Skip to main content

A Jaded Look At Recent Steam Releases: April 22nd, 2014 Edition

Perhaps the last entry I did like this generated a bit of a positive vibe in the general flow of the Internet, because this has actually been a pretty interesting week-and-a-half for Steam.   I flatter myself; more likely, developers have begun to wrap up their post-Christmas sales endeavors and hesitantly shove them to market in hopes some customers' wallets have recovered and are ready for splurging.

Lets see if I can do this a little better than last time: that's me, always moving forward from the comfort of my armchair.   This time, I'm not trying to slam something out late in a work night, and I think I will try to do a bit of preliminary sorting into tiers.  Lets call them:
  • Interesting Tier - Hey, I might actually want to play this game.  You know, if I had time to play anything between binging on Minecraft, Don't Starve, and other games whose nerd quotient is acceptable for me.
  • Semi-Interesting Tier - Almost interesting, at least a step above pablum, keep trying.
  • Meh Tier - Okay, so you're not a casual sell-out, but I have a hard time being interested in this game at all.
  • Pablum Tier - So obviously out for casual gamer wallets that I wish I could filter it from Steam entirely.
  • Dug Up Corpse Tier -  It's not that old games can't be better than games ten years newer than them, but I shouldn't even have to look at these considering I was there when they first came out.
Since the interesting stuff is up front, you can stop reading whenever you like.  I'm not even going to bother to put trailers on the "Dug Up Corpse Tier."

Interesting Tier


The Last Federation.

Genre: Intrigue simulation set in a simulated 4X strategy game with action-yet-turn-based combat.  If that sounds like nothing you've ever played, it's deliberate.

I like Arcen.  Sure, over half their games are deeply flawed, but dammit: at least they try to push gaming forward:
  • I've mentioned how I'd like to see Minecraft combined with a city builder, and roughly that's what their Valley Without Wind series is... pity it mostly plays like a cruddy platformer.  
  • Skyward Collapse is a turn-based strategy game where you don't play either of the two sides, but rather use  your godly position to try to have them both survive for as long as possible.
  • Making a roguelike game was not good enough for Arcen.  Bionic Dues is a roguelike game shoehorned into being a squad-based combat game with a party of customizable cyborgs doing missions on maps that are part of the overmap simulated state of a dystopian city.
  • AI War, perhaps their most successful title, is a space strategy game with the unique premise of being against a foe that can squash you like a bug if you do something too noticable so you have to nibble them to death instead.
The Last Federation is probably their most ambitious title, and the second most effective title in terms of generating accessible gameplay value after AI War.  I played it all day on Monday, and I think I can formulate a decent description of it.

It's mostly a game about intrigue.  You play the lone member of an otherwise extinct alien race, and your goal is to forge the remaining races (some of which were responsible for your race's destruction) into a mighty federation.  Of course, those races are engaged in a 4X strategy game, so if you let them have their way they'll just keep killing each other until there's nobody left.

Aside from the whole, "You're a single being influencing the races of a 4X strategy game universe," The Last Federation plays completely differently from Soldak Entertainment's Drox Operative.  Drox Operative is really more of a Diablo clone in space, and stays mostly on the same "layer" of gameplay throughout.  The Last Federation has two layers:
  • One layer is the galactic over-map view that has you jumping from planet to planet and making decisions that influence the races' opinions of yourself and each other while earning and spending credits that primarily go into various intrigues.
  • The other layer is the combat engine, which is basically plays like a top-down open-ended bullet hell shooter except it's turn-based so you plot out the course of your ship to try to evade incoming bullets while either using special abilities or selecting a weapon to fire that round.
Is there more to The Last Federation than that?  Sure; the actual details of the game are deeper than you might expect.  But that's as close of a description as you'll get from anyone until you play it for yourself.  If you ask me, "Does it play like...?" I'm going to say you missed the point: The Last Federation is unique; a real breath of fresh air.

My Action: I bought The Last Federation on release day.  Played it all day Monday.  Had a lot of fun with it.  I'm not going to bother playing it for another month until they iron out the balance issues and inevitable exploits that come from giving players so many options.

Villagers And Heroes.

Genre: Straight up Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game.  You play it from a browser window.  Free to play.

