One of the best things about Valve's Steam service is the absolute cornucopia of quality games at low, low prices. People have immense backlogs from buying games that were discounted during one of the many Steam sales. What some don't realize is that there are many games can be had for cheap even when there isn't a Steam sale going on.
Down below are ten of the best Steam games under $10, but why listen to me when you can have feedback from your peers? I've included notable Steam tags and reviews for every game on the list.
Now there are a few stipulations:
- The games had to be under $10 without a discount.
- I tried to stay within the last five years, as many games are cheap because they've been out forever. So games are on the edge.
- There are no Steam Early Access games. Sorry, Speedrunners.
Notable Tags: Hards as Nails, Tactical Hexagons, Hexagonal Awareness
This is trippy, minimalist puzzle experience from the mind of Terry Cavanagh. Navigate your way past the deadly hexagons to freedom. Oh wait, there is no freedom, only endless hexagonal madness. It's like navigating an endless hell maze. Enjoy.
Notable Tags: Boss Battle, Random World, Kid Friendly
The easiest way to categorize Terraria is to call it Minecraft with the added dimension, but there's a larger focus on combat here. Sure there's a great deal of exploration in both games, but if you can't fight in Terraria, you'll eventually run into a brick wall. Either way, like Minecraft, Terraria is an endless addiction. You'll get far, but you'll never be truly done.
Notable Tags: Phil Fish, Relaxing, Hard Puzzles
FEZ is the kind of game where you have to pull out a piece of paper and draw some diagrams. It's a great puzzle-platformer with an excellent visual-hook: the 3D world is always presented in 2D and you rotate your perspective to see around structures. The game is full of hidden messages and cryptic secrets; you'll be mining new stuff in FEZ for a long, long time.
Notable Tags: Ultraviolence, Surreal, 80s
Faster, player! Kill, kill! Hotline Miami drops you into a psychedelic throwback to the 80s, where a disembodied voice calls you on the phone and tells you to go kill people. Part action game, part puzzle, Hotline Miami has you quickly breaching rooms to murder all the occupants inside. You'll rush in, you'll kill, you'll die, and then you'll do it again. Hotline Miami makes you feel a bit wrong, but it's tons of fun.
Notable Tags: Orcs, Action Tower Defence, Magic
Somewhere in-between third-person action game and top-down Tower Defense is Orcs Must Die. You're a lone War Mage trying to protect a series of fortresses against a growing orc army. Shoot them, stab them, burn them, trap them… just keep them away from your fortress core. The only problem with Orcs Must Die is it's single-player only, something Robot Entertainment fixed with the game's sequel.
Notable Tags: Jorji Costava, Empathy, Depressing
Papers, Please seems like the kind of experience that most players are trying to escape. You're an immigration inspector on the border of the great Arstotzka. It's up to you to decide who gets into your country. As you play, the game starts to become something more, forcing you to choose between your own comfort and the lives of the people looking to get into your country. Papers, Please is a game that really makes you think about empathy, something we all should probably have a bit more of.
Notable Tags: Procedural Death Labyrinth, Micromanagement, Space
In this "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" you have to get your crew from one end of the galaxy to the other. Like a good roguelike, every run is different. Maybe you'll die from a pirate attack in a gas cloud. Perhaps the cause of death is a rampant fire in your ship. Maybe you just lost your lone engineer and there's no one left to repair things. FTL will give you a million ways to die.
Notable Tags: Dive, Kick, Divekicks
If you took a fighting game and stripped out everything but the bare, competitive minimum, you'd be left with Divekick. There's only two buttons: Dive and Kick. The surprising part is how much strategy there still is in a competitive fighting game with only two buttons. The entire game is metagame. If you're a fighting game enthusiast, it's worth a try.
Notable Tags: Malaria Simulator, Africa, That Game Idle Thumbs Love
Far Cry 2 was a vast improvement on the original game, giving players a war-torn section of Africa to explore. The best part of Far Cry 2 is the freedom, you have a ton of ways to deal with your enemies who actually react to you like the sociopathic murder machine you are! Tons of weapons, great AI, destructible environment, and some of the best damn fire in a videogame.
Notable Tags: Doujin, Masterpiece, Metroidvania
Cave Story+ is wonderful indie Metroidvania game back when they weren't being airdropped into Steam by the dozens. Independent designer Daisuke Amaya created this labor of love on his own and his final product is a work of art. Big levels to explore, tight action, and a ton of heart come together to make one of the best games you can pick up on Steam.