Darron’s Weekly Picks #10: $0 or less hidden gems on Steam
This week I wanted to try something a bit different, instead of selecting among hidden gems under a dollar I chose to spotlight some free titles on Steam. I tried my best to avoid games that already had a lot of exposure, so most of these titles have one hundred or fewer reviews currently.Bane of Asphodel
is not what I would call a good game, but it does have fun moments with silly humor, a cute art style, and ridiculous controls that can lead to humorous outcomes. What drew me to covering this game was the art style; it looks pretty unique especially for a free game. The actual game mechanics leave much to be desired as combat feels clunky and finicky. I did enjoy rolling around and seeing what kind of movement combinations I could come up with. For a free title, it's not bad at all and might be worth your time downloading it to try something different.Telophase
is a fantastic twin-stick shooter that I honestly wish I could pay money for. The pixel art is gorgeous, and the combat takes a nice spin on what's standard for the genre. I really liked that the setting was ancient Egypt and bosses found you fighting Gods. As it is a super short game, I won't spoil the bosses you face but trust me that if you like twin-stick shooters, this is worth a download.
I ended up making a YouTube video of myself playing the game, and because of technical issues, I had to play through it again. Why I mention, this is because it was as much of a joy to play it a second time as it was the first. It also isn't too hard if you usually do not play twin-stick shooters, so it is accessible to every skill range. Definitely recommend!Clawface
is a nice looking twin stick shooter with a neon aesthetic that feels fast and fun to play in short bursts. The main draw is that it has Steam workshop support so you can play more than the one challenge that comes with it by default. While there are plenty of twin-stick shooters out there that do similar things, it's a pretty good offering for free. I would be remiss not to mention that the enemy sprites look nice paired with the game’s aesthetic.
When I first saw this game, I didn't think I would include it until a Steam review pointed out that it is like Katamari Damacy with puzzle-based levels. I ended up playing it until it crashed on me; while it feels poorly optimized, the idea behind the game is quite good. It felt satisfying to figure out the puzzles so I would recommend this to you if you like weird puzzle games or Katamari Damacy. Let this be a reminder that word of mouth and Steam reviews help out indie devs; I would have skipped this one otherwise!Dungeons Forever
is a pretty simple "maker" type game that anyone can make levels for. There doesn't seem to be a way to pick levels to play, so it suffers the same fate that 100 Man does in Super Mario Maker. Out of the runs I did, only one or two were not obvious troll levels. I looked at the editor, and it seems to be easy to use so that could be fun to play around with. Maybe I'll try my hand at making some levels and update this review afterward. As of now, I would only recommend it if you enjoy "maker" style games or enjoy building levels.
As all of these games are free, I decided not to include my usual guide for each title. Let me know if you decide to try any of these games out because I would love to hear about it! I have a passion for video games in general, but I have a soft spot for indie games so I like to give exposure when I can for small devs. If you like the idea of spotlighting free games, I might start doing it by categories for easier reading in the future, either way, thank you for reading to the end!