Video Games » This Week On Steam » This Week’s Steam Releases and Reviews-October 16th, 2015

This Week’s Steam Releases and Reviews-October 16th, 2015

With the number of daily Steam game releases increasing exponentially, it can be hard keeping up with the newest releases and picking the best gems out of all the clutter. This Week’s Steam Releases and Reviews is a weekly post series that attempts to do that work for you. We have looked over all of the games released on Steam for the week of October 11th-October 16th, 2015 and picked out (and in some cases reviewed) the best games this week had to offer.

If you represent a game that is going to be released on Steam soon and would like to see it featured on Geeky Hobbies check out our contact page for details.

Reviewed Games

Free To Play

Other Notable Games

The Rest

Reviewed Games

We would like to thank the following companies for the free review copies supplied for these reviews: Casual Labs (Paint It Back), Ground Shatter (SkyScrapper), IMakeGames (Nubs’ Adventure), Kajak Games (Ancestory), Madruga Works (Planetbase), Still Games (Animal Gods), Tomorrow Corporation (Human Resource Machine), Untame (Mushroom 11). We received no other compensation for these reviews and receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of these reviews.

Ancestory
© Kajak Games

Ancestory

  • Release Date: October 13, 2015
  • Genre: Turn Based Card Game
  • Developer: Kajak Games
  • Publisher: Kajak Games
  • Retail Price: $14.99
  • Reviewed By: Eric Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: Ancestory

Concept

In Ancestory you play as a shaman who has the ability to summon tribesmen to fight on their behalf. In each game two players face off in order to see who can reach the predetermined number of victory points to win the game. Points can be earned in two ways.

Scattered throughout the board are various totems that both players try to take control of. Players earn one victory point for each totem controlled at the beginning of a round so you want to try and control a majority of the totems.

The other way to score points is through destroying the other player’s shaman. Killing the other player’s shaman doesn’t end the game but it awards you ten points which is quite a few points in the game. The other player’s shaman will respawn at the beginning of their next turn.

Since the shaman’s themselves have no attack power, they must summon minions to help them out. This is where the cards come into play. At the beginning of every turn you draw a new card and your magic bar is refilled. A player’s magic is used to play their cards. As the game progresses you get more magic to spend on your turn. Cards come in two varieties: minions and spells. Spells are temporary effects that either boost your own minions or hurt your opponent’s minions.

Minions are summoned to help you fight. The combat in Ancestory is quite simple. Each minion has four stats and some have special abilities that can be activated from time to time to provide an additional boost. The minions have an attack power, an attack range, a movement range, and most importantly health. Each of these stats are represented by one simple number that can be modified with the use of magic cards. Combat is pretty simple where if another minion is within range, you can attack it with one of your minions. Your minion deals damage equal to their attack power and the enemy minion can attack as well if they are within attack range of your minion.

Since unused magic in a round is lost forever, you want to try and use as much of your magic as possible on any given turn. Each round is timed as well so you have to make your moves quickly or you might not be able to make all of your moves in time.

Review

I had quite a bit of fun with the Ancestory. While players who like more complicated card games may not like that the gameplay is pretty streamlined, I liked it. Ancestory is an accessible card game that players not that familiar with the genre can start playing and understand pretty quickly. You don’t have to read a bunch of text on the cards or learn complex game mechanics in order to play the game. You pretty much just play cards and position your units to attack the other player. Ancestory matches are pretty short with most lasting around 15-20 minutes.

While not new, I liked that the game had an option where you can make your own deck. The deck building option is really simple since you just pick the thirty cards that you want in your deck. While you can only have so many of each card in your deck, there are no other limits on what cards you can add to your deck. This lets players create any deck they want to suit their play style.

After building my own deck I think the minion cards are better than the spell cards for the most part. The deck I built ended up mostly having minion cards with a handful of spell cards. While I can see some players doing better with more spells, I think it is important to have a lot of minions. If you don’t have minions you can’t capture totems which means the other player will and they will win the game. The easiest way to lose a game of Ancestory is to not draw enough minion cards.

While the game has a single player mode, I would probably avoid it after you have familiarized yourself with the game. While the single player does a good job introducing you to the game, at times the AI is questionable. It usually doesn’t give you much of a challenge. Once you understand how to play the game, the only way you are going to lose to the AI is if you have a terrible draw of cards and don’t get any creatures that you can summon. Otherwise you should win every game even if you make a couple small mistakes. I couldn’t find any ways to make the AI harder either.

