only a single role, you could be done with this game in half a dozen hours. The puzzles are also a bit on the simple side from a “figuring things out” perspective, so dedicated puzzle gamers might feel like the game is too easy. I personally don’t consider either of these things to be a negative – in fact, this would be a pretty good introductory experience to this type of game for someone who doesn’t have a lot of puzzle game experience.

Having played through the first couple of missions, this is definitely a game I would go back to. It’s a nice pick-up for a Humble Choice offering, but it’s really only going to have value for someone who has someone to play with, as there is no matchmaking of any type in the game. It’s been discounted to below $10 on various platforms, so there’s maybe not enough value here to pick up the bundle solely for this title, but if you’re grabbing the bundle anyway, and you have a willing friend to play with, you’ll likely get a few hours of fun out of it.

Blaugust Reviews – Humble Choice April 2023 Edition

I’m filling in for the incomparable UnwiseOwl again this month on summing up our group review of the offerings in this month’s Humble Choice bundle. Every month, when the bundle releases, a bunch of us get together on the Blaugust Discord and hash out which games we’re most excited about and divvy up the titles for us each to look at during the month. Some folks just take a quick look, and some really go all in, but we want to give you a jumping off point to help you decide if this month’s bundle is going to be worth it for you.

Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, this post is coming out just a little too late if you were debating whether or not to pause – the automatic charge for this month’s bundle will have already gone through by the time this post goes live. However, if you were on the fence about activating your subscription for this month, you still have a few more days before the bundle rolls over to April on Tuesday, May 2nd.

Naithin of Time to Loot took this month’s headlinerDeath Stranding: Director’s Cut. The problem is, however, it’s a hard game to talk about without spoiling the experience. Instead of trying (and potentially spoiling myself), I will give you a direct quote from the linked blog entry.

If you’ve not yet had a chance to play Death Stranding, then this month’s humble choice is beyond worthwhile. For this title alone.

Naithin, Time to Loot

That said, it’s worth mentioning that the base version of Death Stranding was given away by Epic on December 25, 2022. While the Director’s Cut brings improvements, especially if you’re planning to play on an ultrawide monitor, it might not be quite as much of a draw for someone who already has access to the content from a giveaway.

UltrViolet of Endgame Viable also played this game back in November of 2019 on the PS4, and was pleasantly surprised by it. He found the whole concept was one that felt fresh, with a steady learning curve that kept going past the first hour or so, and excellent cinematics.

I guess that means this one gets two sets of thumbs up.

Aliens Fireteam Elite was also covered by Naithin from Time to Loot – shortly after it released back in August of 2021. While it’s clearly a lower-budget endeavor, it plays well, with all the parts combining to make a satisfying and enjoyable horde shooter. This one is probably more fun with friends, but perfectly playable with AI companions. Players who are experienced with the genre might find the standard difficulty a little on the easy side, but the upgrades & perks feel good, and the moment-to-moment gameplay is exciting. It’s not a game that will change your life, but if you’re fond of the setting, and looking to blow things up with some buddies, this game will likely satisfy.

StalkingVengeance of Cubic Creativity took a look at Rollerdrome, a cel-shaded arena deathmatch game. On roller skates, naturally. Featuring only light environmental storytelling, this one is all about the gameplay. You need to master clever skating and skillful dodging, as movement is the only way to get more ammunition to conquer the competition. It starts off fairly simply, but you unlock more weapon variety and harder enemies as you progress through the campaign. If that description isn’t enough to at least intrigue you, you’ll probably want to give this one a pass, but it’s fresh and interesting enough to warrant a try from anyone who finds the concept interesting.

UnwiseOwl of Leaflocker was scheduled to take on Life is Strange 2, but sometimes, well, life gets in the way, and although he had time to play the game, he hadn’t quite managed to write up his thoughts just yet. However, he passed on his verdict to me, which I now pass on to you:

If you’re interested in trying out a narrative game (more an interactive film than a game, really) and you don’t mind a little supernatural violence, you should play this. The Life is Strange sequel lives up to its reputation and is 100% a reason to get the bundle.

UnwiseOwl, Leaflocker

If you weren’t interested in – or didn’t care for – the earlier Life is Strange titles, this one probably won’t change your mind, but for fans of the genre, it’s another worthwhile entry.

UltrViolet of Endgame Viable was not overly impressed with The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante, calling it merely average. He appreciated the artstyle, but also felt like the storytelling was a bit drawn out, and that it took too long to see the results of the choices he was making. A plus for enthusiasts of this style of game is that the developers have made the text very readable – a key point of focus in a game that is made up almost entirely of reading. While this is a nice extra in the bundle for choice-and-consequences fans, the niche genre and low retail price probably isn’t going to encourage anyone to pick up the bundle for this title alone.

