Cup your hand to your ear, close your eyes, and listen. You can already hear sleigh bells jingling outside and you haven’t even finished your Christmas shopping! That’s what Steam sales are for, though. While not everyone is a PC gamer, the crowd is more diverse than ever, and you can find something for just about everyone. Here’s a few last-minute suggestions to make sure you don’t have to leave anyone off your list. Or maybe you’re just buying for yourself. That’s cool, we’re not judging.
DOOM – $19.79 (67%)
Though it just came out this spring, DOOM is already a whopping 67 percent off (rounded up from 66.6 percent, obviously). We named this game one of our favorite games of 2016 thanks to the tight action, amazing soundtrack, and surprisingly engaging story. What should’ve been a simple cash-grab revival turned out to be one of the absolute best shooters of the year, and at less than $20, it’s dirt cheap.
Invisible, Inc. – $5.99 (70%)
For something a bit smaller and more methodical, Invisible, Inc. will get you started. This tactical stealth game has you infiltrating corporations and playing on a turn-based grid. It features stylish, colorful art, and solid strategy gameplay.
Inside – $13.99 (30%)
On the other hand, if you like your intended recipient likes their stuff a bit more artsy, Playdead’s Inside will fit the bill. Inside drops you as a small boy into a dark, brutal world filled with expertly crafted puzzles, a chilling story, and countless ways to die.
Cities: Skylines – $7.49 (75%)
When SimCity hit in 2013, it was full of promises of a visually enchanting and mentally engaging new city simulator. Unfortunately, EA dropped the ball and we ended up with a game that was fun for about 4 hours before bad traffic simulation and countless other problems tore it to pieces. Rising from the grave of SimCity, though, is Cities: Skylines, a good-looking and, more importantly, functional city simulator. If your gamer likes planning more than execution, Cities: Skylines will provide an endless supply.
Spelunky – $2.99 (80%)
Snakes. Why does it always have to be snakes? Or spiders. Bats. Spikes. Boomerang-wielding masked men. Sure, Indiana Jones had to deal with nazis, but he didn’t have it nearly as bad as the heroes of Spelunky. This game doesn’t ask much of your computer, but as you explore the depths of its caves and jungles, Spelunky will demand absolute perfection of your skills and total master of its systems. It’s a tough but infinitely replayable game.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition – $29.99 (40%)
If you’re looking to get utterly lost in fantasy, Geralt of Rivia is the guy to do it with. The Witcher 3 provides tens of hours of gameplay on its own, but this game of the year edition includes the “Hearts of Stone” and “Blood and Wine” expansions, which can easily add 30 or more hours of gameplay into the package. And that’s not just endless collectibles, either. Every quest offers some kind of story, even if it’s a small one. The Witcher 3 is easily one of the best games of the last few years, and shouldn’t be missed.
Stardew Valley – $9.99 (33%)
Taking a page from the Harvest Moon series – if not the whole book – Stardew Valley has you inheriting your grandfather’s old farm and trying to make it successful. You can plant crops, explore the land, and establish relationships with your neighbors. Stardew Valley is about as chill as a game can get. And if you’re wondering how good a 16-bit-style farm sim can be? 97 percent of the game’s nearly 45,000 reviews are positive. Everyone likes Stardew Valley.
Project CARS – $9.89 (67%)
While Forza Horizon 3 might be my favorite racing game from 2016, it’s only on the Windows store. Over here on Steam, it’s hard to do much better than Project CARS, a deep and detailed racing simulation that pares it down to just three things: The car, the track, and you. Whether you play with a controller or a wheel, there’s a deep game here. It’s not the same sort of casual fare as Horizon, though. This is a sim, through and through.
There’s no way we can fit every great deal into this list, but this is a good start with a wide variety of styles, genres, and even hardware requirements. Check out the full sale over on Steam for the complete listing.