Why rate this as "Interesting?"  Mostly for the virtual world trappings.  As the Steam page says, "You are the architect, the farmer, and the rancher. With a wide range of building styles to choose from, players can design and decorate their own houses, as well as choose which crops to plant in their garden, or select the type of animals they'd most like to raise. But players needn't go at it alone! Help your village grow from a tiny hamlet to a thriving metropolis by aiding your neighbors with community projects which will ultimately benefit every member of the village."

That said, I did a little research into the game, and people tend to refer to it as a "relaxing" game with "simple" combat.  Boo: simplicity is for casuals.  Still, if they can marry RPG combat to a virtual world with the ability to create your own hamlets, that's more interesting than a "theme park" style MMORPG.  The graphics look well stylized, too.

Apparently Massively gave Villagers And Heroes the 2013 Frindie "best game" award.  What is a Frindie?   Looking into it, it's a reward given to, "the best of free-to-play, indie, and oddball MMOs, a real niche-within-a-niche."  Not sure you could even say Massively is doing it, just one of their writers.

My Action: It's free, so I'll install it, give it a play, and see if I can stomach it or if it's too simple for my liking.

Update: I played Villagers and Heroes.  It's actually fairly awful.   I guess the "Frindie" reward is somewhat along the lines of, "Has potential."  Maybe, but if you play something like Runes Of Magic, you'll find a game of similar playstyle whose potential already exceeds this game's.  Maybe the virtual worldly aspects are good... at about 20 levels of WoW derivative gameplay later?

Heldric - The Legend Of the Shoemaker.

Genre: Tower Defense crossed with Diablo-like action combat.

Well, well, well.  Just the other day I was talking about trying to cross a RPG with strategy and simulation.  Here, out of a dry spell of months, is two such games.  The first is Heldric, the second is coming up next.

Having played the demo of Heldric, I'm afraid this does not quite go where I want it to:
  • In terms of being an RPG, you play Heldric, but only from a third person, Diablo-like perspective.  
  • In terms of being a strategy game, you build a civilization, but only by plopping down buildings in preestablished lots, plays more like a simplified real time strategy game. 
  • In terms of being a virtual world... it's not.  Just scenario maps.
Hinterland was closer to what I wanted.  Heldric describes itself as a "City Builder," but it's really not any more a city builder than Warcraft 3 was.  Still, it got my attention by being closer to my ideal than most.

My Action: I played the first mission from the demo.  Maybe I'll try the second mission and see if it introduces a virtual world mechanic... but I doubt it.

Parkan 2.

Genre: Space combat game meets first person combat meets vehicular combat meets... um, empire building, maybe?  If so, holy crap, guys... holy crap!

Parkan 2 is a 2007 game, which means it probably belongs on my "dug up corpse tier" list, but how can I relegate it there knowing that something came that close to realizing the space grail?  Where was it hiding all this time?!  On the opposite side of the planet, you say?  Well, I suppose that's a legitimate excuse.

RPG?  Check.  Simulation?  Check.  Strategy?  Check.  Alright, provided the implementation is good, this could indeed be the game I want to play.

The implementation is mediocre; Parkan II is a little disappointing.  It's somewhat in the same boat to Precursors in that it's also a very ambitious Russian-made open-ended sci-fi space game that was unfortunately in a rather buggy state.  It crashes about once every ten planetfalls, but at least it autosaves regularly.  At least the developers have been able to put a patch out from time to time - Nikita is still around, and doing well, although they're mostly making MMORPGs these days.

Still, even if Parkan II is buggy, how much would you pay to play around with a game that embraces such an ambitious scope?  If it's on Steam, you'll pay $5.  Five bucks!  Exactly what excuse do I have to not put up with the bugs?

My Action: I bought Parkan 2 and played it for a little over 2 hours.  It's alright, but I'm honestly not sure if it's any better than Salvation Prophecy overall.  It plays similarly where it counts.  Where it differs... well, Salvation Prophecy is more like a 4X game while Parkan is more like a space trader game.  The balance of both games is not quite right for my liking.

Semi-Interesting Tier


Vitrum.

Genre: 3D Puzzle Platformer.

The trailer is a year old, so presumably this game was released elsewhere for a year before it came to Steam.

From the looks of it, Vitrum is like Portal, except lacking a few things.  For example:
  • Instead of a portal gun, you have the ability to invert gravity or fling yourself around.  
  • Instead of clever environmental puzzles, you have repetitive 3D box-like environments.  
  • Instead of a malevolent-yet-somehow-likable AI, you have...
Oh, my, just look at the time!

