Have A Look At The Not On Steam Sale

Steam is so big that making some noise that you’re not on there is actually a half-decent way to get your game noticed. That’s the theory* of the Not On Steam Sale, at any rate. A group of indie developers with games not on Valve’s gaming monolith, who’ve had to deal with people saying “I’ll buy it on Steam”, are having a sale. 40+ indies will be cutting prices by 25% or more for the next seven days, including Inescapable, Sky Nations, and Tower of Guns.

It’s been prompted by Flippfly’s Race The Sun sales. The excellent endless flyer thing struggled to gain any recognition outside of Valve’s black box, and they said so with graphs. You can’t argue with graphs. The result was a few indies banding together, hoping their collective yell for attention will bring in some revenue and recognition. As Flippfly’s Aaron San Filippo told us:

Now, we love Steam as much as everyone! But we wanted to help raise general awareness that there are lots of great games out there that aren’t on that platform right now. And so we decided to launch a “Not on Steam” sale, for any game that’s available for sale but not currently on Steam. Many of these use the Humble store widget, several are sold through Desura and other direct-from-developer stores.

None of those are Steam. The sale will launch today, and last for seven days.

*I had other theories, but the pills took them away.


  1. Oozo says:

    I heartily recommend “Dark Scavenger”. It’s the rarest of things: It is actually very funny throughout (my favourite weapon was the telescope dentists’ drill, which was super-effective against enemies with open mouth). But is also sitting so comfortably between genre chairs (something between choose-your-own-adventure book, visual novel, and tactical RPG) that it is really a one of a kind game with mechanics that do work well. One of my favourite experiences of 2012.

    Has anybody else any tipps for overlooked gems?

    • Guzzleguts says:

      I was actually came to suggest RPS cover this sale, but they are always one step ahead.
      I’ve been playing Race the Sun all evening. It’s great. I crash all the time but still love it.
      It has a very arty doomed-world atmosphere, and the game world changes every day apparently!

    • lordcooper says:

      I can heartily recommend Richard and Alice to anyone who enjoyed To The Moon, and Dark Scavenger to everyone else.

    • tobecooper says:

      I loved Dark Scavenger too. Humorous and well-written, though very silly.

      The Sea Will Claim Everything is quite phenomenal too. A slow-drifting quirky adventure with a lot of clicking and reading. In a way it’s a nice companion to Dark Scavenger.

      • Emeraude says:

        I want to try this game (The See Will Claim Everything, I mean). Everything I read about it makes it sound like it would be my cup of coffee.
        But the art style just turns me off big time. It’s not that it’s ugly but I just get that feeling someone is pushing surgical blades under my skin when I look at it – It totally creeps me out.

        • JonasKyratzes says:

          Will it be too horrible if I say, as the developer of that game, that I find this kind of delightful? I mean, I’m really sorry the art style is a turn-off, but the fact that it creeps you out is kind of cool.

          They’re not surgical blades, by the way. They’re spider legs. The spider is creeping into your body. It will wear your skin like a bathrobe to explore the world of the fleshy ones.

          (I may be tired.)

          • Emeraude says:

            Well the Spider will have to queue with all the other inner parasites, and probably have to schedule for its driving window. May have to strike a deal with the Elder God for night hours.

            Much respect by the way. I read your blog and have been really awed by some posts.

          • JonasKyratzes says:

            Thank you. They were written by spiders. Well, just one spider. His name is Bob.

        • tobecooper says:

          I think the art makes sense in context of the game. It creates atmosphere and transports you to a different world.

          From our world it does look quite bad though, so I understand your feelings, I was skeptical too. I think it’s an issue of coloring. Dark Scavenger has that too. They look like they were drawn with crayons. But it doesn’t take long to get into the game and forget the problems you had with the graphics.