This is why I would say that Ancestory is mostly a multiplayer game. If you don’t want to play the game with a friend or another player online, I don’t think you are going to get a lot of enjoyment out of the game. While I haven’t yet played the game against another human player I think the multiplayer could be a lot of fun. I liked the inclusion of the timer since it should make games move at a pretty brisk pace so players can’t spend forever thinking out their moves. If the game develops a good online presence the game could be really good.

Some other quick thoughts:

  • I wish the camera controls were a little better. They work fine but sometimes it takes quite a while to position the camera to actually see the part of the map that you want to see. I also kind of wish it was easier to see where your units and the opponents units are located and where they moved during the most recent turn.
  • I kind of wish you would unlock the new cards a little quicker. You slowly unlock new cards but after a while you just wish you could just unlock all of the cards so you weren’t forced to keep using the same cards over and over again.
  • While for now the game has enough cards, after a while I can see the cards getting a little repetitive. Hopefully the game will add more cards in the future.

Should You Purchase Ancestory?

Do you like card games and turn based strategy games? If not you aren’t going to like Ancestory. If you like both though and are looking for a more streamlined game from the genre I think you could get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the game if you play against other human opponents.

Animal Gods
© Still Games

Animal Gods

  • Release Date: October 12, 2015
  • Genre: Puzzle Adventure
  • Developer: Still Games
  • Publisher: Still Games
  • Retail Price: $9.99
  • Reviewed By: Eric Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: Animal Gods

Concept

In Animal Gods you play as Thistle. The animal gods have fallen and you are tasked with destroying the curse that afflicts them.

I would classify Animal Gods as a puzzle adventure game. The game contains three “dungeons” as well as a final area. You can tackle the three dungeons in any order. Each dungeon gives you a special power/weapon. In one dungeon you use a sword to destroy enemies. In another dungeon you get a bow and arrow. You also get a dash ability that lets you teleport over hazardous areas. Each dungeon is based around its’ ability forcing you to use that ability to reach the exit.

Review

When I first saw Animal Gods on the Steam store the first thing that got my attention were the visuals. The game’s art style was original and looked really nice. People that like “artsy” games should appreciate the art style in the game. The art style is the game’s greatest asset after all.

I can’t really comment much on the story since I haven’t finished the game (more on this soon). Some reviewers on Steam like the story and others feel like it was unfinished. I generally like games that give you a story that makes you think. While playing Animal Gods I just never really “got” the story. I am guessing if I played the game longer I would have understood it more but the story wasn’t good enough to keep me interested in the game.

The simple fact is that I found Animal Gods to be kind of boring. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the game since I didn’t encounter any bugs and the controls work fine. I just lost interest in the game pretty quickly.

The first dungeon I played was the dungeon with the dash ability. The mechanic is fun for a while but gets kind of dull after a while. The biggest problem with the mechanic is that there is no way to tell how far your character will dash. Since there is no indicator on the screen of where your dash will end, you need to just guess which leads to quite a few deaths.

The second dungeon I tried was the dungeon that uses the sword. I never ended up finishing this dungeon since at that point I was pretty bored. The controls work fine but the “combat” just isn’t very interesting. All of the enemies have predetermined paths and they won’t move off them to attack you. All you pretty much need to do is find an area where you are safe and can hit the enemy. Once you find that spot you can just keep hitting the attack button until the enemy is dead.

Should You Purchase Animal Gods?

I probably wouldn’t recommend Animal Gods for most people. The gameplay is pretty boring so I would probably wait until the game goes on sale. If story and the visuals are the most important things to you though I think you could enjoy the experience quite a bit more than I did.

Human Resource Machine
© Tomorrow Corporation

Human Resource Machine

  • Release Date: October 15, 2015
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Developer: Tomorrow Corporation
  • Publisher: Tomorrow Corporation
  • Retail Price: $9.99
  • Reviewed By: Eric Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: Human Resource Machine

Concept

In Human Resource Machine you play as a recent hire at a large corporation. In order to improve efficiency the company has tasked you with finding ways to automate some of their functions to save time and money. You are tasked with arranging different commands in a way that will direct your employee towards completing the given task of the level. As you assemble the commands, you are kind of creating computer code for a program that your employee follows. The game contains 41 levels/puzzles.

Review

Since I posted a full review of the game yesterday, I am going to be pretty brief here.

With the game being made by Tomorrow Corporation (makers of World of Goo and Little Inferno) I had high expectations for Human Resource Machine and I wasn’t disappointed. I have been looking for a good “programming” game for a while and Human Resource Machine is probably the best programming game I have ever played. The puzzles are well designed and actually do a pretty good job teaching some programming concepts to people who have no experience programming.