My Action: Trying hard to avoid making eye contact with the developers as I walk past this game.


Starlight Inception.

Genre: Old fashioned space dogfighting scenario-encapsulated game, just like great grandma used to simulate on the mutoscope while the kids threw corncobs at her.

Starlight Inception is one of those famous Kickstater early successes, and is described by the developers as "... the rebellious stepchild of Wing Commander, X-wing and Freespace2, taking a fresh approach to the classic space combat genre." 

Shame on them for calling a game "flesh" and "classic" in the same sentence.  Still, I'd say that's fine so long as the developers know what they're doing and the game plays well...

... but it doesn't.  Judging by the latest gameplay footage I could dredge up from YouTube, Starlight Inception plays more like a fan project.  It's not absolutely terrible, but it's very barebones and has nowhere near the skill or refinement of the lofty titles they're name-dropping. 

My Action: Pass.  Here's hoping Starlight Inception II will be closer to the unparallelled experience of Descent: Freespace.


FRACT OSC.

Genre: Trippy 3D Exploring Game

I really don't want to pan a game that tries this hard to be creative.  Here's an elaborate 3D cyberspace-like environment that the player can run around and solve puzzles in while listening to trippy techno music... or something.  I don't know, the whole thing reminds me a bit of Dear Escher and games like it: they give you an environment, have you wander around it and do stuff.

Yet, unlike Dear Escher, there's no elaborate narrative going on, but there's a bit more focus on the gameplay.  The introduction of music adds a bit of something too.  FRACT OSC is a hard game to describe without actually playing it... and possibly a hard game to describe even if you have!

My action: Looks decent, I might put it on my wish list.  Yet, I'm thinking Jazzpunk is probably a better experience if "Cyberspace 3D Exploring Puzzle Adventure Thingy"is really my goal.


Sentinel.
Genre: Tower Defense meets Electronica.

As I've said before, Tower defense is a solid enough platform to make a fun game, but the genre is so massively overplayed that you had better have a good feature set to compete with all the tower defense games your audience has likely bored of.

Sentinel has two distinctive features that may entice people to buy it over the competition.  The foremost of those features is a trippy audio-visual sequence that's sure to rub people who like electronic music the right way.  (As a paying subscriber to Digitally Imported, you can count me among them.)   The other feature is a mere $2.99 price tag: you can't even buy a decent sandwich for $2.99 these days!

My action: The sad thing is, even if I had the time to play this game, all my attempts to find "Sentinel" by searching for it would likely stumble over another 20 games, including several tower defense games.

Thinking With Time-Machine.

I'm just going to sit here and reflect on how exactly Steam is okay with selling a product that is basically somebody who modded one of their most successful games to create a spiritual sequel of it.  Isn't that a violation of their own trademark or something?  Weird.

Anyway, this mod involves a time machine mechanic where you use your temporal clone to help you solve puzzles.  It's not the first time something like this was done.  (See: The Misadventures Of P.B. Winterbottom.)  But it is the first time I've seen a community-developed Portal 2 mod released as an expansion to Portal 2.

My Action: If TWTM was more Portal 2, I'd be all over it, but considering it was made by just one guy (or more?) I doubt it has the outstanding production values that is basically Portal 2's whole thing.  Pass.


Secrets Of Raetikon.

Genre: A 2013 artsy platformer where you play a bird or something, I dunno, geez.

The art style looks very nifty, but it looks like it plays like something I have no interest in.  I don't have very high expectations of 2D platformers in general.

My Action: Adding it to my wish list.  I'll probably grab it when it's on sale and give it a spin.



Wargame: Red Dragon.

Genre: Straight up, Triple-A, Real Time Strategy

Wow, that's one epic trailer.  I wonder how the game plays?  Well, it's been five days since release, and no Metacritic reviewers have reviewed it.  Player reviews seem to be mostly in the positive, but that's only a subjective observation.  It's a mystery.

I gave up on Googling answers and turned to checking out YouTube gameplay videos.  I'm reminded a bit of Supreme Commander - you do a lot of zooming out to a bigger map - but I guess there's some overtures to realism here.  You basically hear radio feedback from the units in the field who get your orders and, if you feel like it, you can zoom waaay in and see a pretty good visual of the vehicle actually fighting.

