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Old 07-10-2011, 02:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Talking Some Last Day Sale Recommendations

I typed this up for another forum, but it strikes me as particularly apropos for here.
MWoody's Last Day Recommendations

Alright, so having played a lot of indie stuff, I've decided to make a list of things that are a) on sale, b) worth a look, c) not one of the daily deals, and d) cheaper than $10. I did a couple of these above, but it's good to have them all in one place.

I've done little short mini-reviews for each, but if you're on the fence, please check out metacritic or google a game rather than relying entirely on my short blurbs.

The following I've played before, and can recommend:

Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! - 33% off, $6.69 - A tremendously unique experiment with gameplay that comes off beautifully. You select a team of 1920s high school girls (each with her own attitude and abilities) and try to navigate the strange and dangerous world of your home city, uncovering scandal and danger as you go. It's heavily board-game themed, in graphics and overall feel of play, but actual gameplay is done through a collection of card-themed minigames that govern how you navigate conversations. It's very difficult to describe as I've never seen anything like it. Highly recommended.

System Protocol One - 75% off, $2.50 - Essentially, it's a hacking-themed tower defense game. It doesn't diverge from the formula as far as something like Spectrum, but it does have an interesting hook: the playing fields are three dimensional objects. So, for example, the enemy gate might be on the opposite side of a cube from what you need to defend, and you need to think in three dimensions to properly guide the enemy into your death traps. It's also frighteningly difficult at times, with some challenge levels remaining undefeated for weeks after release. Not super unique but all around well designed.

Madballs in Babo Invasion - 75% off, $2.49 ($7.49 4-pack) - Originally, this was an indie game with no attached license. It has benefited greatly in style and atmosphere by its attachment to these bizarre cabbage-patch-esque 80s toys. The gameplay is simple: you're a rolling sphere with a weapon. Select different spheres for access to different weapons and abilities. The (co-op enabled) campaign is a linear affair but with tons of secrets and unlockables to uncover. I've not tried competitive multiplayer. At this price, good solid fun if its a genre you enjoy.

The Guild 2 - Renaissance - 50% off, $9.99 - First off: this game is nearly broken. It's the latest in a long line of Guild games pushed out the door and then never, despite frequent promises from the developers, properly patched into something worthy. For a single player, it's an atrocious mess that you should avoid.

Why, then am I recommending it here? Co-op. The Guild games (of which this is the latest) see the player as the master of at first one, and later a string, of shops/churches/guilds in a medieval city with a living, real-time economy. It has a touch of the dwarf fortress in it, with a system that - despite and occasionally because of its flaws - feels ALIVE, and has a tendency to create some really hilarious personal stories. If you and a good friend go into it ready to laugh off some annoying bugs, you will have an absolutely brilliant time cornering markets, assassinating rivals, rising to power in local politics, courting damsels, and just generally being a rich .

Check for fan patches before play; last I checked there were some critical fixes contained therein. Oh, and ignore the collection; this is one of those games where each iteration contains the content of previous versions, so paying for the previous ones is sort of silly.

Space Rangers 2: Reboot - 50% off, $9.99 - At its core, its a simple but enjoyable space combat/trading game. Pick if you want to play a merchant, a pirate, a cop, etc, and let that determine the stats of your starting ship. Fly between planets and hunt bad guys, attack merchants, buy low and sell high, do little delivery quests: whatever you like.

Where does Space Rangers 2 get really interesting? When it totally forgets what genre it is and goes balls-out crazy like only a Russian game can. Maybe you'll land on a planet and discover you need to play an RTS with robots whose weaponry you design yourself. Maybe you'll land on another and find yourself embroiled in a text-based adventure. Maybe you'll get pulled into an arcade-style shooter.

At $10, it's a little more than the other impulse-buy recommendations, but I paid full price for an earlier version ("reboot" is like a little mini-expansion) years ago and never regretted it.

Ghost Master - 66%, $1.69 - That the developer folded after producing this overlooked gem makes me want to cry. Each level is a house or area (like a park) with humans walking around, each with their own names, personal fears, stats, etc. You, in turn, select a small handful of ghosts from your personal stable, and try to carry out a certain goal (usually, scare everyone silly until they run screaming from the premises). You can unlock secret ghosts by tricking the humans into doing things like performing seances or digging through walls to discover long-lost bodies.

It's every bit as much fun as it sounds, and it gets better because the ghost design is amusing as hell. You can also, using points gained from finishing levels quickly or completing certain challenges, purchase new abilities for your ghosts as the game goes on.

