We are closing in on the final days of 2020, so its time to indulge once again in Steam’s annual Winter Sale.
As with all of the big Steam sales, I’d like to chime in with a few recommendations. As always, there is no real theme or reasoning behind the choices, merely that they are games I like and they are all on sale right now.
As with all Winter Sales, Valve is also running their yearly Steam Awards. You can vote for your favorite games across 10 categories, with the nominees all being games that were voted on during the Autumn Sale.
If you’d like to see more deals, you can find my two other Steam Sale articles from 2020 here and here. I can’t guarantee that all of these deals returned, but chances are most of them are discounted at around the same price they were in these previous sales.
Here is a list of 15 recommendations from the 2020 Steam Winter Sale:
Developers: Splash Damage, The Coalition
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
$29.99 (50% off)
Gears Tactics was a pretty big surprise this year that deserved more attention than it got. Not only does it successfully translate many of Gears of War‘s signature mechanics into a turn-based strategy game, but it also manages to be one of the best new entries in the genre in a while.
With more mission variety and deeper base and character management between skirmishes, Gears Tactics could turn itself into a major contender in the genre. You can read our full review here (we recommend it!)
Developers: Platinum Games, Little Stone Software
$4.99 (75% off)
If you want to be more directly involved in your cover-based action, then check out Vanquish. Perhaps one of Platinum’s more underrated releases, Vanquish takes fairly standard cover shooter mechanics and injects them with developer’s signature over-the-top flare by allowing you to jet around the battlefield with rocket-assisted power slides and melee kicks.
The PC version boasts some Steam-exclusive boosts, such as cloud saves, 4K resolutions, loads of new graphics options and tweaks, and uncapped framerates, ensuring its the ultimate version of this cult classic.
$9.99 (50% off)
Catherine Classic is the PC port of Catherine, another Sega-published game that might not have garnered the same widespread success as the developer’s other, more famous titles, but has still managed to draw a very devoted cult following.
Catherine isn’t an RPG like the more popular Persona games, but its quirky characters and story, and focus on relationship building, makes it an unmistakably Atlus game. Catherine Classic, as its name implies, doesn’t feature all the new content in the recent Catherine: Full Body remaster, though depending on who you ask that might be considered a plus.
The Deus Ex Collection
Developers: Ion Storm, Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
$10.60 (80% off)
People have been talking a lot about cyberpunk RPGs lately, especially whether or not one game in particular lives up to expectations. A few of you quite rightly brought up in our Cyberpunk Alternatives article didn’t include the grandfather of them all, Deus Ex.
That was intentional, as Deus Ex is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to discussions about cyberpunk games, but the current Steam Sale gives me an excuse to mention it here. This collection includes all of the Deus Ex games in one convenient little package if you are one of the 7 PC gamers left who don’t already own any of them.
Unfortunately, this also includes Deus Ex: Invisible War and, even worse, the absolute dumpster fire that is Deus Ex: The Fall. On second thought, it’s probably better to just nab the three good games in the franchise and forget the rest of the bundle.
E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy
Developer: Streum On Studio
Speaking of cyberpunk shooter-RPGs, E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy is also extremely cheap right now. The world of E.Y.E. is less the neon, intrusive corporate product placement dystopia of most cyberpunk universes, and is instead something more akin to the theocratic grimdark world of power armor, skull motifs, and rogue psykers that is 40k.
Fair warning, E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy was made by a small studio in the Source Engine on a shoestring budget, so expect lots of jank and obtuse mechanics. If you can get into it though, you’ll find a really unique game.
Hard Reset Redux
Developer: Flying Wild Hog
Publisher: Good Shepard Entertainment
$1.99 (90% off)
Rounding out our list of cyberpunk shooters is Hard Reset Redux, a game I regularly recommend during sales. While Hard Reset Redux isn’t as good as Flying Wild Hog’s later shooter, Shadow Warrior, it’s still a delightful throwback to ’90s-style FPS mechanics and conventions.
Shooting robots isn’t as exciting as making demons explode into bloody chunks, but the mechanical enemies in Hard Reset Redux still fall apart in satisfying piles of scrap when dispatched.
SYNTHETIK: Legion Rising
Developer: Flow Fire Games
$9.99 (50% off)
Another satisfying shooter about blowing robots to bits is SYNTHETIK: Legion Rising. There are lots of top-down roguelite shooters out there, but SYNTHETIK is probably one of the best around.