My Action: I'm intrigued at the production value of the trailer but, well, Red Dragon is just more real time strategy, right?  It's a genre so over-saturated that apparently nobody even wants to review it anymore... and I'm as surprised as you are that this is the case.  I'll keep an ear to the ground, maybe I'll hear something about this game from a credible source.

FootLOL: Epic Fail League.

Genre: Vaguely, a soccer sports game.  Mostly, a kitchy humorous gadget.

In the regretfully-named FootLOL, you lead a team of indestructible little blue dudes to victory on the soccer field.  You largely do this by sabotage, using an inexplicable power of teleportation to introduce to the field anything from cows to land mines to stranger things yet.  You're supposed to laugh out loud because this is happening.  Are you?

My Action: Having seen the TotalBisquit "Steam Sells..." series video on this, I can see this game is a bit too floaty to be a great product.   Still, it's original enough that it deserves a nod for that.  I'm not in a hurry to buy it, though.


Always Remember Me.

Genre: Remarkably faithful Japanese-style visual novel romance.

If you've ever played one of the games, you know the drill: meet people, choose actions and dialogue in order to "flag" the ending to the story you want.  Meaning, if you play your cards right, you'll get to see the ending where your protagonist has explicit sex with the anime girl of your desire, you manipulative swine.

In all fairness, though, not all visual novels are erotic.  Because Always Remember Me is on Steam, which does not sell explicit games, you should expect no nudity.

Something about the way this game presents itself tells me that it's not actually a Japanese visual novel, but rather a product of weeaboos.  (Maybe because it takes one to know one.)  But that's fine, because technically visual novels are generally elaborate emotional traps intended to snag their audience with fake sentiments, so who better to create one than someone so deeply embroiled in such self-delusion that they can't even tell the difference anymore, right?

... Sorry, I don't know where I was going with that, either.

As far as gaming goes, visual novels are terrible.  There's usually no strategy or reason to visual novel games, and consequently there's no such thing as being a good player of a visual novel, they're just ponderous trial and error.  I think I'd rather watch episodes of The World God Only Knows than play one of these: there exists excellent parodies of visual novels that are better than the games themselves.

On the other hand, as far as stories go, visual novels can be as great as any book.  Seeing Clannad and Clannad After Story, which are anime based on a visual novel, was probably one of the more emotionally charged moments of my entire life, so perhaps I shouldn't knock this genre.

My Action: I bet Katawa Shoujo has a better story, better characters, actual nudity, and it's free.  I haven't bothered to play it yet, so where does that put "Always Remember Me?"  Pass.

Meh Tier


Circuits.

Genre: Puzzle game that relies partially on sound cues.

Circuits has a pretty decent premise for a puzzle game, I guess.  You have to connect the circuits, and this requires some level of "careful listening."  The presentation is very clean: you don't need great artists for every game concept to work.

Having said all that, it's just a puzzle game.   I bet SpaceChem could probably beat Circuits at its own game, albeit without the sound cues.

My Action: Is it just me, or is completing puzzles with no narrative to them really boring?  If I wanted to play a puzzle game, I'd play anything from the Professor Layton series.

[Sorry, couldn't find a video for this one.]

Qualia 3: Multi Agent.

Genre: Funky top-down shoot em' up with a rhythm mechanic (maybe?) and a digitized deep-sea theme.

Qualia 3 looks to be doing for Gravity War-like shoot em' ups what Sentinel does for Tower Defense.  Yes, it's still just Gravity War, but now we've got rhythm and style!  Also, I guess the protagonist is customizable with 26 unique body parts.

My Action: My eyebrow did raise in mild interest, good sir, but I cannot fathom how to make time in my busy day for this.

Millie.

Genre: "A joyful, casual puzzle game that will tease both your wits and your memory."  Not to be confused with your ex-girlfriend.

Take one of those games where you play a centipede-like creature that grows longer the more you eat and you want to eat everything without accidentally eating your own tail.  Then extrapolate and give it a cute presentation.  Bam: You got Millie.

Don't expect much from this one: it was ported from the Android platformer.

My Action: Looks well made, but you lost me at "casual."


QuestRun.  (That's one word: Running Quest is something else.)

Genre: RPG combat microgame.

