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Niche Roundup – 15 Recommendations From the 2019 Steam Summer 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 well into Summer, so its time for one of Steam’s biggest wallet-crushing sales of the year. As I’ve done in the past, I’d like to take a moment to highlight some good game deals for your consideration.

I’ll mostly be focusing on indie games, but I have a few bigger titles thrown in as well. While the deals may not be the same as when I wrote them, you can find more recommendations in a few previous Steam sale articles I’ve done.

Here’s 15 deals you might want to consider during the 2019 Steam Summer Sale:


Age of Mythology: Extended Edition
Developer: Skybox Labs, Ensemble Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

$7.49 (75% off)

While it might not be as popular as the main Age of Empires games, Age of Mythology still gained a sizable cult following and claimed many hours of my life when it originally came out. As with the updated Age of Empires rereleases, the Extended Edition combines the base game and all its original expansions in a single package with slightly updated visuals, audio, support for HD resolutions, and other modern features like Steam Workshop integration. Unfortunately, I recommend avoiding the Tale of the Dragon expansion since its a buggy, unplayable mess. The devs did recently announce plans to return to Age of Mythology: Extended Edition after Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is done, so maybe it’ll be worth buying in the next Steam sale.

Age of Wonders III
Developer: Triumph Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
$7.49 (75% off)

Age of Wonders III might not be the most deep or complex 4X strategy game when it comes to its empire management aspects, but it makes up for it with fun hex-based tactical battles, light RPG elements, and a cool take on faction customization based around your leader’s race, class, and skill specializations. The DLC is worth checking out too, but the Eternal Lords expansion is definitely the better of the two.

The Banner Saga
Developer: Stoic
Publisher: Versus Evil
$4.99 (80% off)

If you’ve never played Stoic’s trilogy of gorgeous Norse-inspired strategy RPGs, then now would be a fine time to give them a try since the franchise is effectively complete. The first two games are both $5 right now, and last year’s The Banner Saga 3 is 50% off. You can even get the entire trilogy, complete with soundtracks, for just shy of $20 in a bundle.

Bleed
Developer: Ian Campbell
$1.24 (75% off)

Bleed is a very short but fun 2D side-scrolling shooter. Use your small arsenal of guns, high mobility, and bullet time powers to shoot your way across seven levels to defeat the Greatest Heroes of All Time. The sequel is also heavily discounted, and you can grab both games for less than $5. You can find our review here.

Blackguards
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
$0.99 (90% off)

Blackguards is a series for people with very specific tastes in tactical RPGs. Set in the same universe as the German pen-and-paper RPG The Dark Eye, Blackguards places you in control of a party of misfits and criminals in a dark, grim, and merciless fantasy world. The first game in particular is very difficult, and not necessarily for the right reasons. The sequel is also extremely cheap right now. It’s a flawed series for sure, but at the current price they are worth checking out. You can find our reviews for both games here and here.

Capsized
Developer: Alientrap
$2.49 (75% off)

Capsized is one of the first games from Alientrap, who are probably better known for their Greek pottery Metroidvania, Apotheon. It’s a fun 2D shooter where you play as a starship pilot stranded on a vibrant but deadly primitive alien planet. There’s a heavy emphasis on physics in the game, which is exemplified by your jetpack and gravity hook items. Some of the physics are a bit wonky and frustrating at times, but Capsized was the game that made me a fan of Alientrap as a developer.

Depths of Fear: Knossos
Developer: Dirigo Games
Publisher: Digital Tribe
$.89 (85% off)

Full warning going in: Depths of Fear :: Knossos isn’t exactly a great game. I’m not even sure I’d classify it as a good game. It’s janky, buggy, and kind of hideous to gaze upon. And yet, with all that said, I still enjoyed it. It has the look and feel of a Ray Harryhausen movie, and features a funky ’70s-inspired electronic soundtrack that simultaneously feels perfectly suitable yet bizarrely out-of-place. You can tell it’s the passion project of a solo developer with a budget that consists of three quarters, a spool of yarn, and a crushed soda can, but despite its countless flaws, I still find myself recommending it from time to time in articles like these.

