Ranking 200 Random Steam Buy-to-Play Games [Part II: #169–140]

#169 — Falcobe (a.k.a. “Increase World”)

Developer/Publisher: Fabian L / Naytics
Release Date: November 4th, 2020
Price:
Was $6.99 but is now removed from Steam store!
Reviews: 8 of 18 reviews are positive [44%]
Tags: Massively multiplayer, sandbox, simulation.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

This game has transformed from one “game” called Falcobe that was in a stage of development that was still quite far from even being a serviceable tech demo to a different “game” called Increase world that was equally as broken. Now it’s completely removed from Steam and the developer does not respond to inquiries.

At least it was removed from Steam.

Grade: F — Broken, Abandonware.

#168 — Order №227

Developer/Publisher: High Wide / Garage Games
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018.
Price:
$0.49
Reviews: 28 of 77 reviews are positive [36%]
Tags: 2D, pixel art, platformer, run & gun.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

We have still not covered three MMORPGs that at the time of review did not have active servers so were not playable at all. It’s quite pathetic when games that are literally unplayable are so highly ranked on the list simply because the game worked at one point, the developer claims the game will work in the future, and the developer actually developed the previously online game, unlike games like this that are not only stolen from other developers but are fundamentally broken.

Order №227 is yet another asset flip, this time coming from a Connect 2 game kit. It’s horrifically broken, so chances are you won’t be able to progress beyond the first level. Hit detection is inaccurate. Inputs are often ignored. Even if it wasn’t stolen, the game is of such low quality to deserve a low ranking.

Grade: F — Stolen, broken & abandonware.

#167 — Fantasy ERA

Developer/Publisher: Faith KAYA / FKgames
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Price:
$4.99
Reviews:
7 of 18 reviews are positive [39%]
Tags: Massively multiplayer, online PvP, strategy, crafting.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Despite still carrying a $6.99 price tag, Fantasy ERA has not been updated since November 2017 — only a few months after it’s release. It has been offline and non-functional for years. The purchased game is also just a short playable demo, not a full version game. It’s yet another abandoned in early access game on Steam.

Grade: F — Abandonware.

#166 — Underwater Hunting

Developer/Publisher: GiBar / RoBot
Release Date: June 20th, 2018
Price:
$0.99
Reviews:
39 of 71 reviews are positive [55%]
Tags: Online co-op, underwater, arcade, casual.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Underwater Hunting has a leg-up on many of the previously mentioned titles: it actually works! That’s due to it not relying on a centralized server. I couldn’t find anyone to test online co-op but it appears to be workable even without a centralized matchmaking server.

This game involves a low effort fish graphic being moved around the screen with almost no perceivable animation, eating other fish by running into them. You must eat a certain number of fish to complete a level. Some of the fish swim straight off of the screen so it’s possible to end up in a state where you can’t actually defeat a level. The levels are extremely small and the gameplay is extremely lackluster and boring.

The developer also tends to ban individuals if they bring forth complaints or concerns about the game, even if the complaints are polite-in-nature and discuss bugs that do not appear to have been reported yet.

Grade: F — Low quality game with broken content and mechanics. Developer engages in anti-consumer practices.

#165 — Drunken Fight Simulator

Developer/Publisher: Volens Nolens Games
Release Date: January 17th, 2017
Price:
$0.49
Reviews:
82 of 119 reviews are positive [69%]
Tags: PvP, fighting, beat ’em up, physics.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Drunken Fight Simulator [DFS] is a physics/ragdoll fighting game that appears to play more like a beat ’em up, with up to 6 human players in multiplayer. It’s easy to get stuck in level assets, the physics often make no sense, and hit detection is mostly broken. It’s a silly idea that appears to have never actually been playtested. It’s essentially unplayable in its current state.

Grade: F — Abandonware and numerous bugs. Amount of content is extremely limited, too.

#164 — Streatham Hill Stories

Developer/Publisher: Anthony Staines / Antz Technology
Release Date: October 23rd, 2020
Price:
$4.99
Reviews:
9 of 12 reviews are positive [75%]
Tags: PvP, Online Co-Op, Open World, Sandbox
Supported Platforms: Windows.

