Lick It: Grey Goo’s Free Steam Trial Weekend


Grey goo for me and you. Grey goo, it’s coming, it’s true. Grey goo, don’t ask why, just do. Slithering sucking devouring spitting growing seething grey goo! Taste it, please do.

Which is to say that Petroglyph’s sci-fi real-time strategy game Grey Goo [official site] is holding a free trial weekend on Steam, letting all and sundry play the whole dang game until Sunday afternoon. Alec enjoyed a beta version back before the game came out in January, and maybe you’ll dig it too. If you do, it’s on sale for keepsies.

Right-o! Grey Goo’s a base-building RTS with three factions scrapping on a distant planet, gathering resources and teching up across missions and multiplayer matches. You know: an RTS. It’s been out for long enough now that surely a commenter or two will have given it a fair bit of time and could share findings with the rest of us?

You should now see Grey Goo in your Steam Library, waiting to be installed. Or clicking this link should make Steam pop into life and say “Oh, yes! I can do that! I’ll install that for you!” You’ll have until 9pm on Sunday (1pm Pacific time) to play as much as you can/please of the full game. The 60% discount which brings Grey Goo down to £11.99 runs until Monday.

First-person melee murderfest Chivalry: Medieval Warfare is also free to try this weekend on Steam and has a sale too, I should also mention, but that’s a far more common event so it just gets a mention at the bottom of another post.


  1. mukuste says:

    The whole base-building thing is something which feels so out of place in a modern RTS… it’s really only busywork which doesn’t add anything to the gameplay. Several RTSes have evolved beyond that and are better for it.

    • RedViv says:

      It’s at least interestingly mixed up for all the races. Two of them, I guess, whereas the Goo simply do not build bases at all.

    • unacom says:

      Darn. That should have been a reply, down yonder…

    • Assirra says:

      I completely disagree here.
      You call it busywork, i call it setting up your army.
      What you call evolve, i call devolve since you suddenly can do less.

      • davethejuggler says:

        Also for a lot of people, myself included, that’s the part of RTSes that is the most fun. It’s why i often prefer to play skirmishes over campaigns as i can just have fun making a base without objectives forcing me to rush to a certain area, or whatever gimmick that level has.

        On grey goo, it was ok. I had fun for a while but for me it lacked any charm or personality and i got bored pretty quickly.

      • GGboy says:

        Yeah. When you strip an RTS of the base buidling layer, it suddenly becomes really shallow and primitive for the most part, ergo – quickly becomes boring.
        Case in point, Dawn of War 2. Its campaign was among the most repetitive and yawn-inducing I’ve played, revolving around employing the same strategy over and over. Had it been designed as a tactical turn based game like Chaos Gate, it would result in a much better experience. As an RTS… It just wasn’t that fun.

        I’d actually like to see the RTS genre evolve in a different direction – devs, experiment with base construction mechanics. Make it *fun* again, cleary there’s room for something more engaging than selecting an SCV and building a Barracks or setting up an MCV from C&C.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      RTS without base building is just a MOBA with more units.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      What you call “evolved” many would call being “dumbed down”.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Base building is the physical representation of your tech progression. Tech progression is far from busywork, you choose your path through the tech tree to have units at certain times in the match and those choices can lead to situations like having a unit the enemy didn’t prepare a counter for or just different “builds” for different playstyles even with the exact same race.

      A physical base also adds vulnerability, your tech and resources can be raided, denying you some of your tools for a while or slowing your unit production.

      Even the base layout itself can have meaning, preventing enemy troops from running into your base in certain ways or providing favorable terrain in a defense situation.

    • Unclepauly says:

      In your opinion, of course. Base building and resource gathering does add an aspect to the mechanics of the game giving us something to fight over, or else what are we fighting for?

  2. unacom says:

    Yes and no. RTS-games are often much better if basebuilding or even ressource-gathering and -dare I say it?- replacements are not involved. Think Ground Control, Mechcommander or Z. Yet some of us really, really do like our basebuilding. Even if it´s basebuilding in space, like Homeworld.
    What we (I) dislike is building the same bases again and again -repetans ad infinitum. So getting rid of THAT command center surrounded by THOSE factories/powerplants/crew barracks is certainly something worth achieving.

