Benjamin Franklin once wrote to Jean Baptiste Leroy “[…] but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and the Steam summer sale”.
In honour of this year biggest gaming event I come here to present you the very best list around the gaming world. Not only the very best my dearest reader, oh no. If I hadn’t already used up my yearly stock of the word “ultimate” I would go as far as calling it the Ultimate Guide to Steam Summer Sales. Well, duck it. Let’s go with that. They are not in order of preference.
50 years (1,24€) – A fast-paced strategy game that lasts for a couple of minutes in which you must survive for 50 years. It plays a lot like an auto-chess game does. You build units and they battle it out on the field. There are unique nations with unique perks, different paths and abilities and a lot of replayability.
Arma 3 (9,51€)– The universal WarSim and Military Sandbox. Packing extremely realistic physics, sprawling maps and a very dedicated modding community. With literally thousands of weapons and vehicles, an easy to learn real-time editor that allows you to modify your missions on the fly, Arma 3 stands as the Go-To-Shooter if you’re craving a life-like experience of modern combat.
Banner Saga (4,99€) – One of the original quickstarter darlings, The Banner Saga series leads the player into a harsh, nordic inspired world. A three part epic saga where conversation plays the same level of importance as the tactical turn-based combat that takes place on a grid. The game was received to massive critical aclaim and still holds up as a gorgeous looking, emotionally heavy experience.
Bastion (3,12€)– Even after 8 years of existence, Bastion is still on my top 3 recomendations for everyone trying to pick up on videogames. A RPG with an amazing hand-painted colourful art-style. After the Camality devastated the World, the Kid is in search of answers. Coupled with an excellent and dynamic narrator that makes every fight sound dangerous and high-stakes. A diverse array of weapons gives you the tools and enemies force you to employ different strategies that. A game that will challenge the player every step of this epic journey.
Bit Blaster XL (0,39€)– An 80’s trowback to a simpler time when games mostly consist of a spaceship blowing up aliens in an arena. Coffees are more expensive.
Blitzkrieg Anthology: Complete Collection (10,96€) – There’s just something fascinating about the honest brutality in which the Blitzkrieg franchise depicts warfare. Tanks and arty reign supreme, infantry is just meat for the grinder. 1 and 2 are still great trowback experiences. Blitzkrieg 3 is not that great but it ain’t a bad game either. While games such as CoH and MoW digged their foxhole with unique gameplay and a singular approach to tactical combat, playing Blitz 3 feels dated and simple in comparrison.
Bomber Crew (5,09€)– If you find stressing yourself over time and time again until exaustion then managing a Bomber Crew is for you. Upgrade your plane, equip your mates, give them targets, altitude settings, bomb designations, use extinguishers, change stations, man the guns, drop the bombs, etc. All of this while your plane is on fire, wings are falling appart, crewmates are dying and you just lost your pilot so hope that your gunner can do a good landing. All good fun. Despite the cartoonish graphics this is a hard one.
Brothers a Tale of Two Sons (2,99€) – An inspiring tale of two kids that lost their mother to the sea and the epic adventure for the water of the Tree of Life, an elixir essential to save their sick-striken father. Each thumbstick controls a brother and both must work together to overcome different obstacles and enemies. One of the best indie games of all time. A relaxing and emotional experience, filled with grieve and hope.
Brothers in Arms Hells Highway (2,49 €)– The last piece in the B.i.A series, a visual treat when it came out all the way back to 2008 and it remains beautiful to this day. Play through the Market Garden misadventures of the 101st Airborne Division. A FPS that turns third person when in cover makes for some cinematic, movie-like pew-pew akin to Saving Private Ryan. Coordinate your fire teams to surpress your enemies and flank them for ultimate victory. Interesting character development and set pieces carries the campaign. For 2,49 it’s an excellent deal.
Call of Juarez Bound in Blood (2,49€) – The first videogame to do Western FPS right. Gunsling your way through the old west in this brotherly epic. The guns have the umpf and playing it in 4K right now feels just right.
Chroma Squad (6,24€) – Do you love Power Rangers? Does the idea of playing a tactical turn-based RPG with Power Rangers gets you in the mood? Well, go get Chroma Squad.
Cities Skylines (6,99€)– If any city builder has the claim to be the spiritual sucessor to Sim City 4 it’s this one. Bringing the formula back to its roots Skylines keeps it simple. Build roads, zone areas by paiting and keep plopping down utility buildings. Paradox has steadily been adding content for years and you won’t find a better game in this genre. Tho the base game seems very bare when you start looking at all the expansion packs. You know, Paradox being Paradox.
