The Steam Summer Sale is upon us, which means it’s that time of year for us to spend money on games that we will likely install, but never play. Such is the life of a PC gamer. These sales are just too enticing to pass up. Some sales, of course, are better than others, and if you already have a healthy backlog of games to get through until the fall new release season is upon us, then maybe you just want to drop a couple bucks here and there on some worthy titles. If that’s the case, this year seems surprisingly bottom-heavy, with the best deals coming at the $10 and under range.
Of course, everyone is different, but if you’re like me, you’ll base your purchases on the best possible dollar-per-hour of entertainment. If that’s the case, check out these titles. Some are oldies, all are goodies, and a couple are absolute must-haves for the price. Those are the types of games you buy now and don’t boot for a few years. It’s a net positive! (Gaming is so stressful.)
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition
Even at its regular price of $20, this is a steal, but at only $3.99, you’re getting one of the best games of the 2014 holiday season for less than the cost of a latté, or a couple cheap burgers or something. While the story isn’t going to blow anyone away, if you haven’t played Shadow of Mordor, this is 100% the best deal of the Summer Sale and absolutely worthy of your time if you want a clever action-adventure RPG.
Like a modern day Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley is charming and almost endless. For $8.99, you’ll have dozens of hours of entertainment tending to your farm or exploring or exploring your farm. Possibly the best dollar-per-hour deal beyond picking up Civ V.
Speaking of Civ, the general consensus is that Civ 6 is very good, but for the price, it’s not worth it right now. For $7.49 you can get Civ V (it’s about $15 with expansions) which features a robust modding community through the Steam Workshop which makes the game hundreds of hours deep.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
With the new Wolfenstein taking E3 by storm, now’s a decent time to see what the fuss is all about, and it’s only $9.99. Absolutely worth it for a high-quality shooter. Its stand-alone expansion, The Old Blood, is also on sale for $9.99.
South Park: The Stick of Truth
If “scatological Final Fantasy” sounds good to you, then you should pick up SoT. It’s a high-quality RPG that’s worth every penny at $7.49, and it’s still damn funny.
Rust has seen a ton of revisions since it first came out in 2013, and now its gameplay is in the best shape ever. Constant updates are improving performance and game mechanics and will keep you coming back. At $9.99, this is a good price for the game since it changes so often. Build a base, run around naked and survive. It’s fun.
Be warned: it’s a walking simulator. If interactive stories with few gameplay elements aren’t your thing, stay away, but if you love a good story, Firewatch will stick with you. Fun fact: Firewatch is in the same universe as Gone Home and Bioshock.
This War of Mine
The perils of surviving in a war-torn suburbia have never been so fully realized. It’s a downer of a game, but it’s also an addictive puzzle/strategy game that’s slower paced than DayZ and the like, while still giving you the satisfaction derived from a successful night of scavenging for canned goods. Worth it for $3.99 even if you only play for a few hours, get depressed and never play again.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
It’s like a gross, classic game of Zelda. It’s infinitely replayable, and there’s no doubt you’ll get your $7.49 worth.
Other titles worthy of your time under $10
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
Men of War: Assualt Squad 2
Mount & Blade Collection
Far Cry 3
Max Payne 3
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition
Other titles worthy of your time under $5
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Metro 2033 Redux/Last Light Redux
FTL: Faster Than Light
Brothers — A Tale of Two Sons
Mark of the Ninja
Just Cause 2
One Finger Death Punch