Set in a retro-futuristic universe, Quadrilateral Cowboy is all about hacking into things and navigating your way through security systems. The premise of the game is that you’re a badass hacker with some of the best equipment around. Essentially, you’re a hacker for hire and it’s your job to use the different bits of tech scattered around the world to pull off virtual heists. To do this, you’ll be typing out scripts in your system’s command prompts.
It may not sound like the most thrilling game, but Quadrilateral Cowboy is quite unlike anything else and offers some excellent puzzles to try and wrap your head around. With a ton of gadgets for you to utilize in your elaborate heists, and tactile command line hacking, Quadrilateral Cowboy oozes replayability. You can pick up the game on Steam for $19.99 here.
If you’ve been looking for a game that takes all the very best bits of Harvest Moon and distills them into a retro-stylized PC game, then Stardew Valley is exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll plant and harvest crops, tend to your livestock, and turn the dwindling farming plot that your grandfather left you into a bustling money-making machine.
The natural grind that comes as part of Stardew Valley is all part of its compelling nature. Knowing that in a couple of days time your countless days of slaving over your crops will result in a fine harvest is enough to have you playing way into the early hours. With over 30 NPCs inhabiting the valley, 10 of which can be courted, and fishing spots and caves to explore, Stardew Valley will keep you occupied for hours on end. Even better, it’ll only set you back $14.99.
Firewatch falls into the ‘walking simulator’ category, but don’t let that put you off if you’ve never played one before. The beauty of Firewatch doesn’t come from its basic gameplay, but from the incredibly powerful story told through some excellent voice acting. You’re Henry, a guy who has retreated into the Wyoming wilderness to forget his past and keep the vast expanses of wildlife safe from any threat of fire. To top it all off, the only company you have out here is Delilah, the voice on the other end of your two-way radio.
We’re not going to say too much more other than things don’t go quite as planned for Henry and Delilah, and so you’ll be doing a lot of exploring of the vast wilderness that lays before you. With some stunning views, a great story, and the ability to escape the real world and into the beautiful wilderness, Firewatch is a bargain at $19.99.
Oxenfree is an indie supernatural thriller that sees you and your group of friends accidentally open a ghostly rift on a secluded island. Taking the best parts of late 80’s teenage horror films, and mixing it was a beautiful art style and an eerie atmospheric feel, Oxenfree is one of the best horror games to release this year, and it doesn’t even rely on jump scares to achieve it.
Oxenfree isn’t just about trying to clear up the mess you’ve made on the island, but about maintaining your friendships with those you’re with along the way. An intelligent conversation system allows you to choose how to respond to different characters, and Oxenfree’s story will change dependent on these. It’ll only set you back $19.99, too.
Inside is the spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed indie hit, Limbo. With its beautifully-stylish visuals, excellent puzzle-based gameplay, and intriguing story, this is one of those games that you can’t afford to miss out on.
Unfortunately, revealing any details of Inside’s story would spoil it for you, as part of the game’s attraction comes in the mystery that shrouds it. All you need to know is you assume the role of a boy who finds himself drawn into the center of a dark project and you’re completely alone. If the premise of a dark puzzle game interests you, it’ll be $19.99 on Steam to experience this excellent indie title for yourself.
Coming from some of the minds behind indie darling Journey, Abzu sees players assuming the role of a robot diver intent on saving the depths of the ocean from a darkness spreading and killing off the marine life that lives there. Part of Abzu’s charm is simply exploring the depths of the ocean at your own leisure. There are no time limits here forcing you to move on, and there are plenty of hidden collectibles and interesting things to discover as you swim about.
As one of the most beautiful and vibrantly colored titles this year, Abzu is well worth looking into if you enjoyed the kind of gameplay to be found in Journey. It doesn’t quite deliver on the emotional levels of its inspiration, but it’s definitely worth a look at $19.99 on Steam.
Obduction is an indie adventure puzzle game from Cyan Worlds that places players in control of a character who’s been abducted. You’ll then need to explore the alien world that’s filled with random bits of Earth in odd spheres as you solve puzzles and attempt to find your way back home.
Progressing through Obduction, you’ll uncover more tidbits of the mystery and story that make it irresistible to just keep pressing on. This is a game to sit back with one evening on your own and just take in. If its air of intrigue doesn’t grab you, it’s challenging puzzles will. It is on the upper end of our pricing, however, coming in at $29.99 on Steam.
Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter is a challenging indie 2D action-RPG experience just waiting for you to jump in and explore. It lacks any text or voice acting, dons a retro 16-bit art style, and has some incredibly tough boss battles. But, jump in and embrace the complete lack of direction and sharp challenge spike and you’ll experience one of the best action adventure titles this year.
While you can upgrade your weapons and abilities, unlock more weapons, and find collectibles that will help you on your way, Hyper Light Drifter’s enemies will always feel aptly tough. If you’re a fan of the challenge posed by the likes of Dark Souls and Titan Souls, Hyper Light Drifter is well worth your time and consideration. Hyper Light Drifter will set you back $19.99 over on Steam, but it’s worth every penny.
Killing Floor 2
Indie shooter Killing Floor 2 offers a 6-player co-op experience where you’ll fight your way through massive countless waves of Zeds, undead and mutated humans that just want nothing more than to murder you. With a bunch of the classic Zed variants making their return from the first title being mixed in with new variants to keep things fresh, Killing Floor 2 is sheer, unadulterated, gory fun.
Oh, and we really should stress the gory bit, too, what with the developer having upped the gore. You’ll see blood, entrails, and limbs flying all over the show as you blast your way through the Zed horde. It’s the bigger, badder version of the first title in almost every way and is great fun if you can get a bunch of friends together to help you fight. It’s another one at the high end of our pricing at $29.99 on Steam, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
This is the Police
Indie title This Is the Police tells the story of Police Chief Jack Boyd as he starts his 180-day countdown to retirement. You’ll need to make $500,000 in that amount of time and the way you achieve this is completely up to you. You’ll have to successfully manage your staff, respond to emergencies, and investigate all of the crimes that pop up across the city.
Of course, in the city of Freeburg, everyone’s out for their own, and so what looks like a good offer in return for a favor is likely going to land you in a tight spot further down the line. This Is the Police is as much of a game about decision making and using your moral compass as it is about putting criminals away, and oh boy is it good. This Is the Police will set you back $14.99 on Steam unless you grab it while it’s on sale.