Friday Filter: Sci-fi Edition

By Marcello Perricone 01 Sep 2017 0

With everything from Counter-Strike to Football Manager being listed in Steam's 'Strategy' category, it can be hard to decide what is worth your time. That's where we come in: every couple of weeks, we look into the depths of the Steam Store and filter the noise to bring you the best and newest titles that actually fit the category.

This list was assembled via the "New Releases" and "New and Trending" tabs of Steam's Strategy tag, and covers 19/08 through to 01/09. Check it out!

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (Released: 29 Aug, 2017)

Also tagged as: Turn-Based, Tactical, Sci-fi

I love XCOM. No ifs, ands, or buts -- I love it from the top of my sexy hair to the core of my Time Lord hearts. Very few games manage to so competently unite amazingly polished gameplay, brilliant strategy, and a wonderfully constructed universe, lest alone do it twice, but XCOM did it.

Like Enemy Within before it with its predecessor, the latest Firaxis' expansion seems to take everything that was good about the base game and improve it, adding a ton of new features and overall making an outstanding game outstandinger. I know, that's not a word, but that's how good XCOM is -- it's expanding the dictionary.

Battlestar Galactica Deadlock (Released: 31 Aug, 2017)

Also tagged as: Space, Turn-Based, Turn-Based Tactics

The best tactical sci-fi game about spaceships I've played in recent years, Deadlock is an amazing 3D turn-based title. It features one of the most awesome simulations in the genre, allowing you to do things like shielding an ally from a barrage by intercepting it with another ship, or dodging missile strikes by carefully timing an evasive maneuver. Unlike Stellaris abysmal war system, Deadlock gets space combat right.

Joe reviewed the game on launch and gave it a 5 stars out of 5. I didn't even watch the TV series, and  I wholeheartedly recommend it -- that's how good this game is.

X-Morph: Defense (Released: 30 Aug, 2017)

Also tagged as: Action, Tower Defense, Indie

A unique fusion of top down shooter with tower defense, this pretty little game allows you to destroy entire cities and drop whole buildings on top of incoming armies to kill them.

In case you're still here and not rushing to buy the game thanks to the statement that you can drop whole buildings on top of enemies, allow me to explain: you play as the X-Morph, an alien race that invades Earth to take its resources and terraform the planet for their own needs. The armies of Earth are clearly not happy with such an American approach to space colonisation -- because humans are notorious intergalactic hypocrites -- so they want to stop you at all costs from doing what Europe did to the rest of the world in the XVI century.

Enters the tower defense. You must build fortifications, mazes, and weapons to hold off human attacks, as you dutifully conquer their cities. After that is done, you get to control a ship and jump into the fray, shooting enemies yourself and plugging any holes your strategic placement of defences left.

Environments are almost fully destructible, meaning you can blow up bridges to stop ground forces advances or collapse a whole building on top of them, wiping out half a battalion. It's a beautiful spectacle, and one I'm definitely checking out soon. Our very own Josh Brown will have a review for us in the upcoming weeks, and you can check out the game on Steam now. Go on, drop a building on someone's head.

Rock of Ages 2: Bigger & Boulder (Released: 28 Aug, 2017)

Also tagged as: Indie, Racing, Comedy

This is... a weird one. Featuring an art style and comedic non-sequitur approach heavily reminiscent of Monty Python, this unusual tower defense game sees you building your own base then destroying the enemy's with a gigantic sentient rolling rock. The Steam page actually does a horrible job of describing what the hell the game was about, so I had to do a bit of real journalism (gasp!) to find out what the gameplay is like.

Apparently, the game is a mix of tower defense and racing, where the player controls a giant boulder and must take down enemy fortifications. The tower defence part of it is because the player also has a base, and he must build walls, siege weapons, and deploy troops in order to withstand an attack by another frolicking boulder. The game features singleplayer but puts an enormous focus on multiplayer and coop play, and its surreal humour frankly seems a bit hit and miss at times. I don't even know why this is here, really. I'm sorry.

That's it for this edition of Friday Filter - keep an eye out for future updates as we filter out the noise of Steam's 'Strategy' tab. Seen anything else you like or tried any of the above? Let us know in the comments!



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