The RPS Bargain Bucket: Candy Haze

So, I had my first Halloween experience this week, which is to say, I spent a lot of time meandering after a troop of kids, and hanging out at a friend’s living room with a cauldron full of candy. My teeth ache from excess, but it has been an informative day. Hopefully, your Halloween was equally novel! Or frightful. Or, well, whichever idea you like best. As I am still in transit, there won’t be an exceptional new plushie to feast your eyes on so have a bucket filled with bargains instead.

Sang-Froid: Tale of Werewolves
$2.25/£1.41/€1.80
Oh, look. Werewolves. Sang-Froid: Tale of Werewolves is an unusual take on defense games, with axe-wielding lumberjacks and a beastiary of dog-like creatures to slay. It has its problems, most notably its ho-hum cut scenes and uneven pacing. But Sang-Froid seems rather beloved, nonetheless. A testament to indie grit, so to speak. And it does seem genuinely interesting to me, athough I’d say that about any defense game that wears its wolf pelt on its sleeve.

Knock-Knock
$1.49/£0.93/€1.19
Knock-Knock is weird, eerie, and so utterly Ice Pick Lodge that it isn’t funny. Again, we have another defense game of sorts, although this one takes part on a two-dimensional plane. Instead of guarding against werewolves, you’re now tasked with protecting a wild-haired hermit from yourself. Or … something else? Who knows. Certainly, Knock-Knock won’t tell you too easily. I’d play this one for the spooky atmosphere, the inexplicable moments. (You can also pick up Knock Knock for even lower numbers over at Humble today, but only if you want other games as well. Yeah.)

Overlord II
$0.78/£0.49/€0.63
Continuing on our theme of dark, fantastical situations, we have Overlord II coming up next. And a debut entry taken from simplycdkeys, which seems to hawk items of puzzling repute. (Traditional sites seemed rather lacking in bargains this week, and I felt like being slightly adventuresome.) As always, proceed with caution around new dealers of virtual goods. You might be found crunchy, and good with pixelated ketchup. Warnings aside, Overlord II is an interesting game, which puts you in control of a terrifying Overlord who must triumph against the Glorious Empire. It is outfitted with more goodness from the original game, some improved features, and the same diabolical sense of humor. Pick this up for when you want something between after Halloween screams.

Titanfall
$10/£6.25/€7.98
More games? More. But, let’s put aside our desire for screamfests and dark things for a moment. Instead, let us embrace the awesomeness that is parkour and giant robots. I haven’t played Titanfall, personally. I suspect neither my rig nor the Malaysian internet will hold up in a fight. But, I’ve seen things. Heard things. Things like how good the players in this game have become, and how the balletic nature of the fights is sometimes a thing of utter wonder. Titanfall probably won’t fit your needs if you crave solitary play, but anyone looking for the next step in multiplayer mayhem may want to pause here.

Also of note:

Scratches: Director’s Cut – $0.99/£0.62/€0.79
Okay, so, Scratches isn’t perfect. In fact, it is has drawn an intense amount of polarizing reviews, each hissing cordially at the other. Some revelled in its mysteries, others questioned its cameras. Whatever the case might be, Scratches was affecting in some ways. As such, if you feel like taking a chance on some old-school work from the venerable Augustin Cordes, here’s your chance.

Magicka: Four-Pack – $5.99/£4.79/€5.99
You’ve probably gotten this cheaper or, hell, for free. From a friend. Who really wanted to punch you in the face with some magic. But, if for some reason you haven’t played Magicka, you should. A modern day classic, Magicka combines an irreverent sense of humor with a truly interesting combat system, which demands breakneck reflexes and an aptitude for some amount of playful malice.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel – $36.77/£22.99/€29.36
Last but certainly not least, we have Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, that four-player shoot ’em up the Internet wouldn’t stop talking about for a few months. While the hype has died down, the game remains a competent albeit not entirely innovative continuation of the franchise. I’ve been too busy to pick it up myself, but I absolutely adore the idea of being able to play as the villains this time. Especially given that we already know that respective fates, for the most part.

