Many reviewers only like to write about games in a positive light. In my opinion, this completely detracts from the point of a game review. A review should be carried out no matter how the game ends up being received, as the game will get the review it deserves. That being said, even I am guilty of sticking to more positive reviews as they tend to be easier to write about and generally gain more traction than a negative review. Today, that changes.
Within this article, I will be focusing on the 10 worst Steam games at the time of writing this article (August 2021). These games are not chosen according to my opinion, but rather according to the biggest ratio of negative to positive reviews (with at least 1000 votes). Naturally, this list will tend to lean towards smaller, older games. As a preface, I am writing this article not to crap on some indie developers, but rather to expand my horizons into negative reviews that will hopefully come across as light-hearted and fun. After all, laughing at a bad game may be one of the most fun things to do in gaming. Without further ado, here are the 10 worst games available on Steam (as sorted by rating, starting with the worst):
Flatout 3 falls into the pit of a letdown sequel (threequel?) that caused major community backlash. Flatout and Flatout 2 were both adored games within Flatout’s tight knit fanbase, meaning that a letdown for the third installment was made even worse. Many games nowadays fall into the trap of creating more and more installments just because their earlier titles did well. All that does is create massive expectations from the community and put tons of pressure on the developers to make a game that is up to par. In the series defense, BugBear created the earlier titles while this was a one-off creation by Team 6 Studios (a questionable decision to be sure). Who knows, maybe the fourth installment will be better?
“When my kids misbehave I make them play this as punishment.” - ManfredE3 on Steam
Up next, the absolute weirdest game I have ever seen on Steam. A cross between some sort of anti-religion propagandist and just bad game design, Uriel’s Chasm is on another level of bad. With gameplay that would still have been considered bad in the 80’s and a story so ambiguous that I genuinely do not think it even has a message behind it. At the very least, Uriel’s Chasm can be taken as a weird CreepyPasta type of game in which the game is so weird and warped that that is its entire appeal. Some theorize that Uriel’s Chasm 1, 2, and 3 (yes, there’s more) have an elaborate message hidden within the creepy FMV files transcending across all of its titles, but I doubt it. I mean, what’s more likely, the developers are some sort of super genius hiding sub-conscious propaganda behind terrible game design, or that it's just terrible game design coupled with an equally terrible message?
“My friend gifted me this game. We are no longer friends.” - Jackmerius on Steam
Yet another victim to high expectations, C&C 4 was a major letdown for any fan of the franchise. With its earlier installments all receiving ‘very positive’ to ‘overwhelmingly positive,’ C&C 4 pulled a complete 180 and possesses the highly sought out ‘overwhelmingly negative’ tag. Mainly due to many core features of the game being changed or removed, this installment was unanimously casted out by the entire community. In fact, EA received so much negative feedback (coupled with negative profit margins) that the game’s servers have been taken down. The worst part? You can still buy it on Steam. Let this be a warning: DO NOT PURCHASE! Even if you love the series, you literally cannot play the game (not that you’d want to anyway).
“Hey EA, how does it feel to ruin my childhood?” - Kristen Reid on Steam
Kinetic Void is an interesting inclusion to the list as it started out as a kickstarter that was relatively popular. The developer received ample support for the game, but after binging through the reviews and some supplementary articles, it only gets worse. After receiving the necessary funding through Steam purchases and Kickstart, the developer (I won’t name anyone here, but you have Google) supposedly spent the entirety of the money on their own personal Steam library and a board-game store. I am not completely sure how truthful these claims are so I won’t speak on them, but at the very least they could take it off the Steam marketplace. It pained me to read how many reviews were left just realizing they wasted 20 dollars on an unplayable and abandoned game. DO NOT PURCHASE!
