It’s that time of the year again! School is out, the weather’s getting warmer, and, most importantly, the annual Steam summer sale is on! For all the PC newbies out there, this is akin to a second Christmas. Deals are offered on all the best games for PC, and there has never been a better time to buy.
With so many different games going on sale, it can be tricky to decide which ones you should pick up. What games are a must-buy? What should you get if you like a particular genre of games? We’ll be covering all of these questions and more in this article for the best ten games to buy during the Steam Summer Sale.
Let’s get started!
What Should I Know About The Sale?
The Steam Summer Sale is an annual event that always starts in late June and ends in early July. The current sale will last from June 23rd to July 7th, so you’ve got two whole weeks to enjoy all the awesome sales. The only other time you’ll get deals like this is during the Christmas event.
The games that go on sale vary greatly, and nearly every game on your wishlist is sure to get some kind of discount. The discounts can range from 10% to 90% off, depending on how long ago the game was released and how much the publishers are willing to lower the price.
If you have any games on your Steam wishlist that you’ve been looking to buy for a while, now is the perfect time to grab them. Practically everything is up for grabs, including loads of DLCs, if you’re into that. But if you can’t decide which ones to get, maybe we can help you out…
10 Best Games to Buy for the Steam Summer Sale
Let’s hop right into the article!
1. Psychonauts 2
- Genre: 3D Platformer
- Release Date: August 25th, 2021
- Discount: -50%
- Discounted Price: $29.99
Let’s kick off this list with one of the most unique games released in recent years — Psychonauts 2! This mind-bending, story-driven game sees you play as a boy named Razputin. He works for an organization known as the Psyonaughts, a government organization of agents who can use psychic powers, tasked with maintaining world peace.
The game takes place only a few days after the events of the first game. There is no need to have played the original, however, as a brief introductory cutscene will re-cap you on what has transpired in the last entries. You should still play the original if you haven’t — it’s a fantastic old-school 3D platformer that’s aged very well. Psychonauts 2 dives into some pretty deep subjects, such as mental health.
Gameplay is a mixture of platforming and combat. The platforming feels just as good as it did in the first one, and it controls very smoothly. The combat sees you taking on a variety of different enemy types with some very whacky designs. You’re given a wide variety of different psychic powers (which can be upgraded) for you to use against these foes.
The most interesting part about this game, in my opinion, is the level design. There is a huge variety of different locations for you to explore. In the game, you’ll travel through the minds of various whacky characters to solve their mental problems. This leads to some interesting locations for levels. Many of them look like a mixture between a Tim Burton movie and a 70s psychedelic rock music video.
2. Planet Coaster
- Genre: Park-Building Simulator
- Release Date: November 17th, 2016
- Discount: -75%
- Discounted Price: $11.24
Next up on our list, we have something for the more creative types out there. Planet Coaster is a very fun game that sees you become the manager of various parks and get tasked with building them up to greatness. If you’ve ever played the Thrillville games, you’ll know just how fun it can be to create your very own theme park.
The gameplay sees you building a variety of different roller coasters in order to satisfy your guests. There’s also a variety of different amenities, games, scenery pieces, and other objects for you to build. Unlike Thrillville, the game is much more open and allows you to have much more creative freedom in how you build everything out. It works almost like a traditional city-builder game.
There’s also a variety of different modes for you to play through, giving you lots of options for how you want to experience the game. Career Mode is the game’s main campaign, and Sandbox Mode gives you total creative freedom in how you want to design your park. There’s also Challenge Mode if you’re looking to have your park-building skills put to the test.
3. Mass Effect Legendary Edition
- Genre: Action-RPG/Third-Person Shooter
- Release Date: May 14th, 2021
- Discount: -59%
- Discounted Price: $24.59
Who doesn’t love a good RPG? Character customization, building your own unique playstyle, making decisions that affect the story, etc. are all well and good fun. But you know what’s better than an RPG? Three RPGs! The Mass Effect trilogy is one of the best series of games ever made, and it’s even better with Mass Effect Legendary Edition. It’s a remaster of all three games combined into one grand package!
In case you’ve never played a Mass Effect game, let me fill you in on the details. In the game, you create your own version of Commander Shepard, choosing from a list of pre-written backgrounds and several classes that affect your combat abilities. These include a battle-hardened soldier, a tech-savvy engineer, a powerful psychic, and various combinations of the three. Combat is played from a third-person perspective, and oh boy is it satisfying.
