It’s that time of the year, when you “save” on video games which you’ll totally “play” if you have time. Whatever the case, the 2016 Steam Winter Sale has begun and you can finally move games from your wishlist to your backlog. Here are some picks for the holidays in no particular order. At least you can rest easy, knowing you have some quality games in your library that you can play at any moment.
Please keep in mind that Steam no longer has the lowest prices in these sales. Check out price comparisons online before you make the final purchase, as you might be able to shave off a few bucks from an already discounted price.
Inside - $19.99 $13.99 (30% off)
From the creator of Limbo comes another atmospheric tale of a boy who traverses through a cold, unforgiving world that’s out to kill him. This game is an improvement in every aspect of the previous title and is very well worth your time and money.
Pony Island - $4.99 $1.64 (67% off)
The title is as misleading as it gets. Pony Island touches on similar meta themes seen in The Stanley Parable and toys with the players’ preconceptions about video games.
SUPERHOT - $24.99 $16.99 (33% off)
Have you ever wanted to recreate your own Neo moments from Matrix? Now you can, with SUPERHOT. Although some people claim this game is too short for the asking price, I would take quality short experiences over boring drawn-out ones any day of the year.
DOOM – $59.99 $19.79 (67% off)
DOOM is now more modern and polished than ever to bring in younger players as well as to satisfy seasoned veterans of the franchise. I haven’t touched the multiplayer, but the single player campaign is one of the best experiences I’ve had in a triple A shooter.
Firewatch - $19.99 $11.99 (40% off)
Non-gamers often look down on video games because games are often adolescent power fantasies. Firewatch is one of the most mature games out there with real dialogues between real characters. It’s visually beautiful, and the voice acting is authentic. If you crave an experience that shows how far storytelling in video games has gone, look no further.
Hyper Light Drifter - $19.99 $11.99 (40% off)
It’s a Zelda clone with Dark Souls elements. I wasn’t able to get very far in the game, but I wouldn’t blame anyone because the difficulty is harsh and fair at the same time.
Owlboy - $24.99 $19.99 (20% off)
Owlboy is both a plague and a boon for the gaming industry as it sets an insanely high bar for pixel art platformers and delivers a stunning experience for gamers. While some people have a preconceived notion about how much indie games should cost, the price of this game is a non-issue as this one took over eight years to complete.
Oxenfree - $19.99 $4.99 (75% off)
Oxenfree is a dialogue-driven game with supernatural phenomenon and thriller elements. The story covers typical young adult fiction tropes like cynicism, uncertainty, and coming-of-age, but the game doesn’t try to make any grand gestures. Instead, Oxenfree is simply a story of five regular teenagers dealing with regular teenage things (minus unnerving possessions and magical radio frequencies). The thriller elements rely on slow and creeping unease rather than cheap jump scares, so it’s got just the right amount of scary to keep you on your toes.
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons - $14.99 $2.24 (85% off)
Without using a single sensible word, Brothers manages to tell a moving story of two brothers’ adventure to save their sick father. A controller is a must for the game, as each directional stick controls each sibling. Even though the game was released over three years ago, it still holds up both graphically and gameplay-wise.
American Truck Simulator - $19.99 $13.99 (30% off)
I’ve always dreamed of becoming one of those truck drivers I’ve seen in Hollywood movies. Driving up to the Las Vegas Strip past midnight while listening to some jazz music that I don’t know the name of is one of the best moments of my gaming history. If you want to play a relaxing game while cozying up with a blanket and a hot drink of your choice, then you wouldn’t go wrong with ATS.
Planet Coaster - $44.99 $38.24 (15% off)
I’m not big on sandbox-y games but our writer Sawual seemed all about this faithful successor to RCT in his review. An added bonus is that 15% is the deepest discount in its history, so you probably wouldn’t find it anywhere for cheaper.
Duck Game - $12.99 $7.79 (40% off)
Think Smash Bros, but with ducks that die in one hit. Although Duck Game can be played alone, it’s so much better with friends. It seems like people have less games to buy with each major Steam sale. So, why not get this platforming shooter for your friends to join the fray? Every game is different and guaranteed to bring about fits of laughter.
Timberman - $0.99 $0.49 (50% off)
What can you do with two quarters these days? I’d imagine most people consider coins to be a nuisance. But you can get this awesome little game and still have a penny left over. In Timberman you do exactly what you think you’d do; you chop down trees. Race your friends and strangers in local co-op or online multiplayer to see who is the best guy(or gal) for the job before they eventually meet their untimely ends.
Battlerite - $19.99 $14.99 (25% off)
Calling this game a MOBA would be a misnomer, as it more closely resembles a fighting game; one that even those who haven’t played fighting games can enjoy. On the surface, Battlerite may appear to be another LoL clone without lanes, but it’s the essence of what people crave in the MOBA genre: teamfights. Don’t mistake its simplicity for shallowness because the game offers enough depth to keep its growing 150,000 active player base. If you need help getting started, there are many resources including this one.
Redout - $34.99 $26.24 (25% off)
It’s a solid hover racing game that’s heavily influenced by the Wipeout series. And that’s a good thing. It’s also reminiscent of Star Wars Episode I: Racer from way back in the days. And that’s even better. Apparently, the game’s support for VR is adequate after the 1.1.0 patch, but your trusty XBOX controller will work just as well.
Shovel Knight - $14.99 9.89 (33% off)
I understand if you shake your heads at another pixel art platformer, but this is as good as it gets. So if you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon from a couple years back, now’s your chance. The developer is consistently adding new content, so at least you’ll have your platformer quota fulfilled.
Freedom Planet - $14.99 $7.49 (50% off)
This is essentially Sonic meets Rocket Knight Adventures. The controls are tight and the pace is just as fast as you remember from classic Sonic. It’s a stylish game that’s still excellent without thick nostalgia goggles.
The Witness - $39.99 $19.99 (50%)
Puzzle games aren’t for everyone, including yours truly, but I feel obligated to include The Witness on the list. The consensus is that this game offers a unique experience for that specific type of gamer who has the innate desire to understand puzzle design.
Undertale – $9.99 $4.99 (50% off)
If you can get past the art style and the hype, then I’m sure you’ll thoroughly enjoy what Undertale has to offer. The price probably won’t go lower than this, so if you were waiting for a sale, now is the time.
Stardew Valley - $14.99 $9.99 (33% off)
Penny is bae. Enough said.