The only real issue with the game is that if you don’t have any programming experience you might struggle at times with the game. For a lot of the puzzles you have to think like a programmer in order to solve them. Since I have some programming experience I found the game to be moderately challenging. People without programming experience may find the game considerably more challenging.

Full Review

Should I Purchase Human Resource Machine?

If you are not interested in a programming puzzle game you probably won’t like the game. If you are interested in the concept though I think you will really enjoy the game.

Mushroom 11
© Untame

Mushroom 11

  • Release Date: October 15th, 2015
  • Genre: Puzzle Platformer
  • Developer: Untame
  • Publisher: Untame
  • Retail Price: $14.99
  • Reviewed By: Eric Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: Mushroom 11

Concept

In Mushroom 11 you play as an organism that can almost instantaneously re-grow cells that were damaged or “erased”. Mushroom 11 plays like a puzzle platformer where you use your ability to erase part of the creature in order to progress through the world and solve the various puzzles and bosses in your way. For example in order to move forward you erase the back of the creature which will be added to the front of the creature. You can also cut up the creature into several different sections so you can be in several different places at the same time.

Review

Yesterday I posted a full review of Mushroom 11 so this review is just going to be a wrap up.

Mushroom 11 is probably one of the most original puzzle platformers that I have played in quite some time. I don’t know if I have ever played a puzzle platformer that has controlled like Mushroom 11. The developers did a great job utilizing the unique mechanics to develop some great puzzles and boss fights.

The only real complaint I have with the game is that there are sections of the game where the creature will add back cells in areas that you wish it wouldn’t. For the most part the controls work really well. In these rare instances you sometimes have to waste a decent amount of time erasing the same areas over and over again waiting for the creature to grow in the right direction.

After I posted the review yesterday I have completed the fifth level and I have to say that the game’s difficulty is starting to ramp up quite a bit. While the first four levels were only moderately difficult, the later levels appear like they could get quite difficult.

Full Review

Should You Purchase Mushroom 11?

If you are at all interested in the concept behind the game and like puzzle platformers I think you will really enjoy Mushroom 11. Mushroom 11 is a highly original game that I really enjoyed playing and it would have been my game of the week if it wasn’t for Human Resource Machine. Unless you hate the concept or puzzle platformers, I would highly recommend picking up Mushroom 11 now or during a sale.

Nub's Adventure
© IMakeGames

Nubs’ Adventure

  • Release Date: October 12, 2015
  • Genre: Platformer
  • Developer: IMakeGames
  • Publisher: IMakeGames
  • Retail Price: $4.99
  • Reviewed By: Eric Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: Nubs’ Adventure

Nub’s Adventure was originally expected to come out last week so I posted my review of Nub’s Adventure on last weeks post. Check out the review here.

Paint It Back 2
© Casual Labs

Paint It Back

  • Release Date: October 14, 2015
  • Genre: Puzzle, Casual
  • Developer: Casual Labs
  • Publisher: Casual Labs
  • Retail Price: $7.99
  • Reviewed By: Adam Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: Paint It Back

Concept

Paint It Back is a casual nonogram puzzle game with a painting theme. If you don’t know what nonogram puzzles are, just look at the picture above for a visual. You are given a grid and each row and column has one or more numbers listed. Those numbers tell you how many consecutive cells need to be filled in in that row or column (if two or more numbers are listed in a row or column you need to fit all of them into it with at least one space between each section). While some rows and columns will be pretty much given to you, you will often have to use logic and information from other rows and columns to complete the puzzles.

Review

I posted a review of Paint It Back yesterday so this will just be a very brief mini-review. As I wrote in my review, I am so addicted to this game and it is easily my choice for Game of the Week. It’s a little hard to explain why it is so addicting and fun but it is. The game is also very easy to pick up and play but forces you to do some serious logical thinking as you get into the middle levels.

Should You Purchase Paint It Back?

If you like puzzle games, nonograms, or similar games like Sudoku, absolutely. The game offers phenomenal bang for your buck since you should get at least twenty to twenty five hours out of it and it only costs $7.99 (and is currently 15% off until October 21). I gave the game a four and a half out of five in my review and I definitely recommend it.

