Subscribe to Humble Choice? Unsure which picks to make this month, or whether to activate your month at all? I’m here to give you an at-a-glance guide at what games are available in Humble Choice for April.
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What titles are around in April?
This month is a bit like sequel-central. Not only are there a lot of sequels offered as Choices, the overall month feels very much like a sequel to March as well. With a few titles seeming very familiar, if you’ve been following Humble Choice, you’ll probably have a good idea of what to expect this time around.
We’ll jump into a bit more depth below, but this month we have:
- Hitman 2
- This is the Police 2
- Opus Magnum
- Raiden V: Director’s Cut
- Driftland: The Magic Revival
- Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
- The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut
- Shoppe Keep 2
- Capitalism 2
As extras, we have Divinoids and a sneak peek at Ring of Pain – plus a BONUS GAME that is released on May 1st – although Humble haven’t announced what this is yet.
Click on the images for each game to be taken to their Humble Store page (except where this is unavailable, where it will link to Steam). With that all said, let’s take a look at the games!
Ahh Hitman. The venerable stealth title featuring assassin Agent 47 trundles on. The sandbox levels are compelling puzzles as you figure out not just what you need to do, but which of the many options are you going to pick for the mission. Every level has multiple finishes, leaving you with plenty to discover and experiment with. And between levels there is a huge amount of variety. There is a lot to experiment with here – each level is relatively straightforward to finish, but will take hours to master. And this version is the Standard Edition – containing six levels and a Sniper contract. There’s plenty more content available (regularly on sale) if you want to keep playing by the end too.
Hitman 2 currently has a Starter Pack free on Steam – so you can try out the first level of the game before making it a Choice, if you wish.
- Barcode buffs
- Stealth gamers and puzzlers who can deal with grisly content
- The objective of the game is to murder people – this is not for everyone (however deserving the game might make them seem)
Gris is a stunning platformer. It’s won critical acclaim for a reason. The game oozes style as if you were having levels painted for you in watercolour. Seriously – every part of this game would look amazing as a desktop wallpaper, or even an art print. It’s not just a looker either – it marries this with a killer soundtrack and solid, exploratory platforming. A proponent of “games-as-art” if there every was one. Just go and watch the trailers at the link above.
If you were looking for bang for your buck from your subscription, picking up Gris and Hitman would be a great way to start. Gris is also on Xbox Game Pass for PC at time of writing, if you’re subscribed.
- Pace and lightning-twitch play
- Aversions to painting
This is the Police 2
What can I say about This is the Police 2? Have you played the original? Enjoyed it? Good – grab this as a choice. If not, you’re in for a huge set of opening cutscenes (skippable – although there is a lot of them to skip). After that, you’re in for a deep, difficult resource-management game. The original had a lot to juggle anyway, and TITP2 has added extra systems on top of that. Mastering the juggle is fun, though – and there’s even some XCOM-style shootouts that mix it up.
- Resource-management gurus
- Cop-noir B-movie aficionados
- Pretty solid voice-acting
- Difficulty and complexity are high here
Another month, another few puzzle games from Zachtronics. First up is Opus Magnum, and yes – there is solitaire. This is perhaps the most accessible of their titles I’ve played so far – no printed booklet, and a clear tutorial. The ideas are familiar – chunking up sets of commands to make machines as efficient as possible at carrying out a task. More drag-and-drop, less coding than previous titles – which is a welcome relief to me as a non-coder.
This is one of the games available on Xbox Game Pass for PC too so if you’ve got that subscription, you can try it there.
- Zach fans
- A jumping-off point for other Zachtronics games
- Puzzle players
- Learning something new/transferable – like the coding concepts in their other titles
Another Zachtronics title – and very much in contrast to the previous one. Where there was detail and graphics, it’s now stripped-back and bare. Where there was a tutorial, there is now more onus on figuring it out. Before, there were characters, there is now just one (as far as I’ve been introduced). The puzzle gameplay loop is still here, and solving them is just as gratifying. One for the fans of other Zachtronics games – particularly if you love optimising your solutions.
- Zachtronics players
- People who live for lean working
- Taxing your GPU
Raiden V: Director’s Cut
Raiden V is the most sequel-y of this sequels month. Classic, arcade-style shoot-’em-up, complete with power-up pickups, branching level arcs dependent on your performance and online leaderboards. Sure, it’s not setting the world alight – but for a quick fix of arcade cabinet nostalgia/fun, this is a good pick if you’ve got a spare Choice. Your mileage may vary!
- SHMUP fans
- Arcade nostalgia
- Voice acting
- Better SHMUPs are available
Driftland: The Magic Revival
I started up Driftland expecting to find a typical RPG. What I got was more like Settlers or Rise of Nations – with magic. I’m not complaining. You expand an empire using magic to bring floating islands closer to you and then use the land to build structures, heroes and upgrades that will help you conquer more land. You don’t really direct units, you plant flags that suggest they go explore, or attack – so combat is a bit different – but it’s a fun twist on the strategy genre that’s worth a look.