The final update for Streatham Hill Stories, a London-based Grand Theft Auto clone, was April 2021. That is the version I played. Controls often didn’t register, driving or aiming was nearly impossible due to poor controls, and the game was extremely bug-ridden. I love the concept of a single person making their neighborhood into a GTA map but can’t recommend anyone actually purchase this due to development ceasing and the current state of the game being nearly unplayable. The servers are also offline, but it allows you to play offline.

Grade: F — Released in an extremely bug-ridden, near-unplayable state with no further updates.

#163 — Beasts of 9500

Developer/Publisher: Dragons
Release Date: May 29th, 2020
Price:
$9.99
Reviews:
330 of 524 reviews are positive [63%]
Tags: Multiplayer, Survival, Sandbox, Dinosaurs, Early Access
Supported Platforms: Windows.

I initially placed this game in the D range upon first impressions, seeing that it worked and had what appeared to be a core gameplay loop. Upon further play, the lack of content, meaningful mechanics, and slow-paced, anemic updates lowered it to about #130, which is part of the best of the failing games. With gameplay and preliminary research concluded, I revisited the forums, update posts, and other resources to ensure I hadn’t missed anything. Unfortunately, my inkling that this dinosaur game seemed to have familiar assets was not simply due to playing a half-dozen of these games for this series but was due to the assets actually being familiar.

Beasts of 9500 is yet another multiplayer sandbox, dinosaur survival game in the same vein as The Isle, Pangea Survival, Path of Titans, and others. Unfortunately, it’s also surrounded in controversy like many other dinosaur and dragon sandbox titles. Sound effects in the trailer are taken from The Isle, the music of the trailer is “Look to the Stars” by Chris Haigh, many dinosaur models are from Mesozoica (a failed dinopark game often accused of (and understandably so) scamming its customers and failing to deliver the promised game), and the staff often try to threaten dissenters into taking down videos, articles, etc. Steam forum posts are often removed and bans have occurred for simply asking about the game in sub-ideal light. Below is one such example of threatening to DCMA a YouTube channel that covered the game:

Abusive staff and other anti-consumer practices, coupled with lackluster progression, is sufficient to score this game far down the list. I probably should have dropped it even lower, but it is at least a playable experience. The Mesozoica models, according to the developers, are due to the creator being on the team.

Grade: F — Stolen assets, threatening content creators and other dissenters, incomplete game.

#162–158 — 5 Games by Funny Games & Related Accounts

Developer/Publisher: Funny Games / White Hole
Release Date: varies
Price:
$0.59–0.99
Tags: Massively multiplayer, PvP, third person shooter, casual.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

All four games I played by Funny Games are ranked in this section. The exact rankings are:
[163] Hide and Seek [63% positive]
[162] Somewhere inside [66% positive]
[161] Easy Shooter [57% positive]
[160] ROBALL [41% positive]
[159] Snowballs [86% positive]

All five games are extremely simple and mostly feature incomplete, with Easy Shooter and Snowballs being the closest to complete games despite their complete lack of balancing, atrocious AI, and other issues. In both Snowballs and Easy Shooter, the AI either doesn’t notice you at all or acts as an aim bot. The maps are designed to be small in Easy Shooter, so you are often spawn killed. The assets are almost all sourced from asset packs with seemingly no attempt at optimization. With some balancing work, AI tweaks, and implementation of original assets, both of these games could be turned into serviceable, albeit still mediocre, deathmatch games.

Somewhere inside and Hide and Seek both consist of broken mechanics, making both games unplayable unless you just want to roam around maps sourced from asset kits. Even if both games work, their premise is so basic and boring that the games themselves would still likely be ranked this low.

Finally, I added ROBALL to this list given White Hole and Funny Games appear to be the same developer, with both games bundled together in reduced price bundles. Initially, ROBALL seems like it could be an interesting six-degrees-of-freedom space FPS with little droids, but you’ll quickly realize how poorly tested and balanced the game is. The enemies are way too small, the weapons are too imprecise, the map is too large, the droids are too quick, etc. The entire match ends up being an extremely low scoring affair of sub-5% accuracy where the winner likely won as a result of luck more so than skill. It’s extremely frustrating but still better than everything on this list except Snowballs.