69 Comments

  1. Gunrun says:

    Really? Is everyone linking to dodgy cd key resellers now? I bought a copy of Guild Wars 2 from them and after 3 months of play it was banned because it was bought with a stolen credit card, and simplycdkeys refused to talk to me and deleted my account.

    • Jalan says:

      Is everyone going to ask this every time now?

      It used to be an occasional question back in the pre-Cassandra days, but now it’s getting to be an every week the column turns up deal.

      • fish99 says:

        I’d say it’s a valid question given the experience Gunrun related.

        • Jalan says:

          I didn’t disparage its validity, I just get the impression that asking it constantly is wearing thin – opinions and experiences of those who have bought from such sites seem to vary so widely that a weekly condemnation comment is just serving little purpose than to rile up others.

          • Cheeetar says:

            It’s a very good thing for him to warn us that it’s not a good idea to buy from certain sites.

      • jrodman says:

        When does it stop being relevant to point out shysters?

        • Jalan says:

          Since when does one person’s experience brand an entire company as a “shyster”? If we’re going down that road, so many companies have got a lot to answer for.

    • Rizlar says:

      If you can specify where exactly you bought that dodgy cd key from we can perhaps blacklist them.

      As far as I know only legitimate sites are included in the bargain bucket, but I’m sure Cassandra would want to know if something she has linked to is criminal.

      • Martel says:

        He bought it from simplycdkeys….

        • Rizlar says:

          Woops, either I missed that or it wasn’t there when I posted… fair enough then, linking to a site that sells stolen keys is not cool.

          • porcelain_gods says:

            Just because Gunrun says it was a stolen key doesn’t mean it was, a simple Google search shows this site has plenty of positive feedback.

    • Cassandra Khaw says:

      I usually only EVER link to reputable websites, but I thought to experiment this one week and see how that is taken. SimplyCDKeys got an “eh, this is doable” from a lot of readers over the last few weeks, so I was curious. >___> Going back to being good next week.

      • Vandelay says:

        If what Gunrun says is true, then I would definitely avoid shopping from Simply CD Keys. However, I have shopped there before after doing a bit of research on them. Except for the few comments I found from people, whose attitude was “all CD key sellers are evil,” they seemed to be very reputable. I’ve purchased from them three times now without any issues. (edit – One of those was Heart of the Storm too. If there was anything dodgy about that copy, Blizzard would definitely have blocked it.)

        If other people have had bad experiences though, we should definitely hear from them.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Gunrun’s experience is entirely heresay, and I’d be extremely disapointed if RPS changed policy due to one or two unverified posts in the comment threads.

        I’ve said this previously in comments, but it bears repeating.

        I’ve seen a huge amount of talk about cd key resellers being dodgy, and there have been one or two well-publicised incidents, mostly involving the publishers themselves imposing regional restrictions on keys after they had already been sold legitimately.

        Exactly what Gunrun was told a couple of years ago (probably via a generic message regarding ‘violation of ToS’), how accurate his recollection is including what he might have assumed from that experience reading between the lines, and precisely what did in fact happen are very different questions.

        From his initial post, it’s not even clear that we’re talking about the same company since he tars all key resellers with the same brush. No doubt the company he dealt with has “CD Key” somewhere in its name, or he has some vague menory that it did.

        I’ve bought a dozen or more keys from these sites myself over the years (including, as it happens, Guild Wars), and the only problem I ever had was immediately resolved with a full refund, without quibbles.

        There are a lot of vested interests in the industry demonising these sites because they subvert arbitrary publisher restrictions such as regional pricing. Unfairly demonising CD key sites is akin to warning people off pirating games because they ‘might’ contain viruses, ‘might’ steal your credit card number, ‘might’ fund money laundering and terrorism, etc. It’s just a convenient line to scare people off practices the publishers don’t like.

        Despite all the claims of dodgyness, the onus should be on the ones claiming there’s a problem to prove it, and not by pointing to one or two long time past incidents to vilify an entire sector.

