As we enter July, it’s time once again to indulge in yet another massive Steam Summer Sale. This year’s big gimmick is a series of genre-based choose-your-own-adventure stories that are updated each day.
In addition to highlighting big deals on popular games from each genre, participating in the little minigame unlocks animated profile pictures based on the choices you make. The sale also marks the introduction of Game Profiles, which include animated backgrounds, avatars, stickers, and more based on a variety of popular games.
As with all big Steam sales, I decided to scroll through the gigantic library of games I’ve acquired across years of Steam sales in search of some good deals to highlight. Seeing as how there are untold thousands of games on sale right now, this is hardly a comprehensive list, so be sure to browse and check your wishlists for deals as well.
Here is Niche Gamer’s list of 15 great deals from the Steam Summer Sale 2021:
Warhammer: Vermintide 2
Price: $7.49 USD (75% off)
A lot of people tend to agree that the Vermintide series is up there as some of the best video games based on the Warhammer license. The series is pretty accessible and loads of fun, even if you know absolutely nothing about Warhammer and the Old World, though you’ll definitely want to drag some friends along to get the most out of them.
Vermintide 2 features some visceral melee and ranged combat against hordes of enemies, and tons of loot and upgrades for your favorite characters to keep you invested. It still gets regular updates even two years later, so you can look forward to more support in the future if you pick it up.
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War
Developer: Proxy Studios
Price: $9.59 USD (76% off)
Moving on to the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, the somewhat ridiculously named Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War is another one of the better Warhammer games out there, though it doesn’t get talked about quite as much as some of its peers.
The game does a pretty good job of translating 40k to a 4X format, and each of the factions play more or less like what you’d expect based on their tabletop counterparts and lore. While the game launched with only 4 factions initially, it has since added 4 more as DLC. Like Vermintide 2, Gladius still gets fairly regular updates, even two years after release.
AI War 2
Developer: Arcen Games
Price: $7.99 USD (60% off)
One of my personal biases with these Steam Sale articles includes always throwing in a recommendation for some of the more obscure indie developers I like, such as Arcen Games. This small but ambitious indie dev releases lots of deep and quirky games that usually have their share of flaws and janky concepts, but always deliver a really unique experience.
AI War 2 is their latest game, and is the sequel to their biggest hit, AI War. Much like its predecessor, AI War 2 is an RTS/grand strategy hybrid where the war against the AI is over, and humanity pretty much lost.
You have to lead a tiny, insignificant remnant of rebels in a guerrilla war against an overwhelmingly powerful enemy; chipping away at your foe without drawing too much attention to yourself. Because the AI will completely annihilate you if it decides to get serious.
Tesla vs Lovecraft
Price: $5.24 USD (65% off)
Another indie dev I have a soft spot for is 10tons and their large collection of simple yet addictive top-down shooters.
Tesla vs Lovecraft is probably one of their better offerings, and involves mowing down gigantic hordes of eldritch Lovecraftian abominations as Nikola Tesla piloting an electric-powered mech suit. The general gameplay loop typically involves picking up guns, power-ups, special abilities, and perks as you gun down tons of enemies. It’s completely mindless fun, full of over-the-top retro-futuristic weapons and gadgets.
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Price: $2.49 USD (75% off)
Speaking of over-the-top arcade-inspired shooters, Luftrausers is a fairly unique 2D air combat shooter with lots of customization.
You fly an advanced fighter craft made by choosing from various weapons, bodies, and propulsion systems to create kooky combinations. The flight mechanics are challenging and satisfying to master, and the sheer number of combinations you can create keeps the game pretty fresh for a while.
Developer: Rocket Bear Games
Price: $1.94 USD (87% off)
Despite the franchise’s cult popularity, there has never been a really good Starship Troopers game. This might change with the upcoming Starship Troopers: Terran Command, but until then we have Infested Planet.
In this RTS, you control a small squad of heavily armed mercenaries blasting their way through tens of thousands of vicious alien bugs. The campaign starts out pretty easy, but the bugs quickly gain access to various evolutions that they develop on the fly to counter your current playstyle, requiring you to adopt new tactics mid-mission.
Developer: 11 bit studios
Price: $9.89 USD (67% off)
Speaking of stressful situations, Frostpunk is a great survival city builder set in a frozen post-apocalyptic wasteland. The game is all about managing a city that is always on the verge of collapse and chaos due to the harsh environment, dwindling resources, and civil unrest.
If you are looking for a straightforward city builder, then you won’t really find that here. If you are more interested in what’s essentially a crisis management sim, then you’ll find plenty of dire situations to puzzle your way through in Frostpunk.
