Ten for Ten: Great Games Under Ten Dollars
If you’re anything like me, one of your main obstacles when trying to find a new game to play is your parents’ insistence that this whole “electricity” thing is a fad and that you get back to skinning the potatoes before the frost comes. That and the fact you’re often broke or in need of money, and that video games are expensive. As a video game fan, once you’ve finished Far Cry or GTA V, you’re itching to start a new adventure. And while things like GTA 5 cheats are free and can provide hours of entertainment, sometimes you want a new game design or new mechanics. Thankfully for the both of us, the explosion of indie developers for PC and mobile means that you can pick up a pretty decent game for a non-wallet-burning price. And to make things even easier for you, here’s a list of ten games for ten dollars or less.
MOUNT AND BLADE, $9.99, Steam
From TaleWorlds entertainment, MOUNT AND BLADE is an open world medieval combat simulator, and when they say “open world” they’re not messing around. The game’s map is massive (though not quite the size of The Elder Scrolls’ SKYRIM) and boasts a variety of terrain types and landforms. Players can choose to be a lone wanderer, or to pick one of the warring factions and own villages and castles to lord your dominance over everyone else. MOUNT AND BLADE also allows for PvP battles consisting of massive armies squaring off against each other. However you want to play, MOUNT AND BLADE provides.
INGRESS, Free, Google Play, App Store
If you’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of POKEMON GO, you might want to consider downloading INGRESS from Niantic Labs. Niantic developed INGRESS with Google but developed POKEMON GO on their own, which is coming out next year. INGRESS is an augmented reality game that makes use of real-world locations and a capture-the-flag mentality. Players are divided into two factions that vie for control of portals found at locations such as monuments and buildings. The lore involves otherworldly energy seeping into our dimension and shadowy organizations that either want to fight the energy or use it for their own gain. Play it if you’re on a college campus a lot.
PORTAL, $9.99, Steam, XBLA
PORTAL hit the market eight years ago as a part of Valve’s ORANGE BOX. Since then it’s become a massive hit and a mainstay of gaming culture. The game makes use of physics-defying puzzles and challenging rooms of death. Plus, the game comes with a level of intrigue and dark humor that serve to put it where it is in gaming culture. PORTAL is on this list because you pretty much have no excuse to not have played it. For the love of God, learn what the internet’s obsession with cake and cubes has been about for the past eight years, and finally learn how to think with portals.
MARVEL: CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS, Free, Google Play, App Store
Collect Marvel characters and pit them against others, a fairly simple setup combined with RPG elements for leveling and questing. There is not so much a plot as there is a concept: a cosmic being known as the Collector has captured various Marvel heroes and villains, storing them in crystals to be used in a contest of champions somewhere beyond time and space. You are a Summoner representing the Earth and have to use the champions to best other Summoners, such as Kang the Conqueror. Check out MARVEL: CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS if you just want to pound the hell out of Captain America for some reason.
FALLOUT SHELTER, Free, Google Play, App Store
FALLOUT SHELTER is a solid time-waster that kind of resembles FARMVILLE. This is Bethesda’s first mobile app game, and it puts you in the shoes of an Overseer in one of Fallout’s many vaults. As the Overseer your job is, appropriately enough, to oversee the construction of the vault and the collection of resources, as well as to maintain the health of the Vault Dwellers. They need a steady stream of food, water, and power to keep thriving after the end of the world, and it doesn’t hurt to send them out into the unforgiving Wasteland for supplies, either. You can also make them bang. Actually, facilitating sexual relations between your Dwellers is a major part of the game, so if you’ve ever fancied yourself a matchmaker then boy, do I have news for you.
THOMAS WAS ALONE, $9.99, Steam, XBLA, PSN
THOMAS WAS ALONE is one of those “video games as art” indie games. It follows the trials and tribulations of various rectangles with names as they try to figure out the meaning of life, or something, while dodging spikes, floating, and navigating anti-gravity. Each rectangle has their own distinct personality and abilities that you’ll need to use to progress to the next level. However, the real star of the game is the narration, which manages to humanize these various multicolored blocks and provide a level of narrative one wouldn’t think possible judging purely by the screenshot. You’ll chuckle, you’ll empathize, and you’ll see things in a new light.
LIMBO, $9.99, Steam, XBLA, PSN
Another now-classic, LIMBO is the grim tale of a boy facing gruesome death in order to find his sister. Playdead’s atmospheric indie puzzler is known for its excellent story and sense of impending doom. LIMBO also makes use of side-scrolling platforming elements to provide additional challenges outside of figuring out how to push a log into a lake to avoid a watery/spidery death. Its distinctive art style manages to blur the line between cute and macabre, and it’s definitely another game you’ll want to make sure you’ve played. Play it to satisfy the brooding, Hot Topic-wearing creature of the night in you!
SPACETEAM, Free, Google Play, App Store
SPACETEAM is a good game for when you’ve got a couple friends over and have been imbibing. Remember in classic sci-fi shows and movies how a ship’s captain shouts technobabble orders and the crew just flips a switch? SPACETEAM uses local WiFi to put you in charge of a spaceship’s journey through the galaxy. In order to ensure the ship’s safety, various sci-fi doodads have to be activated. The problem is that none of them are on your screen, so you have to call out the orders to your shipmates. To combat various space hazards, the game forces you to work together…as a Spaceteam.
THE WALKING DEAD: ROAD TO SURVIVAL, Free, Google Play, App Store
THE WALKING DEAD: ROAD TO SURVIVAL is an RPG/CLASH OF CLANS hybrid that combines turn-based combat with fortress fortification. The game is actually based on the canon of The Walking Dead graphic novels, so you won’t find Norman Reedus here. Or Rick’s hand. The game’s story follows you and two buddies as you arrive at the town of Woodbury (pre-Governor) and then eventually rise to become its leader (post-Governor). During this period you can upgrade the buildings in Woodbury to allow for more survivors (which are needed to train characters) and create more items to be used in battle against the undead and malicious survivors.
UNDERTALE, $9.99, Steam
UNDERTALE is a friendly-looking RPG that bears a striking visual resemblance to EARTHBOUND. It puts the player in the overalls of a young girl that has stumbled upon the hidden world of monsters. The game’s unique selling point is the assertion that no enemy in the game has to die. There are specific ways to spare everyone in the game, but you’re also welcome to brutally murder everything you come across. The player’s choices then dramatically alter the game’s overall story and theme making it a unique, cheap addition to your gaming library. A warning: fans of the game claim that if you’re interested in playing Undertale, it makes for a better experience to go in pretty unaware of how the story develops.