The annual Steam Winter Sale is on right now, which means there’s a ton of cheap games to sift through and spend all that holiday money on. But with price cuts offered on hundreds of games, figuring out what’s worth buying can be a challenge.
We’re digging through the discounts to find some of the seasonal event’s best deals. If you need to catch up on the year’s biggest games, keep reading — Steam has many of them at some pretty stellar prices, just in time for Game of the Year season.
As always, feel free to pitch in with any other Steam Winter Sale highlights you find in the comments below.
Stardew Valley ($9.99, 33 percent off)
The most common refrain heard this year — this very, very trying year — was “fuck 2016.” That’s precisely why Stardew Valley is one of 2016’s highlights. This charming farming sim is all about building and perfecting a farm, making new friends and finding the love of your life. That can take hundreds of hours, making this game the perfect time-suck, a simple escape from the harsh real world.
Hyper Light Drifter ($11.99, 40 percent off)
Hyper Light Drifter is intense, beautiful and a perfect throwback to the days of pixelated, hardcore action games. It’s one of the year’s most unique games, as well as one of its most challenging.
Overcooked ($11.38, 33 percent off)
Overcooked is perhaps one of 2016’s most overlooked (sorry) titles. It’s a local multiplayer game in a time when online reigns supreme. As a seemingly innocuous sous chef simulator, it’s more Diner Dash than Super Smash Bros. But Overcooked will quickly win you over as you race against the clock to fulfill a tricky series of restaurant orders, screaming at your incompetent friends along the way.
Tom Clancy’s The Division ($24.99, 50 percent off)
The Division has suffered some pretty major growing pains this year. A successful launch gave way to myriad issues, like bugs and a dropping player base. The development team at Massive Entertainment has worked to clean up The Division’s messes, though, and that’s led to new content like the recent “Survival” expansion, which has many players again singing the third-person shooter’s praises. At this price, it may be worth checking out.
The Witness ($19.99, 50 percent off)
The Witness is tough. Really, really tough. To leave it at that is reductive, though: It’s a hard game because it’s also a brilliantly designed one. There are individual puzzles in here that will take hours to finish, but they all come together for one of 2016’s most memorable and rewarding gaming experiences.
Doom ($19.79, 67 percent off)
Doom’s an all-time classic, and its modern reinvention doesn’t lose sight of what makes the original shooter so great. Few trips to hell are this enjoyable — or this well-priced.
Planet Coaster ($38.24, 15 percent off)
Planet Coaster is all about building the amusement park of your dreams. Harkening back to the halcyon days of RollerCoaster Tycoon, this sim already has an ardent fanbase. Now that we’re trudging into winter, this is as close as you’ll get to real rollercoasters for awhile.
Firewatch ($11.99, 40 percent off)
Firewatch tells one of the year’s most powerful and unforgettable stories. The adventure game is set in an expansive national park, and it uses that to great effect. Firewatch may be short enough to complete in one sitting, but the game’s core relationship and majestic vistas will last with you for far longer.
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