Crazy Taxi 1,19€ – It’s Crazy Taxi, if you don’t know what it is let me ask you: Are you crazy?
Cultist Simulator (13,39€) – I’m the ultimate sucker for H.P. Lovecraft so the idea that I could “Seize forbidden treasures. Summon alien gods. Feed on your disciples” hooked me up immediatly. Cultist Simulator is a verbe/card based game. You draw cards, you put them into verbs (which are basically actions) and then you get something in result. The gameplay envolves a lot of trial and error and perish you a lot will. Along the way the player will unravel lost books and discover hidden secrets, murder and plot their way to whatever they wish to achieve. A game that requires reading, imagination and a real enjoyment of Lovecraftian lore.
Darkest Dungeon (6,98€) – The pioneer of the PTSD-RPG genre, Early Access sweatheart and one of the best RPGs ever made, Darkest Dungeon will take you exploring the darkest corners of the deepest caves. Sending other human beings deeper and deeper into the wells of madness as the venture forth, hopeless and scared against the ancient creatures of aeons past. All while trying to unravel what happened that lead your family estate into ruin. The striking ashestetic, the unusal characther classes, the punishing combat, the management aspect and the idea that your heroes are nothing more than frail-minded humans that can, in one second. deliver a critical strike that wins the day and, in the next dungeon run they can encounter a short near-death experience that will send them down into an unsavoury mental breakdown. This focus on the mental health of your characters and the real impact it has on gameplay help carry on the idea that madness and death play along, hand in hand, in the Darkest of Dungeons.
Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game (2,49€)– A former mod turned into an official game, the Darkest Hour takes the HoI 2 formula to world war 1. If you want a trip back to one of the most memorable strategy mods ever made it hardly gets cheaper.
Democracy 3 (9,19€) – While carrying an efty price for a game with almost 6 years of age Democracy 3 stands as one of the most intricate political simulators you can find. Every policy change will lead to some kind of outcome and its up to you, as prime-minister or president to lead your country.
Devil Daggers (1,99€) – “I don’t like it” said my girlfriend just by looking at its heavy metal inspired aesthetic and fast-moving, side strafing gameplay. Devil Daggers gives you 2 fire modes and one level, now survive for as long as you can.
Dishonored (3,29€)– The best first-person stealth game ever made. You’re Corvo Attano, the protagonist turned assassin after getting framed for the murder of the Empress. Explore a semi-open Dunwall, a steampunky, plague ridden, victorian inspired whaling city in search for revenge with the help of a special friend.
Door Kickers (2,84€) – Not your typical street gangster simulator, no. Unlike what the game might suggest kicking doors is really not all that common. What is tho, is leading a team of SWAT officers through various scenarios from a top down perspective in what I can only describe as the planning phase for the original Rainbow Six games. Very similar to Frozen Synapse.
Downwell 1,49€ – Just look at the trailer.
Dungeons 3 (11,24€ )– The most charming game of 2018. I wrote this about it: “Dungeons 3 stands out as being a colourful two layered game by mixing the underground facet of light-dungeon management and adding up a cover of typical RTS that has you controlling powerful evil minions to defeated the disgusting forces of evil. All this action is filled by the buttery voice of the game’s narrator that made Stanley’s Parable the gem that is today, Kevan Brighting”.
EuroTruck Simulator 2 (4,99€ )– The 2012 cult classic from SCS Software arrived as a meme and stayed in gamers hearts forever for being one of the most chill-inducing games ever made. Drive your truck around Europe, make money, build a company. All at your own pace. Who would knew driving extremely large chunks of machinery could be so serene.
Field of Glory II (13,99€) – A niche game for a niche audience. FoG is a fantastic turn-based tactical ancient and medieval battle generator. Nearly 100 different units, thousands of army lists and an inate hability to recreate nearly 3000 years of warfare, FoG sits atop the turn-based Olympus.
FTL (2,49€) – Another Kickstarter success story, FTL is a rogue-like experience that puts the players in the shoes of a ship captain and tasks you with managing its various crew members and modules, choose weapon targets, manage power distribution, fend off boarding parties, keep fires under control and, above anything else- avoid dying at all costs.
Game Dev Tycoon 4,99 €– A simplistic but lovely experience in game development management that begins in the 80’s and lasts until today.
Guild of Dungeoneering 4,94€ -Manage a guild of idiots across various adventures. Lure your chumps across a myriad of dungeons with gold, level up adorable classes (Cat Burglar, anyone?), fight cute enemies, build a guild and let the bodies of those morons pile up in your graveyard.
