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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Steam Summer Sale! Mike's Picks

It's that time of year where the days are longer than the nights and the interminable rain intermingles with the blisteringly hot Sun (at least if you live in Atlanta right now). The grass is growing out of control, grills are being fired up, and no one knows where all the damn mosquitoes are coming from. That can only mean one thing - it's time for Steam's Summer Sale!

Okay, none of this stuff is actually related, but still this exciting time of year is upon us again! I suggest taking advantage of it now, as who knows when it will happen again? (December is when it will happen again, they do it about every 6 months)

For the uninitiated, the seasonal sales on Steam are a period of two weeks where a large swathe of their catalog is deeply discounted (33~66% typically, with 50% being the average) and with rotating daily and 8 hour deals with much heavier discounts (50~75%). There is also a daily vote for one out of three items (sets picked by Valve) to be a rolling daily deal; whichever is picked is discounted at its highest level for the next 24 hours before the new game is picked.

There are simply a ton of games on Steam and there is no one summary page as so much stuff is on sale. With that in mind, and the fact that I haven't been able to make myself write up and recommend as many games as I would like, I thought I would do some quick recommendations given the time-sensitivity of the sale. Two weeks goes a lot faster than you'd think!

Note, I will skew towards smaller games that you may not have heard of but that I personally recommend. A lot of these games are normally only $5-20 so at 75% off you can get a stupid amount of gaming for a very wallet-friendly price.

Daily Deals

At the time of writing, just under 17 hours remain on these Daily Deals, and while they will still be on sale, now is the time to strike. Some of these may come up again to be voted on or as an 8 hour deal later in the sale, but there's no guarantee. This may or may not be directly related to the number of games I own (let's not discuss that, eh? *Ahem*)

Bioshock Infinite

If you have read my review, you'll know I simply adore this game, and it's on sale for $29.99 right now, which is pretty crazy. If you have the PC to run it, I definitely recommend picking it up. It's an excellent FPS with one of the smartest stories to be attempted in gaming.


Another game I have an article up about, Antichamber is a great mind boggler, a game that takes advantage of the first person perspective to really exploit the joy of discovery while really showing what can only be pulled off in a game. At $6.79, it's an absolute steal.

Endless Space

What Civilization did for the Civilization genre, Endless Space did for the 4X genre, with depth and challenging AI that is facilitated through a wonderfully designed, clean interface that surfaces information in a way that it's as easy to learn as a game in this genre will ever be. For those not familiar with 4X style games, they are typically turn-based strategy games where you lead a civilization through becoming a vast galactic power, exploring other systems, colonizing them, and meeting (and blowing up) your neighbors on your path to ascendancy.

I've lost just as many nights to Endless Space as I have to Civilization 5, and that's really saying something. Perhaps something I don't want to think about. $10.19 is a fantastic price, and the Gold edition is only about a dollar more and includes the just released expansion. And I mean JUST released, as in two weeks ago. Honestly I'm a little bitter because the xpac by itself is only 10% so I have to pony up $8 just for it. Thus we demonstrate why waiting for the Steam sale is a great idea!

Hotline Miami

A warning up front that this game is extremely graphic. It really has to be seen to be understood, so I will direct you to the excellent Giant Bomb Quick Look that is as funny as it is NSFW (also one of my favorite Ryan Davis videos - RIP). $2.49 means unless you can't handle the violence just go buy this game now. Just be prepared for the soundtrack to invade your brain and never leave.

Other Games on Sale

These games are currently on sale, but may later be discounted more deeply. If you want to wait to see if this happens, you can make a Steam account if you don't already have one and add it to your wishlist and Valve will e-mail you if it goes on a deeper discount.


A great puzzle platformer game where the entire world is in darkness, you have to carry sources of light to make it through the level. The rub is that if something isn't lit, it literally doesn't exist, so a lot of the puzzle is thinking outside of the box to leave half-walls that you can jump over, for example. $3.39 is a simply fantastic price for this game.

FTL: Faster Than Light

A "rogue-like" game that took over the gaming world when it came out a little less than a year ago, this game is what would happen if you controlled the Enterprise fleeing from a hostile empire. Full play-throughs are about an hour to an hour and a half if you make it to the end, which is honestly very challenging in the best way. If this game appeals to you, you will get a lot of play time for $4.99.


The easiest way to describe this is a 2D Portal, but instead of just one portal, there are 4 different types, including ones that change your size or the room's orientation (rotating it 90 degrees), and even a time-travel version. The game can get very challenging, but I found it thoroughly engaging, especially if you liked Portal. Currently on sale for $2.49.

Super House of Dead Ninjas

Another rogue-like, this time a very fast-paced platformer. I really love this game, and $2.37 for it is just nuts. It was also recently patched to add more rooms and Steam Workshop support. Adult Swim games have made some very good impressions on me for what they've been choosing to publish recently.

The Swapper

A puzzle platformer, this game excels both because it has great mechanics and because the atmosphere and story it tells are just great. The mechanic is that you have a ray that allows you to clone yourself. You can clone yourself 4 times and all of these clones will copy your movements exactly. You have another ray that allows you to move your consciousness in to any of the clones you can see. Any of the clones can die and you'll be okay, unless it's the one with your soul. A great experience for $11.24 which has only been out a month or so.

That's all for now!

There are a ton more games to discover, and feel free to add me on Steam if you feel so inclined! My username is DagonHydra and I hope to see you in Valve's money machine.
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