Paeroka of Nerdy Bookahs played a bit of Monster Camp, and discovered that this game has no save feature. The playthroughs are fairly short, however, so for some gamers, this might not be a deal breaker. This comedic dating sim encourages replay – not only are the multiple paths to take, but you can earn currency on your play throughs, which can be used to make purchases in the meta-shop. If you don’t care for dating sims in general, this probably won’t be the game that changes your mind, and since it fairly regularly goes on sale for half the price of Humble Choice, the best case scenario is this is a fun side dish to the main course.

Magi from IndieCator wrote about about Revita, a challenging roguelite with bullet-hell elements. He was very impressed with the array of accessibility options, which allow players to modify different aspects of the difficult, although you might have to hunt for some that aren’t in the “accessibility” section of the settings. It has the unique mechanic of trading health for upgrades, which makes the balancing act of being strong enough and being powerful enough particularly interesting. It’s also got an amazing soundtrack, attractive pixel art, and quirky characters. However, Revita also seems like the game in this months Choice that doesn’t quite fit with anything else. It’s quite possibly the most challenging game in the bundle. It has good reviews on Steam, but a sub-$20 asking price. Its target audience may not have a whole lot of overlap with the rest of the bundle’s target audience, so even though the game seems to be solid, it probably cannot carry the entire month.

Full disclosure: I’m enough of a variety gamer that I usually wait until everyone else has chosen their title(s) to review, and pick whatever is left over. This month, I was super excited about Founders’ Fortune. Unfortunately, for me, the colony-builder-meets-the-Sims-mashup style game play didn’t pull me in like I had hoped it would. In a lot of ways, it felt more like a bunch of features the devs felt were interesting just lumped together without any thought of how it would – or in actuality, wouldn’t – make a cohesive game. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either, and I’d only recommend it to folks who had run out of new colony builders or who specifically were interested in the social life-sim aspects of this particular game.

In conclusion:

If you are interested in Death’s Stranding, and don’t already own it (either from a previous purchase or the Epic giveaway), this bundle is 100% worth it.

If you’d be willing to pay $12 for either Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Rollerdrome, Life is Strange 2, or Founder’s Fortune (or any combination thereof), you probably should grab the bundle.

The rest of the games are either forgettable, or can easily be gotten at a lower price by waiting for a sale.

This bundle is probably going to most appeal to gamers who like a more chill, casual experience, leaning heavily into story focused games. Challenge-motivated gamers will likely enjoy Rollerdrome and Revita, but won’t find much else here to their tastes.

Quick Look – Founders’ Fortune (Humble Choice – April 2023)

I have a long wish list on Steam, and I’m still surprised when something on there shows up in the Humble Choice. Of course, that wish list has an awful lot of city builders and colony sims, since those are a couple of my comfort genres. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to take a look at Founders’ Fortune this month. This colony sim with a cartoony aesthetic retails for $21.99, and this is the first time it’s appeared in a bundle according to IsThereAnyDeal.

I’ve loved city builder games for as long as I can remember, and colony sims since I bought Rimworld when it released on Steam back in 2016. At first glance, Founders’ Fortune looks like a pretty casual take on the colony sim genre, but it’s graphical style is most definitely a trap. So is its rather meager tech tree. I initially dove in on the normal difficulty, expecting to make mistakes, of course, but I wasn’t really expecting a challenge.

I was wrong. I was very very wrong.

Time passes very quickly in Founders’ Fortune, so your colony is going to be in for a really rough time if you spend too many early game days figuring things out. You are only given two colonists to start, and there are way too many tasks that need doing to mismanage them. In order to attract other people to your colony, you will need to build a bonfire, which is easy, but also fulfill enough of your current colonists’ wishes to hit a satisfaction threshold. The wish system, to me, felt ripped directly from later iterations of The Sims, and once I mentally made that comparison, I couldn’t shake it.

Probably my biggest gripe trying to learn the game is that the “tips” which tell you how to play the game seem to disappear into the ether once you’ve viewed them. I’m used to games in this genre having a huge help screen with all kinds of little details, but Founders’ Fortune expects you to immediately commit to memory the way things work. I am frequently guilty of clicking through pop-ups before I’ve fully processed what they say, and I found myself unable to add any further colonists to my initial colony because I glossed over the tool tip of how to interact with newcomers. Oops.

At this point, I elected to re-start on the easiest difficulty option, and promised myself I would pay better attention to the tutorial-style pop-ups.

My second attempt was definitely better, but I also picked a sub-optimal starting location. Since I was still mostly trying to get a feel for the game, I just rolled with it, but I very nearly ran out of food since there were no apple trees in a reasonable range, and I didn’t get my farms producing before spring ended. The seasons could really use a couple more days.

As your colonists do the same job, they will start to gain ranks, which you will need to spend on further perks. A lot of this is fairly unintuitive, and I have to admit I still don’t understand if the benefits of being able to wear a master outfit is worth the two points and the hassle of making them. It is clear, however, that once you have enough colonists to allow them to specialize, there’s a definite upside to doing so.

