When you’re browsing through the Steam store for new releases, it’s sometimes hard to know whether games you’ve never heard of are any good. Steam Punks is devoted to digging and playing through them all and picking out our favorites to share with you. This week, it was a pretty easy task, because we’ve been looking forward to some of these games for a long time.
Coming from the same tabletop origins that spawned the Mechwarrior games, Battletech takes the universe of plodding, industrial mechs and epic space feuds to the tactical strategy space—and it feels like the perfect marriage. You’ll command your squad of four mechs and their respective pilots as you charge headfirst into deliberate turn-based battles across large, varied maps. Battletech’s version of tactical strategy is a detailed one—there are so many systems at play, and so much to think about with every turn.
Battletech also trades in the fantasy of running an interplanetary mercenary organization. Progression is open-ended, and you’ll have to worry about the business of paying your debts, keeping the lights, and making your next jobs pay well enough to offset the operating cost. There’s a bunch of great characters that flesh out a plot concerning a deposed ruler trying to take back her throne, and the presentation helps flesh out that 90’s industrial mechs fantasy.
The Swords of Ditto ($19.99)
It’s like Zelda meets Steven Universe and they had a roguelike baby! The Swords of Ditto plays on the concept hinted at in The Legend of Zelda—that every new generation, another will rise, become the hero, and continue the fight against an omnipotent evil—and crams that into one game. You’ll have four in-game days to go adventuring through the game’s randomized and delightful world to try and stop the evil Mormo. But if you fail, that’s it!
You’ll wake up as another character 100 years later and claim The Sword of Ditto for yourself to continue the fight, but things will have gotten just that little bit worse. The Swords of Ditto takes some pretty direct inspiration from the 2D Zelda games, can be played entirely in co-op, and trades pretty heavily on its charm, which makes everything from its items to its enemies fun to discover.
From the studio that brought you the cheery This War of Mine comes Frostpunk, a city management game where an apocalyptic winter has occurred, and you’re tasked with keeping the remaining population alive and warm around a huge furnace. It’s a tough game of resource and population management, urban planning, and making tough decisions with significant compromises.
But it’s deciding how you run this new society and treat the people in your workforce that’s going to going to stress you out—-you need them to be efficient, but at what cost? When do you start losing your humanity at the expense of survival? It’s a fascinating and brutal dilemma that makes Frostpunk something special.
For The King ($19.99)
A curious mashup of strategy, RPG, and roguelike genres, For The King sees you order a group of adventurers around a kingdom to stem the tide of chaos plaguing the land. You’ll find some familiar feeling turn-based RPG combat, but the catch is that each party member is a separate entity on the hex-based map. If you hit a random encounter while exploring and your allies aren’t around, good luck!
The dilemma between faster exploration and combat efficiency is what you’ll have to decide between as you uncover the game’s procedural maps. For the king sports a uniquely attractive low-poly art style and can also be played in co-op! It’s a good week for co-op and strategy games.