As you are most likely aware, there’s currently a Steam Sale on with huge discounts across hundreds of PC games. It is there, hovering, existing. Vibrating. Humming in your ear like wallet-sapping static. What should you pick up? I asked everyone in our office to provide some recommendations. Here’s what we all came up with.
Mark Serrels, Kotaku Editor
I’m guessing that 80 per cent of you have already played Super Meat Boy. But that 20 per cent. Damn, you need to get on this. $US1.49. Christ, you couldn’t even buy a coffee for that in Sydney’s CBD. And Super Meat Boy is one of my favourite video games ever.
(Also: Get Dark Souls and Hotline Miami and FTL.)
Chris Jager, Lifehacker Editor
Gone Home is what PT would be like if all the demonic stuff was replaced with teen angst – which is realer and therefore scarier. It’s basically an indoor scavenger hunt where the “treasure” is information about your missing sister’s budding lesbian romance. As the game progresses, you gradually learn more about the relationship she has been hiding from you and your parents, culminating in a bittersweet revelation about her disappearance.
What could have been a slight and yawn-inducing puzzle game is lifted by the exceptional voice work, foreboding yet beautiful atmosphere and the compelling characterisation of Sam. Depending on how you play, the game can take anywhere between four hours and sixty seconds to complete — but exploring every nook and cranny is definitely recommended. If you feel like playing something with a more relaxed, realistic atmosphere, Gone Home is a pretty great place to start. [Note: If you’re a PlayStation Plus member, the same is currently free to play on PS4.]
Campbell Simpson, Gizmodo Editor
If you haven’t played any of the Tomb Raider games, you’ve missed out in a really important point of evolution in PC gaming. There are a lot of game series out there that people say are the best ever, and I’m not pretending that any one Tomb Raider game is GOAT, but they’re all pretty solid and to play them through in order you get to witness a franchise really change. Think of it like gaming archaeology. The original Tomb Raider was a hugely influential adventure game and one of the best platformers of its time, and each title in the series — yep, even Chronicles — added something new. And the 2013 reboot is just incredible. You owe it to yourself to play these if you haven’t already.
…With that said, I’m using the Steam sale to buy Rise Of The Tomb Raider, because I haven’t played it yet.
Alex Walker, Kotaku Journalist
I have not played a single hour of Stardew Valley, and most likely never will. If I wanted to live on a farm, I’d go back to my parents and cart scraps to the goats across the road.
My partner, however, has sat on my couch and played Stardew Valley for around 120 hours. The game came out in March. Until a bargain for South Park: The Stick Of Truth came up, it was literally the main thing she played. (Speaking of which, everyone should also buy The Stick of Truth while it’s on special.)
Put simply, Stardew Valley is a better Harvest Moon. That’s a JRPG that was first released on the SNES, if you’re unaware, and it’s all about running your own farm. And that’s what my partner does.
She wakes up. Lets the ducks out. Pats the chooks. Puts grass down. Checks her sprinklers. Walks into the greenhouse. Rides her pony into town. Sells blueberry wine to some drunk bloke at the tavern. Goes into a cave and hunts a bunch of bats. Flirts with the purple-haired game developer. Then goes and hits on the emo. Gets married to the emo. Emo goes off for walks alone because he’s depressed. So she hits on the quarterback jock instead. And makes thousands and thousands of dollars selling honey, jam, wine and God knows everything else in the process.
We’ve had a lot of good indie games this year, but Stardew Valley will probably be the biggest one. Or, as my partner puts it:
— Tegan Jones (@MadamPyro) June 25, 2016
Spandas Lui, Lifehacker Journalist
Part dating sim, part puzzle game. Under $5. *Grabs wallet*
Rae Johnston, Gizmodo Journalist
This is one game I’d really love to see in VR. Outlast manages a cool blend of suspense, atmosphere and just the right amount of (mostly unpredictable) jump scares. It’s a true survival horror game – all you can do is run and hide from the terrors that await you in the genuinely disturbing remnants of a giant asylum, inspired by real life events.
Visually, Outlast is beautifully dark, with a perfectly crafted soundtrack and genuinely fun stealth gameplay. I recommending picking it up (especially at under $US5) and playing it in the dark, headphones on, maybe even streaming it – its great fun if you’re a fan of being terrified.
Amanda Yeo, Night Editor
It’s free and the best game you will ever play.
But if you’re hell bent on spending money:
If you somehow missed out on this classic in the days of Windows 98, now’s your chance to catch up. If you didn’t miss out on it, now’s your chance to relive those good ol’ days for only $US2.39, which is around $3 at the current exchange rate.
Build a theme park, attract guests, then delete the exit path, trapping them in a Tenth Circle of Hell of your own making. Trick them onto rollercoasters that launch their carriages off the rails, turning passengers into reluctant astronauts. Watch the citizens of your new country wade through the Sea of Puke for which they have only themselves to blame. Punish them for expressing unhappiness by drowning them in little squares of water you’ve constructed specifically for this purpose. Then build footpaths around the Drowning Pits and force your guests to watch on in horror, before deleting the floor from beneath them and seeing how many you can pick out of the water before they perish. You are their god, and they have no mouths but they must scream.
Or you could just try to build a successful theme park. I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life.