Your colonists also get reward points as you fulfill their wishes, which you can spend on additional traits, use to get rid of negative traits they might have come with, or to slap a band-aid on if they’re sick, hurt, or just really grumpy. These seem to be fairly easy to come by, at least in the early game, so it’s probably best to use them to buff up colonists early on, since that seems to be the point where most colonies will either succeed or fail.

I have yet to get far enough to see how the other systems actually impact gameplay. There are traders, which probably are useful, and enemy tribes, which I’m guessing are somewhere between mildly irritating and completely terrifying, depending on the difficulty you choose and how much effort you put into weapon production. There is also mod support, and around 50 mods currently available on the Steam Workshop.

All in all, I’m not sure yet how I feel about this one, and I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t given it enough time and attention, or if I just am unwilling to admit I don’t care for it because I really want to like it. I also haven’t had a lot of experience with games that feel simultaneously like they’re overly complicated and utterly bare-bones. Right now, I’m leaning in the direction of it being okay, but not terribly impressive. If you like colony sims (and are okay with the overly cutesy aesthetic) then it’s worth a spin if you’ve already decided to pick up this month’s bundle for some of the other titles, but as implied by it being the 8th title in the bundle, it’s unlikely too many people will pick up this month’s choice primarily for this title. That said, the total cost of the bundle is only about a dollar more than the historic low for Founders’ Fortune, so if you’re really interested in this one, and have at least a passing interest in at least one other title in the bundle, it might be worth it for you.

Blaugust Reviews – Humble Choice March 2023 Edition

I’m filling in for the incomparable UnwiseOwl again this month on summing up our group review of the offerings in this month’s Humble Choice bundle. Every month, when the bundle releases, a bunch of us get together on the Blaugust Discord and hash out which games we’re most excited about and divvy up the titles for us each to look at during the month. Some folks just take a quick look, and some really go all in, but we want to give you a jumping off point to help you decide if this month’s bundle is going to be worth it for you.

Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, this post is coming out just a little too late if you were debating whether or not to pause – the automatic charge for this month’s bundle will have already gone through by the time this post goes live. However, if you were on the fence about activating your subscription for this month, you still have a few more days before the bundle rolls over to April on Tuesday, April 4th.

The first headliner from the bundle was Biomutant. Oddly, it’s neither the most expensive title in the bundle, nor does it have particularly good reviews. Stalking Vengeance of Cubic Creativity went all in on this title, putting in around 40 hours, and found it to be interesting, even if it wasn’t quite living up to its potential. Some components (like the character creation and the general worldbuilding) were top notch, and others (like the KBM controls and the NPC character development) were beyond disappointing. All in all, it seems to have come by its mixed rating honestly, but as long as you use a controller and are patient through an overly long intro section, it’s an enjoyable – if ultimately forgettable – game.


Paeroka of Nerdy Bookahs took on the secondary headliner this month – Jurassic World Evolution 2. Sure, it’s a more niche title, which is probably what put it into the second spot rather than the first, but if it’s game you’ve had your eye on, this is probably the cheapest you’ll be able to pick it up, and might carry the bundle for you if this is your jam. Paeroka enjoyed it, although she felt the campaign mode somehow managed to be both too short and tedious. Thankfully, the other three game modes are more engaging, although the Sandbox mode requires you to unlock maps via completing them in other modes. There are some quality of life upgrades from the first game, including the ability to build with the game paused, but it’s still a bit micromanagement heavy if that is a turn off. Overall, a solid game at a deep discount, although it has the absurd amount of DLC, which has become expected of Frontier Games, and none of that is part of the package.


For the classic JRPG fans, there’s Edge of Eternity. Naithin of Time to Loot found it to be fairly enjoyable in a comfortable way, as a player who has a history with the genre. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, and some of the edges are still a little rough, but for an indie game on a budget, it perhaps looks and sounds better than one might expect. If mediocre voice acting and animations that range from basic to disconcerting are a deal breaker, or if you’re not already a fan of this genre, it’s probably not the right game for you, but for someone looking for a new JRPG, it seems to be a pretty solid choice.


UnwiseOwl of Leaflocker struggled a bit with Hero’s Hour. Can you call a game a success if what it does it makes you want to play the game that it’s heavily inspired by? As another gamer who grew up with the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise, this was probably the game in this month’s choice I was also most excited by. UnwiseOwl found this tribute to be needlessly complex in the amount of detail that is in the factions & town management, with far less interesting combat mechanics. This homage might actually be more successful for folks without fond memories to compare to, however, since the Steam reviews are Mostly Positive.


