It’s that time of year again, when gamers whose digital fireplaces are already full of unplayed games will toss more kindling onto their metaphorical woodpiles. I’ll admit, that all sounded way better in my head. If only I had an editor [The BGG crowd told me I wasn’t funny, so I’m on vacation -ed.]. In other words, it’s the Steam Summer Sale and I’m already spending money I don’t have on games I don’t need [lately, all you need is Factorio. Oh, wait, I’m not here -ed.]. The gents have put together their lists of the best deals you’ll currently find on Valve’s money-maker.
Alex Connolly’s Picks:
The Marvellous Miss Take
Forget the hot take, go the Miss Take. This stylish little arcade stealther inexplicably — or perhaps true to form — slipped by a lot of folk in 2014. The Marvellous Miss Take rasps down the persnickety barbs of the stealth genre, but loses nothing in the process with its slick, smart, mouse-driven control scheme. The eponymous Take and her gaggle of slick burglars tout discrete playstyles and gadgetry, so there’s more bang here than post-heist Val Kilmer.
Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal
One would be forgiven thinking this is some sort of Hollywood expose, but in actual fact, it’s the RTS you’ve always wanted. Gently caressing the same gland that has had our Dave Neumann hooked on Factorio [leave my glands out of this -ed.], Creeper World 3 is a visually-arresting tower offense game that focuses on maintaining supply lines. Plotting out vast networks of turrets, towers, extractors and reactors, players plunge into the unrelenting tide of the great Creep. It’s brain candy, on your terms.
We Are The Dwarves
Lost Vikings-cum-Gears of War, this brutal little pause-and-plan squad tactics game is far from perfect. In fact, it’s often downright infuriating. But there’s something magical about We Are The Dwarves‘ dark science-fantasy terrarium aesthetic. Players swap around the trio of marooned Squats as they plum the depths of an alien landscape, bringing the brains, brawn and stealth when applicable. A fascinating, nuggety bit of tactical goodness.
Nick Vigdahl’s Picks:
Now’s a great time to pick up Heat Signature, my go-to game for quick bursts of James Bondian action. I pull this one out when I want to dual-wield silenced quick-fire shotguns and teleport around blasting fools and stealing the goods. It sounds like a fast-twitch action title but really Heat Signature is all about the pause button. The pause button is your friend. The game is one-third off the already reasonable price and you can read more wordsabout why I like it and why you should grab it.
Kingdoms and Castles
If builders are your thing, then I suggest grabbing Kingdoms and Castles for 25% off. It’s the usual plan, grow your kingdom from a tiny pathetic hamlet to an imposing medieval metropolis. Gameplay is fun and compelling and dragon attacks and Viking raids add some threat and keep you on your toes.
Endless Space 2
If you’re looking for a new space-based 4x game to suck up hours of free time Endless Space 2 is the black hole you are looking for. The learning curve is easy to ascend and the game is well-designed and fun, other than those pesky early-game pirates (who’s peskiness can be modified in game settings). It’s 66% off and well worth a look for 4x fans.
I’m a big fan of games that combine the explore/craft/survive aspects of Minecraft with the combat and quest systems of RPGs and Starbound is one of the very best in that niche. You’re stuck in the vastness of space with a damaged ship and must beam down to various planets to find what you need to fix your ship, build powerful mechs and other advanced tech, or just build a farm and relax for a spell.
Torchlight II might be the best-designed action RPG ever made [Diablo 2 would like to have a word with you… -ed.] and is still great despite its nearly 6 years. It features an interesting story, compelling combat, excellent character progression, fun multiplayer, and plenty of loot. Oh, and the best pet system in the genre. If you haven’t given it a go and like RPGs it is a slam-dunk decision for $5.
Tanner Hendrickson’s Picks:
At $1.50, this endless arcade wingsuit game might be the best dollar-to-fun value on Steam, featuring the best sense of speed this side of Burnout.
West of Loathing
I’ve already written about my love of West of Loathing on Stately Play, but in brief: it is easily the funniest game I’ve ever played. And it’s a good game, too! The recent Switch port is probably the best way to play, but you really can’t go wrong with the PC version.
Streets of Rogue
Yes, this is an early access game, which I know some of you avoid. This is one of the good ones, though, fun and polished in its current state, and receiving significant fortnightly updates. Take any of the arcade roguelite shooters and make it a little more Deus Ex-y and you’ll be close to what Streets of Rogue is going for. One of my favorite pick up and play games on Steam.
Stephen’s Sausage Roll
$6 for one of the best puzzle games ever made. Come on. It’s worth it at $30.