Hidden Gems on Steam: The Best Games You’ve Never Heard of

Steam’s library consists of over 50,000 games in the United States alone. Here are some of the best ones that fly under the radar!

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Creating a game takes hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of commitment from the development team to make it come to life. For the lucky, their hard work gets rewarded with tons of sales, popularity, and community exposure. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Considering that Steam allows games to be created and uploaded by indie developers which results in thousands of games being archived, many of them do not get the recognition they deserve. Even worse, many Steam users simply go to the store and filter by most popular which gives smaller games little to no chance of even being seen.

Within this list, I hope to shed some light on some of those games who may have received some traction, but not nearly as much as they deserve. Whether they have stunning graphics, creative gameplay mechanics, or are just an overall quality game dictates their place on this list, not the amount of downloads it has received. In total, there are four games on this list all with their own unique quirks that make me consider them great. In no particular order, this list includes:

  • Deceit
  • Gris
  • Gridiron
  • Geometry Dash

Deceit - Free

Deceit Steam game still
As the title suggests, Deceit is all about deceiving your friends. Hunt them down, murder them in the dark, and then act like nothing happened the next day! Image courtesy of deceit.fandom.com

Many of you reading this have probably played Among Us before, or at the very least heard of it. It is a game in which a whole team of players work together to achieve a common goal, except there is a small fraction of the team secretly working against the team to try and stop them. Among Us, however, is not unique in this concept nor was it the first to popularize the genre. Deceit came over a year before Among Us did and there have been numerous clones since then.

Deceit plays just like any other imposter style game in which there are two players who are secretly monsters trying to kill other team members during the darkness of the night. There are many unique quirks that make Deceit stand out from the other games. For example, the monsters must drink blood during the preparation periods in order to transform into the monsters at night. It must be done stealthily, however, as normal team members can see and hear the monster drinking blood and at that point, it is GG for the monsters as they will be voted out/eliminated shortly.

On top of that, non-monsters have a variety of tools at their disposal to counteract the monster’s strength. There are pistols, cameras with flashes, flashlights, shotguns, antidotes, and many more items to help assist the good guys in their fight against the monsters. Perhaps most unique to Deceit, is the ability for monsters to communicate in their own voice channel as well as the human’s channel using different push-to-talk buttons. This allows the monster to quite literally lie to the human’s face and then laugh about it with their monster teammate.

For the more competitive players out there, Deceit even has a ranked mode in which overall contribution gives higher ranking. If you are assigned to be a human, escaping the monsters results in a victory and an increase in ranking. Similarly, spawning as a monster and eliminating all of the humans will give you a nice boost in rank. This changes the dynamic a bit as not only are you playing to have fun, but also to win. This makes lying more difficult, but conversely makes trusting others a higher risk.

The fun part of Deceit is quite literally in its name. Deceiving your friends and convincing them that they are safe, you simply could not be the monster, only to devour them moments later. It is a game full of trickery, high IQ plays, and good old fashioned lies.

Pandora on Steam innocently wrote a review saying,

“Teammate : "Come here and click E on the blood bag"
Me: "I'm innocent, it doesn't work" *clicking E* "see?"
Teammate : * Clicks E and drinks blood in front of me*
Me : Gets bamboozled
Teammate : *Shouts that i just drank blood*
Me: Gets voted out
10/10 would play again”

Click here to get it on Steam.

Gris - $16.99

Gris Steam Game
Gris is a beautiful game full of meaning, life, and vitality. With a perfectly set pace, it is the perfect game for kicking back and enjoying the ride! Image courtesy of pcgamer.com

Platforming games have been around since the inception of video games. From Mario to Crash Bandicoot, it is a staple genre in the gaming world. Modern talent and technology, however, have allowed developers to push this style of game to the next level and there is no better game out there to exemplify that than Gris.

Gris’s gameplay is somewhat unique in the sense that there are unique power-ups to unlock that allow you to progress through the world. The real beauty of the game lies within its stunning visual and audio aspects. The picture above may look like some sort of cover art for the game, or possibly a thumbnail from a cutscene, but that is exactly what the gameplay itself looks like and the visual style they chose. The clean lines, pastel color palette, and elegant animations all tie together perfectly to create a truly ravishing aesthetic.

Development team Novada worked alongside artist Conrad Roset to make Roset’s unique art style come to life. This was especially difficult considering the style. Turning a somewhat abstract style into a platforming game with solid lines necessary for gameplay function had to have been a major challenge. Novada and their team certainly stepped up to the plate, and then managed to hit it out of the park.