I took Rogue Lords for a short spin, and although I loved the concept and the aesthetics, I wasn’t a big fan of the pacing. Overworld traversal is slow, combat is slow, and good lord, is the text reveal speed slow. When I play a roguelike, I want to be able to dip in for short sessions, and have to think fast on my feet. However, I may have liked it more if I approached it from the perspective of someone diving into a turn based RPG and stopped trying to rush it. I loved the dark art style, and the mechanic where you’re allowed to cheat since, duh, you’re the devil is brilliant. Depending on your expectations of the game, you’ll either love it or be bored silly. Don’t be like me, adjust your expectations and enjoy the ride.


Kluwes of Many Whelps played a few hours of the 3D platformer, Demon Turf and was not only satisfied by the game play, but really enjoyed the soundtrack. This quirky title features 2D sprites, placeable checkpoints instead of static ones, and optional collectibles to hunt down. The levels are short, but well designed, and the game comes with a full second game mode called The Tower. In The Tower, you climb until you die, but you carry over permanent upgrades in between attempts, which is a neat cookie to toss towards fans of roguelite platformers, but without the procedural generation bits. Kluwes actually liked the game enough to recommend the full bundle purchase based on this title alone – which is a pretty big thumbs up, I would think.


Magi of IndieCator tackled this month’s horror title, the deeply disturbing Golden Light. This procedurally generated FPS survival horror is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. Once you dive into a fleshy hole in the ground to save your love, you never know what you’ll encounter. You can go in guns blazing, and destroying everything in your wake, but this infuriates the living dungeon you’re in, making everything harder. Not everything is what you expect, and there’s bits of story scattered throughout if you look hard enough. However, the bosses are bullet sponges, and it’s easy to make fatal mistakes in The Gut, which will put you back at the beginning of the level. This game will be most appealing to fans of tense body horror who aren’t terribly concerned about whether or not the gameplay feels fair.


Because I really want to like creature collection RPGs, and since I have yet to learn that they frustrate the hell out of me, I spent about half an hour with Monster Crown. This might actually be the most niche title in a bundle that seemed to have more than its share this month, because really this is probably only going to appeal to Pokémon super-fans who have run out of other stuff to play. It seemed perfectly serviceable, but perfectly serviceable also means “nothing special”. It’s also rather short, and several Steam reviews complain about lingering bugs. Maybe it gets better, I don’t know. As is typical of games in the last slot, this isn’t the game that most people will pick up the bundle for, but for creature collector fans, it might provided a dozen or so hours of fun.

In conclusion, if you’ve been waiting for a deal on Jurassic World Evolution 2 or Biomutant (and you’re comfortable enough with the quirks of these two titles), this bundle is definitely worth grabbing from a cost perspective alone. Otherwise, unless you’re really excited about two or more of this month’s indies, there’s just not enough genre overlap in the March bundle for most people to make it a good value, although Kluwes makes a strong case for Demon Turf being this month’s hidden gem.

Personally, I actually considered skipping this month’s bundle, before I remembered that I never skip them. After all, I never know what I might be in the mood to play tomorrow.

Quick Look – Monster Crown (Humble Choice – March 2023)

There’s no question about it – Pokémon is a cultural phenomenon. Even if you’ve never played a single Pokémon game, you can probably identify one or more of it’s signature creatures. And like every other type of game that makes a big impression, there will be many who try to make a game just as good – or better, even – than the original. Monster Crown is another creature-collecting RPG which is heavily influenced by the Pokémon games, and because of this, I might be the absolute worst person to be taking a look at it.

This darker, more mature creature collector has a retail price of $19.99, and will take around 13 hours to complete the main quest, according to HowLongToBeat.

Despite being of approximately the right age to have had a Nintendo childhood (or at least, Nintendo teenagerhood), I did not grown up in a console kind of home. Sure, I occasionally dabbled in Super Mario Bros or Duck Hunt while visiting friends, I didn’t own my first Nintendo console until the Switch, and the only Pokémon games I’ve ever played were Pokemon GO! on my phone, and New Pokémon Snap, which is definitely not a creature collector or an RPG.

So why am I always trying to get into creature collection RPGs? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Maybe it’s the fact that the people in my life who love them are so passionate about them. Maybe it’s just because I want a horde of cute little monsters to help me take over the world. However, the fact remains that, other than a lingering infatuation with the Siralim series of games and a mighty obsession with pet battles in World of Warcraft, I have bounced hard off of every creature collection RPG I’ve ever played. This is why I was not the right person to take a look at Monster Crown, but also why I couldn’t stop myself.

The monsters are better than the maps, by a mile. Maybe two miles. Seriously, the map is awful.

The world of Monster Crown is dark and dangerous, and humans have only managed to survive by making pacts with monsters, who will fight for you in exchange for … random fruit you pick for them, I guess? I’m not sure what else people really have to offer. You are the child of farmers, who have their very own monster to help out with farm work and keep the bad things at bay. Since you’ve shown interest in monster taming, your father gets you a comic book with a short quiz on the back cover, and a week later, your very own starter monster is being delivered right to your door. Seems safe.

