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3 short and sweet free casual games on Steam that are criminally underrated

Exploration seems to be a popular genre for free indie games lately. (Image source: Steam)
Exploration seems to be a popular genre for free indie games lately. (Image source: Steam)
There's no shortage of expansive open-world games and PvP arena shooters on Steam that have no regard for your time, or narrative games with exorbitantly long, winding stories that take forever to get to the point. There's something to be said for a short, punchy story that respects your time. Here are some free casual games that get to the point fast.

1. Light of Alariya

Light of Alariya is a short but beautiful adventure through a desert city on a sand skiff, which involves uncovering the city's history and restoring life to the desolate settlement. The student-made game's two-hour plot revolves around the hero, Rumi, on a quest to awaken her sleeping city by solving environmental puzzles in temples scattered throughout the city. If you're after a short break from first-person shooters, or you would enjoy a calm, relaxing journey through a charming world, then you'll want to at least try Light of Alariya.

Light of Alariya is free on Steam.

2. Helpless

Helpless stands on the shoulders of the recent success of the survival genre, delivering a touching story about a sickly mother and her child trying to survive in a hostile world where the sun is your only enemy. In Helpless, players step into the shoes of a child who is eager to learn about the past while trying his best to keep things moving forward. As you explore, sprinting from shadow to shadow, you will find items you need and others that unravel the story about the world around you. The visuals in Helpless are nothing short of remarkable, especially considering it is yet another student project.

Helpless is free on Steam. 

3. Gatekeeper: Eclipse

It's easy to dismiss demos and prologues as not worth your time, but Gatekeeper: Eclipse is a demo you can truly enjoy, despite its short play time. The prologue for the upcoming roguelite, Gatekeeper, plays out in three separate locations where players are tasked with defending The Heart of Time from waves of enemies that need to be cleared before progressing to the next level.

What makes Gatekeeper: Eclipse worth playing is the attention to detail put into the roguelite shooter demo. The game features fluid, fast-paced gunplay with a solid progression system, a variety of enemies to swarm you, and relatively challenging bullet-hell elements and occasional puzzles. In addition, there are also two endings to the short prologue, adding a degree of replayability.

If you're into 2.5D roguelite shooters, Gatekeeper: Eclipse is waiting, free of charge, on Steam. 

Every gamer needs a dependable controller, like the 8BitDo Pro 2, available on Amazon.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 03 > 3 short and sweet free casual games on Steam that are criminally underrated
Julian van der Merwe, 2023-03-26 (Update: 2023-03-26)