August 2016 Steam Highlights

We got review copies of a few Steam titles currently out & upcoming releases. Despite having a number of reviews for some of these games planed, we wanted to talk about them now. Today, I am making a long piece talking about a lot of different games!

Hope you enjoy this creative spin on my normal first impressions articles and lets have fun taking a dive into the massive sea that is Valve’s steam platform. Information about each game (Steam Link, Developer/Publisher, Price, ect) will be linked for each title below.


Title: Book of Demons / Developer: Think Trunk / Price: 19.99$ / Steam Page / Platforms: PC, Mac, Xbox One / State Game Is In: Early Access

Book of Demons is a love letter to action/RPGs like Diablo and other top down role playing adventures. The games structure is very interesting, as Book of Demons is just one part of a larger collection of titles. The game is currently in early access and Think Trunk has other ‘Books’ planed for future release. What this means, is that Book of Demons is part of a large collection of future game releases; Book of Demons is content complete and stands alone as a very strong title.

The set up of the game is that you have access to a number of different books and through reading pages of the books, you visit new worlds and go on grand adventures. Book of Demons story has your lone hero going back to his home town after years of traveling and after talking to towns people, decides to travel through various dungeons to fight the evil demons to save his town.

The game has an impressive paper look that games like Paper Mario, South Park: The Stick of Truth & Flat Kingdom used in the past….but time used with a much darker subject matter, allowing the game has a really striking visual appearance. Music is also quite haunting too and matches the mood of the game. But one question pops up; how does it play?

The game’s controls are very simple, with you moving on a pre-destined path but can stop and go forwards/backwards at your own whim. You click on foes to attack them and various objects to interact with them (picking up coins and other useful things). But the main feature of the game is a card system, which can works like your item inventory in other games of this style.

Items like potions or attack buffs are tied to these cards and you can use them by highlighting them with the mouse icon and pressing the right click button on your mouse. This adds depth to the game, as you can get new cards and each card does something interesting. Overall, the core gameplay here is strong and does a lot right.

Regarding level length, you have control on how much or how little you play of the game; after clearing your first few floors of the dungeons, you have the option to set how many floors you explore before you leave. This can lead to short or long play sessions. That is a great feature, as I personally switched between short and long sessions while playing this title, giving the game a lot of replay value as I played through it.

I recommend you give this game a look if you love action/RPG’s like Diablo as it follows in that games footsteps but does its own creative spins on that games mechanics. Below will be gameplay of the game so you can visually see how the game plays like.

 


 

Title: Big Action Mega Fight / Developer: Double Stallion Games / Price: 4.99$ / Platforms: Mobile (iOS) & PC / Status: Complete Release / Steam Page

Big Action Mega Fight! is a mobile port of Double Stallion’s Brawler on iOS. The game has you take control of a brawler set to defend his home against exploding chickens, punks and more! It sounds silly and the story of the game is very minor but I was surprised how invested I was playing this title.

The game is structured like most mobile games, in the sense that you have levels that rate you with three stars after each level is completed depending on how well you did and coins you can earn/collect to upgrade your abilities & perks. But the games feels more like a console brawler like Scott Pilgrim VS The World or Streets of Rage. I say this considering how much you can do in the game.

You can roll by pressing K, punch by pressing J, Grab foes by pressing L and Upper cut people by pressing I. Movement is mapped by the W/A/S/D keys and you have controller support (though I had issues getting this to work, making the keyboard set up my main one). In addition to all of this, you have special moves that you can use by clicking on the icon on the bottom right of the screen and they are fun to see in action.

The game has a frantic pace with you consistently moving to avoiding attacks, punching people and just having a fun time beating things up. I got a lot of flash backs to my enjoyment of other brawlers when playing this and the fun combat system this game offers in addition to how animated the game looks visual made rolling through the levels so much fun for me. Visually the game looks great having a cartoony vibe that is helped by strong animation and great detail in the level backgrounds.

Overall, this game is a really fun brawler that has been a really blast playing thus far. I recommend this game if you enjoyed brawlers in the past or want a fun simple game to play on your laptop or mobile device.


 

Title: Black Hole Hazard / Developer: Superthumb Games / Release Date: August 29th / Steam Page / Platform: Steam (PC)

Black Hole Hazard is an action/puzzle title from Superthumb Games that has you controlling Dr. Albert Armstrong, who has a special jet gun that helps him move around in space but he also has a blaster to defend himself & break objects. You wake up in an unknown place and have to travel across space to learn what is going on.

The core gameplay is very inventive, having you move around by aiming with the mouse and moving in the the opposite of that direction with your jet gun. For example, you are facing forward and use the Jet Gun, you move backwards. This leads to some great aiming mechanics being Incorporated into the game, as the longer your hold down the Jet Gun button (Left Mouse Button) the faster you go and when you slam into things, you bounce around. Having control of your movement is a strong core mechanic in this case and it helps your movement becoming vital; being careful with your movement is key to complete the games many levels.

To defend yourself and destroy objects, you also have your blaster (Right Mouse Button) but the shots have limited ammo before it refills. Thankfully you can extend the amount of shots by exploring levels, which have upgrades for your gear so you can increase the amount of shots you can fire through playing the game.

The story here is also very interesting, as you learn more about why you are lost in space. Black Hole Hazard presents a lot of promise with its strong core mechanics, responsive controls, strong level design and story that holds mysteries to solve. We will be reviewing the game on August 29th and will cover more on the game then. But for now, I think this is a PC title you should consider keeping an eye on as the weeks go by.