        • Chaz says:

          “From his initial post, it’s not even clear that we’re talking about the same company since he tars all key resellers with the same brush. No doubt the company he dealt with has “CD Key” somewhere in its name, or he has some vague menory that it did.”

          Well the bit where he says “and “simplycdkeys” refused to talk to me and deleted my account.”, I feel makes that pretty clear which company he is referring too.

          I don’t feel that he has demonised the entire CD key reselling market. He’s just stated that the Guildwars 2 key he bought from SimplyCDKeys was duff and when he complained that they deleted his account.

          As there are 3 or 4 links to that same company above, I think it’s fairly legitimate of him to share his experience of using their service.

      • LordOfPain says:

        Cassandra, I suggest you link to the better-known ones and just put a general disclaimer at the bottom saying some people have had bad experiences and to be cautious before deciding to use them.

        Personally, I’ve used simplyCDkeys and had no trouble.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Perhaps RPS should do an article explaining what the deal is with these sites. Alice? Are you reading this?

    • jiaco says:

      I used simplycdkeys for at least 2 purchases without hassle, then on the third they asked me to send the scans of things like my utility bill and my drivers license, a quick google search later and simplycdkeys became a vendor I will never use again and something I detest enough to log in here and share the facts, they are a deceitful company, not to be trusted in any way.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Sounds like SimplyCDKeys.com – like all other key resellers – is chasing batches of keys left and right, and failed to properly verify one that was bought with a stolen CC. When the issue showed up, the employee in charge of the ticket panicked and ‘deleted f* everything’ rather than admitting they actually participated (consciously or unconsciously) in a CC fraud.

      However it seems the website is established enough that it has nothing to win by selling stolen-CC keys : the risks of being sued or shutdown are too high, they make enough cash flow every day with more “legit” keys.

      All these keys don’t appear out of nowhere though, they can be keys given to a website/company as part of a marketing campaign, keys to cover a specific region (without enough verification/region locking being done by the publisher, so the distributor resells the keys on the (more expensive) western market), keys stolen from the publisher/distributor by a stupid or underpaid employee, keys bought using stolen CC informations – all possible situation where a key is able to leave the official distribution channel.

      That market is a grey market (“… the trade of a commodity through distribution channels which, while legal, are unofficial, unauthorized, or unintended by the original manufacturer.”), no matter how you put it.

      The good news is that it’s basically always legal (<- regarding the law) for the buyer so there isn't any risk for her/him, the not-so-good news is that it's very often breaching one of the clause in the EULA or publishing contracts (them being broad enough to contain a lot of thing is another debate) so a publisher can always show up and terminate your key.

      The rather-good news is that publishers rarely do that with "grey" keys for several reasons :
      1) It costs a lot of money to allocate an entire team (of technicians and lawyers – either inhouse or consultants) to do a solid investigation on keys batches being resold elsewhere. It's rarely worth the effort, mostly because…
      2) The key market is still rather small (when compared to the main flow of customers) and made of tech-savvy users on a budget, who will chase down cheap deals (or yaar the games) anyway. Harassing these people is globally a terrible idea, they're already spending a lot of cash in video games and playing a lot too (participating to some form of 'crowdmarketing' within their communities).

      So you won't get sued or have your Steam accounted deleted for buying these keys, but you can expect to lose your current progress in the game (if the publisher nukes it) and struggle (or not if you're lucky) to get a refund (or a new key) from the key reseller. It's a grey market: you pay less and take a little risk (in terms of comfort).

  2. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Don’t miss The Room, on sale on steam for a pittance. It’s a short but sweet little puzzle box of a game. Literally a puzzle box.

    • disconnect says:

      YES, I loved The Room. Currently on sale for 69p on iThings too (alongside its sequel) — I haven’t played it on desktop but it’s a beautifully tactile game on tablet.

      • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

        I surely hope the sequels make their way to PC too. The touch controls might be nice, but when choosing between that and the visual candy of the PC version I’ll go for the latter in this case. I tried it both on my transformer book (with touch screen) and on my ordinary gaming rig and it looked stunning on a proper machine. Besides, playing with touch controls made my arm ache, and I frequently covered up small details on the screen with my fingers.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Needs more Wiseau.

  3. disconnect says:

    A couple of other bargains of (IMHO) note:

    XCOM: 99p link to gamekeysnow.com
    (CD key reseller but I believe these are all legit UK retail keys)

    Anomaly Uber Bundle (all 5 Anomaly games): $8 link to gamesrepublic.com
    (Not used the site before but it’s the dev’s own DD platform. This is slightly cheaper than the price in Steam’s Halloween sale, plus it includes DRM-free and Android versions)

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Careful, XCOM was free as part of a promo recently so those may be keys resold from that.

      I don’t really trust CD key sites.

      • AngoraFish says:

        So what if the keys are resold? If someone missed the free deal then why wouldn’t they be okay tipping someone who had the foresight to get a few spares? It’s not as if the internet isn’t already overwhelmed with key swapping and similar practices as a result of the bundle explosion.

        Seriously, since when did the benefits of capitalism only get to apply publishers via convoluted and self-serving terms of service?

        • Bugamn says:

          The keys in that free deal were allegedly limited, so it feels a bit morally wrong to pay someone that might have hoarded them.

        • El_Emmental says:

          All these end-user license agreements exist within a contract, they’re not goods you hand over at the market and get metal coins in return – we’re in the 21st century now, everything is a contract.

          If the free licenses were given as part of a promotion, they were given within a set of contractual rules – the tiny lines explaining you can’t have more than x licenses per person (or household) or can’t resell these keys. Doing that is breaching that contract, allowing the publisher to terminate the key and/or sue the person or company reselling these keys for money.

          The “Competition” was ran by Future plc (notice how a large media group is working hand in hand with a digital distributor and a publisher =°), wot provided their rules: link to futureplc.com

          “By taking part in a Competition, you agree to be bound by the Competition Rules and by the decisions of the Company which are final in all matters relating to the Competition. The Company reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and/or winner in its absolute discretion for any reason and without notice in accordance with the Competition rules.”

          “Entries must be submitted by an individual (not via any agency or similar) and, unless otherwise stated, are limited to one per household.”

          “If you are a winner of a Competition:
          – you acknowledge and agree that delivery of any prize to you is conditional upon you complying with any and all applicable laws, rules and regulations including, without limitation, the Competition Rules and that delivery of the prize to you will be at your own risk; ”

          nb: that includes the publisher’s rules, wot can include a clause stating that you can not resell keys without a publishing authorization (the court will certainly tolerate one consumer reselling to one consumer, but not organized reselling of licenses wrongly acquired (in bulk) through a competition).

  4. Frosty Grin says:

    Mind: Path to Thalamus for just $1 in the Groupees Remute bundle: link to groupees.com

    It’s a gorgeous-looking game with unusual and rewarding puzzles. Some people weren’t impressed with the story, but the developer decided to rework the script and the voiceover (the work is in progress). Personally, I liked it even as it was, so I can recommend it anyway.

    • Llewyn says:

      Thanks. Groupees bundles are often interesting (if not necessarily good) but I generally forget to check for them unless reminded here.

  5. Zallgrin says:

    I’m gonna go ahead and put here one of the Steam review for Scratches:

    “In this game, you play as a drunk man with glaucoma as you attempt to navigate a mansion built for an elf. Your friend Jerry calls you and hangs up after three seconds, and you are tasked with trying to collect and put together mundane objects while somber orchestral music plays. This game has a nice array of challenges, from trying to walk in a straight line to trying to interact with an item without accidentally leaving the room. Your main character has a touching backstory; due to a tragic accident he can only look in 45-degree angles and has a hard time making eye contact with the furniture. I love how the game crashes a lot, too. Really gets into your head. Five dirt stars.”

