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2021 Steam Game Festival

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,913
579
126
Steam is hosting what I believe to be its second annual Steam Game Festival. Similar to last year, this lasts a week (February 3 to February 9), and the focus is to provide a smörgåsbord of game demos for users to try out. If you'd like to check it out, you can access it directly through the Steam client or just visiting the site directly: http://store.steampowered.com.

With that rigmarole out of the way, I've perused through a few of the games, and installed a couple demos. So far, I've only had the chance to play one...

Roguebook
Roguebook is a new entry in the CCG + Rogue-lite genre mash-up that became popular with games like Slay the Spire and Monster Train. Although, I'd argue that the game isn't nearly as derivative as that might make it sound. To note, I'm not sure if any features were simplified in the demo outside of what was explicitly mentioned while playing the game.

  • The game is played on a hexagonal tile map where your main character will be walking around.
  • The map must be discovered through the use of brushes or inks. By default, only a hub area and a line leading straight to the boss are available. Brushes reveal things in an area around you where inks vary depending on the type of ink. Some reveal in a straight line, and others can reveal around a user-selected point.
  • The map contains icons on it that can be various things...
    • Two crossed swords are a battle. If you hover over the icon, it will tell you the difficulty of the encounter.
    • Red heart is a health restoration. This will restore 10 health to both characters.
    • Small house is a transmutation house. This will allow you to pay a fee (150g in the demo) to convert one of your cards into a new card with a gem. The game will present you with three cards to choose from and three gems. You can choose any combination that you want.
    • Items. The icons for these are specific to the item, and hovering over them will tell you what it is and what benefit it provides. For example, I got a shield that makes it so if I end a turn with no armor, I get +5 armor.
    • Gold coins are gold currency. You just click on them to pick up the gold.
  • The game starts you with one character (a female warrior) and you have to select your second character. This is done by clicking on the character on the map. In the demo, only a single secondary character is available. (The others are there, but the game will not let you choose them.)
  • Battles take place on a secondary screen with your team on the left facing your enemies on the right.
    • The game uses the front-rear RPG mechanic where attacks are always(?) made against the front teammate.
    • Actions take place using cards where the limiting mechanic is energy (similar to Slay the Spire).
    • Certain cards can swap you from the rear to the front or even from the front to the rear. A card that does this will have rounded arrows encircling the card's cost.
    • Each character has an ability that only takes effect when they are in the front. For example, the female warrior gains +3 power (+3 damage) when she is in the front, and the other guy gains +2 block if he is in the front at the end of the turn.
  • You get rewards at the end of a battle.
    • Normal battles typically just give ink and gold.
    • Difficult battles typically give a brush and gold.
    • Boss battles typically give brushes, gold, a relic, a page (still not sure what they're for...), and more.
Overall, I did enjoy playing the game. Although, a part of me has this weird quibble with the game -- it's the same problem that I have with Cardpocalypse -- and it's that certain movements feel very slow. I think my issue with this game was mostly with the movement on the hexagonal world feeling kind of slow.

Now, the game is still technically being worked on, but there are some things that I think should be addressed:
  1. Let me use ESC to back out of menus.
  2. Add some sort of framerate limiter. I left the game running while eating dinner, and was surprised to hear some loud fans when I came back. It turns out that my GPU (2080 Ti) was at 75C with its fans ramped up! This isn't a very visually demanding game, but my guess is that it was just cranking out frames as fast as it could.
  3. The Yakapult enemy felt quite a bit overtuned. The fight took longer than both elite fights that I encountered. The problem is that the Yakapult summons a Yak minion every single time it attacks, and to make matters worse, they end up with 8 armor each turn.

EDIT:

Note, fixed the end date as it's actually the 9th not the 10th.
 
Last edited:

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
11,855
1,188
126
i've also played one demo, Timberborn - https://store.steampowered.com/app/1062090/Timberborn/

where you play as a bunch of beavers. You gotta build your beaver city, harvest food, build dams for when the dry season arrives, etc .. it's .. fun. Ish. It's only a demo and many features are missing, so, we'll see when we'll see.

oh btw 1gb download, so you can totally try this for 5 minutes. Here's a video:
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,913
579
126
i've also played one demo, Timberborn - https://store.steampowered.com/app/1062090/Timberborn/

where you play as a bunch of beavers. You gotta build your beaver city, harvest food, build dams for when the dry season arrives, etc .. it's .. fun. Ish. It's only a demo and many features are missing, so, we'll see when we'll see.

oh btw 1gb download, so you can totally try this for 5 minutes. Here's a video:
I saw that near the top of the list of trending games, and I wasn't too sure what to think. :p

There were a few other sort of city sims that I saw. I downloaded around 8 demos, so I can't remember all the names right now, but I got one that seemed interesting. It was one where it's sort of like city building + tower defense. You have to get resources from different nodes to build your floating city, but entities out there will attack you randomly. The idea is to protect yourself while you can (are landed on the ground) and skedaddle (float off) once you can't handle it anymore.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,913
579
126
Alright, so I tried a few other games out. I'll try to keep these descriptions a bit short or we'll be here all day!

