Ok, maybe I shouldn't try to write Steam related puns, but I will try writing something different.
Since gaiages gave us the idea to post mini-reviews and gave us a good example to work with in her own blog, I thought I'd try my hand at this too. So, stealing her idea and her layout, here's some miniature reviews, with scores, of some of the games in my Steam library!
Let's start with a classic...
Loom is a point-and-click adventure game from the early 90's, developed by LucasArts. It was among the first in LucasArts' line of P&C games that removed any failure and unwinnable scenarios, ensuring that players of any skill level could complete the game. Loom eschews the traditional inventory-based puzzles and instead relies on note-based puzzles. Not written notes, mind you - musical notes. Your character carries a staff which can play musical notes, and playing them in different orders will cast spells which will have various effects on whatever item you're focusing the spell on. The unique gameplay, combined with the usual LucasArts humor, makes this one well worth checking out for adventure game fans. Just be warned, it's a little on the short side and ends on an unresolved cliffhanger.
Score - 7/10
Just Cause 2
Ok, I'll be honest - I haven't finished JC2 on Steam, but I finished it when I played in on Xbox 360, so that's close enough, right? Anywho, this game is an absolute blast, full of non-stop thrills and more adrenaline rushes than you can shake a F-22 at. The game features a massive open world just ripe for the exploring and destroying, and you'll do plenty of both - causing "chaos" by destroying government-owned property is the only way to unlock missions from your bosses, The Agency, as well as various factions scattered around the fictional island of Panau. If there's anything bad to be said about this game, it's that none of the characters are particularly likable, and the voice acting is atrocious, but you'll likely be too busy shooting, exploding, driving, flying, and parachuting around the island to notice. Give this one a shot if you're in for a good action game, because this is plenty action packed for even the most hardcore hellraiser.
Score - 9.5/10
And Yet It Moves
AYIM is an interesting game. It's a platformer at heart, but with a twist...because you can literally twist the level in order to open new paths. By rotating the stage left and right, you'll open previously unnoticed entryways, move obstacles out of the way, navigate intriguing maze-like labyrinths, and find out how far your character can fall without dying. The game's graphics are unique too, in that everything appears to be made out of paper, setting this apart from the majority of puzzle-platformers out there. This one, like Loom, is also on the short side, but it's a lot of fun while it lasts.
Score - 7.5/10
Saints Row 2
Truth time, again - I never finished this on Steam, just on 360. But that's because the PC version is nearly unplayable - first of all, the game won't even run at a steady framerate unless your processor clock speed is the exact same as the Xbox 360's, so the game will inevitably play either too slow or too fast unless you tinker with files outside of the game, but it's hardly worth the trouble. The controls are also incredibly touchy, making driving an exercise in futility. Everything about this game is shoddy generally awful, making this one of the worst PC ports of any game ever made. This mini-review is a cautionary tale: stay away from SR2. Saints Row: The Third, however, runs fine, so maybe grab that instead.
Score - 1/10
Cthulhu Saves the World
Cthulhu Saves the World is an old-school RPG inspired by the 8 and 16-bit heroes of yore - Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and the like. The game features the dread beast Cthulhu (obviously) embarking on a quest to regain his powers that were taken from him by an unknown force. Along the way you'll meet a colorful cast of characters, from Cthulhu's official groupie to a talking sword and an alien who looks like a cat. The battle system is reminiscent of Dragon Quest, where the monsters are displayed on the screen as if viewing them in first-person and your menu to choose actions under them. This game has some more modern mechanics though, such as a random encounter limit and combo attacks between characters. With the style of an old-school RPG, the trappings of a modern one, and the humor of a fantastic writing team, Cthulhu Saves the World is easily one of the best PC JRPGs you could own right now, and it comes at a fantastic price as well - a mere $2.99 for a good 9-10 hours of gameplay.
Score - 9/10
Jolly Rover is essentially The Secret of Monkey Island with dogs. Well, that's not entirely accurate, because Jolly Rover, the main character, doesn't want to be a pirate like Guybrush, but he ends up getting swept up in a tail (sorry) of treasure and adventure on the high seas. The game is your standard point & click adventure, though at times it feels more skewed to the "casual" crowd - there's not any really heavy head scratchers, but if you do get stuck, you can sacrifice an easily-found cracker to your parrot sidekick for a hint. Each time you ask for a hint, it becomes more obvious until it pretty much spells out exactly what you need to do. So it's not the most difficult game to complete, but it's a lot of fun and has a great sense of humor. If you've played the Monkey Island games and are looking for something with a similar pirate vibe, or just want to play a fun adventure game that doesn't ask too much of you, check out Jolly Rover.
Score - 7/10
Your music is under attack. Your mission: to liberate it! Symphony is another one of those "your own music does different stuff in the game" things, and, personally, it's my favorite of the various ones I've played. Each level plays like a vertical-scrolling shooter, where you use your mouse to pilot your ship around the screen and shoot enemy ships that invade from various sections of the screen. Destroying enemies nets you "inspiration" as well as powerups and score multipliers, and gaining inspiration allows you to unlock more powerful weapons. The game also features progressively more difficult boss fights at mostly random intervals, meaning you could be jamming along to your favorite song when suddenly a pair of eyes pops up on the screen to tell you he's trapped the soul of the composer, and you, puny physical being, will never free him! With plenty of weapons to unlock, varying difficulties, and an actual goal to work towards - defeating all the bosses and reclaiming the Symphony of Souls - Symphony is one of the more engaging games of this style.
Score - 8/10
BONUS: A Greenlight mini-review!
There are plenty of puzzle-platformers on Greenlight right now. So why should you pay attention to this one? Because it is fantastic. The game puts you in control of a purple goat (because why not) and tasks you with escaping from a prison, because also why not. But you're not alone! You also have the companionship of a tiny mouse, who helps out in a big way. Escape Goat drops you into one-screen rooms full of switches, blocks, tricks, and traps and asks you to escape from each room. To do this, you'll often need quick reflexes, the help of your mouse friend, and memorization skills for when you inevitably trigger the wrong switch and have to restart the level. The game design is great for quick, bite-sized chunks of play time or marathon sessions, and some of the later, more difficult levels really give you that sense of accomplishment when you find your way out. The greatest sense of accomplishment, however, is passing any of the secondary levels that unlock after you finish the main game - some of the toughest, most nail-bitingly intense levels await you after the prison, and I loved every minute of it. Also, to end on a random note that I couldn't manage to squeeze in anywhere else, this game has awesome music. Vote it up!
Score - 9/10
That's all for the first round! Be sure to stay tuned for the next episode, where I review...wait, I'm not going to tell you. That would be silly, because then you'd know what to expect and whether or not you should read the next one before it's even done. So stay tuned for the next episode, because everything about it is going to be a complete surprise! Mwahahahaha!