The Steam Grand Prix

It’s that time of year again! Wallets shall weep and Gabe Newell shall rejoice at their weeping! Or some such thing. Whatever the case, the Steam Summer Sale kicked off this past week, and with it a new theme/game. This time around the theme is “Grand Prix” and instead of playing an actual game, you’ll instead play regular games to complete quests in order to affect your team’s positioning in the race. Each day a winner is crowned, and by the end we’re supposed to have a chance to earn games off of our wish lists. How likely that actually happens is yet to be determined, but out of the four days that passed, my team (Team Corgi) came in first place three times. We’re currently in first place again today, so if this keeps up I imagine I’d have a better chance to win something, but I’m still not holding my breath. Overall I don’t usually care too much about the events going on in the client, it’s all about the deals. This year my wish list is a little thin, and while much of it was on sale, I really scrutinized those items on my list again and ended up removing some of them altogether. When all was said and done though, I can’t resist a good deal, so I took the opportunity to grab a couple of games on the cheap. I had the opportunity to play both games for a while over my days off and have some thoughts to share about them. First up, Void Bastards:

I discovered this title via the Steam discovery queue and the first thing that caught my attention was its art direction. It borrows heavily from science fiction comic books, and looks great in its hand-drawn style. The main menu actually shows off the above art complete with a hallmark comic book cover, and much of the game’s style derives from this. Sound effects will also come with floating word bubbles, the cut scenes between missions play out in animated frames for you to follow along with. The aesthetics are amazing and that’s just the beginning!

The story goes that you are a prisoner on a space barge that has been floating along in space for some time. The prisoners on board are your fodder — you can die as many times as you like because the lives ready to be defrosted and then controlled by you are limitless. The corporation that owns the prison ship (and by extension, you) literally defrosts you, attached a little sentient robot to your body, and sends you on your way to do things. As far as the gameplay goes, this is a rogue-lite so you can expect a degree of procedural generation and to die a lot before getting anywhere. There is a global progression though, so as you gain key items and store them on the S.T.E.V., or unlock/build new gear the next inmate to be revived will have access to them. I can name quite a few games that have had similar concepts and where each little detail was borrowed from, to the point that this feels like the ultimate version of the rogue-lite game.

The gameplay loop contains elements from games like Rogue Legacy, FTL: Faster than Light, Sword of the Stars: The Pit, and probably others. From the star map, you’ll jump from location to location with an ultimate goal usually being a key item needed to progress the storyline. This feels much like FTL in that you need to always be on the look out for fuel and food in order to survive. When you arrive at a new location (typically a derelict ship, but other nodes exist) you can choose to jump to the next location immediately or to dock. Each ship will have some sort of item you’ll want to look for on it outside of wanting to grab up all of the fuel, food and ammo possible. These key items can usually be combined via the workbench into gear, but sometimes are quest related. While on the ship, you’ll switch into FPS mode and run around shooting goons and looting stuff. The set pieces aren’t all that random (I swear I’ve seen a few of the same layouts already) but when it comes down to it, this is just a vehicle for progression and nothing more. If you die, you’ll be greeted with a death comic strip, and then a new prisoner is defrosted and provided with a care package of goods to get started again. Currently I’m still trying to get some of the story items needed, but I have already unlocked several weapons and upgrades. Despite being the same sort of thing you would expect from this genre, it’s really well done and I am happy with the purchase.

The other game I picked up is also an FPS title, but not a rogue-like this time around. Amid Evil has been on my radar for quite some time. Apparently it was in early access for a while, and only saw its 1.0 released just this month so it was a good time to buy it especially with the discount. When I first heard about the game my immediate comparison was to old school shooters like Heretic and Hexen, and for good reason. This game uses a weird combination of old 3D graphics with some newer lighting effects to where it looks retro but still looks modern in some ways. It’s hard to describe, so here are some pictures to make my point:

So it looks kind of like that new ray tracing mod for Quake that came out recently, where it’s an old game engine that was spruced up with some graphic effects. I like the old school feel and there really hasn’t been a modernized version of this style of game, where it’s an FPS but you are using melee and magic rather than guns. For the Hexen fans out there, you’ll truly enjoy this. It’s fast, you can get swarmed, there are puzzles — it’s a blast from the past.

That’s all I ended up getting in the sale and I don’t see myself buying anything else. Other games I want to play are on the horizon but probably won’t see many discounts until the holiday season. What did you grab in the sale?