Mmm… what could possibly go wrong here? NOTHING I’m sure.

Your mother is, probably quite rightly, concerned, but your dad hands you a map and a gift for the ruler of the nearest kingdom, and sends you out into the scary world in order to drop off his bribe. Um, ok. My new puppy friend is adorable and all, but I’m not getting much in the way of warm fuzzy feelings here.

Here I am absolutely about to attempt to pick a fight I am in no way ready for. It ended pretty much the way you’d expect.

Mind you, I’m already a bit grumpy at the keyboard controls. Surely it must be possible to make a game controller friendly without relying on the right hand on the arrow keys, left hand is for Z and X scheme that makes me dislike a game from the get go. If you’ve been playing a variety of genres with a keyboard for any period of time, I feel like this is never the control scheme you want. Maybe most folks play these types of games with a controller, even on PC, but at least the keys are re-bindable.

Combat is typical of the genre. You choose which monster to take into battle, and then your monster and the wild monster take turns trying to beat the snot out of each other. There’s a permadeath option for those hard core monster tamers, but it is off by default, thank god. You can swap to other active monsters on your team anytime it’s your turn, and if you want to add a monster to your team, instead of throwing a ball at it, you simply offer it a pact to either accept or decline. I didn’t get far, by all the monsters I offered pacts to took them.

There are wild monsters pretty much everywhere, and this is good, because you’re going to need to battle pretty much all of them to level up your team to a point where you have any prayer of beating the boss monsters. Or I could be just bad at this type of game, and most folks will triumph without issues. One or the other.

Most of these games give their critters elemental designations, but Monster Crown elects to use an even more obtuse system of adjectives. Thankfully, there are only five types, and they’re color-coded, so if the descriptors aren’t working for you, you can just make a cheat sheet with the colors. Someone please tell me I’m not the only one who makes cheat sheets for these types of games?

All in all, at least for me, it seemed … fine … if you’re into this sort of game. It felt very much like the idea of old style Pokémon I have in my head, which I realize is a terrible indication of any kind of quality since I absolutely no not of which I speak. But the bottom line is, I was bored. I felt like it was going to take forever and ever to get anywhere, especially since any attempt to flee an unwinnable battle puts you back at home, with a whole maze full of monsters to navigate through over and over again.

It certainly didn’t feel like a game that would drive someone to purchase this month’s Humble Choice, although it might be a nice bonus for creature collector fans who hadn’t gotten around to picking this one up and who cannot get enough of sending monsters to do their fighting for them.

Quick Look – Rogue Lords (Humble Choice – March 2023)

It seems like every other game that blips across my radar lately is waving the “roguelite” flag. My personal experiences with them have been mixed, at best, and yet I keep trying. I selected Rogue Lords to look at from the March Humble Choice for a few reasons. First, the aesthetic is very much up my alley. Secondly, I was hoping for something new to play in short bursts on the steam deck. Thirdly, well, is because no one else picked it.

In this dark fantasy turn-based roguelite, you play as the devil, leading his disciples across the land to get rid of all those pesky demon hunters and get some revenge. It has a retail price of $24.99 and an overall Steam rating of Mostly Positive at the time of this Quick Look.

Although I had hoped to play Rogue Lords on the Steam Deck, I didn’t think to check about compatibility until after the fact. It’s unsupported. However, since quite a few unsupported games seem to work just fine, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Unfortunately, on default settings, the cut scenes were broken. By this I mean there was voice over, and subtitles, but no pictures. Rather than tinker, I decided just to play this one at the PC (although for those who prefer to tinker, it has a ProtonDB Rating of Platinum, and reportedly works just fine with ProtonGE).

After the introductory expository cut scene, Rogue Lords forces you into a fairly lengthy, unskippable, and super hand-hold-y tutorial. Now, I like a tutorial. I don’t even hate a mandatory tutorial. But I detest a tutorial that doesn’t let you make a single mistake all the way through, and then dumps you into an unwinnable battle. Which is precisely what this one does.

The main takeaway I got from the tutorial level is this. You are the devil, and you have a limited (but rechargeable) amount of power which you can use to cheat. And I do mean cheat. You can recharge your disciples abilities. You can fill up their resource bars. You can steal buffs from your opponents or slide your debuffs onto them. The game is actually designed expecting you to cheat early and often. I feel kind of personally weird about cheating, even in single player games, for myself but when the it’s part of the game design? I actually think I kind of like it.

It makes sense, after all. You’re the ultimate bad guy, sending your bad guy minions to do bad guy things. Why would you follow the rules if you didn’t have to? However, if that mechanic makes you feel icky and you think you’d prefer to just not use it, you’re best off skipping the game entirely. I’m not 100% sure it is mandatory, but I will tell you this – it feels mandatory.

