So 2018’s Steam summer sale has come and gone; an annual event that is of particular interest to lepidopterologists around the world due to the sudden spike in the population of wallet-born moths. This could be correlation rather than causation of course, like how the popularity of short or long skirts worn throughout the years happens to correspond to how good or bad the economy is doing. We know this isn’t true, however; it’s evidently Gabe and the inexorably tantalising game deals towards which PC gamers are so helplessly drawn – like some sort of winged, comedic call-back related insect to a flame.
Having waited for the initial wave of eager Steam-sale-countdown-watchers to cram themselves through the cyber-store doors of Steam, like some Walmart in Ohio on Black Friday in which children and the elderly are punched and trampled in order to acquire a cheap panini toaster, I managed to nab a handful of games I’ve had my eye on.
Normal Price: £19.49
Steam Sale price: £15.59
I’ve been wanting to play this game for a while now. Having seen a few videos and Twitch streams of people playing it, it was at the very top of my Steam Wishlist. Since downloading it, I’ve played nearly 40 hours so far and I’m loving every minute.
You’re a survivor on an oceanic alien planet after your spaceship crash lands, leaving you with nothing but a floating escape pod and your own wits. You have to swim, dive, and explore the waters around you to find ores and materials to make tools that help you survive, wreckages to help you discover technologies, flora and fauna for food, water, and health, as well as uncovering the secrets and incredible biomes that alien sea has in store for you. It seems to be an ocean-based version of No Man’s Sky – except one where there’s more content, and instead of getting your hopes up with empty promises, presents you the game with no fanfare and impresses you the more you play.
Unsurprisingly, it’s very sandboxy; finding materials to make tools to help you find ores in order to make a tech which will enable you to make a base and vehicles and upgrades (which, in turn, require more ores and minerals to make). There’s also the survival element too which adds a much-needed threat and immersion to the game. It’s also low-key a horror game. Once you depart from the “Safe Shallows” and go deeper into the murky depths of the sea, the ambient music becomes more ominous, you hear strange sounds and see intimidatingly gargantuan creatures in the distance come closer to you.
Non-scripted jump-scares are therefore abundant. If you aren’t visibly shaken when a monster throws you out of your little submersible 1000 meters down into a pitch-black cave where you have 30 seconds to swim through a labyrinth, up to the surface whilst the monster chases you, you’re a filthy liar, okay? There’s a real sense of scale in this game wherein what you initially thought to be “deep” is nothing compared to how deep you can actually go.
You almost get a creeping sense of bathophobia whereby the sheer depth and scale of the sea below you makes you suddenly hyper-aware of how much you super appreciate being safe on dry land IRL. I lost count of the number of times I found myself constantly going “Wow” or “What’s that??” or “Whoa what is this place?” out loud. And you can make a submarine. And you can name it. ‘Nuff said.
Normal Price: £22.99
Summer Sale Price: £13.79
I don’t really know a lot about this game. I got it based on a few reasons.
Firstly, the aesthetic is amazing. It just oozes rain-soaked, Blade Runner dystopia. As soon as I saw the trailer and read the line “You play as Daniel Lazarski, a Krakówian detective of the Observers police unit who can hack people’s brain implants with a device known as the Dream Eater, for interrogation purposes” I added it to my wishlist.
Secondly, with the mounting rumours surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 that came to a head during this year’s E3 and the trailer they released at the end of the Microsoft conference, I needed a taste of some of that sweet, sweet cyberpunk – preferably intravenously. >Observer_ seemed to be the ideal option to sate my appetite for the time being.
Finally, I also noticed that the studio that developed this game (Blooper Team) also made 2016’s Layers of Fear. Considering how good that game was, I reasoned I would be in safe hands. It also explains the visceral, gritty vibe I recognised in the trailers and screenshots for >Observer_, as well as why this is labelled as a ‘psychological horror’. At any rate, I’m looking forward to playing it.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!
Normal Price: £9.99
Summer Sale Price: £4.99
Having played the first Cook, Serve, Delicious and enjoyed it, I was curious about how they improved the game. Reviews seemed positive so I decided to add it to my cart.
For the uninitiated, you basically own and run a restaurant where customers line up and you, against the clock, have to assemble, cook, and serve meals to the increasingly impatient customers. You then use the money and tips you acquired to upgrade the restaurant, the food, and also to buy new recipes. There are also challenges like having to please health inspectors, doing chores mid-rush hour, cook for VIPs, create buzz, change up the menu regularly, go on cooking shows, etc. I don’t know why, but intense, frantic, multi-tasking cooking games seem to pull me in (hence why I also love Overcooked).
I’ve yet to play it but I’m sure I’ll dig it.
Normal Price: £7.99
Summer Sale Price: £5.35
I got this mostly for pragmatic reasons. I already own the game on PC and I’ve already completed it several times, however, when I can, I try and buy the Steam-version of a game I already own so that my being able to play it isn’t contingent upon how scratched a CD is. There’s something satisfying having everything all in one place anyway.
It’s an open-world third-person action/adventure game set in the 1930s where you live out the rise and fall of mafioso Tommy Angelo in the fictionalised city ‘Lost Heaven’. Although clearly blocky and a bit dated (It’s circa 2002 to be fair), it’s still an enjoyable game and is surprisingly immersive; the old-timey cars, the 30s tuneage with the likes of Django Reinhardt, Lonnie Jonhson, Louis Armstrong, and The Mills Brothers, the fact that the rozzers will pull you over and give you a ticket when going over the speed limit, enjoyable characters, and the not-too-shabby storyline makes it well worth your while.
The Mafia series has come on leaps and bounds since then (and I’ve bought and played and enjoyed each one). However, they wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for this humble gem of a game.
Steam Summer Sale Cart Total: £39.72
Normal Steam Cart Total: £60.46
Money saved: £20.74 (34% off)