Well ladies and gentlemen, it’s summer again, and you know what that means, right? The weather is nice and hot, which makes it perfect for sitting inside a dark air-conditioned room playing video games. With the annual Steam Summer Sale now in full swing, I bet you’re wondering what you should spend your hard earned cash on. Of course you’ll buy a bunch of games that you’ll never touch, that just goes without saying, but I’m here to try and aim you to that which gives you the best bang for your buck. I’ll be listing stuff that I’ve recommended in the past, some popular recommendations, and some gems that you may never have ever heard of, so take a look below and get your wallet ready!
Genre: RPG, Story Based
Now: $6.99 (-30%)
I never did a full review of Undertale, but I meant to. Still might get to it one day, but it’s a wonderfully imaginative, funny, action packed, and legitimately touching game that has taken the internet by storm. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s worth all the hype and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s worth all that and then some. With meaningful branching stories that make you want to play the game through multiple times and an inventive combat system unlike any I’ve ever seen, this is game has quickly become a favorite of mine.
Sid Meier’s Civilization V: Complete
Genre: Historical, Turn-Based Strategy, 4X
Now: $12.27 (-92%)
With Civilization VI around the corner, now is the time to get to know one of the best turn based strategy games that I’ve ever played. This is the game that redefined the 4X genre and will give you dozens if not hundreds of hours of gameplay. It’s really addicting and that “One More Turn” mentality will keep you going well into the night. Especially fun with some friends, but even on its own it’s a blast. With the colorful leaders, brilliant design, and wonderful music, you’ll never want to stop playing. The Complete pack includes both major expansions (Gods and Kings and Brave New World), as well as all the smaller map packs and extra Civs.
Genre: Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Simulation
Now: $4.99 (-50%)
A game that came out of nowhere for me. I picked this up on a recommendation and fell in love. It’s a unique game where you take the role of an inspector working the border checkpoint for the fictional country of Arstotzka. You must examine their passport and various paperwork for errors or inconsistencies before deciding if they should be let in or not. You have to process them as quickly and accurately as possible so that you can make enough money to take care of your family.
X-COM: Enemy Unknown Complete Pack
Genre: Alien, Sci-Fi, Turn-Based Strategy
Now: $9.99 (-80%)
I’m suggesting the complete pack over the base game (Which costs $7.50 right now if you prefer that) because it includes the excellent “Enemy Within” expansion. It should be noted that X-COM 2 is also on sale and is pretty comparable in quality to Enemy Unknown, but that’s much more expensive and this one comes with all the bells and whistles of the expansion. A wonderful strategy game that I’ve loved since it came out. Accessible, challenging, mentally stimulating, and addicting. It has dozens of hours of gameplay hidden away within, maybe more, and it’s a hell of a deal right now!
To The Moon
Genre: Story-Based, Adventure, Atmospheric
Now: $1.99 (-80%)
Why yes, I will keep recommending this game until I die, thank you. One of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever experience wrapped in appealing pixel art. On top of that, it’s funny, it has memorable characters, and it comes with two free minisodes which will lead into the upcoming “Finding Paradise,” the next game in the series. “A Bird Story” is on sale as well, but that one is just okay. “To The Moon” is just incredible and would be worth every penny even at full price. For $2, it’s a steal.
Genre: Platformer, Roguelike, RPG
Now: $2.99 (-80%)
I’m actually a big fan of Cellar Door Games. They’ve made some really interesting and very funny flash games which include “Don’t Shit Your Pants” (No, seriously) and “I Have 1 Day.” Rogue Legacy was one of their first attempts at a bigger game and it’s just a blast. Playing as a member of a family of heroes who charge into a haunted castle on a mad king’s orders, you seek the treasure that lies at the heart of everything. You must fight epic bosses and trek through dangerous areas to win, and along the way you’ll burn through like a hundred generations of heroes. Every time you die you must pick the next member of the family from the next generation to enter the castle. There are lots of different classes and gameplay styles to try out, weapons, armor, equipment, runes, and family tree upgrades to unlock. Each new family member has unique quirks which change how they play (gaining mana for destroying objects, not setting off floor-based traps, flipping the screen upside down), and the randomly generated dungeon means you’ll be spending a LOT of time here. There’s a lot to explore and it’s a hell of a journey.
Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale
Genre: Anime, Simulation, Story-Based
Now: $4.99 (-75%)
I reviewed this some time back and it remains just as magical of a game as ever. While it doesn’t have quite the value of some of the other games on this list (though it still does have quite a bit, with New Game+, several varieties of endless survival mode, and plenty of unlocks), Recettear is a unique experience that you shouldn’t pass on. Mixing aspects of dungeon crawling with shop management games, the funny writing and the memorable characters make this a shop worth investing in.
