Since Valve released the Steam marketplace as a method of distributing Counter Strike patches in 2002, it’s expanded into a massive gaming store and social network. With huge numbers of users and developers taking advantage of the easy installation and distribution of their games. And that’s not even mentioning the appealing Early Access release approach, which allows developers to put out their unfinished games for a fraction of the full price, and then continue development in tandem with a community dialogue.
Valve’s annual Steam Summer Sale just kicked off, and that means huge cuts to just about every title imaginable. The Daily Deals, Flash Sales, and Community Choice offerings represent the biggest discounts, but virtually anything you might be interested in playing is available for the length of the sale at a reduced price. Here are some of our top picks.
Choose a category:
- Indie Games
- First person shooters
- Walking simulators
- Survival Games
- Massively multiplayer
Indie Games – Soooo hip
The rise of digital distribution made it possible for small companies to get their software into the hands of many more consumers than was ever possible before. These games, at least in the beginning, were only a handful of employees, or one person at a computer writing code. While some of them have expanded into full-fledged game developers since their success, they hold the importance of good game mechanics and creative use of the medium over hyper-realistic graphics and expensive voice and motion capturing.
Rust is a game that presents the player with a simple situation: You’re naked, in the middle of the forest, and all you have is a rock. Unlike many survival games, Rust is a persistent world, so when you turn the game off, your character lays down and goes to sleep, leaving you and your possessions vulnerable to other players. This is mostly an issue because almost all other players are just trying to smash your head with a rock before you do the same to them. Gather wood and materials, kill animals for food (but cook it first) and build a shelter so you don’t wake up dead.
A shining victory of the Steam Greenlight program, Papers, Please is designed to replicate the stress and tedium of crossing an international border. As the game opens, the Arstotzkan border is opening for the first time in 6 years, and with increasing difficulty, you’ll be asked to decide who gets in and who gets turned away. Beyond these choices, you’ll have to answer moral questions, decide whether to keep or burn bribes, and manage your hard-earned money heating your house and feeding your family.
This 2D pirate simulator puts the player behind the helm of a might pirate ship, which they’re in charge of building and staffing. Attack other ships, lay siege to land-based fortresses, and sail the open seas looking for trouble and loot. The light-hearted art style has appealed to many players, while still maintaining a satisfying level of complexity. Roguelike elements give a certain amount of permanence to death and provides a reason to not be reckless with your resources. Promising over 40 hours of procedurally generated playtime on each run-through, you’ll have to take on the game multiple times to see everything.
In this unique exploration and building game, the player plays a farmer in an ever-expanding universe of color and sound. Plant new blocks to grow outwards, find your way home, and experience the immersion of this simplistic world. By forcing the player to get lost in the world they’re helping to create, Starseed Pilgrim asks us to examine the dichotomy of light and darkness and their role in discovery in a different way. Abandon your thoughts and logic, and just enjoy the soundscapes of the world around you.
Before he crated Rust, Garry Newman was responsible for the insanely popular Garry’s Mod, a sandbox game for the source engine that gave the player the ability to spawn and manipulate hundreds of props and character models. It’s a simple concept that allows for a lot of flexibility and ingenuity, as well as some creative singleplayer and multiplayer game types. As they explain on the website, “there aren’t any objectives – you can’t lose and you definitely can’t win.” Beyond simple props, the game also allows for acute control over a number of source engine mechanics that have been adapted for easy use -wheels, thrusters, emitters – so you can spend hours building a rocketbike or a giant robot dinosaur…or just wait for your friends to build them so you can attach balloons to them and set them on fire.