Steam Deck Weekly: Reviews Including Monster Hunter Stories and Duck Detective, Lots of News, New Deck Verified Games, Sales, and More

Steam Deck Weekly: Reviews Including Monster Hunter Stories and Duck Detective, Lots of News, New Deck Verified Games, Sales, and More

Welcome to today’s edition of the Steam Deck Weekly. Instead of publishing on last Friday, I decided to wait for all the events to end so the news wouldn’t be too out of date. If you missed the Summer Game Fest 2024 showcases, check out my highlights on Steam Deck here and Switch here. The busy month is still going with many new and old games coming to Steam. Check out my Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance review here and Kingdom Hearts Steam Deck reviews here. In addition to reviews today, there are news highlights from the last week and the newest Steam Deck Verified and Playable games. Let’s get into the reviews and impressions first.

Steam Deck Game Reviews & Impressions

Monster Hunter Stories Steam Deck Review

Last month, I did a preview on Monster Hunter Stories’ remaster covering early parts of the Switch, Steam Deck, and PS4 versions. Since then, I’ve been able to experience the game more on all three platforms, but I decided to focus on the PC version for my review, because it is by far my favorite version, when played on Steam Deck.

Following its debut on 3DS, Monster Hunter Stories saw mobile versions that were dramatically better when it comes to visuals and performance.You can still play Monster Hunter Stories on iOS and Android, and it is even in Apple Arcade, but those versions aren’t worth your time as of today. After the success of Monster Hunter Stories 2 on Switch and Steam, Capcom wants to expand the audience of this series, and what better way to do that then bringing the original to more platforms? Well, Capcom surprised me by not only bringing Monster Hunter Stories to Switch, PS4, and PC, but also bringing the West content we never got, a new gallery, voice acting, and more. Capcom also finally brought Monster Hunter Stories 2 to PlayStation today.

If you’ve not played Monster Hunter Stories at all through its prior releases, it doesn’t really play like a traditional Monster Hunter game. It is more of an RPG set in the world of Monster Hunter that features monsters, hunters, and basically was a fantastic game on 3DS that I enjoyed more than every Pokemon game with its turn-based combat, gorgeous visuals even back then, and memorable characters. For the remaster, I expected Capcom to just bring the mobile version of Monster Hunter Stories to current platforms. Instead, we have visual improvements, performance improvements, the addition of content never released outside Japan, voice acting, a new gallery, and more.

If you already played Monster Hunter Stories, the new content and upgrade to visuals and performance makes it worth the asking price for sure, but don’t bother unless you want to replay the full game. It would’ve been an easier game to recommend on consoles at least if there was a physical release on PS4 and Switch (without a code for Monster Hunter Stories 2). On PC though, the first Monster Hunter Stories makes its debut through this release, and it is a fantastic port that shines on Steam Deck.

Since playing the game for preview, I wanted to see if anything would change, but that build is basically the final game everyone can play today. The PC version of Monster Hunter Stories lets you adjust window mode (windowed, fullscreen, and borderless), resolution (864×486 to 4K), frame rate target (30fps to 144fps), toggle v-sync, toggle anti-aliasing, and adjust shadow quality (low, medium, high). You can also adjust brightness.

Monster Hunter Stories held 90fps very well with everything set to high aside from shadow quality which I turned down from the start on my Steam Deck OLED. Load times are near-instant as well. It only supports 16:9 gameplay, but does have Steam Cloud support.

While I’ve praised a lot of Monster Hunter Stories so far, it still feels dated in its visuals in ways. I didn’t expect this to be addressed since this is a remaster and not a remake, but it is worth keeping in mind that this release will not change your mind if you bounced off the game on 3DS. It is still an excellent RPG, but its roots are very much felt here despite how good it can look on modern screens.

This new remaster of Monster Hunter Stories is easily the best way to experience an actual 3DS classic from Capcom. I always said Monster Hunter Stories was the best looking 3DS game, and it now shines on modern screens thanks to a remaster that did a lot more than I expected. While it isn’t as good as Monster Hunter Stories 2, Monster Hunter Stories is still worth playing for not only fans of the Monster Hunter games, but also fans of RPGs in general. It is obviously aimed at a younger audience so keep that in mind, but there’s no denying Monster Hunter Stories is excellent in just about every way.

Monster Hunter Stories Steam Deck Review Score: 4.5/5

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami Steam Deck Review

When I got an email about Duck Detective: The Secret Salami, I immediately knew I wanted to play it based on its premise. Having now played it, I’m glad I did because it is fantastic. My only real complaint is that I wish there was more of it, but this mystery adventure game has been a lovely and charming surprise. Given the short length, I decided to play Duck Detective: The Secret Salami on both Switch and Steam Deck to see how it feels on both portable systems.

