The Best of Steam Green Light’s First Approvals

Steam Green Light finally approved its first 10 games to be featured on the site, and (for the most part) they’re proving why this program is such a great idea in the first place. From zombie games, to samurai simulators, to “Half-Life” mods, back to zombie games, just in the initial offering of titles we are seeing some really remarkable ideas that will soon become available for all. Ranking those initial 10 titles is no easy task, but if you want the best of the best of Green Light so far, here it is.

10. McPixel – Probably the type of game that looks fun to vote for, but won’t get that many buys, “McPixel” is an odd title to say the least. It’s made up of a series of 20 second levels where you have to achieve a goal (usually getting rid of a bomb) without many instructions on how to do so. It’s reminiscent of “Wario Ware,” and carries a very unique since of humor, but looks like it may wear its welcome faster than that classic ever did. Nothing to see here, move along.

9. No More Room In Hell – “No More Room In Hell” is a “Half-Life 2” mod that more than favors “Left 4 Dead,” but this zombie squad based FPS gets some serious points for knowing its genre. I like the variety of zombie enemies, weapons, and appropriate environments, but what I love is the scarce ammunition, lack of crosshairs display, multiple game modes (including an awesome survival mode where you hold down a zombie fort) and overall fun factor. If you’re not tired of “Left 4 Dead,” but crave something new, keep your eye on this one.

8. Cry of Fear – A “Half-Life” mod, this is one of two horror games to make the final cut. “Cry of Fear” uses the old “you have amnesia” story to throw you into a world of fear and constant terror. The goal of “Cry of Fear” is to simply throw as many unexpected atrocities at you as possible and test your limits of composure. “Cry of Fear” reminds me of a really good carnival haunted house, and its use of sound, light, and atmosphere are top notch. Also, you have to see the above video of people playing it and losing their minds to the game’s scares.

7. Heroes and Generals – Maybe the most technically proficient of the initial Green Light games, “Heroes and Generals” looks to breathe a little life in to online FPS shooters. “Heroes and Generals” allows players to either take to the frontlines in a variety of combat situations FPS style, or take the role of a commander and manage the battle in more of an RTS format. This type of game has been tried before, but has never really produced a big hit. However, the media released so far is intriguing, and the team behind the game is some of the same people who worked on the “Hitman” series and “Freedom Fighters.” It’s got a lot of pedigree going for it, and could be a quick hit.

6. Project Zomboid – ANOTHER ZOMBIE GAME? Yes, but don’t hold that against it. This may be the most conceptually intriguing zombie game I’ve ever seen, as the emphasis is on survival and not shooting. Using a sandbox mode and isometric perspective, “Project Zomboid” allows players to scavenge supplies, build safehavens, maintain their hunger and boredom levels, and of course, fight the occasional zombie. It’s so in depth, you have to consider things like hanging sheets over your windows so zombies don’t spot your lights, and already features an active mod community who contribute to the game regularly. I’m a BIG fan of this one, and you should definitely consider it if you’re a fan of the first two “Fallout” games.

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Indie Spotlight: Towns

Towns game.

If I had to choose just one contribution to gaming for which I could thank Notch and the team at Mojang, it would be the popularization of early alpha for indie games. While Minecraft’s level of success remains unique, developers have noticed that early alpha access to their games can build plenty of hype to carry the game through to release. I’ve been digging around in the indie scene for a while now, so I thought it might be cool to throw a spotlight on some of the interesting games that are out there.

Today’s Indie Spotlight falls on a game called Towns. The game is being developed by a small indie group known as SMP. By the way, good luck searching for anything related to this game for the next couple months. Being that Minecraft multiplayer, a system in which players often create their own towns, is called SMP, you’re going to get mostly Minecraft-related results. I’ll save you some trouble and just point you to their official website.

The game is basically an RTS with a slight Dwarf Fortress influence. You play from an isometric view, controlling a group of villagers to gather resources in order to support your spelunking efforts. The game is built on levels that increase in difficulty as you descend. There is a tiered crafting system whereby you can make armors and weapons to keep yourself safe, food to keep your village sated, and housing, to keep everyone happy.

This game is in alpha, so some of the mechanics are a little buggy or just haven’t been implemented. There is no priority system for tasks, so it’s possible to “hunger lock” yourself, meaning your villagers are too hungry to even make more food. You can then watch them all starve to death, but it’s probably better to start over. The game also features some terribly obnoxious music, though it is possible to toggle off.

There is a lot of good in Towns, too. In a lot of ways, Towns reminded me what the “game” part of Minecraft is missing, which is essentially something to do with the mountains of resources you gather over the course of a game. Exploring is definitely fun, but once you’ve seen your fourth or fifth epic cave, you’ve seen them all. Towns puts your resources to use, even if it is a bit grindy.

In future updates, SMP has plans to add a hero system. My guess is that your town’s resources will now be dedicated to decking out the hero and letting him crawl through some dungeons. It seems like a great idea that, when coupled with a solid crafting system and the hilarity of mass-butchering cows, makes this quirky little game a great buy for under $20 at retail.

If you’re interested in town management sims or even games like Terraria, I would highly recommend giving Towns a shot. The game has a demo that allows you to experience 20 in-game days, which is plenty to get your feet wet. You can also purchase the alpha version of the game for roughly $13. Alpha purchasers have unrestricted access to the latest builds of the game.


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