Steam Awards 2019 Fan Voted Nominees Revealed for Category ‘Most Innovative Gameplay’

Steam Awards 2019 Fan Voted Nominees Revealed for Category ‘Most Innovative Gameplay’
Credit: Valve via Steam

Steam has released the final nominees for ‘Most Innovative Gameplay’, and it is delicious.  While the ‘Better With Friends’ category was relatively hit and miss, this category is bringing some mind-blowing theatrics along with bizarre gameplay evolution, resulting in a simply scrumptious meal of some of the best games released on Steam this year.

The nominees are Baba is YouSlay the SpireMy Friend PedroOxygen Not Included, and Planet Zoo.

Baba is You

Baba is You came out early in 2019, and immediately rocked gamers with its fun twist on puzzling.  Much like programming without knowing syntax, the game revolves around if/then statements, and moving them to figure your way out of a predicament.  The game quickly spirals into multiple branching statements, asserting if X, then Y, altering how the game fundamentally works to bring Baba victory.  The graphics aren’t tremendously impressive, the soundtrack is serviceable; fans come to this title for the gameplay, and it’s found in spades.

Slay the Spire

If you’ve found yourself wondering where the sudden influx of card games mixed with dungeon crawlers has spawned, it’s here.  Slay The Spire came out swinging January 2019, with players collecting various cards to be played in battles spanning dungeons.  It was an instant success, as strategy mixed with RNG to see who could, quite literally, Slay the Spire.  With various mechanics added on top of the card battling, such as removing detrimental cards from your deck, or upgrading your favorite damage dealing card, or even visiting the oddly disabled merchant found sporadically throughout the levels, Slay the Spire brought something new to Steam, and has since branched to every console.

If you haven’t experienced this title, you’re missing out on a defining candidate that will reverberate through the dungeon crawler genre for a long time.

My Friend Pedro

Sentient bananas, excessive violence.  It doesn’t make much sense, but it ultimately doesn’t need to; My Friend Pedro is a fluid 2.5 dimensional game about murdering everyone through a myriad of levels.  Sometimes on skateboards, other times dangling from rope, like a death-spewing trapeze artist.  The action comes fast, and the tempo maintains until you’ve had enough.  You can find temporary respite in a slow-motion feature that brings everything to a crawl, allowing players to utilize the split-aiming features to eliminate multiple thugs at once.

If Hotline Miami had a kid with Katana Zero, and that kid received zero counseling, you’d get My Friend Pedro.

Oxygen Not Included

Oxygen Not Included has received an at-length write-up in the past; the 2-dimensional survivor brings thoughts of RimWorld and Don’t Starve, bringing about a unique take on surviving inside of a planet.  You’ll struggle to maintain adequate levels of oxygen (which isn’t included), dealing with bodily waste that your colonists generate (and fling about if you don’t take care of it), and the occasional recreational break.  Digging through the planet will net your colony various resources that you can then transmute to greater items of importance, eventually bringing space-tech to you colony.

It’s a unique idea that has been mirrored in other survival games previously mentioned, but the adorable art style depicting the colonists’ panic attacks is simply art.

Planet Zoo

Planet Zoo is brought to us by the same developers that made Planet Coaster, Frontier Developments.  The game bears a striking resemblance of Planet Coaster in everything from visitors to park design, but this brings animals.  These animals need to be fed, or else they get ornery.  When everything starts going wrong for your poor creatures, the game really opens up as you attempt to quell fires while continuing to attract visitors.  Beyond the inclusion of animals (which is a very deep mechanic), there’s not much else that’s new to the Planet franchise as of yet.

If Planet Coaster gives us an idea of the preferred development cycle for Frontier Developments, we can expect a lot of DLC’s in the future for this title.

That sums the nominees for the ‘Most Innovative Gameplay’, and we’ll find out which title walks away with the award in late December.