Steam

[Review] Answer Knot (PC)

Free game on Steam!

I’ve been finding these really cool walking sim type games lately, and couldn’t be more excited to play them! Answer Knot is the latest, and it was just released in May 2019. The style is very familiar to Marie’s Room, or even my last “free game” review, What Never Was.

To say the plot of Answer Knot is surprising is an understatement. The story unfolds in couple Zach and June’s living room. Zach is stuck at home, while June is trying to get home from work. She communicates with Zach through answering machine messages. You are encouraged to explore the main floor of the couple’s house, and in doing so you get a sense of who they are: they’ve traveled a lot, like to take pictures and they write. Their house is a bit messy with all their interests. Their shelves are full of interesting books and movies. And they have their “couple quirks”: Zach does not like to answer the phone, and June knows it, but gets increasingly frustrated with him on that front, as something has happened over the course of her commute that is both alarming and frightening in equal measure and she can’t get a hold of him. The game ends abruptly with a sense of foreboding and urgency – and it’s surprising.

I loved snooping around June and Zach’s place, taking in what kind of people they are, what interests them…and in doing so, I found some strange parallels between this game and other games I’ve played recently…for example, they have a coffee table book lying around callled “Paul Prospero” by Ethan Carter, which calls back the Vanishing of Ethan Carter. Pics I leafed through were screenshots from familiar games I’ve played recently too: one is definitely from What Never Was (because I took the same screenshot), another looked weirdly like it came from What Remains of Edith Finch, but can’t be 100% sure…At any rate, I’m not sure why developers sniped images from other games, but there it is…

Answer Knot is a short game and its aesthetic is very reminiscent to other walking sims I’ve played recently. But, I have to say I love that hyper realistic style, and the true-to-life feel of it. You do get a sense of anxiety, being locked in the house with something strange happening “out there”.

Give it a spin if you like a short simple plot with a surprise at the end.

4/5

Answer Knot
Naraven Games
2019

[Review] Marie’s Room (PC)

FREE GAME!

The best free walking sim on Steam right now is Marie’s Room, a short, but interesting look into friendships and the ties that bind.

Back in the day an unlikely high school friendship was formed between Marie and Kelsey. Unlikely since both come from seemingly different backgrounds. Marie had a relatively stable home life living with her father, while Kelsey’s abusive alcoholic mom had her seeking refuge at Marie’s house for a prolonged stay.

Through Kelsey, you are brought back to that time in high school at the threshold of Marie’s room. You are permitted to enter and snoop through Marie’s things to learn of events that unfolded during that time that were tragic and seriously strained the friendship between Kelsey and Marie. Kelsey and this room have all the answers; it’s up to you to discover the clues in Marie’s belongings, including journal entries, that lead to the answers.

There is even some vinyl in this game

What a beautiful game Marie’s Room is; I enjoyed every minute of it. Stylistically, it is reminiscent of Life is Strange or Gone Home. The graphics are bright, and the music ties it all together. It’s very short (30 minutes) and is made to be played in one sitting. The best part is it’s free!

Give Marie’s Room a spin; a very enjoyable experience.

4/5

Marie’s Room
like Charlie
2018

Steam and the Casual Gamer

This week marks the Steam Summer Sale, a time when gamers pick up some wicked deals on PC / Mac games. And as always, when these sales happen, gamers also notice a dip in their bank accounts.

Steam

(Photo: media edge-online)

If you haven’t heard of Steam, here is the breakdown: It’s an internet-based gaming system that allows you to buy and access over 3,000 games in any genre you can think of. You would have access to those games through the Steam client – a software application you would download onto your computer. There are Steam apps available on most platforms that allow you to browse games, purchase and see your library, but you can only play games in the Steam Client on your computer. To that end, games are available for PC, Mac and Linux, and many are cross-platform compatible (meaning, if you buy a game for PC and switch to Mac, you have license to play that game on Mac.)

(Photo: wikimedia)

(Photo: wikimedia)

When I first started playing casual games – particularly hidden object – my go-to game stop was Big Fish Games (BFG). Of course, they have a curb on the market when it comes to the casual gaming genre. They are excellent at what they do, and have a similar way to access games as Steam, but the gaming sales on the site are only open to those who pay a monthly subscription fee to be a part of their Game Club; everyone else pays full price, which average from $10 to $20. Never one to be pigeon-holed, I always like to shop around to see what else is out there (okay, I am a cheap gamer!). This is always a risk, because BFG is a gaming distributor, but they are also a gaming developer, so many of their games are proprietary to their site, and not available on other gaming systems like Steam. BUT, sometimes you do find games sold on BFG available elsewhere. It can take a bit of work, but in your labour, there can be some fruit. And this is where you can win!

Case in point: STEAM SALES!!

steam_summer2014_CMG

In the past, I would basically ignore the Steam sales that my husband would always participate in, thinking there would never be anything I’d want to play (meanwhile, watching the bank account take a hit…). It wasn’t until the hubs encouraged me to start a Steam account so we could play Magika that I decided to take a look at what was out there for the Casual Gamer. Glad I did. Where BFG’s gaming subject matter falls right in the casual gaming fold and only the casual gaming fold, Steam has something for EVERY gamer. For example, it partners the RPG gamer with the adventure gamer seamlessly, and might even match the two to give some ideas for other games out there that fall in both genres, so a gamer looking to spread their casual wings into something a little more complex has some choices. I think this is great!

When you first search on Steam, the first place to look is under the Games drop-down tab. This lists all the game categories available.

Steam_Summer2014 searchCMG

My go-to search is under Adventure and Casual categories. Unfortunately, though, if you are looking specifically for “Hidden Object” or say, “Survival Horror”, no category like that exists on the Games drop-down tab. But, there are a couple of other places to try.

Steam_Summer2014 tags1CMG

There is, of course, the Search box at the top that you can use, but another way to search on Steam that is in Beta right now is via tags. Steam is allowing users to tag games into specific categories that are atypical, and Hidden Object and Survival Horror are a couple of the categories. I was so happy to find this existed. It’s great, and new sets of games are being tagged daily.

Steam tags CMG

How did this help me with the Steam sales? Let me show you:

Last Summer, I played a game called Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek. The sequel, Enigmatis: The Mists of Ravenwood is on sale for a deep discount on Steam. But wait! Big Fish Games is also selling this game.

Big Fish Games is selling it for $10.21 ($7.14 if you are part of their Game Club).

BFG CMG

On Steam? $3.99, regular $7.99.

Enigmatis Steam CMG

Seeing is believing, no?

yeah-baby-yeah

Damn straight! It pays to shop around…and take advantage of Steam sales. So, how have I faired so far?

sarc game cmg

Four new games to play and review! (And the week isn’t over yet)

There you go. Now that I have imparted my gaming resource librarian skills, go forth and shop for deals! But most of all, HAPPY GAMING!!

Images: wikimedia BFG logo / media edge-online.com / quotespics / the rest are my screenshots