Intergalactic Summer Sale

It’s that time of year again, the big Steam Summer Sale is here, and that means discounts on a huge amount of games. Typically the summer sale comes with some sort of activity to distract you from the money you’ll be spending on a bunch of games. Each year it’s been a little different, though one of the best years was a couple back when there was a clicker game and it was actually fairly entertaining. This year is following that same sort of idea, with a new clicker game, a new badge to craft and of course the big discounts we have come to expect from the event.

Remember when I wrote about the Spring Cleaning Event a couple months back and we all received a mystery box? Well now we know what that was for. You’ll be playing as a “Salien” fighting against other aliens and guarding your base. You can customize you Salien and that mystery box contained various bits of clothing for your paper doll. A little underwhelming, but that’s what it is.

Aside from clicking to shoot your base’s turret, you also get some different abilities. You start with one, and it will help to keep you from getting overwhelmed. Apparently you gain experience for completing rounds on planets and as you level up you’ll open new abilities. I don’t think I’m going to put that much time into this, but I assume the more you play the more you can open up and perhaps there are more ways to gain trading cards. I know the discovery queue will give you 3 cards a day and then you get some for playing the event, but there could be other things I’ve missed so far.

From that main map you’ll enter a planet and then choose a vacant square to do battle. You’ll fight aliens for a couple of minutes, earn xp and then move on. Apparently by completing squares you get entered to win games, but I’m not holding my breath when it comes to winning something (I have terrible luck). It’s probably best that you get in there and blast as many aliens as you can, then you might actually win something, but overall I’d say it’s probably just best to craft the badge (if you want it, I like collecting them) and get some sweet discounts on games. I know I dropped a couple bucks to pick up the Darkest Dungeon expansions, and Wolfenstein II is tempting me at $23. Otherwise, that’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s a nice little distraction and I always look forward to seeing what new things Valve comes up with for these events. Happy gaming all!

Summer Oxymoron Sale


Is it just me, or is the title of this year’s Steam Summer Sale a little bit of an oxymoron? They’re promoting picnics and outdoor activities in the advertising, yet all of the games that are on sale would encourage one to stay indoors. I just thought it was kind of funny, not really a big deal though. I’m a sucker for a sale as you guys probably know by now, and not just counting this particular sale, I’ve come up on a metric shit ton of games in the past couple of weeks.

Somewhere a few weeks back, the daily deal was on Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (the 64-bit version of the game). As of now, I own every souls game besides the latest (Dark Souls III). I really need to make it through some of the older ones before picking up 3, and it’s likely that one will be cheap when I finally get around to buying it. I’ve also downloaded the latest Humble Monthly early unlock, which is called Hurtworld. It’s a survival sandbox-y type game, and it looks semi interesting but with my experience with other survival games it’s likely I won’t spend much time on it. There’s just a couple of days left before the rest of the bundle unlocks, so I’m hoping for a couple other decent titles that I’ve thought about purchasing, rather than what’s been the case where it’s part “meh” and part “gifts for friends.”

The Summer Sale started this week, and I told myself I wasn’t going to go crazy. There were some games I had in mind to look for when the sale hit, because they were still selling for more than I wanted to pay for them, or would just be on a deep discount so I could get more bang for my buck. One of those games was Wolfenstein: The New Order, which Bethesda put out a couple of years ago and I skipped over thinking it wouldn’t be all that great. Then I played the new DOOM and realized that this Wolfenstein would probably be pretty awesome. I haven’t confirmed this just yet, but getting the game for $10 was nice. I also sprung for Pillars of Eternity for $18, and the expansion for that as well. It’s one of those titles I’ve had on my wishlist for a very long time but very rarely goes on sale. I loved all of the Infinity Engine games from back in the day, so I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this one as well. I also sprung for the Baldur’s Gate enhanced editions as well only because of the new content that’s been added pretty recently, but I decided against it. I may change my mind again before the sale is over.

Lastly, I picked up the Legendary bundle of Skyrim for PC. I played the shit out of that game but at the time I had a crappy laptop, so I ended up picking it up for my PS3. I also bought all of the expansion content and finished my playthrough a couple of years ago. However, with the announcement of the new special edition and the fact that it would be free for those who own the original game and all of the content for it, I thought it was a good idea to pick up another copy. I have a feeling it would be too hard to prove that I own all that stuff on PS3 in order to get a PS4 copy of the special edition. I realize too, that I could easily download the game and install a bunch of mods to essentially replicate the new features of the special edition, but I might just wait for the upgrade in October to play through one of my favorite RPGs of all time, once again.

