Ayup, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these and I’ve gotten plenty of Steam titles since then, so we’re going to have another go at this. No real correlation of any sort this time, just 5 titles you should check out at your earliest convenience. Yup, I can definitely say I would recommend these. No duds here.
What do you get when you mix one part Zelda, one part Cthulhu, and one part…well, I’m inclined to say Earthbound, but somebody already has and while it’s certainly odd and funny at times, it comes off as more bizarre than anything. Anyway, you get Anodyne, a game about…well, I’m not really sure. I do know that it has a similar look and feel to older Zelda games, but it’s way darker.
The game pokes fun at various videogame tropes, but also throws a few of its own out there, such as collecting cards in order to proceed because doors are apparently…shy…and won’t open if you don’t have them. No, not keycards either; collector cards for different monsters. Yeah, the game is definitely bizarre.
It’s also very fun and intriguing. There are a number of things that happen in the game you certainly don’t expect, but that’s not saying much from a game like this. Really, I’m halfway between not wanting to spoil anything and also not really understanding what I’m looking at all at the same time. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and it’s definitely worth it.
A while back, Yahtzee, the dude who does Zero Punctuation, made a game called The Art of Theft, a 2D stealth platformer that felt very similar to old platform adventure games like Flashback and Out of This World, but had a focus on Trilby as a catburglar. It was a very fun and highly unforgiving title that focused on stealth at its very fundamental core.
Gunpoint reminds me of this game for two reasons. One, it looks and feels very similar. Two, there is a heavy emphasis on stealth, but it allows for a lot of creativity and experimentation, plus it’s not nearly as tough (you can rewind time to seconds ago before mistakes you’ve made). You don’t really have a weapon in this one (at least not initially), so you have to rely on stealth, rewiring circuitry, tackling enemies, and the best tool of all: a ridiculous leg spring thingy that allows you to vault several feet in the air and never die from fall damage.
Honestly, the title has nothing to do with this game, but then I guess calling a game “Springy Spy” wouldn’t have sold too well either. The game is funny, clever, involves a lot of great puzzles, and has great stealth elements. It can be frustrating at times, but not nearly as frustrating as certain other titles with actual or near insta-death scenarios like Hotline Miami and Dark Souls, so if you enjoy stealth action, then you’re in for a good time.
I wasn’t a big fan of episodes 1 and 2, though I did have to give them kudos for the writing and animation. Episodes 3 and 4, however, combine elements from many classic RPGs such as Final Fantasy 6 and Grandia, all headed by the geniuses behind Penny Arcade AND Zeboyd, the dude who did the hilarious and addictive Breath of Death 7 and Cthulhu Saves the World games.
Episode 3 stays a little more traditional by trying to tell the story straight while involving different characters that come and go, various upgrades, a vast job system, and an interesting new MP system. Episode 4 takes a lot from that, but also adds in a sort of Pokemon style take on it, has a hell theme, and replaces jobs with trainer perks.
Both episodes are instant classics and well worth your time and attention. The best part is they’re already pretty damn cheap, but then you get them even cheaper by getting them in the package deal. I personally believe this is some of Zeboyd’s finest work and if you’ve checked out any of his previous games, these are a definite must for your collection.
I’m a sucker for graphical adventure games, though they don’t always pan out. All the same, Wadjet Eye hasn’t let me down yet. This one’s a bit of a different take. Basically, the human race is gone and all we’re left with is machines just trying to get by and survive. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole hell of a lot else I can say because I haven’t played this one much.
So why recommend it, then? First and foremost, everything is dripping in ambience. The artwork, animation, sounds, music…all of it is perfect and fitting. In a way, it almost reminds me of New Vegas in that you are nomadic and are forced into going into “the city” at an eventual point that only serves to further the plot with all kinds of twists.
Nevermind that there are returning voice actors from other Wadjet Eye titles that do an outstanding job and the puzzles are no joke…though not necessarily heavy-handed either. Again, I haven’t played too much into it, but the game is cheap and a definite throwback to earlier graphical adventure titles. I highly recommend it.
Ah, another roguelike, this time in space! I don’t feel that the production values are quite to the level of Dungeons of Dredmor, but it’s a damn fun game all the same. Like any roguelike, there’s a heavy emphasis on survival and there are a few classes you can choose from the start, though it doesn’t affect the game THAT much in the long run.
What’s really fun about this one is there are several ways to forage equipment including hacking, picking locks, prying back steel, deciphering text, reprogramming equipment, and all kinds of different stuff…and all of this is kept in the form of different stats. There are also many types of weapons, which also have their own individual stats.
There aren’t any “abilities,” per se, so that’s a minus, but it also makes it more straightforward. If you’re looking for something a little different that has a space theme and is fairly priced, this is definitely up your alley. If you don’t already have Dungeons of Dredmor, though, I’d recommend getting that first.
Not really a whole lot else to say. Steam continues to be an excellent service to shell money into by the truckload and I’ve yet to be thoroughly disappointed, though that’s not to say there aren’t shit games on there. All in all, not only are these titles highly recommended, but I also highly encourage anyone who hasn’t taken the plunge into Steam to do so at your earliest convenience.