If you’re an avid gamer, then you must surely be familiar with the popular online gaming discussion and distribution platform, Steam. Using the services of Steam, not only can you browse and purchase the latest games from major game developing companies, but also join its online community, and share your gaming experiences with others. Oddly enough, Steam currently does not have an official mobile client for smartphone users, which means that hardcore Steam fans have to resort to the Steam website, or third-party clients to access the service on their devices.
Fresh to the Android Market, Steam For Android is yet another handy addition to such clients that has certainly got better looks and a more extensive set of features than most, if not all, of its counterparts. Sporting an extremely user-friendly interface that is reminiscent, in look and feel, of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich UI.
Steam For Android lets you check your Steam profile, group updates, view special deals/discounts for your favorite games, sort the unending list of games by various filters, find out what games your friends are playing, and share the best games with your buddies right from your Android device.
First off, you must provide a valid Steam ID to the app. In this regard, you can feed in an ID of any Steam user to view their profiles. Once past that, you are taken to the app’s homescreen that packs various tabs that we shall explore below.
The Specials! tab fetches all the hot game deals from the store, and presents them in a list that can be filtered by name, metascore, price and discount rate. Selecting a game from the list displays a box containing brief information about it, and the Steam Store option that lets you purchase it from the Steam website. To switch to another tab, simply swipe left/right across the screen.
The Summary tab displays the profile picture and favorite games of the user whose Steam ID you entered at the app’s welcome screen. The Friends tab shows when your friends last logged in to Steam. Tapping on a friend’s name launches a context menu containing the options to view and share their profile, and add them to your favorites list.
The Groups tab, as indicated by its name, shows all the gaming communites that have been joined by a user. Tapping on a group name lets you share that group with others, or view detailed statistics, summary and announcements etc. pertaining to it.
Finally, the most important tab of them all: Games. Here you can find a list of all your the games that you have purchased on Steam along with the number of hours that you’ve spent playing each. Tap a game to share it, and view the its official page on the Steam store.
The ICS-style More button in the top-right corner of the screen reveals options to quit the app, enter a new user ID or refresh all content. Hitting the Menu button does the same.
It goes without saying that until some other third-party app developer, or Valve Corporation – the company behind Steam – come up with an equal or perhaps even better product of their own, Steam For Android has what it takes to become the Android-using Steam community’s default client.
Update: The app, along with all other third party Steam clients for Android, have been removed from Google Play Store, as the real deal has just made its way to the market. You can go through our comprehensive review of the debut version of the official Steam client for Android to see what goodies it has on offer for your gaming needs.