          • JonasKyratzes says:

            It *was* drawn with crayons! :)

          • Emeraude says:

            Again, I don’t find the game ugly…

            How to describe it… you know when in horror movies they try to make “scary” children doodles , and it ends up looking like either some assistant had a fun field day, or they got a drunken Dave Mckean to scribble half something, but certainly not like something a demon possessed disturbed child might draw ?
            Well this looks exactly like the later to me.

            In other words, it’s not the drawings, it’s me .
            Just get me some more time for mental preparation. And therapy. I’ll get down to playing this.

          • tobecooper says:

            That sounds awesome. You should treasure these emotions and go straight into the game with them. When every other mushroom start talking to you, you’ll feel right at home. Also, authentic crayons were used and harmed in production of this game. You should add that to the feature list, Jonas :D

          • JonasKyratzes says:

            How to describe it… you know when in horror movies they try to make “scary” children doodles , and it ends up looking like either some assistant had a fun field day, or they got a drunken Dave Mckean to scribble half something, but certainly not like something a demon possessed disturbed child might draw ?
            Well this looks exactly like the later to me.

            That’s awesome!

    • barelyhomosapien says:

      One finger death punch, ridiculous amount of content and fun in there for 1 of your currency!

  2. Stense says:

    Ooh, Pushcat. I remember seeing a video of that and thinking it looked fun, may have to check it out and see what else is around on that site.

  3. kalirion says:

    Interestingly enough, Race the Sun is one of 32 titles that just got greenlit today: link to steamcommunity.com

    As for the other games in the sale, Oozi is the best pure platformer that I’ve had the pleasure of playing in a while.

  4. Moraven says:

    So… do they come with Steam keys?

    • airmikee99 says:

      Since the games aren’t on Steam, what good would a Steam key do you?

      • Moraven says:

        Which, funny enough, most of the games promise Steam keys in the future. Most are in the Greenlight process also.

        The comment was more on how every sale, bundle, indie game potential customer ask “Do I get a Steam key?” “Is it on Steam?” “I will buy it once its on Steam”. Which shows how big of a gripe Steam has on the PC consumers. Race the Sun noted these questions and a big reason why people decided not to buy their game. People are refusing to buy games because its not on Steam, despite being offered a DRM-free download. Humble Bundle got hounded always for Steam keys, until it became standard from Valve to give away free keys to developers, allowing more people locked into Steam.

        This sale I think more like the Android 2.x app store. It was crap and there was various good App Store apps that offered better discoverbility But seems everyone on the PC only looks to Steam anymore for new games.

        But just reading the name I thought it was indie games that do not exist on Steam and banding together. Its just a list of indie games stuck in the Greenlight process.

    • oWn4g3 says:

      If there is a green key symbol underneath the game, it means you will get a Steam key once the specific game is greenlit.

  5. AlienMind says:

    Cool! Now bring on the “Games which do not depend on Steam” – list.

    • Moraven says:

      Just what I was thinking.

      “Games not on Steam Greenlight list”

      “Steam keys Not included”

      “Direct DRM download! Add to steam as non steam game to use the overlay!”

      • Wurstwaffel says:

        I’d like to see steams iron grip on pc gaming loosen, but as it stands small indies would be fools to avoid steam altogether. It’s not like they have a choice.

        • Brtt says:

          I know how you feel, Wurst (may I call you Wurst ? I know it’s bold of me !).
          Unfortunately Origin is not any better.

          I dream of a time where DRM-free is the norm, love is in the air, the cat is in… well, you know what I mean.

          • AeornFlippout says:

            This is part of the reason we setup this sale. We’d like to see more gamers let go of their “I’ll only buy it on Steam” attitudes. Hopefully this helps a bit ;)

          • frightlever says:

            Next step is getting them out of their “I’ll only buy it in a bundle” attitude. An attitude I seem to be stuck in.

