When browsing Steam, seeing all of the amazing games with hefty price tags can be quite disappointing. Especially if you happen to be on a tight budget. Thankfully, there are plenty of games out there that are just as high in quality, community, and player satisfaction as the most expensive titles, for a fraction of the cost. Even more so if Steam happens to be running a sale, which they often do once during the winter and once during the summer with some smaller sales occurring in-between. This can be a great time to pick up quality games at a major discount. Even if there is not a sale happening at the time, there are plenty of games out there worth their small price tag to give you hours of meaningful play time. In this list, we have compiled three of the best Steam games available for less than ten dollars. In no particular order, this list includes:
Within many of my Steam reviews I have written, I constantly harp on the importance of replayability when evaluating whether a game is worth the price. Undertale may be the unique exception to this rule, as its replayability value is not the best. Despite that, I can still wholly recommend this game to anyone on a budget due to the ingenious writing, character development, philosophical dilemmas, and overall superb storyline.
It can be a frustrating task to give a review of a game without spoiling content within said game. Usually, I would simply put a spoiler warning before delving into the depths of the game. However, Undertale is different. Its story has the ability to pull on your heart-strings, question your values, and even explore the ethics of life, all from a 2D ten dollar game. I believe that the best games out there should have this ability. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of space in this world for games that shine in the mechanics department rather than through storyline or psychological stimulation. I mean, just look at how well FPS games have done throughout history. However, there is just something so beautiful about a cheap game that can make you question your entire existence and the choices you have made in life.
At its core, I would argue that Undertale can be better classified as an interactive, tangible simulation of a great book. Books allow us to escape the world, contemplate moral dilemmas presented to us, and digest a storyline that can truly alter the way we look at day-to-day life. Undertale does just that, but with graphics to further immerse yourself in the world and bring more weight to the decisions you make.
I would recommend doing, at the very least, two different playthroughs of Undertale. In one of them, try out a pacifist run in which you do not (or try not to) hurt a single enemy. In the other, unleash carnage on your enemies by defeating as many as possible in combat. Through these two experiences, you will see a whole different side to the enemies you encounter throughout the game. It may even inspire you to play it through again and see what happens if you take a more in-between route. In doing this, you will soon realize just how deep this game can go and the impacts your decisions have on the rest of the game. A singular playthrough is simply not enough to experience everything Undertale has to offer. Even better, multiple playthroughs will allow you to see a different side to the enemies you are fighting (or not fighting), adding even more weight to the opposite playthrough.
In the gaming sphere, there are few titles that I recommend as adamantly as I do Undertale. As you can see, I could write about it all day. But truth be told, the only way to realize how great this game is, is to play through it yourself. Even for those on a budget, this is one of the best options out there!
“This game changed my entire life. I'm not even kidding. The soundtrack is wonderful, I listen to it pretty much everyday. I cried and laughed a lot throughout the entire game. It's a masterpiece. I wish I could play it again like the first time.” - ameliaibarram on Steam
Not too dissimilar from Undertale, Dishonored is a game revolving around in-game choices. Albeit, there is a bit more focus on gameplay than Undertale, the decisions you make influences said gameplay and, ultimately, the state of the world at the game’s conclusion. You play as an extremely bad-ass assassin who was tasked to protect the Empress. Due to political corruptness of the plague-stricken city of Dunwall, the assassin gets framed for the murder of the Empress and thus vengefully turns on the rest of the city.
Technically, you are able to complete the entire game without killing a single person. On the other side of the spectrum, you could go around killing just about everyone. The choice is yours! Speaking of choices, there are a total of ten different powers that you can upgrade throughout the playthrough. These range from stealthy mechanics, to combat boosters, and even the ability to slow and freeze time. The variability allowed in Dishonored gives players a unique playthrough that they can customize to compliment how they decide to play the game.
Every mission has a ton of different ways to complete it. Rather than just “kill the target” missions most assassin games have, you could take a completely alternate route. For some, there are objects you need protected by a ton of people. You could go slaughter everyone in the room, or you could use cunning and deception to outsmart your enemies and take the object without casualties. Both are effective and have unique impacts on the playthrough.
Despite coming out all the way back in 2012, Dishonored’s graphics and storyline hold up to modern games. Thankfully for those reading, the time passed has allowed the game to come down to a price that is under ten dollars. I would call that a steal considering the huge amount of variability in gameplay possible. A multitude of playthroughs are possible giving buyers a bunch of different ways to get their money's worth. The storyline itself, while perhaps not being the game’s shining attribute, is still quite solid and delves into the world of corruption, greed, and political powers. If this sounds up your alley, try out Dishonored! If you like it, there is also a second installment to the game that came out in 2016 with many of the same concepts carried over.
“The bold artistic design, the memorable steampunk world, the awesome open-ended gameplay, the compelling abilities, the colorful characters, and above all, the freedom of choice -- these are the things that mark Dishonored as one of the most remarkable games of recent years.” - MacCoy on Steam
A unique inclusion to the list, it can be hard to classify Garry’s Mod as a true game. In reality, it is a physics sandbox that players can utilize to do, quite literally, whatever they want! That being said, it is not a download that should be exclusive to content creators. There are plenty of ways for the average gamer to enjoy Garry’s Mod, most of which are through using community made maps to play along with others.
One of Garry’s Mods shining accomplishments is the creation of prop hunt. Well, technically prop hunt came from Counter-Strike: Source and then was ported over into Garry’s Mod which then became popular. Either way, it is an extremely fun game mode that has led to an entire genre being created around the premise. Prop hunt is best explained as a more in-depth version of hide and seek. The hiders are allowed to roam around and change into various props that are scattered throughout the map. The goal is to become a prop that blends in with the environment to go unnoticed from the seekers. The seekers do just that, seek out which props are just in game objects and which are deceptive players hiding from their view. Prop hunt can result in some hilarious moments and close calls that keep you on the edge of your seat.
There are a ton, and I mean a ton, of other games out there created by the community that are filled with players on a daily basis. This includes Trouble in Terrorist Town, role playing games and servers, Jailbreak, and so many more. It is one of those games (downloads?) that is a one stop shop for a ton of content to consume and plenty of people to enjoy it with. Even if you do not have any friends to bring along, there are so many community members filling the servers that you will never feel like you are missing out on something due to a lack of friends owning the game.
It is worth noting, however, that some of the community made maps require ownership of other games to be able to use the assets from those games during play. The most obvious example is Counter-Strike: Source as many of the assets from the game are used in a ton of community maps. This can be a hindrance for someone with a budget, but thankfully the majority of popularized assets are from games that are quite old. CS:S, for example, came out all the way back in 2004, resulting in a current price tag of just under ten dollars without a sale. This means that if you buy Garry’s Mod and decide there are certain assets you would like to use or certain games you want to play that require it, it likely will not add too much strain to the wallet!
“I just wanna go out on a whim and say that this game made my childhood. This game is so dear to me it's not even funny. If you're looking for a fun game to play with friends, I'd definitely recommend this masterpiece.” - big soda on Steam
Creating a quality game to be sold on Steam at such a low price is no easy task. Developers have to still be sure they meet certain profit margins, especially if they operate as a company rather than an independent developer. However, the great games that come at an accessible price tend to have one thing in common: a development team that has passion for what they create. Typically, these games do not do it for the money but rather for spreading their work to as wide an audience as possible. This is great news for the Steam user on a budget, as it means you will always be able to play games just as high quality as the $60 dollar games, but only at a fraction of the price!
Image courtesy of screenrant.com