  3. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I bought this, I thought it was a pretty decent classic RTS, I don’t think the Goo worked very well as a faction but it was nice. Production Quality is high and gameplay is polished.

    • Sound says:

      I found the Goo to be OP – at least, versus the most challenging AI – if you used your hotkeys. Also, their attack style is different, they are not constrained by tech choices and traditional base vulnerability, their look is starkly different, their gameplay experience felt very non-human in it’s requirements… everything about them was different, as a faction, and when played with just the default hotkeys are extremely powerful.

      The only downside was that their play style required growth, in order to outnumber and overwhelm, which by extension means you have to juggle more unit-producers and resource sources. Some kind of macro controls and automation start becoming desirable. But at that stage of growth, your win is nigh inevitable anyways.

      In the end, Goo was my favorite faction, and felt like a significant refinement, if not innovation, on the classic RTS model.

  4. Catchcart says:

    Can somebody in the know tell me the name of the song, Alice is referencing because I keep trying to sing the lines to the tune of “Duff Beer for me, Duff beer for you” and failing miserably.

    • Belowzero says:

      Best guess.. Clapton and Strange Brew. I’m probably way off.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    It’s a really cool game. For background I’m a pretty casual RTS player (I never take them online, just botmatches and LANing with friends). One of the cool things is how different each faction is, especially in regards to base building and production.

    The Humans must have their entire base connected by a power grid so they’re basically stuck in their starting area, but they can teleport buildings around that grid at will.

    The Beta can only place buildings attached to hubs but hubs can be dropped anywhere on the map the player can currently see letting them set up expansion bases anywhere.

    The Goo have no bases. You start off with a big blob that eats either resources or enemy units to gain HP, if you have enough HP you can use some to split out some units from the blob and if you max it out the blob can split into two blobs and spread out (the blobs also completely ignore terrain so they can just go straight up cliffs). Splitting off units is also near instant while the other two factions need to go through more traditional build times and build queues.

    You don’t monolithic tech tree that lets you buy new units at all factories once you do the research, individual factories need to have tech upgrades instead. If you want a tank you need to add a tank attachment to one of your factories. If you want a bomber you need to add an air attachment and a tank attachment to one of your heliports. There are globally applied upgrades but they’re given as choices – you can give your siege artilery the ability to move and fire at the same time or you can give your anti-air unit hte ability to also target ground units, but you can’t have both (and you can’t change once selected).

    In short it’s cool.

  6. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    Candidate for the most poorly named game in history.

  7. theslap says:

    How is the single-player campaign? Interesting story and gameplay?

    • Sound says:

      The top-level plot is quite predictable. The fact that your default, starting point of view is non-human is a refreshing but somewhat minor change. There’s some twist at the very end, making room for some expansion pack. And the eponymous ‘bad guy’ is really genuinely frightening in implication.

      The characters are evocative and cool to watch. The voice acting is superb. The characters do help you invest in the factions they represent, although they don’t get enough screen time to differentiate between the characters very much, and they’re often stuck in exposition. Maybe it could’ve been written better, maybe not. But the time between missions is anything but a drag.

      Despite the predictable overall plot, each level varies in objectives, and they can get really hard. Some of them require juggling and split attention, which for some can be un-fun, but on the other hand at least it’s not easy. Some levels are massive headaches, for needing to play whack-a-self-replicating-mole in a maze with an opponent who has no problem multi-tasking. Uuugh.

      The bright side is that each of the challenging and annoying missions really do train you on one facet of gameplay – You come out of it better than before, and able to tackle the prior problem with more skill. It wasn’t just busy-work. And since each faction plays very differently, the training is somewhat needed.

      For all it’s flaws, and elements I expect to be ironed out, I had fun. I’ll go so far as to say I think it is the best classic RTS on the market visually, design-wise, and in gameplay. I think it’s criminally un-noticed and under-rated. If you liked Command & Conquer back in the day, you will like Grey Goo today.

      Having said all that, I think I’m going to re-install it now…