Home Editorial Get Good Games: Five great PC games on the cheap

Hey, you. Are you looking for more games to stave off the dreadful realisation of life’s deep meaninglessness that eventually consumes all people? Don’t lie, of course you are! But games are expensive and if you had enough money to keep satisfying the suicide thoughts, you would not have them in the first place. Well fret not, for we have compiled some gems with loads of content for very little price. Each game listed is available on Steam, with playtime and price at time of writing. They managed to keep the attention of this cynic, so who says they cannot keep yours as well?

Cook, Serve, Delicious; 18 hours, $9.99

Some would call this a cooking simulator. Well, in a way it is, if your fantasies of cooking always involved mashing the exact right buttons to serve eight people demanding their meals simultaneously. It could also be simulating the job of a secret agent from the gameplay alone. Preparing things is simple (but not easy) and stripped of unnecessary barriers. To describe it more accurately, this is the type of game you play if you actively hate yourself. Time is so tightly cut that, in order to have any success at all, you will give in to the stress and zone out everything but the work. There is no room for other thoughts. If you enjoy fair, yet rather demanding and unforgiving, challenges issued about three times a second, hooray for you. Aside from the minigames, CSD gives you full control over everything  that is going on in your restaurant, presents itself in a charming simplistic art style, and pulls out yet more content whenever you think you have seen everything. By some twist of insane logic, it also offers decent controller support, if you are that kind of person.

Sid Meier’s Pirates!; 11 hours, $9.99

Don’t you sometimes wish Assassin’s Creed 4 only cost a quarter of what it does and was actually completely sandbox? Sid is here to deliver. I will not lie to you, this game is old and it shows. On the bright side, it manages more than 30 fps on a GTX760! The comparison I made three sentences ago is not without reason; Pretty much anything you can do in AC4, you can do in this game. The only exceptions are directly stabbing people (which Ubisoft seem to be moving away from anyway) and sitting through a boring semi-mandatory storyline. No, the game introduces you like this: “This is you. That guy abducted your family members to the Caribbean because he’s a dick. Screw that guy. Chase him to the new continent, make allies and great riches, and rescue your family! Or, you know, don’t. I’ll just set you on this ship here and you can do whatever.” Whether you want to become a murderous pirate who preys on anything with coin or a refined British admiral who only attacks stinky French ships and gives food to poor Indian tribes, the game will not limit you.

Crazy Machines 2; Probably enough to earn a degree, $14.99

Ah, the game that raised me to be a secluded misanthropesse obsessed with details. You know those games where you set up a variety of parts in hopes that some of them will nudge others in the right way to do the things you want, miss by a milimeter, and set new records in swearing? This is one of those, with quite a proud amount of individual levels and parts. Sometimes, your inventions might even work if you put enough thought into them. If you get done with those, there is a metric ton of additional levels (actually produced after the game was finished) on offer for affordable prices, as well as previous games in the series. Or you could just doodle down experiments of your own creation. You are not going to run out of content too soon, at any rate. It should be mentioned that this is an originally German game despite its good localisation into English: You may want to set the language accordingly if you know enough German.

FTL: Faster than Light; 80+ hours, $9.99

No such list is complete without FTL. Roguelike, spacey, cruel. The game doesn’t hate you per se, but the same cannot be said of that one pirate with four beam weapons and one Basic Laser that always appears in sector 2. Unlike a lot of roguey likers, FTL will give you plenty of time to plan your actions and realise you are boned. Everything besides combat actions happens through menus, so that thing about reading and imagining things yourself is required to play. It will not rush you, but is still captivating beyond imagination when you pack up the remains of the last pirate and hop to the next beacon… two hours after promising to yourself you will quit after the next beacon. Once you have some mastery over the base game, the free Advanced Edition content provides many more elaborate and beautiful ways to die horribly. If that is still not enough, the also free Captain’s Edition community mod vastly expands and modifies the game. You will sink at least a weekend into this game, day and night. Buyers beware.

