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One of July's biggest Steam hits was a free chicken-stacking game you can finish in 5 minutes

Alpaca with several chicks stacked on its back
(Image credit: Spookulele Games)

If you're curious about what new games are getting a lot of playtime on Steam, you probably won't be shocked to hear games like Final Fantasy, Tribes of Midgard, Chernoblyte, and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles did very well in July.

But you might be surprised to learn that in the free games department, one of July's biggest Steam hits was a platformer where you're an alpaca collecting chickens on its back that you can play from start to finish in under five minutes.

That's short! But is it sweet? Frankly, yes. In Alpaca Stacka, you're the titular alpaca, who heads to a party being thrown by a hen. But a local squirrel, utterly enraged that he hadn't been invited to the barnyard shindig, has set all of the hen's baby chicks free. Mama Hen, distraught and having done nothing herself to locate her missing children, puts her alpaca friend Paz on the case, so you run around the island looking for the escaped chicks. 

You're aided in your search by a list of clues about where the chicks might be or what they might be doing, and also by the fact that the island is pretty darn small, plus the chicks aren't exactly doing a whole lot to hide. I mean, one is sitting in a mud puddle right next to the pen it escaped from. The clue was that he likes playing in the mud. The other clue was that he is literally right there in plain sight.

So there's not much to it, really, but it is cute and colorful and apparently a huge amount of people played it in July, which made me want to play it too, which I did and it took me four minutes. But four minutes well spent, I think.

If you find and collect all the chicks they'll sit on your alpaca's back in a big swaying stack, and a big swaying stack of chicks is a satisfying thing, even if it's only for a couple of minutes. You can also return them home one at a time, but trust me on this, go for the back-stack.

Christopher Livingston

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.