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Steam Autumn Sale day 1: the best games, the best deals


Like a seasonal shower, Steam’s Autumn Sale is suddenly upon us, drenching us in bargains. Some games are up to 75% cheaper than usual, but which of these is worth your money? Fortunately, you’re friends with the PCGamesN team, and that league of extraordinary gamers are just the fellows to turn to in times like this. So you sit down, you click through, you examine their comprehensive list of the day’s deals and and you absorb their collective wisdom.

BUT FIRST before you even think of opening your wallet, don’t forget to read our advice on how to survive a Steam sale. If you really can’t bear to open another link, then let me state the first and the most important rule of all Steam sales right here, right now:

Even if a game is reduced in price immediately, it may well be reduced
even further during Steam’s daily deals.

All right, let’s have a look at what’s on offer.

The mainstream games

XCOM -33%
UK price: £20.09
US price: $33.49

Buy. It’s brilliant. A really heartening turn-based strategy remake of a
PC classic, that is acceptably streamlined but also credibly tough. You
take over XCom, the agency tasked with defending the planet from alien
invasion. It’s split between two levels – a strategic level in which you
research new tech and develop your squad, and the tactical level where
you shoot aliens in the face. I loved every minute of it and would
recommend it to anyone – even players that don’t enjoy strategy games.

What this guy said! XCOM is a worthy successor to the classic, proving
as much spectacles as there is heartbreak. You will get attached to your
squad. You will almost certainly have to watch the exact same squad get
slaughtered. You will also probably have to sacrifice a country or two.
But these are tough times, as soon as you understand the scale of the

All of the above is going to happen. But that’s OK.

Magic: The Gathering – Duels of the Planeswalkers -50%
UK price: £3.39
US price: $4.99

I tried to get into this after is recommended to me by a friend. It’s
Magic: The Gathering, but electric, so the core mechanics are actually
great. But I found the PC version quite frustrating – it feels like a
lot of the interface decisions were made for the tablet version, and the
PC version suffers a bit as a result. Also, it’s a bit lonely playing
on your own, so if you’re buying it, get it with a friend.

I don’t have friends though. So there.

The Walking Dead -50%
UK price: £10.49
US price: $12.49

The Walking Dead is one of the best games I’ve played all year and may
well be one of the best told stories in games in years. Also, unlike the
television series, things happen! Terrible, terrible things.

Tim: I am halfway through this and it’s bloody brilliant. Bloody as well. And if anyone spoils it I’ll be sad.

I’ve still got to play episode four/five but man has this got me good.
It left me weeping in a corner after one episode. Imagine someone
punching you in the heart when you least expect it, every time you feel
safe. That’s the Walking Dead.

Darksiders II -66%
UK price: £11.89
US price: $16.99

Tim: I have not played this, but someone once described it to me as a
goth Zelda. I think that’s probably why I haven’t played it.

I own both this and the original, but I have failed to play them yet .
It’s in my famous “70% list”. That’s the 70% of games in my Steam
library I haven’t played yet. Don’t judge me.

Jules: I’m playing through Darksiders one at the moment. It’s brill. From what I’ve heard Darksiders 2 improves on that in every way.

Age of Empires III -75%
UK price: £7.49
US price: $9.99

Age of Empires III committed sacrilege in the eyes of a lot of Age of
Empires fans by breaking from the formula set in the first two games.
Not only is it focused on a different historical era, meaning you’ll be
doing more with cannons and redcoats than with swords and armor, it also
overturns a lot of the gameplay conventions from one and two. The
biggest change, in keeping with the colonial theme, is that you now have
a “home city” that persists between games and upgrades via experience.
It has several buildings, each with different sorts of cards, and once
you hit a certain experience threshhold you can order a shipment from
the homeland to help you win your current game.

It was a daring change and one I rather like. This may not be the best of the Age games (Mythology, remember?), but it remains an interesting RTS with some bold new ideas for the final game in a storied franchise.

Tim: I’d like to point out that Rob is wrong and that Age of Empires 3 is bad.

Terraria – 66%
UK price: £2.03
US price: $3.39

I have a love / hate relationship with Terraria. It’s
Minecraft-meets-Metroid (that’s an action platformer on that one console
with all the plumbers), and there’s at once absolutely nothing to do in
Terraria, and everything to do. When you start out you have a few basic
items, like your pick and your hammer, and you’re on the surface of a
randomly generated world. By day there’s a few weak enemies bumming
around, but by night there’s hordes of zombies. There’s also miles and
miles (and miles) of caves below you to explore, filled with more exotic

twist is that you can craft tons of different items from items and
minerals you find around the world. You might at some point find
yourself firing a death-ray at some giant underground demon. You can
also play co-op, and invite a friend into your world to help you build
and explore. There’s really no point to Terraria, except in exploring,
crafting, and discovery. I was bored to tears… then I played like 80
hours in a week. At this price, it’s absolutely something worth trying

The indie games

Sanctum -75%
UK price: £1.74
US price: $2.49

Sanctum is a nice little mix up of the classic tower defence formula.
Rather than the traditional top down view that has you placing turrets
from your ivory tower, you’re in the thick of it playing from an
first-person perspective. It’s a lot of fun and the later levels do
become challenging. I don’t think it bests Defense Grid for being the
king of the tower defense games but it will suck up a lot of hours if
you let it.