Gunpoint 2,38€ – In a league of its own, my words can’t make any justice to a game as good as Gunpoint. Watch the trailer.
Half Life 2 (0,81€) – It is Half Life 2.
Hard West (1,99€) – It’s X-COM with cowboys. You don’t need a lot more. For 2 euros this is a game jam pack with content, campaigns, missions, characters, weapons and skills.
Hotline Miami 1 and 2 (5,86€ both) – The top down one-shot one kill (for both you and the AI) that dragged everyone back to the late 80’s. A vicious neon-lit, drug fueled murderous romp against the criminal underworld.
Into the Breach (7,49€)– TRAILER! One of the greatest turn-based games ever mad.
Invisible, Inc. (4,99€) – X-COM but with spies (see a patern?). Instead of breaking in, shotgun in hand doing some alien-mopping, Invisible Inc. forces more careful consideration before resorting to extreme levels of violente. Go in unoticed, leave there unseen.
Jalopy (3,29€) – Driving down the road and earing strange noises in our modern chariots is the most terrying horror story of our contemporary life, in Jalopy it actually is quite relaxing, a sign that a new an adventure is ahead. Jalopy is an alluring and emotional journey across the Eastern bloc during soviet occupation. Care for the incredible Laika 601. I would love to explain everything you can do in with Jalopy but the fun of the game is in figuring it out.
Jet Set Radio (1,19€) – JET SET RADIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Luftrausers (2,24€) – I’ve tried reviewing luftrausers but I cannot find words to describe it. It is an arcade-shooter.. Oh just check out the trailer already.
Mad Max (4,99€) – A truly amazing sandbox experience and the first game that managed to create an interesting desert map. Drive and fight in a rich world permeated with interesting quests and amusing activities. Mad Max is packed to the brim with content and was loved universally by the public when it came out in 2015.
Max Payne 3 (6,99€)– A far-cry from both previous entries, Rockstar took Max away from the noire setting of New York city and shipped to the colourful city of São Paulo, Brazil. The epitome of cinematic-experience gameplay, the only annoying thing about Payne 3 is that it’s trying so much to be a movie that forgets what a videogame should really be all about. It keeps interrupting the action, which is goddamn annoying when the moments of pure adrenaline are excellent.
Men of War (4,99 €)– If you’re reading my words I’m sure you own AT LEAST one of the game in the best WWII RTS series ever made.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (11,99€)– I mean…Metal Gear.
Mirror’s Edge (2,49€)– DICE’s cult classic Mirror’s Edge turned a shit ton of heads when it was announced with the promise of free flowing Parkour and first person unarmed action combat. It did not disappoint. To this day I go back and replay it every once in a while.
Moonlighter (9,99€) – “This is a shop-management game with some dungeon crawler sprinkled on top with a touch of lite-rogue. You play as Will, the world’s most badass clerk: store owner by day, monster buster by night. A game wherein old ladies will buy 7 pair of lenses and crafting materials for God knows what for 800 gold coins, thief’s will shamelessly try to steal your store 3 or 4 times a day and your insomniac and workaholic character will never get a night of sleep and is fine with it.”, I wrote this too.
One Finger Death Punch 2 (3,95€)– Did you ever felt badass while playing a fighting game? What about one in which you only use two buttons? Play as a stickman kung fu master across hundreds of levels, fight with dozens of weapons and enjoy the carnage.
The Operational Art of War IV (16,99€) – The most complete/versatile wargame ever created is a steal at this price.
Plants vs. Zombies: Game of the Year (1,24€) – This accolade hoarder puts sentient plants fending off zombie hordes. Because of course it does.
Portal and Portal 2 (1,22€) – Lol.
Rainbow Six: Siege for 9,99€. After a disastrous launch in 2015, lag swept the servers, hit boxes and hit registers were fucked up, the game was unbalanced and all of that was worsened by accusations that Ubisoft bullshoted everyone at E3 and scrapped away graphical quality for the final launch. Siege encircled itself in a shit-show seldom seen before. Explaining everyone why the word “patch” means “to fix”- Patch after patch, it patched itself into a decent functional state. Eager operatives flooded the game and now, 4 years after it’s initial launch Siege is one of the deepest, most interesting and competitive FPS in the market. Packing a buttload of content supported by yearly passes. For this price you can get a basic version and the cheapest operators are by no means the worse, heck, I mostly play with them, they’re less gimmicky and more reliable.