The story and narrative is by far the best aspect of this trilogy. It takes place in the far distant future, where aliens and humans have made contact with one another. You’ll need to face a galactic threat while making choices that impact your own story and the fates of those around you. Meet interesting characters and add them to your party. Complete quests. Fall in love. It’s all here and more!
4. Blood: Fresh Supply
- Genre: Old-School First-Person Shooter
- Release Date: May 9th, 2019
- Discount: -40%
- Discounted Price: $5.99
Modern games are great and all, but every now and then, it’s nice to step through time and play a good old retro game. Blood: Fresh Supply is a great way to scratch that itch without the hassle of learning how to play an older game. This is a soft-remaster of the 1997 game Blood. You play as a gunslinger from the early 1900s on a quest for revenge against the cult that betrayed you and left you for dead.
The gameplay is very satisfying and enjoyable, and it’s got my recommendation if you’re a fan of boomer shooters. The gameplay is similar enough to classic titles like The Ultimate Doom, but features enough unique weapons and gimmicks to keep things fresh. You have access to a very big variety of weapons, including dynamite, a Tesla cannon, a flare gun, and even a working voodoo doll!
There are lots of different enemy types for you to encounter on your playthrough. You have the classic shotgun-wielding cultists, flying gargoyles, poisonous spiders, of course, and even some fire-breathing hell hounds! I also really love the level variety as well. There’s a carnival level with some minigames in the first episode, and a train level that moves along the track while you play!
- Genre: Real-Time Grand Strategy
- Release Date: May 9th, 2016
- Discount: -75%
- Discounted Price: $9.99
For all of you sci-fi nerds out there, this one is for you. Stellaris is a grand strategy game set hundreds of years into the future, where humanity has achieved the ability to travel between the stars and colonize space. It’s a 4X-style game where you lead your people to victory by exploring and colonizing the solar system. This game is comparable to Civilization, but damn, does it do a lot of things differently.
The most interesting part of the game to me is that you can create your very own alien civilization! This includes everything from what they look like to their home planet. Choose from a variety of government types, and combine them with various traits that give your faction special bonuses. You can play as a spiritual race of tree-people with a monarchist government, a hive-mind race of fungi, and more!
You’ll build up your planet and send out colony ships to settle new worlds. You will meet several other space-faring races and have to deal with the unique problems they will cause. There is a variety of random events that can completely change your playthrough, for better or for worse. You can change your policies and will have to deal with internal political issues. The amount of content here is unreal!
There is a seemingly endless amount of replayability. With so many ways to create your unique alien race, as well as how you can govern your people and the events that can happen in-game, every new game feels unique. And if you really love futurism, there are so many interesting concepts that are explored in this game.
6. Mad Max
- Genre: Third-Person Action-Adventure
- Release Date: September 1st, 2015
- Discount: -75%
- Discounted Price: $4.99
Now for one of my personal favorite open-world games: Mad Max! This action-packed post-apocalyptic adventure sees you playing as the legendary Mad Max. You are driving your car through the desert when you’re ambushed by a gang of wastelanders. After narrowly surviving the attack and losing your ride, you must now build a powerful new vehicle that can take you away from this horrible place.
The gameplay is a mix of vehicular combat, third-person brawling, and exploration/scavenging for resources. The open world is very well-designed, with loads of things to do. There are outposts to capture, convoys to destroy, races to win, locations to scavenge, etc. As you complete more of these open-world activities, you will acquire a currency called scrap which can be used for upgrading.
The absolute best part about this game is the car customization. Your Magnum Opus is yours to create. You can give it heavier armor, but it will drastically lower your speed. You can give it better off-road traction, at the cost of speed when driving on the main road. Every upgrade is a give and take, which leads to some unique combinations. There are also loads of fun cosmetic options to go along with it.
The story is also pretty interesting as well. It won’t knock your socks off, but there are plenty of memorable characters to meet and intimidating villains to fight. Max is on a spiritual journey, trying to find the mythical “Plains of Silence,” a place where he can find peace and solace from his past. Max doesn’t speak much in this story, but you can still feel his struggle and understand his motives.