While it’s uncertain whether or not the assets in these titles were used with permission or stolen, it’s obvious that insufficient effort went into creating each title. All five are mostly broken, poorly optimized asset flips.

Grade: F — Broken mechanics and all four games consist of non-unique assets.

#157 — Challenge Speedball

Developer/Publisher: Bucksoft91
Release Date: September 10, 2020 into Early Access & full release on January 13, 2021.
Price:
$1.99
Reviews:
58 of 98 reviews are positive [59%]
Tags: PvP, Third-Person Shooter, Multiplayer, Combat.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Challenge Speedball is a case of a beginner-level developer having just enough talent to cobble together a semi-working game yet not enough experience and skill yet to realize how woefully deficient their project is. Challenge Speedball uses a default UI and menu screens, lacks basic options so you are stuck with motion blur, and controls rather poorly. The in-game assets were clearly not optimized in any way, so performance issues are quite common.

The developer didn’t add the ability for players to name and password protect their servers until after the release date. Spectate mode also wasn’t added until then. The most recent update (July 2021) allowed players to create or download custom sprays. This game doesn’t need custom sprays, skins, or other player-generated content. It needs actual development time.

This is one of the most uninspired FPS/TPS games I’ve played in quite some time. I hope the developer improves and uses this project as a learning experience, but this was definitely not something to post for sale on a major international gaming platform.

Grade: F — Minimal content, under-developed, poor optimization, and bug-ridden.

#156–155 — 2 Games by Agafonoff

Developer/Publisher: Anthony Staines / Antz Technology
Release Date: 2018–2019
Price:
$0.49/each
Reviews: Very positive for both games.
Tags: PvP, Battle Royale, 3D, memes.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

The precise rankings for each of the Agafonoff titles is:
[158] STORM AREA 51: AYY LMAO EDITION
[157] RUSSIA BATTLEGROUNDS

Agafonoff is known for creating meme games, including the quite popular DOKA 2 and it’s many editions and the two games reviewed for this series. As far as Russian meme games go, there’s definitely some humor in both games. Not really my style of humor, but quirky, silly humor nonetheless. If you enjoy trashy meme games, feel free to check out both on Steam given their very low price tags. I looked at both titles from the perspective of how well they rank as legitimate games so please bear that in mind.

STORM AREA 51 is a zombie wave shooter mixed with team battle royale with tons of memes and ridiculous actions. It lacks any sort of optimization, so it often slows to a crawl and becomes unplayable in less than 5 minutes. The maps are quite small and uninspired, and nearly all of the assets appear to be from various online sources and well-known asset kits.

RUSSIA BATTLEGROUNDS is the better game of the two. It’s a 32-player battle royale with a Soviet-theme and very simplistic, sprite-like graphics. It has a unique art style that if additional time was taken developing the maps and various assets, could be quite unique and interesting. The game itself is a rather uninspired battle royale with a plague of issues including unreliable hit detection, collision detection issues, and that AI type that’s standard in low budget indie titles by inexperienced developers: completely apathetic at a distance and aim bot when within x distance.

Grade: F — Both of these games are bug-ridden and are essentially poorly made to help serve as a vehicle for memes. The underlying games are unplayable, poorly optimized, and contain many unsourced and likely stolen assets.

#154 — Cyber Lemur

Developer/Publisher: NatureSim Games
Release Date: September 15th, 2021
Price:
$4.99
Reviews:
7 of 8 reviews are positive [83%]
Tags: PvP, Local Co-Op, Physics, Party Game
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Cyber Lemur spent a significant amount of time in early access both as a buy-to-play and free-to-play title. I picked it up while it was free-to-play and upon its release, it became a buy-to-play title again despite having seriously flawed controls, lack of boundaries in levels making exiting maps quite simple, and quite a few bugs.

Perhaps this game was intentionally developed to have horrible controls as a feature. If so, I definitely don’t understand the appeal of the controls even for a silly party game. As a more serious physics-based game, the problematic controls cause frustration trying to do the simplest of tasks.

