Hello, my name is Brian, and I am a hoarder. Not in the traditional sense where I gather up random junk, but in the digital sense where I just impulsively purchase every game that gets discounted in a Steam Sale. It’s not that I have tons of time to play games, though. I work a full-time job and do have friends. It’s more that I can’t pass an opportunity to pick up mildly intriguing games for bargain-bin prices. Needless to say, I’ve also gotten fair use out of Humble Bundle and all it has to offer.
For those unaware, Humble Bundle is a site that began as a way to purchase games while also donating to charity. The catch was that you could pay whatever you wanted for the games, and a certain cut of the profits would benefit the charity of your choice. These days, they’ve expanded to include bundles of books and mobile games, while adding tiers to each bundle. Now, if you pay above the average donation, extra games get tossed in, and if you pay over the premium amount, generally 10 or 15 dollars, that could net you further gaming goods. Humble Bundle even opened up a standard online store to purchase games for the regular price, but some percentage still going to charity. It’s a great site, and you should use it. But we aren’t here to address that. We’re here to talk about Humble’s mystery box: Humble Monthly.
At its core, Humble Monthly is a subscription service. You pay 12 bucks a month, you get one big game and an assortment of smaller games. Once you get the bundle, those games are yours to keep, making the program an effective way to build up an indie collection, if that’s your thing. The main game of each month is always known at the outset. If you pay for the month early, that game is immediately made available. Every other game is hidden until the full bundle is released, which makes for a bit of excitement at the start of each month. As with any subscription, purchasing more months up front will come at a cheaper monthly cost. In this case, one dollar off each month if you buy the full year. I don’t recommend this. Along with the monthly set of games, they also offer 10% off all purchases in the Humble Store, even on brand new releases. Oh, did I mention the Humble Trove? The Trove is a collection of games you can access and download at any time while a Humble Monthly Subscriber. It’s relatively new, and most games are small indie titles, but still.
On paper, there’s a ton of value in the Humble Monthly plan. You regularly get eight games per month, discounts on other game purchases, and access to a small indie library. For 12 dollars. However, we should still pick this apart to see how much we’re really accruing each month.
Let’s start with the package of games. Here’s a simple test to see whether you should subscribe to Humble Monthly. Do you want that main game? If so, subscribe to that month. That’s almost always where you find the most value. Currently, that game is Rise of the Tomb Raider, which is on Steam for a cool $60. The monthly subscription gets you that game for $12. Sure, the Steam Sale will probably drop that price down a ways, but I can almost guarantee it won’t hit $12, so if you’d like to play that game, just buy the single month of October and play now. It’s that easy, folks. With the difference between a single month subscription and a year’s being a full 100 cents, there’s no reason not to just decide month-to-month whether you’d like the next bundle. Own the main game? Don’t buy that month.
As for the other games, it’s a veritable crapshoot of quality. One month, we get Overcooked, Offworld Trading Company, NBA 2K17 and Pillars of Eternity. The next, we get Worms WMD, Hacky Zack and Eterium. The technical value of the bundle will always be high, but the actual value can vary wildly.
It’s unfair to judge the whole product by just one feature, though. If you like buying games and playing indies, the Store discount and Trove add significant value to an already great deal. With the lack of commitment in a monthly plan, backing out is quick and straightforward, while the new games and benefits can stack quite high. Frankly, this is just a great deal for most any gamer.
I will admit that I’m the ideal subscriber for Humble Monthly. I love that new-game smell, and I can’t resist a good surprise pack now and then, so it wasn’t a tough purchase decision to buy into this. However, if you’re someone who dedicates to a single game, or doesn’t have much care for smaller titles, perhaps this isn’t the subscription service for you. If you already own the main title or have no desire to play it, maybe pass that month by. But if you love having a gaming backlog that spans for decades, Humble Monthly is for you.
Currently, my Steam Library has over 300 games. About 20% has come from my Humble subscription. I regret nothing.