    • Premium User Badge

      zapatapon says:

      In defense of Scratches: despite many flaws, to me it is one of the few games that deserve to be called genuinely “Lovecraftian”. It is all about atmosphere, not grotesque monsters nor in-your-face evil cultists. It is about family secrets hidden buried deep behind a victorian facade, about guilt and insanity. There is an apparent supernatural component but the game is always ambiguous about it and it might as well be just a figment of the characters’ obsessions. The setting conveys extremely well a sense of deep unease in this stuffy bourgeois house.

      The most annoying thing about *the game* itself is that you frequently have no clue what do to next and are reduced to combing all locations once again, which unfortunately kills the pace (getting around is slow) and atmosphere. I would recommend this game for creepy, ominous atmosphere lovers, with a walkthrough at hand to avoid aggravation and get the best experience out of it in my opinion.

      • subedii says:

        There is an apparent supernatural component but the game is always ambiguous about it and it might as well be just a figment of the characters’ obsessions.

        Related to that point…

        *SPOILERS

        During your searches of the house, it’s possible to find a bottle of thalidomide, IIRC in one of the bedroom drawers. Finding it is completely unnecessary, but it can add a LOT to the narrative if you understand what it is, and the years that certain events took place in the story.

        I remember reading about it in chemistry class as an example of how stereo isomerism can lead to completely different results from seemingly identical compounds.

        • Premium User Badge

          zapatapon says:

          I remember finding that bottle. My family has been unfortunate enough to have a thalidomide related case (a cousin of mine), so I knew what it meant.

  6. BooleanBob says:

    Teleglitch is freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Did everybody get that?

    TELEGLITCH. IS. FREE.

    If you got it, then get it!

    B

    E

    A

    N

    S

    A

    U

    C

    E

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Nice. Looking forward to ruining my life.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      Wow, thanks.

    • Martel says:

      Thanks for the tip

    • mechabuddha says:

      Thanks! I wasn’t planning on purchasing this, because I suck at these sort of games. But I’ll give it a whirl, and if can actually survive more than a few seconds and don’t die from heart palpitations, I’ll send some cash towards the developers.

    • heretic says:

      It is free! Thank you sir. I actually missed it the first time on my chromebook screen, you have to scroll down a bit :D

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I wish you all the success in the world with inserting “beansauce” into the popular lexicon.

  7. Kefren says:

    I have a free copy of Magrunner Dark Pulse [needs a GOG account] for the first person who wants it.

    • Shookster says:

      I’d be happy to take that off your hands.

      • Kefren says:

        Just contact me via my email or Facebook (the contact section of my website) and I’ll give you the code. Can’t post it straight here, someone else might take it first. Cheers!

    • bill says:

      Good game. I played the free copy someone gifted me on GOG recently, and I really rather enjoyed it. Some nice puzzles. Maybe a tad too long and the plot kinda fizzles out… but overall nice.

    • Kefren says:

      Still available, no-one contacted me. :-(

  8. subedii says:

    Glad to see Scratches get a mention. As said, it’s not perfect, but it’s a nice little puzzle game for those that like investigating mystery houses and their backstory.

  9. mwoody says:

    I’ll take this opportunity to link a personal favorite, which I always go back to this time of year: Ghost Master is $0.99 on Steam. It’s great fun with a lovely soundtrack.

    Edit: Oh, and be careful about reviews: the console game shares assets and was released at the same time, but was a totally different game/genre. It was also terrible, so the PC version got ignored.

    • Jalan says:

      Speaking of things on Steam which are fairly cheap: MURI is on sale, though its ties to Halloween are pretty tenuous.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Can I just take a moment to emphatically recommend this? I haven’t actually played it – yet – but every single thing Daniel Remar is in any way involved with is worth playing.

    • malkav11 says:

      Ghost Master is such a treat of a game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sinomatic says:

      Ghost Master was indeed excellent.

  10. KoenigNord says:

    Square Enix has some pretty neat deals on their own store, too. Thief, Tomb Raider, Murdered, etc. on the cheap.