Looks like a cleanly-executed attempt to streamline JRPG-style combat.  It's an imported touch game, so naturally it's hobbled in such a way that you can do everything by clicking on it.  I dunno, could be fun, if fighting a never-ending deluge of monsters with a party of adventurers is your thing.

My Action: RPGs that focus completely on combat have sort of missed the point of what an RPG is supposed to be.  Pass, but I do give them a slight nudge above "pablum tier" for trying to do things a little differently with the interface innovations.

Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game.

Genre: The Official Rube Goldberg Genre

Let me stop you right there, at the title: Rube Goldberg is dead, and has been for about 44 years now.  What did they do, hunt down his estate and pay them to stick his name on this game?  Probably.  But why?  We've all heard of Rube Goldberg machines, but I wager not a whole lot of people have been reading his comics for the past 30 year or so.  Heck, I had to do some Internet searching to even know who Rube Goldberg was.  Who exactly is going to get excited about "An Official Rube Goldberg" product?

Judging by the gameplay, Rube Works shows its players a side-view of an environment, and from there you plop down a bunch of random junk in your inventory and hook it up in such a way as to try to make it produce the desired result.  Sounds great on paper but, in action, the game looks like you're playing an escaped mental patient stapling things to walls because the voices in your head demand impracticality.

This is an iPad port game, it gets a few points for being more creative than most, but it's not going to be all that technically impressive.

My Action: Pass and hope that, when I die, my name does not become synonymous with madness (yet knowing that, for those who know me well, I'm already there).


Uprising 44 : The Silent Shadows.

Genre: Third person action real time strategy game that is based on the World War II Warsaw Uprising.

The screenshots make Uprising44 look like a competent enough clone of Freedom Fighters, a 2003 game I couldn't remember offhand, and I'm not feeling really confident I'll remember this game, either.

Well, looks can be deceiving, I saw TotalBiscuit's review of this game, and it's a broken mess.  I like the architecture and the history authenticity, but everything else... well, it doesn't control well, it's ravaged with bugs, the AI is a mess, and apparently they misreported the release date on Steam so I'd be boycotting Uprising44 anyway.

I can probably accurately summarize this game by shouting.  Cover-based shooting!  Ordering dumb NPCs do to do things!  Shooting guns!  Enduring frustration from constant reloading because you did something the developers didn't want you to do!  Am I getting warm?  I'm mostly reflecting on my experiences with similar games of this type here but, from what I gather, Uprising 44 meets and exceeds all expectations of incompetence.

My Action: That's a really nice trailer you got there, Uprising 44.  Why doesn't it show any gameplay?  I think I know.  Pass.


Overcast - Walden And The Werewolf.

Genre: Imitation of a successful game.  Also in the atmospheric horror game genre.

There's nothing wrong with imitating what works, right?  Wrong.  Amnesia: Dark Descent was a horror game that everybody was talking about due to its remarkably good atmosphere and whatnot, but if you don't know how to make that experience, you're just going to screw it up.

A gun.  They gave the protagonist a gun.  The whole fear factor of Amnesia: Dark Descent was that you're defenseless in the face of horrors so dire that to look upon them is to go mad.  In Walden And The Werewolf, you're here to try to kill it.  Totally different motivation, totally different reaction to the player, total screwing of the pooch if you're after Amnesia: Dark Descent's success.

My Action: I'm such a weenie that it took me ten years to man up enough to finish System Shock 2.  I'm not going to seek out scares in Overcast, even if I am pretty sure Amnesia does its job better.

The Samaritan Paradox.

Genre: Really old school point and click adventure game.

At $10, they're charging about $8 more than they should for this game.  It looks like it was cobbled together in Adventure Game Studio.  The pixel artwork is professionally done, fair enough.  The story probably isn't awful.  Other than that... geez, I've played better adventure games made in the early 90s.  Golden Age of Lucasarts this is not. 

The ultimate problem with this game is it takes itself too seriously.  "An interactive detective drama?"  The pixelation robs it of its thunder.  This format is really more conductive of less realistic things, like the antics of Ben There, Dan That.

My Action: I hate every single word I had against this game.  Seriously, look at that trailer video.  It's hilariously earnest.  Saying bad things against this game is akin to kicking a puppy.  I want to make amends, but not $9.99 worth of amends.  Pass.


Aveyond: Gates of Night.

Genre: RPGMaker game.  Sorry, that's too specific... uh, Japanese-style role playing game?