As of September 16th, 2021, the developer posted that the final version of the game was released so no new updates are planned. Best of luck to the developer and kudos for creating something unique, but the seriously flawed controls and numerous bugs make this a game that I can’t recommend.

Grade: F — Unresponsive controls, numerous bugs, and released as finished in a clearly unfinished state.

#153 — The Region

Developer/Publisher: Black Snake Games
Release Date: March 1st, 2019
Price:
$5.99 [picked up for $2.09 on sale]
Reviews:
10 of 50 reviews are positive [20%]
Tags: PvP, Open World Survival Craft, Exploration, Sandbox
Supported Platforms: Windows.

The Region is the epitome of what an experienced, downtrodden survival game fan on Steam expects when the words “early access survival game” are uttered. Horrible animations, lack of any purposeful construction to the world, lack of optimization resulting in poor performance, and likely to never be completed. Given the last developer update was on March 14th, 2019 yet the game is still offered for sale on Steam, it’s unlikely the developer will ever return to finish this title.

Grade: F — Unresponsive controls, numerous bugs, and released as finished in a clearly unfinished state.

#152 — Medieval Towns

Developer/Publisher: Station 437
Release Date: March 15th, 2019
Price:
$19.99 [currently has free playtest]
Reviews:
10 of 23 reviews are positive. [43%]
Tags: Multiplayer, PvP, sandbox, open world survival craft.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

I enjoyed my time with Medieval Towns slightly more than Lost Region. It is slightly more fleshed out, the client crashed less often, and the developer seemed to have a more coherent, precise vision for the future of the title. It has a similarly extremely low, seemingly non-existent population but a few fans that continue hanging on. So why did I rank Lost Region higher on this list?

The developer bans many individuals who criticize the game and has released even more titles that have also been released in an incomplete state, with barely any updates, since the launch of Medieval Towns. At least the developers of Lost Region are respectful toward the community and focus all of their effort on a singular title. The developer of Medieval Towns released Accident on Simple Rd and The Man with The Dog into early access, with the former being severely bug-ridden to the point of being unplayable even if you do somehow manage to queue a match (it’s multiplayer-only, minimum 4 players) and the latter was in version 0.0.3 with a promised remaster with news ceasing back in 2019.

Medieval Towns isn’t worth playing at this point regardless of who the developer is. The decay rate is way too high, there’s no playerbase, and the entire game consists of grinding repetitively. It’s unoptimized, so it suffers from very poor performance on many machines. Perhaps this title will be good in 2023–2025 if the developer keeps at it, but for the immediate future — it’s one to definitely avoid.

Grade: F — Lack of progress over a long period of time, broken mechanics, server-side issues, and anti-consumer / hostile actions by developer.

#151 — Blackjack of Strip

Developer/Publisher: Lucky Games, S’Games / Lucky Games
Release Date: November 9th, 2019
Price:
$0.49
Reviews:
52 of 113 reviews are positive [46%]
Tags: PvP, Hentai, Card Game, Adult
Supported Platforms: Windows.

If this game was simply called Card Game of Strip or anything else that doesn’t imply this is a Blackjack game, it would have likely cleared the bottom 50 of the top 200. However, it’s a Blackjack game with a ruleset that’s functionally broken. I’ve won with over 21. The dealer has bet over 17. Jacks are scored as 2, Queens as 3, and Kings as 4. Numerous other issues are present as well.

All you are left with is a mild nudity card game of some sort and the images used, except for the slight initial hilarity of the awful naked Santa, are boring.

Grade: F — Low effort game with a broken ruleset and not many features. It’s debatably not even Blackjack any more.

#150 — 方块人 Human Cube

Developer/Publisher: LOSEDEAD (a.k.a. 迷茫的菜鸟, ChangeMe, & others)
Release Date: March 5th, 2019
Price: $0.99 (purchased on sale for $0.59)
Reviews:
3 of 5 reviews are positive. [60%]
Tags: Local co-op, puzzle, casual, 3D.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Human Cube is a puzzle game by LOSEDEAD, a genre this developer seems to have a basic grasp of yet instead of refining any of its initial offerings, switched most of the previous games to the same broken battle royale asset flip. This is the most playable and complete LOSEDEAD offering that offers multiplayer support of any form. The puzzles are a bit cryptic at times, translated text is quite atrocious and mostly useless, and the puzzles are far from brilliant. Similar to other LOSEDEAD titles, this one is also heavily reliant on outside assets with no attribution provided.

