Program provides gamers free-to-play content

The mecha-shooter “HAWKEN” is just one of the many downloadable games Steam provides players.  (Photo provided by playhawken.com)
The mecha-shooter “HAWKEN” is just one of the many downloadable games Steam provides players. (Photo provided by playhawken.com)

Steam is a downloadable program developed by the Valve corporation providing a digital marketplace for computer games of all types, from new releases to games decades old.

One of those games is “No More Room in Hell.” Made by an independent development team and released in beta on Halloween 2011, this zombie survival first-person shooter was officially released to the public just last year in October. It was created on the Source engine, the same engine used as the foundation for Valve games such as the “Half-Life” series, the “Left 4 Dead” series and the “Counterstrike” series.

Many gameplay tropes that “NMRiH” utilizes make the game feel similar to more popular titles, most notably “Left 4 Dead.” The med-kit, pills, melee weapons and various firearms will feel familiar to fans of that series, explosives and incendiaries, as well as the cooperation required to make it through the levels alive. However, “NMRiH” has several things the similar AAA title lacks: bandages for bleeding wounds, an infection system where players can die from a bite and turn on their fellow survivors, a survival/horde mode, and a more realistic feeling closer to the survival genre of games.

“Mecha” is one of the most beloved sub-genres of entertainment, rooted in Japanese animation but popular all over the world, “The Matrix Revolutions,” “Pacific Rim,” “Gundam,” “Armored Core” and the “Metal Gear” series most notably. “HAWKEN” is another first-person shooter, though the focus on playing as a pilot of a two story, tall fighting robot among other things is enough to set it apart from the hundreds of generic multiplayer titles available today (except maybe “Titanfall” for the PC and Xbox One which did exactly that, but came out nearly two years after).

Released as a beta in 2012, “HAWKEN” is developed by a small team called Adhesive Games along with a publisher called Meteor Games and released on Steam in February 2014 on Early Access, meaning it is still being added to and developed as it is played. At E3 2012, HAWKEN was nominated for 20 awards and won 12 with three honorable mentions.

Like many free-to-play games, “HAWKEN” uses an in-game currency used to buy new cosmetic items, but the vast majority of items that actually have practical use can be bought with currency gains through playing. There are 18 mechs to choose from, though nearly all of them require the in-game currency to purchase.

Nevertheless, there are a  number of play styles one can develop and improve upon with the help of specific items and tools with your starting mech, part of the most balanced and diverse class of mechs that can do well in any situation. From there, preferred play-styles develop and other mechs can be used.