Dungeon of the Endless
Developer: AMPLITUDE Studios
Publisher: Sega
$2.99 (75% off)

Dungeon of the Endless may have been created as a side game that links AMPLITUDE’s far more popular Endless Space and Endless Legend games, but its an entertaining roguelite tower defense/dungeon crawler in its own right that can be enjoyed regardless of your knowledge of the franchise as a whole. The DLC is also really cheap, and you can get the entire package for a mere $5.

Dust: An Elysian Tail
Developer: Humble Hearts
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
$3.74 (75% off)

If you’ve never played Dust: An Elysian Tail, then you are depriving yourself of one of the best 2D action-RPGs/Metroidvanias of the 2010s. The fact that it was made almost entirely by a single guy makes it all the more impressive. If you have any interest in the genre, then stop procrastinating and add this game to your library.

Hard Reset Redux
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Good Shepard Entertainment
$1.99 (90% off)

Before Flying Wild Hog created the new Shadow Warrior series, they made a little old school-inspired cyberpunk FPS named Hard Reset. Redux is the definitive edition of the game, and addresses many of the flaws of the original release by adding new enemies, new weapons, remixed levels with better pacing, and new difficulty settings. It might not be the best fast-paced retro-style FPS on the market, but its hard to argue with 90% off an already fairly cheap game.

Ironclad Tactics
Developer: Zachtronics
$3.74 (75% off)

Zachtronics is best known for their puzzle games like SHENZEN I/O and Infinifactory, but in 2013 they made a cool little card game called Ironclad Tactics. Set in an alternate Civil War with steam-powered mechs, the card battles feature unique lane-based mechanics and mech customization that require you to make quick decisions on a fast timer. While its not strictly a puzzle game, like everything by Zachtronics, it rewards min-maxing and lots of carefully planned strategies.

Legend of Fae
Developer: Endlessfluff Games
$3.49 (65% off)

Legend of Fae is probably the most obscure game in this article, which is a shame because its a cute and comfy match-3 puzzle RPG that also has some moderately challenging battles. You play as Claudia, a young girl with a magic lantern on a quest to unravel the secrets of the Faery Gates and the truth behind why the Fae have become increasingly hostile towards humans. The game’s battles swap between a gather mode (match-3 puzzle board) and a combat mode where you spend mana you gather to cast spells. Its worth playing through since Endlessfluff is working on a strategy RPG set in the same world.

Unholy Heights
Developer: Petit Depotto
Publisher: Playism
$2.79 (30% off)

Speaking of cute and comfy games, you should also check out Unholy Heights. The Devil has spent his life savings to retire and buy an apartment complex for monsters. The game mixes elements of apartment management and tower defense as you use your monstrous (but adorable) tenants to fight off raids from jerkoff “heroes” trying to steal your treasure. If you are too cheap to spend $3 on a whim, then the game has a free demo you can try out on its Steam page.

Sublevel Zero Redux
Developer: Sigtrap
$4.99 (70% off)

Sublevel Zero Redux is a pretty damn fun 6-DOF roguelite shooter that’s largely gone unnoticed by a lot of gamers. As the name implies, the Redux version adds a ton of new features, like more enemies, a restructured campaign, new difficulty settings, and more. There’s also VR support for those of you with an Oculus Rift or Vive.

Valkyria Chronicles 4
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
$20.39 (66% off)

Finally, we come to Valkyria Chronicles 4, the only AAA game on this list. Unfortunately, Valkyria Chronicles 4 didn’t sell as well as Sega hoped, leading to this hefty 66% off discount before the game is even a year old. That’s pretty sad, because as I said in my review, Valkyria Chronicles 4 was a great return to form that doubled down on the things that made the original game so memorable. Sadly, I must point out that the PC version uses Denuvo, so I can’t really begrudge anyone for giving it a hard pass.


Which games will you be spending all your money on during this Summer Sale?

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.