Planetbase
© Madruga Works

Planetbase

  • Release Date: October 15, 2015
  • Genre: Simulation, City Builder
  • Developer: Madruga Works
  • Publisher: Madruga Works
  • Retail Price: $19.99
  • Reviewed By: Adam Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: Planetbase

Concept

Planetbase is a simulation/city building (or I guess colony base building) game where you must guide a group of space settlers and help them set up their base and ensure their survival. You will build them various buildings that let them collect energy, mine resources, grow food, make bots, and everything else need to build a self-sufficient colony on a harsh, previously unoccupied planet. The game offers three different planets for you to colonize which are effectively easy, medium, and hard difficulties (the medium one is a frozen planet while the hard is a gas giant).

Review

I have mixed feelings about Planetbase. The game does a lot of things right but doesn’t have quite as much content as I would have liked for a $19.99 game. While there is a lot to learn and the game is really hard at first (it will take you at least an hour or two and probably several restarts before you figure out what you are doing), once you do know what you are doing it becomes pretty easy to build everything and create a functioning base within an hour. After you’ve built everything, pretty much the only thing left to do is try out the two harder planets. There are some random events like storms that will force you to adapt but most playthroughs are pretty much the same.

I also wish Planetbase would allow you to micromanage your settlers so you could have something else to do rather than just build buildings and set up certain base policies. Not allowing individual controls over colonists can also ruin your game. For example, in the last game I played I started to have a food crisis so naturally I prioritized food growth in the biodome (all you can do to control the settlers is prioritize different buildings). However, my colonists seemed to ignore me and just do whatever they wanted and my problem eventually became a full-blown crisis which I doubt I will ever recover from. I really wish the game would let you tell them what to do. It would add more to do and you wouldn’t run into problems like the one I ran into (or if you did it would be completely your own fault).

However, Planetbase does do a lot of things right as well. The graphics are very impressive for an indie game, especially at night when everything lights up or glows. The interface is solid and unobtrusive. The game also smartly notifies you before something catastrophic happens (when a colonist is dying, when you are running low on power or food, or when a storm happens). The music is also very relaxing and exactly what I would expect from a space city builder.

The game is fun to play and just about the right difficulty (after the hour or two you have to spend to learn the ropes). Overall, it is an above average simulator that I just wish had more content and replayability. That’s the only real problem with the game.

Should You Purchase Planetbase?

It depends on how much you like city builders and how price conscious you are. Planetbase is an above average city builder but a lack of content may keep your playtime down to only eight to ten hours. While I wish the game had more content and was priced at $9.99 or $14.99, it is worth purchasing if you like the genre and think a two dollars per hour played ratio is acceptable. Otherwise, if you just somewhat like the genre or prefer games with a higher hours played per dollar spent ratio, you might want to wait for a sale.

SkyScrappers
© Ground Shatter

SkyScrappers

  • Release Date: October 15, 2015
  • Genre: Arcade Fighting Platformer
  • Developer: Ground Shatter
  • Publisher: Ground Shatter
  • Retail Price: $12.99
  • Reviewed By: Eric Mortensen
  • Purchase on Steam: SkyScrapper

Concept

In SkyScrappers you and your friends are competing to find out who can last the longest. SkyScrappers is a blend of a platformer and a 2d fighting game.

In SkyScrappers you and the other players need to compete to see who can reach the top of the building quickest. You need to jump from one piece of debris to another. The more vertical the piece of debris is, the further it will launch you into the air when you jump off of it. If you fall behind the other players and fall off the bottom of the screen, you will be caught back up but you will lose some health. If a player reaches the top of the building they win the current round.

While trying to reach the top of the building you can also fight the other players. You can directly attack the other players with your weapon or use your weapon to deflect small pieces of debris at the other players. If you are the last player alive before anyone reaches the top of the building you will win the current round.

The first player to win the predetermined number of rounds wins the game.

Review

When I first saw SkyScrappers on the Steam website I was intrigued by the game. It looked like a quick paced game and it was an interesting idea combining elements from platformers and 2D fighting games. I usually really like local multiplayer games so I though I was going to like SkyScrappers. After playing the game I tired of it pretty quickly.

I think the main reason I got tired of the game was the lack of variety. While the game has four different characters none of them appear to have special abilities or play differently. The fighting system is also kind of lacking. The game has two attack buttons but both appear to pretty much do the same thing so there is essentially one type of attack in the game. If the game had a little more variety in the types of attacks I think the game could have been considerably better.

The mix of the platforming and 2d fighting is what mostly drew me to the game. While both mechanics could work by themselves, they don’t really work that well together. The problem is that you pretty much need to choose one or the other for each round since you really can’t do both. If you focus on fighting you will quickly fall behind and take damage for falling off the screen. If you focus on the platforming you don’t have time to fight the other players.