The mystery and adventure genres are full of some great games, but I love it when a developer tries to do something different. Duck Detective: The Secret Salami isn’t mechanically amazing or anything, but it excels in its setting, charm, voice acting, and music. As I made my way through the story filling in the blanks, I ended up hoping Duck Detective: The Secret Salami would go on longer. I already knew it was a short game when I got my review code, and while the price is justified given the quality here, I hope we see many more games from the developers in this series.

On Steam Deck, Duck Detective: The Secret Salami runs at 16:10, supports Steam Cloud, and runs at a locked 90fps on Steam Deck. I have no complaints with how it plays here, and you can even use touch controls. On Switch, Duck Detective: The Secret Salami also plays great, but the lack of touch support is my only complaint. If you were hoping to have a good portable experience with Duck Detective: The Secret Salami, you can’t go wrong with both Switch and Steam Deck.

If my only complaint with a game is that it gets over too soon and I want more of it, I take that as a good sign. Duck Detective: The Secret Salami is a lovely and charming surprise that I enjoyed playing for about three hours. On paper, the voice acting and music with this aesthetic shouldn’t work, but the developers managed to pull through and deliver something special. You can also press a button to quack.

Duck Detective: The Secret Salami Steam Deck Review Score: 4.5/5

Isles of Sea and Sky Steam Deck Review

When I first saw Isles of Sea and Sky gameplay, I knew I had to play it. I was hoping it would be fine on Steam Deck as well. Not only does it play great on Valve’s handheld, but I ended up thinking about it constantly even while playing other games. It has that draw where I want to just quickly boot it up to try and make some progress.

Isles of Sea and Sky is an open world puzzle game that starts off with you just pushing blocks. Even in its opening moments, you start seeing how much freedom you have in-game, and things start to get complex quite fast with mechanics and changes. One thing I love about the puzzle games that opt for a more open structure, is being able to come back to puzzles later on and still make progress by taking another path. Isles of Sea and Sky excels at this, and it feels like a gorgeous puzzle box full of blocks to stimulate your brain with, and one that has crisp and colorful visuals.

Even if you’re new to puzzle games, I recommend Isles of Sea and Sky because of how approachable it makes everything despite the depth. It feels like an old school puzzle game in the modern era, but one with quite a few modern features.

On Steam Deck, Isles of Sea and Sky hasn’t been tested by Valve yet, but it works perfectly. You can change window mode only when it comes to graphics. There’s also a streamer mode option that adds a space in the interface for an avatar or video for those streaming the game. I had no issues running the game. It plays at 16:9 and is capped at 60fps, but it does support Steam Cloud. I imagine it will be Steam Deck Verified soon.

Isles of Sea and Sky is a superb puzzle game that is absolutely worth your time. It also feels right at home on Steam Deck, and manages to stand out with its gorgeous art, puzzles, open world, and blend of ideas. If you enjoy puzzle games, stop what you’re doing and get this now.

Isles of Sea and Sky Steam Deck Review Score: 5/5

Broken Roads Steam Deck Review

It sucks when you’re excited to play a game and it ends up falling short, but that’s exactly what happened with Broken Roads at launch. The Australia setting, voice acting, and music were good, but it was too buggy and linear. It has been just over two months since I started playing Broken Roads on Steam Deck, and it is in a much better place with the newest update. I wanted to do a quick review covering how the current game feels on Steam Deck after recent updates.

Broken Roads is a modern take on traditional party-based RPGs with elements of Disco Elysium and Wasteland, but one that doesn’t live up to its inspirations by the end of it. The Australian setting, voice acting, music, and visuals are highlights for sure. The narrative will be hit or miss for a lot of people. The one constant throughout my different save files and attempts and seeing how varied things can be in Broken Roads, has been the combat not feeling fully realized, and also some of the quests. The moral compass in-game feels tacked on in parts because I sometimes felt like I had no real freedom to do or say what I wanted even early on. As a concept, I like what it could be, but it needs some more work here.

Broken Roads on Steam Deck is a bit of a mixed bag in some ways, but plays well. You can’t change any settings barring forcing windowed mode and the resolution with a few refresh rate options. Broken Roads supports 16:10 800p and 90hz natively, but it can’t hit that 90fps beyond the opening portions. I’d recommend capping it from the quick access menu. Aside from that, it plays well out of the box with full controller support and even has a large font option to make it better in handheld mode. I didn’t try Broken Roads docked on my monitor so I cannot comment on how it feels there. I ended up capping it to 45fps at 90hz when playing.

Broken Roads has improved quite a bit since I played it in early April, but still needs a bit more work to be an easy recommendation. In its current state, I can recommend it, but it is a few updates away from being something special. It definitely needs a demo because I can’t imagine many people will give it a shot at its current asking price given the launch reception.

Broken Roads Steam Deck Review Score: 3.5/5

Umbraclaw Steam Deck Impressions

Shaun already covered Umbraclaw on Switch in his review, but I wanted to cover how it felt on Steam Deck. As with many of Inti Creates’ PC ports, on launching the game, you’re prompted with a button configuration option for whatever controller you’re using. This lets you map buttons as you please before jumping into the game.

