Steam Game Festival: Strategy Games

As I said, I went and looked at the strategy and simulation demos of Steam’s Game Festival. This post now is about the strategy games I found interesting at first glance. Some definitely have bits of strategic as well as simulation elements and I saw them again when I looked at the simulation genre. But as I first spotted them when I looked at strategy games, I will list them here. There is no ranking this time, but the less interesting ones are listed further below.

Zoo Economy is a game that sounded more interesting than it ended up being, but it also doesn’t have a zoo view at the moment. All you have is a world map with the location of several zoos on it. Then, in the missions section, you get mission goals and need to fulfill them in order to win a mission. In the tutorial missions this was, for example, getting two red pandas and a kangaroo. You can get animals by trading them with other zoos. Or by having your own animals breed. But in this example, you have to find the zoos that give you the animals you want. At the same time, unless your relation level with that zoo is very high, you need to give them animals in exchange that they want. So you may end up exchanging animals with zoo A, then exchanging the animals you got with zoo B to get the animals you need for zoo C which then give you the animals you need to exchange with zoo D and end up having the animals that the mission asked you to get. Wait a minute – is this a puzzle game? …Yes, in fact, the game description has “strategy-puzzle” mentioned. This goes to show how carefully I looked and selected the games… I don’t really care for puzzle games, but it wasn’t wasted time either! It didn’t end up on my wishlist, though.

Mars Horizon lets you choose one space agency (like ESA, NASA etc.) and get into a turn-based race against the others! According to the developers, the European Space Agency supports this game. So, I would assume it to be quite authentic. It’s a turn-based game and starts off with lots of tutorial texts. Now, I am not too interested in the game’s topic, actually. It’s okay, but I’d prefer a science fiction setting. However, I still really enjoyed my time trying out this game. It reminded me a bit of Offworld Trading Company only with turn-based gameplay. You compete against other companies and need to beat them in milestones etc.

Puppet Master: The Shadow Government Simulator is something a little bit different from my usual games. You try to take over the world, basically. It is also turn-based which I really love, as it gives me enough time to think. It once again plays like a puzzle game: You have to convert agents to your side and can choose which abilities to activate on them. This decision is permanent. I usually had three abilities to choose from and two could be used. In order to affect each other, allies have to be connected to each other, but each ally can only be connected to two others. They can, for example, increase stats on allies or decrease stats of an enemy. If the stats of an agent are higher than the enemy and they have the appropriate skill, they can convert the enemy to your side. The connections between the allies and the enemies can be changed as well, but all of these things cost resources and once you don’t have enough anymore, it’s time to start the next turn. I am not sure how much fun finding the right skill combinations to convert an agent will be for me in the long run and what else the game will offer to add some gameplay variety.

These were the games that I ended up liking the most. The following games got uninstalled already as they didn’t impress me too much or weren’t too fun to play.

I tried Taxer Inc, but had no idea what I have to do there. So, that’s basically all I can say about the game. Dwarven Skykeep was okay, but having to order the dwarf to create a card that I would then use to order the dwarf to do something seemed a bit too tedious. Other than that: Nice idea and I can see the game’s potential!

Make Your Kingdom is a city-building game. According to the game description, if your settlers get unhappy, they will side with the orcs who will attack your settlement. If I didn’t have any games of that kind yet and if I wanted a simplistic one that’s easy to get into, then this would be a safe purchase. But I have a lot of these games already and I don’t see what Make Your Kingdom has that sets it apart from all the others. But don’t get me wrong: I am not saying it’s a bad game! I don’t like the way the villagers look, but the game itself runs smoothly and I like the overall simplistic view. Maybe it had been more interesting with an orc attack…

Hex Slayer looked like fun, but it only had one campaign where you learned how to capture tiles. I did feel like I was playing a board game, though. Trying to capture hex fields and not leave any unprotected – well, in this campaign, no tiles could be contested, so it was just which ones I could capture. There was nothing else in it. So really, I can’t judge the game at all or even say if I’m interested or not. There just wasn’t enough demo content.

Arcadia The Crystal Wars: I was just about to write down a rant here of how the strong muscular melee fighters are always male characters and the ranged ones are more often female. But when I clicked on them, I realized I could change their gender. The other genders weren’t available in the demo, but they are there. Anyway, I went on my way through the village, spoke to three NPCs and then spotted a deer. I figured I would try the combat. I couldn’t kill that deer with my ranged character, however, as I hadn’t known about skills until I was well into the fight and decided to look at my character screen to see if I can find any abilities other than auto-attack. After that, I restarted with the two-handed character and immediately chose a skill. With that, I could barely kill a deer. But at least, I could! If you die, it’s game over, by the way. This game seems to still be very rough. The world looks like it could be pretty, but it’s still too bland right now. Overall, it is said to be a mixture of RPG and strategy. But what I have seen just wasn’t enough to capture my interest.

This section was a bit disappointing overall. Again, I wouldn’t say the games I tried were bad (either because I didn’t even understand what’s going on and can’t judge the game or because it just didn’t get me excited!), but for me, there was nothing great here either. Mars Horizon looks very promising, though. I am just not sure how much fun building rockets and spaceships is for me. I will watch where Puppet Master is heading and maybe Zoo Economy. Mostly because I haven’t seen the zoo view yet and don’t know if it will add more game features.

Next up will be the simulation games – or some, at least, as there isn’t that much time left of the Game Festival.

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