In today's gaming landscape where so many of the must-have new releases launch at 60 dollars, it's great that the PC is loaded with a ton of affordable alternatives. There are a lot of great games out there that cost less than twenty bucks apiece. Who cares about Battlefield 3 when we can get three, four, five, or even more games for the same price? True diamonds, but with a cubic zirconia price tag, these games span a variety of genres, from turn-based strategy to first person shooters to tower defense. They’re all great games, and all cost less than twenty Washingtons.
Bastion - $14.99
The affecting narration and strange world turns Bastion from a simple Diablo clone to something deeper and, shall we say, philosophical?
From Dust - $14.99 (on Steam)
Get your Populus jones going with From Dust. Lead your ragtag tribe to safety and glory by altering terrain to create pathways, defenses and structures.
Greed - $9.99 on Steam or $29.97 for the 4-pack of multiplayer goodness
Greed, Corp offers turn-based strategy with a twist: each turn, part of your little world destroys itself as you and your opponent gather resources. Can you win before your world crashes to oblivion?
Memoir '44 Online - Free Download from Steam
This is a faithful recreation of the classic Days of Wonders wargame lite. Re-enact famous World War II scenarios in online tournaments. The first few games are free, but the cost to keep playing is pretty low.
Orcs Must Die - $14.99
This is another take on a combination shooter and tower defense game, with a touch of light humor. Build a variety of orc-murdering traps as you try to defend your castle from the rampaging hordes.
Runespell - $9.99
As you wander a hostile world, you enter into battle and settle your differences by…playing poker. It sounds goofy, but works well in a Puzzle Quest kind of way.
Sins of a Solar Empire - $14.99 (includes all expansions)
This isn't a new game, but it's new to Steam. Play one of the best RTS games in the past several years, as you build your space empire, conquer star systems and eventually rule the galaxy.
Section 8: Prejudice - $14.99
Tired of ordinary guns? Section 8: Prejudice is what Unreal Tournament 3 should have been. Engage in conquest or assault scenarios across lush maps in your power armor. Complete side missions as you fight for objectives. You'll need to hone group tactics to win.
Sanctum - $9.99 for the base game; $29.99 for the 4-pack
More tower defense, mixed with first person shooter goodness. You can play alone or co-op with friends as you build defenses and slow down enemy aliens, all the while blasting away with weapons you upgrade over time.
Spectromancer: Truth & Beauty - $9.99
A deck-building adventure game that takes you into a strange world where you fight elves in one battle, then find yourself facing clockwork monsters the next battle. Absorbing, but a little random, since you don't control your deck directly.
Super Meat Boy - $14.99
A loving homage to 8-bit platformers, Super Meat Boy packs in everything you know and love from the NES era: pixel perfect platforming, a rocking chiptune inspired soundtrack, and hours and hours of keyboard and gamepad wrecking challenge.
Limbo - $9.99
A modern take on the platformer, Limbo's minimalistic sensibilities extend beyond its stark, somber, and striking grayscale visuals. Combining physics and puzzle elements, Limbo explores a haunting world filled with giant spiders and deadly traps, using nothing but running, jumping, pushing, and pulling.
The Binding of Isaac - $4.99
The Super Meat Boy team is back, bringing their trademark cutesque art style and punishing difficulty to another retro-styled indie gem. The Binding of Isaac is a tough game to categorize, cramming a randomly generated dungeon crawler and a real-time top-down shooter into a neat action-packed The Legend of Zelda themed package.
Dungeons of Dredmor - $4.99
Nothing says serious like the rogue-like genre, a traditionally methodical, slow-paced genre where death is permanent and ever-present. Enter Dungeons of Dredmor. This fun and funky take on the dungeon crawler lightens it up a bit with a Monkey Island style aesthetic, replete with vibrant cartoony sprites and hilarious text descriptions.
Capsized - $9.99
Much like Bastion, Capsized provides the perfect mix of gorgeous hand-drawn 2D art and addictive action. Capsized's grappling hook, gravity gun, and jetpack make it a joy to explore and manipulate its expansive levels, and a wide variety of weapons—from shotguns, to rockets, to flamethrowers—keeps combat fun throughout.
Gemini Rue - $9.99
A sharply-written futuristic noir mystery, Gemini Rue is evocative of such works as Blade Runner and Cowboy Bebop. A callback to the finely crafted adventure games of the VGA era, Gemini Rue's dark and gritty world is brought to life with top-notch voice acting, an outstanding musical score, and organic and streamlined puzzle design.
Dungeon Defenders - $14.99
Back in the middle ages, who would have known just how fun dungeons would turn out to be? Equal parts Orcs Must Die and Castle Crashers, the colorful cel-shaded Dungeon Defenders is a hybrid, class-based, multiplayer focused tower defense, hack-n-slasher.
Renegade Ops - $14.99
Like exploding stuff? Like ridiculous over-the-top action movie tropes? Like completely chaotic multiplayer madness? Then Renegade Ops is the game for you! Despite its generic and forgettable title, this top-down arcade style shooter is one of the most action-packed and straight-up fun games we've played in awhile.
Magicka - $9.99
Like exploding your friends? Like ridiculous-sounding fake Swedish? Like completely chaotic multiplayer madness? Then Magicka is the game for you! This wildly imaginative game puts the forces of Magic in your hands, letting you create a nearly endless amount of spell effects by combining 8 different arcane elements. This focus on experimentation makes Magicka one of the most unique, memorable, and hilariously fun experiences—especially with 4 players.
Terraria - $9.99
Create, destroy, explore, adventure, Terraria lets you do all these things…and more! Affectionately (or derisively, depending on who you ask) dubbed a 2D Minecraft, Terraria has all the freedom of an open sandbox, but also concrete objectives if you prefer a more traditional gaming experience.