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Now that you’ve had a chance to awaken from your Thanksgiving food coma, its time to empty your wallets and stuff your hard drives full of games that you’ll probably never get around to playing.
As Niche Gamer’s local indie snob, I’d like to take a moment to highlight some really cool indie games on Steam that you might not know about. I could be here all night listing great deals on Steam, but I decided to keep it limited to 15 games that are currently under $5 as part of the big Autumn Sale. GOG and the Humble Store are also running Black Friday sales, so make sure you check them out as well.
Ogre Head Studio
$4.99 (50% off)
Asura: Vengeance, not to be confused with Asura’s Wrath, is an action roguelite from India based on Hindu mythology. You play as a demon rampaging through five procedurally generated fortresses on your quest to murder Hasirama, the God-King. One of the more unique aspects of Asura is that you can choose to gain experience or money from enemies, but not both, so you’ll have to carefully consider which is more important in any given situation. It’s not the best action roguelite on the market, but it has some cool ideas and a unique setting.
$4.49 (70% off)
Alientrap is a little-known indie developer responsible for some really solid games, and Cryptark is their latest offering. This 2D roguelite shooter places you in control of a hardsuit for a intergalactic salvage company that has been issued a lucrative contract by a shadowy organization to loot space hulks. The game is a careful balancing act of risk vs reward. Profit margins are razor thin, and each piece of armor or belt of ammunition costs money, so you need to balance bringing enough gear to get the job done, but no so much that it cuts too deeply into your profit. While you’re at it, be sure to check out some of Alientrap’s other games.
Rocket Bear Games
$3.74 (75% off)
Infested Planet is more or less the Starship Troopers squad RTS you always wanted. You control small squads of heavily armed mercenaries blasting apart gigantic swarms of alien bugs as you slowly push towards their hives. Dozens of aliens explode with each rocket, and you can easily slaughter thousands in a single mission. Despite the devastating firepower at your disposal, Infested Planet still strikes a good balance between challenge and power fantasy. The aliens gradually evolve based on your tactics, and the latter half of the campaign can be pretty brutal.
$2.99 (70% off)
Intrusion 2 is a janky mess of a 2D side scrolling shooter by a single Russian guy, and it’s awesome despite its many flaws. The physics engine is hilariously wonky, but it’s all part of the game’s charm. There’s some genuinely cool animations and set pieces in the game, and for a mere $3 its definitely worth experiencing. Plus, you get to ride a giant wolf that eats people.
$3.75 (75% off)
Renegade Ops is a little-known vehicular twin-stick shooter by Avalanche Studios and Sega from back during the Xbox Live Arcade days. If you are a coinsurer of cheesy GI Joe-style cartoons and big explosions, then it’s a must have. You play as one of several characters, each with a unique vehicle that has different special abilities, on a globe-trotting adventure to stop Inferno and this army of technologically advanced terrorists. It remains one of my favorite twin-stick shooters, and you can buy the complete pack for less than the price of a burger combo at your average fast food restaurant.
$3.74 (75% off)
If you want more twin-stick action full of explosions and cringey one-liners, RIVE is a solid game that has largely been ignored by most people. Unlike a lot of twin-stick shooters, RIVE has a decent amount of platforming too, and there’s even a few “zero gravity” levels that play like a horizontal shmup. Some of the dialog is incredibly cheesy even by my standards, but it’s still an enjoyable experience worth the current asking price.
$3.69 (63% off)
Puppygames is best known for their quirky tower defense game Revenge of the Titans, but I personally consider Droid Assault to be my favorite game from them. You start as an unarmed robot with the ability to hack enemy battle droids. In gameplay terms, this means that Droid Assault is a top-down arcade shooter where you directly control one droid at a time, but can have a team of up to 8 AI-controlled robots that you can swap between on the fly. Each droid has a unique mix of mobility, firepower, hitbox size, and even screen size. The rest of Puppy’s catalog is worth checking out too.