This is not the first RPGMaker game released on Steam, and it won't be the last.  They're not all that hard to make, but they are tricky to make well.  If this guy sells even ten copies of this game, I really have no excuse not to bang out my own game using the RPGMaker software I bought.

It's a tongue-in-cheek poke at the ridiculous recycling of popular RPG tropes.  Oh sorry, I was talking about my game.  As far as I know, Aveyond is quite earnest, although it does advertise "HUMOR. Lots of it.  Humor is the core of Aveyond.  You will laugh.. or else!"

My Action: I'm laughing, alright.  But then, I never did get around to finishing Breath of Death or Cthulu Saves  The World.  Until I do... pass.

Life Goes On.

Genre: Physics platformer.

One day, somebody was playing with making a platformer in Unity and realized they could use the ragdolls of their character's previous lives as a means to solve puzzles.  They decided to run with that idea.  Several months later, we get Life Goes On.

My Action: Another physics platformer?  Meh, I'll get back to you if I finish Trine, Trine 2, or even Braid

Pablum Tier



Pixel Puzzles: Japan.
Genre: Jigsaw puzzles. Yes, I'm serious.

Hey guys, nice $2000 computer you got there, but you know what you could be doing with it?  Playing jigsaw puzzles!  Oh, this will be great, think of all the money you'd save from not having to buy those boxes of puzzles.  Think of all the money the developers will save by simply having a program that that digitally simulates cutting apart pictures of stock Japanese vacation propaganda.  No messy cleanup for either of you!

In all seriousness, at least they added a picture of a dude meditating on the lower right along with some nifty Japanese-like music.

My Action: Unless I go on a massive Zen Buddhism kick, I can't see myself chomping at the bit to buy the jigsaw puzzle game that includes a meditating dude on the right side.

Space Farmers.

Genre: Top-down action shooter?  Really?!

This game actually got me excited for a moment.  I know PixelJunk just happens to be making a Terraria-like game involving Space Farming that is really zany, and it looks quite interesting, even if its current form.  No kidding, it's called NomNomGalaxy.

Well, Space Farmers is immediately docked all the points for having nothing to do with farming in space.  Instead, it looks like it plays more like Gauntlet.  Run around a maze and shoot things.  Bah!  It looks terrible - are they being deliberately minimalist here?

My Action: The last time I played a game like this was when I bought Pineapple Smash Crew because I was excited about the idea of boarding actions in space (no wonder I just bought Parkan II).  Well, I was disappointed then, and won't let Space Farmers do it to me again.


Reignmaker.

Genre: Tower Defense meets Match-3 Game

When the PuzzleQuest series combined Match-3 games with RPGs, the result was surprisingly solid.  ReignMaker is seeking to do the same with a tower defense game.  Does that, in fact, work?

I was hoping it would, but then I took a look at that trailer: do you see any tower defense going on there?  Nah, this is just a match-3 game with a different kind of special effect when you combine 3 gems.

My Action: Match-3 games are one of the most over-saturated of all the casual genres.  Pass.

 
White Heaven Mysteries, Nearwood, and Dreamscapes: The Sandman.

Genre: There are three hidden object games hidden in last week's steam release.  Can you find them all?

As if it wasn't bad enough that hidden object games are basically pixel hunting exercises best restricted to magazines and kids comics, you can actually find quite a deluge of these kinds of games for free.

Also, these are all re-releases.  White Haven Mysteries is from 2012.   Nearwood and Dreamscapes: The Sandman are from 2013. 

My Action: They're all dated incorrectly in Steam, claiming to be from 2014 when they're not, so welcome to my boycott list.  (Actually, Nearwood might be a recently-released "collector's edition" so it may have an excuse.)

Dug Up Corpse Tier

Robin's Quest

Genre: Hidden object game.

Robin's Quest is from 2010, I'm setting the bar of "Dug Up Corpse" tier at 4 or more years, so Robin's Quest has the unfortunate fate of being both a hidden object game and a dug up corpse.

My Action: Pity, and more than a little contempt followed by boycott since Robin's Quest is dated incorrectly in Steam as a 2014 game.

Superpower 2.

Genre: 2004 contemporary-themed world domination game.

My Action: I'm sure somebody has done better in the preceding ten years.  Pass.

Fate: Undiscovered Realms.

Genre: Diablo clone.

