By Graham Smith on January 8th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.
It’s almost hard to believe there was a time when we weren’t being constantly bombarded with cheap games, but it’s true. When I was a lad, I had to save up for two months, walk miles through snow to the nearest PC World, and turn my coins over for a game that probably wouldn’t even work. Now every hobo with a bindle is buying bundles of games for only a single week’s pocket money.
Humble Bundle X is the tenth bundle in the “main” series of Humble Bundles, and it contains To The Moon, Reus, Papa & Yo, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Bit.Trip Runner 2 and Joe Danger 2: The Movie. Which is a better, more interesting selection of games than I’ve seen in a bundle in a while. I’ve written more about each of them below.
To The Moon looks like an RPG, but actually it’s an adventure game about making you cry. Here’s John’s Wot I Think, which begins: “I’m a wreck. I can’t delay telling you: To The Moon is a truly wonderful game. It’s the best game I’ve played this year. It’s a pixel-graphics indie adventure, mostly made by one guy, with a preposterous premise, and yet after spending the day playing it I’m emotionally exhausted. I’m not sure whether to write a review, or curl up in the fetal position and hug a pillow.” Videogames! Also John and Adam rubbed their tears on each other’s shoulders in a Verdict.
Joe Danger is a side-on stunt racer about scoring points by shooting over ramps. It’s colourful, cute and it did that frustrating thing of taking a long time to find its way to PC, which means we didn’t WIT or Verdict it. In brief: if you’re going to play it now that it’s here, Joe Danger 2 is the way to do it. It contains everything that was good about the original and a lot more besides. Kieron interviewed Hello Games about it before the release of the first game: “The truth is, we just want to make games, and games that people want to play, ideally something that puts a grin on your face. Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to keep doing what we’re doing for the foreseeable future. We’ve got some ideas that we desperately want to get out there.” They’re making No Man’s Sky now, of course.
Papa & Yo is a puzzle-platformer which, like so many others, is about a young boy and his magical monster cooperating to solve environment puzzles. It’s also an extremely personal story about its creator and his relationship with his alcoholic father; when your magical monster pal eats a frog, he turns violent towards you, hurling fire. The metaphor works better than the puzzles, as Nathan explained in his Wot I Think: “Puzzling’s main strength, meanwhile, lies in the glorious magical realism of Papo’s world, but even that eventually grows predictable. The first time I picked up a cardboard box and gasped as a full-sized house floated along accordingly, I was utterly enchanted. It felt like I’d stepped into a child’s imagination, this place where adult perceptions of plausibility haven’t even begun to take root. That, however, quickly becomes a common puzzle-solving theme, as does moving giant plots of land and stacking objects into magnificent twisting towers that literally bend to your will.”
Bit.Trip Runner 2 is an auto-runner about stringing together jumps, slides and other dodge-moves to navigate a colourful, 3D platforming world. I’m told that it’s rhythmic and satisfying, though I’ve never played it and RPS has never really written about it in detail. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If you pay over the average, you can also get:
Reus is a strategy game in which you develop a civilization by using enormous elemental gods to summon trees, water and so on. It’s a little simple, but it’s better than the current crop of god games. It’s also the perfect bundle game: a cool thing you’ve probably heard of but equally probably never got around to playing. Alec nailed its pleasures in an Impressions post: “It really does look magnificent, and the sheer, awesome presence of the gods is such a treat, but I worry that its bread and butter mechanics might feel more a chore than celebratory omnipotence. We’ll see what later escalations bring, though. For now, I’m oddly happy to just sit there in freeplay mode, spinning the vast globe around as my giants grumpily haul their impossible bulk around the perfectly circular planetary crust. It’d be my ideal screensaver, I think.”
Surgeon Simulator 2013 started life as a jam game, but the joke was extended into a full release last year. It’s an arm simulator: you awkwardly control the appendage as you paw around, grappling with surgical tools and trying to perform procedures. I found the free original a better expression of its ideas, but Jim was keen to celebrate its slapstick simplicity in his Wot I Think: “The result of this is that you are essentially incapable of interacting with the scene presented to you in a sensible way. You fumble about in the space in front of you like Octodad inside a paper bag, and you might just be able to grasp a scalpel or a whirring saw. Sure, you might even eventually get through that guy’s ribcage – but what then? Horror.”
And that’s your lot. As always, all six games are available on Windows, Mac and Linux. Go look at the bundle page for more information. The average price is currently $5.62 (£3.42), which means you can pick up all six games for the price of a pint.