We are approaching playable, unique games in the rankings at least. If you don’t mind anti-consumer behavior on a developer’s part or stolen assets, the sale price of 59 cents USD might actually be worth the price of admission.

Grade: F — Stolen assets, occasional broken mechanics, puzzle design is rather poor.

#149 — Lost Region

Developer/Publisher: Farom Studio
Release Date: August 15th, 2019
Price:
$9.99 ($2.49 on sale)
Reviews:
80 of 265 reviews are positive [30%]
Tags: Multiplayer, open world, survival, sandbox
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Lost Region is yet another early access survival game by a small developer team with minimal resources. It has been in development since sometime between 2015 and 2017 and released to less than 20% positive reviews back in 2019. The game continues to have framerate drops and other performance issues, although it is much, much better than it used to be. There’s still not much to do except loot, craft, build from a select few items, and explore a mostly empty map. However, the developers have been consistent with maintaining communication with the community and provide weekly updates on progress up to and including at the time of posting this review.

The game itself was ranked lower on this list, but two factors gave it a bump: there’s a dedicated server package you can download to host your own server and the developer has maintained positive communication with the community despite a very turbulent launch that has continued to present.

Grade: F — Incomplete game. Missing many expected features. Very buggy. Not much content. It is not worth purchasing as-is but if you believe the developer will complete the roadmap, it could potentially be worth the relatively risky but inexpensive investment.

#148 — Fallen Sky Online

Developer/Publisher: Marco Braun / Vault Softworks
Release Date: October 19th, 2018
Price: $1.99
Reviews:
4 of 5 reviews are positive [80%]
Tags: Massively multiplayer, RPG, MMORPG, post-apocalyptic, 2D, pixel graphics.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Fallen Sky Online was at the bottom of this list at one point but then Lonath Online came along. The reason for it being at the bottom of the list was literally no files downloaded for the game, the servers were offline for almost a year with no statement from the developer, and the developer did not respond to any attempts at obtaining technical support for the game. I refunded the game. Upon starting the final draft of the Top 200 article, I discovered the developer released server binaries so players would be able to host their own servers and still play the game. This is a huge positive for game preservation. However, nobody except the developer has been able to get the depot for the dedicated server tool to install.

The original game was a serviceable 2D pixel art MORPG with quite a bit of a charm and a few bugs mixed in. At least the game files for the client now download the developer is working on releasing the server side binaries. Hopefully I can write an addendum to this review in the future where I can praise a working release of the server binaries.

Grade: F — Dedicated server package released but will not download through Steam, the only place it is offered. Game requires a server and no servers are currently online. As of the time of writing this, the game is currently not playable.

#147 — Retro RPG Online 2

Developer/Publisher: Joshua Langely
Release Date: October 13th, 2019
Price:
$2.99
Reviews:
1 of 2 reviews are positive [50%]
Tags: Massively Multiplayer, MMORPG, RPG, Pixel Graphics, Retro, Open World.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

This title was ranked really low on this list. However, the developer has resurfaced and maintained contact with the Steam community for quite a few months now. The developer plans on relaunching the servers in early 2022 and has large text on the storefront page suggesting one should not buy the game due to the servers being down. I’m still confused why it isn’t just delisted for the time being, but perhaps there’s a reason that I’m unaware of for doing so.

The previous iteration of the game appeared to be a standard, albeit rather complete, 2D pixel art MMORPG taking inspiration from retro RPGs. It appears to have been created in Intersect Engine or a similar engine.

I’ll definitely revisit this game in 2022 and since the developer actually responded to me and increased communication with Steam in general, I’m willing to push this game ahead of many others on the list. However, it still does not work so I can’t recommend it.

Grade: F — Servers are offline but game is still for sale on Steam. Not playable.

