Just as I was lamenting that there are so many great games already that came out in 2011, many of which I haven’t actually had the chance to play yet, the Steam Holiday Sale starts up. You already know about this thing, I’m sure, because two nights ago when festivities began, the Steam client was so lagged that I couldn’t even figure out how the sale worked. I was staring at error messages.
Now, a couple days in, I can finally get to the point where Steam works well enough to allow me to give it some of my money. I shouldn’t do that, of course, because I have so many games I already haven’t played, but Steam is also encouraging me to delve in to some games that I already own. Play certain games, get certain achievements in those games, and I could unlock… coupons to buy more games. Okay, so, this isn’t going to help my backlog at all.
Over the next couple weeks I’m going to try digging through some titles I haven’t touched. I’m going to prioritize games that either line up with a Valve achievement, or that are tempting 2011 releases that I just haven’t gotten around to playing yet. And you’re so lucky, because I intend to write about the experience!
Yesterday, Dungeons of Dredmor, a game that I heard-tell was Tap-Repeatedly recommended, went down in price to a dollar twenty-five. I didn’t want to buy a lot of new games, but that seemed like a no-brainer. Now that I’ve tried it, I regret not getting it sooner. If you aren’t familiar, Dungeons of Dredmor is a roguelike, which is a genre of game which I like very much. I turned it on for a quick round this afternoon just to grab a screenshot, and before I knew what had happened I was on level 4 of the dungeon and I had skipped dinner.
If you’ve never gotten in to roguelikes at all, this is a great starter. It has cute graphics, a user-friendly interface, and a nice sense of humor. It’s also a bit more forgiving than some of the classics; it’s possible to turn permadeath off, for example (though you should not do this if you want me to respect you). It also identifies items automatically and tells you their stats.
It does tend toward grinding a little more than, say, NetHack, because the food items are the same as the healing items. There is no separate hunger stat, so the smart thing to do is to clear an entire floor of treasure before moving on. There’s also no reason not to return to floors you’ve already visited, which you’ll want to do to access stores and vending machines from time to time. Of course, you can save and quit the game any time, which is nice, though I personally have had a very difficult time doing that.
A game that was on today’s Achievement list, Defense Grid: The Awakening, is somewhat less up my alley. When I saw it pop up, I was momentarily surprised that I even owned it, though I suppose I bought it when it was packaged in an Indie Bundle with some other games. Steerpike wrote a pretty good review of it when it came out apparently years ago, so definitely check that out!
Now for my counterpoint: it’s a totally polished, well-packaged experience, but I never could much get in to tower defense as a genre. The problem with Tower Defense is essentially twofold: If you’re not doing so well at it, you’re not likely to recover, since it’s easy to get a game in a positive feedback loop where you’re not killing enough guys to get the resources you get to kill the next round of guys. Meanwhile, if you are doing well at it, you’re not doing anything at all.
That screenshot has so much action and drama! But that’s a screenshot of me holding the F key down, to fast-forward the action, because I’m pretty sure I’ve got enough gun placements to get today’s achievement and now I’m just waiting it out. Now if you actually like tower defense, this is super-cheap right now and for the next eighteen hours or so, so you don’t have much to lose.
My thought so far about the new sale gimmick, is that while the deals are great if you see a game that interests you, you probably shouldn’t buy any games that you don’t really want just to get a chance at an easy coupon. Most of the coupons are a little on the weak side so far, and a few of them apply to games I already own. They’re at least tradable, though who would I trade them to? For example, I got a coupon for 50% off of any Valve game. If there’s still people out there who use Steam but don’t already own every Valve title (sometimes more than once), they’d be better off buying them now anyway than waiting until next year to use my traded coupon.
The potential prize of “every Steam game ever” is just so tempting, though. Even if it would make my backlog even worse.
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Defense Grid is most excellent stuff. The fact you can rewind time to undo tactical mistakes makes it so less brittle than some TD games. (There’s also the wondrous Immortal Defense, but that’s a totally different kettle of skate.)
I’d also like to announce that I’ve bought nothing in either the summer or the winter sales.
I will be watching your updates with great interest.
I like you have barley played half the games i have on steam but that did not stop my getting Defence grip in the sale yesterday. i have played the demo and it looks pretty solid and I’m a big fan of TD games.
I was not intending on adding to my list of unplayed games however I find myself uncontrollably checking the sale every day to see what new is on offer.
When Armand finally leaves me alone and lets me get on with some single player games I will start to work my way through them.
Defense Grid is a very solid TD game but I did tire of it before hitting the 15 hour mark. I’ve tried picking it up again in the hopes of completing the main campaign but I just can’t stick with it.
Me and HM (as well as a few others around here) can wax lyrical about Immortal Defense. That’s well worth checking out — even if you’re not a fan of TD — because it’s quite unlike anything out there.
This link is especially for you Amanda 😉
What are you drinking, Gregg? I think this is the link you should have offered Amanda.
Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard this one before. “such and such will change your mind about Tower Defense.” 😉 Well… I’m willing to keep an open mind. Since it’s inexpensive I can always add it to my long list.
I won’t be updating tomorrow or the next day, with the holidays and all, but, I imagine I’ll have another short trip report when I return. Happy holidays for now!
Haha, yes yes HM 😉
My link was just to an article coming from somebody else (Tom Chick) who doesn’t gel with TD games for similar reasons to Amanda. Tom later admits in the article: “In fact, [Immortal Defense is] pretty much the reason I’m writing this column on tower defense games.”
For the record though, Immortal Defense didn’t change Armand’s stance on TD, but I don’t think he got very far with it.
I think if you don’t like TD, you don’t like TD.
Immortal Defense is, though, the only TD game that will ever be compared with Planescape: Torment for sheer narrative awe. It’s a shame to miss out on that. Yow. The storyline still gives me the shivers.
Sorry I think we were talking about Steam sales. Where were we?
How are people getting on with the Holiday Gift thing?
I’ve picked up a couple of vouchers, nothing exciting though. I’ve also just been awarded a giftable copy of The Orange Box, so now I have to find the one person alive who doesn’t already own the Orange Box.
That said, I still need the achievement for trading an item on Steam. If anybody knows someone who would like The Orange Box, or can gift it to somebody else, I’m willing to trade it for 1 piece of coal?
Gregg: Not realizing you link was to another Tom Chick thing, I read his first game review on the list for Lock’s Quest, and was immediately thinking “Man, what a hater. It’s like he’s talking shit for the sake of it.” Then you mentioned it was Chick, and it all made sense.
Also, we’ve been having a blast with Dungeon Defenders, a great co-op TD game.
Lastly, Luke, you can suck a d**k.
I’m scared to login to Steam anymore given the pile of games I’ve bought and yet to install. Steam mocks my lame efforts to get caught up. I did buy up a gaggle of classic RPGs at GOG.com though.
Steam has just nuked all my categories!
I need to get some categories sorted for my Steam list, it’s getting a bit silly now.
There are categories?
I don’t know how you people get from one day to the next without categories.
Mine got restored \o/