Speaking of favorite RPG series, I finally picked up the GOTY edition of Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’ve been meaning to buy this game for far too long, and having owned and played the shit out of the first two games in the series, I know I’m going to enjoy this. I saw MMO fans complaining because of it’s side quests and similar busy work, but since I don’t play MMOs very often, this shouldn’t faze me. I loved the first two, I’m sure I’ll love this one as well. It’s on sale for $20 on Origin with all of the extras, so it’s definitely worth it for fans of the IP.

All told, I ended up spending about $100 on games. I got some awesome stuff, even if I won’t be able to play it all right away. My wallet was happy that I managed to contain myself, but my backlog has begun to gently weep. More on these titles as I get to them.

What did you pick up so far in the Summer Sale?

State of the Game: Summer Sale

Steam Summer Sale

The Steam Summer sale is coming to a close today. As it was my first experience with a major Steam sale (I didn’t use the platform much until the beginning of this year), I have come away with a mixed experience. Deep discounts were seen, though a lot of what was on offer were games that I already owned, or wasn’t interested in. A major complaint I had is with the trading card bit, as if you were under Steam level 8 you wouldn’t earn cards from voting, despite the original message saying you would get a card if you voted 3 times. As a result, the only way I would have been able to earn any of the cards was by spending money, at a rate of $10 per card. I unfortunately didn’t have that kind of money to throw around, so I earned a whopping zero Summer Adventure cards. I was only going to sell them anyway, so I guess it’s no big deal. Despite having not really participated, I did end up being on the overall winning team of the event.


So that earned me a badge worth 150 xp, so I’m now like 25 xp away from being level 8. Oh the irony. So despite being a broke ass, I still managed to get a few games over the course of the last couple weeks. Part of that was earned by selling cards and I actually received a gift from my wishlist. The games? Risk of Rain, Delver, Alan Wake and Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves. Three indies, one AAA, and I didn’t even spend a total of $10. I didn’t amass a huge number of games like some of my Steam friends, but I probably spent the least 😀 Overall, I think the Steam Sales are great to a degree, because you can end up with some decent games, but the selection seemed to be mostly older games and those with dying communities. There were many awesome looking multiplayer games on sale, but when I’d look at their populations they would be pretty dead. So those titles were avoided. I ended up sticking with smaller scope games, that I’ll be able to complete and then move on from.

What I’ve been Playing

So I started up my playthrough of Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall. The expansion campaign is already shaping up to being better than the original. Check my playthrough here.

I also already talked about Risk of Rain, and posted a video of the game, in my 7 Awesome Rogue-likes post earlier this week. Without needing to go too in-depth, I have opened two of the characters now, and have posted a new highscore.

On this run I unlocked the Bandit while using the Enforcer

Delver is another Rogue-like that has been on my wishlist for some time. Good ol’ Doone surprised me with a gift copy, during one of the days it was on sale. He said something along the lines of wanting me to be his guinea pig for the game, because he had been interested but didn’t know if he’d like it. I find that it’s a pretty fun little dungeon crawling rogue-like, in first person with minecraft-ish graphics. It’s a little light on depth at the moment, but this is also an Early Access game (which I hadn’t noticed before somehow). I still recommend it to people who are fans of the genre, as it holds to most of the ideas, but is done a little differently. I’ve not managed to beat it yet (though I hear that it’s relatively short), but I did make it pretty far on one of my runs.

This is the stat sheet for my last run. Not sure why it doesn’t show the level I had gotten to

The game plays a lot like old-school FPS games. There’s no jumping, but there is mouse look. Melee combat mixed with archery and magic makes me think of Hexen. You have an inventory, and go up levels in which you can spend a skill point on a randomized selection of stats.

These stats are different every time

Overall the game feels pretty well balanced. The only thing that carries over after you die is your gold, and there are vendors in the base camp that will sell you items, so theoretically you can have an easier run if you net enough gold. However, gold drops are pretty sparce, as I’ve only earned a little over 50 gold total. It seems the game is lacking a sell option, and also a way to port back to the starting town to buy/sell. But, as it’s early access, some of these things might be addressed. A one man development team is working on the game, and I think he’s doing a good job.

Magic seems to be the most effective. Take that pirate boy!
Magic seems to be the most effective. Take that pirate boy!

