“I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure.” – Paulo Coelho
What is Humble Trove?
The Humble Trove is a collection of over 90 DRM-free games, available to download and keep, that is included in all tiers of the Humble Choice monthly subscription. The trove is updated every month and also includes ‘Humble originals’ that are not available anywhere else!
You can find our previous DRM-Free favourites from the Humble Trove here, however, as the selection is regularly updated, not all of the games mentioned are still available via the subscription.
Top Picks – All DRM-Free!
Before I Forget
Before I Forget is a short but beautifully memorable experience, realistically and sensitively portraying the life of someone with dementia. Full review available here.
Developer: LEAP Game Studio
Released: Dec 2019
Price: £2.09 – £2.59
A humble original, Arrog has been available in the Trove since December 2019 and was released to other platforms and stores in July this year. It is a casual but enigmatic adventure-puzzle game that explores themes of life mortality. The subtle narrative follows a man coming to terms with his own death through his dreams, it acknowledges both the mourning of loss as well as the celebration of life ensuring it is not an entirely melancholy experience!
The game has a hand-drawn linework aesthetic presented in black and white with a selection of meaningful colour accents and complemented with a monochrome, flickering paint background. Similarly, sound effects were simple but effective, the wildlife sounds and human coughing were especially realistic and immersive.
Arrog has a number of puzzles throughout its 30-minute play-time, most are relatively straight forward and are often related to stars or constellations. While the puzzles are not difficult they are enjoyable and seem intended to progress the narrative through interactivity rather than to challenge the player.
Overall, Arrog is a mellow and thoughtful game and while it can be relaxing, this can be overshadowed by the intensity of the themes and subject matter making for a quite unique experience.
As one of my favourite games of all time, and the OG walking simulator Dear Esther had to make it onto this list as the 2012 version that is currently available DRM-Free on the Humble Trove! A full review of Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is available here.
Fate of Kai
Developer: Trylight Games
Fate of Kai, a DRM-Free Humble Original, is an interactive fiction and puzzle game all taking place within the hand-illustrated panels of a magical book. It tells the somewhat cliché tale of self-discovery in an enchanting and endearing new way, with a narrative design that favours visual storytelling.
The artwork is a stand-out feature of Fate of Kai, cartoon-style characters on a unique mix of low-poly and painterly backgrounds all laid out in graphic novel fashion and with minimal text or dialogue. The music works well with the narrative and visual elements and ranges from calming acoustic guitar numbers to much more epic pieces befitting of Kai’s quest.
Gameplay involves navigating the pages of the book and adjusting the ‘thoughts’ (often actions in reality) of both the protagonist and a variety of NPCs as well as zooming into pages for more detail and playing with the very fabric of time! These things must be done with some precision and attention to detail and there is some back and forth required to solve these very integrated, and satisfyingly challenging, puzzles. As a result of this and while there is only one ending to the game, there are different ways in which things can play out affording the title some replayability.
Fate of Kai is a fine example of interactive fiction, it tells a wholesome and complete visual story with sound characterisation throughout and uses it’s audio to add depth and emotional connection to the experience. It is a relaxing but engaging way to spend 30 minutes and is easy to recommend to fans of the genre.
2000:1: A Space Felony
Originally a Humble Original, and DRM-Free no matter where you buy it, 2000:1: A Space Felony is like a comedic Cluedo, set in space, with the ship’s AI as the main suspect. The game’s originality and fantastic writing make it a must-play! Full review available here.
Developer: Grapple Bug
Released: August 2018
Available on: Humble Trove
Woten, a short but sweet puzzle-platformer, is another Humble Original, and long-standing fixture in the Humble Trove where it is exclusively available DRM-Free. Players must guide Woten, the cutest little Viking there ever was, through caves and fossil ranges to find the tree of life and its powerful fruit with occasional help from his bat friend Aedling!
The game features interesting landscapes and fun characters, all constructed in delightful pixel graphics. The artwork uses well thought out colour palettes, colourful but slightly muted, this stops the overall aesthetic feeling too twee and matches the environments being explored. The jolly music and sound effects, both befitting an epic adventure, include a mix of typical retro game sounds and some more twinkly and contemporary audio which mirrors the overall feel of the visuals.
Woten can jump, climb and headbutt his way through the world collecting fruit with which to reward Aedling, but as different creatures and puzzling mechanics are added, logic and observation become increasingly important. There are plenty of threats to be faced but there is no indicator of health in the game and it is not possible to die, a run-in with ‘enemies’ will simply cause the character to drop fruit which can be recollected if speedy! The obstacles are eclectic, evolving and often quite cute themselves, for example, Woten encounters beehives and must lure the honeybees away to nearby flowers; later in the game the flowers appear on moles and must be guided under rainclouds in order to blossom and be useful in this way.
The charming character designs, music and visuals all work together brilliantly and fit the tone of the loose narrative, all being just cute enough! There is a great range of mechanics and puzzle elements for a game of this length and while there can be a lot going on it never feels overwhelming. Overall, Woten is a fantastic little puzzle-platformer that has a lot to offer within its 30-40 minutes of gameplay and will appeal genre virgins and veterans alike!
A Short Hike
A Short Hike is a casual, easygoing 3D platformer and charming adventure in which you meet a delightful cast of characters and climb a mountain for cell reception! Full review available here.
Developer: Torii Games
Available on: Humble Trove
Torri, another Humble Original, follows Ipa as she traverses an unknown land overcoming fear and guilt in order to find her little sister. The aesthetics are very bright, both in terms of colour saturation and light and while this makes for some beautiful and mesmerising visuals, the game does come with a trigger warning for those with photosensitive epilepsy.
Ipa adventures through abstract and modular environments collecting memories along with various orbs and prisms that open timed pathways of different kinds and must sprint and jump her way across these landscapes to progress. This can bit a little challenging (in part due to high mouse sensitivity that cannot be changed) but it is not stressful and failure is largely unpunished.
The music is one of the highlights of this game and ranges from light but passionate piano to melancholy strings over long resonating low tones creating a powerful atmosphere when paired with the striking visuals. This is heavily juxtaposed by the cuter visual elements and the subtly moving narrative.
Torii mixes its stylistic elements and mechanics to great effect, it is a lively and thoughtful game that is just a little bit too intense to be relaxing. Overall, it is a fun and engaging experience, and impressively, created by just one person.
Kind Words is an asynchronous multiplayer game about writing nice things to real people. Although not without its flaws, mainly regarding safety and appropriateness of use, the game is a thoughtful and uplifting experience overall and easy to dip into for a daily dose of positivity. Full review available here.
If you enjoyed this collection of reviews for DRM-Free games, you might also like:
TRON: Evolution is yet another cautionary tale for DRM – What is GOG? – Ooblets and Epic Exclusivity – Perusing the DRM-Free Treasures of the Humble Trove