I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!
Illustration for article titled Steam Greenlight Spotlight - Episode 1: The Beginorigining.

Enough of you said you wanted this, and I totally get why - with AAA games becoming more and more expensive and thus less and less creative, indie games have filled a void that hasn't really been adequately filled since the SNES era. Back in the early-to-mid 90's, the "business" end of the gaming mullet wasn't yet fully understood and the "party" end was still rocking like it was in 1987. Developers generally made whatever they felt like, and the technical prowess came from experimentation with new ideas. In big-business gaming today, like any manufacturing industry, there is a set of standards and a generally rigid way of doing things - it must sell a baziliion copies, it can't be anything too "out there", and oh lawdy, it had better be FREEDOM-washed (see my Mad Max analysis) while staying inoffensive to every country that can afford these games (See: not Afghanistan, North Korea, Azerbaijan, etc.).

The format is going to run like this - I'll showcase around five titles that have not yet been Greenlit but that very much deserve to be. In doing so, I'll link a trailer, a link to the Greenlight page, and a short write-up detailing why I think the game deserves praise. I'll also run a bonus segment during each episode detailing a project that HAS been Greenlit, and why you should watch for it.

So without further adieu, [generic-yet-casual introduction phrase here, human].

1. Shantae: Risky's Revenge

This one goes first, because I know there's a chess club worth of TAY users that have been begging for this game. Shantae has been on Greenlight since the program launched, and that fact is just mind-boggling. Shantae: Risky's Revenge is the 2010 sequel to a $300 GBC game follows half-genie Shantae on a quest to stop a pirate lord named Risky. The game is currently available on DSi Ware and 3DS, but I've yet to play it. The game looks, however, like a top-of-the-line Super Nintendo game. The sprite animation is incredible, and Shantae can transform into a number of animals to complete certain puzzle elements within the game. It looks incredible and, again, it's a damned shame it hasn't been Greenlit yet.

2. The Tale of ALLTYNEX

The Tale of ALLTYNEX is a compilation of three popular, Japanese indie shmups (Kamui, RefleX and ALLTYNEX Second). One of these titles was so popular in Japan that it received a retail release. That's huge. The only indie game I've ever seen at retail here is Super Meat Boy. These shmups, unlike the majority of shmups released these days, are not bullet hell - rather, they're more the classic arcade style of shmup in the mould of Raiden, Einhander and DonPachi, and best of all, they're completely loli-free. These games are a loving throwback to the arcade days of the 90's, and I want to throw Steam credit at them. These games are already available on Desura, but I don't know what that is.

3. Armikrog

Armikrog is a point-and-click adventure game from the creators of Earthworm Jim. Normally, I'm not too fond of these kinds of games - they're ultra-popular on PC, but so few of them are crafted with any real effort that they all kinda blur into a grey blob of disintrest. Armikrog, however, is different - it's 100% claymation. Not made to look like clay, but actual claymation - Knox style, baby! There isn't a lot of information on this one, nor is there any gameplay, but there's enough there, both in the premise and the talent behind it, to give me some faith in the project.

4. Teslagrad

There are a lot of "puzzle platformers" in the indie dev world, but few of them are any good. A lot of these titles, I find, are more about the artistic concept than the gameplay, and most of these games fail because of it. Not the case with Teslagrad. I don't know anything about the people working on this game, but it has a degree of polish to it that's really rare to see on Greenlight. Just in the trailer I've linked, you'll see some great gameplay mechanics, some gorgeous visuals, and even a few huge bosses and setpieces. Much like Shantae, this is a project that I'm REALLY surprised hasn't been Greenlit yet. It looks fantastic.

5. Rad Raygun

MADDA EFFIN' RAD RAYGUN. Taking inspiration from the Gameboy Mega Man titles, Rad Raygun puts you in the shoes a dude (presumably a rad dude) who has a raygun. His mission? STOP THE SOVIETS! It's simple, it's short, and it looks like a Gameboy game. It's already available on XBLA, but I've heard nothing but good things. I can't say anything about this game that the trailer doesn't - take a gander!

BONUS: Greenlit Spotlit


Routine was one of the first games that got me really excited about Greenlight, and it was one of the first projects to get the bump from Steam. The game is a first-person survival horror game that is not trying to be Amnesia. That alone sets it apart from 99% of the horror games on Steam right now. It's set within a derelict moon base set in a 1980's vision of the future... And that's about all you know. Developers were smart about the way they've set up amrketing this game - you don't know what you're running from, you don't know why you're there, and, by god, 20-something Swedish men will get famous screaming at it. It looks fantastic, with a mark of quality and detail that even most AAA games lack. Really excited about this one!

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