        • solidsquid says:

          GOG seems to be making decent inroads with competing with Steam, even getting newer games now like Dragon Commander

  6. Dave Toulouse says:

    Since Race the Sun just got greenlit today let me suggest the Debut 5 bundle in which these games are also “not on steam” link to indieroyale.com

    And yes, disclaimer, my game Bret Airborne is part of the Debut 5 bundle. You can read the RPS review here: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • frightlever says:

      Haven’t bought it yet, but Bret Airborne was the only game to catch my eye, being a big Puzzlequest fan.

      Regular folk: there’s a Golf/FPS survival horror game in the bundle that needs to be seen to be believed…

      • Saarlaender39 says:

        Oh, I have seen it…but I still can’t believe it. ;)

  7. Yglorba says:

    Well, naturally Valve doesn’t have the time to add silly games like these; they’re too busy adding classics like Daikatana!

  8. Alexrd says:

    I’m on the “if Steam(works), no sale” camp, so this is perfect for me.

  9. michaelfeb16 says:

    Some of these games look pretty damn good. I’ll buy them when they come on steam.

  10. Continuity says:

    So. Is this sale on steam yet?

  11. yhancik says:

    “Never go Full Bore”

  12. MOKKA says:

    I think I spent more money on this sale, than I did on the last Steam Summer sale.

  13. ErraticGamer says:

    So is Vox actually an exact copy of Cube World? Or does it just look that way? Because man, it sure looks that way, minus several layers of polish.

    • kalirion says:

      They’re both open world RPGs using voxels. As I understand, Cubeworld is more geared towards (massively?) multiplayer. I’m sure there’s more difference between them than between the latest call of duties, medal of honors and battlefields.

    • frightlever says:

      Cubeworld is pretty polished for an Alpha but content light and kinda boring – the developer has been pretty much silent since he took people’s money – might be a good thing, might be a bad thing. I got enough from it for what I paid so I’m cool either way, though I’d like to see more transparent development.

      Vox is… less polished and more Minecrafty, in that you can mine and build stuff. They let you do a bunch of character and other customizations as well. I didn’t much care for what I saw when I tried it (from a a bundle) a couple or three months ago. No idea if it’s being actively developed.

    • Viscera says:

      Vox actually came out long before Cube World, although it was through “Alpha-Funding” on Desura and had barely any content. When I went back to it, I thought it was quite nice to see how far it came since then.

  14. Emeraude says:

    From the FAQ:

    Q. How could you have frequently asked questions when this thing is totally new?
    A. … no comment…

    All right, that made me smirk.

  15. iridescence says:

    The only one of these I’ve even heard of was “Will Fight for Food” [not terrible for the price I suppose but I got bored with it after an hour or two]

    Most of the others look like games that would’ve been on a console 15 years ago and hence not anything I want to play. I wish PC devs would use PC strengths more. More strategy games&actual RPGs, less damn platformers. The indie platformer glut is almost as bad as AAAs and military FPS.

  16. trjp says:

    Having a quick scan through the list I see some stuff I’ve not seen before (given the amount of time I spent on PC gaming sites – this is a surprise in itself) but I think they could make the list a bit better by INCLUDING THE GAMES NAMES!! :)

    TUG leapt out because someone made an effort to make a silly trailer for it – I like that – for a 99c game someone made a proper trailer – that’s actually amazing!!

    • kalirion says:

      The game’s names are there – you just have to check the small print.

      • trjp says:

        I think they need to make a few changes really

        1 – put the names FRONT AND CENTRE
        2 – disable the loading of a YouTube video for EVERY game (makes something like a mobile browser have a meltdown) – just use thumbnails (which YT provide anyway)
        3 – trigger a pause for any playing video BEFORE starting another (again, YT have that tech in their plugin schema)

        That will make the sale page load quicker, work on more devices and push the games a BIT better.

        Videos are great but that page loads WAY to slowly (and it probably gives YT a headache!!) :)

  17. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Not on Steam? Fine. But.. GOG, then, maybe? Gamer’s Gate? The Humble Bundle website? No?

  18. Cooper says:

    Ergh. One thing it taught me was how decent Steam is as a Storefront.

    That’s a bloody awful page for displaying games.