Just Cause 2; 100 hours, $14.99

Faithful readers will know that I love Just Cause 2, for good reason. It is bright, it is colourful, it is packed with action at a moment’s notice without any set pieces whatsoever, and it is the only sandbox game I know that keeps its promise of doing whatever you like, even if I want to tie a secret agent behind a boat and ride across the sea at just the right speed. And when you grow bored of that, you can always parachute out and blow up the nearest water supply, because somehow that will help the local people. Okay, the AI is meh and opponents give little resistance, but if nothing has exploded in the past half second, you are already doing it wrong. It is pure, unhindered fun unless you are a radical anti-super-cool-awesome-explosions activist. Just Cause 2 is the best game I have ever played, and anyone not taking the experience is a fool. One thing to note though: The game only runs on DirectX 10 or higher, so you need Windows 7 or higher. Then again, who doesn’t have it these days.

9 replies to this post
  1. All great suggestions! The two I’ve played on that list are correctly assessed, and you’ve inspired me to grab Pirates :)

    PS Any Magic 2015 content coming?

      • Don’t understand. The game is a total trainwreck…in every place except where it counts most.

        Deckbuilding is great, the options available are vast and deep, the 1v1 metagame is vibrant and complex. Totally hit it out of the park with the card pool and balance.

        Of course, to achieve this they made the interface almost unusable, stripped out 2HG, all challenge modes, revenge campaign, encounters, PW duels, put nothing in the sealed/archenemy/planechase slot, made the intro movies TRULY unskippable, entered a hidden price hike in the form of the premium microtransactions…but…
        The game itself is sick :)

      • Others would say there are literally three decks you can build reasonably without shelling out another three times the buyin, and each of those would still be improved with premium cards, and they all resolve about summoning things and hitting people with things.

        You know what I turn to for deckbuilding? Well the 2015 core set for one, which by itself has more cards (and many more usable ones) than this. Then I have actual freedom and access to multiple ways to seek victory other than hit guy with stick.

        Online play WAS ALREADY balanced and interesting. DotP13 had the best decks and dynamics of all time. OF ALL TIME. Each deck played differently by itself and against each other deck. Take those, make more like them, connect them using DotP14’s menus, and make millions. But instead they decided on major cocking up.

      • I think every fan of the series looks back on 13 with intense fondness. I sure wish they had gone the route you’re suggesting.

        But sorry mate, with all respect, what you’re saying about the pool is just plain factually wrong.

        By way of example I have either built or had piloted against me highly competitive versions of the following archetypes:
        * Dredge (Rescue from the Underworld finally gets to shine – Pelakka Wurm into Griselbrand on turn 5 = shiteating grin)
        * Cawblade (This just in: Stoneforge Mystic is still broken even when you are fetching the worst equipment ever printed)
        * Auras (it’s actually pretty fair this time around)
        * Selesneya Tokens (Turn 4 Beastmaster Ascension kills are funny)
        * Faeries (Yeah, Military Intelligence is probably gonna be a real thing in Standard)
        * RDW
        * R/W/U Elixir Control (quicken into sweeper mid combat rofl)
        * Angelic Accord Combo (Sanguine Bond gets its day!)
        * R/B Aggro and R/B Heroic
        * Simic Control (Species Gorger infinite turn combo exists if you are mad enough to reach for the stars)
        * Counterburn
        * U/R Aggro
        * Mono Green Ramp

        And this is just in the first week!

        I’ve also seen decent attempts all sorts of crazy decks like Illusion’s Bracers Mill and Blasting Station combo.
        It’s just incredible fun to just play a format that has the consistency of constructed but the speed and power level of limited. I can’t get enough of it for now, but I would only recommend a purchase if you’re going to be playing ranked ladder.

      • Also you finally have your wish – a highly interactive and diverse metagame where ‘removal spam’ is non-existant. The only ‘clean’ kill spell is a 5-cost double black.

        Everything else is conditional, narrow and clunky. I mean, there’s enough around to stop bombs from running away with every game, but mostly you need to deal with stuff in the Red Zone.

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