The Great Steam Treasure Hunt, a large-scale metagaming event organized by Valve this holiday season, has had Steam users complete objectives every two days in order to win games from the Steam store catalogue. Tasks have ranged from using various community features to completing specific in-game achievements in discounted games.
That moaning sound in the background? That’s just the good ladies and gentlemen from Impulse, GamersGate and Direct2Drive sighing audibly – the Treasure Hunt has been a devilishly good move from Valve to get more players introduced to Steam’s lesser-utilized features. It has also turned out to be an excellent opportunity for highlighting many smaller titles from developers that may not always have the marketing muscle to stand out from the admittedly crowded Steam storefront. Indeed, the Hunt has been a time to shine for games such as Bob Came in Pieces, Beat Hazard, Droplitz, The UnderGarden and Chime.
Another such game is the aptly titled Shatter from New Zealander niche developer Sidhe. Originally released on the PSN, Shatter is on the surface a high-definition rendition of the Breakout genre, perhaps resembling most closely the classic Arkanoid. Shatter’s claim to the throne, then, is its frustration-free flavour; where other games of the genre may have traditionally strained players with punishing difficulty, Sidhe have altogether subverted the problem by introducing a mischievous sucking/blowing mechanism for your bat, used not only for gathering shattered energy fragments that dissipate from broken bricks, but also allowing players to gently guide their ball’s trajectory curve both left and right.