Who doesn’t love some cheap games? They’re a nice way to pad out your library, sure, but a gamble they can definitely be – a cheap RRP isn’t usually synonymous with quality. Well, don’t fret, because I’m here to help! These 5 games I’m about to show you challenge that theory.
Here are 5 Games for the Retro Gamer you can find on Steam that are totally mint, as well as cheap!
BLOO KID 2
Bloo Kid was a neat little one-screen platformer that released on Android (and IOS?) in the earlier days of smart-phone gaming. Great title, and I played it a bunch, but I don’t know. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that a traditional platformer really needs a d-pad, at the very least.
Enter Bloo Kid 2! This one also released on IOS and Android first, but received ports to the 3DS and PC. And whilst the mobile roots show a little, it doesn’t really take away from the fact that Bloo Kid 2 does what it does phenomenally well!
Lets start with the controls – they’re tight as hell. Just traversing the stages is a joy, with some really nice reliable jumping arcs and bouncing off enemies is extremely satisfying. Bloo Kid 2 is built for getting through the levels as fast as possible, so expect to pull off some really neat looking enemy attack chains whilst going for a best time. There are also 3 Blue Stars hidden within each level. Easy as pie to get initially, but get a little further in, and you’ll soon realise that in order to even reach some of the stars, you’ll have to be pulling off some fancy platforming gymnastics!
Visually, the game is very solid indeed. It’s not a technical marvel, but the cute character design and superb use of colour are sure to impress fans of the 16-bit aesthetic. It’s a bit Mario, a bit Wonder Boy, but all good!
And the music. Oh boy – this soundtrack is one of my absolute favourites out there! The chip tunes are some of the best around, and definitely stick with you. Check out the Green Hills (!) music here – it’s a total ear-worm!
Bloo Kid 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and even so, it’s not a real stand-out title, but for $3.99 USD, you can’t fault it. There’s an enormous amount of game here per-dollar spent. Great stuff!
VERDICT GUILTY – 유죄 평결
What a phenomenal little fighter this is! Verdict Guilty will instantly take you back to stuff like Eternal Champions on the Mega Drive and maybe even something like TMNT Tournament Fighters.
Boasting a striking 80s Neon look (which, I’ll reiterate, makes EVERYTHING better), this South Korean fighter is solid. It won’t rival the Street Fighters and Darkstalkers of the world, but it’s a great fighter, regardless of the price!
The only real qualm I have with Verdict Guilty is the general low-level of animation in the fighters. They all look fantastic, but the choppy animation makes things feel a little more sluggish than I reckon it otherwise would have.
Don’t let that deter you though, there’s a lot of game here to sink your teeth into. The move-sets are nice and familiar, meaning almost anybody familiar with a 2D fighter will be able to jump straight in and have fun from the word go.
I really, really love the attention to detail in Verdict Guilty. There’s some really nice 16-bit style scrolling and raster effects in the backgrounds that catch the eye, and the music is utterly brilliant. This is really high-quality stuff, so it’s good then that the OST is included with the game.
Verdict Guilty isn’t the best fighter around, but you shouldn’t pass on it. It’s solid, 100%, and will keep you going for some time!
Plus 80s NEON! Always a good thing ?
If there were no Neon in Neon Shadow, I’d have been disappointed. Luckily it lives up to its name.
Again, this is another title that started life as a mobile game, but apart from some of the aspects of the presentation, you’d never know. OK, maybe you would, but having roots in a mobile game isn’t automatically a bad thing.
What we have here is a simple throwback FPS that again, doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but that is its greatest strength I think. Start a new game and you’ll be instantly at home. The controls are fast and snappy, and given its mobile roots, you’ll struggle to find any PC that this won’t run on. Bump up the anti-aliasing on the side, and Neon Shadow can look surprisingly pretty!
Levels are a simple affair. It’s mostly a run to the furthest point of the stage to destroy a crystal. Once this is destroyed, you’ll have to run back to the starting room and survive the onslaught of enemies the game throws at you along the way. Very simple stuff, but it definitely has its place – sometimes, it’s just nice to tune out with a game and not think too hard. The only thing you’ll have to worry about is shooting everything that moves. Me likey.
The enemy AI doesn’t do much other than rush at you as fast as they can, but again, the game has rhythm, and I find its gameplay loop cathartic.
Again, there’s a lot of bang for your buck here. If you’re after something simple that looks really nice and doesn’t test anything other than your reflexes, you can’t go far wrong with Neon Shadow.
$4.99 (until version 1.0)
Now the $4.99 USD price of Ballistic NG comes with a little bit of a caveat. Once the game hits 1.0, it’ll jump up to $8.99. If you ask me, the game is already worth that multiple times over, but just in case that’s too much for you, jump on it now. The build is currently sitting at 0.9.2.1, and within the month it’ll be updated to 0.9.3. If you want it for $4.99 USD, then it’s best to get in early.
YES! AGAIN, Goddammit!