Sang-Froid: Tales of Werewolves is the final Indie game that I picked up. This game is the most off-the-wall, yet still familiar enough to be intriguing. The art direction is different, mixing some cartoonish graphics with some gritty realism. The overall concept of the game is that it’s Tower Defense meets live action — somewhat like Dungeon Defenders. If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ll recall that Doone had been talking about playing it, and he convinced me it was worth the $1.50 it was selling for. I think it’s really a mix of Dungeon Defenders and Orcs Must Die.

Tactical View

The Tower Defense portion takes place during the day, where you are shown fate cards, and those give you information regarding the waves of enemies coming your way. Your sister and brother are holed up inside his cabin, and that’s usually where the enemies will be heading (though in later missions you’ll have additional structures to defend). You’ll see where the enemies are coming from, and install traps, like this:

A hanging net trap

From there, you’ll click “start night,” and the round will begin. Some rounds  have more waves than others, so sometimes you have to plan further ahead. When all else fails, you can whack/shoot your enemies to death.

Bastard wolves killed our horses!

So it’s most like Orcs Must Die in the sense of setting traps, and then attacking whatever’s left over. It’s like Dungeon Defenders for similar reasons, but also has the added skill trees and the town you can visit to get more gear from. It really is a bastard child of the two games, but in a more realistic setting (minus the werewolves, of course). Being an indie game, it’s a little different, and certainly easy to overlook, but it’s definitely worth picking up, particularly if it’s on sale.

You’ll get a new point each time you level. With a tree this big I’m guessing the game is relatively long.

Lastly,  the AAA game I picked up was Alan Wake. It’s a couple of years old, but it falls into one of my favorite genres: Survival Horror. When the game originally released it was for Xbox 360, and perhaps computer too, but I think the port came later. Either way, it wasn’t on something I had access to, so this was my first chance to check it out. Overall the game reminds me of Resident Evil or Dead Space, with the 3rd person over-the-shoulder view. The story follows a man named Alan Wake, who is an author. It opens quoting Stephen King, and I think that’s fitting, as it feels like a story that Stephen King would write. I don’t want to spoil the story though, for people who might not have played it. Suffice it to say that Alan has some issues going on, and the story seems to be unfolding in chunks that aren’t necessarily in order.

Why is my TV watching me?

The one way Alan Wake differs from other similar titles, is with it’s combat. Enemies are shadowy figures that spawn from the darkness. They can’t be damaged until you burn away their shadowy auras with light. That means that places with a lot of life are safe spots.

The yellow writing is only visible from shining light onto it.

This ends up being interesting and a pain in the ass at the same time. When aiming your light, you can “intensify” it by holding down a button. That drains your battery quick, but they seem to be easy to find. These bastards run up on you pretty quick, and though you have a dodge key it ends up being a constant juggle between your flashlight and your gun. When you get some of the better weapons the minions go down fast enough, but then they throw more of them at you.

At least they just evaporate and don’t leave a mess 😀

I’m enjoying this one, and it seems like the type of game that’s easy enough to run though. I doubt I’ll do excess playthroughs, but I am interested to see how the story ends.

That’s all for now. See ya next week.

#steamsummersale #alanwake #riskofrain #sangfroid #delver

7 Awesome Rogue-likes

With the Steam Summer Sale going strong, I thought I’d take a look at one of the lesser played, less popular genres, and I’d like to point out that most of the titles I’m about to talk about have been on sale during this event. I narrowed my list to seven, and I’m probably missing some really good rogue-likes, but I didn’t want to bring up games I don’t own and haven’t played. There would be some honorable mentions here for games that fall within the category and that I’d like to own eventually, but I can’t comment much on games I haven’t played. So with that said, here’s 7 of my favorite rogue-likes (in no particular order):

1. Faster Than Light: Advanced Edition


FTL released a couple of years ago, but within the last few months has had an expansion of sorts. The game still plays the same and the end goals are the same, but new alien species and spacecraft have been added, giving the game that much more replay-ability. I for one always envisioned each jump being like an individual episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Similar in plot, if nothing else, seemingly helping the entirety of the universe to survive. Other tidbits like stores, random encounters and distress calls keep things fresh, as these are randomized each time you start a new game. The beginner ship isn’t the greatest, but eventually you’ll open up new ones and that will aid in your struggle to get to the end of the game. Sometimes you’ll die long before you get there, but the reward is experience, and learning how the game’s systems work, which will in turn help you in further playthroughs. This game is phenomenal. It has popped up on the Steam Summer Sale more than once already, so go get it while it’s discounted!

