View Full Version : Little-known gems of the bargain bin

04-07-2011, 03:02 PM
Alright, it's been a few days since the Steam sale started and I'm sure a few of us have taken the opportunity to grab some games that we had never really heard of, or heard bad things about, and give them a try. And be pleasantly surprised! Tell us about them here.

I'll go first, with Delve Deeper.

It's a simple but fun hex-and-turn-based strategy game, in which you control a team of 5 dwarves against up to three other teams in a race to see who can collect the most loot before the turn counter is up. At the beginning of each match you can customize the composition of your team with a mix of fighters (slow but strong, with a medium carrying capacity), scouts (fast but weak with a tiny carrying capacity), and miners (medium in speed and strength, with the largest carrying capacity). The carrying capacity is important, because your dwarves need to haul the loot to certain spots to cash it in for points. You get loot in three ways: mining it out of the rock, slaying monsters and taking it from them, or through treasure chests. And as the title implies, the deeper into the mountain you go, the the more valuable everything is and the more dangerous the monsters are. Digging is accomplished by placing a tunnel hex at the beginning of your turn (the maps are partially dug at the beginning, so you have some goals to dig toward). Each tunnel can uncover a chest or minerals as well. Cashing in your loot is a strategic decision - if you return to your mining camp, you get full value. If you turn it in at a gnome bank inside the mountain itself, you lose two points on the transaction (blasted fees!). Scouts can run from the bottom of a mine to the camp in one or two turns, but it will take fighters four or more! Also worth mentioning are the chests, which can contain over a hundred treasures, each of which has a funny description. Some are bad and take away from your score, so turning one in is always suspenseful.

There are two linked caveats -- one, there's no online multiplayer. Hotseat only! And two, the AI's not the greatest. It is alright though and it has beaten me. By tweaking the number of monsters, and amount of gold in a map (both customizable from the options screen) I was able to find the right challenge for myself. Great to play with your family(the fights are bloodless), with some friends, or if you want a pleasant way to spend half an hour or so.

And there is a demo, on the developer's site. It has some flaws which have been fixed in the current version, namely the tunnel-placement is clunky and watching monsters move on their turn takes too long. In the current version, tunnel-placement is simple and there are variable game speeds which work very well.

Lastly, it's not actually on sale. But it's only 5 bucks and it has DLC in the prize booth. I've had a lot of fun with it, and maybe you will too.

What have you guys found?

04-07-2011, 03:37 PM
Spectromancer is on sale right now on Steam. It's related to astral masters and (kinda) to Kard Combat on the iPhone.

It's not very flashy looking, not as flashy as the Magic the Gathering games on Steam, but it's full of fun and goodness. Rather than being allowed to construct a deck, your cards are picked at random each time. I think that's what gives the game longevity.

There's a bit of a story and a campaign to follow, but it's not as deep as what you see in Puzzle Quest. It's just a tiny bit of text to read between card battles.

Well, give it a try if you like this sort of game (kinda rare genre on the PC).


05-07-2011, 05:20 AM
icupnimpn2 and I recently discovered Hinterland. It's $2.50 right now and worth every penny. You have to build a town and defend it from monsters but also level up your character and buildings and fulfill requests from the king. Great stuff for a couple scales or turtle shells or whatever you heathens in the old country use.


05-07-2011, 06:07 AM
Evil Genius, not in the sale but only 6.99. Its a great game for keeping you amused a few hours here and there, think dungeon keeper set in the Bond / Austin Powers universe.

05-07-2011, 10:23 AM
Blue Toad Murder Files- 3.40 on steam (66% off)

Not a particularly deep game, but then it's not trying to be. It's just a simple string of puzzles linked together by a humorous plot (average in quality) and a hell of a lot of character (Professor Layton style). Some people might consider it too twee, and I suppose in a way it is, but it's all done in a tongue in cheek way, and it balances out the murders which could have made the game too dark. The one guy doing all the voices does one hell of a job. Some of the female voices are a little too similar for my liking, but this guy has to voice over 10 different people, so fair enough.

In terms of the puzzles... There are a fair share of poor puzzles, but more clever ones too. At least they're better than the ones in Puzzle Agent. Certainly I can say there aren't any puzzles which I felt was cheated out of by poor wording.

One thing I really appreciated was the "quiz" segments. As well as the puzzles theres a few points per chapter where they'll ask you about the previous few cutscenes. Basic stuff really, like "Who wasn't at the funeral?". It keeps you paying attention and ultimately that's essential for when you have to select one of the four suspects to incriminate. Did all of their alibis check out? Did they leave something behind? There are also a few red herrings here and there to try and throw you off the scent.

Finally, this is not a game where you can fail. You can bypass any puzzle if you can't do it, and even failing to identify the right suspect results in the same cutscene. It is a linear ride with puzzles thrown in. But the presentation makes it worth a second look for a game on a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

N.B. Multiplayer is also available, consisting of the same puzzles but with different players taking in turns to do them. The game keeps check of how well both players do and declares a winner at the end. It felt a little tacked on, but at least both players get to choose their avatar and its good that it's there. Oh and there's a demo available.