Monday 1 March 2021

My Humble Opinion

I've been subscribed to the Humble Monthly bundle for a few years now. As someone who never shells out for games it's been a great way to pick up a random selection of slightly older but excellent titles to play, many of which I'd never have picked up for myself but don't mind trying out, and through it I've discovered some real gems that have occupied far too much of my time and brain space.

In theory this should help me from falling into a pattern of playing the same old games, but lately I've been finding that I'm back in that rut a little, only now I have an ever-increasing pile of unplayed games in a pile and the monthly subscription is starting to feel a little wasteful. I've played very few of the titles from the last few months, and honestly, I'm not sure I'm missing out on all that much.

So I thought it might be fun to set myself a goal for March of forcing myself to spend a little time, let's call it at least an hour, with each of the games in the February bundle, write a little about my thoughts, and hopefully decide if the monthly bonanza is still worth my hard earned $12 a month. For some reason this month's bundle dropped a little early, though, so I guess I have March-and-a-bit to try out the games.

Both my fellow Blaugustine humble connoisseurs Magi and Naithin had good things to say about this bundle in their previews, so hopefully this'll bode well for the monthly selection. Without any further ado, then, let's roll the dice and see what comes up...

Oh dear. It's Valfaris. What a start.

Conan the Barbarian. In Space. In Neon. In Neon Space.

Just from the cover art I can tell exactly what this is going to be, and that it 100% isn't going to be my thing. Bright flashing lights. Blood everywhere. Heavy Metal soundtrack you Can't Turn Off. Looks like it might have the tagline "Not your daddy's castlevania", but since it apparently is a castlevania-type platformer at least they've got the branding spot-on to attract the people that like this sort of thing.

Yes, even the spaceship is covered in blood.

Once I got through intro video featuring our mysterious hero out for revenge deliberately crash-landing his revengeship on the revenge planet to do some revenging, it turns out Valfaris plays a little bit more like a Metal Slug game than I was expecting. I like the Metal Slug games, they know that they're ridiculous and play that for laughs. Valfaris appears to revel in the madness in an earnestly fullthroated way that just exudes heavy metal. The bottom half of enemies you dismember continue to walk around spraying blood all the while, the soundtrack does not let up (it turns out you CAN turn it off, but if this game is your scene I suspect it'd be better cranked up to eleven instead), and the difficulty ramps up extremely quickly. I must have died 10 times in my first ten minutes of play, distracted by the throbbing lights and general intensity of my surroundings.

And the headbanging, the headbanging...

Valfaris is a game that knows what it is and leans into it hard, and I have to admire that, but I'd prefer to admire that from a safe distance, if that's all the same to you. I managed about a half-hour and a couple of mini-bosses into this hypermetalfest before I gave up, quit, and uninstalled, happy to never think about this one ever again. Does that count as a fair showing? Well, I've given it a go and I am pretty confident I've seen everything I have any interest in seeing, so that will just have to do. If I were to give myself a minimum time spent on each game then too many hours of games like this one might make my head explode, so let's quit while we still have braincells. I guess I'm just not very metal, to the surprise of everyone who knows me, I'm sure.

I only ticked off one Steam Achievement for this game, the one for successfully dying. Seems about right.

Well, that wasn't a great start. On to the next game, I suppose...


Naithin said...

Actually playing the games received in the bundle! What a concept! xD

I haven't touched even my most desired from this bundle yet - Outward - I'm sure I will... One day. But it's entirely likely you'll get there first if you continue this series, which I hope you do! :)

Unwiseowl said...

We'll see how we go. I'm going to have to find 25 GB of space on this computer somewhere for starters, which could be a bit of a challenge.

If you have any inclination to actually play any of these multiplayer titles one of these months, hit me up.