    One of them has a video and the still is a mug on a table. The title is “TUG Promotional Video” and the button says “But From Developer”
    It tells me NOTHING about the game. Unless I watch the video.

    The others are not much better. Seriously. This is an incredibly poor way of displaying games. I should not -have- to watch a video to know what the game is. Simple, one sentence descriptions and a maybe some ‘keywords’ for each would help vastly.

    I ended up buying one; because I’d heard about it the other day…

    • Frank says:

      Wow, you exist: the person who doesn’t google a game before buying it. Must be tought being you.

      • tigerfort says:

        There’s a difference between a game that sounds potentially interesting and one about which you know literally nothing. If the video still shows a graphics style I like and the caption is “an exciting new [genre I like] game”, then I’ll go searching for more information (or, you know, watch the video). But if they don’t give me any information at all about the game I’m going to treat it the same way I would something in a genre I don’t play – move on without wasting time.

        Googling a game that sounds as though you might like it is one thing; googling every game ever made is a totally different waste of time.

    • trjp says:

      That mug actually drew-my-eye away from everything else – but I agree (and I’ve commented above) that a LITTLE more about the games (including their name) would be a really nice idea.

      I do wonder how much people are looking for sometimes tho – I mean I scan that list to see if there’s anything I’ve perhaps forgotten about or missed the launch-of or which is just so cheap it would be rude not-to – I’ll always have a Google around for Quicklooks/Firstplays etc. and generally bone-up on a game anyway so…

      Are we reaching the point there are SO MANY GAMES that we expect the developers to pop around and run a sale spiel for us?

    • Foosnark says:

      It has one big advantage over Steam, best expressed by describing my Steam shopping experience:

      Browsing a list… scrolling down with its weird mechanism… oh, there’s an interesting game, i’ll click on that. Nope, not that interesting, I’ll just go back. Oh, I’m on page 1 of a completely different list, not where I left off. Repeat a few times until i get sick of it and don’t buy anything.

      Having all their games — admittedly a smaller selection than Steam, but still — on a single page made up for everything else that was wrong with it, I thought.

  19. Frogdice says:

    First, thanks so much for writing this story. My studio is the developer of one of the games on the list: Dungeon of Elements.

    Second, the impact of Steam on indies is pretty huge, because there are so many gamers who absolutely refuse to buy a game without a Steam key. We’ve been at conventions and had gamers literally put their cash back in their wallet when we couldn’t give them a steam key. I really hope we eventually get those Steam stores Gabe has talked about.

    As much of a bummer as this is for indie devs, I totally understand it. The convenience of having all your games on Steam is huge.

    Lastly, if you want to know about our game: Dungeon of Elements is an RPG dungeon crawler with combat inspired by Dr. Mario and Tetris. It also has a pretty big crafting system, collecting, achievements, a branching story, speed/ghost runs, and a bunch of other stuff. http://doe.frogdice.com

    We are about a week into our Greenlight and approaching 20% (whatever that means). I hope we get the opportunity soon to give free steam keys out to everyone who bought that game from us directly. Anyone who wants to help with that:

    link to steamcommunity.com

    Thanks again for the article and the support!

    • Shadowcat says:

      That sucks. If it makes you feel any better, some of us put our money back in our pockets if a game requires Steam (or Origin/UbiWhatsit/similar). We do seem to be in the minority though :/

      • Frogdice says:

        Well that is good to know. I do hope we get on Steam soon, though I intend to always sell our games direct for people who prefer that. :)

    • Viscera says:

      I really don’t see what’s convent about having to start a separate program just to play a game. But then, the “no Steam, no buy” idiots probably have it open 24/7.

      • Frogdice says:

        I’ve never been a huge fan of the required internet access either. But to each their own.

        For some games that update often (I’m looking at you, Marvel Heroes), Steam is a godsend because at least when I sit down to play the game is ready to play.