I’ll keep saying this a million times – BallisticNG is one of the best games to come out in the last 10 years, and for what started as a fan project, it has developed into a game that has no right to be as good as it is. OK, that’s a lie. BallisticNG is more than a mere clone. It’s a labour of love that aims to equal its inspiration. Yes, it’s WipEout, but since Sony left this particular WipEout formula behind a long time ago, it’s nice to have it back again.
The old WipEout mechanics are tough to master, but put enough time in and you will get better. BallisticNG does old-style WipEout better than WipEout. Free of the shackles of the older hardware that WipEout was conceived on, BallisticNG elevates the experience by allowing play at frame-rates we could have only dreamed of in the 90s. With this in mind, the extra speed classes here could only be possible on the hardware of today. I’m telling ya’ boyo, it gets really, really fast.
For something that aims to mimic the look and feel of a Playstation game, BallisticNG can look utterly gorgeous. So much care detail has been put into each and every track. Each has its own colour palette, and the environments are clean and free of noise. And when it comes to the GUI, there is no Designer’s Republic here, but taking into account the sorry state that DR finds itself in these days, it’s no great loss.
This is in Early Access, but give it a spin, and you’d never know. This is Early Access done right. The gameplay systems were the first thing to be finished, and with such a strong foundation to build on, the rest has naturally just fallen into place. BallisticNG started with decent attempts at course design, but since production went into full-swing, these have been honed, worked over and polished to perfection. What is here now is definitely WipEout-worthy. No one section of any of the tracks looks like another, so learning these courses is a breeze.
Once you tire of the main content (you never will, but on the off-chance you want more), the Steam Workshop is filled to the brim with phenomenal player-created content that will keep you playing for years.
BallisticNG is an absolute MUST for futuristic racing fans, and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the formula still holds up today. It asks a lot of the player, but what you get in return is a game that will last you a lifetime and make you a better gamer in the process. Brilliant stuff.
$3.99 (free demo)
Muri is the kind of throwback title you don’t see too often. Quite obviously drawing inspiration from early DOS gaming and those shareware classics we grew up with, Muri is a platform game with an emphasis on guns, very much in the vein of the early Duke games and Jazz Jackrabbit, with a bit of Switchblade II in there too!
It was an exciting time to be a gamer. Shareware was a distribution method that let you play all the latest and greatest games for free, with generous demo’s that you could clock over and over. And I did! There were a few ways to acquire these Shareware demo’s – magazines came bundled them, newsagents sold CD compilations and if you were a lucky kid, you could download them from a new thang called the internets. Because they were so ubiquitous, I played a lot of them. In fact, I don’t think I played the full versions of games like DOOM and Jack Jackrabbit until many years after they released.
Feeling every bit the lost classic then, Muri will at once feel familiar and fresh. Each stage is a hunt for the exit, but between said exit and you stands a robot army ready to take you out with everything they’ve got. Your starting weapon is crude but effective, yet you will want to explore every inch of these stages – Muri rewards curiosity. You’ll find extra lives, weapon power-ups and the good old 90s PC game collectible, the floppy disk! It’s as if Muri was ripped straight out of the 1990’s and transplanted into the now – let’s see what we’re dealing with here.
A character in a robo-suit with a gun? CHECK!
Pixels the size of houses? CHECK!
Cheesy story with robot baddies? CHECK!
Muri has it all. The controls are deliberately old-school, but I really can’t fault them. You’ll never miss a platform or jump because of the controls – if you fuck up, it’s on you. The scrolling is as smooth or as jerky as you’d like it (more on that later), but regardless, you’ll be able to rely on these controls to get you through even the toughest stages.
Graphically, the game adheres to a strict EGA colour palette, and it works a treat. With such limited colours on display, the detailing is astounding. I always love seeing Devs push themselves in this way. If you want a truly authentic experience, you can cap the frame-rate to 15fps. I dig this, but for playability sake, I keep it on the 30fps setting instead – it just feels better.
The sound in Muri follows suit – the aim here was authenticity, it’s kept deliberately simple as a result. The sound effects are loud and punchy, which is good, because it’s only audio you’ll hear throughout the game. Everything sounds like it’s coming from a PC speaker, and while I’m a bit disappointed that barring the title screen tune, there is no in-game music (an AdLib option would have been great), Muri gets top marks for authenticity.
Everything about Muri is quality. The level designs are ace, the aesthetics are right on the money and the game is just plain fun. Passing on Muri is a grave injustice, and if it doesn’t at least slightly tickle your nostalgia bone, then I don’t know what to say. I don’t think we can be friends any more. Sorry bud.
Tags: 2D, 3D, action, BallisticNG, Bloo Kid 2, Cheap Games, Crescent Moon Studios, demo, DOS, driving, EGA, Fighting Games, Indie, Indie Games, Mobile Gaming, Muri, Neon Shadow, platformer, Playstation, Ports, PS1, PSOne, PSX, racing, Shareware, Steam, Steam Gaming, Verdict Guilty, WipEout