Otherwise, this is a neat twist on a very old formula. You have action points that you can split between any of your characters. You start out with five per round, and abilities generally cost 1-2 points. Action points refresh to full between turns, but your abilities don’t – if you want to use something more than once a battle (spoiler, you absolutely will want to use something more than once a battle), you’ll need to recharge that ability. Each character comes with a “recharge” ability that costs action points to use – I found myself using Dracula’s most often since it recharges everyone’s abilities, or you use your cheat currency to do it one ability at a time.

As you can imagine, this doesn’t have a fantastic effect on pacing, and the pacing is already not great. In what I can only assume is an attempt to make players appreciate the art, you need to lumber manually through each map section. Story segments (indicated by an open book on the mini map) feature oh-so-slow scrolling text with voiceover. You can click to make the text appear instantly, and there’s a way to turn off the voiceover if you’d prefer to read, but it’s also really easy to accidentally get too clicky and skip the story segment all together. Not that I did that. Not more than once anyway.

And while the tutorial map had a reasonable amount of nodes, the first actual map seemed to stretch on forever. So many encounters. So much walking. If you’re looking for a short session roguelite this is not it. In fact, it looked like there was no way to save during a run (a personal pet peeve of mine in roguelites), so I ended up frustration quitting when I realized that there was no way I was going to have time to completely the whole map in a single sitting. I can understand no manual or autosave during an actual combat, but not anywhere during a whole run?

Except that the game does save, presumably upon entering a new section of the map. It just doesn’t tell you that anywhere.

While there are more things I like so far about Rogue Lords than not, the things I found annoying I found really really annoying. I do appreciate that there is a difficulty option (and yes, I’m playing on Apprentice, which is easy, and yes, I’m still not having an easy time of it), but I would have preferred more customization than “easy or normal”. I cannot fathom how they came to the decision that RP walking through each map segment, completely with impassable terrain features, was a good idea.

On the other hand, the cheat mechanic is fun, and – at least for me, who’s not a huge roguelite player – unique. The art and sound design is great. There are unlockable characters, but the three you start with are all functionally different enough to not just feel like Generic Bad Guys. If you’re patient, and a fan of turn based strategy, dark fantasy settings, and just being plain evil, this might be worth a few hours of your time.

But if you’re expecting a fast-paced roguelite, one that’s tough but fair, this isn’t likely to scratch that itch.

As for value, this isn’t a title that’s seen many deep discounts (and none at all on Steam itself), so if this one has been on your wish list, it might be worth grabbing the bundle for, and definitely if there’s at least one or two other games that strike your fancy. That said, it is a second row title, which is where they tend to drop all the niche indie games, so if there’s nothing on the top row that’s appealing, Rogue Lords isn’t the type of game that’s going to carry the bundle on its (admittedly very very evil) shoulders.

Blaugust Reviews – Humble Choice February 2023 Edition

I’m filling in for the incomparable UnwiseOwl again this month on summing up our group review of the offerings in this month’s Humble Choice bundle. Every month, when the bundle releases, a bunch of us get together on the Blaugust Discord and hash out which games we’re most excited about and divvy up the titles for us each to look at during the month. Some folks just take a quick look, and some really go all in, but we want to give you a jumping off point to help you decide if this month’s bundle is going to be worth it for you.

At first glance, the February Humble Choice looks like a fairly meaty offering, with three games that might fill the role of headliner depending on your taste. Pathfinder, Fallout, and The Witcher all bring big-name recognition, but are they enough to carry February’s bundle?

Coincidentally, Stalking Vengeance of Cubic Creativity had just written up some thoughts on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous a few days before the bundle dropped. While this party-based RPG based on the tabletop Pathfinder system seems to be a game that most people either really loved or really hated, somehow, Stalking Vengeance managed to do a bit of both. The game features an epic story with interesting companions and side characters, but also fiddly combat, obtuse puzzles, and brutally unfair encounters. It really depends on what your tolerance is for the latter if the former makes the game worthwhile.


Fallout 76 seems like it is intended to be a big draw for the bundle as well, but Kluwes of Many Whelps was not too impressed. This MMO (with optional subscription) doesn’t quite live up to the expectations set by the single-player Fallout titles. The combination of awkward building controls and an annoying inventory system left him feeling that there were many other, better games to play unless you were very specifically looking for a multiplayer Fallout game, which, if that’s something you had to have, you probably bought this game three years ago and have no need for it in this bundle.


Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is quite a departure from the other games in the Witcher series, and if you were expecting more of the same, you’d likely come away a bit disappointed. Naithin from Time to Loot had a pretty good idea what he was getting into, and found the story & quests to be enjoyable, and the variation on the Gwent card game which is the major gameplay component grew on him the more he played. If you also play the multiplayer version of Gwent, you’ll probably appreciate the bonus chests you’ll get while playing, but it is a bit of an odd choice to have rewards that don’t pertain to the game you’re actually playing. Although it’s not the priciest title in the bundle, it’s a solid deckbuilding RPG, and might sway some folks who were on the fence about the bundle.