Also the game seems to put you in bad situations that you can’t get yourself out of at times. Since the falling debris seems to be randomized, this can create problems for some of the players. Since you are randomly put on a piece of debris you can be put in a bad situation that you have no control over. For example in one level I was placed in an area where I was immediately hit by a piece of debris and knocked off the screen. Right out of the gate I lost health from falling off the screen which put me at a pretty big disadvantage.

SkyScrappers is the type of game that you are going to want to play with other human players. Playing the games with friends will add a competitive edge to the game which should make the game more enjoyable. I give the game credit for creating bots but the bots have some issues. Sometimes the bots can actually be quite good. Other times the bots can do some stupid things which includes a bot in one of the games that I played that just kept running at one of the walls until someone attacked it.

SkyScrappers is not a bad game and I had some fun with the game. It doesn’t live up to its’ potential in my opinion since I tired of the game pretty quickly.

Should You Purchase SkyScrappers?

If you don’t have anyone to play the local co-op with I would probably recommend passing on SkyScrappers. SkyScrappers is the type of game that is best enjoyed playing against another human player. If the concept really interests you and you really like local co-op games you can get some fun out of the game even though you might tire of it pretty quickly. I personally would recommend waiting for a sale on the game.

Free to Play

Crusaders of the Lost Idols (Casual Clicker)

Pyramid Raid (Early Access Platformer Tower Defense)

Relive (Adventure)

The Secret of Tremendous Corporation (Adventure)

War of Beach (Strategy)

Other Notable Games

Here are some notable games released on Steam this week. In order to be classified as a notable game, the game either has to be a release that a lot of people would be interested in or the game has to do something unique that makes it stand out from all of the other games released on Steam this week. Since I have not played any of these games I can’t verify if they are good or bad.

The Age of Decadence (Turn Based RPG)

Bedlam (FPS)

Beyond Sol (Action Strategy RTS)

Brigador (Early Access Mech)

Broforce (Action)

CMYW (Multiplayer Arcade)

Dungeon Manager ZV (Strategy Simulation)

The Jackbox Party Pack 2 (Multiplayer Party Game)

Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series (Story Adventure)

Orion Trail (Choose Your Own Adventure)

Pro Gamer Manager (Early Access Simulation)

Secret Ponchos (PVP)

Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch – Enhanced Edition (Turn Based RPG)

Zombie Grinder (Early Access Action Adventure)

The Rest

All Fall Down (Action Adventure)

All My Gods (Strategy Simulation)

ALPAGES : THE FIVE BOOKS (Early Access Horror Action)

Black Island (Point and Click Adventure)

The Body Changer (Action Adventure)

Ceres (Space Strategy)

Color Symphony 2 (Action Puzzle Platformer)

Dark Years (Action Adventure)

Decromancer (Early Access Card RPG)

DELTAZEAL (Shoot ’em Up)

Demigods (Casual)

Downwell (Action)

D.U.S.T. (Early Access FPS Simulation)

Emergency 2016 (Simulator)

Escape from Puzzlegate (Casual)

Eternal Step (Action Adventure)

Faron’s Fate (Rogue-Like RPG)

Flamebreak

Freedom Poopie (Platformer)

Frizzy (Early Access Platformer)

Gabe Newell Simulator (Early Access FPS Simulator)

Garfield Kart (Kart Racer)

Goosebumps: The Game (Point and Click Horror)

Gunnheim (Twin Stick Shooter)

Hot Guns (Early Access Action Platformer)

Hyperdrive Massacre (Multiplayer Arcade)

Knight Adventure (Action Adventure)

Lands of Hope Redemption (Turn Based RPG)

Living Legends: The Frozen Fear Collection (Hidden Object)

Lonath Online (Early Access MMO)

Lucadian Chronicles (Strategic RPG Card)

The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya (Romantic Visual Novel)

Monster RPG 2 (JRPG)

Paint the Town Red (Early Access Action)

Professor Why™ Chemistry 1 (Educational)

Refunct (First Person Platformer)

Roads of Rome (Casual Simulation)

Roads of Rome 2 (Casual Simulation)

Rogue State (Strategy Simulation)

Rumble (Arena Brawler)

Runes of Brennos (Action Casual)

Spooky Bonus (Match 3)

WRC 5 FIA World Rally Championship (Racing)

Zenohell (Shoot ’em Up)

Zombasite (Early Access Zombie RPG)

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