World of Goo -75%
UK price: £1.74
US price: $2.49

Tim: Does anyone not own this yet? It’s a wonderful little puzzle game in
which you stretch sentient oil things to make structures like bridges.
There’s a level set in a creatures gut that has an amazing happy ending
that I don’t want to spoil.

I own this for my tablet, but it’s all the same. You can actually spend
a lot longer than you planned playing this puzzle game due to it’s
addictiveness. Every level introduces a new challenge, usually giving
you a clue at the start.

Every level has it’s “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh” moments which I think releases more endorphins than I can handle.

Paul: I am the person who does not own this.

Audiosurf -75%
UK price: £1.49
US price: $2.49

Tim: A rhythm action game that uses your MP3 collection to generate the
tracks. Lots of people seem to really like it, but I’ve been left a bit
cold by it. I’m a huge fan of the Rock Band games, and I love it when
that game completely overtakes your consciousness – that feeling when
you do get the sense that you’re in control of the music. For me,
Audiosurf never managed to create that feeling.

This is actually a vital tool for judging the merits of music. It’s all
well and good thinking “Wow, this song is great!”, but it has to pass
the Audiosurf test. Depending on how well I do while riding out the song
in the game, will directly influence the amount of merit I give it.

But I am *that* bonkers.

Fortune Summoners -50%
UK price: £6.49
US price: $9.99

I’ve not played Fortune Summoners but there was a lot of bad words said
about it at launch. Though, the dialogue was localised by the people
who did the fab work on Recettear, Carpe Fulger. So good dialogue/naff
game, allegedly.

Paul: I’m hardly sold.

Qube -75%
UK price: £2.99
US price: $3.74

Qube got a lot of stick on release for being a poor man’s Portal,
lacking the polish of Valve’s puzzler. Well, it’s now only £3 so
perfectly priced for poor men. Not played this one either, I’m afraid.

E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy -75%
UK price: £1.24
US price: $2.49

Paul: I already know that the rest of the team is looking at me and expecting me to write something about this, after I admitted that I’d become something of a fan
of this rather eclectic experiment in game design. Even at £1.24, I
still wouldn’t recommend E.Y.E. to just anyone, as it’s mechanics are
wobbly and it has one of the most opaque introductions in PC gaming.
Still, if you want to take a chance on a very unusual, strangely
beautiful and often slightly broken FPS/RPG hybrid that mixes cyberpunk
concepts with psionics, there is no better time than now, when it’s
cheaper than a bag of peanuts.

Waves -75%
UK price: £1.74
US price: $2.49

Tim: My mate Rob Hale made this, and you should totally buy it. Also, it is a good twin stick shooter.

Cave Story+ -75%
UK price: £1.74
US price: $2.49

Cave Story is a pretty good platform adventure at any price, but for so
few pennies it’s pretty much a must-buy for every gamer out there who
still holds a candle for Castlevania and Metroid. It’s not often we get
to see titles like this on the PC and, since I’m all for diversity, you
should buy this and help to send a message. C’mon, it’s a pretty cheap
message to send.

Krater -66%
UK price: £4.07
US price: $5.09

Jules: I reviewed Krater a while back for Some Other Site
and it left me conflicted. Fatshark have developed seemingly huge,
colourful ARPG with an endearing art style – this an apocalyptic world
where every machine has been recycled at least twice, expect
steam-powered guns, and hammers made from street signs – and it has one
of the best scores of the past year. However, it was a bit of a mess to
play. Combat was simple and quickly became repetitive, the story was
pulp and didn’t draw you in, and the permadeath mechanic felt out of
place – in a genre where permadeath should really fit in.

all said, I was playing a press version prior to release and since then
Fatshark have been releasing regular, large patches. The most recent of
which added much-needed co-op. So for £4 this is a cautious

Limbo -75%
UK price: £1.74
US price: $2.49

You know, even at this price I’m still hesitant to recommend Limbo. At
times it’s a beautifully haunting game, an extraordinarily dark
experience, but for me it’s also a slightly tedious process of trial and
error, a puzzle platformer that just likes to punish you. It’s also
over too soon and has absolutely no replay value.

Buy this game and then do the following. Get a few mates round, and
have a bets on who can get through the game with the least amount of
deaths. To increase the fun, add alcohol.



(And with that, I think we’re done.)