For those unaware of the Steam review system, games can be reviewed by owners of the game ranging anywhere from overwhelmingly negative to overwhelmingly positive. I believe there are seven different ratings in between those two, but am not completely sure. Either way, there are very few games who manage to reach an overwhelmingly positive rating (or negative). For those that do, you can be assured that you are in for a quality gaming experience as so many other users have had with whatever game is in question.
For this list, I sorted through Steam games by overwhelmingly positive reviews and picked five games that I am confident are worthy of the review status. There is no specific genre set for this list meaning that any of the games could come from any corner of the industry. Naturally, some of these games are massive AAA titles that have multi-million dollar budgets. However, a couple of these games are more indie style games which I find to be super impressive. Managing to receive overwhelmingly positive reviews on a game produced by a small team (or single person) is no easy task, I imagine. Without further ado, let’s get into five overwhelmingly positively reviewed games that you simply need to try!
Ultrakill is probably the most unique game on this list that managed to receive overwhelmingly positive reviews. This is due to the fact that the graphics in this game were purposely modeled after popular ‘shoot ‘em up’ games from the 90’s/early 2000’s. Ultrakill is essentially a modernized version of the original doom in terms of gameplay/mechanics. However, there are plenty of inclusions in the game that make it differ from Doom. Both the movement abilities within Ultrakill and the combos/weapons are completely unique to the game.
It should be said, there is a ton of low-rez violence within the game and it can get quite gory. If that is not your style of game, simply keep scrolling down to the next one! If you are someone who loved the original Doom (or any of the modern ones), this seems like the perfect game for you! For my FPS gamers out there, Ultrakill also works extremely well as an aim trainer as the entire game is quite literally all about clicking as many heads as possible (or blowing them up, if you so choose).
“The combat flow of Ultrakill is unmatched with movement tech, gunplay and combat mechanics culminating in what amounts to the peak of movement shooters. The game has no filler with constant action and ruthless enemies/bosses whilst fitting reprieve at the perfect moments and topping it all off with amazing secret levels. Cannot recommend it enough if you are a fan of the genre.” - scrub on Steam
The Witcher series is one of my favorite fantasy worlds created within modern media (second only to GoT). Out of the books, shows, and games, the game series I believe best demonstrates how the universe functions and all of the moving parts within it. This is likely due to my inherent bias towards video games in general as I believe they are the most effective way to tell a story as the user is forced to interact with the environment rather than just watch/read and use their imagination. The Witcher games (including the older ones) all do an amazing job of demonstrating what it would be like to be a Witcher in a world full of monsters that it is your job to slay.
While the forty dollar price tag may seem a bit steep, it is worth mentioning that the average playthrough time of this game is somewhere around fifty hours. That puts the price per hour of gameplay to less than a single dollar, which seems well worth it in my opinion! That is also the average playthrough, a completionist playthrough would take much longer than that. Overall, the Witcher series (specifically the third game) is one of those series I am confident recommending to just about anyone as the universe is beautiful, the gameplay is entertaining, and the storyline is richer than 99% of modern games!
“28 years of gaming, this is the greatest game I have ever played and likely will ever play. Bought it on release day in 2015 and came here today just to write this because someone asked me at work today if this game was any good. My only regrets are that no other game can compare to it, and I can never experience it fresh again. It may have ruined all future games I will ever play. 11/10. Wish I could do it all over again.” - Powered_Toast_Man on Steam
Portal 2 has made its way onto a couple of different lists on ESG’s site and for good reason! Despite coming out over a decade ago, the community around the game is still vibrant (especially within the speedrunning category). For those who are unaware of what the game is about or how it works, it’s pretty simple (on the surface)! You have a portal gun that allows you to place an entry/exit portal and walk through them. Doing this will teleport you from the beginning portal and spit you out the exit portal. This ingenious inclusion to the game allowed the developers to create some unique puzzles that have solutions you would never inherently expect.
Outside of the high quality puzzles, Portal 2 also has a really great storyline to it. I don’t want to spoil anything major as there are some great twists throughout, but it is certainly worth giving it a download to find out. Over four million copies of this game have been sold and yet it still received the overwhelmingly positive review category. This means you can be confident in your purchase that you are buying a quality game you’ll have a blast playing through!
“Exploration, Humour, Set-Pieces, Narration, Atmosphere, Difficulty; all these aspects are balanced with a care and love that only legendary developers such as Valve have, as a results we get a game that never gets dull, repeats itself or stumbles the player with overly difficult puzzles (which are still available in the many additional bonus maps). One of the finest pieces of digital entertainment ever conceived, and one of the few games that managed to transcend the notion of videogame, permeating into the general pop culture and achieving the status of legend.” - jippalippa (OrangeWedge) on Steam
Phasmophobia was my first horror experience that made me fall in love with the genre. The game itself and the monsters within are not too scary on the surface (a bit low-rez, killing animation is tame). However, this game does an amazing job at setting up an atmosphere that is absolutely terrifying. I can remember my first time playing with three of my friends and being left within the house after my teammates finished their objectives. I, however, was stuck in a closet on the top floor where the ghost was located. The noises being made outside of this closet door were petrifying to say the least. As ashamed as I am to admit this now (having played through it a bunch of times), I literally Alt + F4’d as I did not have it in me to open the closet door and make a run for it. Good times.
If my anecdotal experience was not enough, there are a ton of streamer clips out there featuring screaming streamers terrified to their core. After you play through the game twenty-ish times it does start to lose its touch (admittedly), but the experience you’ll have on those first twenty games make it well worth the fourteen dollar price tag. I would also recommend playing this game with friends if possible. Hearing a teammate being taken by the ghost over Discord and the screams associated with that are some of my fondest memories in gaming. This is especially true if you have a friend that is particularly scared of horror games!
“It is definitely worth the price, especially since it is still in early access. The most fun is when you play it with four people. Hint: do not play on Nightmare difficulty and do not look what is behind the door in the lobby” - edler_sessel on Steam
If I were to recommend any game on Steam to a friend and they had not yet played through Gris, this is my recommendation every single time. Especially so if that friend enjoys games with beautiful aesthetics. The art style of the game was created by Conrad Roset working alongside the developers at Novada. This art style is possibly my favorite art style in any piece of modern media (no joke). If you want a better idea of what I am talking about, check out Gris’ launch trailer for the PS4.
One aspect of Gris' production that I imagine had to be difficult for the developers is combining Roset’s art style with a platform style 2D game. Many of the lines in this art style are extremely thin to make the aesthetic as clean as possible. However, this presents a challenge for the level designers as it makes it hard to convey the correct path to the player as the lines are so thin. However, Gris did a great job at designing the levels in a way that is relatively intuitive despite having no visual clues on where to go. I only found myself not knowing where to go one time during my first playthrough which is massively impressive considering my inexperience with long-form platform games.
Finally, it would not be a fair review to not consider the soundtrack to Gris. The songs included are low-key, yet instill deep emotions in the player despite not being the main focus of the game. The community even loved the soundtrack so much that they pushed for a vinyl release, which came true! Sadly, I do not believe the vinyl version is available for purchase from their website anymore, but if you manage to find a copy on eBay I’d scoop it up as fast as possible!
“More art than game, it's a visually stunning and immersive experience. It's easy to lose yourself in the poignant, watercolor world of Gris. 10/10” - Occultrix on Steam
By now, you should have a good idea of what some of the most positively reviewed games on Steam look/play like. Now all that’s left to do is pick one and have a blast playing through one of these amazing games!
Heading image courtesy of rockpapershotgun.com