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
Genre: Platformer, Atmospheric, Metroidvania
Now: $5.00 (-75%)
So I was just going to recommend the normal Ori, but I discovered that the old version isn’t available anymore and is now replaced with this one, which includes new areas, missions, and abilities, so that’s pretty cool. I haven’t played any of THAT content, but I can confirm that the base game is a beautiful masterpiece which manages to further both the platforming and metroidvania genre in the modern gaming era. The music is beautiful, the environments are beautiful, the story is beautiful, and oh god I want to play it again. To give you an idea of how much I like this game, I’m probably going to buy the Definitive Edition despite the fact that I already own the normal game just so I have an excuse to play it again.
Genre: Platformer, RPG, ?????
Now: $0.99 (-90%)
With Psychonauts 2 officially announced and on the way, now is the time to dive in to Tim Schafer’s masterpiece. You play as Raz, a child who escaped from the circus to come and join a summer camp for psychic children as he pursues his dream to being a member of the Psychonauts, the government’s best psychic soldiers. If you thought that description was crazy, that’s just scratching the surface. While the combat and platforming is just okay, the writing and story is what really drives this one home. Again, not a value purchase so much as an experience purchase.
One Finger Death Punch
Genre: Flash, Stick Figure, Fighting, Action
Now: $2.49 (-50%)
A fun little button masher that I found on steam. It seeks to capture the over the top nature of old kung-fu movies. It’s sort of like Guitar Hero, but with fists instead of guitars. It’s repetitive, but there’s a surprising amount of depth to a game that only uses two button. There are weapons, special moves, and tons of different enemies to fight. It’s a game about juggling a lot of balls at the same time and getting them all to stay in the air is very satisfying. There are lots of different mission types and a very extensive story mode.
Mark of the Ninja
Genre: Stealth, Action, Side Scroller
Now: $3.74 (-75%)
(Special Edition + Base Game for $4.49)
I suck at stealth games. I don’t have the patience for them in general and I always seem to miss a critical element that gets me spotted. That being said, Mark of the Ninja and similar 2D side scrolling stealth games (another of which appears on this list) have been the exception to this rule. Mark of the Ninja itself follows a modern day nameless ninja who is trying to protect his clan from a business tycoon who is attempting to destroy it. The ninja receives a series of “Marks” which give him powerful abilities to help him in his journey, but they’re slowly poisoning him. This game really is beautiful. It has a striking animation to it, the music captures the subtle tone as well as the traditional Japanese style and it’s just fun to snake up on and stab dudes. There are abilities, items, and costumes to unlock that will change how you play, and the control is really good. I never played the Special Edition which adds more story, abilities, and a playable character, but I’m sure you can’t go wrong picking it up as an addition for less than a dollar.
Life Is Strange Complete Season
Genre: Point-And-Click, Adventure, Story Based
Now: $9.99 (-50%)
I’ll be honest, I actually haven’t even finished episode one of this yet (I had a lot of things on my plate and this fell off), but the very little I’ve played has been simply wonderful. Great visuals, story, music, gameplay style, it’s just wonderful. It’s in the same style as the Telltale Point-And-Click games, though it isn’t made by them. It has received critical praise and what I’ve played of it is marvelous, so it’s going to be a worthwhile pick for sure.
Genre: Action, Side-Scroller, Shooter, Bullet Hell
Now: $2.99 (-70%)
A game I randomly picked up a while back, this is a really fun side scrolling shooter in the style of Metal Slug. It’s over the top, full of variation, and it’s just a really fun little game if you’re into this kind of style.
Genre: Stealth, Puzzle, Action
Now: $2.49 (-75%)
In a similar vein to Mark of the Ninja, Gunpoint is a third person side-scrolling stealth game. It uses a unique mechanic in which you can rewire all of the electronics in a building, like rewiring a light switch so it opens a door, or an enemy’s gun to a trap door. Your character’s special suit helps him jump and stick to walls, there are upgrades to get, the writing is very funny, and it’s just a blast in general.
Genre: Adventure, Platformer
Now: $3.99 (-50%)
What was initially a low-profile game by Ubisoft turned into something much bigger. This is a game about a robot named B.U.D. who goes to a planet to help a Star Plant to grow and be harvested for B.U.D.’s mother, M.O.M. It’s just a really calming, colorful, fun adventure with some really cool mechanics behind it. On top of that, it was popular enough to get a sequel which is coming out in a few months: “Grow Up.” Now’s the chance to get caught up in time for this game.
