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Darron’s Weekly Picks #4: $1 or Less Hidden Gems on Steam

Darron's Weekly Picks #4
Darron Dixon
Darron Dixon
Feb 28, 2018 • 6 min read • Posted in Reviews


I took last week off because of the post-Lunar New Year sales being lackluster, but I am back with some great games! This is one of the better weeks for value; one of the listings nets you two games for the price of one! I hope that you find something that fits your play style. Happy gaming!

Death's Hangover
GameStop, Inc.

Death’s Hangover



Yet another title from Retro Army, this marks the third game of theirs I have covered. This one is in the Arkanoid/Breakout/Ball and bat style and features over 90 levels. The humor is meant to be the big draw especially during the arcade mode, but it fell flat with me. It felt like every joke was juvenile and had zero thought put in it, which makes sense because the characters are not supposed to be very smart.

To be fair, the lack of a good story is not a deal breaker for a breakout (my choice of the many names the genre goes by) style game. Where the game shines, the most is the gameplay. I thoroughly enjoyed my hour spent with arcade mode. With each level I played they introduced a new mechanic helping it to stay fresh. The music is not that great, but it is bearable, which is how I felt about the art during story scenes as well. My biggest complaint with the game is the font during the story scenes; I had to strain my eyes quite a bit to make out what it was saying.

If you’re like me and enjoy the breakout genre, pick this up while it is on sale. Otherwise, I would wait for a bundle or pass.



Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio

Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio



I have to admit that this game has been on my radar for a while and now seemed like the perfect excuse to purchase it. The music is fun and upbeat which fits perfectly into this old-school platformer. The developer did a great job in making it really feel like an NES game.

There are limited lives, and if you die, it's back to the beginning. This could turn off newer gamers since there is no save function but if you enjoy a challenge, it's pretty fun. I really liked the artwork in the game, the sprites look nice. Another plus for me was all of the homages to classic games, though I probably missed some of the subtler ones.

As long as you heed my warning about there being no saves and are okay with it, this is definitely worth your time and money. I noticed when I looked on the discussions board on Steam that the developer mentioned that they planned on continuing updates for it. It's nice to see that kind of care for a game that has been out for a while.



Xenia

Xenia



If you go into this with an open mind and not expecting too much, you'll be pleasantly surprised like I was. It's a short Metroidvania game complete with hidden walls to find. The platforming is not too bad; I never found the controls to be unresponsive. I did, however, run into a bug where I was climbing down a ladder and when I got off, I was still in the climbing animation. This is honestly a minor issue because as soon as I tried attacking it fixed itself.

The sound is alright but not great; it probably will not bother you as the gameplay is fun. If you're a fan of the Metroidvania genre, then this is a no-brainer purchase. I'm just now finding this game and hope to see more from this developer. This is a great example of why I love doing these weekly articles, the feeling of finding a game that most people missed and bringing some attention to it is awesome.



High Strangeness

High Strangeness



Full disclosure, I watched a stream of this when it first came out and knew that it was a Kickstarter funded game. That is where my previous knowledge of the game ends, however. Where Tcheco in the Castle of Lucio felt like an NES game, High Strangeness feels like a SNES game, and I love it. The music was a definite high point for me, it fits the game perfectly. The pixel art style is good, and the character portraits are great, reminiscent of Final Fantasies on the SNES.

The biggest downsides would be that the puzzles are simple and I can tell the game is going to be short. I got nearly half the achievements in the game in my hour of play without even trying for them. Another minor complaint is I could not tell how much stat upgrades costs; I couldn't find a listing on the screen before purchasing.

For the price point the issues are not a deal breaker, if you have nostalgia for this era of games or just enjoy Zelda-y titles, then this is for you.



Cthulhu Saves the World

Cthulhu Saves the World



I have actually had this game for a while now, but my old graphics card had an issue with it and would not let me play. Just mentioning this in case anyone else runs into the same problem, it played perfectly once I got a different graphics card.

Anyway, let us continue on to the actual review. It plays a lot like the older Dragon Quest games as far as combat goes; the main draw is the characters and the humor which I found funny. You play as Cthulhu, the lord of insanity, who loses his powers when a mysterious sorcerer takes them away. To break the curse, Cthulhu must become a true hero. I really like the music, artwork, and character portraits. For the price alone it is worth picking up, but you also get an extra game at no extra cost as long as you buy the bundle found on its store page.



Breath of Death VII

Breath of Death VII



I had the same issues running this game, so I am just now getting to play it. It's similar to Cthulhu Saves the World in a lot of ways, both share the same sense of humor as well as the same developers. The characters often made me laugh or smile, and the narrator of sorts delivers some funny lines. In my hour with the game, I found several references to older RPGs and older games in general, and it's not overdone, so I quite enjoyed it. This is probably the best bang for your buck as you can get Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World in a bundle together for less than the standalone version.

Lastly I wanted to mention that if you pick these two games up and enjoy them, please consider checking out Cosmic Star Heroine. It's also made by Zeboyd Games and is a fantastic RPG that has drawn comparisons to Phantasy Star and Suikoden. It retails at $14.99 and probably will not be eligible for a weekly spot anytime soon, but I wanted to mention it anyway.



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