Like Survival Games? Check Out This Humble Bundle!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I discovered survival games a few years back when I got into the DayZ Standalone. Something about the unforgiving nature of it Since then, I've devoured the genre, snapping up Don't Starve, The Long Dark, Terraria, and a host of others. The current offering from Humble Bundle seeks to expand everyone's collection of the increasingly popular genre with seven notable games that will reward your tenacity. 

Among the games on offer is one that I've been eyeing for some time. Tharsis is almost a board game mixed with an ethics lesson. You control the crew of a manned flight to Mars. The ship is breaking down almost as fast as your crew's sanity. With each turn, you must roll the dice and allocate resources to repair the modules of the ship while balancing the stress levels of those still alive. If things go south, and they will, your survival may hinge on a few very difficult decisions. 

I first heard about Tharsis through this Penny Arcade comic which, while hilarious, is an experience right out of almost every attempt I've made. Tharsis is hard for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that the dice are hateful polyhedrons, cast from the devil's nail filings. They roll low a lot, is what I'm saying. 

Shelter 2 is another interesting title on offer in the bundle. This sequel to 2013's Shelter casts the player as a female Lynx raising her cubs in an open wilderness. The concept of the game is really interesting, but the execution of the game is not quite as stellar. There are some issues with the gameplay at times that take some of the difficulty out of it, but I still think it serves as an interesting game to play with your kids. 

The final game I'll mention is based on an actual event. Kholat is non-linear horror game involving the Dyatlov Pass incident of 1959. A group of hikers were discovered dead after having apparently cut open their tents from the inside, undressed and walked away from the camp in the middle of a storm. There are several conspiratorial ideas regarding what happened to the group, but no one has really been able to pin down the actual events. Kholat doesn't make an attempt at reasoning through the event at all, rather taking a decidedly more horrific bent to the story.

The story in Kholat is presented in a non-linear fashion and can be difficult to follow at times, but the scares and atmosphere really work at you. It's plenty creepy and hauntingly narrated by Sean Bean. If you're looking for a good scare with some actual history behind it (my favorite kind), then Kholat is an excellent choice.

The "Survive This Bundle" is available until August 21. The seven games represent a number of different genres, but all are focused on the theme of survival. If you're already interested in survival games (chances are good that you are), then this is a good opportunity to expand your collection. I appreciate the diversity in the titles offered, but I think there are some really exemplary games (Don't Starve, The Long Dark, Life is Feudal) that should have made the list.