FTL: Faster than Light
Genre: Sci-Fi, Simulation, Roguelike
Now: $2.99 (-70%)
Another game that I should have done a review of, FTL is the value wet dream. This is a game that I have put at least 80 hours into. It’s the dream of all Star Trek fans to be the captain of their own space ship, and this is the game that lets you do it. Reroute power, recruit new crew, upgrade your ship, and unlock nine different ships each with three different layouts. There are tons of random encounters, lots of area to explore, and if that wasn’t enough the developers gave the players a free expansion that added more ships, events, weapons, systems, and a new alien race. I can’t tell you how fun and valuable this game is, especially for only $3. If you pick up only one thing, let it be this one (or Civ V).
Genre: RPG, Turn-Based, Adventure, Fantasy
Now: $14.99 (-40%)
A game that snuck up on me and one of the best examples of what happens when Early Access goes right; Darkest Dungeon is an impressive achievement. Striking visuals, a chilling atmosphere, lots of classes, huge enemy and environment variety, and an addicting quality make this not only a fun experience, but one with a lot of gameplay and value packed into it.
Genre: Turn-Based, Action, RPG
Now: $7.49 (-50%)
Harkening back to the likes of Power Rangers, this game seeks to capture the campiness, but also the excitement that came with an episode of everyone’s rainbow heroes. In this game you play as a group of stunt actors who quit their job of working for a big studio to create their own superhero show. You’ll progress through several seasons with your team (selected from a large pool at the beginning of the game) while upgrading your suits, weapons, studio, and even your giant mech. The battle system is fun and deep with variety coming from the giant robot fights and making
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
Now: $2.54 (-83%)
A really intriguing game that tests your mind and your perception of time. With time-warping powers, Braid challenges you to get through its stages and collect all the puzzle pieces within to unlock the end (?) of its story. To be fair, the story on a whole is pretty weak. Most of it is just contain to giant text scrawls. But the final level shows some truly innovative story telling techniques that had me on the edge of my seat. It messes with your head, it’s fun, it’s beautiful, pick it up.
The Banner Saga
Genre: Fantasy, Turn-Based, RPG
Now: $4.99 (-75%)
(Also, The Banner Saga 2 available for $15.99 (-20%))
The Banner Saga is a really fascinating turn-based game which uses health in a unique way. Each of your characters has armor and health, and your health also represents how hard you can hit. You have to break armor to hurt health and hurting health makes it harder for the opponent to hurt you, and there’s also a strategy to taking down opponents with how the turn system works. On top of that, there’s a very deep world, lore, and characters to interact and explore, a tense travel across the land, and it seems like something the developer plans to continue to build because a sequel was recently released and it’s also pretty good, the end of that implying that there will be at least one more. It’s a good time to get into this series for a pretty reasonable price, so give it a shot!
Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition
Genre: Fantasy, RPG
Now: $7.49 (-75%)
My favorite game of all time bundled with all of its DLC. This is a game packed with lore, personality, great characters, fun exploration, and just value. Over a hundred hours of gameplay, and a chance to continue on to Inquisition from here. No, there is no other game in the series. Shut up.
Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
Genre: Shooter, RPG, Open World, Post-Apocalyptic
Now: $11.99 (-40%)
(Vanilla Fallout 3 available for $4.99)
This will be for both this item and the next one: The modern Fallout games are awesome. Bethesda is a great job of modernizing them with 3, and Obsidian managed to put their own fun twist on it with New Vegas. There’s tons to explore, fun combat, and so much to do in these games. Fallout 3’s DLCs were a little weak, so I wouldn’t blame you if you just went vanilla for that, but New Vegas’s DLCs were really something special, so if you get that, for sure get the Ultimate Edition.
Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition
Genre: Shooter, RPG, Open World, Post-Apocalyptic
Now: $11.99 (-40%)
(Vanilla New Vegas available for $4.99)
Genre: FPS, Action, Story-Based
Now: $7.49 (-75%)
Admittedly, I’m not a big Bioshock fan, but this game is just a blast. Every moment is on display in this swashbuckling adventure, there are tons of great powers to unlock and play with, the gunplay is satisfying, and it has a legitimately great story attached to it. A lot of video games end on sour notes, but this is a noteworthy one with a fantastic ending. Oh, and you get to kill racists. Pretty satisfying, if I do say so myself.
So that’s my list, or at least all that I can bring myself to do for now. If you can only get a few of these, FTL, Undertale, Braid, and Civilization V are my top recommendations. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, and game on.