King’s Greenlight Musing: Of the Fifth Batch of Games Approved…

I muse about the 5th batch of Greenlit games on Steam…

Today, Valve selected 10 games and two software titles that were approved thanks to the effort of the community. This is the same amount of games and software titles we got last time so this seems to be the pace Valve wants to move at. Which considering we have over 1,100 titles in the Greenlight system is a questionable pace to me. I’ve actually been keeping a distance from Greenlight lately for two reasons. One, I’m really busy with other priorities. Two, Gabe Newell stated that they’re looking at possibly doing away with Greenlight. (Typical, I find a series to blog about and they don’t want to continue with it anymore. ;)) So whether Greenlight continues to exist is a mystery now. As such, I’m less willing to devote a ton of time to something that might up and disappear in a month or so. So I’m basically going to only use it when they announce they are going to make another selection soon. That means I won’t waste my time if they suddenly pull the plug one day. I’m ambivalent to its existence of Greenlight as a whole anyway. I like utilizing and talking about it. But at the end of the day, I’m one of the exceptions to the rule. For most, I can imagine that the process is one big grind fest to go through all 1,100 games currently up on the store. So there you go, some thoughts on it.

The service did get an update a little while back. One of the biggest features of that update that I’ve been waiting for was a “Ask me again later” button. This lets you skip the game in your queue and come back to it a month later. There is also a new section below your queue on the Greenlight home page that shows all the games that you have skipped. This is great for me as there is always a game that I would much rather see later down the development process before I say yes or no. You can also follow games now without having to favorite them and the announcements will show up in your Steam Friends feed. Final improvement, you can also create announcements for any Greenlight collection you create and follow other’s collections. I’ve decided to create my own collection that you can follow if you wish. It will have games I’ve found that are interesting and that you should take a look at. I just thought of doing this now so its a big meager at the moment.

Games That Got Greenlit This Time:…

Alrighty then, let’s get on with the games that got approved by the Steam community this time around…:

  • Distance I am quite happy to see Refract Studio’s Distance game approved for Steam. This is the first racing game approved for Steam too. Distance is a survival racing game from members of Team Nitronic that has intense speed, action, exploration and an atmospheric world to play in. This is one of my most anticipated games of 2013 and I think you just need to play Nitronic Rush to know why. So I’m looking forward to playing this game later in 2013. Who’s with me?
  • Anodyne This Legend of Zelda inspired 16-bit RPG made the news last week when it collaborated with The Pirate Bay to advertise the game. Yeah, The Pirate Bay. This game does have a demo and I tried it out. It’s definitely a Legend of Zelda like game though with its own unique graphic style and moody atmosphere. Kind of reminds me of the Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery game really. Although the music wasn’t that great at first when I was playing the demo. But the Legend of Zelda game mechanic vibes are definitely there which is not a bad thing. I might give this game another go later down the line, as I haven’t played an old-school version of an RPG like this in a long while.
  • Organ Trail No, I didn’t misspell the title of this game. This is indeed called Organ Trail. Inspired by the original Oregon Trail, this is a retro zombie survival game. You travel westward in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with four of your friends in a station wagon. It has plenty of references to other zombie games, plenty of style and more to see. It was originally a flash game and was then enhanced for a Steam release. I don’t have any interest in the game but I’ve seen enough of the gameplay to think that it would be fun to play.
  • Surgeon Simulator 2013 An utterly bizarre, parody…simulation…of heart surgery. If you can call it a simulation. Your an ordinary guy with no skills, certainly none in the medical field, and your being forced to perform surgery on a patient. What happens…is well…quite disturbing. This game went rather viral last month so it’s little surprise to see it Greenlit so soon. After all, these QWOP-like games seem to get a ridiculous amount of attention. If you don’t know what QWOP is…don’t ask. I don’t have any interest in the game but I’ve seen plenty enough of the game to think it’s an amusing time, if nothing else.
  • Receiver A bit of an odd game here. It’s a game about gun-handling, which contains randomized levels and, apparently, an “unordered storytelling” experience. I saw this game a long while back. Its unique in that it focuses on a single weapon and let’s you manipulate each part of the weapon. Also features randomly-generated levels, perma-death and a odd graphic style. This FPS looked more like a tech-demo than anything else. I don’t think there is enough here to interest me for more than a couple hours at most so I’m not paying a lot of attention to it. But, if you want a game about realistically handling a gun, I doubt you’ll find a better game than this one.
  • Huntsman: The Orphanage A game I know very little about. This is a horror based game where you use a phone to see snippets of your ancestor and the horrors she experiences. Just based on the page description alone, well, they have a lot to say about the game. It promises to be this ground-breaking horror experience and uses way more text than is necessary to describe the game in detail. Also comes with a lot of trailers. Horror games are really difficult to pin down without being able to play them. So whether the Huntsman game is actually horrifying in some non-contrived way is impossible to tell in this early stage of development. All of that said: I am extremely skeptical about the game. There isn’t one giant warning bell, but a lot of small bells adding up about the game. There’s something about it that makes me wary…
  • Kingdom Rush I played Kingdom Rush’s demo and found myself rather unimpressed with it. Its a tower-defense game that I didn’t really grab me, mostly cause I think its more aimed at the casual crowd. Which is fine for that crowd, but its not in my interest. I don’t know, it just didn’t have anything to make me want to play it. Yeah, it has units that you can move around to make it more strategic and what not. But it felt like a tired approach to the tower-defense genre that we’ve seen so much at this point. The graphics didn’t help it either as I’ve played one-too-many casual game on iOS just like it and I’m really tired of the style.
  • War Thunder a Free-to-Play MMO where you use a variety of World War II military vehicles. That is all I know about this game and I have zip interest in it. It’s a unique premise for an MMO for sure. Most are generally based in either the sci-fi or fantasy genres and I don’t seem to recall too many MMOs being about just the vehicular combat of the WWII era. I may be forgetting something though. So I recommend you check out the Steam page to learn more about this MMO and see if you have any interest in it.
  • Evoland This one is a uniquely odd RPG game. Unlike most games which have a single set style and look to them, Evoland takes you from monochrome 8-bit graphics to full 3D graphics throughout the course of the game. It also has active-time-battles, turn-based and real-time boss fights. So this game is playing on a lot of different nostalgia strings. However, I’m curious if the game is a coherent experience or a complete mess. To do all those graphic and game mechanic styles in one game seems like a bad idea to me. Otherwise, more games would have done it by now. Although, I guess it being a short game will help it stay interesting the entire time.
  • Legend of Dawn An open-world 3D RPG set in an “exciting new fantasy world”. Yeah, if I had a nickle for every time a company told me that… *cough* Well, its got a lot of different mechanics promised. Adaptable creature AIs, a complex crafting system with over 25,000 items and a big world to explore. I’m a bit skeptical really skeptical about this game when the kickstarter only asked for $25,000. Granted, it was only to put the last touches on the game, apparently, but…eh…I don’t know. Epic RPGs like the one they are promising can only really be well done with a giant budget on the size of Bethesda’s scale. If this indie team pulled off such a great RPG, well, it’ll be a first. Time will tell to see how the game plays out and I hope its good. Am I going to try it myself? Doubtful. My plate is already full right now without adding a giant RPG game on top of it.

