10 Greenlight games most likely to succeed
Steam has opened the floodgates to small project publishing, letting users sift through submissions and choose what’s published on the platform through a selection process dubbed Greenlight. Some feel it’s diluted catalogue quality. Others laud it for giving the little guys a bigger chance. Either way, the few years it’s been around have fostered a broader selection of titles we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
In no particular order, here’s a tenfold collection of the most exciting of those given a chance.
This Is The Police
The tone This Is The Police hits is the sort you’d feel sharing a couch, scotch, and show with older fans of hard-edge law drama rather than that of the gritty programs themselves. There’s a self-aware appreciation for police brutality and dirty cops, a decidedly adult cartoon with only subtle absurdity and secret surliness for humor.
You’re an aging city chief who’s played the game straight his entire career. Now that he faces retirement, the allure of the many opportunities for illicit cash flow he’s come across is growing. Half adventure game, half strategy and management sim, you’ll guide the boys in blue from the balding man’s shoes, navigating the facets of his work while picking a path through murky ethical waters.
We’ve seen some carefully paced games like Alien: Isolation bring fascinating science fiction environments into enough detail to warrant thorough exploration. P·O·L·L·E·N strips away the snarling mess of corrosive breath and vaguely familiar anatomy some showcase to nudge tactile nosey-ness into focus. This experience is tuned to the sort of curious, forward-leaning squint the coming wave of virtual reality hardware will foster.
Something bad has happened on a Titan-based research station. You’re posed with puzzling together why the crew has gone silent, wandering through the eerily intact halls and reaping information from whatever you can prod, hold, or pull.
Some of the marble sculptures look like they were extruded from a tube of toothpaste. Unformed loops hang over carved legs, pristine tapestries of improbable length spill like liquid across the moss and abandoned Grecian remnants blend into wooden docks. This is a unique kind of gorgeous that turns a fair few heads.
The developers of Pavilion aren’t keen on explaining what “fourth-person puzzling adventure” means - the game is described in tantalizingly vague terms - but you can expect something meditatively slow, bizarre, and abstract. You’ll learn how to play with time.
Eden, once an idyllic city adrift at sea, has dissolved into animal instinct and scavenging for sustenance. You’re drawn from liquid stasis to forge a downtrodden, survivalist existence, managing your own food and shelter amongst the open ecosystem of potentially dangerous inhabitants.
P.A.M.E.L.A's influences are apparent, and I suspect the crew had no desire to mask them. We’ve got sense of desperate and ruinous decay of a beautiful place quite like Bioshock, bodily augmentation and technology a la Deus Ex, and higher fantasy fiction and environmental aesthetics drawn from Mass Effect. Their amalgamation into an open sci-fi setting looks evocative and appealing.
A five year solo project until outside help came along to shore up the final product, Iconoclasts looks like the type of colorful 2D action platformer some folks can’t get enough of. It exudes personality and enthusiasm, something that promises to represent the thoughts, cares, and charm of its author. Looking great so far.
The naively helpful Robin will explore a sprawling map with oversized mechanic’s wrench in tow, solving more puzzles than we’re probably accustomed to between the blasting and boss fights. She and the rest of the cast are packed with slick, interesting animations for things from running to expressing emotion. Iconoclasts is a passionate tale.
Immersion and multiplayer tend to exclude each other's existence in the gaming space. Reset dodges the problem by casting your cooperative puzzling partner as you from just a minute ago. The function wound into your intimidating metal behemoth is an ability to flash backward in time, leaving your previous actions to play out once again. You’ll need to play off of them to solve problems, but what you tackle first is up to you.
A city of glass, polished polymer, and levitating cars sits amidst 16 square kilometers of volcanic island available for exploration. It appears to be devoid of humanity, as if they’ve collectively spirited away with their affairs unfinished. In another time it’s swaddled and divided by green, a magnificent metropolitan planter box. He could have been repurposed as a war machine in somebody else’s game, but our avatar instead seems gently forlorn and enraptured by the lives of his presumed makers.
Wearing your heroes embroidered on your chest isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Ghost Song beautifully inhabits Metroid’s bones, though it sets the tone significantly more dour than its inspiration.
Whoever inhabits the Deadsuit is descending into the fungal and wet, oddly mechanical depths of a dread moon. The lost and haunted narrative cues from Dark Souls are borrowed in the occasional hollow-voiced character, dismal souls spilling more setting and feel than useful information. Secrets and upgrades, too, are of the you-might-miss-huge-chunks variety the Souls series champions. Low-fi old VHS audio and effects help set an aesthetic of decades old practical effects science fiction.
This team behind Rain World has been spitting out attractive gifs for what feels like ages. There’s a wonderful physicality to their creatures’ movements that shows extremely well in motion. Animals flex and stretch as they’re propelled, conveying a sense of bodily substance that feels good to watch.
Industrial wastes form a landscape of cold technological remnants long past any function, rain slicked and foreboding.They’re painted with grunge and dinge by pounding, deadly precipitation. The marshmallowy Slugcat is such amiable contrast to the rest of what we’ve seen, something whose staggeringly violent death can be avoided by slinking and sneaking through the crannies of metal. Hopefully you can survive long enough to feed hibernation until the next dry season.
Think of Universim as an ant farm of terribly ambitious intentions. You’re god to the inhabitants of a planet from the moment they first congregate. Much of their behavior is independent of your influence - you’re free to recline and watch civilization develop on its own - but key choices like exploration and research left to your desire. These decisions might doom your population to starvation or lead them to the stars, where extraterrestrial colonization opens up the rest of the universe.
Random events like plague or riots will demand attention, and the displeasure wrought by the deeds of your people fills a gauge with your wrath, letting you institute your own divine punishments should you so choose. Universim sounds perhaps more like a toy than a goal-oriented campaign.
Gosh, she’s adorable. This adventure game could be the sweetest little murder mystery, a heartwarming and lovely coming of age story with a handsome construction-papery style of art. The author of the bestselling Jenny LeClue series of children’s sleuthing novels has drafted you to participate in the telling of this next chapter, contextualizing your alteration of the story as a collaborative effort.
There appears to have an emphasis on poking through the environment and rummaging through boxes and bags first hand, rather than assigning actions to Jenny. You’ll direct her flashlight and slide the magnifying glass around as you collect clues and work toward freeing your mother from suspicion.