Steam is a veritable treasure trove of old-school and indie delights. This also means there are tons of games you can get on the cheap.
Not everyone wants to spend $60 on the latest and greatest games such as Elden Ring. Maybe your computer’s specs aren’t up to speed and those big-budget AAAs are an impossibility.
Whatever your reasons, let us help you to make the most of that pocket change. Read on to see Steam’s current best games for under $5.
Not found anything you’re interested in on Steam? Take a look instead at ‘The Best Exclusive Games On Epic Game Store’.
1. Vampire Survivors
One of the more recent additions to our list is the ghoulishly great monster slasher that aptly has the tagline ‘Be the bullet hell.’ While still in Early Access, the mechanically simple but deceptively deep game has already passed 100,000 Steam reviews that have settled on an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ score.
Vampire Survivors sees you walking around a screen as an 8-bit vampire slayer as all kinds of ghouls and ghastlies descend on you from all directions. Every power-up you pick up is timer-based, so you don’t actually press any action keys other than those you walk around with.
The satisfying leveling system, endorphine-releasing treasure chests and spectacular escalation as eventually you’re slaying literally hundreds of creatures makes this one of the unexpected hits of the year, and for a measly $3!
2. Plants vs. Zombies: GOTY Edition
It may be getting on a bit in age, and it may have sequels aplenty that ostensibly improve on its compelling formula, but the Game of the Year edition of the original Plants vs. Zombies remains a wonderfully condensed and compelling way to while away anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours.
It’s essentially a tower defence game where you’re defending your garden from the shambling hordes of the undead. Set up plants to shoot and blast zombies as they move towards your house, and be prepared to face off against strange varieties of ghoul like Dancing Zombies, Dolphin Riders and Balloon Zombies (which are naturally vulnerable to cacti).
The Game of the Year edition adds a few fun features like zombie customization, padding out an already great-value package.
3. Among Us
The premise of Among Us one is simple enough. Work through a bunch of mini-tasks together on your spaceship in order to prepare for launch. But something is impeding your imminent blast-off and that something is one of your teammates.
One (or sometimes more) teammates there not only to sabotage the undertaking but to do so in the most heinous way: devious and duplicitous murder. Among Us takes the player through an angst-ridden cycle of paranoia and accusation. Jointly you analyze the hostile environment in an attempt to find the murderous traitor.
The magnificently vibrant space-age graphics give a new twist on the murder mystery theme and the array of cartoonish characters and animations contrast deliciously with the macabre violence that takes place. A rewarding way to spend time with your friends and cheaper than a pint down the pub.
Stacklands is a management-strategy game that plays like a game of ‘village-building’ solitaire and doesn’t cost much more than a pack of cards. Starting as an individual settler you forage, farm and build in real-time to survive and expand your village.
All this is done by stacking cards upon each other in order to instigate interactions between them. Putting a berry card on top of a soil card, for example, will create a berry bush and dragging your villager card to it will start berries generating into a stack until removed.
The game works in phases that require resources to have been stockpiled each cycle to survive and progress. Cards act as ‘real’ entities with livestock jumping around your screen interacting with its surroundings and leaving gifts such as milk and manure; enemy cards, meanwhile, may bump into residents causing battles. This is a pleasingly quirky game that offers a lot for the price.
5. Geometry Dash
Geometry Dash quickly became a controversial household name and its difficulty had the internet generating a lot of conflicting opinions on whether or not it was worth your hard-earned $4.
This insane medley of musical chaos has players frothing at the mouth in apoplectic rage. Some relish the hypnotic challenge this game of melodious timing brings, whilst others angrily denounce it as an impossible feat. Originally released for mobile devices, Geometry Dash was later released on Steam at a similarly low price.
Players must traverse the speedily scrolling terrain, avoiding all manner of deviously placed obstacles in time to the catchy synthesized soundtrack. The world of Geometry Dash soon became self-sustaining, with gamers continuing to create and add their own levels that can be accessed by all – essentially, the few bucks spent on the game just keeps on giving.
6. I’m On Observation Duty
A spooky psychological spot-the-difference with brazen similarities to Five Nights At Freddy’s. At this price, you’d definitely be forgiven for calling this a poor man’s version of the aforementioned game. But there is plenty that I’m On Observation Duty offers in its own right.
In I’m On Observation Duty, you play a night watchman using live surveillance to keep guard of the building and to keep a vigilant track of the anomalies that unfold on your cameras. The mysterious malevolence is kept at bay by reporting these changes as soon as they occur by selecting the appropriate drop-down boxes, a tedious action that actually brings welcome realism to the game.
Furniture moves from one side of the room to the other or strange presences lurk in the shadows. A keen eye and functioning memory are important as missing these insidious on-screen changes result in a quick end to your shift.
7. Seraph’s Last Stand
For under a dollar you can pick up this cheap-as-chips, tough as nails rogue-like, bullet hell shoot ‘em up.
A satiating hark back to the Flash era, in Seraph’s Last Stand you take the form of a 2D outlined wizard, enclosed in a single screen, shooting colored fireworks at hordes of other sorcerers in an increasingly dramatic and vivid fashion.
Each time you die you start from scratch, but with stronger powers and the ability to create and test out a new build. These builds are created by mixing and stacking items you discover, and are the key to making your way onto the global leaderboard. This is a fantastic and addictive little game that will give you more pep and adrenaline than the cup of coffee your dollar would otherwise go towards.
Have you got a bigger budget? Spend some time playing Elden Ring and ‘Don’t Miss These Optional Bosses’. Craving some surreal action instead? Click here to read ‘Vegetarians Beware: Golden Light Is A Meat-Filled Fever Dream of An FPS’