More Steam Summer Sale gems: 15 great games under $5

During Valve's Steam Summer sale, a veritable legion of top-notch PC games can be yours for under $5 a pop.

steam sale
A cornucopia of riches

Valve’s Steam Summer Sales are a great time to pick up top-notch PC games for rock-bottom prices. Case in point: We’ve already sifted through the 13,000-plus games being sold at a discount during the Steam Summer Picnic Sale to highlight 10 delightful games under $10 and 10 great game bundles that save you even more money.

But we can go deeper. We can go cheaper.

We spent hours sifting through the Summer Sale’s stock to create this hand-picked list of 15 great games that cost less than a fiver. These may not cost much, but they each kick a lot of ass.

mount and blade
Mount and Blade: Warband

Mount and Blade: Warband ($4.99 during the sale) is ostensibly an RPG, and an interesting one that at, but the real appeal here is the massive 64-player multiplayer battles, which still draw gamers in en masse. The medieval weapon-based combat is nuanced, brutal, and deeply satisfying. It’ll hook you for hours on its own, then hook you for life once you discover the deep library of mods available for the game.

Mount and Blade’s graphics are starting to show their age, but the gameplay goodness outshines the aesthetics, and the ho-hum looks mean that the game will run on a wide range of PCs.

neo scavenger
Neo Scavenger

Speaking of ugly, brutal, and wonderful games, fans of tough experiences will want to check out Neo Scavenger ($4.94 during the sale).

You wake up in a wasteland with no idea what’s going on, and must survive long enough to figure out the randomized world. Saying that’s harder than it sounds would be an understatement. The game’s mechanics don’t let up, with the constant threats of hunger, weather exposure, dehydration, and devastatingly dirty no-holds-barred combat looming. The fighting, wound system, and inventory are all gloriously, sometimes frustratingly realistic. And did I mention that when you die, you stay dead, and have to start over? There aren’t even experience points in the game—you just learn how to play it better.

Neo Scavenger won’t be for everyone. But if you like it, you’ll love it, and it’s worth rolling the dice when the game’s selling for under $5. The combat system alone is worth it.

saints row iv
Saints Row IV

Saints Row IV ($4.99 during the sale) is a Grand Theft Auto-esque open world game, but with a goofy sense of humor that manifests itself in aliens, wild superpowers, and a ridiculous (and ridiculously awesome) dubstep gun. Oh, and you’re playing as the President of the United States.

It’s a blast. If you haven’t picked it up yet, there’s a lot to like for $5. And its standalone Saints Row: Gat out of Hell expansion is going for $3.74 during the sale, too. Your overarching goal in that one is to shoot the devil in his face.

battleblock theater
BattleBlock Theater

Another silly game with just plain fun gameplay mechanics, BattleBlock Theater ($2.99 during the sale) forces you to perform onstage for an audience of evil technological cats that have captured hundreds of your pals. This top-notch platformer will put a big smile on your face—especially if you’re playing with friends. BattleBlock Theater features a wonderful cooperative experience, complete with local “couch” co-op support. There’s a ton of replayability here, especially with the handy level editor that ships with the game.

this war of mine
This War of Mine

This War of Mine ($4.99 during the sale) puts you in the shoes of civilians simply trying to survive in a war-torn land. It’s not “fun” in the classical sense. But This War of Mine is stark, sobering, eye-opening, and incredibly well assembled. It’s the antithesis of Call of Duty, and well worth your time.

darksiders
Darksiders

In Darksiders ($3.99 during the sale) you play as War, a Horseman of the Apocalypse tricked into prematurely kicking off Armageddon and delivering earth to the forces of evil. You’re trying to set things right and clear your name, mostly by solving puzzles and kicking the asses of angels, demons, and monsters. It’s a superb action-adventure game—sort of like a more mature version of The Legend of Zelda.

