The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some recommendations - both general tips and some newly added staff choices.
Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You're welcome.
These aren't the best deals, because the games are still quite fresh. But it's better than nothing!
Torment: Tides of Numenera for £17.49/$22.49 – A sad man falls out of the sky and must read 2 million words to discover why
Nier: Automata for £27.99/$41.99 – A lovable robot accidentally unplugs her own CPU chip and dies
Northgard for £12.74/$16.99 – A Viking with a lisp is axed over a piece of land, and says: “That was Thor!”
Dead Cells for £11.89/$14.44 – A group of green cellular organisms gang up to seize the means of production
Resident Evil VII for £23.99/$35.99 – A dutiful boyfriend visits his girl’s family to offer them a hand
Prey for £26.39/$39.59 – Alien life with the power to mimic anything in the universe visits a space station, looks at humans and decides: “let’s be chairs”
Tyranny for £18.99/$22.49 – A grumpy emperor orders everyone to stop everything
Football Manager 2017 for £11.89/$16.99 – Twenty-two grown men vie for the attention of a beautiful ball but discover the real beauty was in earning large sums of money all along
Watch Dogs 2 for £22.49/$29.99 – A mischievous hacker with a wry smile kills hundreds of people but nobody ever mentions it
These are here because they are cheap and/or good. Simple as that
Hitman season one for £15.99/$23.73 – A bald professional goes on holiday but can’t seem to leave his work behind
Deadly Premonition for £1.99/$2.49 - A coffee aficionado drives badly through a sleepy town
Hyper Light Drifter for £7.49/$9.99 – A child in a cape keeps vomiting in unusual places
Abzu for £4.49/$5.99 – A diver goes underwater to smell the flowers
Transistor for £2.24/$2.99 – A talking sword and a mute woman form a special bond when they discover they both enjoy murdering
Darkest Dungeon for £7.59/$9.99 – A group of close friends find meaning where they least expect it, in a dungeon
Darkest Dungeon: Ancestral Edition for £15.63/$21.57 – A group of close friends find meaning where they least expect it, in the eyes of a mosquito-faced butler
Subnautica for £7.49/$9.99 – An aquatic habitat becomes unstable when its manager insists that “yes you really can smell underwater”
Just Cause 3 for £7.49/$12.49 – A Latin American parachutist loves his country so much that he sets about destroying it piece by piece
E3 background check
Games that will soon be seeing sequels, successors, expansions or other stuff shown off at the recent expo
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for £3.19/$3.99 – A ranger whose family is killed by orcs rediscovers love when he meets 12,000 other orcs
Wolfenstein: The New Order for £7.49/$9.99 – A comatose soldier wakes up in a panic, but is quickly reassured by a nearby doctor, who tells him everything is alt right
This War of Mine for £2.99/$3.99 – A group of housemates argue over whose turn it is to go to the shops
State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition for £7.58/$9.89 – A group of housemates argue over whose turn it is to be eaten alive
XCOM 2 for £11.54/$19.79 – A group of housemates argue over whose turn it is to liberate humankind from a despotic extraterrestrial regime
Metro Redux Bundle for £6.24/$7.49 – A Russian commuter is shocked to discover mutants in his train carriage
Why do you have to put everything into a box?
Dishonored 2 for £14.99/$19.99 - A dissatisfied empress with daddy issues neglects her duties and becomes a pest exterminator
Civilization VI for £29.99/$35.99 – Caesar distracts from his warring ways by throwing loaves to the people, but Ghandi demands naan violence
Stellaris for £17.49/$19.99 – A race of multicultural turtles take in a vicious monster and learn something about love along the way, then they kill it with lasers
Grand Theft Auto V for £19.99/$29.99 – Three misfits try to modify their world for the better, but are impeded by overzealous men in suits
The Witcher III: Game of the Year Edition for £17.49/$24.99 – A geriatric hunter goes on one last shagging cruise but is disappointed to find himself shipwrecked in Northern Ireland
Dying Light: The Following Enhanced Edition for £15.99/$23.99 – Under siege by an endless swarm of zombies, the last surviving humans decide to jump from a rooftop
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition for £9.99/$9.99 – Honestly no idea what this is about
The Long Dark for £10.79/$13.99 – A pack of noble wolves become annoyed when a nearby human starts complaining about the weather
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen for £9.59/$11.99 – In a world of demons and monsters, a hero will emerge through a rift in time… Xx_dragonDaddy_xX has arrived
Blood Bowl II for £8.15/$10.19 - Two teams of orcs vie for the affection of a beautiful ball but soon discover that real beauty lay in decapitating your opponents all along
Steam Sale - Personal recommendations
Brendy already recommended some of these but I'm going to stick my oar in ANYWAY.
Abzu for £4.49/$5.99 - It's ABZUlutely beautiful. When playing for review there were elements which made me less keen BUT it's visually stunning and I've warmed to it over time, drifting back for a few extra playthroughs and finding more to delight in. At less than a fiver it flips from tempting to irresistible.
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition for £7.49/$9.99 - I played the first release rather than the definitive edition so I'm considering picking this up to revisit the original as well as touring the new sections. I missed the window to upgrade for cheap from the original y'see so this might be my way in.
Morphopolis for £0.39/$0.49 - I love Morphopolis so much. It's a puzzle adventure – vaguely hidden objecty but not in the usual sense of watering cans and telephones smashed together to form a scene. It's actually a beautiful insect-laden gardenscape where you go on a tiny journey of metamorphosis. I would wallpaper my house with this game if I could.
I will note, because it came up when I wrote about the game before, that my name is in the credits. There isn't actually a conflict of interests there. I bought the game when it was in alpha because it looked interesting and everyone who did that had their name added to the credits as a "thanks for taking an interest while we were still in progress" gesture. I had no idea until the previous article provoked the comment.