“This game is the reason I no longer trust anything labelled "Early Access".” Jandalman on Steam
Having a similar theme to Kinetic Void, Spacebase DF-9 was a once-loved poster child for the space-base-building genre, only to be cruelly neglected and left out to slowly rot. The developer for DF-9 ditched the game, claiming that it is now in the modder’s hands to finish. This is a route you can go if you wish, as there are patched versions out there finished by indie developers, but I would recommend staying as far away from the game as possible. Developers who prey on Steam’s lack of pre-release moderation deserve no support and certainly not the hard-earned cash of ESG readers. DO NOT PURCHASE!
“Abandoned game. A shining example of why pre-release needs to be better moderated by steam.” - Colonel.EXE on Steam
In what seems to be a game designer’s final project for his freshman introduction to game studies class, it is hard to hate on GASP. In reality, it is simply a walking simulator that takes place on the moon with the occasional random asteroid being hurled at your face. Outside of that, there is not much else. The objective you have to get to only completes once you reach it and that’s it, nothing fancy happens, you are simply done. It seems like a young developer’s first title, or maybe they were playing around with a new engine, but it is definitely lacking gameplay. At least GASP is free, meaning that if you feel like walking at a snail’s pace for an hour for a completely unsatisfying ending, you can. Even better, at no cost!
“This game is free and that's still too expensive for what it is.” AWP_wannabe on Steam
Sadly, there is not much to say about Identity. Just like Kinetic Void and Spacebase DF-9, Identity is another abandoned early access title in which the developer took the money and ran. After some digging, I found the development companies website and even a job position on their ‘careers’ page for a developer to work on Identity. Unfortunately, that was posted all the way back in 2016. Either Asylum Entertainment is really, really picky about who works on their game, or they have abandoned this title entirely.
“Identity: Scam Simulator” - Sandwich on Steam
As an avid fan of the RollerCoaster Tycoon series growing up, I can wholeheartedly agree with the negativity surrounding this installment. Not only was it not finished, but there was such little effort put into fixing general bugs and lagginess that it almost seems like an insult to put a price tag on the game. Hilariously enough, Planet Coaster (a rival roller coaster building game) was released one day after the release of Tycoon World. Subsequently, the entire Steam review section is full of “Just get Planet Coaster” comments that genuinely made me laugh. Not even like a slight exhale out of the nose laugh, but a full belly-laugh at the sheer number of comments encouraging readers to buy the rival series. That just goes to show the power of an outspoken community and how much of an effect they can have on a game’s marketability. Oh, and why you should NEVER RELEASE AN UNFINISHED GAME AND PAWN IT OFF AS FINISHED FOR MONEY!
“As someone who grew up playing tycoon games, this is a disgrace.” DorkyDispleasure on Steam
When I first started this list, I did not realize how much of a theme would transpire across all of these titles. Yet again, another developer has created a kickstarter and failed to follow up on their promises, despite receiving $800,000 from the community. Instead of implementing all of the amazing features promised on Kickstart, the money has instead gone to the mobile version of the game as it makes the company more money. The Steam version has essentially been casted out, failing to receive any attention for years now. The developer should have at least had the decency to take it off Steam and focus on the mobile version, rather than opt for this surface focus on the Steam version while all of the real time and money gets spent on the mobile version.
“It's over, nothing left but treachery from the once great Peter M. How the once most praised name in the PC gaming industry has fallen to now be one of the most despised.” mikeydsc on Steam
To finish out this disappointing list, let’s review another disappointment to a series. Sacred is a classic hack n slash RPG series that received positive feedback on the first two installments. However, the third installment lacks any concept of an open world that the first two games were based upon. Instead, it is a linear style RPG that most members of the community summarize as a button masher. The general consensus seems to be that this is yet another cash grab for a once popular series as the developers try to squeeze out every last penny from a popular series. Sigh.
“My disappointment is immeasurable and my library is ruined.” - Bruh Sound Effect #2 on Steam
As we can see, there is a clear recipe for broadly disliked games. Greedy developers? Check. Cash-grab from an amazing series? Check. Lack of effort? Triple check. If there is any message you can take away from this article, stay away from Early Access titles unless you are certain they have every intent to keep updating the game and turn it into everything they promise in their Kickstarter!
Image courtesy of steampowered.com