The gaming landscape, now more than ever with the modern proliferation of indie games, has shown that great games can come in all sizes. There are low quality AAA games that cost millions of dollars to make, and there are fantastic games from one-man studios that were crowdfunded, and some not even that.
Further, while all of us wish we had the kind of money in real life as we tend to end up with in our favorite video games, that’s not always the case. And even for those who do, there is no income limit where you are required to stop being careful with how you spend your money.
So, why pay a lot for a bad experience when you can pay a little for a great one?
For someone with a computer, there is a vast, wide sea of Steam games that are both high quality and wallet-friendly. You won’t have to invade someone’s house and break all of their pottery for money to fund these purchases like you might in a Zelda game (you’ll just need to break one pot, two at most). The following games are just a few of those cheap-but-great aforementioned titles on Steam that I, a powerful sorcerer in the school of cheapskates, have personally played. Are they the best of the best possible games that could possibly make this list? That’s open to debate, but I am confident in saying that they’re certainly some of the best — they are games that I can recommend and would like to share with you today.
BEST CHEAP STEAM GAMES (FEBRUARY 2019)
We’re going to start off with the game on this list that I have personally put the most time into. With currently over 100 hours played, SpeedRunners ended up being a lot more of a game for me than I had anticipated going in. Going in, I didn’t expect it to have as long of a run (…) that it did for me, because it is a rather basic, indie-looking game (you know, that kind of look that indie games just tend to have, whether that’s good or bad aside). Most of my time spent playing was in online multiplayer, so you don’t necessarily need friends to enjoy this game either (not that I don’t have friends — I TOTALLY have friends… they just go to a different school). This is also the most expensive game on this list at a current price of $14.99, but don’t worry, they get cheaper from here. Plus, like all the games on this list, it goes on sale fairly often, in case the current price is still too fast and furious for your wallet.
STANDARD PRICE: $14.99
MOST RECENT SALE: $4.49
2. The Mean Greens: Plastic Warfare
In contrast to SpeedRunners, this is the game I have played the least on this list, but it feels important to include because it is overlooked and many would appreciate it if they simply came across it. The Mean Greens: Plastic Warfare is a third-person shooter that takes place in the most chaotic environment of all — a child’s playroom. Players control green army men and the whole setting is reminiscent of if a war broke out in Toy Story. The only thing that it really still seems to need is AI-support, which the developer says is in development.
STANDARD PRICE: $4.99
MOST RECENT SALE: $0.99
3. Bob Was Hungry
Like SpeedRunners, I got more out of this game than I expected. Bob Was Hungry is a challenging platformer that takes inspiration from the classic Super Meat Boy. It’s a great game on its own, and what is especially notable is that it has multiplayer — both local and online, both versus and co-op modes. I played the game in co-op mode with my friend and we enjoyed it so much that we played it to completion. Though versus mode is just as fun, it became clear that we needed to join forces in order to complete the game, because it must be emphasized that Bob Was Hungry is a challenging game — you will die, you will suffer, but if this looks like your kind of pain, you might find it as fantastic a game as we did.
STANDARD PRICE: $9.99
MOST RECENT SALE: $0.99
4. Golf With Your Friends
Golf With Your Friends is one of the easiest, instant recommendations for a quality inexpensive game. Simplistic in nature and with wacky mini-golf courses, this is closer to an arcade golf experience than a golf sim, so it’s very much a party game. The simultaneous turns feature means that games never drag on and go by at an efficient pace. Up to 12 players can be in the same match. The game has also recently added a much clamored for level editor, so you can make your own courses and play ones made by others via Steam Workshop. Lastly, it has to be mentioned that this game has fantastic developers that continually support the game with new content and friendly communication. Simply put, Golf With Your Friends is what Early Access games should be.
STANDARD PRICE: $5.99
MOST RECENT SALE: $3.89
Though as indie as a game gets, Undertale is perhaps the most well-known game on this list. Breaking ground of how popular a game from a one-man studio can get, Toby Fox’s Earthbound-inspired RPG where you don’t have to destroy anyone made waves in the fall of 2015 and has made a name for itself since. It takes more than mere popularity to make this list, though — Undertale is a game that excels in many categories, from gameplay, to music, to writing, creating its own signature charm that not too many games can match. How great it is has been hotly debated since its release — some love it, some just don’t like it at all — and that’s fine. It comes recommended from me, though, due to its humorous writing, its melodic soundtrack, several likable characters, and its unique dodging-focused gameplay, which can get surprisingly challenging. Speaking of, Undertale is one of the most “choices matter” games out there, as your playthrough can differ wildly based on your actions. Some paths are more difficult than others, and by the end of it all this is the game that gave me a taste for challenging gameplay more than any other, and remains the only game that I have played through twice.
STANDARD PRICE: $9.99
MOST RECENT SALE: $3.99
Conclusion & Useful Resources
With each of these games in their own separate genres from each other, they represent a brief glimpse into the kind of enjoyable diversity of games you can find on the cheap. Being inexpensive also often correlates with low production costs, which means that, even with such games sometimes looking great, they may not require a very powerful system to run.
Before you purchase any of these games, you might want to check out Steam Charts to see how active the games are if you are interested in online multiplayer. Other valuable tools for those who wish to spare their wallet from a few financial Hadokens are sites like Is There Any Deal and GG.Deals. On these sites, you can monitor prices on games, including their history, trends, current prices, and also be alerted when a game on your list goes on sale.