If you try it and like it, the just-as-stellar Darksiders 2 is going for $5.99 during the Summer Sale, or you can buy both in a $7.49 Darksiders franchise pack.

batman arkham city
Batman: Arkham City GOTY

Rocksteady’s superb Batman series redefined what superhero games can be, and Arkham City was the best of the bunch. Picking up Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition (which includes all of the game’s DLC) for $5 is a steal.

brothers
Brothers—A Tale of Two Sons

Come with a controller, try to play the whole thing in one three-ish hour burst, and prepare to cry. Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons ($1.49 during the sale) is one of the most cinematic and emotional games ever created. The unique control scheme that has you directing both brothers simultaneously using the two sticks on your gamepad only intensifies the connection.

the swapper
The Swapper

How can a game that costs a mere $2.99 during the sale be this gorgeous? Even better, The Swapper’s brilliant puzzles and philosophical narrative are just as delicious as the visuals. This sci-fi game where you create clones and jump from body to body is one of the best puzzle games in recent memory.

shadow warrior
Shadow Warrior

Sometimes you don’t want to think, though. Sometimes you just want to shoot things and laugh at hilariously inappropriate jokes.

Shadow Warrior ($3.99 during the sale) fits that bill perfectly, with fast-paced shooting, excellent swordplay, and ludicrous dialogue. It’s a superb first-person shooter with an old-school vibe, and hopping on this now will let you know whether you should bother with Shadow Warrior 2 when it launches later this year.

metro 2033
Metro Redux series

Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light are tense, deeply atmospheric first-person shooters set in the subways of post-apocalyptic Russia—until you’re drawn into the wastelands left on the surface. These are some of my favorite story-driven shooters of all time, with a cool STALKER-like vibe. The recently released Redux versions polish up each game with more fetching visuals.

The games are $4.99 a pop during the Summer Sale. If you can only afford one, grab Metro 2033 first.

witcher 2
Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings

Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings ($2.99 during the Summer Sale), meanwhile, offers a gritty, grim-filled take on traditional fantasy, with a world rife with mud, squalor, and war. This ain’t The Lord of the Rings, and that’s a good thing—stepping into Geralt of Rivia’s shoes is a pleasure uniquely its own.

The game’s deep lore, unique character, and intricate combat mechanics all stun, but the most noteworthy feature is how much you can shape the world with your decisions. One choice at the end of the first chapter completely changes the second half of the game—the world, the story, the characters you talk to, everything.

Witcher 2 was largely considered a star of the role-playing genre, at least until the point that Witcher 3: Wild Hunt came along as one of the best games of all time. That game is on sale for $25 during the Summer Sale too, but if that’s too rich for your wallet, Witcher 2 still holds up wonderfully.

rogue legacy
Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy ($2.99 during the sale) puts a fun spin on the “rogue-like” genre. As your brave avatar sets off into a dangerous castle, determined to reclaim your family’s legacy, he or she will die. And unlike in many roguelike games, she will stay dead. But in Rogue Legacy, your children continue your quest—every time you die, you get to keep all the items and gold you’ve accumulated over your campaign, and choose from one of three children with randomized classes and skills for your next run. Some could be giants, some could be dwarves, some could be color-blind or have vertigo.

It’s a lot of fun, and the castle’s layout randomly changes with each run. This is one of the games I refuse to uninstall from my system—it’s perfect for long runs or quick-and-dirty five-minute playthroughs.

payday 2
Payday 2

The long-lasting appeal of Payday 2 ($5 during the sale) lies in its cooperative play, in which you and three buddies assume the role of robbers pulling off heists that range from simple corner store robberies to epic bank vault thefts. You can lose yourself for hours in this game, especially if you have a team of friends to play with, and you can customize your characters with loot earned from your adventures.

Payday 2’s reputation took a bit of a hit with the community when the developer introduced pay-to-win elements, but the game’s publisher recently bought the title and eliminated those completely. There’s no reason to avoid this game.

broken age
Double Fine games

Double Fine, the studio formed by legendary game designer Tim Schafer, has a (deserved) reputation for creating charming, beautiful, and fun games that are a little rough around the edges. That makes the Steam Summer Sale a great low-risk time to try Double Fine games out.

All of the studio’s titles are discounted for the duration of the sale, but the recent flawed gems in particular—Broken Age (pictured), Costume Quest, and Massive Chalice—stand out from the pack. None of them are perfect, but each is wonderful and heart-filled in its own right. They’re each selling for $5 or less for the duration of the sale. Costume Quest is just a buck!

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But wait, there's more!

We’re done with this roundup, but if you’re still looking for even more low-cost gaming goodness, be sure to check out PCWorld’s Steam Summer Sale guides to 10 great gaming bundles that will save you even more money and 10 delightful games under $10. There’s not a stinker in the bunch, and they’re all dirt cheap.