Steam Sale Writer’s Picks – September 5th

Steam Sale Writer's Picks

My foot still hurts from last weekend, yet I’m missing it all already. EGX is coming up in three weeks and I might be going. I wasn’t planning it, but conventions and gaming festivals are my new favourite places to be.

Anyway, Steam have some cool games on offer this week, here are my top picks.

Firstly, you know those fantastic, period, adventure TV movies made in the 90s and early 00s? Ever wanted to be a part of one, but actually make it good? The Curious Expedition is a new release, having been updated many times during early release, and has 15% off this week. In The Curious Expedition, you get to explore and travel the world, discovering hidden lands and treasures, coming face to face with unimaginable wildlife. It’s set in the 19th Century, during that time of discovery when people were crazy for dinosaurs and volcanoes and stuff.

Gameplay wise, it’s an adventure RPG, with multiple story options, and roguelike map generation. The overworld gets revealed to you like the Civilisation map, which is nice, and matches the graphics and aesthetic of the game. You have to think strategically about your choices and paths in order to survive and make a success of the game. It’s a great new indie title, and one that fulfils our childlike dreams of exploration and exotic, unimaginable places.

Alice: Madness Returns has 75% off this week, if you fancy some gothic, gorgeous graphics and story. You play as Alice, who returns to her “Wonderland”. Is it simply a place inside her damaged mind? It’s a puzzle game, which takes a twisted form of the original source material. Is it too Tim Burton? Only you can decide that. Even when the book was written, it was pretty nuts, so I’d give it a go. Famous characters from the story appear and push the story on, and you gain abilities in order to complete the game. Alice’s madness is deep and terrifying, and this title will draw you in from start to finish. Don’t go too far down the rabbit hole, now…… sorry.

Fancy a title for your VR hardware? Try VR: Vacate the Room for 15% off. It’s a puzzle adventure, with elements of horror, as the title suggests. Who wants to keep you in a room other than someone or something scary? You complete puzzles and discover clues in order to escape. It is only on the HTC Vive at the moment, but if you have one, I recommend it. It makes great use of the space you have available to play in, and it looks fantastic. The atmosphere pulls you in, and as it’s quite short, you’ll want to finish it once you start.

It’s all about the indie titles this week, and Circa Infinity has 60% off. This title is a year old, but it’s one I haven’t seen before. I wonder how, quite frankly. It looks stunning, like the sort of game the band Muse would make, given a chance. It’s a 2D platformer of sorts, but the gameplay screen is circular. You have to avoid obstacles and enemies in order to get to the middle and complete the levels. There seems to be a story too, and coupled with the mono artstyle, it’s like a 60s thriller. Think Hitchcock or The Prisoner. I’m looking forward to trying it out, putting on my black turtleneck, and giving cryptic sideways glances to the husband.

Finally, special mention goes to Airport Madness: World Edition, which has 40% off this week. I spent two days last week working with kids on a games design workshop. Each of them came up with some amazing, brilliant ideas. We had survival games, action games, platformers and beat ’em ups. However, one lad seemed a little unimpressed with the concept of being creative. When he came to do a Minecraft workshop with me two weeks ago, he ended up making an emerald sword out of cardboard, and a firetruck. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember firetrucks being in Minecraft. He was really pleased with it though, and showed it off to everyone.

So, last week I used my initiative. We researched big vehicles of all kinds, and it turned out he loved all of them. “Have you heard of simulation games?” I asked him. After showing him some gameplay of various vehicle simulation games, he ended up designing a 2×2 metre model of an airport, complete with buildings and vehicles – including various aeroplanes. He titled his game, and described it happily to the grown ups when they came to see what we had all made. I was so proud of him, and he was so happy with the work he’d done, that I’m dedicating this pick to him!

I love simulation games, and I can spend literal hours upon hours at a time on them, which is more than my attention span usually allows for video games, but I have never tried an airport sim. See you next week, when I’ve got London Heathrow running like a dream.