The soundtrack made for Gris by Berlinist is just as impressive as the visual flare. The tone the soundtrack creates whilst progressing through the storyline perfectly matches the mood the art gives off. They compound geniusly together to create a game that actually makes you feel something deeper rather than just surface-level emotions. The soundtrack is so beloved, it has even been released on vinyl. It features the same beautiful art style on the record cover as is featured within the game.

Takumashii on Steam eloquently reviews Gris by saying:

“Absolutely stunning. Great visuals, good platforming, incredible atmosphere, and my *god* the sound design. Hats off to the sound designers and composer(s). You accomplished sublime perfection.”

Get your copy of Gris here.

Gridiron - Free

Gridiron game
Ever wanted to play Madden without paying the triple A price? Now you can do just that with this arcade style football game perfect for playing with friends! Image courtesy of whatsonsteam.com

The ease of play of many modern sports games is what helps to make them so popular. I mean, imagine downloading the newest version of Fifa and it being harder to beat than the Dark Souls franchise. Combine the ease of play with an already existing mega-fanbase and you are nearly guaranteed to have a game more marketable and profitable than any other genre could possibly generate.

Gridiron has done just that, created a football game that is generally low-skillcapped to allow for all levels of player to enjoy. The marketing and profit aspect, however, were not on the agenda for 1336 Studios. The game is completely free to play with the only payable aspect being cosmetic skins that do not affect gameplay in any way. I respect this revenue generation style the most, as it allows for new players to try the game without being at a disadvantage to those who have put money into it. On top of that, if someone plays for a while and truly loves the game, they can decide to support the developers through these skins while gaining some sort of aesthetic bonus to thank them. It seems to be the best of both worlds for the developer and players.

In terms of style, Gridiron combines Sci-Fi vibes with a classic arcade style football game to create a fast-paced, visually intriguing game. You can play with up to seven people total, meaning if you have a massive friend group together on Discord everyone can get in on the action. There is even a competitive mode which gives a nice change of pace for those looking to get more serious. To supplement that, there is also a practice mode in which players can train their ability to catch and throw the football (which does take a little getting used to).

Beast on Steam shared a positive review on Gridiron saying that:

“For a beta release the game is amazing. There is no perspective on Football like this game out and while it does have its bugs, it has amazing potential for playing especially with groups of friends. Devs are active, responsive and friendly. Looking forward to more!”

Get your hands on Gridiron here.

Geometry Dash - $3.99

Geometry dash
From your phone to your computer, Geometry Dash has come full circle. One button games may seem boring, but add in a killer soundtrack and vivacious graphics and it is just the opposite! Image courtesy of steampowered.com

Continuing along with the platformer genre from earlier, Geometry Dash brings a slightly higher pace to the table. Many of you may remember Geometry Dash when it was first released and relatively popular in 2013 on mobile devices. It was released on Steam less than a year later and found respectable popularity for a few years. However, the best part of the game was not released until an update in late 2017, meaning many players from the release stage did not get to experience the update.

That update added a user level editor and community level mechanic. This allows players to create custom levels themselves or play ones created by the community. Many other games have added in this feature such as Super Mario Maker or Happy Wheels and it is a major part of their popularity. This is mainly due to the creative communities they have that are able to create absurd levels even the developers could not best. The community levels on Geometry Dash are no different as there are some spectacular designs out there of many different flavors, anywhere from no challenge at all to virtually impossible.

That being said, the base game is still a wonderful experience to play through for those that have not done so. The soundtrack is very fitting to the gameplay and makes each run increasingly intense depending on how far into the level you are. The neon-bright color dynamic also adds to the techno/EDM soundtrack and couples together quite nicely. Although not an absurdly difficult game, Geometry Dash is still difficult enough to give a satisfying feeling once fully completing the main levels.

IS | Naxpain on Steam wrote a review saying:

“Simple mechanics but with really an immersive level of gameplay. GD is as simple as clicking but with great obstacles makes the game harder and harder through each level difficulty. The music is really good and makes the game 10x better. Also, the creator mode and online levels make the game fresh and every day a new challenge.”

Get Geometry Dash on Steam.

gamer playing horizon zero dawn
Steam is full of hidden gems, you just have to know where to look. Hopefully this list has opened up your eyes (and your hard drives) to some well deserving games!

Getting the attention of any Steam user considering the thousands of games in Steam’s library is no easy task for a developer. Especially when considering the massive corporations many have to compete with. This list comprises four Steam games that have not received the recognition they deserve for the effort put into them (especially you Gris). Just because a game was not made by a billion dollar company or had the ability to spend millions on its marketing, does not mean the game is inherently bad. In fact, these games prove just the opposite!

Image courtesy of steampowered.com

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