Holiday Steam Sale: Prison Architect, Anno 2070, Starbound, Space Engineers

The Steam Holiday Sale is always, always a huge deal, and this year is no different at all. But that’s good — having the biggest deals on the mostest stuff is the sort of thing we keep them around for. It is time for a quick update because right now there are a few sales going on it’s worth talking about (and I’m using the blog because I kind of miss having actual multiple embeds to work with).
  • I’ve been boosting this thing for … well, ever since it originally made an appearance. Building and administrating a prison? Deciding to make it Club Fed or Doom Comes to Helltown? That’s awesome stuff, and Introversion Software has been delivering and delivering on a game that, while it purports to be in alpha, gives better buck bang than most releases.
    In fact, yesterday saw the release of Alpha 16, right after Christmas, and it is very, very clever.
  • I’ve been wanting this game for a while, not least reason being that SimCity was such a terrible disappointment in its latest incarnation. Despite being a couple years old in release-years (or maybe because of it), the game looks positively beautiful. Lightly isometric city-builder with what appears to be a hideously complex network of creatable resources and resources to both support industry and keep your population happy, mingled with both solo and online co-op/head-to-head economic and military struggle and hordes of ways to play it, plus three factions (I’m backing the one headed by an AI, of course) … this thing is crazy. Hell, I started playing the game before it even gave me a tutorial, since even from the main menu it has you voting in the World Congress and accepting daily missions …
    Now … here’s the thing. Anno 2070 is saddled with Uplay, Ubisoft’s truly offensive and in-the-way Steam-wannabe/DRM. It is, truly, a thing of horror to behold, and I’m saddened that +Richard Dansky has yet to bring those responsible before me so they can be properly beaten. It’s bad, is what I’m saying, and the fact that it runs underneath/over Steam while you play the game is … painful in many ways. I’d totally be behind Ubi developing a new version of this thing that drops Uplay entirely in favour of Steamworks.
    Other than that … beautiful. Fun. Complex. Everything SimCity wasn’t. Also both +Eric Thompson and I have copies, so in theory we can all jam out in multiplayer together … Always good for the krewe.
If you’re looking for a little more Let’s Play action (which sells more games to me than any staged trailers ever has):
  • OK, technically not a Steam Sale deal for the holiday. Instead, it’s an Early Access game with an awesome history of being Kickstarted by a huge fanbase, pre-generated by the success of the creator’s last game, Terraria. If you liked Terraria, you’ll love Starbound — because it looks very, very similar. The art style? Very, very similar. The interface? Very, very similar.
    But this is very, very different. Because this is space, you bastards, and in space we get our own mobile starships where you can build your own housing and production facilities, you get your own homeworld where you can store the ill-gotten plunder you collect from alien (and familliar) bases, prisons, mines, and other horrible places. You can run into entire procedurally generated ecosystems and wreck them utterly by locusting the whole planet, hollowing it out for your own resource consumption, then re-terraform it with stolen trees.
    That is how we of the +Operation BSU krewe roll in space on our server, anyway.
    This is a great time to get in on a fairly early alpha of this thing and start having fun. The developer promises there’ll only be one more universe/character wipe before more stable releases, but I’m having so much fun playing like every day is my character’s last, I’m not feeling bad about it. There’s still tonnes of quirks and little broken bits, but it’s alpha — real alpha. And it’s huge fun. Remember when Minecraft was in pre-release and everyone was both boggled by it and got hugely into playing even before there was a Survival Mode? This is like that, but with rudimentary survival/exploration systems well in place. I fully expect mods to roll out along with built-in bits that bring in the wiring system from Terraria along with something like the piping systems from Minecraft and advanced machines to construct huge automated complexes. It’s that kind of game.
    This is a game. You need to play it.
  • So, yeah. This is a game. It’s on Steam. It’s about building cool shit in space. I haven’t played it.
    Someone needs to buy it for me. I had to add one thing you could get me for Saturnalia, right?
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