Mid-Year Round-Up

by | Jul 7, 2017

Time Keeps On Slipping (Slipping, Slipping)

First off, I want to thank everyone who visits our site, reads our articles, follows us on social media and generously gives to our Patreon. Without you, we wouldn’t have made it six days, let alone six months. Thanks for believing in crazy dreams!

And thanks to you guys, we’ve made it a whole half a year! It’s been tough going: line-up changes, the site changed hands and realizing just how many games get published through Steam. That didn’t stop us though. We’ve got a great team, and we have no plans of stopping any time soon!

Top 5

  1. Outlast II, Elipsis, Linelight (100)
  2. Bleed II (95)
  3. Rivals of Aether (92)
  4. Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (91)
  5. She Remembered Caterpillars, Avenger Bird, Detention, Leaving Lyndow, Dark Souls III: The Ringed City (90)

Bottom 5

  1. Camper Jumper, Hive Jump (25)
  2. Midnight’s Blessing II, Blaite (20)
  3. Monumental Failure (18)
  4. Crimson Nights, Akihabara (15)
  5. Marimba (>10)

While we no longer try to keep up with every game released on Steam this year, we’ve still managed to cover a whopping 128 games! Here’s a little break down of the kinds of games we’ve coverd:

29 games fall under our Gems category (scoring 80 or above)

Of these, only 3 have been given a perfect 100/100 (Outlast II, Elipsis, Linelight)

19 games were Early Access

7 we think you should go out and buy right now

18 have been doomed to the Steam Pile

With the 89 games we have given numerical scores, our average score is 59.8. I know, I know. We’ve gotten flak in the past, and continue to get complaints, about us being “too negative.” The thing is: we enjoyed bits and pieces of most games, we love the whole shebang with others, but a lot of games we come across just aren’t that spectacular. It’s easy to extol the virtues of a well-made game, or to deride the flaws of a game very poorly made. What’s difficult is finding new ways to say, “It was alright, I guess.”

Our staff have been playing a ton of games this year, both on Steam and console! We’ve picked out a few of our favorite (and maybe not so favorite) for you:

Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata pushes boundaries of what interactive storytelling can be without making any sacrifices in the gameplay department. A masterpiece in every sense of the word. Also, 2B? More like 2Bae. – Elias Blondeau

Some games are so insanely bonkers that they stick with you. Nier: Automata tackles exceptionally difficult subject matter in what can only be defined as a video game tragedy. This game is absolutely beautiful in every way, from it’s powerful soundtrack to the strangely human characters. Nier: Automata will be looked back on as a lesson in incredible game design. – Kevin Slackie

Everything is Going to be OK

Everything is Going to be OK is a game of cute bunnies in miserable, horrific situations, all dealing with their pain with relentless, ridiculous optimism. It’s completely ridiculous and utterly charming, drawing up a positivity that makes fun of how people deal with their problems, yet celebrates how we can face down adversity with humor and a sense of the absurd. It’s a celebration of existing despite the difficulties that life throws at us, done through bunnies in outlandish, hilarious situations. – Joel Couture

Hollow Knight

Looks aren’t everything, but Hollow Knight’s inspiring, magical shell is a perfect representation of its kernel. It’s a game with a world so rich and with a combat system so deep and challenging that I’m amazed it’s barely been covered by anyone so far. Hollow Knight will be a cult hit one day, and everyone will ask why the hell didn’t more people talk about it back in the day.

And then they’ll see we wrote about it. And they’ll realize we’re the best, and the sexiest, and they’ll ALL want to hang with Steam Shovelers, and then I could tell my mom, see mom, it’s not pathetic to be writing at video games when I’m pushing 30! It’s not! Everybody likes me! I’m important! I’m popular! – Alon Lessel

Yakuza 0

By far, my favorite game of the year so far is Yakuza 0. On the surface, it sounds like a game I’d hate: an open-world action-adventure where you play as two Bad Dudes™. But under the surface there’s an incredibly intelligent game about Japanese society in the 80s, before the terrible economic crisis of the 90s. I don’t want to say too much, because I’m planning on doing a video on this pretty soon, but suffice to say, Yakuza 0 manages to make a pretty stale genre interesting by constantly surprising players with what it does with a format that is all but ubiquitous today. – AL

Persona 5

Nothing has come close to Persona 5 for me this year, it’s just so… stylish. I listen to the soundtrack everyday on my phone and I’ve changed all my backgrounds to something Persona themed. It’s rare for a game to reach into my soul, so when something does it’s really hard for me to not rate it number one. – Holly Jane Amareta

“It’s easy to extol the virtues of a well-made game[…] What’s difficult is finding new ways to say, ‘It was alright, I guess.'”

Daydream Blue

Nope. Just nope. It’s all the worst bits of VR rolled into one. If it was still a free VRjam game aimed at mobiles, then it’d be fine for just messing around with. But as a paid for game, on steam? Hell no. – HA

Midnight’s Blessing II

Competition’s rough, but between its torturous, would’ve-been-old-hat-in-1992 combat system, the amatuer, unimaginative art direction and animation, and most of all, its nails-on-chalkboard tear-your-own-eyes-out dialogue, Midnight’s Blessing II takes the cake for worst overall Steam game I’ve played this year so far. No hyperbole can be enough to explain what a torture the 7 hours I spent with it were – and this was my first review for the site, too. – AL

Dark Rose Valkyrie

Perhaps the worst title yet from Compile Heart, this unmitigated dumpster fire of a game has no redeeming qualities. From a garbage pail story to monotonous gameplay to horrible depictions of trans people, a developer known for scraping the bottom of the barrel has found a way to go even lower. – EB

Injustice 2

With a year so jam-packed with hits, at least one of them isn’t going to live up to expectation. The original Injustice was a great romp through an alternate comic universe, filled with great plot twists and a great villain. Injustice 2 is far more safe, going with a “we have to work together” storyline that lacks the gravity of the original. The actual fights are also less polished, with spamming somehow becoming an even worse problem than before. The pre-order push didn’t help the game either, with over $60 worth of extras being peddled before I even had a chance to open the box. Punching superheroes is always a sure-fire way to make an engaging game, but somehow Injustice 2 is a shameful miss. – KS

Valkyrie Drive -Bhikkhuni-

With its reliance on poorly-written plots, dull static cutscenes, and cookie cutter characters to fill out the fact that there just isn’t much of a game outside of lifeless story interactions, Valkyrie Drive is a dull experience. It fails even if just considered as masturbatory material, as while you can paw at each of the game’s heroines in the changing room (which is arguably what the game is supposed to be suing as its main draw), they cry out for you to stop in various ways, something that is off-putting, to put it lightly. Following these molesting scenes up with gameplay where they float in their underwear in a void as you click on body parts that have hearts on them, despite those previous cries, makes for uncomfortable material. Even if the brawler portions are decent, the game’s reliance on a handful of enemies and bosses, repeated multiple times with more health, makes for a game that is flat and boring on almost every level. – JC

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