Let’s go back a little to May 2010. To the very first Humble Bundle; several games for a cheap price. The idea was simple and it took off in a big way. Nowadays, it’s hard to even move around sites without finding a new bundle release, each one with a selection of Indie, retro and mid-range games for a small price-point. One of the sites that popped up to battle Humble Bundle in this area is ‘Indie Gala’ who, to date, have released thirty main bundles and several smaller weekly ones. A new one has since been released, number thirty-one, with six different games to pick up for cheap. Three for a $1 minimum payment and the rest beating a price given (Not mentioning said price because it can change by the hour).
For those new to Indie Gala you should be aware of a ‘Happy Hour’ system that they have in place, where every so often during the sale ‘Happy-Hours’ begins. Here, the main price increases, however, the amount of games can be doubled. If you buy during this time and beat the price given, you will get two sets of keys for the games instead of one.
In addition, if you bought the bundle already, you can buy it again as a gift during this time (Once again, beating the price asked). Doing this will get you three sets of game-keys rather than the two you would get usually. Finally, if you buy within the first week and then rebuy, you will get four sets of game keys, perfect if there happens to be multiplayer titles in the bundle and you want to give games to friends/family.
$1 Minimum Titles
Cubicity is the first title in the bundle and probably the most obscure of the lot. Originally an Xbox Indie Games title, it’s been moved over to PC and is currently vying for votes in the depths of Steam through ‘Greenlight’. It’s definitely got plenty of ideas going for it; the point of the game is that you are hanging from the roof of each level, and in order to proceed over to the next, you have to take a key black block to a small area. In order to accomplish your task, you have to grab various boxes and items with a magnet so the key block can make its way across successfully. The puzzles are mostly well designed and give the ‘oh-so necessary’ rush when you complete a particularly challenging one.
Where the game falls down, however, is its control scheme. Quite often it feels fiddly and unhelpful, with items often being dropped where you don’t want them, or at weird angles. The plot is also very tacked on and almost completely unnecessary.
Overall, the game is worth picking up for the asking price in this bundle but, unless it’s given some updating, the control issues make things more difficult than needs be.
Interstellar Marines/Interstellar Marines: Spearhead Edition (Windows/Mac)
Before I begin , let’s make a few things clear. One: This is an ‘Early-Access’ title, meaning the game is still being worked on heavily. The other thing to note is that if you buy this bundle and beat the price given, you will get two keys. One key will be for Interstellar Marines, the other for the Spearhead Edition. You should redeem the Spearhead Edition and leave the other one alone to give to a friend or family member. The Spearhead Edition is basically the same game as the normal, but with several graphical items to play with as well as bonus material in the form of Artwork and the game’s OST.
As for the actual game, Interstellar Marines is a multiplayer FPS which currently seems to be a little low on content. If you pick this up, you’ll get several multiplayer maps: a ‘Sandbox’ style mode where you can play with character models and then a main, multiplayer deathmatch mode. Playing the game is easy enough and everything loads quickly, but the game itself is a bit slow, movement feels sluggish, there’s not really that much in the way of weaponry to play with and the main multiplayer base of the game is a little dead with few games around, something that is unlikely to improve without a serious advertising push.
Thankfully, though, there are some good points. Firstly, with this bundle, you get three copies of the game (One normal edition, one ‘Spearhead Edition’ and a gift copy of the normal edition that is added to your steam inventory when you redeem the ‘Spearhead Edition’) so if you find multiplayer is lacking, you can always call upon some friends. The second good point is that, while there is a lot of improving that needs to be done, updates seem to be done regularly with more maps, weapons and other things being added on a regular basis. Hopefully this continually improves as – despite the limitations – there are plenty of glimpses of something good to be found here.
Rush Bros (Windows/Mac)
I’m going to be very clear here, Rush Bros is not a good game. It attempts to follow in the vein of ‘Super Meat Boy’ and fails in every way. Firstly, the game has a complete lack of speed, characters move sluggishly and awkwardly. Secondly, the level design is terrible, often consisting of backtracking, glitch-filled areas and irritating deathtraps that should be easy, but are only made harder because of the control issues. Finally, the multiplayer – which the game is supposedly designed around – is terrible with glitchy netcode, dropping games at random, as well as the presence of game-breaking powerups which ruin any sense of fairness. Avoid.
Beat the Price Titles
Beast Boxing Turbo (Windows/Mac)
Beast Boxing Turbo is a rather interesting fighting title, attempting to almost replicate several part serious/part cartoony boxing games that were found on the PlayStation 1 (Ready 2 Rumble comes to mind). For the most part, it does work brilliantly; the graphics are crisp and colourful, the controls are fast and responsive and each different challenger has a distinctive look as well as being challenging, but not super hard at the same time… The whole game is incredibly fun…
… that is, until you hit the half-way point, around the end of the second major tournament. That’s when the game begins throwing opponents at you with much higher health, defense and attack power. Attempting to go up against these guys is akin to chucking feathers at a tank. In order to stand any sort of chance, the game pretty much forces you to grind money for better equipment and stats, making you go up against previous opponents repeatedly. Its’ annoying that the game chokes halfway. Before that point, Beast Boxing Turbo is an incredibly fun and challenging title.
Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves (Windows)
Sang-Froid is a rather odd title. Based on Canadian lore and culture, as well as featuring a mix of tower-defense and hack-n-slash action, the sort found in titles like Orcs Must Die and Dungeon Defenders. At first, the gameplay seems simple enough; to pass through each night, you must protect each house in the area. In order to do this, you must set traps, buy items, bless weaponry to cause extra damage against certain enemies and then face off against waves of wolves, werewolves, will-o-wisps and other creatures.
The game itself uses various different strategic elements for battles, like making noise to lure enemies into traps or lighting bonfires to scare and set out bait to keep enemies apart if needed. The whole thing works brilliantly with levels turning into bouts of careful planning and tense moments. Sometimes you’ll see whole plans come to fruition, other times they’ll fail in a split-second. If there is any real issue with the game, its that occasionally the melee combat can be a little clumsy. Thankfully, that issue arises with both the player character and the enemies themselves, balancing everything out more.
PixelJunk: Shooter (Windows/Mac/Linux)
PixelJunk shooter wraps up the bundle, shooting over from the PSN store and onto PC. Here you have to fly through a series of caves, rescuing trapped scientists, destroying monsters and trying to survive and escape. It’s simple enough in theory, but the game repeatedly throws new things at you from cooling water, lava that can burn and, when in contact with water, turns into destructible rock. Later on you find ice, magnetic liquid, exploding enemies and more, making the whole game incredibly fun with no one ‘trick’ every really being over-used.
In addition, the graphics themselves look brilliantly crisp and colorful. The music is also really great and almost make you wish you had the soundtrack as a downloadable file. The game isn’t without issues, mind, scientists have a strange habit of wobbling about when alone and occasionally, every so often, they wobble right into lava or enemies without any glance from you, forcing you to either forgo a ‘perfect’ for the level, or just reset the level to rush straight to them. That’s a minor complaint though and this game still happens to be incredibly fun and worth playing through.
Overall this bundle, while having a couple of bright spots, is mostly filled with titles that have serious issues. For anyone who is interested in Sang-Froid, I suggest downloading the demo off Steam. For anyone in general who is interested in buying this pack, I would also suggest waiting it out a little bit to see what bonus games are released… Only then will the real value of this bundle be apparent.