Spotlight on Greenlight, 12/1/13


Hello, good evening and welcome to this week’s Spotlight on Greenlight, which sees me rounding up five more of Greenlight’s most interesting games, something I do by barking at them until they all scurry into a special pen which is quickly and deftly closed by our Julian. Then I get to work, shearing all the information I can off them, stuffing all this into a bag and then weaving it together into posts like this, which I proudly wear before you. This week I’ve got space trading, satire and survival horror, but before we get to those I’m going to start with something apocalyptic.

Global Outbreak

This one paints a dark future indeed as, once again, the human race seems to find itself at risk of total extinction as an ever-growing horde of zombies gradually spreads across the planet. The best solution to this problem still remains the unrestricted, unrestrained use of firearms. Global Outbreak is something like a cross between Cannon Fodder and XCOM (it certainly seems to have a few sound effects from the first of XCOM games, UFO: Enemy Unknown), mixing top-down arcade blasting with the management of a global anti-zombie operation. While its graphics may not look particularly remarkable, I think I rather like that concept.

Man in a Maze

As I look through the many dozens of games vying for our attention on Greenlight, I find many very serious pitches from po-faced games with extremely sincere attitudes. It’s a refreshing change whenever I find something that’s a little more lighthearted in its concept and its approach. Man in a Maze is like a modern Pacman, a top-down maze game of collecting dots and making judicious use of special gadgets to avoid the rather unfriendly robots that are on patrol. Sure, the ideas behind this game might be both straightforward and a little silly, but that’s exactly how I’d describe Plants vs. Zombies, a game that ate hour upon hour of my time and never made me bored. I want to see more games like this on Steam.

Star Bandits

This is another game that may not have the gloss or the glamour of a triple-A title, but could prove punishingly addictive if you’re a certain kind of gamer. Star Bandits is another take on the ever-appealing concept of deep space privateering, starting you out with a small spaceship and giving you the chance to spend your hard-earned credits on getting more weapons, a fatter cargo hold, a bigger engine or just about anything else you might want to bolt on, all of which can help you (and your team, if you form one) to earn a higher score than the other players that you’re dashing about the galaxy with.

I can understand how some of the Steam community are skeptical of this game, as it’s a free-to-play title with limited turns for each player and that might suggest you can buy your way to victory. That’s speculation, though, and I’m having none of that here. No, I want my warp engines and my lasers and my shield systems, as well as compulsive, addictive, ever more lucrative space trading. To someone like me, this game might turn out to be crack.

Dark Rain

I’ve covered a few first-person survival
horror games in previous roundups. They’re quite popular right now, particularly amongst smaller developers, and I’ve deliberately avoided including too many of them here because I’m worried they’ll become clichéd. Still, it’s not fair to be prejudiced against Dark Rain simply because it follows that core concept, especially because it’s trying to put a very different spin on it. Rather than
having you poking your way around another moldy asylum or
claustrophobic castle, this is an open world game that’s all about exploration (or running away) and which is full of secret areas and hidden surprises. Then there’s the dreams, which will come to you every time you sleep and which will gradually cause your
amnesiac self to remember the terrible things that have been
going on lately. Oh my.

Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead

Okay, all right, I admit that I wanted to include this game in part because of its video pitch, something which stands out amongst a sea of others that are so desperate to be taken seriously and which the folks back where I come from would call silly. This is an RPG that has its tongue, its staff, its sword and probably a couple of suits of leather armour all very firmly stashed in its cheek. Developers Silent Dreams were previously responsible for the genre parody Grotesque Tactics and this is another chance for them to not just make a game, but also to send up a genre and engage in some good old-fashioned irreverence.