    • nitehawk says:

      “No Steam no buy”

      What the hell? Did anyone give a reason for this? What possible reason could someone have? Are people are just that freaking lazy that they cannot download an installer anymore? Is Gabe Newell giving free blowjobs for every game bought via steam?

  20. Meatloaf says:

    Just gotta say I can’t recommend Aces Wild enough. It’s like Smash Bros, Guilty Gear, Streets of Rage, and Ninja Gaiden all at once. Just play it and smile like you haven’t since 80s cartoons.

    • purdz says:

      I bought it just from the video alone, Reminds me of Gunstar Heroes and that is a good thing!

  21. Cryptoshrimp says:

    This is frustrating for me. I’d like to support non-steam indies, but for all that’s holy, please fix that storefront. There’s not enough information for each game and if you’re relying on impulse buys off of a single trailer, you’re being very hopeful. At least like all the games to some promotional material, or give them a proper page.

    • Frogdice says:

      I got an email from the folks running it and they said they are working on making it better. :)

      All I can help with as far as info is stuff on my game, Dungeon of Elements. Here’s a link to publicity which includes Twitch streamers and Youtubers that have played and showed off our game:

      link to frogdice.com

  22. MadTinkerer says:

    Steam Winter Sale, Steam Summer Sale, Humble Bundles, GoG sales, and now Not On Steam Sale!?! My wallet! Oh my poor aching wallet!

    Thank goodness I’ve already backed a few of these via Kickstarter…

  23. jgthespy says:

    One Finger Death Punch is the best gaming dollar I’ve spent in a long time. It looks simple in the video but it’s ridiculously fun.

    Here’s a link to the demo: link to mediafire.com

  24. quidnunc says:

    Any thoughts about Ring Runner?

  25. Gap Gen says:


  26. Atic Atac says:

    I highly recommend Spud’s Quest. It’s the best Dizzy game ever made. No joke.

  27. Metalhead9806 says:

    I bought Race the Sun mostly due to feeling bad that this supposed great game has failed because Steam Greenlight sucks…

  28. Balanuir says:

    Now, we love Steam as much as everyone!

    Bad pitch. I’d take a look specifically because they are NOT on Steam, and Steam sucks. But I guess catering to the larger crowd is more important.

    I wish more indie game creators would remember that people love indie games precisely BECAUSE they are indie. To me, as soon as you’re on Steam, you aren’t indie anymore, you’re just small.

    • Frogdice says:

      The problem is, how do you get people to know about you?

      Gaming journalists need clicks to survive and pay their bills, and most people will only click on the 90 billionth identical GTAV article.

      And when 90% of the people who hear about your game immediately ask “Do I get a steam key”, its just…. brutal.

  29. Viscera says:

    It’s more a “Wants To Be On Steam” sale. It’s obvious that the entire point of the thing is to get attention, so that more people greenlight it. It’s sad that Valve has such a borderline monopoly on PC games that people feel that they have to be on Steam. Doesn’t help that Greenlight is broken like hell. And also kind of pointless, since, as War Z, Colonial Marines and Daikatana shows, Valve doesn’t actually care about the “quality” of the games.

    Anyway, I’m not sure whether I should get anything from that sale, since I never about most of them. But I’m pretty sure that I’ll get One Finger Death Punch, since it’s cheap and I heard good things about it.

  30. nitehawk says:

    Advice for developers putting their game on this site: Make the youtube still shot a screenshot from the game. If it is just the title, I am going to pass it by. There are way to many videos to click on every one of them.

    • Frogdice says:

      I’m not disagreeing with you, but just as many people say “Make sure the still image has the title of the game and what platforms it is for” rather than a screenshot. The logic being people will click play to get the gameplay.

      Basically, its impossible to choose what’s right for everyone, unfortunately. :(

  31. pertusaria says:

    I grabbed Sokobond from this. Judging by the descriptions above, the website’s got better since yesterday, so I won’t say anything nasty about it. A description of each game would be nice instead of having to rely on Youtube videos, in case it’s still being worked on.