7. To The Moon
- Genre: 2D Puzzle/Adventure
- Release Date: November 1st, 2011
- Discount: -80%
- Discounted Price: $1.99
If you’re looking for something on the emotional side, look no further than the game To The Moon! This is a beautifully made and told story about a dying man looking to fulfill his childhood wish of going to the moon. In the game, you play as two scientists from a company that uses advanced technology to implant artificial memories inside your head, allowing you to live out your dreams before you pass.
The gameplay is fairly basic, and plays out like an interactive fiction much of the time. You will explore a variety of different locations, discovering unique objects called momentos. When you find them, you will complete a simple 2D puzzle to help you progress to the next area. There is lots of dialogue and story-telling in between all this, making it a very relaxing and easy game to play.
Even if the gameplay isn’t all that exciting, the narrative more than makes up for it. Our two main characters are both likable and humorous. With witty dialogue and lots of fun moments, it’s hard to get bored playing this game. As you play through the game, you’ll travel backward through the love story between a dying man and his wife, unraveling the mystery of why going to the moon is so important.
8. Before Your Eyes
- Genre: VR Interactive Fiction
- Release Date: April 8th, 2021
- Discount: -50%
- Discounted Price: $4.99
If To The Moon wasn’t emotional enough for you, it’s time for another tearjerker — Before Your Eyes! This is a VR title that sees you experiencing a lifetime’s worth of memories from a first-person perspective. You will get to relieve many different memories and listen to characters talk and express themselves to you.
The most unique aspect of this game is the fact that it can detect whenever you blink. If you close your eyes even for just a moment, the scene will be interrupted and the characters you were just talking to will now be much older! You will need to concentrate and try not to blink in order to avoid skipping out on important moments. But even if you do, that is all part of the message.
Life can often happen before our very eyes, and events can come and go in the blink of an eye. That is why it’s important to savor things and be mindful of the present. That is what this game is trying to teach us. With it’s unique art style and gameplay, even if you are not one for deep themes and messages, you will still walk away with a very memorable experience with Before Your Eyes!
9. Cities: Skylines
- Genre: City-Builder
- Release Date: March 10th, 2015
- Discount: -75%
- Discounted Price: $7.49
No collection of PC games is complete without a city-builder! Cities: Skylines is by far one of the best of its genre on the market right now. The game takes a lot of influence from SimCity but does so much to evolve the formula and create a truly unique and engaging experience. You’ll be able to create the city of your dreams, specializing in a wide variety of different fields to make something that is truly unique.
The game features snappy and intuitive controls, allowing for easy placement of roads, utilities, and other important buildings. Zone out areas for residential, commercial, and industrial sites to build up a population and start collecting tax money. Expand outwards with a massive map, allowing you to create a true megalopolis which just wasn’t possible in the last main entry of SimCity.
And if you grow tired of the base game, there’s a huge amount of DLC for you to enjoy! There are simple things such as new music to listen to, but also expansions that overhaul the game. You can create a green city of the future, with sustainable industry and lots of greenery-covered skyscrapers. There’s also a great DLC for specializing in the tourism industry, allowing you to create your own Miami!
10. Outer Wilds
- Genre: Space Exploration
- Release Date: June 18th, 2020
- Discount: -40%
- Discounted Price: $14.99
Last on our list for the 10 games to buy during the Steam Summer Sale, we have my absolute favorite indie game of all time, Outer Wilds! This wonderful open-world space exploration game sees you playing as a young astronaut. You quickly learn that you are stuck in a time loop that resets after your solar system’s sun goes supernova. Now you must explore the system and find a way to end the loop!
You’re given complete freedom in where you want to go and how you want to explore. From the very start of the game, you can stick to your home planet and talk to the locals. Or you can travel to the very end of the system and everywhere in-between! There is no hand-holding here, and no quest markers to speak of. You’ll need to solve every puzzle and piece together every clue entirely by yourself.
Speaking of piecing things together, the story is incredibly well done. Everything is told through the environment and through little notes left behind at different locations. You’re essentially playing a space archeologist simulator. An ancient alien civilization once visited this solar system, and you need to search through their ruins in order to track them down and find out where they went and why.
There is a huge variety of different locations for you to explore. There is the peaceful Timberhearth, the Earth-like planet you call home. The scorching hot Hour Glass Twins, a pair of planets orbiting one another. The harrowing and mysterious Dark Bramble. The stormy ocean planet, Giant’s Deep. And so, so so many others! Each location is very dense with lots of content for you to explore and discover.
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