Title: Hexoscope / Developer: Studio Binokle / Publisher: Sometimes You / Platforms: Steam (PC) / Price: 0.99$ / Steam Page

Hexoscope is a puzzle title from Studio Binokle which has you mixing and matching hexes on a grid. You do this by clicking them with your mouse and not unlike Bejeweled, they switch places with another hex. But the difference between this and other puzzle games, is that the hexes are shown on a very large map. Meaning, simple puzzles are complex and can be solved in many different ways.

What I enjoyed about this puzzle game is that the challenge level is very high as soon as the first puzzle; you will be tested to solve these many hex puzzle challenges. How the puzzles work is that you are trying connect a series of hexes to an end-point on the map.

You can solve these in many different ways, making them quite replayable. Visually, the game looks strong with a nice color scheme being present, the game running well and most importantly the game being very clear with what objects do what. That is key in many matching puzzle games, so its smart the Studio Binokle ensured everything was visually clear with this title.

For the price of 0.99$, you will be getting a number of puzzles to solve and a fun challenge to solve, so I recommend this game if you want a fun puzzle title to play.

 


Title: Machine Made – Rebirth / Developer: Proteus Studios / Publisher: Sometimes You / State: Early Access / Steam Page / Price: 4.99$

Styled after the iconic SNES/NES Role Playing Games of the past, Machine Made by Proteus Studios has you playing an fallen angel-like creature who lost her memories. If you enjoy old school RPGs, then you might really enjoy this game.

The story takes place after years of battle against machines that the games main race builds and after the machines revolting, the world is in chaos. Years pass by and you play as the your player character. She lost her memories but apparently is exiled for killing one of her own kind. After exploring a ship and getting used to the games mechanics, you are sent away.

What makes this game interesting that despite taking a lot of notes from the Final Fantasy series regarding the ‘main’ combat system (magic system, leveling up, command menu very similar to SNES Final Fantasy games, ect) it does a few clever things I really liked.

One being that you have many save slots and that you can save anywhere, ensuring you do not have to worry about finding that save-zone before heading into a lot of battle. Another feature I really enjoyed was how the game gives our main character a lot of voice. Despite losing her memories, she does talk a lot when interacting with others. This made my limited time with the game very enjoyable, as I liked her character thus far.

Combat mechanics are split into two styles; traditional Final Fantasy/Dragon Quest with turn based combat and menus to go through. When you start the game, you get a taste as to what a fully leveled up character fights like and you have a large number of attacks to play with. The other combat style is an mini-game system, where you press different keys/arrow directions to attack/avoid damage.

I’m not very far in this game yet, so will be making a more in-depth first impressions piece on this game next week but if you enjoy retro JRPG’s from the 90’s, this title is faithful to that era of gaming all the while doing things that I really enjoyed to be more modern (save anywhere for example).


Title: Featherpunk Prime / Developer & Publisher: Super Hatch Games / Release Date: September 1st / Platforms: Steam (PC)

Featherpunk Prime is a very interesting game, blending bullet-hill shooter with the 2D Action/Platformer. Super Hatch Games title does a lot of interesting things with the different guns you can play with and the overall premise of the game, and with the limited playtime I put into this title, I greatly enjoyed what I played thus far.

Featherpunk Prime’s story opens up with our main character seeing his friends taken away by some spaceship. Eager to save his friends, our character latches on to the ship in an attempt to save his friends, but ends up landing on some unknown location.

Your goal is to get through various waves of floors through platforming and shooting your way to save the rest of your kind and this simple set up works thanks to an attractive art style. The characters are very alien looking, and that style is done perfectly with the blend of organic life & machine for our main character. The different creatures you encounter & fight are also have creative designs, making each encounter fascinating to see.

But the gameplay is the part that impressed me a lot; playing with Keyboard and Mouse despite the developer recommending the GamePad works out really well. The W/A/S/D Keys are for movement, Space is to jump (Originally it’s default to Enter; change this right away to feel more natrual), and the Mouse handles shooting & switching between your different guns.

The game has a lot of various guns to play around with; shotguns that have a lot of impact, the blaster with unlimited ammo and can be rapidly fired, the cross-bow that can be charged for a more powerful strike and more. These weapons are a lot of fun to play with and the ease of switching between them makes shooting really fun & rewarding.

Platforming is also a main focus, as the levels are designed like a platformer but with enemy encounters as if you are playing a bullet-hell shooter. Meaning, you need to keep moving and having a good aim with your weapons. You find purple orbs as you destroy creatures & objects in the levels and through these, you can increase various stats for your main character. This gives a reason to explore, as you only get strong by doing so.

The game runs very well and controls work well despite my lack of a compatible GamePad. Overall, this game is one to keep an eye on for when it releases on September 1st and we will be reviewing it. Stay tuned for more information on this title.


I hope you enjoyed my look across a number of Steam releases (out and upcoming) and I will be leaving links to the developers Twitter pages below if you want to follow them for further information/updates on the games covered here.

Book of Demons – https://twitter.com/ThingTrunk

Big Action Mega Fight! – https://twitter.com/dblstallion

Featherpunk Prime – https://twitter.com/superhatchgames

Black Hole Hazard – https://twitter.com/SUPERTHUMb2015

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