10 Best Indie Games You Can Gift on Steam For Cheap
With the holidays little over a month away, it definitely time to start thinking about gifts for your friends and family. If you have a a gamer in your life, gifting them a game via Steam is a great option. In case you’re torn on what to choose, here are ten great indie games that the recipient is sure to love, without it making your wallet cry.
Stardew Valley is the perfect time sink game. Inspired by other farming sims like Harvest Moon, its easy to spend hours and hours getting lost in the management of your crops and the world of Stardew Valley. While turning just a empty plot of land into a thriving farm that provides your character with everything the could need is the focus of the game, there so much more to see and do and farming.
Stardew Valley is full of characters to interact with, secrets to find, and dungeons to explore. Each character has a story to tell and a life to live, and you get to know them as you play. You can even marry some of the valley’s inhabitants, with your relationship with characters evolving over time. The farming is the draw, but the world and characters are what keep you invested.
One of 2018’s best and most surprising games, Celeste is a near perfect platformer. It may be very challenging at times, but the quick respawns, great level design, and generous save mechanics ensure that it’s rarely frustrating and never unfair. Also, on top of the tight and quick gameplay, Celeste’s pixel art style is wonderful, and the story it tells is deeper and more emotional than you’d expect.
Madeline, you character, has to contend with her inner demons just as much as the mountain itself as she attempts to climb it. The cast of characters you meet along the way is excellent, the music is often beautiful, and it deals with mental health in a sensitive and touching manner, making for a platformer that offers much more than impressive visuals and tight gameplay.
Now, Cuphead won’t be everyone due to its difficulty but it’s a fantastic game if the person you’re buying it for is up for a test. It’s a side scrolling action platformer that requires precise movements and intense focus, but it stands out due to its incredible old-school style that’s influenced by cartoons of the 30s, solid gameplay, and well designed boss fights. It has got a wonderful personality that takes advantage of both older ideas and modern technology, bringing everything together to make a game that’s difficult to put down or take your eyes off.
Enter the Gungeon
Like other bullet hell shooters, Enter the Gungeon‘s gameplay is about dodging, shooting, and looting your way to victory, but the focus on unique weaponry is what makes it stand out. Its roguelike elements keep it fresh every time you play, and the action is incredibly frenetic, making it a blast whether you’re playing alone or in co-op. With weapons that fire all manner of things from bees to rainbows, you’ll want to get as far as you can to see everything on offer. The screen becomes so busy as the action ramps up but it makes for a beautiful medley of chaos that’s difficult to put down.
Hollow Knight has been a star on the Nintendo Switch this year, but it actually came to Steam in early 2017. It’s another challenging 2D platformer with stunning hand-drawn visuals. However, the world you explore is often the star. It’s set in a mysterious underworld that’s full of bizarre creatures and you play as the titular knight as you travel through barren cities and dense forests in search of the answer to an ancient mystery. The compelling story, unique world, solid gameplay, often stunning visuals, freedom of exploration all come together to create what is one of the best examples of its genre.
Hotline Miami is a top down action game that’ll likely leave you breathless. Its action is close quarters, fast paced, and brutal, and it’s so satisfying. Set in an alternative 1989 Miami, Hotline Miami features a stunning pixel art style that bathes the levels in neon light, and you play as a mysterious hero who’s there to take out the city’s seedy underworld. The levels are small but you need to have your wits about you at all times, planning meticulously how you’re going to approach each situation. Running and gunning isn’t always an option, with you needing use tactics to avoid being killed. There’s even a sequel, too, if you’re after even more brutal Hotline Miami action.
Much like Limbo that came before it, Inside is a deeply mysterious game. The game is a puzzle platformer, with you playing as a small boy who is lost and drawn into a strange project, trying to escape. The puzzles are very well designed, the world is fascinating and creepy, and the story takes a dramatic turn, but the most impressive thing about Inside is how meticulously designed it is. Every movement your character makes, every camera sweep, and every beam of light is there or happens for a reason. The precise construction of the world draws you into it and the boy’s adventure, and that makes the powerful story even more impactful.
One of the cheapest games on this list, Papers, Please may be five years old now, but it’s still a great indie game. The premise is pretty unique, seeing you play as an immigration inspector who is responsible for deciding who is permitted to travel between the fictional locations of the Arstotzkan side of Grestin from Kolechia. As you play, you question every choice you make, and the documents you’re given to read tell some fascinating stories that make the recently war torn setting feel real. Lucas Pope’s more recent game, The Return of the Obra Dinn, is also a great indie game on Steam.
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is a pretty straight forward adventure game all about friendship and growing up. You play a Mae, a cat who’s just returned home from college, where all her friends are getting jobs and her family is contending with financial troubles. You head out into the town to spend time with Mae’s friends, getting to know how they’ve changed and the world has changed around them. <br><br>
It’s an incredibly relatable story, with phenomenal writing throughout that gives real personalities to the characters. You begin to care about Mae and her friends and you can choose who to spend time with as if they were your own. It’s the perfect game to sit back and get lost in.
Octahedron is a platformer with a difference. Rather than running sideways, collecting items and taking on enemies, you’re jumping upwards to reach the end of the level. Also, the platforms are produced by your character. With a simply jump, you can spawn an platform that allows you to jump once more or avoid an obstacle. It’s a challenging but fun mechanic that differentiates it from others in the genre.
Also, on top of the design, Octahedron is pretty striking when it comes to its audio and visuals. The action is all set to pumping electronic music as neon lights flash around you. It all adds to the breathlessness created by the gameplay, and it comes together very well.
If you’re looking for some other gift ideas for gamers, check out our lists on gifts for Pokemon Let’s Go fans, Xbox One players, and anyone after cool figurines this holiday.
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