Steam Sale Writer’s Picks – August 8th

Steam Sale Writer's Picks

I’m usually going on about how much time is flying by, but this week has actually gone super slow. I had a great one though. I delivered a two-day workshop to some 8-10 year olds on games design, which went down a real treat. I had such a good time, and the young people’s imaginations kept the smile on my face constantly. Here’s to the next generation.

ABZU is new, and it’s 20% off until TOMORROW. This is an experience rather than a game – like the other titles from art director Matt Nava, creator of Journey and Flower. Even my mum could play Flower, and she’d love ABZU.

Take a journey (hehe) through a deep ocean world, full of creatures and untouched landscapes, and unlock new areas as you go. As with Journey and Flower, there isn’t much talking, and the story is left to be rather ambiguous, with the visuals telling a tale open to interpretation. And boy, are those visuals mind-blowing. Need to chill? Play ABZU.

I watched my favourite YouTubers play it first, and maybe it took a little of the magic away. After all, they are a threesome that are famous for their innuendo and humour, and had to fill a twenty or so minute video enough for their subscribers to like it. I guess some of the immersion was lost, so I suggest just playing first, without knowing any more than I’ve already told you.

You can get Alien: Isolation for a third of its usual price this week. It’s the survival horror game that came at just the right time for the franchise. After the epic failure of Colonial Marines, Isolation wiped our memories, and made us fall head over heels for the story in the same way as the first time we saw the original movie. The atmosphere really is like nothing else. While Dead Space and BioShock brought us the suspense and claustrophobia, Alien: Isolation adds the aesthetic and vibe of 1979 sci-fi, and it’s done so gloriously.

The constant fear and uncertainty of what might be lurking around the next corner, or dropping from the ceiling when you least expect it is the standard. It never relents, and there’s not much to defend yourself with, so stealth and tactical hiding is the aim of the game. To go along with the gripping gameplay, the story is vivid, well thought out and acted – including original actors from the film – and is very reminiscent of the first movie, rather than previous games which have leaned more towards the action orientated sequel. If this sounds like your sort of packet of dehydrated space food, then get on it.

The Red Faction Collection has 80% off, with the individual titles all on offer of 75% off each. Red Faction is another sci-fi, but with less of the horror, more of the action. The first title really broke boundaries when it came out. The environment around you is completely destructible, while the objectives and story progression requires you to be specific about the things you do and places you go.

You are working on Mars, as a miner, and we join the story at a tumultuous time. A plague is gripping the colony, and revolution is on the horizon. The future is bleak according to Red Faction, but at least there aren’t serious consequences to destroying an important water tower with a gun and a jeep…

The game was inspiring upon its release, fifteen years ago. Yep fifteen next month. The gameplay mechanics and graphics were beyond what anyone had really experienced before, and stretched generation six consoles. It went on to inspire similar titles such as Mercenaries and Just Cause, and although the subsequent games couldn’t quite match the strength of the original, it’s still a great price for all of them, plus some great soundtracks.

Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath has 75% off this week. The Oddworld games have a very special place in my heart, as I’m sure they do for many people. I haven’t played this one yet, but from the things I’ve seen and heard, the comedy and story are still just as good and original as they have always been.

Set in one very odd world, the inhabitants have that sort of so ugly they’re cute look to them, but they live in much the same way as humans – albeit in a dystopian fashion. Stories of corruption, crime and heroism keep you enthralled, and it looks as through Stranger’s Wrath has done more of the same. Whilst the gameplay is new, and the story is different from the Abe tales which were the first, it seems to have the charm of any Oddworld game, and it’s on I will most certainly be trying.

Save 80% on DreadOut this week. It’s a survival horror, but far from the setting of Alien: Isolation. If you’ve played pretty much any East Asian inspired horror game before, chances are you’ll find this one good fun. It’s very similar to Fatal Frame, and Siren: Blood Curse. The quality isn’t quite as brilliant as Siren, but the gameplay is addictive and terrifying. IF you’d like to get spooked, I definitely recommend it.

Special shout out to the infuriating Angry Video Game Nerd Bundle for a tasty 72% off. It is stupidly hard, and WILL make you rage quit, but if you’re a fan of AVGN, or like the humour, I definitely say give it a go. You’ll find yourself quoting him until the wee hours, whether you want to or not.

Also, pick up the perfectly named Super Mega Neo Pug for a few pennies if you so wish. I say perfectly named, but it doesn’t really mean much, and there are lots of character skins to choose from, you don’t have to just be the flying pug. But anyway, even if you don’t want it yourself, everyone knows someone who really loves pugs, so do something good today, yeah?

Until next week – which is probably going to feel even longer than the last, as I count the days until Insomnia Gaming Festival – have a good one, and wear sunscreen. Peace.