It's the most wonderful time of the year. I'm talking about the Steam Summer Sale, of course! What were you thinking of? A holiday surrounded by your nearest and dearest, giving thoughtful gifts and delighting in the festive charm of the season? That's weird.
Nevertheless, as we are poised over the Steam homepage, ready to descend once the floodgates open, to harvest only the very best deals Valve have curated, the sudden influx of numbers, percentages and exclamation points is known to cause information overload.
Someone's recommended picking up the Metro Redux bundle, however, Wolfenstein: The New Order is half price. Equally tempting. You've heard that both Danganronpa games are super, your cursor zooming over to the 'Add to Cart' button but hang on - didn't you see that FTL: Faster than Light is also discounted? And NieR: Automata as well. Hmm. They all get great reviews. So how do you choose? Will you even play these games? Your backlog's pretty gnarly, I must say. It's as stressful as Math class, except worse because these calculations actually affect you.
The eventual checkout process is painful enough when your tired eyes slowly refocus on the unfathomable total. How much?! Really? But I've only got 16 games and seven DLC items in my cart!
Amidst this arithmetic, economic, and deeply existential mayhem, it might have escaped your notice that itch.io - a website supporting indie digital creators offering their own development tools, assets, comics and video games - currently has a summer sale on too.
This marketplace is populated with smaller, shorter yet just as high-quality games from talented indie minds, from those starting out in their career to experienced devs joining forces. Here is a selection of exclusive itch.io's summer deals for wonderfully palatable prices, and hopefully, there's something for everyone!
1. 3am - $0.50
3am by madameberry is the narrative experience of being awake in the small hours of the morning, a mundane subject turned into an introspective and poetic capsule on liminality. Accompanied by careful, hand-drawn illustrations and a magic realist commentary, it's bound to bring a different perspective to the table (well, bed) when insomnia hits against all the odds.
2. Gods Of Nowhere - $0.75
Four strangers - Boston, Ciro, Ichabod and Triste - cross paths at an oddly ornate bed and breakfast establishment on December 24th, 1998. What occurs under that snow-sprinkled roof changes their lives forever. For those who enjoy a significant slice of occultic weirdness with their visual novels that are packed with dynamic characterization, Gods of Nowhere is definitely a must at this price.
3. Spearena - $0.25
Does your collection of couch co-op and PVP party games require a bit of sprucing up? An excellent addition could be Spearena, a local multiplayer game where players lob spears into their opponents, the action set alight against a neon retro aesthetic. With various game modes and the ability to activate traps and power ups to swing the odds in your favor, it's compelling party wackiness at a fraction of the cost of the actual get-together. Cracking stuff.
4. To Cook - $1.42
This entry probably isn't for the faint-hearted, but MuteCanary's first person experimental point-and-click game appears rather... normal on paper. Confined to your kitchen, obeying commands from the radio and cooking up a splendid breakfast, the player has a selection of culinary minigames to complete and nihilistic quandaries to answer. To Cook promises 'a momentary distraction from the failures of your life', which is all we can ever ask for from a video game.
5. WitchWay - $2.00
Delightfully bright and jaunty, WitchWay is a colorful puzzle-platformer about a young witch who has taken a stumble and fallen down, down, down into a very deep well. Once reunited with her wand, she can interact with her surroundings in surprising ways and most importantly, rescue poor unfortunate bunnies similarly trapped in the catacombs. The animations and art style are so charming, and the effort the four-member team went to evidently paid off. A 50% discount on this title is quite magical.
That'll be that, folks! itch.io is a treasure trove of indie gems, and naturally this hasn't really scratched the surface of awesome, varied digital content up for grabs. If you do peruse all the summer sale offers, let us know in the comments what caught your eye! And if you buy one of the deserving titles (or even all of them - these five games come in for under $5!) on this list, drop the developer a message of thanks and support indie creators!