THE PCG Q&A
Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- What's the best game you ever received as a holiday gift?
- What's your favorite line of dialogue in a game?
- What TV show would you make interactive?
There's a foolish part of us that, no matter how many times it's proved wrong, assumes that more expensive things will definitely 100% be better than cheap things. Our brain is basically just having the wine conversation from Black Books every time we try to make a purchasing decision.
There are plenty of videogames that cost less than a nice lunch and yet are an absolute blast to play. Games like Super Hexagon, One Finger Death Punch, Cargo Commander, Reigns, or Devil Daggers to name just a few. Our weekend question is this: What's a cheap game that's way better than its price led you to expect? Here are some of our answers, let us know yours in the comments below.
Samuel Roberts: Freedom Planet
In 2015 I bought a game that's a bit like Sonic but not Sonic, and it cost me £5.49, which is less than I spent on one of my lunches this week. I played it for about three or four hours, and it's probably better than many of the Sonic games, even though I found the levels too short. That's one of my Steam punts that actually paid off—in examining my inbox for Steam purchases in answer to this question, I find a graveyard of purchases for games I never even touched. Is Crossing Souls good? Is Ruiner good? I bought both while they were on sale, and never played them. Freedom Planet is a rare one-off.
Tom Senior: Darksiders 2
I wasn't expecting much from Darksiders 2 at all. The first game was a simple but entertaining third-person hack-and-slash adventure with a colourful hero. For some reason the second game really grabbed me. There's a nice variety to the environments, the combat is satisfying, the light loot system is just engaging enough to be worthwhile, and it's fun to play as the embodiment of death on a quest to save the universe. Sometimes going into a game with no expectations can make it much more enjoyable. I ended up playing through Darksiders 2 twice because I wanted to enjoy that easygoing adventuring feel once again.
Christopher Livingston: Ravenfield
When I first tried Ravenfield it was free on itch.io, and it just looked like an indie Battlefield-style shooter with weird, blocky characters that might be fun to play with for a few minutes before forgetting it forever. But it's great! Once I started playing I had a hard time stopping. It's on Steam now in Early Access for $15, and that's well worth it. Ravenfield is good fun and there are hundreds and hundreds of mods for it in the Steam Workshop too.
Andy Chalk: Retrovirus
Retrovirus is Descent by way of Tron 2.0. You're an anti-virus "Agent" moving through a very neon world inside a PC, battling to destroy the corruption that threatens to tear it all apart. It's a bit dated now (it came out in 2013) but still looks good, the soundtrack is boppin', there's some clever writing and voice acting, and you can even dig into a hidden story of cybercrime that has no real bearing on the game but adds a very cool layer of "real world" intrigue atop the 6DOF action. It's a really good shooter, especially for a small indie team, and especially for the price: It was just $20 at launch, which was startlingly cheap for all it offered, and now it's down to $10. I can't make a solo run to Taco Bell without spending more than that.
Jody Macgregor: Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015
A friend bought Shower With Your Dad Simulator for me as a joke present because it was on sale for 69 cents, and yes it was nice. You're a small boy in a public shower situation and you have to make sure to get in the shower next to the correct naked pixel father or be berated in big red letters WRONG DAD. The thing is, if you play well enough it opens up into a completely different game—and this is a spoiler for a game I didn't expect would be spoilable—that involves a motorbike chase and ninjas. It turned out to be a much stranger and funnier game than I gave it credit for and even if it's not on sale it still costs like a buck and is worth it.