PAYDAY The Heist [Steam store page]
A fun co-op experience. The latest AI patch made it much easier to play without all four players being human. Enemy AI still has nearly perfect aim, but the body armor balances nicely if you use cover. You earn new guns and upgrades as you play.

A game for people who want to pretend to be hackers. Unfortunately this is only slightly more authentic than Hollywood movie representations of hacking.

The tone of this game is somber. The primary goal in most game modes is to cause the greatest loss of life in your opponents as possible. There should be more freedom in unit selection, and a more detailed scoring system that rewards strategy.

The casting system is reasonably intuitive, and the gameplay itself is as fun as Torchlight, though the heavy corridor feel of the levels detracts a bit. There is a smattering of story and humor throughout, but I wouldn't call it story-driven.

Dead Space 2 [Steam store page]
Much better and scarier than Dead Space, good atmosphere. The camera isn't sluggish and not as close. Combat also seems more responsive, and melee is somewhat possible. The 'Force' is useful, though sometimes the item you're holding disappears.

This feels like a console game - smoothed movement, unchangable (close up) third person perspective. The combat is also poor and frustrating - with guns that seem like they were meant to be used with auto-aim. Melee combat is completely useless.

Left 4 Dead 2 [Steam store page]
Even though Killing Floor doesn't have a story line I still prefer it for co-op fun. This is incredibly easy, and the scripted way the special zombies pop out next to you is annoying unless you have the maps memorized.

Killing Floor [Steam store page]
The graphics are a bit rough but this game is all about speed and accuracy killing waves of experimental creatures. Forget story, the co-op is loads of fun with a group of friends, and fairly challenging as well.

The most difficult part is the way enemies rubberband - if you run full tilt on many maps, and turn around they'll still be very close behind you - rounding the nearest corner or doorway. The spawn locations also don't seem to be set specifically - they seem to appear directly around any corner that you haven't looked around in the last few seconds, or further ahead if you're running rather than camping. On some areas in maps they also drop down from above, off buildings or through holes in the roof.

These mechanics aren't necessarily flaws - they make the game much more fast paced and difficult than it would be if you could kite them more strategically. Kiting is still very much possible because the game limits the number of enemies on the map at any time - so if you can group them all behind you then they will slowly appear in front of you as you kill ones behind.

This is a well polished and reasonably innovative machine building puzzle game. The interface is complex yet easy to use, and the game can be challenging. The graphics are clean and simple, but fitting. A well done indie.

Expansive levels that make Portal look like a tech demo, with quite a few new fun mechanics and a lot of back-story about the Aperture Corporation. It's about three times as long as the original, and once again ends with fantastic music.

This was fantastic the first time through - physics puzzles with tiny details that draw you into the story. The only reason I can't give it 10/10 is that Portal 2 is even better.

Frozen Synapse [Steam store page]
A challenging turn-based squad tactics game, though sometimes the previews are completely wrong. Sadly, game invites pop up even when you're marked unavailable or playing single-player. You must completely exit a level to adjust resolution or sound.

Defense Grid: The Awakening [Steam store page]
A carefully balanced tower defense game with excellent voice acting that weaves an interesting story throughout the campaign.

It looks nice and is enjoyable, but could use some tweaks especially at the more advanced levels. A bunch of enemies in a row can tag team your resources quickly down the line from quite a distance away - which feels a bit cheap at times, especially since the resources travel much faster when rubber-banding to an enemy unit.

It also would be nice to have more control over tower targeting priority, or even just a manual targeting mode. For example, in the later levels you want guns to tear the shields off targets before the lasers attack them - but the guns stay focused on a target until it is completely dead even if they aren't doing effective damage.

It's still one of the better TD games out there though, excellent polish and balance.

Sol Survivor [Steam store page]
Graphically reminiscent of Empire Earth. There is an overload of text in mission and descriptions. The hotkeys are well done. Incredibly easy on "normal" - can't imagine now "easy" must feel.

An interesting blend of FPS and tower defense. Seems geared toward multiplayer, and probably fun in that aspect. Novel controls - easy once they're familiar. Flaw with anti-aircraft guns - they all shoot at the same target, needs better AI for that.

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