Between now and Sunday, March 29th, Steam is putting almost every single indie game in its sizable collection on sale.
There is, in other words, no longer any excuse for you to have not played Audiosurf or World of Goo. Though a sizable amount of the games on sale probably aren’t worth your trouble, some real modern indie classics are available for up to 33% off.
If you’ve got $60 lying around, your options are:
– Buy a single 360 or PS3 game of variable quality.
– Buy six or seven kickass indie games like Darwinia or Aquaria that will last you at least five times as long and have the potential to be at least twice as interesting.
The choice is yours, ultimately.
Still, that’s not going to stop me from highlighting the top ten best games from the sale after the jump in a biased attempt to convince you to choose the latter.
World of Goo: $13.39
This is a very, very good game and you should play it. Next to Braid and Noitu Love 2, it’s one of the best indie games of 2008. Period.
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble: $6.69
I’ve only played the demo, but DHSGT has won a buttload of awards and is almost infuriatingly creative. A mix of minigames, a tabletop board game, and a typical RPG, Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble almost defies explanation, but damn near every review I’ve read of it seems to be positive. I’m definitely buying this one for myself.
Audiosurf turns any MP3 you give it into an action-puzzle game. It takes the pacing and tempo of the song and makes a rollercoaster-style track out of it; it takes the beats and turns them into different colored blocks which you must collect and organize to create combos and score points. It’s almost endlessly replayable given how differently every song plays from every other song, and is honestly worth way, way more than seven bucks.
If you’re into Metroidvanias, then welcome to heaven. Aquaria is a long, long game with a big, big world, winner of the first Independent Games Festival grand prize, and the subject of Destructoid’s very first Indie Nation article. I kind of hate Metroidvanias so I began to resent the game around the halfway point, but if you’re a fan of nonlinear platformer exploration, Aquaria is undoubtedly for you.
Mr. Robot: $6.69
A neo-retro genre mashup of RPG, action, puzzle, and adventure game, Mr. Robot was well-loved by Destructoid when it first came out, and things presumably haven’t changed much since then (apart from the fact that only one of the guys who contributed to that review still works here).
From the guys who made Darwinia, another game on this list that you should have played already, DEFCON is a frightening minimalist strategy game about nuclear warfare. Your goal is to nuke your enemies while sustaining minimum losses to your own country’s population. I’m effectively useless at strategy games so I can’t speak to the game’s challenge or depth, but I trust Introversion Software and the game certainly accrued some high marks since its original release.
Trials 2 is basically just a physics game about manuevering your realistically-handling bike over relatively unspectacular obstacles. Everything in the game physically function more or less as it would in the real world, requiring more thought and care of the player than something like Boom Blox. It can be pretty frustrating, but also pretty entertaining once you get the hang of how to work the bike.
No matter what your tastes, Darwinia has something to offer you. You a fan of strategy? Darwinia has that. Action? The game’s combat is all realtime and basically works like a simplified shooter. Retro games? Darwinia‘s entire visual style is ripped straight from the 80’s only made more sexy and 3D and bloom-y. Multiwinia is a multiplayer-oriented sequel/addition to the first game. Given the incredible price and the creativity that went into both games, this is as close to a “must buy” recommendation as you’ll find in this list.
Combine Lemmings with The Incredible Machine with something that is neither of those two games, and you’ve got Eets — a charmingly difficult puzzle game with a cute aesthetic and an enjoyable aesthetic. It’s also got a pretty active community that creates a lot of great levels, so this PC version is infinately preferable to the Xbox Live Arcade one.
Xeno Clash: $14.99
The 50% sale is over, but Steam’s new sale still knocks a full five bucks off Xeno Clash‘s asking price. I dunno for sure if it’ll be worth that much, but given its incredibly weird visuals and focus on the generally underrated genre of first-person melee combat, it may be worth the gamble.
So, yeah. One copy of Matt Hazard or a half-dozen really awesome games.