A Paladin’s Journey Through Steam: March 25, 2015. Quality is Overrated.

Another publisher dumped a bunch of their old games this week. Joys.

Another publisher dumped a bunch of their old games this week. Joys.

36 games published and I can only find six intriguing titles to take a look at. Yup, one of those weeks.

This post is running later than it should be because I’ve been having a weird week. Apologies if some of the English gets a bit weird. Let’s get right into it.

This post is part of my new series where I take a look at the most interesting games on the new releases list for Steam. Learn more about this series at this blog post.

Feature: The Corporate Machine

The Corporate Machine by Stardock for Windows Only.

The Corporate Machine by Stardock for Windows Only.

I had heard about this title initially on their G+ account though I don’t know much about it personally. Apparently it was the first Windows game they ever made. Now on Steam, 14 years later. Initially called Entrepreneur, it was rebranded when a magazine didn’t like the name. It doesn’t look like it got any major updates as it still runs on Windows 95 o_O. That makes me seriously question whether the game actually runs. Though I’m not seeing any complaints in the forums and the developer is active in said forum. So, if it doesn’t work, he’s being awfully brave. Intriguing idea though.

I’ve reached out to the developer to double check that it works on modern Windows OSes. Will update if I ever get a reply.  According to the developer on the forum it works on Windows 7/8/10. So, that’s good to hear.

Side Note: Dead Sea

Screenshot 2015-03-25 21.53.58

A glitch? Haha ok. Sure. Yeah, I’ll bet it was a glitch that caused your game to suddenly get published on Steam with a full working description, trailer, screenshots and system requirements. You know, because that just happens. All the time. I hear complaints about this developers regularly that their unfinished game suddenly pops up on screen ready to sell. /sarcasm. It’s funny though, I’m pretty sure you could take it down rather than continue to let it sell. Then again, I’m not a dev so I’m not 100% certain of Steam’s complex systems.

On the other hand, I will grant that the devs are being active on the forum and Steam page. So, they are clearly trying to make the best of a bad situation and being honest with their customers. So, if anyone DID buy this game without knowing what they were getting into…well, they are bad and should feel bad. So, kudos to the devs.

Mixed Feature: Etherium

Etherium, published by Focus Home Interactive for Windows only.

Etherium, published by Focus Home Interactive for Windows only.

A new RTS? A sci-fi “epic” RTS? Oh goody! That sounds like fun….except that it’s published by Focus Home Interactive….and the developers haven’t really done this genre before….joy. The dynamic weather control system they feature is about the only thing that sticks out from everything the trailers splurge in your general direction. Having natural forces affect your strategies is an intriguing concept. But then they mention one of the races can control it and you kind of lose me there. Then it’s basically a glorified superweapon at that point.

My impressions of the trailers is a clunky looking game both graphically and mechanically. It looks like it was designed on a budget, with the races not feeling well fleshed out. There’s way too many glamour shots and little of anything substantial. There isn’t much of a mention of balance and a lot of mention of just overwhelming your enemies through sheer numbers. This might be a good game but I think I’ll stay away from it for the time being. If the devs keep updating it well past release, then I’ll give it a fair shake. If not, then I won’t have lost any money or time.

Anti-Feature: Sky Battles

Sky Battles for Windows, MacOSX and Mobile.

Sky Battles for Windows, MacOSX and Mobile.

So, when I saw the graphics on display in the trailer, I couldn’t believe anything this ugly could have been made this year. Well, except that this is a mobile-ported game. So that starts to make a lot more sense. Do I even have to justify why I say: avoid this game like the plague? Oh, I do? That’s what I’m paid to do? Dangit…

Oh this game doesn’t look good. It looks like the game came out 10 years ago. The asymmetrical combat is certainly unique….but when the planes slide around and shots go everywhere on the screen…well…something feels just a little bit off. While it says you need strategy, skill and accuracy in the description, I doubt you need any of those. This is due to the platform these games come from. Controls can’t be very accurate on touch devices. Complexity is hard to create and the trailer shows none of it. And while the game has a positive rating so far, I have my doubts that will last.

Mixed Feature: Band of Drones

Band of Drones for Windows Only.

Band of Drones for Windows Only.

It’s a bit of a mixed pixelart style. I’ve only seen one other game that used this art style and it wasn’t received well. The game reminds me of a few other games in the turn-based genre and the aiming part, well, I can’t help but be reminded of Xenonauts. Wish the store page was a little bit more descriptive. Four scenarios really makes it sound like a short experience despite how complex it looks with its customization and a full squad of 12 drones. Bit of an odd title.

Early Access Feature: Flamberge

Early Access title for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Early Access title for Windows, Mac and Linux.

I don’t have a lot to say about this one other than it’s concept is very intriguing. A “simultaneous turn-based tactics RPG”. I haven’t seen this type of gameplay in a while. The art style reminds me of Sword & Sworcery to boot. They plan on releasing it sometime in April. While the trailer only shows off the first level and not a whole lot of tactical planning, I remain intrigued. I do hope they update the trailer before launch as showing off just the first level of a complex strategy game tends to be a bad idea. Ideally, you want to show off more of the middle-area as that tends to show off a lot of the game mechanics that you’re offering.

Am I the only one who remains surprised that Windows XP is still a supported platform on new games?

Thanks for reading!

-KingIsaacLinksr

4 Comments:

  1. Umm, as far as Dead Sea goes it’s not unusual for devs/publishers to have a completed sales page way before the game is supposed to launch on Steam and once it’s ready, they simply press “Publish”. If Steam somehow glitched and made that page public, people would’ve been able to purchase the game but receive a pre-alpha/broken release.

    Remember, I was part of the Skylines Alpha, and I kept getting updates to the game via Steam, so the games are often on Steam way before they’re ready to publish.

    • Which I will grant as a possibility but as the game wasn’t getting tested on Steam, well, there’s some suspicion there. I will also grant that the devs are trying to warn people off so at least they’re trying to do the right thing with a bad situation. Post is updated.

  2. Also, are you being snarky just for snarkiness sake? Etherium, while I haven’t seen it myself, is getting a lot of flak from you but a lot of it seem unfounded such as “balance isn’t mentioned”. What developer creates a deliberately unbalanced RTS? Isn’t it kind of expected that it’s supposed to be balanced? 😛

    • I’m not being snarky for snarkiness sake. It’s just that they mention throw lots of units quite a few times and to me that makes me, well, question whether the devs balanced the game or not.

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