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Review: Steam — The Perfect App For Gamers

Available On: Android, iOS

Price: Free

Download: Google Play | iTunes

If you’re a gamer and have been looking for an app to browse games and maybe even talk with friends on the go Valve has an app on Google Play and iTunes called “Steam” based off of its PC client. If you’re one of the few people that’s been isolated and have no idea what the heck Steam even is, allow me to give you a quick overview of the client.

Steam was originally an exclusive gaming platform client for PC users only. It still is and will be for a pretty long time, except now they are using a lot of cloud based technology to keep your games backed up (games are still stored locally too) along with statistics. Alongside that steam is also a social networking platform allowing you to add friends and join Community Groups that other gamers have created. To add to that, the Steam Client also has shortcuts for you to be able to quickly hop in a game with a friend if you have that same game.

Steam is also a digital store for you to purchase and play games through. It stores all the games on your account while requiring you to download the game off of their servers. That way, you can get plenty of games for cheap and not clutter up your shelves with video games you probably won’t play very often. Steam organizes this list of games in a way that it isn’t all cluttered and easily allows you to find and play the game you want.

One thing that is really cool about Steam is that they always have sales going, whether its a weekly spotlight of what they call “Midweek Madness” or if its just them deciding to throw something up for sale. Many times the latter is the case. This is great as it makes getting games easy and very, very cheap. Thus, you get some pretty good quality games for cheap. How cheap? We’re talking between 10% to 75% off cheap, most of the time you’ll see the %75 off sales though, which is great!

Some other things you’ll be able to do on Steam is read some of latest news happening on the Steam Store, such as games becoming available, updates, improvements and etc. You’ll also be able to watch the latest game trailers and videos as many companies throw their trailers and gameplay footage up on Steam too.

Basically all Steam is is a gaming platform with some huge social networking aspects and a quality built Store to purchase and play games through. Now onto the really cool thing. Steam or the developer, “Valve”, has created an app based off of the PC client for Android and iOS users. It does a lot of the same things the PC client does but also adds more options for you to go through and use. The store on the Android even feels like it has a very clean cut UI making it easy to purchase games.

The first cool thing Valve added to the Steam app is the allowance to add your credit card to your account. Then, you can purchase games on the go very easily through the elegant UI. Once purchased (and lets say you’re not at home around your PC) you can select an option to download the game or not. Upon touching that option the request will be sent to your home computer/laptop and begin downloading the game for you so it’s all ready to play right when you get home. This is a nice aesthetic feature of the Steam app, it really reduces the waiting time before you can play a game. The best part? If you have a good internet connection, it’ll be done by the time you get home!

Players can also browse the store or “Catalog” on the Steam App and get all the information they need right on their phone at that moment. From looking at screenshots and trailers, adding the game to your wish list, purchasing the app and looking at extended info of the game, Steam encourages you to use their App on the go if you come across anything that you really want to purchase. Even if your on vacation and don’t have a laptop with you (that’s a sin!) using your phone to purchase games during a sale you would of otherwise missed is a great feature to have.

Honestly, I don’t know why Valve hadn’t done this earlier. When they first announced it it was kind of a surprise that they didn’t already have one as most companies were all going towards it. Nonetheless, it was a great move on the business side of things and I personally think has really boosted their sales. In my case, during this past couple of weeks Steam has been having a “Sizzlin’ Summer Sale” where basically all of their games go on sale for two weeks. I would of missed a lot of deals if I hadn’t had my phone with me. Between all the games that I wanted to buy, I probably paid $80 for games and saved around $100 or more.

The biggest thing people worried about when Steam launched their app was the UI. No one knew how Valve could compact a store, gaming platform and social network all in one app and have it be stable and fully working (now everyone’s doing this!). The UI is clean cut and has some really easy ways to navigate around the app. If you want to make a purchase, in about two to three buttons you’ll have that game in your library. Same for adding things to your wish list. Steam also makes it very easy for users to search for games they’re looking for with its own search function. The search function isn’t attached directly into the store, it has it’s own category to make it very easy to navigate around. I like the way they took with this idea because I think if they had added the wish lists and search function with the store category, things would have gotten very cluttered very fast.

As I mentioned earlier, Steam also includes a very fluid system to chat with your friends. Friends you add on the PC version of the client will sync with your phone so any chats you had with your friends via you phone will show up on your PC and vise versa. I’m not sure I really enjoy how the chats sync as that takes up a ton more data than what it really needs to take. I’d rather it just show up on one device than both. I really don’t need it pushing a millions chats to my computer. I haven’t found a way to disable this either.

The Steam Client is a great app and has some awesome customization features between customizing the chat layout to allowing it to push sale notices to your device or not. Steam currently has almost 12,000 positive reviews on Google Play. What would be really awesome is if they integrated Steam with Google Play by adding it’s own Android app section. I think it’d fit well with Steam’s slick UI.

I’ve heard that people mainly just download the app to purchase games during holidays as they are usually away from home as most of the world is. The other reason is that it’s a easy way to talk with friends while on the go. Especially if you’re in a group that does those super competitive matches with games like Team Fortress 2. It almost feels like a necessity in that case.

“It does get the job done. You can chat, buy games and DLC, look at screen shots but you can’t look at achievements. I’m fighting this while in the car two hours away from home. I was bored so I thought I should check the achievements for The Binding Of Isaac so when I got home I could earn them. I couldn’t check them though. Just add an achievement viewer and I’ll give it five stars.” -Matt, a Google Play Reviewer

Having Steam in the palm of your hand is great. I love the company and all the sales they offer along with their very vocal support of Indie games ( you know, those games that come out without a publisher that don’t get much attention?)! I can’t wait to see more improvements to the app as it works really, really well, the only problems I have ever come across is with the most recent update that disconnects the app randomly. I’d hope they fix that pretty soon here, it’s been about a week now and we still haven’t seen a patch for it.

Oh well! It’s still functional and the disconnecting does not happen often.This is a great app if you’re trying to stay in touch with your friends while on the go or stay up to date with all the Steam Sales. That’s really what it was made for, there’s not much other reason to have it.