$2.49 (75% off)
Arcen Games is another small indie studio I’m a rabid fan of, and Bionic Dues is one of their lesser known titles that I really wish got more attention. In this tactical roguelike, you are given a squad of mech pilots and one month to liberate a city that has been taken over by a rogue AI and its army of war machines. Each mission will give you gear or upgrades for your mechs, or reduce the enemy’s fighting strength in some way. Some missions will set the enemy back further than others, and its possible to extend your time limit, but eventually you’ll have to face the robots in a final stand. Should you fail, the military will resort to their final option: Complete aerial bombardment to destroy the robots, and with them, all the humans trapped in the city. It’s worth checking out Arcen’s other titles as well.
Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages
$0.99 (80% off)
Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is a criminally underrated top-down space shooter. It has some genuinely funny and quirky writing, a solid physics-based combat system, tons of ship customization, and loads of content. The biggest flaw is that Ring Runner is a slow burner, with the first 15 or so hours being what’s effectively a linear tutorial before the game finally gives you a big universe to explore. If you can grab some friends to play with, the multiplayer is still worth checking out too. For $1 there is no reason not to give Ring Runner a shot, though if you still aren’t convinced the game has a demo.
Titan Quest Anniversary Edition
Iron Lore Entertainment, THQ Nordic
$3.99 (80% off)
Titan Quest Anniversary Edition is definitely the least obscure game on the list, but for the price I just had to include it. Now that Titan Quest is back with fully restored multiplayer, Steam Workshop support, and even an expansion pack, now’s a good time to revisit this classic action-RPG, especially if you don’t have a phone to play the next Diablo game.
Divinity: Dragon Commander
$3.99 (90% off)
Larian Studios may be best known these days for the fantastic Divinity: Original Sin games, but before that they made a rather unique side game called Dragon Commander. I fully admit that Dragon Commander is a pretty flawed game that probably tries to do too many things at once. It’s an RPG, a grand strategy game, an RTS, and a third-person shooter all at once, and while it doesn’t excel in any specific area, it’s greater than the sum of its parts. For $4 its certainly worth giving a try if you don’t mind looking past some janky mechanics and poorly implemented ideas here and there.
Avadon: The Black Fortress
$2.99 (70% off)
Spiderweb Software was an indie developer before it was cool, and the Avadon trilogy is one of their more recent IPs. As with all of Spiderweb’s games, Avadon is an old school RPG that may not have much to offer graphically, but contains a lengthy storyline with some great writing and fun tactical combat. It’s not as deep as some of their older games, but Avadon is a pretty good place to start if you want to get into Spiderweb Software’s catalog of classical CRPGs.
Image & Form Games
$4.94 (67% off)
Most people know Image & Form for their SteamWorld Dig games, but I personally prefer SteamWorld Heist. It’s an interesting mix of a 2D turn-based strategy RPG with elements of the Worms series where you manually aim your weapons and can ricochet shots off walls and other pieces of the environment. The best part is that there’s no RNG whatsoever, so if missing an alien point blank always pisses you off in XCOM, then you won’t have to worry about that happening here.
King’s Bounty: Armored Princess
Katauri Interactive, 1C Entertainment
$1.99 (80% off)
The King’s Bounty series is one of those franchises that most PC gamers have probably heard of, but maybe not actually tried yet. It’s essentially Might & Magic without the kingdom management elements, but that doesn’t make it any less deep or complex. There’s five of them, each of which are a very minor improvement over the last, but I think Armored Princess is probably the best one to start with. The whole franchise is super cheap right now, but regardless of which one you buy, you can look forward to nearly 100 hours of tactical turn-based action.
$3.74 (75% off)
Ziggurat wasn’t the first FPS roguelite, but it was probably one of the first really good ones. It has a colorful art style and lots of cool weapons, many of which come in the form of magic tomes or wands. It circumvents many issues with the genre by giving you multiple weapons early on so combat starts off interesting and just gets better as you find more items during your run. It does eventually get stale after a while, but you should still get a good dozen or so hours out of it.
So, what will you be spending your money on during Steam’s latest wallet genocide?