Once that’s done, Umbraclaw basically runs at a locked 60fps. On Steam Deck and the Steam Deck OLED, I found no way of running it higher than 60fps. Some prior Inti Creates PC ports have supported 120fps, but I don’t see an option for that here when playing on the Deck itself. Umbraclaw plays at 16:9 or is stretched. It looks great out of the box, but I recommend manually changing it to 720p or 1080p. The frame rate stays the same but you might find the increased clarity better.

Umbraclaw has DualSense button prompt support on Steam Deck when using a DualSense, but I found no way of changing button prompts when playing using the Deck’s own controls. You can rebind keyboard and controller buttons, toggle v-sync, adjust resolution (seemingly capped at 1080p), and frame rate. Note that on Steam Deck the frame rate option doesn’t seem to work, and it is capped at 60fps as I mentioned above.

If you aren’t sure if Umbraclaw is for you, I recommend trying the free demo on Steam. I ended up liking it more than I expected going into it. The stained glass meets painterly aesthetic shines on the Steam Deck OLED display for sure.

News and Trailers

Not a lot of news this week following the Summer Game Fest 2024 bonanza, but there are a few bits of note. The highlights are below. Shin Megami Tensei V: Vengeance is now available on all consoles and Steam. Alongside the launch trailer, Atlus also has a very weird and hilarious Slipknot interview as a part of the collaboration. I never thought I’d see Slipknot’s Clown being interviewed on the Atlus YouTube channel, but here we are. Watch both videos below:

Fallen Aces Episode One is out now on Steam Early Access from New Blood Interactive. Yes, it is finally here and only $9.99 (how?). Watch the launch trailer for it below:

Dragon Ball: Sparking! ZERO had a new gameplay features trailer go up confirming an offline multiplayer mode and a lot more including Custom Battle, Episode Battle, and showcasing new gameplay of course. Watch it below:

Digital Extremes released a new TennoCon 2024 hype trailer ahead of the event set for next month. If you missed my interview with Creative Director Rebb Ford, read it here. Watch the video below:

Caves of Qud got its Spring Molting Update, the last major update before 1.0, this recent week on Steam bringing a change to the UI to be friendly for mouse and gamepads in addition to more new features. Watch the trailer for it below:

Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope DX is in the works for Steam as an enhanced version of the original game with 20 characters with unique playstyles, online multiplayer, Challenge Stages, Custom Knight, and more. Watch the announcement trailer below:

New Steam Deck Verified & Playable games for the week

Catching up with basically two weeks of new Steam Deck Verified and Playable games has resulted in a bigger list than usual, which means more surprises.

  • AMANATSU Perfect Edition – Unsupported
  • Arranger: A Role-Puzzling Adventure – Verified
  • Bulwark: Falconeer Chronicles – Verified
  • Chivalry 2 – Playable
  • Command & Conquer: Generals – Playable
  • Cryptmaster – Playable
  • Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- Sweep the Board! – Playable (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • DRAGON BALL Z: KAKAROT Steam – Verified (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • Duck Detective: The Secret Salami – Verified
  • Dungeons of Hinterberg – Playable
  • F1 24 – Unsupported
  • INDIKA – Verified
  • Machinika Museum – Playable
  • Mashiroiro Symphony HD Sana Edition – Unsupported
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite – Playable
  • Nine Sols – Verified (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • Out of the Park Baseball 25 – Playable
  • Outcast – A New Beginning – Playable (via TouchArcade reader Mor)

  • Quest Master – Verified
  • Rabbit and Steel – Playable
  • Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER – Verified
  • Reus 2 – Playable (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • Rolling Hills: Make Sushi, Make Friends – Verified
  • Rotwood – Playable
  • SAND LAND – Playable
  • Scars Above – Playable
  • Selaco – Playable (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • Still Wakes the Deep – Playable
  • Tchia – Verified (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • Thank Goodness You’re Here! – Verified
  • The Lullaby of Life – Verified
  • The Red Lantern – Verified
  • The Rogue Prince of Persia – Unsupported
  • The Shell Part II: Purgatorio – Unsupported
  • Truxton 2 – Playable
  • Vigor – Playable (via TouchArcade reader Mor)
  • Void Crew – Playable

Steam Deck Game Sales, Discounts, and Specials

Instead of sales, I’m going to use this space to recommend checking out the newest Steam Next Fest with many demos for upcoming games. I’m going to be playing quite a few demos tonight. The ones I recommend are Fumes, Hookah Haze, Blade Chimera, Metal Slug Tactics (no controller support yet), Blue Prince, Maid Cafe on Electric Street, LOK Digital, Bo: Path of the Teal Lotus, #BLUD, and Wizard of Legend 2.

That’s all for this edition of the Steam Deck Weekly. As usual, you can read all our past and future Steam Deck coverage here. If you have any feedback for this feature or what else you’d like to see us do around the Steam Deck, let us know in the comments below. I hope you all have a great day, and thanks for reading.

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