Last Friday was of course, the kick off for the holiday season. No doubt people will be going to war with each other for cheap microwaves and HDTVs in scenes that no doubt rival the WWE Royal Rumble. However, many of our more sensible readers no doubt want to join in on the savings, even if they don’t wish to risk their lives. Fear not, once again for the 5th year in a row, here is a selection of cheap games that are $20 or less all year around. Because of current cybermonday/black Friday/ steam sales, you might be able to find them for cheaper.
Plague Inc (Android, IOS, Xbox One, PC, Windows Phone)
Since it’s release in 2012, Plague Inc has been infecting legions of new fans and continues to receive new content. Your goal is to evolve your plague and use it to kill off the entire planet. You have to evolve your plague’s symptoms, transportation, and resistance to spread it throughout each country. As more and more people catch your virus, the world will take action against it. It’s chilling to watch the newsfeed go from celebrity gossip towards updates about the plague. Since the game’s release, the developer had added various updates, among them a zombie virus, an ape virus inspired by Planet of the Apes, and a Vampire virus. The PC version even includes custom scenarios and multiplayer.
Dishonored (Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Note: The Xbox One, PC, and PS4 versions are available as a ‘definitive edition’ which contains all previously released downloadable content.
When Dishonored came out in 2012, its blend of stealth and magic made it a modern day instant classic for gamers starving for a new IP. Dishonored can best be described as thief meets bioshock, as players combine stealth and supernatural powers to approach teh game’s missions any way they wish. Dishonored puts players in the shoes and mask of Corvo, the Empresses right-hand man. After being framed for her assassination, Corvo takes his revenge against the corrupt regime that had sprung up in Dunwall. Aided by a resistance group, and a mysterious being known as The Stranger, you undertake several missions for the resistance, earning and enhancing several powers in the process. You can teleport, possess rats and other creatures, and even summon vermin to attack enemies and devour bodies. According to your approach(stealthy or violent), the game’s outcome changes to reflect your deeds. Fans of games like Bioshock will love Dishonored, and since the sequel is out, now is a great time to check out the original.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD (Xbox One, PS4)
This week, the long awaited Final Fantasy XV hit stores, and it looks to be the shot in the arm that the franchise needed. FF XIII wasn’t very well received, and Final Fantasy XIV was so bad they had to re-release it. Square-Enix saturated the mobile market with overpriced lackluster re-releases and free-to-play titles of varying quality. However, Square had one hidden gem for the PSP that was sought after by many players on this side of the pacific. In 2010, Square released Final Fantasy Type-0, a no-holds barred serious take on warfare. The game’s storyline featured sadness and tragedy on an unprecedented scale, even more so than games like Final Fantasy 7 and Tactics. Taking control of Class 0, a group of 14 youth each with their own weapons and upgradable abilities, you play your part in a war between two kingdoms. In 2015, Square finally released this title in the United States as an HD upgrade. Although there is no multiplayer (unlike the PSP version) the game still retains it’s hardcore difficulty and serious storyline. Completing the game unlocks new game plus, an upgraded mode in which players can keep their equipment and stats from the previous playthrough. FFT0 came through when it was needed, and of course packaging a demo of Final Fantasy XV didn’t hurt either.
Terraria (PC, Linux, OSX, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4)
Note: This game is also available on Wii U and 3ds, but the MSRP is $29.99.
If you go onto the digital distribution network of your choice, you’ll likely see a thousand digging/crafting/fortress simulations, many of which offer little to set themselves apart. However, regardless of what system you have, only two will ever stand out from the pack (well 3 if you could Starbound which was produced by the same developer as this game): Minecraft and Terraria. In the case of the latter, which has been around since 2011, Terraria has set itself apart and even avoided the Minecraft comparisons by including a mixture of both retro style graphics and gameplay that emphasizes exploration as much as it does building. As a nameless customizable wanderer, you explore the (randomly generated) world around you to gather materials to build a village. By building buildings, you provide homes for NPCs to move into and do business with you. Also by crafting weapons and items you defend yourself and your village against the monsters that roam the world. The game features a day and night cycle, and even more dangerous villains come out at night. There are also hidden bosses to battle. Terraria is the ultimate sandbox which awards player exploration and experimentation.