Humble Bundle Game Opinions
The Humble ‘Friends of Nintendo’ Bundle is almost over, with only a few hours left before closing.
This is the second ever Nintendo Humble Bundle, but the first to be available outside North America. The bundle has done exceedingly well with over $1 million being spent.
Having spent some time playing a few of the bundle’s games, here are some quick-fire reviews for anyone who is still considering investing, or who just wants to see another opinion. Only half the games are discussed here, as there is still plenty in the bundle to be playing through! Let’s begin in Scuttle Town with Shantae:
Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (You get both the Wii U and 3DS version!)
At the cost of $1 for two different versions of the game, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is undoubtedly the best booty of the bundle. WayForward’s third Shantae game is the most refined yet, with the game set across several levels while retaining its Metroidvania platforming. There are some beautiful visuals (not to mention characters) and the retro graphics are merged nicely with the smoother artwork used over dialogue.
Jake Kaufman provides a memorable soundtrack, full of catchy hooks and rhythms that will get players swaying as Shantae defeats her foes with her ridiculous hair. The controls are solid, and the game has a stable difficulty curve. Anyone up to the challenge should prepare themselves for some backtracking though, which is almost integral for Metroidvania games. Revisiting old territory is made less tedious due to other paths and secrets being accessible after earning abilities.
Packed with rewarding secrets, charming characters, gorgeous visuals, and spellbinding music, anyone who doesn’t consider Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse for 69 pence had better start walkin’ that plank.
If you’re curious to know more about the half-genie hero, here’s our review, written by (Risky) Boots!
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure (3DS)
Described as a cross between Rhythm Heaven and Professor Layton, this game follows the adventures of Phantom R, an art thief with a personal motivation for stealing famous works before returning them shortly after. It’s full of rhythm-based minigames, and the Professor Layton aspect comes from the narrative and explorative elements that come into play between games.
These exploration segments get a little tedious if you’re searching for hidden items on the touchscreen in each location. There isn’t any indication of where they might be, so you just have to touch everywhere on the screen until you find them. While the story isn’t bad, the real fun in Rhythm Thief lies in its mini-games. The frequent exploration tends to break up the mini-games too much. If you’re not trying to find extra items, this issue becomes much more avoidable.
Rhythm Thief is a pleasant little game set in the heart of France, with catchy tunes and some real challenges. It won’t take too long to play through either.
Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U)
Developer: KnapNok Games/Nicklas Nygren
Atmospheric and eerie with subtle implications, Affordable Space Adventures is a puzzle-platforming kind of deal where you guide a small spacecraft through a long sequence of levels. It’s one of the three games you can have for a dollar.
The game has some wonderful presentation that makes it one of the most immersive and tense games out there. An introductory cutscene in the form of a commercial advertises customers to a distant planet called Spectaculon, described as an uninhabited paradise with plenty of terrain to explore. Once the player takes control of their spacecraft on Spectaculon, it’s very apparent that something went wrong somewhere.
Making very effective use of the Gamepad, the mechanics are gradually introduced throughout the game. There’s a multiplayer co-op option, and I’d actually recommend playing it with two or three people, with the lights down and the volume up. In co-op mode, players take different roles. The engineer controls all of the functions on the Gamepad. The pilot moves the ship around. The science officer uses the scanner and flashlight to research surroundings. Sound simple? Trust me, it isn’t. You really have to work as a team and keep good communication to avoid a lot of deaths.
You can play by yourself and be in charge of everything of course, and you’ll only be missing out on teamwork satisfaction (and possibly/probably/okay definitely frustration). Affordable Space Adventures eventually becomes more about uncovering the secrets of Spectaculon than simply advancing through the levels, and those secrets are well worth investigating.
If you want to read more about Affordable Space Adventures, check out Boots’ opinion here!
Runbow (Wii U)
Developer: 13AM Games
One of the Wii U highlights from last year, Runbow is an exquisite party game that manages up to nine players at once. Plenty of indie heroes are present including Shovel Knight, Rusty, Teslamancer, and more recently Lilac from Freedom Planet.
Runbow is simple to play but the hazards, obstacles, and other players turn it into a truly frantic race for the finish. As the colour of the background consistently changes, players need to stay on their toes and off the platforms that match the background’s colour. It’s hilariously fun, and every single mode can support nine players. Whether it’s a no-holds-barred race to the trophy, a last-man-standing battle royale, an adventure that pits the heroes against the femme fatale Satura, or a courageous attempt at the brutal Bowhemoth, they can all be enjoyed by a party of players. Online can support four local players too.
The only issue found after a few hours of gameplay was the amount of stages. It’s not exactly low, but the rounds are over so fast that it isn’t long before you start seeing the same ones turn up. Nevertheless, every round will play out differently so the feeling of repetition is minor.
‘ColourMaster’ pits the Gamepad user against everyone else. Using the Gamepad, the ColourMaster can lay various traps to defeat and deceive the runners as they attempt to reach the trophy. ColourMasters that get deviously genius with their traps can enjoy some stern looks from the running team.
With stylish presentation and exciting gameplay, Runbow ranks up there with the likes of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for games that get better as more people are involved. It can be enjoyable solo, but nothing is more amusing than having nine players in the same game scrambling for victory. The game has also recently been supplied with delicious downloadable content!
I haven’t poured quite as much time into Freedom Planet so this is more of an impressions piece. After playing the first level it will come as no surprise to learn that Freedom Planet started as a Sonic the Hedgehog fan-made game. The developer made a wise move to change this and make the game an original creation.
The speedy hedgehog’s inspiration is still at the forefront in plain sight. There are three playable anthropomorphic characters, the 2D platforming and art style is very reminiscent of Sonic’s original trilogy, and the narrative and voice acting is highly divisive at best.
Issues with story and characters matter little if the game is fun to play, and Freedom Planet is just that. There are multiple routes and secrets within levels, and it seems to be a great run for repeat playthroughs and speedruns. Anyone who longs for a return of the Genesis-era Sonic should definitely give this one a try.
It goes without saying that this bundle is unmissable. It’s not only great value, but the games included rank among the best games on the Nintendo systems.
The upper-tier titles Darksiders 2 and Super Street Fighter IV come from revered developers and publishers, but really this bundle feels like a celebration of the indie stars. Shantae has reached cult-classic status, and the titular character was backed by a strong campaign to be included in Super Smash Bros. There’s a wonderfully immersive experience in Affordable Space Adventures. Freedom Planet is a heartfelt callback to an older era of platforming. Party gaming is at its most entertaining with Runbow, and anyone who wants to see what else the Fast Racing NEO guys have created can check out action-shooter Nano Assault EX.
With high-quality games at such a low price, and a new audience being introduced to several series, it’s obvious that this bundle has been a success. Nintendo has made some questionable decisions in recent times, but this offer shows the company at its most generous.