- Strategists who wanted a few more dragons in their life
- More sedately paced empire building
- Micromanaging armies and massive conflicts
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil
The temptation to copy-paste my blurb on Turok from last month is strong. A lot of the stuff there is accurate of Turok 2 – for retro gamers, solid FPS gameplay, dated graphics. However, it’s also a marked step up from Turok – with a clearer sense of objectives, attempts at cut-scenes, more classic weapons… It’s cliche, but if you did enjoy Turok, you’ll probably love this. And if you didn’t – it might be worth the second go if you’re a fan of the genre. I enjoyed Turok 2 a lot more than last month’s offering of the original.
- Nostalgia trips
- More dinosaurs and more guns than Turok
- Small, compact, pick-up-and-play-for-a-bit levels. These levels are “T-Rex” big
In another edition of “games as art”, we have Truberbrook, presented with what appears to be hand-crafted backgrounds brought into the game. The overall effect is like playing in a stop-motion animation set. As I understand it, the devs are primarily filmmakers- and it shows. Coupling that with a bit of point-and-click adventure seems a strong concept for a game. And it’s a perfectly serviceable title for this. If you like point-and-click stuff, it’s a decent Choice – I just felt the style was let down a little by the substance – although I still enjoyed trundling through the story.
An interesting pick, for sure – a look at what can be done, rather than something that’s revolutionising games. But interesting nonetheless.
- Point and click
- The hand-crafted elements really sing in certain areas
- A fresh take on the genre – we’ve seen most of this before
The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut
If Skyrim, Baldur’s Gate and autochess had a baby, you’d probably not be a million miles from this. With a Western fantasy setting, turn-based, 4×4 grid combat and first-person exploration, there’s a lot here to make RPG fans happy. Throw in some lovely ambient sound and music, decent graphics and an interesting story driving you on, The Bard’s Tale IV is worth a Choice if any of the above tickles your fancy. Just make sure to pay attention to the enemy power ratings!
This one is another that’s available on Xbox Game Pass for PC at the time of writing.
- Western fantasy lovers
- ARPG’ers – combat here is turn-based, which you’ll either love or hate
Shoppe Keep 2
Oh no. I have history with Shoppe Keep. I really try to make this a list of recommendations rather than bashing anything. But this shop management/RPG really stretches that effort.
The original felt unfinished and poorly optimised and this – unfortunately – continues into Shoppe Keep 2. On the intro screen you’re told the game has left Early Access (and is therefore finished), but then the opening cutscene sees subtitles not even fitting onto the screen. Basics. Mercifully, there is a tutorial this time around – but this expanded version of the previous game just expands where you can see the lack of polish. Poor pathfinding, basic graphics, weird naming of characters…
There is nothing wrong with the core gameplay loop, really – it’s a great overall idea and perfect for a bit of mindless grinding – but it’s just shallow and very rough around the edges for a game considered “finished”. A lot of wasted potential. But people have enjoyed this too. It’s a weird mixed bag.
Do yourself a favour: if you like the idea of this game, skip it and buy Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale – or possibly Moonlighter (which is on Game Pass for PC) – instead. Or alternatively, pick up Shoppe Keep 2 to appreciate other (better) games in the future.
- Living the dream, fantasy-adventurer style
- Recommending to friends
An oldie, but a goodie. The UI is dated, and some things in this port are a bit less responsive than you might expect. But the management elements are strong, with a fair amount of depth without being too convoluted. If you wanted to learn a bit more about the economics of capitalism, you could do worse than play this. I never played it when it was released, but it brought back fond memories of SimCity and other games of that era – good nostalgia vibes.
- Capitalism, Ho!
- If you can’t look past graphics, this would be a struggle. It’s like playing an Excel spreadsheet
What about the extras?
The extras for the month are a demo of Ring of Pain, and the full game of Divinoids (pictured/linked).
Starting with Divinoids – it’s a bit like the old classic Rampage, but with an overworld and combat. The goal is to conquer planets by razing their cities – and you play as giant transforming robots/monsters. Enjoyable bursts of silliness – lots of jumping around biting buildings!
Ring of Pain on the other shapes up like Hand of Fate without the dungeon-crawler aspects. You go through a deck of cards trying to reach the exit, fighting monster cards and grabbing equipment and buffs as you go along too. You’re trying to get through as many levels as possible – I don’t know how far it goes as it’s a demo. But as with last month’s One Step from Eden, there seems to be potential in this roguelike card game, but it remains to be seen how deep this will go.
There is – of course – the mystery bonus game too – but it remains a mystery at time of writing. I wonder what it will be?