Stalking Vengeance also wrote about Othercide, a turn-based roguelike with a dark fantasy aesthetic. This turn-based strategy features challenging combat with decent mission variety against repetitive backdrops. In place of more traditional healing mechanics, Othercide has a sacrifice system which forces you to give up a unit in order to refresh the health of another. Mistakes can be very costly, and resurrection tokens are in short supply, but the game does feature a persistent upgrade system which help ameliorate some of the difficulty of successive runs. For players who subscribe to the philosophy that losing is fun, and who crave difficult tactical challenges, this might be the game to purchase the bundle for, since it’s a mid-priced title that has only rarely dipped below the full bundle price on sale.


Unwise Owl of Leaflocker wasn’t overly impressed by Shady Part of Me. While the game gets points for being pretty, it plays kind of dull, with the early puzzles all being of the single-solution type. Although you can swap between the world of light and the world of shadow at will, there’s only one right path to a solution, and being able to rewind time is just what most games call “saving and reloading when you screw it up.” Overall, he found it a bit too much of the same, and decided he’d had his fill after about an hour.


Magi of IndieCator (review pending) was eager to take a look at ScourgeBringer, a pixel-art action platformer roguelite. This fast-paced game will probably appeal to gamers who want to test their reflexes, although it does have an adaptive difficulty option if it proves to be too challenging. It does have a regular retail price on the lower side, but for folks on the fence, this one has over 90% positive reviews on Steam, and might tip the scales in favor of grabbing the bundle.


Yet again, I took a look at the quirky horror offering, Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel. It’s a little bit survival horror, a little bit puzzle game, and a little bit walking sim, and – at least for me – just about the perfect amount of creepy right from the start. I would have loved to have played more, but without a field of view slider, I found myself getting motion sick, and then getting irritated by how far apart the save points were. If you don’t mind your horror games a little slower paced, and you don’t struggle with FoV-related motion sickness, this might be a hidden treasure in this month’s bundle, but this title probably won’t appeal to a lot of gamers who either don’t like horror at all, or horror gamers who are looking for something that’s both faster-paced and really terrifying.


Paeroka of Nerdy Bookahs played Five Dates, an FMV rom-com dating simulator. She completed her first playthrough in under two hours, and still thought there might have been a bit too much filler content. Most dating sim fans will dive right into replays to date all five of the love interests, so there’s a reasonable amount of potential playtime for fans of the genre, but this is also probably the most niche title in this months bundle.

That wraps up another group review where the “filler” games once again outshine the headliners. However, the genre spread is wide enough that it’s entirely possible most gamers will only be interested in a couple of titles. If you haven’t yet made up your mind to subscribe or pause this month, you’re just about out of time – non-paused accounts will charge tomorrow, and you’ve only got one week left to subscribe before this bundle is over.

Quick Look – Fobia: St. Dinfna Hotel (Humble Choice – February 2023)

I really want to like horror games, but since I never enjoy them as much as I want to, Humble Choice is a great way to check them out. Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel was the horror offering in February’s Humble Choice, and I volunteered to take a look at it for our group review. This survival horror / walking sim / puzzle game is an interesting mashup of genres that retails for $29.99, and has a playtime of around 12 hours according to How Long To Beat.

I’m not sure what it is about hotels that make them such a popular setting for horror (and horror-adjacent games), but yet again, I find myself playing a rousing game of “where’s the next key” in Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel. The protagonist is a journalist named Roberto, who has come to the St. Dinfna Hotel to investigate a series of strange events plaguing the town. After a week of getting absolutely nowhere, you wake up one morning to find your room has been ransacked, and there’s a strange note from someone you don’t remember, but who seems to know you.

I played for just under an hour, and would have liked to continue, but I got seriously motion sick from playing, and probably stuck it out longer than I should have looking for a save point that didn’t require epic amounts of backtracking. Oh, did I not mention that this – like many games in this genre – operates on a save point system? Because of course it does. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend diving in unless you have at least 20 to 30 minutes to commit; there’s a prologue and a some story bits before the save system even becomes available. This is probably fine for most people, but I wish it had been clearer, I almost quit out shortly before this assuming it was a checkpoint system.

Anyway, motion sickness issues notwithstanding, the atmosphere and sound design is really great. Inventory management originally looked like it was going to be a pain, but it soon became clear that it was well handled here. Items disappear when used if they’re no longer necessary, and you can find bags as you explore that increase the number of inventory slots you have available. Documents & other notes don’t take up space you’ll need for usable objects, and although some items need to be combined before they can be used, it didn’t feel like you needed to wait too long to find all the parts you need to make a complete item.

