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Niche Roundup – 15 Games to Get From the 2018 Steam Winter Sale

The 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!

We are still on break for the Christmas holiday, which means its time for the last big Steam sale of 2018.

To help you decide which games to buy (most of which will likely sit un-played in your Steam library), I’ve compiled a list of 15 deals worth considering.

As Niche Gamer’s resident indie snob, I’m going to focus on some lesser known titles, though there are still plenty here that many PC gamers will probably recognize. Either way, they are all good games that are worth checking out, especially at their current prices.

You can find my list below:


Brigador
Stellar Jockeys/Gausswerks
$13.99 (30% off)

It’s not the biggest discount in today’s article, but Brigador is an awesome isometric vehicular combat game with gorgeous graphics and a great soundtrack. Liberate Solo Nobre using an arsenal of retro-futuristic tanks, mechs, hovercraft, and other vehicles packing enough firepower to obliterate a few city blocks. The controls take a lot of getting used to, but once everything clicks you’ll find a fun, hectic, and tense isometric shooter with excellent presentation.

Iconoclasts
Joakim Sandberg
$13.99 (30% off)

Another game that isn’t too heavily discounted, but then again its still not even a year old yet. Iconoclasts launched back in January after a very lengthy development cycle, and it kind of slipped by a lot of people. It takes a while for this Metroidvania to get going, but the second half of the game features some really fun boss encounters. It also has some charming characters and very vibrant, expressive pixel art that looks great in motion.

Tesla vs Lovecraft
10tons Ltd
$5.99 (60% off)

Another game that released earlier this year, Tesla vs Lovecraft is the latest twin-stick shooter by the developers of Crimsonland and Neon Chrome, and in many ways it plays like a faster spiritual successor to Crimsonland. The later difficulty settings can get a bit grindy, but if you want to murder hordes of freaky fish people and amorphous tentacle monsters with crazy lightning guns, then you can’t go wrong with Tesla vs Lovecraft.

Contrast
Compulsion Games/Focus Home Interactive
$2.99 (70% off)

Long before We Happy Few, Compulsion Games made a heartfelt puzzle-platformer called Contrast about a little girl in a noir-inspired world, and her imaginary friend that keeps her company while her mother works all night at a sleazy cabaret club. The game was pretty buggy when I played it upon release, and its not too long, but there’s some fun puzzles and great music to immerse yourself in.

Super Mutant Alien Assault
Cybernate/Fellow Traveler
$2.49 (75% off)

The developers of Super Mutant Alien Assault jokingly pitch their game as “the Citizen Kane of Super Crate Box clones.” As humorous as the comparison is, I think they are selling themselves short. Unlike most quick cash grab clones of Super Crate Box, SMAA actually expands upon the formula with a progression system, greater mission objective variety, and some truly absurd weapons to play with, to the point that I think its actually the better game overall.

Aztez
Team Colorblind
$4.99 (75% off)

Aztez is a roguelite brawler with a strategy metagame between matches that was so completely ignored when it came out last year that the developers said that it would probably take them half a decade to break even at their current sales rate. That’s a shame too, because its actually a pretty solid brawler with some fairly deep mechanics inspired by fighting games. The strategy game element is a little weak, but if you want some pretty smooth brawling with a cool theme then you should check it out.

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam
Antimatter Games/Tripwire Interactive
$8.24 (67% off)

As I mentioned in my first impressions article a few months back, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is one of my current go-to multiplayer shooters when I want to blow off some steam. It strikes a nice balance between realism and fast action, and its still getting fairly regular and significant content updates years after release. If you are looking for a more tactical FPS experience then give it a try. They are also currently running a Christmas event with a special map where everyone is a toy soldier and the battleground resembles a messy child’s room.

House of the Dying Sun
Marauder Interactive, LLC
$6.79 (66% off)

House of the Dying Sun isn’t a particularly lengthy or complicated space sim, but it does have nice presentation and some fun missions. The sound in particular is great, especially when wearing a good set of headphones, and there’s VR support as well. It’s probably not a game I’d recommend at full price, but for $7 its worth playing through over a weekend.

Xenonauts
Goldhawk Interactive
$4.99 (80% off)

If you didn’t like how the newer XCOM games turned out, then you should check out Xenonauts. Its basically OG X-COM with a more streamlined and modernized interface. It also takes a more interesting approach to UFO interception than most other XCOM-likes. The sequel is due out next year, so now would be a good chance to play through the original.

Reus
Abbey Games
$3.99 (60% off)

Reus is a fairly unique take on the god game genre. You control four giants, each of which governs a different biome, and must use their abilities to terraform the environment so that tribes of people can thrive. It’s pretty easy to pick up, but the interactions between the various resources, biomes, and abilities ensures that there’s some min-maxing to be discovered if you are into that.

Anomaly 2
11 bit studios
$2.24 (85% off)

Indie developer 11 bit studios might be well known today for recent hits like This War of Mine and Frostpunk, but the series that put them on the map is Anomaly. This “tower offense” series turned the genre on its head when the original game came out by putting you in control of the convoy of units navigating a maze of deadly towers to reach your objective. I’m of the opinion that Anomaly 2 is the best game in the series, but you can get them all super cheap right now.

X-Morph: Defense
EXOR Studios
$9.99 (50% off)

X-Morph: Defense is another game that does some interesting things with the tower defense genre, where you get to play as the aliens invading Earth for once. The game is largely a twin-stick shooter where your towers are there to whittle down the human assault. You’ll be doing a lot of the heavy lifting yourself in your highly advanced, transforming starfighter. There’s also some massive boss fights against experimental human weapons, and the levels have a degree of destructibility to them. In a rarity for games these days, X-Morph actually has a demo, so give it a try.

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
DrinkBox Studios
$5.99 (60% off)

Guacamelee! is an excellent Metroidvania, and the Super Turbo Championship Edition is the definitive version of it. Its set in a colorful world inspired by Mexican folklore and luchador culture, and the theme extends into the combat mechanics with over-the-top throws and flashy special moves that also play a role in the game’s platforming segments. The sequel recently came out and is discounted as well.

The Last Federation
Arcen Games, LLC
$4.99 (75% off)

As I’ve said in previous articles, I’m a big fan of Arcen Games, and The Last Federation is one of their best titles. It’s a grand strategy game where you play as a Machiavellian space hydra manipulating the galactic community from behind the scenes. This means that you aren’t directly controlling a grand civilization like in most games in the genre, but instead trying to influence the great powers into doing your bidding. Occasionally though, you’ll have to hop into your advanced starship and engage in a combat system that can best be described as a turn-based bullet hell shooter. Its bizarre and quirky like everything made by Arcen, but its definitely one of their most polished games.

Grim Dawn
Crate Entertainment
$8.74 (65% off)

Finally we come to Grim Dawn, which I personally think is the best modern loot-driven ARPG currently on the market, and you don’t even need to own a fancy smartphone to play it. Between the dual class system and Constellations, there is a dizzying number of ways to create a character to cater to your favorite playstyle, and the Ashes of Malmouth expansion is an absolute must buy. This is the Diablo II follow-up you always wanted, and it needs to be in your game library. The next expansion is due out in a few months as well, so start your journey now to get ready for it.


Which of these deals are you most interested in? Share your Steam sale haul in the comments section!

,
Frank Streva

About

Niche Gamer’s resident indie expert. Digs through the Steam new releases so you don’t have to. Massive fan of miniature and board games as well.