#146 — Hurricane

Developer/Publisher: Because I Can
Release Date: March 6th, 2017
Price:
$0.99
Reviews:
95 of 160 reviews are positive [59%]
Tags: Open World, Survival, Multiplayer, Sandbox, Exploration, 3D.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Low poly graphics? Check. Open world survival-crafting game? Check. Abandoned by developer with no official servers within less than a year into release into early access with no official statement from the developer? Check. It’s all been seen before by fans of the genre.

Hurricane at least has a few positives over much of its competition. It has fairly decent performance, relatively fewer bugs, something resembling the initial stages of implementing serviceable mechanics, assets, etc for a semi-coherent product, and it has the ability for players to host their own servers. There’s not much to do here, though. Even if you take your time, you’ll complete all of the content of this game in less than 90 minutes.

Grade: F — Abandoned in a grossly unfinished state in early access with no official statement from developer.

#145 — Tomscape

Developer/Publisher: Sokpop Collective
Release Date: May 9th, 2018
Price:
$2.99
Reviews: 0 of 5 reviews are positive [0%]
Tags: Massively Multiplayer, MMORPG, RPG, Permadeath, Experimental, Minimalist.
Supported Platforms: Windows, MacOS.

Sokpop Collective offers a monthly subscription where they deliver new games of a specific theme every month. The development cycle of these titles is very quick, with initial concept to release taking less than 30 days. Quite a few of these titles have a lot of charm and are fun for a short duration. While I admire their undertaking of the challenge of developing an MMORPG in less than a month, I was not shocked when Tomscape, an MMORPG developed in less than a month, was quite awful.

Tomscape is an MMORPG on a very small map, with a minimalist art style, and only a few mechanics and objectives. You slap a few different creatures for XP. When you level up, you can place a skill point into one of 3 attributes. If you die, you have to start completely over. The goal is to be the player who attains the highest character level on a single playthrough. Combat is turn-based, you can only heal in one spot on the map and it’s very slow, and there’s no equipment, dialog trees, lore, story, or anything of note. It’s debatable whether this even qualifies as a game.

Grade: F — It’s an impressive experiment in MMORPG design in a rapid development cycle but the game has almost no meaningful content or worthwhile, enjoyable gameplay to keep the player around. There’s a reason it’s at 0% positive. Avoid!

#144 — Pain Train 2

Developer/Publisher: Virtual Top / VT Publishing
Release Date: March 16th, 2017
Price:
$9.99 (I paid 41 cents after tax)
Reviews: 40% positive
Tags: Co-op, FPS, Zombies, Gore.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

VT Publishing attempted to capitalize financially by marketing a series of relatively simple wave shooters to the “more ‘cheevos plz” Steam crowd. Pain Train 2 is overrun with achievements that only require playing the game and shooting at very dense waves of poorly-coded AI zombies. Even the worst of FPS players could likely complete the achievements of this title in less than 30 minutes. It’s more of a tech demo or weekly university class assignment than a legitimate game.

Oddly enough, the achievement kiddos didn’t care for the game much either given it launched with very few achievements. Other players despised the game for being of quite poor quality. VT Publishing pulled the game from Steam in late 2019, along with other titles that attracted a predominantly achievement-focused crowd, and stated in public interviews that it would be moving away from this style of game. However, other sources state the removal from Steam was not voluntary; Valve banned VT Publishing from Steam for marketing cards from their games.[1]

It’s curious that this game, and the game discussed in #144, were both banned on the same day, for the same reason, and have very similar developer names. I wonder if they are the same entity?

You can still pick up keys for this game from key resale sites for less than $0.50 USD after tax. It still works. It’s still not worth your time, even for +1 games completed on your Steam profile.

Grade: F — Low quality game designed around obtaining achievements over having a quality gaming experience. Lack of content. No replay value. It is a working title that does what is advertised, so we are at least starting to slowly move up in quality on this list!

Sources:

[1] https://lestrades.com/game/33102/

#143 — Crimson Earth 2

Developer/Publisher: EHTechnology
Release Date: November 9th, 2017
Price:
Was $0.99 but removed from Steam by Valve. My copy was free.
Reviews: 57% positive
Tags: Co-op, FPS, Gore, Violent, Zombies.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

Another low effort, low quality offering that marketed itself as some sort of modern take on Crimsonland and instead was just a haven for achievement hunters and card farmers. The game itself is essentially Pain Train 2 in a different environment.

