This probably won’t be one of my more famous Steam Packs, for a good reason. While I was editing the humongous review of Super Mario RPG, I kept some smaller game running in the background, some clicker, because I’m a stupid addict. It made me think of free games in general.
Steam has an odd relationship with free games. It accepts any small games by developers that are handed out for free on the platform, no matter the amount of effort put into them; as an example, I reviewed small experiments like Carpe Diem before. It also has a ton of free games that include microtransactions, of the kinds that are necessary to either properly beat the game or get an edge in a competitive multiplayer mode. We also have free games that include microtransactions but can be beaten without ever paying a single penny. Today, I am looking at the concepts of free, free-to-play, “fee-to-pay”, microtransactions, payable extras, you name it – but not necessarily in that order. No, it’s not gonna be a heavy article, I just sensed a theme among the titles I played lately and thought it would tie the whole pack nicely together. Let’s begin, shall we?
Price on Steam: 1.00$
Starting with something almost free, we have a little indie project that combines a platform game with puzzle elements… common genre among indie devs, as I’ve discussed before. This one does something I’ve never seen before, though. Anteater Games beings us Camera Obscura: You’re the protagonist. You’re an amateur photographer. There’s a giant tower. You want to scale it. You got a magical camera with you.
|For some reason, you die if you touch any enemy. Including|
the cute anteaters here. Inexplicable.
On top of that, the game has enemies, which are indestructible because our protagonist went in with only a camera and left their bazooka at home. Sheesh! Well, okay, that’s not entirely true. They “can” kill enemies, usually by crushing them into the hard light, but most of the time the protagonist and their single HP will be at the mercy of whatever living threat is in the way. Not every platform will be replicated into hard light, though; and some places are locked by puzzles, requiring, say, an enemy to press a switch so you can progress.
|Your temporary platforms can also become a hindrance|
if you don't place them correctly.
|Also, collecting photos containing|
backstory rather than pictures, a
sweet little completion quest.
Learn To Fly 3
|Everyone has to start somewhere.|
Unlike the first two, this one is actually free-to-play, meaning that you could in theory spend real-life money on it. For, you see, the first time you play, most upgrades are locked, and can only be unlocked after multiple playthroughs. Beat the original, 200km height goal, and then beat it over and over again – that’s a fairly quick way to unlock everything.
|Whoa, that's heavy.|
(P.S. This is Payload mode, hence the giant weights.)
There are four modes: Story, about sending your penguin as high as possible; Payload, in which your penguin is given a heavy weight and must reach a high altitude in spite of the added weight; Classic, in which your penguin will instead try to fly around the world, getting thrown horizontally rather than vertically; and Sandbox, where one can toy around with the game's programming to try and reach the craziest possible heights - or utterly crash the game, if the player goes too far.
As you can guess, all of the interest is in getting those booster packs, as they hold all the rewards you want. You could pay for Sardines to buy them… or never spend any real money at all, and grind for Sardines with multiple playthroughs, earning them by completing in-game achievements, and just buying a pack every time you have enough Sardines. That’s how I did it, and I beat the game without ever spending any real-life money on it.
|Hmm... Do I want to pay for in-game currency... or do I want|
another actual game instead...
Price: 5.49$ (fee-to-pay)
|That's a busy screen and not that great a game so far,|
but the cute Deck Master makes up for it I guess.
|Yes, the lion is my avatar. Got a problem with that?|
Obviously, the PvP aspect is the main reason why this game exists. There is a very short 1-Player mode where you just battle CPU opponents, allowing you to spin the wheel and get more rewards, whether it’s new cards to use in the game or some of the various currencies that can be used. It's all preparations to get into PvP, however.
|Gotta smash the enemy! ....'s fortress.|
I don’t blame Minion Masters’ developer, BetaDwarf, for adding fee-to-pay elements to their game, but as it stands, I can’t really enjoy it. I get why they do that, you pay for the main game and then you can choose to pay for more or not, and all the money they receive can help them develop a better product in the long run. But it falls into the common fee-to-pay traps of eventually forcing the player to pay if they want to be able to measure up to everyone else. It’s not bad, but I don’t really like it. Hopefully it becomes less restrictive as time goes and we can enjoy it without having to pay more than the game’s starting fee.
After I realized I had too many of those, I decided to purge clickers out of my Steam collection. Too much of a waste of time. Hell, the only one I kept is Time Clickers, and even then, I’ll likely delete it as soon as I’ve beaten it. So, let’s take a look at that one, and then be done with clickers in general.
|These blocks are in the shape of a lightbulb, right?|
|Overlevel at the start, and you,ll be overpowered!|
See levels pass by at super-speed!
|Soo... many... things to upgrade... Holy wow.|
That’s okay, there’s no point in continuing past Wave 4,000 anyway. Or after you got every special upgrade to the maximum level, which is also a Hell of a grind, but anything you do after this is merely for bragging rights. Get all the achievements, upgrade everything to the maximum, also improve your weapons with the third currency, weapon cubes (a third currency that improves your weapons, though they take much longer to gather; that's another thing I don’t see in other clickers), and… I dunno, beat it and then stop wasting your time on it.
I mean, it’s a clicker. It’s inherently a waste of time with rewards to make you feel some sort of accomplishment without actually doing much for it, as well as something pretty to look at, something that you can just keep in the background or set and forget while you do more important things. It’s addictive but ultimately pointless. I liked this one because it didn’t include a way to take your real money, but I’ll still delete it from my collection because I shouldn’t spend my time with those games. Oh no, I should play, y’know, other games. For review on this blog.
So, this completes another Steam Pack. Yeah, sorry, I guess this one didn’t have much in the way of jokes. Oh well. Come back next Friday for something that will be full of jokes, guaranteed.