Complete Figure Drawing Course HD for £25.49/$42.49 - Okay, so this is a bit of an odd one. That's partly because it's an online streaming video series rather than a game, but also because I'm not sure I recommend the full series yet but I've started watching the free videos and will use those as an indicator of whether I want the full thing. The idea is that over 77 hours and 225 lessons you will learn how to draw a human figure from your mind rather than requiring a life model. There are more than a dozen free videos to watch and they seem to cover off proportions and the human skull so I'd say if you're interested in anatomical drawing start streaming those and see how you get on. Not sure why the series is so much cheaper in the UK than the US.
Misc. Hidden Object Adventures - I find that the Steam Sales are really useful for adding to my collection of hidden object adventure. This way I can scoop up a few without breaking my budget and give myself little hidden object rewards over the next few months. There's a 4-in-1 bundle with Stray Souls: A Dollhouse Story, House of 1,000 Doors: The Palm of Zoroaster, Dark Strokes: Sins of the Fathers and Eternal Journey: New Atlantis for £2.29/$3.27 – I think I snaffle that one up. The Nightmares From The Deep Bundle is also 75% off so £5.19 (I've played those elsewhere so won't be picking that up myself). I'll also be getting Empress of the Deep 2: Song of the Blue Whale for £0.99/$1.24 – that's less than an iced lolly. And Abyss: Wraiths of Eden is worth a punt at £2.09/$2.99 - it's like BioShock but good because there are no injections.
Summer Sale Puzzles Bundle for £7.87/$10.74 - I own most of these so I can vouch for the quality of the bundle! It's a really varied puzzle selection box with a lot of aesthetic pleasure folded in with the puzzling. There's endearing point and clickery with Machinarium and Samorost 2, construction challenges in World of Goo, atmospheric object manipulation in The Room and spatial logic in Sokobond, to name but a few. [Also eight of the game's from this bundle are on our best puzzle games list. -Ed]
Endless Legend for £5.74/$7.49 - Amplitude have moved on from their 2014 strategy masterpiece now, with the release of Endless Space 2 earlier this year. It's still well worth your time though, and far more than the few quid they're asking for it in the sale. Fully expanded (Endless Legend Collection) and with three years of patching behind it, Legend is a richer and more balanced game than its sci-fi sibling and has a similarly glorious diversity of factions. Top 4Xing. There's also a Grandmaster Collection which throws in the nifty, weird tower defense/roguelike hybrid Dungeon of the Endless, and the original Endless Space.
SOMA for £6.89/$8.99 - Fricitonal's post-Amnesia spook 'em up is more sinister sci-fi than straight-up horror, and I maintain that it'd be a better game if it ditched some of the monster chases and stealth sections (there's a mod for that). Story is where it's at and SOMA does good story. I'm far from the game's biggest fan but just about everyone I know likes it a lot more than I do, enough so that I've been convinced to revisit it at some point. Even a doubter like me will admit there's a lot to admire in the underwater environments and out-of-body horror.
Left 4 Dead 2 for £1.49/$1.99 - It seems extremely unlikely that anyone who wants to play a cooperative zombie basher hasn't already bought Left 4 Dead 2. But it's one of my favourite games in the world and it's £1.49. You could get your money's worth even if you never played with another living person.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 for £3.74/$4.99 - I love it when truck simulators go on sale because I can say, "hey, please try the trucking game even if you're still not sure we're sincere about loving them as much as we do because it'll cost you less than a service station sandwich right now". And I have no doubt that you'll find a sincere love for the roads and lonely petrol stations, just as I have.
Broforce for £2.99/$3.74 - The smartest stupid game I've played in a long time. It's Metal Slug with destructible everything and it's absolutely splendid.
Door Kickers for £2.24/$2.99 - Top-down tactical infiltration and action in the SWAT spin-off I'd always wanted but thought I'd never get. It's not an official SWAT spin-off, but it's the best real world tactical sim I've played in a long time. And for just over two quid you get access to more user-created levels than you could shake a nightstick at.
Fran Bow for £4.39/$5.99 - I started playing Fran Bow because it looked like a gory, creepy adventure the likes of which often entertain me for twenty minutes, before running out of ideas rather quickly. There's only so much edgy splatter patter I can take. Fran Bow is surprising right up until the closing minutes though. What begins as grim becomes Grimm and then fantastically surreal, and eventually just plain fantastic. It's lovely and touching and clever, behind all that gore.
Brigador: Up-Armored Edition for £9.79/12,59€/$13.99 - Mech pilot mishears "save the city" as "raze the city".
Deadly Premonition for £1.99/2,49€/$2.49 - Punk joins FBI to rough up tree-huggers.
Devil Daggers for £1.99/2,49€/$2.49 - Networking opportunity goes awry as swarm of heads attempt to shake hand.
Else Heart.Break() for £9.49/11,49€/$12.49 - Door-to-door salesman misfocuses on "door" part of job title, neglecting "salesman" aspect as he obsessively hacks all doors.
Life Is Strange for £3.99/4,99€/$4.99 - Inclement weather disrupts gal pal sleepover plans.
Mountain for £0.49/0,49€/$0.49 - Flytipping deemed actually quite delightful.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth Complete Bundle for £15.52/21,57€/$21.57 - Child learns that crying does get you somewhere, wishes he hadn't.
Viscera Cleanup Detail for £6.69/8,70€/$8.70 - It's all fun and games after someone loses an eye.
Void And Meddler for £0.69/0,99€/$0.99 - Existential posturing not all it's cracked up to be, punk decides, but cool enough to keep doing.
The Steam summer sale ends Wednesday July 5, so you've got time to mull it over. We may add more to this list in time