Ranking 200 Random Buy-to-Play Steam Games [Part V: 72–65]

Finally! After 128 games that were at-absolute-best “almost recommendable to certain gamers” and over three dozen games that were mostly or entirely broken and/or stolen, we have reached the first article with recommended games. We’ll start by finishing off the borderline titles, then discuss the low recommended games, the highly recommended games, and finish off with the games on this list that are top-tier, best-of-all-time games!

#72 Super UFO Fighter

Developer/Publisher: VV-LABO / Phoenixx, Inc.
Release Date: January 12th, 2022
Price: N/A
Reviews: None
Tags: Sports, 2D, Fighting, Action, PvP.
Platforms: Windows, macOS.

This game was reviewed prior to release, in it’s demo form. It’s quite possible it could change significantly, but I wanted to include a few demos of future buy-to-play titles to see how games that offer a demo stack-up to the competition. I’m entirely not sure with this one.

The stylized graphics are unique, coherent, consistent, and occasionally make the playfield difficult to decipher. The controls and physics aren’t always clear at the start of a match but tend to be consistent once you discover the specifics of a map. If you strip away the unique art style, you are left with a very stiff fighting game with odd physics. The art direction is definitely carrying this title to a slight recommend. It’s still fairly fun.

Grade: C— Carried by art direction. Otherwise, it would likely be a high D title.

#71 GAROU: Mark of Wolves

Developer/Publisher: SNK
Release Date: December 7th, 2016
Price: $9.99
Reviews: 93% POSITIVE OF 597 REVIEWS
Tags: Fighting, 2D, PvP, Arcade, Multiplayer.
Platforms: Windows.

Fourteen total fighters to choose from, multiple modes and mechanics, multiplayer via invite a friend, lobby, and local multiplayer, training sessions, leaderboards, and more. It’s a full-featured game with a good frame rate, and is mostly faithful to the SNK arcade original at least from a visual perspective.

The problem is the fighting game itself just isn’t that memorable. Also, the audio seems to lag behind the action, inputs often lag, and there are instances of frame skipping. Promised updates have not resolved the issues. This is a pretty decent arcade fighting game that was given a barely passable conversion.

Grade: C — Audio lag, input lag, frameskips, and UI issues tarnish a fairly good SNK fighting game. I noticed in recent reviews that these issues are apparently mostly resolved, but at the time of playing this — they did not appear to have been addressed.

#70 Amazing Chicken Adventures

Developer/Publisher: Piotr Rochala
Release Date: September 3rd, 2021
Price: $15.99
Reviews: 50% positive with 2 reviews.
Tags: Puzzle, 3D Platformer, Action, Local Co-Op, Co-Op.
Platforms: Windows.

$16 is too much for this game, even though it’s appearance looks like a $16 game, with it’s stylized art and smooth animations. There’s essentially no tutorial, controls are not explained well, and the puzzles rely on being cryptic over legitimately challenging.

I love chickens and I love the charm of this title. It’s an early access title charging $15.99 though, and that’s about $10.00 more than this title deserves at present.

Grade: C — Relies on cryptic puzzles and challenging, imprecise controls over intellectually-stimulating, legitimately challenging puzzles. Too many issues for a $15.99 game

#69 Axis Football 2020

Developer / Publisher: Axis Games
Date: October 7th, 2020
Price: $29.99
Reviews: 71% of 149 reviews are positive.
Tags: Sports, Football, Simulation, Strategy.
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux.

Axis Football 2020 begins with an appearance and breadth of game modes that surpasses the recent Madden titles. No NFL license impairs it, though. The game also plays a bit slow but once you adapt to the slownness, it’s easy to hold on to and score.

There is potential here and many fans of football will love it anyway. It’s a pretty good football game but not one of the classics.

Grade: C

#68 Tactical Combat Department

Developer/Publisher: LukasH / Render System
Release Date: October 14th, 2021
Price: $11.99 (received free key from developer)
Reviews: 75% of 33 reviews are positive.
Tags: Isometric, Tactical, Turn-Based, Turn-Based Tactics, Military, Turn-Based Combat, Violent.
Platforms: Windows.

Turn-based tactical games are not really my jam, nor are SWAT-based games. I have no interest in being a part of a police force. Despite that, I mostly enjoyed my experience with this game. Would I have enjoyed it as much for $11.99 instead of free (key from developer )? Yeah, but I personally wouldn’t have paid $12 for it.

This game has fairly decent objectives and maps. Lighting seems to work properly. Movement calculates the correct number of APs and APs seem to be balanced toward a highly skilled player being the typical player. That’s not unacceptable — it’s probably generally true. I often failed to score enough points to advance, but the mistakes causing me to not rack up sufficient points were often apparent. It seemed focused on a realism angle for the most part, although some of the point-blank shots should have killed suspects or civilians. Not a deal-breaker.

Now it’s time to mention this title’s issues. First, the turns take too long for the AI to perform, often moving around in circles or like “chickens with their heads cut off”. The available mechanics are also significantly more basic than the other tactics games I’ve played, including X-COM games. There’s no narrative tying together the random missions and no feeling of progressing as a character or team within the game — just cold, objective numerical data stating whether you progress or not based simply on a score.

There’s potential here, and the developer releases updates every 3 weeks or so. If you enjoy turn-based tactics games involving military or police, definitely give this one a try.

Grade: C — A tactics game that does more right than wrong, and the wrong elements seem to be slowly improving with each subsequent update.

#67 Second Hazardous Course

Developer/Publisher: Team Lambda
Release Date: July 4th, 2018
Price: Removed from Steam store (voluntarily) but was $2.99
Reviews: 88% of 18 reviews are positive.
Tags: 2D, Side-scrolling, Platformer, Puzzle.
Platforms: Windows.

This is a challenging obstacle course platformer, with lots of repetition and experimentation. The controls aren’t as precise as I’d prefer, but they are serviceable. Much like the graphics and sound. Unfortunately, the first recommended game on our list was removed from Steam due to not being up to the standards of the studio.

Grade: C— A fun, challenging platformer. Nothing exceptional, but it demonstrates competence in art direction and level design.

#66 One Night You’re Crazy

Developer / Publisher:
Date:
Price:
Reviews:
Tags:
Platforms:

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Grade:

#65 Zombie Killin’

Developer / Publisher: BagelMaster5000 / SamStar Enterprises Inc.
Date: January 31st, 2017
Price: $1.99 with free demo
Reviews: 100% of 15 reviews are positive.
Tags: Co-Op, Multiplayer, Shared Screen, Top-Down, Shooter, Zombies.
Platforms: Windows.

This game is as basic as top-down zombie shooters come. Despite that, it was still quite fun to play especially with other players. Don’t let the simplistic graphics fool you!

Grade: C — Solid gameplay but questionable graphic s.

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We are a game preservationist, archivist, design and writing collective, focusing on multiplayer and massively multiplayer games. Also music preservation!

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Aun Collective

We are a game preservationist, archivist, design and writing collective, focusing on multiplayer and massively multiplayer games. Also music preservation!

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