My Greenlight Recommendations:

My Recommendations of Games to Vote For…

Here is my list of games on Greenlight I think you should check out:

  1. Drox Operative – The action RPG from Soldak Entertainment is now in the Greenlight system. I consider this a crime that a developer like Soldak should have to go through the system at all when he already has games on the Steam store. It just seems entirely unfair to him and I have to say boo to Valve on that decision. Anyway, Drox Operative is an aRPG space game where you play as an elite starship mercenary captain. Set in a 4X universe, your job is not to maintain all of the empires around you but rather take over the galaxy by diplomacy, technology, war or by any other means you can think of. Its a clever game with plenty of interesting mechanics that make it feel like a living, breathing universe around you. I’d like to see this one on Steam soon. Definitely give this a look if you like aRPGs.
  2. A Hat in Time – This one has my attention for its Legend of Zelda Wink Waker-like graphics. I’d still like to see the demo before I say its really worth your time. There hasn’t been much more information come out of the developers yet other than some enhanced graphics and looks at some of the characters. Still, this collect-a-thon game may just be worth our while, if nothing else for the graphics itself.
  3. Out There Somewhere A fast paced puzzle-platformer with a pretty cool graphic style and different game mechanics. Instead of a gun, you have a teleporation device that you’ll have to use some cleverness to get around the place. It wasn’t until I had seen Jesse Cox’s The Greenlight video on the game that my interest in it grew.

As of this post, 16 games have launched onto Steam due to Greenlight. You can see what I thought of Miasmata at my Shortened Review that I posted. Kentucky Route Zero and Sangfroid have my attention now, but I’m waiting for demos/reviews before I buy into them. SangFroid’s Tower-defense nature but with a unique style in the 3rd person action sense has me intrigued. Though I do have concerns about the game’s quality. So I’m waiting for it to be released before I buy into it. I don’t know nearly enough about Kentucky Route Zero to buy it.

Steam Greenlight

Final Thoughts…

Greenlight continues to improve upon itself though this release cycle had a few more RPGs than I thought was necessary. I still question Valve’s decision to stick with a 10-game-at-a-time schedule when the system has over 1,000 games awaiting approval. And will Greenlight stick around for long? Gabe’s comments seem to indicate that it won’t. Time will tell on what they ultimately decide to do with it. I highly appreciate the latest features that came in the latest update. There isn’t anything that sticks out in my mind right now that could help improve the service.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave a comment, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Greenlight Musing series I’ve got going. Feedback is always appreciated and until next time…


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