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Steam's summer sale opens with a mini-game gimmick

Saliens

It’s time to lash your wallet to the mast again, because these are choppy waters for anyone with a poor grip on their money. Steam’s summer sale has started, bringing its usual boatload of discounts across the majority of games on the mega-storefront. For the first time in a while the event is accompanied by a mini-game gimmick. By playing the browser-based Summer Saliens (yes, they really did name it that) you can earn a chance to win games from a handful of Valve-picked themes up until the sale ends on July 5th.

While the Steam site itself is currently on fire due to hundreds of thousands of eager people throwing themselves at the shop simultaneously, those who do get in will notice a new button leading to the Saliens game. Quite frankly, if it weren’t for the prizes available, it wouldn’t be worth the time of day – it’s a very poor defensive shooter even by cheap web-game standards, with you frantically clicking on oncoming foes to zap them with lasers while mashing on the number keys to deploy special abilities.

You probably shouldn't play this much.

It’s nice to see Valve put a little bit of extra effort into this particular sale, especially since they’ve been playing a more hands-off role lately bordering on irresponsibly absent, but it’s still clearly the absolute bare minimum, and a far cry from the days of the Potato Sack ARG, which was interesting and clearly had some thought and love put into it. Saliens? Were I feeling uncharitable, I might have said it was NewGrounds quality, but with today’s announcement of Nightmare Cops, that bar is clearly far higher.

Play the Saliens game all your want (although it’s a bit rubbish, so don’t do too much of that if you value your time), but as there are no time-limited discounts or flash sales going on, there’s no rush to spend your money today. A little bird tells me that our new Alice is working on a general RPS sales recommendation list, so keep an eye open for that on Monday if you want to know where the really good stuff is.

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Dominic Tarason

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