Monday, 15 July 2013

The Steam Sale: Summer 2013: Part 1

Too many games. I often lament that I have too many games, and not enough time to play them all. Then of course the summer sales start, and I end up buying even more games that I won't have enough time to play. I've installed quite a few and I'm trying to get through them all, and I'm doing okay so far. So, here's the list of games I've bought in the Steam Summer Sale so far, and my initial thoughts...

Hotline Miami

The best first, Hotline Miami is a masterpiece. At first I thought it was just too difficult and the control system was abysmal (the controls are awful though, but I got used to them eventually). It puts you in the middle of a murder spree, with your character either drug-crazed, psychotic, or worse. Everything is in garish colours, ripped straight from the worst excesses of the late 80s and despite the graphics being relatively low resolution, the killing is all as graphic as they can manage.

The very beginning... and it immediately gets stranger
Thanks to the amazing soundtrack and trippy visuals, it brings to mind a strange mix of the adventure game Dreamweb and the film Drive. I cannot recommend this enough.

One of the many masks you can wear
It has it's fair share of difficulty spikes, but often the best method to clear an area is to be as quick and bold as you can manage. Sometimes just running into a room with a katana swinging about will be enough, other times you need to be trigger-happy with the range of firearms on offer.

Stage clear, surrounded by the corpses of my... enemies?
The masks you wear give you various bonuses, and over time you unlock more (and secret ones in various ways). Similarly, the amount of different weapons increases as you rack up points and a body count.

Dungeons of Dredmor

This is a rogue-like with pretty graphics and a sense of humour. It's challenging, without being hatefully difficult and has a fantastic range of things to see and do. I've only just gone down to the second floor and already I've seen various crafting mechanics, spellcasting, arms and armour, inventive monsters and side quests. The levels are sprawling and generated in the random, rogue-like style. It is a flawed gem though, with a little too many rough edges for my liking. The interface is a little cumbersome and clunky, some of the graphical elements could do with scaling up (like the text which gives you feedback on your actions and environment). The biggest annoyance for me though is the decision to have the lowest tile of each room blocked by the wall. It means you can't see anything on the floor there, which is a minor but constant irritation. Thankfully it's easy-going enough that it keeps drawing me back in...

Binding of Isaac

The Zelda-like world, but with a thoroughly unpleasant theme

Bizarre and morbid in equal measure, this little game is absurdly difficult and built like the Zelda dungeons of old. It took me a little by surprise how dark the intro was, and the game itself doesn't pull any punches either. It took me several attempts to get past the first level, and then I promptly died on the next one. A definite one for people with masochistic tendencies and with a love of Zelda dungeons. Much like Super Meat Boy, I think it has me beaten though.

Yet another death
In many ways I guess it really is Zelda-like, with the way you use bombs, find secrets and even how you face your foes. Really, that's why I have so much of a problem with it. I was never much of a console gamer, and as such I'm not quite so good at these sorts of arcade-style games, where the combat is as much about movement as it is attacking. All enemies have a certain movement and attack style, which can be predicted to a certain extent and perhaps with a bit more time I could move past the second level! So far though, I have only barely managed to defeat a couple of bosses in several attempts. The random nature of the upgrades is certainly a factor here, it can make things quite a bit easier if you get a good first few rooms.

Scribblenauts Unlimited

Back at school

A game for kids really, but a fun one nonetheless. It's a rather inventive puzzle game, and it has a certain charm to it. There's usually a variety of solutions to each puzzle too, so you can be quite creative with how you play. You character, Maxwell, has a magic notepad. Anything he writes in it becomes real, so you can create items, tools, animals and even people. Definitely worth checking out, it's quite easy but fun and I expect if you've got kids they'll love it.

Monster mash!
It is quite easy (intentionally so, it's supposed to be enjoyable for children). It has a very wide range of locations and puzzles though, enough to keep anyone interested for quite a while. I find myself spending my time trying to complete the quests in the most unexpected manner, but it actually responds well to off-the-wall suggestions.


Every location contains an assortment of things to interact with

A sort-of puzzle game I guess? It's kind of hard to pin this one down, but basically you are McPixel and you have to help people (even if they don't want you to). Usually this involves finding and disabling an explosive device, but solving the puzzles is almost all trial and error. The logic is insane, all done for comedic effect which would be great in small doses, but after a while it gets quite repetitive and dull. There are some really funny puzzles in there, but it does mean wading through a lot of other less interesting ones. Thankfully it was dirt cheap, so I don't feel bad about playing it once and never again.


Bastion itself, which can be upgraded and it's where you swap out your weapons/abilities
The narrator makes this game truly unique, as he talks about everything you're doing (but not in a creepy way). You play a kid, the sort of action-hero-kid that will save the world. The world sure does need saving too, as it crumbles around you. The only hope is to scavenge all the cores from the fractured world and build up the one place that survives: Bastion.

Attacking with the hammer
Pitched somewhere between Diablo and Zelda, it's very much an action-heavy game but beautifully crafted. Each location looks amazing, with strange enemies and a mysterious storyline. The weapons support different play-styles, and there's the usual upgrades and special powers. Great fun, there's a bit of challenge to it, but it's not particularly difficult (so far) so I look forward to playing it more.

The next location to visit in what appears to be a large world
That's it so far... but there's more! I have Tomb Raider, Batman: Arkham City, Thomas Was Alone and To The Moon to talk about, but that will probably be after the sale once I have a bit of time to play them.

No comments:

Post a Comment