Long Live The Queen
Developer: Hanako Games
Price: $3.99 USD (60% off)
If managing crises is your thing, then you may also like Long Live The Queen. The game is a visual novel with lots of stats, skills, and choices to manage. You play as a princess that suddenly gets thrown into a leadership role after the untimely demise of her mother.
You’ll have to raise stats, learn skills, manage the princess’s mood and outfits; and make crucial choices to fend off tons of enemies that are more than willing to assassinate a 14-year-old girl to take over a kingdom. Of course, being a 14-year-old may mean she won’t be able to resist temptations nor know if she is being deceived; not without the proper tutelage. Be prepared to die horribly. A lot.
A Hat in Time
Developer: Gears for Breakfast
Price: $14.99 USD (50% off)
There was a small resurgence of N64-inspired 3D platformers a few years back, and out of all of them A Hat in Time is probably the best.
This cute and colorful platformer does a great job of blending the look and feel of an N64-era platformer, with modern sensibilities and mechanics to craft a really fun and charming experience. The game was already great at release, and has only gotten better with the addition of new DLC and free content over the years.
Crypt of the NecroDancer
Developer: Brace Yourself Games
Price: $2.99 USD (80% off)
Another cute and colorful game from a while back that is worth checking out is Crypt of the NecroDancer.
Roguelikes and roguelites have saturated the indie market over the past decade or so; but Crypt of the NecroDancer takes a really unique approach to the genre by including rhythm elements. You can even play the game with a dance pad, and use your own song collection to fight to the beat. However, given how catchy the game’s own soundtrack is, you might not want to.
Sword of the Stars: The Pit
Developer: Kerberos Productions
Price: $2.49 USD (75% off)
If you want a more traditional roguelike, then check out Sword of the Stars: The Pit.
While the franchise started out as a sci-fi 4X that has largely been forgotten about now (especially after its pretty terrible sequel); the series’ surprising transition to a roguelike turned out to be so popular that’s pretty much all the devs have been working on for years now. If you want to try out The Pit, you might as well just grab the big DLC bundle, since it only increases the price by $2 USD and adds a ton of content.
Price: $9.99 USD (50% off)
Zachtronics is famous for their really complex and in-depth puzzle games like SHENZEN I/O and Opus Magnum. While those are two of their most famous puzzle games, I thought I’d highlight EXAPUNKS since it’s one of the more obscure ones.
This open-ended puzzle game is essentially a hacking sim where you are tasked with writing viruses to breach secured networks to hack into banks, universities, factories, and more. You can also create your own levels, and share them on the Steam Workshop.
Tales of Berseria
Developer: Bandai Namco
Price: $7.49 USD (85% off)
Most JRPG fans have probably played a Tales game at some point. For most, that game was probably Tales of Symphonia (also currently 75% off), since it was so popular back on the GameCube. However, a lot of Tales fans tend to agree that Tales of Berseria is probably the best one in the franchise.
You can find our review of the original PS4 release here if you’d like to know more (we highly recommend it!) Unfortunately, the PC version has Denuvo, which will probably turn off a lot of people who would otherwise love to experience this great JRPG. The game also had some minor censorship of some more grisly scenes, yet kept the otherwise dark tone.
Editor’s Note: As a “bonus round,”consider that Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition is also highly recommended by fans, and is currently 80% off; without Denuvo. You can find our review here (we highly recommend it!)
Persona 4 Golden
Price: $12.99 USD (35% off)
Another fantastic JRPG that is currently discounted is Persona 4 Golden. It’s surprise release on Steam last year finally gave PC gamers a chance to experience this beloved entry in the franchise, and given how well it did, this will hopefully lead to more entries making their way to the platform. Unfortunately, it’s yet another otherwise fantastic JRPG plagued by Denuvo on PC, so keep that in mind before buying.
Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages
Price: $0.99 USD (80% off)
Finally, we come to Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages, a personal favorite of mine that is pretty much unknown by most gamers. It’s a top-down shooter with really fast and fun combat, a quirky storyline, and loads of ships to pilot.
The campaign takes a while to really get going, but it eventually opens up and lets you explore the galaxy and customize all sorts of starships. There’s also some fun multiplayer modes you can try out with a few friends; like the MOBA-esque Space Defense League, though its been so long since the game came out it’s likely limited to local co-op by now.
What games will you be picking up in the Steam Summer Sale? Tell us in the comments below!
This is Niche Deals. In this column, we regularly cover new and upcoming deals, discounts, and more for video games. Let us know if there’s a deal we should cover!