Now I’m not a survival horror aficionado, but the mechanic of looking through the camera to see into another time felt fresh to me, but some may find it irritating because it does slow the pace of the game somewhat. But I don’t think Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel is meant in any way to be fast-paced. You’re expected to look at every piece of paper, and open every drawer and cabinet, and the longer you linger, the creepier it all feels, but there’s nothing rushing you along other than your own fear.

While there aren’t standard difficulty settings, there are some pretty robust accessibility options, but I didn’t manage to get to the parts of the game where most of them would apply. I was particularly interested in the ammo assistance – when it comes time for the shooting to start, I tend to subscribe to the “spray and pray” method of dealing with whatever awful things are trying to murder me. Unfortunately, changing around the graphical settings to try to ameliorate the queasiness didn’t do much for me, but they might work better for others.

Maybe it doesn’t all pan out further in, but if you’re picking up the February Humble Choice, and you like horror games (and aren’t prone to motion sickness from first person perspective), I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s a cool concept that seems to be mechanically sound, if a little bit plodding, and the story was shaping up to be pretty interesting as well.

Blaugust Reviews – Humble Choice January 2023 Edition

I’m filling in for the incomparable UnwiseOwl this month on summing up our group review of the offerings in this month’s Humble Choice bundle. Every month, when the bundle releases, a bunch of us get together on the Blaugust Discord and hash out which games we’re most excited about and divvy up the titles for us each to look at during the month. Some folks just take a quick look, and some really go all in, but we want to give you a jumping off point to help you decide if this month’s bundle is going to be worth it for you.

This month’s headliner title is DOOM Eternal. Magi from Indiecator had done a post on this particular game back in 2021. This is a title probably best played with a gamepad or controller, and has a somewhat spiky difficulty, but he found that all in all, it was a gory good time!

I personally took a quick peek at Tribes of Midgard, not nearly long enough to form a cohesive opinion on the title. This one requires you to be always online, even in single player, which might turn some folks off. So far, it seems to be an odd hybrid of survival and ARPG, but you’re dropped into the world with only your bare hands and your underwear and very little guidance. However, if you’re looking for a new co-op title, and you’re fine with a somewhat slow and confusing start, you might find this game right up your alley.

Stalking Vengeance of Cubic Creativity took a deep dive into post-apocalyptic RPG Encased. They spent around 15 hours exploring the world of this Fallout-inspired turn-based RPG, and felt that the world building & story was pretty good, but that the game got somewhat bogged down in a million little systems, each with their own tiny flaws. If you like exploring wastelands and complex character creation, and don’t lose immersion when you spot the rough edges, then this one might be for you. However, check your Epic account first – this one was part of their game-a-day holiday giveaway this past December.

Magi from Indiecator indie-cated that he was very excited about OlliOlli World – Rad Edition in his Humble Choice preview post this month. This skateboarding platformer requires a controller to play, which is kind of unfortunate for us dedicated keyboard and mouse players. However, this edition does include the season pass, and as such, is a pretty good value if this is a title you’ve been looking for a deal on.

Paeroka of Nerdy Bookahs dipped her toes into Grow: Song of the Evertree this month, but found it a little too slow-starting for her taste. However, I played this game shortly after it released in November of 2021, and really enjoyed it. This adorable, absolutely-no-pressure title won’t appeal to most gamers, but if cozy gaming is your jam, the cute-factor on this one might make it worth a try.

Conan Chop Chop was the one title this month that no one was very excited about. It’s a co-op action roguelike with an overly-cute aesthetic and a whole bunch of cartoon gore & violence. Reviews are mixed on Steam, and it has one of the lowest retail prices in the bundle at only $14.99, so this probably isn’t the game that anyone is grabbing this month’s bundle for.

I took a look at Hokko Life, which was the title in this month’s offerings I was most excited about. I could get past the uncanny valley of anthropomorphic animal friends, but I found the game play tedious. This might be a better fit for players that are super into customizing and decorating, but I found myself sleeping most of my Hokko Life away.

I also took The Serpent Rogue, the final title in this month’s bundle, for a quick spin. The art was fantastic, but I just didn’t gel with the gameplay. This action adventure title combines survival mechanics, puzzle solving, action combat, and picking flowers in an interesting way, but is light on the guidance and heavy on learning-by-doing. For the gamer that likes that sort of thing, this might be a nice addition, but again, probably not a primary motivator in grabbing this month’s bundle.

In the end, this bundle seems to be more of a miss than it might appear at first glance. If you really want Doom Eternal, which has a $40 regular price, or if you’ve been waiting for a deal on OlliOlli World – Rad Edition, then this month’s Humble Choice might be worth it for either of those titles alone. However, everything else feels like it’s really niche, and a mixed bag to boot.

If you picked up the bundle, and especially if Conan Chop Chop was one of your main motivators, please let us know what you thought!