Author Topic: Free Steam Games: Part 2  (Read 30 times)

Offline bobdog

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Free Steam Games: Part 2
« on: January 07, 2019, 08:56:57 AM »
Time for another update of free Steam games that I thought were relatively good, if not great. Since they’re free and most take only a couple hours max to play, they’re all recommended.

Scorch takes place in a state forest. Graphically, the game is akin to Firewatch in look and feel with bright saturated colors, and stylized object textures. For the story, you are a police investigator looking into an unsolved arson-murder case. And apparently this is your last chance to show you have what it takes, so you better look through everything for possible clues. I liked that the game had you collect clues, and then asked you to solve what happened, who committed the crime, and their motive. I would really love to see more from this developer in this style.

We Walked In Darkness is a side-scroller set on an 1800s plantation in the Southern U.S. Essentially, you play as two slaves who are trying to escape and travel North via the Underground Railroad. During the game, you can run, jump, duck, climb and activate objects. Graphically, the game is acceptable, but what makes this important is more the hand-drawn cut-scenes that are voiced by authentic sounding people of color. This period of slavery may have ended 150 years ago in the American past, but we continue to feel the results of the racial animus from our own political leaders, as well as people who just cannot get past their own racial bias, myself included.

Mercury Blue: Mini Episode is a preview teaser of a new episodic adventure game called Mercury Blue. During this mini-episode, you play as both Jake and his trusty rusty sidekick FU-2, as they pilot the stars in their ship (the Mercury Blue), trying to find the man who killed Jake’s girlfriend. Within the teaser, you get an idea of the kind of humor and graphics that the finished product intends. After landing on an alien planet, you need a special mineral (like a dilithium crystal?) to initiate interstellar launch. Jake spends a little time tooling around the ship and clicking on everything, sometimes to humorous effect. Meanwhile, FU-2 has found the crystal, as well as some challenges in getting it back to the ship. The whole thing plays as a fairly simple point-and-click adventure, with some humor along the way. Although it’s pretty casual for gaming, I would be interested in seeing how the final episodes turn out.

I cannot state enough how incredible a short game The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is. Set in the Life Is Strange universe, you play as Chris – a 9-year-old with a great sense of imagination. We first listen to Chris talking about his alter-ego superhero Captain Spirit, and he really plays with the idea of having super-powers. After that, we explore his room and gain a checklist of fun things to accomplish over the rest of the game, including making his costume, defeating his enemies, finding his own team of superheroes, exploring a maze for treasure, and more. All of this is made real by Chris talking throughout his experience.

However, after we leave his room, the reality is that Chris lives in pretty crappy conditions. His mom – an aspiring artist who encouraged his imaginative tendencies – died in a tragic car crash. His dad – a former high school jock who just can’t let go of the past, and who denigrates Chris’ fanciful dreams – is also an alcoholic, and we’re led to believe he may have abused Chris. Their home is certainly lacking a woman’s touch, and Chris’ dad gets by through watching basketball games and keeping stats. It’s a sad state of affairs all around. And the game is richer for it – don’t miss this one.

Even though I understood Let It Die was supposed to be a grind-y affair, I was at least intrigued enough to give it a shot. Make sure you have plenty of space because this thing takes like 35GB on your hard drive. The first half hour is geared toward setting up the story – that an unknown tower arose in the heart of Tokyo and everyone is trying to get to the top for a possible treasure hoard – and the gameplay mechanics of a hack-and-slash game. I played up to the 3rd floor and never quite felt like I was hitting where I wanted to hit, or I was delayed in my actual response – gameplay felt “sticky”, in other words.

The bigger problem with Let It Die is that everything is geared toward microtransactions. You want to level up or access your weapon cache? Fine, but you can only do it every 5th floor, so you either have to trek back down through all the areas (refilled with foes) that you’ve already completed, you have to trudge forward and hope you don’t die getting through the next few floors, or ... you have to give up some valuable tokens that are only earned through extreme luck or by paying for with real cash. Not to mention, if you die, you can buy “insurance” (with real cash) to appear on the same level where you died.

The story is unfortunately the most interesting thing about Let It Die. After just getting up to the third level and already started to see duplication of level design, it showed me that the game designers only had one thing in mind: getting my cold hard cash into their hands. I don’t really recommend this one unless you have a treasure trove and immense patience.

It’s not often I see a demo that is just as good as some full-size, full-price games I’ve played, but the Luckless Seven Demo certainly fulfills that goal. This is essentially an adventure story with an accompanying card game called Ekosi, but the card game is quite fun – sort of like Blackjack with modifiers. Everyone seems to play Ekosi in your world, and you’re hoping to play in the national tournament. Your goal in each game is to get to 20 without going over, and you may use randomly selected cards from your own deck to add or subtract points, or even to play a tie-breaker. Graphically, Luckless Seven won’t win any awards, but the developers have created a “perspective” isometric game that is pleasing, and the accompanying story about a group of 7 friends is certainly heart-warming. I’m not sure if I want to play a whole game like this, but the demo provides a great option.

Gravity Bone is a quick but quite delightful game where you play an international spy. You only get two cases, so the game is unfortunately too short, but it’s still worth trying out.