This week: Rude swears! Writing about more interesting games than the ones you boring people keep buying! And battle advice to people who've been dead 1,800 years! It's some Steam Charts.
Get ready to stop liking something...
So here's the thing. I was about to write a fairly standard list of spoof forthcoming games from publisher PlayWay, one of the 390 companies cashing in on this shovelware nonsense trend. And then I looked at an actual list of their forthcoming releases, and realised it can't be out-spoofed. These are real:
Train Station Renovation
FatEx Courier Simulator
Accident (in which you play, er, a car crash witness)
Which all seemed very amusing, until I stumbled upon Bum Simulator. As one of my spoof games was to be called "Bum Fiddling Simulator" about fiddling with one's own bumhole, this seemed a bit on the nose. And then I saw what it was actually about. It's a being homeless simulator!!!
Fuck this game. It's a wacky oh-so-hilarious game about pretending to live on the streets. You can beg! You can "discover your inner bum powers"! You can build your own cardboard box house!
The next time you feel compelled to buy one of this publisher's games, how about the money go here instead.
You could do little better than to read Katharine's review of Octopath Traveler. It really is a masterclass in reviews writing, in which the essential details of the game are naturally expressed through the narrative of Katharine's experience. It's a review that carefully lays out the core issues, and evidences them, without bemoaning. It's superb writing.
This is the closest I've ever come to wanting to try out a JRPG - it's just not the genre for me. But unfortunately the boss fights and grinding mean I'll likely bounce right off. Still, it sure looks pretty.
What’s Another Thing You Could Buy Instead Of GTA V Again?
My work at RPS was never more popular than when I wrote about how I wasn't brilliant at playing a game. They were always a big hit! Look how many comments that piece has! So many people popping in to say how grateful they are to read a different perspective of the space strategy genre, how an outsider's view can really shed important light on the issues the familiar fail to notice.
Anyway, I still wish Stellaris were a game I could enjoy. Especially when it's releasing story packs as DLC. I want to experience those stories! I shall never experience those stories.
This is one of three multiplayer first-person mans fighters in the charts this week, a topic about which I find absolutely nothing to say. "You shoot the other mans and then get shot by the mans and then do that again." So instead, let's talk about more interesting games. First up, Night Lights.
Night Lights isn't especially original in its use of light beams changing the environment, but it delivers the concept extremely well. You play a little robot-looking chap, who switches on lights, and aims beams, to shine light into an alternate version of the world, and use this to manoeuvre objects and reach switches, etc.
So yes, you've seen that before, but Grave Danger Games do a deft job with the notions, with completely lovely art. There's also the fun twist that you don't proceed through levels in a linear order, but rather reach teleporters that move you around the overlapping sections in an unexpected order. It's all rather charming and fun.
40% off until the end of Monday. Every dip in price sees this completely excellent RPG re-entering the charts. A game I've never finished, because it's 202303844 hours long, and I had to play other games for work.
But wait! I'm unemployed! I'm a jobless wanderer, living on (s)craps like writing this! I have time to play this game at the expense of sorting out long-term further employment! Sorry family, I need to finish DOS2.
That'd be fitting, right. If Larian were to give Adam a proper job after he left RPS, probably getting to write on Baldur's Gate 3, and then ensure I never get to work again by making their games too long.
Reventure is a completely brilliant little platformer, where the real joy comes from losing. A big open pixel world hides one hundred ways to die, each of them permanently maiming/scaring your character - Tim - as he continues on some point later.
Other peculiarities include the quite literal weighing up of whether to open treasure chests - each contains a helpful bonus item, but the more you carry, the slower you are and the less high you can jump. And the only way to put anything down is to find one of the deaths. This means that with each run, you select which items you'll pick up depending upon what you want to try to achieve. Which is an excellent conceit for a platformer!
At only £3, it's literally illegal not to buy this. Also it has lovely music.
Gems Of War should be obnoxious in the extreme. A free-to-pay mobile game, with approximately 7,900 in-game currencies, and so, so many ways to spend real money on advantages - bleaurgh, right? Except, I've been playing it just so much recently, and haven't spent a single penny.
The game is from 2014, and released on mobile and PC back then, but it just came out on Switch this year. And here's the important bit: it's made by Infinite Interactive, who brought us the completely brilliant Puzzle Quest back in 2007. Since it was free, and since I still miss Puzzle Quest (unavailable anywhere now) I figured I'd give it a go. And a week later, I'm still playing every day, have levelled a team of characters up to enormous beefiness, am playing through the main quests, then getting sidetracked by the minigames, the battles for pets, the PVP games, and I've even joined a guild and help them in the broader cross-guild meta-game. All without ever even being tempted to drop in a few monies to hurry my way. There's just so much to do here that I can't imagine why I'd want to spend cash.
I get the feeling that Infinite enjoy making iterations of this game so much that they couldn't bring themselves to make it actually play as dirty as it looks it will be. There's so much here, buoyed by the five years of expansions and improvements, that if you've been jonesing for Puzzle Quest as much as I have, it turns out you can have something remarkably similar, entirely for free!
I'm really enjoying Hymns From Ninevah at the moment. Especially the track Eurasia, which unfortunately doesn't have a video. But still, music is for ears, not eyes.
Look, I'm not going to call myself a military tactics expert - that's for other people to say. But I'm just not convinced that having every fourth person in your army carrying a flag is the best approach to winning a war. I'd give them, and bear with me here, some sort of weapon.
Perhaps when they were planning they thought, "Gosh, it will look so intimidating when we all show up with flags! They'll be like, "Shit, they really mean business!" But then forgot that arrows rarely have respect for such human symbology.
Also, who gets picked for flags?! Surely someone would have to be so bad at swords that they couldn't help but slice everyone around them into bits before it's worth sending them onto a battlefield with a blunt pole? "Sorry Mike, we can't even trust you with a shield. Could you maybe just try to get in the way of the enemy weapons?" Hell, put a spike on the top of the flagpole and you've got a somewhat unwieldy pike. But a flag? What are they going to do? Flap their enemies to death?
I'm just saying, I think flags might be a waste of resources in such extreme circumstances.
The Steam Charts are compiled via Steam's internal chart guts of the highest grossing games on Steam over the previous week, then distilled and titrated into purest comedy gold.