Fate was one of the better clones back in 2005... "Undiscovered Realms" is a stand-alone expansion released in 2008.

Alas, fate was not in the cards for this game.  These days, we've got Diablo III, Torchlight II, and so on.  Better Diablo clones than Fate, who needs it anymore?

My Action: Not me.. but then, I've played so many Diablo clones I can't even bring myself to play good ones, such as Torchlight II.

Dracula: The Ressurection.  Dracula 2: The Last Sanctuary.  Dracula 3: The Path Of The Dragon.

Genre: "Adventure, Casual" says Steam.  I think tying my shoe counts as a casual adventure.  Dracula deserves a better genre.

Wow, I can't believe these guys made the game and two sequels and released them all at once!  Oh wait, they didn't, this is a release of titles from 2000, 2001, and 2008, re-released on Steam with a 2014 release date printed on them all.  We all know who the real bloodsucker is here, amirite?

My Action: Honestly, the production value here looks pretty good.  I might have actually bought these games if I was not already going to boycott them for misrepresenting their product's release date on Steam.

Agarest: Generations Of War.

Genre: Sexy anime girls luring you into something more akin to Disgaea's turn-based strategy combat.

Seriously, Google Agarest and what do you find?  Borderline porn.  I'm pretty sure the game itself is a fairly legitimate strategy role playing game... for a PC port of a 2007 Playstation 3 title, that is.

My Action: Every time I tried to research Agarest, I was teased by so much anime girl skin that I ended up looking at hentai.  Damn you, Agarest!  That stuff isn't good for my brain.

Freddi Fish, Putt Putt, Pajama Sam, and Spy Fox games.

Genre: Point and click kids adventure games, mostly... there's other activities, too.

Several of these games from Humongous Entertainment were re-released on Steam last week, ranging from 1992 to 2003.  They look pretty good to me, and even include some educational stuff.

My Action: I like some stuff targeted at kids for its innocence, but I wager these are probably too simple for my liking.   Maybe if the Humongous games pack goes on sale I'll snap them up... perhaps the nephew will like them if I don't.

UFO: Aftershock.

Genre: Wannabe X-COM game from 2005.

Altair developed three of these games, which each were intended to give X-COM players what they wanted, since there had not been an X-COM game since 1997.   UFO: Aftermath, released in 2003, was fairly awful.  UFO: Aftershock was released in 2005 and wasn't quite as awful, but s till had a long way to go.  Now, UFO: Afterlight (released in 2007) I actually enjoyed, and I think it's the best "real time speed" X-COM out there.  (Of course, the recently-released XCOM took the turn-based crown back.)

My Action: Apparently I felt the need to spout a history lesson.  I'm certainly not buying this game, but good thing they got the release date right.

That's as far as I'm getting today.   

Day off or not, I'm spent.  I put off updating this list too long, and consequently I ran out of steam before getting to the last page or two of new (and "new") Steam releases... maybe later.

Next time, I think I'll just do a writeup of things "Semi-Interesting" and better.  The rest of the tiers will be title and genre only, "honorable mentions" and "dishonorable mentions."

Comments

Rich Textformat said…
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Space Farmers. It's far from just blasting things though - check out the 4.5 - 5 review from co-optimus or some of the lets plays.
geldonyetich said…
This serial is really more a jaded first impression from someone who's seen virtually everything under the sun than it is a proper review but, as you took the time to stop by, perhaps I'll do something more like that.

Popular posts from this blog

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Greasing The Grind: Adding Lasting Appeal To Virtual World Sandboxes

Game design, being about entertainment, is not as much science as art.  We're coming up with interesting things that the human mind likes to chew on that "taste" good to it.  Different people find different things, "Fun," and a game designer is tasked with coming up with fun, appealing things.  As pertains to virtual world sandboxes, I identified three of them.

Challenge Appeal.

Dwarf Fortress and Fortresscraft Evolved have the same end game appeal preservation mechanic: wealth equals threat.  The more money your Dwarf Fortress is worth, the bigger the baddies who will come for you, including a bunch of snobby useless nobles who do nothing but push dwarves around and eat.  The more energy you make in Fortresscraft Evolved, the more and bigger bugs come to shut down your base.  Rimworld does something a little different based off of which AI Storyteller you choose, but it generally adds time to your wealth accumulation when deciding what kind of threats to throw a…