Steam is a digital distribution service that was created by Valve in an effort to get their games out to gamers more easily. As Steam evolved other publishers were allowed to have their games added to the growing service. Today, Steam represents quite a large chunk of PC game sales and boasts a library of thousands of games. At this point in the life of Steam it is tough to find games that might interest you. In this article I will show you five games that will cater to that nostalgic side of your gaming habit, games that are on Steam right now. 2D side scrolling action titles at one time were the bread and butter of gaming. As consoles gained more power developers moved towards full on 3D gaming, seemingly leaving behind this venerable genre. Steam has become a haven of sorts for 2D side scrolling games. Here are five interesting retro styled action titles worth looking into.

1) Rex Rocket by Castle Pixel LLC
What happens when you take some aspects from Mega Man, Mario and Metroid? You get Rex Rocket, a title that somehow mixes in some aspects of those games along with Cave Story dialogue and over the top action sequences. Rex Rocket unfolds over 100+ levels, the question is, will you survive?

2) Super Time Force Ultra by Capybara Games
Contra is an iconic retro run and gun title, which is nearly an accepted fact. Super Time Force Ultra takes the pixelated look and applies it to a side scrolling action run and gun shooter. Each level is timed, and for good reason since you have control over time itself. Made a mistake? Simply rewind time and redo that section of the level. Super Time Force Ultra is almost like a bullet hell with the screen regularly filling up with bullets, explosions and enemies. Contra fans, get ready to control time.

3) The Waste Land by Digital Tribe
Metroid is one of those titles that retro fans will hear a lot about, whether you are a fan or not it is an influential title. The Waste Land borrows from not only Metroid (level design) but also Ghosts n Goblins (bosses) and Castlevania (building blocks of the levels). Similar to Castlevania II there are dialogue trees to go through with villagers to gain clues and tips as to what to do next. The Waste Land is just different enough to warrant making it on this list.

4) Viktor by Shorebound Studios
First person shooter games popularized the “mouse and keyboard” control scheme. That has not stopped side scrolling action games from borrowing it though. Abuse was one of the earliest 2D titles to do that, Viktor is one of the newest action titles to use this setup effectively. Much like some of the other titles on this list, Castlevania is obviously an inspiration for Viktor.

5) Spud’s Quest by Mouldy Toof Studios
This is the only game that carries heavy emphasis on puzzle solving within the 2D game world. There is still plenty of action to be had, just not near as much “twitch” gameplay here as there is in the other games on this list. Puzzles are more along the lines of push a block to this floor switch to make that door open, think side scrolling Sokoban. Spud’s Quest pulls influence from the Dizzy releases.


There are a ton of games on Steam, not just action games or first person shooters. These five games will scratch that nostalgia itch for a 2D side scrolling action game, in future articles I will cover other genres.