Receiver (1,99€) – “This is a very simple game, in fact, it has one very straight forward idea. You can operate nearly every single mechanism of a hand gun (the game contains 3 up do this date. A colt, a glock and a revolver). It asks of you nothing more than that, pick up, reload and fire a gun. The trick is that you must do all that with all the complexity and stewardship the real deal comes with.”, and I wrote this too.
Rocket League (9,99€) – Ball+ Cars= Win. Your 12 year old annoying cousin probably raves all the time during family dinners about all the trickshots he did and how he is gold rank. He sucks, I’m platinum.
Rogue Legacy (2,30€) – The best family legacy I will leave when I’m gone is probably going to be my Rogue Legacy save file. Every hero you play is unique and upon dead one of his descendants will take his place in conquering new, randomly generated castles. Each new generation brings with them unique perks, some great, some bad, some hilarious. I loved Rogue Legacy when it came out in 2013 and still love it to this very day.
Ryse: Son of Rome (5,99 €) – Unfairly trashed to the ground when it came out, being labelled a repetive and bland action brawler by critics. Today it stands out as a gorgeous looking cinematic tale of revenge. The combat may be barebones and QTE ridden but it sure as hell is fun and satisfying.
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth (9,99€) – A personal favourite for me. I just love the idea of establishing a new Civ in an unknown water planet filled with alien creatures that pose as much as a treat for me as other humans do. I’m tired of fighting humans in games, more giant, meanacing aliens please.
SimCity 4 Deluxe (4,99€)– The grandfather of Cities: Skyline
Slay the Spire (10,49€) – STS has you going up the Spire fighting (somewhat) randomly placed and unique creatures, picking up relics and cards and creating a deck around what you can scavenge from those encounters. With each new addition to your deck and with unique relic unveiled the way you play that run will change dramatically and no run will ever turn out the same.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition (1,99€)– Here’s another living medal carrier for gaming awards. Sleeping Dogs is the embodiment of every Jackie Chan 80’s and 90’s movie all crammed up into the delicious medium of videogames. A GTA-like free roam, an incredibly detailed Hong Kong, a cop drama story and a preference for kung-fu instead of pistol-fu make Sleeping Dogs a memorable and rather singular experience.
South Partk: The Stick of Truth (5,99€) – Enjoy South Park? And RPGs? Buy it.
Spec Ops: The Line (3,99€) – A run of the mill military cover shooter that takes real aim not at in-game enemies but at the gaming culture for their representation of war. A depressing quest into the madness and chaos, the human cost and the loss of humanity in times of conflict.
Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds Saga (1,74€) – Age of Empires II but it’s Star Wars. That’s all there is to it.
Stronghold Crusader HD (2,99€) – Happy Birthday, Stronghold Crusader! This incredible masterpiece of strategy gaming turns 18 at the end of July! I can’t recommend it enough if you in some way shape or form relish medieval warfare.
Subnautica (14,69€)– I born and raised by the sea. Subnautica strikes a very special note to my heart. Not as a terror/survival game as it was described by most folk. Instead it makes me realize the wonder of this force of nature that’s so dear to me. I still live 10 minutes away from the sea, and I always will.
Sudden Strike 4 (10,49€)– Here’s another one that I wrote about recently:”Last year I made a mistake and said that Sudden Strike 4 was not very good at being a decent videogame. I wish to correct that to: Sudden Strike is semi-decent as an RTS and I very much enjoy it despite the lack of depth”.
Sunless Sea (9,49€) – A narrative experience that mixes a bit of everything I love: An enthralling lore and interesting world, great writing, a compelling rogue-like gameplay cycle, the sea and its lovecraftian horrors from the deep. Play as a ship captain and explore the dark waters of fallen London.
Terraria (4,99€) – It’s Minecraft the RPG in 2D but better.
Tomb Raider (2,99€) – Bringing Lara back from the dead seemed like a dauting and heretic task. I’ve discussed the Tomb Raider reboot more than I care to admit with fans of the original. I can understand their grievances but Crystal Dynamics moving the game from a janky puzzle platformer into an Uncharted-style action flick made Tomb Raider all the more entertaining and up-to-date with modern gaming trends. Lara returns with a revamped, less hollywoody look and with a smart backstory. For 2,99 this is a no brainer.
Total War – Just pick whatever you like…
Wolfeinstein Franchise– Shooting Space Nazis in the Moon. That is all.
I hope this list helps everyone figuring out what games they wish to play this summer! Thanks for passing by and have a wonderful tim.