The game features a huge variety of awesome guns and gadgets, and its shooting mechanics are actually quite detailed for a top-down game. You can hit individual parts of enemies, and the game rewards accurate bursts over holding down the fire button like most games in the genre.
The best part is that despite being two years old at this point, the developer still releases regular and substantial free content updates.
War for the Overworld
Developer: Brightrock Games
$5.99 (80% off)
The ruthless execution of Bullfrog by EA all but ensured that we would never see another Dungeon Keeper game ever again. On the bright side, War for the Overworld is basically everything we could have hoped from a theoretical Dungeon Keeper 3.
Everything, from the core mechanics down to the overall tone of Dungeon Keeper, has been faithfully recreated in War for the Overworld. While the game was a little rocky at launch, the developers have spent the past 5 years implementing tons of improvements and new content, and the game still gets the occasional balance or bugfix patch to this day.
Developer: Alexander Bruce
$4.99 (75% off)
Another older but good game that is on sale is Antichamber. This first-person puzzler involves navigating some really surreal Escher-esque environments, with visuals and puzzles that intentionally try to throw you off. There are some truly mind-melting puzzles in this one, so give it a shot if you feel like realizing how dumb you are for an afternoon.
Developer: Frontier Developments
$22.99 (50% off)
This has been a pretty stressful year for everyone, so maybe now would be a good time to chill out with a comfy management game like Planet Zoo. The game has been receiving a steady stream of new content since it released last year, ensuring that there is plenty of animal variety to stock your dream zoo with, and that’s without factoring in the Steam Workshop support.
Already have Planet Zoo? Well all the DLC packs (excluding the new one that released a few weeks back) are discounted too, so now is a good chance to pick up any you missed.
Yoku’s Island Express
Developer: Villa Gorilla
Publisher: Team17 Digital
$3.99 (80% off)
Let’s keep the comfy theme rolling with Yoku’s Island Express, an absolutely adorable pinball-based Metroidvania.
You play as Yoku, a small dung beetle that has been sent to the remote tropical paradise of Mokumana Island as its new postman. The game blends traditional Metroidvania elements and platforming with pinball segments, creating a truly unique and joyful experience the whole way through.
Developers: CreSpirit, GemaYue
$7.19 (60% off)
Another cute (if difficult, depending on the setting you chose), critically acclaimed Metroidvania is Rabi-Ribi. While it has plenty of exploration and platforming, this bunny girl bullet hell’s main draw are its huge number of complex boss battles with intricate attack patterns. The DLC is also all discounted as well.
Publisher: DANGEN Entertainment
$11.99 (40% off)
Minoria is the spiritual successor to the cult hit Momodora, which is also really cheap right now if you’ve never experienced it before. While Minoria isn’t quite as refined as its predecessors, it still features some really smooth, skillful combat and dark atmosphere. You can read our full review of the Switch version here (we recommend it!)
$3.74 (75% off)
Finishing up our list of 2D Metroidvanias is Apotheon, a relatively obscure game from an equally little-known developer that deserves some more attention.
Apotheon‘s physics and combat system is admittedly a bit on the janky side, but it certainly gains points for its stylish visuals that perfectly replicate Ancient Greek pottery and art. It’s not the best action-platformer on the list, but it has enough charm and heart to deserve a playthrough.
Developer: Arcen Games
$2.99 (75% off)
On the subject of games made with a lot of heart, it wouldn’t be one of my sales articles without giving a shoutout to a game by Arcen. Bionic Dues is probably the company’s most straightforward game, and also one of their more obscure titles.
Long story short, it’s a squad-based mech roguelike, where you are tasked with liberating a quarantined city from a robot uprising before the military implements their backup plan; nuclear annihilation.
It has an interesting progression curve through the campaign, where each mission weakens the robots in one area, but the missions you didn’t take on still advance forward without you and power up your foes in other areas.
Developer: EXOR Studios
$3.99 (80% off)
Finally, we are going to cap things off with X-Morph: Defense, another downright awesome game from a pretty obscure indie developer that should be on your radar.
X-Morph is a blend of tower defense and top-down shooter where you play as an alien force invading the Earth to strip-mine it of resources. Protect your operations with a maze-like network of towers, but unlike most tower defense games, this isn’t your main way of destroying waves.
Instead, you’ll be zooming around the level in a transformable alien starfighter assisting your towers, and fighting gigantic assault mechs and tanks deployed by Earth’s defenders.
There are a metric ton of games on sale right now, so be sure to check our reviews if you see a title you like.
What games will you be picking up in the Steam Winter 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!