I mentioned in my July gaming update post, that I had encountered a bit of a gaming slump where I wasn’t really motivated to play any video games. Fortunately, I have since overcome the slump and I am now happily gaming again. But my slump got me thinking about how I might be burning myself out in the games I’m playing. Now, long time readers of this blog know that I have a large Steam library that I never really play through as I tend to stick to playing the same games on Steam. So, a thought occurred to me, what if I let Steam recommend some games to me?
And that is exactly what I did. I went to my Steam library and checked out five games in the ‘Play Next’ section, which should be based on the sort of games I’ve been playing and what other people also play. The only thing I excluded was any games that are sequels, as I would want to play the previous games first. I then played each game for several hours and saw how much I enjoyed it. Let’s see how I did.
The first game that Steam suggested was Prison Architect, a game in which you are placed in charge of prison and must run it. This means you are in charge of constructing buildings, reform programs and punishments for prisoners out of line. Now, I can see where Steam was coming from in recommending it, as I love management games like Planet Coaster and Two Point Hospital. I’ll be honest, I didn’t fall in love with Prison Architect, as I felt that some of its interfaces were a little convoluted, especially to a newbie like me. Perhaps if I give it a little more time, I would come to enjoy it but at least for now, it seems like it has a steep learning curve.
After my lukewarm experience with Prison Architect, I was a little concerned. Fortunately, Steam was able to turn it around with the second pick, Northgard. Northgard is a viking themed strategy game that tasks you with helping your viking clan settle in the land of Northgard and survive. I definitely think my time with Bad North heavily inspired this pick, along with Age of Empires II and various Total War games. I instant.ly fell in love with Northgard and have completed five of the chapters in the campaign. I can definitely see myself playing Northgard for many hours and also purchasing the DLC as well.
After Northgard’s success, I decided to shift gears and go with a survival RPG game called Dead Age. Dead Age is set during the zombie apocalypse and you must guide your character so they can survive the end of the world. I’m not sure what inspired Steam to pick this game but it definitely has gameplay mechanics that would appeal to me: character RPG progression system, settlement, turn based combat and resource management. Although Dead Age has everything that should make me fall in love with it but I didn’t quite connect with it. I think it was the story and characters that I couldn’t connect with, however, I will give it a couple more hours just to see if it does hook me.
Sticking with the RPGs, I then moved onto Punch Club, in which you are a rookie boxer that wants to take after his deceased father. If I am being honest, out of the five games, this was the game I enjoyed the least. The difficulty curve at the beginning was steep and I disliked the fact that your stats gradually decay overtime if you don’t keep working on them. I just felt that the time management aspect was too much and didn’t give me enough time to enjoy the game’s story. I won’t be playing Punch Club any more.
Knights of Pen and Paper II.
After Punch Club, I was a little worried. So far, Steam only had one major success, Northgard and one game that I would continue with to see if I would like it, Dead Age. So, there was a little bit of pressure on the final game, a turn based RPG called Knights of Pen and Paper II. Now I played the first game, many years ago, back in 2015 and enjoyed it; so I had some hopes for Steam’s fifth game. And Knights of Pen and Paper II lived up to my expectations. It was a light hearted RPG that poked fun at the fantasy genre. It was a breath of fresh air and a great finish to this experiment.
So, those were the five games Steam recommended that I played. How did Steam do? In all fairness, not that bad. Although Punch Club and Prison Architect weren’t successful picks, Northgard and Knights of Pen and Paper II definitely made up for it. Overall, I enjoyed placing my gaming fate into Steam’s hands and I would definitely do it again.