If there's a drawback to the game, it's that sometimes (but not always) it has a touch of the adventure game problem: it wants you to figure out the solution (or, to be fair, one of several solutions) the devs wanted you to discover rather than invent your own. That said, there's still enough wiggle room and sandbox fun to keep it from feeling stale. Hell, even if you only ever play the first level, you'll get your $2 worth easily.

Oh, and the soundtrack is absolutely brilliant at setting the mood: jovially spooky, like a corny Halloween decoration.


Note that there was a console version of this game that was the same in name only. So if you see bad reviews, it's probably for that one.

Hammerfight - 75% off, $2.49 - The core premise it simple: you control your steampunk-y flying craft with the mouse. Attached is a short chain, with a spiky ball on its end. Spin your ship a few times to get the ball swinging, then crash it into enemies without taking too much damage yourself in the process.

If that was all of it, it would be flash game (albeit a pretty good one). This game, though, adds in a branching campaign, a surprisingly complex tale of vengeance, tons of weapons, arena fights, guns, explosives, fire that spreads, shield plating... It just takes the basic "swing weapon, hit baddie" fun and extrapolates on it endlessly. It's a ton of fun, even if it is a little strange that you can make your weapons deal more damage by increasing your mouse sensitivity (physics engine means more speed = more force).

Titan Quest Gold (includes original game and expansion) - 33% off, $13.39 - OK, so it's not a niche indie title, and it's over the $10 limit I set, but whatever. This set includes both the original game and the expansion, but you'll want to run the expansion's icon only (it still starts in act 1; the new act comes last). Titan Quest is, along with, arguably, Torchlight, the only game to come close to finding the Diablo 2 magic. It's a roguelite: make a character, kill stuff, get randomly generated loot.

I've recently started playing it again, and it's aged very well. Looks fantastic. And yeesh is this thing LONG - I could be halfway through nightmare mode in Diablo 2 in the time it took me and my co-op buddy to beat act 1!

Eschalon, Book 2 - 75% off, $4.99 - The first one is on sale, too, but I've never played it. The story isn't contiguous enough to require playing the first one before this one. In a nutshell, Eschalon is an old-school PC RPG. It's totally turn based, you have an inventory, you picks skills - it's well executed, if a little slow, and good fun all around. I highly recommend turning on a few of the "challenges" like not being able to save in combat, to preserve some difficulty and give it a more classic feel.

Guardians of Graxia - 75% off, $2.49 - It's essentially a mix of fantasy card games like M:TG with a tactical board mechanic thrown in. Although very well designed, I felt it needed some sort of meta-game or deck building mechanic to flesh it out. The original is a little light on content, but the DLC (which I've not tried as I bought the game before it was on Steam) promises to fix that. For a few bucks, fans of these genres shouldn't be disappointed. It's worth noting that it's astoundingly polished for a little indie game; all the cards I tried worked like they were supposed to.

Games I've never played but which catch my eye as interesting (would love other people who HAVE played them to comment):

Inside a Star-Filled Sky - 33% off, $5.35 - A little shooter where you can enter items recursively to power them up. It's not at all the same genre, but I can't help being reminded of Disgaea. Looks intriguing.

Starscape - 75% off, $2.49 - An oldie but goodie. Played the demo years ago and loved it, but the game was too expensive. Essentially, a space adventure where you scout out resources to bring back to your mothership and buy upgrades for it and yourself.

The Oddboxx - 66% off, $5.09 - One lazy summer day in the little town where I went to college, I rounded a corner and found, tucked in a tiny alley between businesses, the entryway to a game company. It was, for a gamer like me, like stumbling on Narnia. It's a shame, then, that I never ended up playing the very highly rated games this company produced, and I intend to fix that soon.
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:53 PM   #2
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Nice, quite interesting games.
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Old 07-10-2011, 02:56 PM   #3
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sadly, none of these games does interest me.
its really been a hard summer sales for me. because, most of the games i already have from previous steam deals. hopefully the Xmas deals will be better
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:17 PM   #4
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Ghost Master is awesome. Such a shame there was no sequel.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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Thanks, got some nice bargains.
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:37 PM   #6
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Nation RED ITS GOOD!!!!
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:34 PM   #7
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Hrm, should have added Recettear to that list; another one worth a look.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:23 PM   #8
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A little much at $5/ea, but some of my favorite games from back in the day..
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:28 PM   #9
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Great suggestions - bump!
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