Devastator
It's pretty much Geometry Wars. If you like that game, you'll like this one. There were a few entities on screen that I'm not sure if I understand their purpose yet as it didn't seem like I could destroy them. Perhaps something like a bestiary would be nice?

Orbital Bullet
I think you can describe this as Defender + Contra + Rogue-Lite. You move around (sometimes) nested cylinders where you fight bad guys. You use guns that can either be found or purchased, and as a very important note... you have limited ammo. Also, I highly recommend you use the fact that you can damage enemies by jumping on them to help conserve ammo! Overall, I thought the game was fairly fun.

Godstrike
This is a bullet hell game where your time is effectively your life. You can buy upgrades that take time way from your max. Overall, the game seemed fine, but I'm not that good at bullet hells. Although, you do pretty much jump right into a boss fight, which I'm not sure if I'm entirely sold on that. Overall, I think if you want a game that's a bullet hell and done really well (not saying this game isn't; it's just a demo), check out Nex Machina.

Across the Obelisk
So, I talked about how Roguebook tries to put more RPG elements into the card battler genre, well... let's say that Across the Obelisk told them "hold my mead!" Across the Obelisk is somewhat similar to Slay the Spire where you get a bunch of paths that you can choose from that are unveiled types (events, battles, etc.). The big difference is that the game is comprised of a party of four members, which is designed to be a Warrior, Ranger, Mage, and Priest. From what I've read, the game also supports multi-player where I guess you control different characters. Each character has their own deck of cards that is used during combat. By default, energy is conserved across turns for a specific character.

There is a competition going on with the demo where the top three scores will get a free copy of the game. From what I've seen, you pretty much have to "abuse" the game's currency holdover mechanic to accomplish this as you get scored on how many turns it takes you to win and any difficulty modifiers you take. I chose the difficulty modifier one battle, and it was a huge mistake as it took me so long that I got no points and no rewards (I think it's after 5 turns you start getting penalized).

As a note, I think this game might have a memory leak, or maybe that was patched in an update that I got not even an hour ago. Let's just say that after playing the game and stepping away for about an hour, my computer was completely unusable until I logged out and logged back in. Checking the event viewer, it stated that I ran out of virtual memory.

Dorfromantik
This game is sort of hard for me to quantify right now. I didn't get to spend a lot of time with it, so I'm not really sure how to describe the gameplay. I mean... you put down hexagonal tiles, and at times, they have requirements to place them alongside other similar tiles that satisfy requirements... without going over. I think one good thing is that it's fairly relaxed as I don't recall seeing any sort of timer. So, it's a puzzle game that you can throw on for fun and just enjoy.

Dream Engines: Nomad Cities
This game involves you going to different areas, building up your city, collecting resources from the surrounding areas, and defending your area from enemies. Overall, I thought the game played fine. I do wish they mentioned the move mechanic earlier as I didn't care for some of my early building placement once I realized that I needed to provide them with supplies from the central core. Perhaps the tutorial could highlight buttons? I'd end up clicking past most things and accidentally click past the one that I actually cared about.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,913
579
126
Alright, so I played a few more games (demos)!

You Suck at Parking
This is a physics puzzle game involving what looks sort of like driving an RC car around a track with the goal of landing on one of the parking spots. There are multiple types of hazards that can mess you up, and you are only allowed to move forwards (there is a brake). You are also limited in the amount of time, but you have as many tries as you want during that time limit. However, each vehicle that you get has a certain amount of gas, and when you run out, your run with that car is done. Overall, I think the game is fun, but it definitely has a frustrating feel to it at times. Probably the worst part is that AI cars will sometimes run around, and they can destroy your car. If they do that, you lose credit for that parking job.

22 Racing Series
This is a racing game that I assume is supposed to be akin to something like Wipeout or F-Zero. Honestly, I gave this one a shot, but I just didn't care for it. The menus aren't designed well (they're shown behind the car and can be hard to read) and you just sort of fly off the track a lot.

Shady Knight
This is a first-person hack-n-slash game involving climbing and other maneuvering sort of actions. I think the thing that hurt it the most for me was that the default controls aren't very standardized. I'm used to CTRL being crouch, but if I recall, the game uses Q.

Aerial_Knights Never Yield
This is pretty much an auto-runner puzzle game where the idea is to choose the correct movement (run, slide, vault, or jump) to get over an obstacle. It's a fairly simple game, but it's also pretty forgiving if you make a mistake. I think it might be a bit too simplistic to hold my interest given the mobile-like simplicity, but it has a good presentation.


I do still have one more game (In My Shadow) that I've been meaning to try.
 
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