2. Rogue Legacy


Rogue Legacy is basically the Rogue-like variant of Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. You have a very basic kit to work with, and it’s action-platformer meets fantasy. However, it has some subsystems that give it depth, along with the typical permadeath and random generation of the levels. I find it very enjoyable just from the platformer perspective, the difficulty is just right, mini-games are fun, and the bosses are epic. The subsystems of upgrading your “castle” (basically a skill-tree) and being succeeded by an heir after your death are entertaining. Eventually you will earn enough gold to upgrade your items and classes and passive abilities, and getting further into the dungeon will be a bit easier. Just don’t forget to lock your instance! Getting through everything in one sitting would be way too tough. This one has also popped up on sale multiple times, so get it while it’s hot!

3. Risk of Rain

This is one that I picked up specifically because it was on sale a couple of times recently (for only $2.50! selling steam cards has its advantages!). This is another action-platformer with rogue-like and RPG elements, but set in space rather than having the typical fantasy tropes. You start off with one class available, and like League of Legends or other ARPGs, you have a set of abilities on cooldowns that you’ll use while running around blasting enemies. It seems that the levels are actually set up in a particular way, but what mobs spawn and other factors are randomized. There’s also permadeath, but you can unlock new items and characters to play as even if you die early — it just depends on what you do with your time. There’s also an overall timer that adjusts the difficulty of the game as you go, so finding the teleporter quickly and moving on to the next level is a pretty good idea. Bosses are huge, and difficult. Eventually though you’ll get the hang of things and start unlocking goodies (you’ll see I opened a couple things during the video playthrough above, which is just a single level). One place where this game rises above the others is in the fact that it has 4 player co-op. I have yet to try it, but it sounds like it would be a blast!

4. Quest of Dungeons


Quest of Dungeons is truly indie in that it’s been made by one guy. It’s more along the lines of a traditional rogue-like, like Angband, but with better graphics. It also released more recently than most of these titles, but it’s still been on sale. I find that it’s not overly complex, but there’s all the elements of rogue-likes that I enjoy, and that’s enough for me. I enjoy the graphical style, the game controls solidly, and the difficulty is just about too easy most of the time, and then BAM you die anyway. There are four classes to choose from, and though they don’t affect the game play too much, they do all come with their own abilities and I’ve found that the ranged classes are easier to deal with. Another game I’d recommend picking up if you’re a fan of the genre.

5. Sword of the Stars: The Pit Gold Edition

I’ve talked about SotS before, and it’s still a great game. Both the original version and the Gold edition are on Steam, but don’t bother unless you get the gold, as it comes with all of the expansion content. The game plays much like QoD, in that it’s more traditional rogue-like, but it does have some differing systems, and is set in a sci-fi setting as well. There are a multitude of classes, skills, weapons, recipes and bad guys, more so than I’m going to go into now. Still, if you are a fan of the genre, this game is a must-have. It’s by far the hardest in my collection, and starving to death is a common occurrence.

6. Nuclear Throne

This one is a mis-mash of all kinds of genres. It’s a shooter. It’s a rogue-like. It’s sci-fi meets post-apocalyptic. It’s a little bit of everything, and a whole lot of nothing. Yet it’s a diamond in the rough. Don’t let the cheesy graphics fool you, this game is brutal. I have yet to beat it, despite my best efforts. The levels and mobs are procedurally generated, along with drops (guns) so no play through will ever be the same. It’s also twitchy (like Risk of Rain) because you need to be able to aim and coordinate dodging and timing. I personally love it, and though it’s in Early Access it already feels like a completed game. It’s $13 though, so the most expensive on this list, considering I haven’t seen it on sale at all.

7. The Binding of Issac

binding of isaac 2

This game takes the genre in new directions. The dungeons are laid out in a Legend of Zelda style, and you are stuck in rooms til you kill the enemies. Keys and bombs are the items you’re using the majority of the time, but eventually you get some pretty off the wall power-ups. Later you’ll even open up other characters who have demonic special powers. The game is creepy, wacky, gross, and funny all at the same time. It’s really hard to explain, but you need to play it. I haven’t seen this one on sale for a while either, but at only $5 it’s worth its full asking price.


So there you have it. A short list of Rogue-likes that I think you need to buy/play. It’s the Summer Sale so there’s no better time than the present! Happy Gaming!

#roguelike #steamsummersale