EHTechnology was banned from Steam and had their games, including Crimson Earth 2, removed from the platform for abuse of Steamworks. Specifically, they were banned for farming and selling cards which is in violation of the developer agreement[1].

Grade: F — It’s a low effort, low quality game designed primarily for easy card farming and money laundering. Valve gets an A on this one for actually taking action and removing EHTechnology from the platform.

Sources
[1] https://lestrades.com/game/46610/

#142–141 – 2 ‘Cheevos Games by Racing Bros

Developer/Publisher: Racing Bros / ANPA.US
Release Date: November 9th, 2017
Price:
$0.49-$0.99/ea.
Tags: Co-op, FPS, Gore, Violent.
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, SteamOS/Linux.

Two titles developed by Racing Bros, published by ANPA.US will be discussed here:
[143] Sense of the Devil [36% positive]
[142] Dinosaur Forest [55% positive]

We continue down the path of fully-functional yet extremely low effort titles focused on taking advantage of card and achievement collectors, or to facilitate money laundering via Steamworks. These two titles, unlike Crimson Earth 2 and Pain Train 2, were not removed from Steam by Valve.

Sense of the Devil is a horror-themed shooter and Dinosaur Forest is a somewhat prehistoric themed shooter. It’s easy to glitch through walls and fall through maps, which you can still obtain achievements during this time and progress despite not appearing to be in the playfield any longer. These two titles are broken and the remainder of the titles by Racing Bros are of the same ilk.

User “Jared” on Steam’s review sums up this company’s games quite well:

“You get what you paid for, 1K achievements at minimum price. If you’re an achievement hunter looking to increase the number of achievements on your profile showcase, then I highly recommend buying this. Else don’t waste your money. This is not a game, it’s just a way of distributing achievements.“[1]

Grade: F — Highly repetitive games with almost no redeeming value except when utilized for card farming or obtaining easy achievements. The cut scenes added to these two titles and the additional levels make them better choices than Crimson Earth 2 or Pain Train 2, but they aren’t worth the time, effort, or purchase price.

Sources

[1] https://store.steampowered.com/app/705710/Sense_of_The_Devil/

#140 — SixCubes

Developer/Publisher: Dnovel
Release Date: February 19th, 2019
Price:
$2.69 [paid 21 cents from a key reseller]
Reviews:
15 of 19 reviews are positive [79%]
Tags: Massively multiplayer, RPG, online PvP, open world.
Supported Platforms: Windows.

SixCubes begins with a series of levels with difficulty escalation quite appropriate for a tutorial, to facilitate a new player’s learning of the mechanics and controls. However, after about ten minutes of playing what I believed to be tutorial levels, I was booted back to the main menu. I tried the game a second time and discovered that this game is literally only 10–15 minutes of content, likely serving the purpose of attracting achievement hunters as well as helping serve the card farming market.

There’s an idea for a serviceable platform puzzler on display here but the amount of content is woefully insufficient for a buy-to-play title, no matter how low the sale price goes for this title. Also, reviewing the Dnovel Steam catalog shows 76 releases since 2017, with many instances of distinct titles being released on consecutive days. Perhaps Dnovel is some sort of indie game shovelware factory? At least a few of the titles are heavily reliant on asset kits. There also appears to be multiple identities being used, including Free_AnimalsSoftware and others.

I noticed an odd pattern of about 10 to 15 positive reviews on nearly every game in Dnovel’s catalog, almost entirely from accounts with no achievements in Dnovel games and at least one VAC ban on record. A lot of overlap in the positive reviews as well. Highly suspicious. It appears to be direct review manipulation in violation of Steam policies and oddly enough, I wasn’t the first person to notice this pattern either.

Grade: F — Less than 20 minutes of total game content. There’s a solid conceptualization of a game on display here but apparently the developers decided to move on to something else instead of actually finishing this title. Developer engages in anti-consumer practices including releasing nearly identical titles or titles reliant on content stolen from another source, review manipulation, and attempts to suppress critical reviews.

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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

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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