  11. Shuck says:

    Sang-froid is actually cheaper as part of Steam’s Halloween sale right now – $1.49 (and whatever that is in colorful play monies).

  12. Martel says:

    Sang-froid definitely has its flaws but it’s hard to pass up a game with Canadian lumberjacks and some good music. Definitely worth the few bucks.

  13. suibhne says:

    It’s odd to see no mention of the huge Steam sale occurring right now through Monday morning, particularly as it sports cheaper prices for some of these Bargain Bucket games than the actual posted deals. It’s definitely worth perusing. I’d say “as usual”, but it’s notable (to me) that the sale’s ratio of indie to mainstream titles seems much, much higher than in prior Steam sales.

    • malkav11 says:

      My theory is that Steam sales are, at this point, so well known, expected, and orderly in their rollout that the only reason to include them in a bargain roundup is to highlight obscure games at huge discounts that might not otherwise trip someone’s radar.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Overload-J says:

    Knock-knock is free on Android, from Amazon, for another 13 hours: and 20 minutes from the time of posting:

    link to amazon.com

    Yeah, I know, not PC, but an extra-cheap way to get one of the titles featured above.

    • souroldlemon says:

      Nice one!
      I’ve already bought it twice on pc but looks like I’m going to play it for the first time on my phone.

  15. kalirion says:

    link to groupees.com is pretty good I think, though mostly in the $4 tier

    $1 tier:
    Akane the Kunoichi
    QUALIA 3: Multi Agent
    dUpLicity ~Beyond the Lies~

    $4 tier adds:
    BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
    RefleX
    Danmaku Unlimited 2
    Stagelight

    Plus assorted music and graphic novels

  16. The Dark One says:

    That Archimedes plushie is amazing.

  17. TechnicalBen says:

    Wait, Titanfall is still £44 as a digital download on the Amazon UK site. Which is, IMO amazingly stupid price point.

    So seeing as it’s not even a sane price, what opportunity is there buying the CD key on the US site? It’s not going to work is it?

    Will it just throw up it’s hands and say “were giving you access to US server only, nananana!” or “No US billing address, get lost”?

    • Llewyn says:

      Although nowhere near that Amazon US price, it’s currently £14.99 on the UK Origin store, which is at least more sensible than £44.

      No idea on the answers to your questions though, sorry.

    • Strazz says:

      Amazon’s US site now requires a US credit card as well for puchases in the “Digital Games” category.

  18. fish99 says:

    Hoping to see a deal on the Dark Souls 2 season pass sometime soon.

  19. jonfitt says:

    “that four-player shoot ‘em up the Internet wouldn’t stop talking about for a few months” is a very strange assessment since Borderlands: The Pre Sequel has only been out 2 weeks. Perhaps you mean the pre-release hype has been going on for months? But for most it’s a brand new game.

  20. kipue says:

    Just to add a little bit to this, I just visited SimplyCDkeys, and Prey 2 is available to buy on preorder.
    This game have been confirmed canceled, hasn’t it?
    Just saying/wondering

  21. mattevansc3 says:

    Two bargains over on GreenManGaming

    Use code BWG00E-QJP45O-INFGR1 to get 23% off almost all titles including those already with discounts which gives you;

    Valkyrie Chronicles pre-order for £10.39 (pre-order price is £13.49 – £3.10 for code)

    And

    Warlock 2 – The Exlied for £3.46 (70% off deal makes it £4.49 – £1.03 for code)

    Just picked both up now.

  22. bill says:

    Recently I’ve found that I don’t really need to buy games anymore… people keep giving me free ones.
    I just finished Magrunner (which came free from GOG) and they also game me Warlock and a few others that I haven’t even looked at.
    In the last 2-3 weeks I’ve also received AvP 2000 (holy crap fast marines! Kinda scary!) and Teleglitch (just getting started) and 3-4 free android games from the Humble guys.

    Pretty soon they’ll be paying me to take their games.