On an average day, about a dozen new games are released on Steam. And while we think that's a good thing, it can be understandably hard to keep up with. Potentially exciting gems are sure to be lost in the deluge of new things to play unless you sort through every single game that is released on Steam. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.
For this edition, we're looking back over the past fortnight of Steam releases, due to this column having a break for the holiday season.
Release: December 25
Developer: Pirate Games
Price: $9.99 | £6.99 | AU$13.00
Successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2017, Heartbound is a retro-styled role-playing game which shirks fantasy or sci-fi in favour of a more grounded (but no less unrealistic) modern day setting. Launched into Early Access at the end of last year, the game follows boy and dog duo Lore and Baron. Combat is achieved via mini-games rather than the usual numbers-driven turn-based stuff. Indeed, Heartbound "does not use the traditional systems of Levels, Experience or Consumables", according to the Steam page, and each combat encounter boasts its very own mini-game. It definitely looks like something worth checking out if Earthbound or Undertale excite you, and there's a free demo available in case you need further convincing.
The Eternal Castle
Release: January 5
Developer: Leonard Menchiari, Daniele Vicinanzo, Giulio Perrone
Price: $9.99 | £5.99 | AU$14.50
According to its Steam page, The Eternal Castle is a remake of a classic 1987 DOS game. But have you heard of The Eternal Castle before? I certainly haven't; the internet certainly hasn't. But whether the original actually exists or whether it's just an elaborate marketing ploy, the game itself, the 2019 version, has striking CGA graphics and a fascinating cyberpunk premise. Aside from its gorgeous retro-DOS aesthetic, the Another World-esque action adventure looks cool too.
Release: December 21
Developer: Llamasoft Ltd
Price: $17.99 | £13.99 | AU$25.95
Speaking of remakes of games that (probably) never existed, here's Jeff Minter's take on the popular, vaguely malevolent Polybius myth. It's a shooter with a modernised 1980s aesthetic, and if you've enjoyed any of Minter's more recent work then I can confirm that this is utterly essential. It's fast, it's disorientating, it's beautiful, and best of all its compatible with Oculus Rift.
Rogue Fable III
Release: December 29
Developer: Pixel Forge Games
Price: $4.99 | £3.99 | AU$7.10
Don't panic: here's this instalment's mandatory roguelike, and it's far more roguelike than most of its recent peers. In fact, it steers pretty close to the classics, except that it boasts "a modern interface and graphics", according to its Steam page. There are 60 talents and abilities, 13 dungeon types, upwards of 100 monsters and more than 150 items to discover. The game is completely playable, though it'll stay in Early Access for the next six months in order for "new content and mechanics" to be added. I can't see much evidence that Rogue Fable III has any new ideas of its own, but its presentation makes it appealing.
Go Cabbies! GB
Release: January 4
Developer: Sandbank Studios Ltd
Price: $16.99 | £13.49 | AU$23.95
Launched into Early Access last week, Go Cabbies! GB is a taxi simulator. There are a bunch of sims out there, but as far as I know, there are very few that take the task of being a taxi driver very seriously. In addition to driving competence, you'll also need to learn the roads "entirely from memory", which will take some time on a map with 63 streets and 243 roads. There are 819 passenger pick-up points and over 200,000 destinations, and would you believe it, there's also a street racing mode. There isn't much in the way of user reviews for this, but it definitely looks worth trying. The game should launch into 1.0 by the end of the year.
These games were released between December 17 2018 and January 7 2019. Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.