Steam Summer Sale Aftermath

During the summer Steam sale I give myself 50 to 60 bucks to use on games. For the price of one new retail console game, I can usually scoop up at least a half dozen games (this is why if you don’t play games on your PC, you should). Most of what I’m after these days are indie games. All the real innovation happens there, where gigantic budgets and huge workforces don’t drive developers into risk averse blandness.

Here’s what I picked up this year:

Dishonored

I know, I just said I was after indie games, but this AAA blockbuster is a new IP and I found the exaggerated steam punk aesthetic appealing (and it was 10 bucks!). Also, Austin Grossman, writer of one of my favorite books, worked on the story. So that’s a plus. I’ve played two or three hours so far and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a little annoying that they give you so many weapons and powers to be a badass assassin, and then incentivize you to NOT use them by avoiding all conflict. Seems silly and very video gamey. When I play, I take out who I have to, like a real magical badass assassin would.

Dust: An Elysian Tail

Not sure how I feel about Dust. On one hand I love the attention to detail and the hand drawn art and smooth animation. I also appreciate that the entire game was made largely by one dude. On the other hand, the story is typical over-serious anime melodrama, the color palette is all over the place and the character designs are generic. They’re all anthropomorphic animals, but instead of leaning more towards animals, like the Sly Cooper series, they lean more towards human—to the point that some characters look like straight up dudes with triangle noses and cat ears. It’s weird. The unfunny screechy sidekick who constantly breaks the fourth wall to make a lame joke doesn’t help things either. I’ve played 2.5 hours of this one. The mechanics are solid, so I might come back later on, but it’s lower on the list.

Gunpoint

I heard great things about this game on the Idle Thumbs podcast. Unfortunately, despite being able to run Dishonored, a AAA game, on the highest settings, Gunpoint, with its simple retro graphics, cripples my computer. Maybe it’s poorly optimized or maybe I have something turned on I shouldn’t. I’ll load this game up on my laptop and see if I can run it there (this is the downside of PC gaming). Heard it has fun mechanics and snappy writing. Looking forward to playing it.

Rogue Legacy

Got this game on the last day of the Steam sale and after playing an hour, I’m kicking myself for not getting it earlier. Rogue Legacy is absurdly addicting. It’s like an endless runner/adventure game with loot and persistent leveling and quasi perma-death and retro graphics and cheeky writing. It’s stupid fun. If I were to recommend any one game from this list, it would be this one. Even at the non-sale price of $14.99, this game is a great deal.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing

I haven’t played this one yet, and I don’t plan to for a while. I wanted a loot-driven adventure game (after having struck out with Lord of The Rings: War In The North—paid $4 to find out the PC version has no local co-op for me and my wife to play together) and this one looks fun. I’m holding off on playing it because the developers are going to patch in controller support in the coming months. I like Diablo-style games, but prefer direct control over constant clicking.

Get any games during the Steam sale? Let me know! I’m always on the lookout for fun new experiences.