Steam, Valve’s powerhouse digital distribution service for PC and Mac, is finally making its way to mobile devices. Don’t get too excited yet, though, they aren’t selling any mobile specific games. Instead, the Steam mobile app acts as a much-needed mobile portal for the multitude of services Steam offers.
Getting logged in is as simple as you’d expect, and Steam mobile even has support for Steam’s relatively recent Steam Guard account protection. Whenever you try to log into Steam on a new device Valve sends an e-mail containing a one time activation code to the address they have on file. You can’t log in without first entering that code. It adds an appreciated level of security for a service that many users have sunk hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars into.
Instead of trying to navigate Steam’s desktop-minded website on your phone you can now access Steam’s most useful features with an interface that has mobile devices in mind. Chat with your friends, check out active deals, or browse Steam’s entire catalog, all from your phone. You can even buy games directly from the app. If you don’t mind the extra icon in the status bar Steam will run in the background, making you available for chat no matter where you are (this service can be disabled in the Settings menu, where you can also set your preferences for receiving chat messages).
The Steam mobile app had a short closed beta period, but is now available for everyone who wants it. Get it for free from the official store for your preferred platform.
Dear Steam Users: It is a known fact that Steam offers the occasional free game embedded inside their vast library of adventure, action, and sports games. From action to racing to just plain awesome, Steam’s free games can provide some good time fun. Heck, even Portal has been offered for free. But last week a new game emerged into the free realm of Steam.
This game is called Alien Swarm, and it is something to admire. Well, not NASA Moonbase Alpha admirable…but close enough.
The Steam version of Alien Swarm is based off a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004 created by Black Cat Games, and features four person cooperative play, over 40 weapons, four classes with eight unique characters, and 64 achievements. Furthermore, the game itself is being released as a Source SDK release, which allows the user to access the game code, mod tools, and its tile-based map generation tool. More information on the game can be found at the Steam web page here.
The game itself plays in a top down 3rd person view, with quite a bit of detail contained in every level. The levels are fun to meander around in, especially with three other friends backing you up. It requires at least a 3 GHz processor, 2.5 GB of free space, and 1-2 GB of RAM for memory.
And as long as you are downloading Steam games, seriously take a look at Moonbase Alpha as well. It’s a NASA game created by Virtual Heroes under the Unreal Engine 3 for future education and outreach. The full details are on its official website. For science!
Nearly a year ago, I reviewed The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, and this Summer LucasArts is breathing new life into the second game in the series: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. LeChuck’s Revenge is getting the same overhaul that the first game got, with updated graphics, sound, and voiceover work.
In addition to their massive Summer sale, Steam also has pretty sweet deal on Monkey Island 2. Monkey Island 2 Special Edition releases on July 7th, but if you act early and preorder it, Steam will throw in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition for free! You can’t ask for much more than two top notch adventure games for just $10, especially if you didn’t play them in their previous incarnation.
If you have the adventure game bug, you can also pick up the LucasArts Adventure Pack for another $10 and play through four other adventure game classics, albeit in their original form and not enhanced like the two Monkey Island games.
Portal, an innovative video game released in October 2007, is now available as a free download from Steam until May 24th.
Portal is a first-person shooter puzzle game that tests your problem solving abilities unlike any other game. The object is to use your portal gun to create portals that will teleport your character and other in-game objects across great distances and through treacherous terrain.
To find out more about Portal and see the game in action, watch this trailer from Steam.
Portal is available for free on Windows and as of May 15th, Mac as well. A free Steam account is required to play.
Attention gamers: The Steam client is now in beta for the new user interface. You can choose to use the beta client by going to settings and choosing UI Update under the Beta Participation section. You will be asked to restart Steam as the update is applied.
So far the new UI is looking nice and remains easy to navigate. The many new features allow you to better track your game progress, and see what games you play the most. The updated UI also has conveniences to help you stay on top of your favorite games by displaying a Recent News feed below your games. (Previously seen by right click -> View Update News)
The new interface includes both small and large improvements across the board, and is definitely worth checking out. (Don’t forget to send feedback by hitting the Beta sticker in the corner!)
Check out additional screenshots of the new UI below!