Steam Summer Picnic sale is all about tasty games

— 4:38 PM on June 23, 2016

I'm sorry it's been so long since the last news post. I had to run and chase my wallet, it heard the words "Steam Summer Picnic Sale" and it stormed off. I managed to grab it by the tip of the credit card, and now it's snarling angry noises at me. I can understand why, as the sale has quite a handful of great deals on many popular titles. Let's take a good look at what's on offer.

Virtual reality

VR is all the rage now, and Valve is enticing buyers of its Vive headset with discounts on VR titles.

  • Cloudlands: VR Minigolf, $9.99. Miniature golf is as good an idea as any for a virtual reality game, and this title should offer you an experience that doesn't involve constantly ball-fetching treks or hurling insults at lawn gnomes. Okay, maybe that last part is still present.
  • Audioshield, $14.99. You fight music. Yes, really. One boxing glove of each color, speakers blasting notes from your own tunes at you, and you punch them away. Sounds addictive, and I'd love to get this so I could punch dubstep to death. The problem is, I'd have to listen to it in the process.
  • Final Approach, $17.49. If you think "Flight Control in VR," you're not too far off. Just try to not crash too many passenger jets.
  • The Gallery EP1: Call of the Starseed, $23.99. Not every VR experience has to be about addictive but otherwise relatively simple games. Call of the Starseed is a thriller-fantasy exploration and puzzle-solving game. A tense game and a VR headset sound like two things that were practically born to marry. We should note that the soundtrack was penned by Jeremy Soule, composer of epic soundtracks in games such as Icewind Dale.

Of course, despite VR being the latest craze, that doesn't that "normal" games suddenly got any less interesting. Steam has about three Kardashian buttloads of sales spread across multiple categories.


  • Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, $24.99 or $50.24 for the game and the expansion pass. Despite all the positive feedback and sales that Witcher 3 generated, I will say the game is still underrated. Yours truly played it to the end, and it's simply one of the best games ever. Moreover, the expansions are entire games in themselves, unlike the usual cash-grabs that othEr compAnies are so famous for.
  • Banner Saga 2, $15.99. Looking for something a little off the beaten path? Banner Saga 2 is a story-driven role-playing game, with an emphasis on battlefield tactics and beautiful hand-drawn graphics.
  • Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, $20.09. This title took its time coming to the PC, but Capcom's action-RPG arrived with a loud and clear bang.
  • Fallout 4, $29.99. This game probably needs no introduction. Sink your hours into the Commonwealth wasteland, killing Super Mutants and crafting guns. Beware the Institute, though.
  • Darkest Dungeon, $14.99. A "rogue-like" RPG that pits the players not only against dungeons full of dangerous monsters, but also against hunger, disease, and sheer terror. The game's combat system is turn-based, and the art is hand-drawn. Certainly enticing.
  • This War of Mine, $4.99. We've all played zillions of war games where we're the hero, shooting away at bad guys like war itself was going out of style. This War of Mine puts the shoe firmly on the other foot, putting the player in control of a ragtag band of survivors desperately trying to find food and medicine to survive. It sounds like a grueling trip, and a very interesting one at that.

First-person shooters

  • Doom, $35.99. The 2016 Doom is here, and have it on my authority: it's really good. Essentially, Bethesda managed the near-impossible task of striking a balance between old-style shooting and modern gameplay. Totally worth the asking price.
  • ArmA 3, $19.99. For those that want a more realistic shooting experience short of grabbing an actual assault rifle, there's ArmA 3. The series is long-known for its realistic take on the modern FPS, and ArmA 3 looks to please both simulation buffs and FPS fans alike.
  • Payday 2, $5.00. Be the bad guy for once. Rob banks, shoot cops, make money, rob banks, shoot cops while cooking meth, spend money on guns to rob banks. All in a day's work, and it's insanely addictive. You've been warned. Just make sure to bring some friends along, the game truly shines with four-person co-op.


  • Grim Dawn $18.74. I'm leading this section with this game because it really is that good. Made by the same people that developed the criminally-overlooked Titan Quest, Grim Dawn is everything good and more about an action-RPG. Just don't come complaining when you suddenly realize you sunk six months into it.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider, $38.99. Lara Croft is the modern-day Indiana Jones, and in all the best ways. The latest game in the series has the protagonist searching for the Lost City of Kitezh, on the hunt for the secret of immortality. The Siberian wastes are friends of no-one, though, and she must do battle with the environment and her enemies in equal measure.
  • Shadow of Mordor (Game of the Year edition), $12.49. This title is also most definitely in the "a bit overlooked" bin. Tolkien setup and characters? Check. A human/wraith hybrid set out to kill orcs? Check. Lots of orcs just asking to be slaughtered in a dozen interesting ways? Definitely check. That's all you need to know. The game's excellent technical execution and copious amounts of lore are icing on the cake, too.
  • Gauntlet Slayer Edition, $4.99. If you're old enough to have played the original Gauntlet, then you know what the remake title is about. For those that aren't, it's a top-down action game pitting a team of players against endless hordes or monsters, with an emphasis on crowd control and teamwork. Addictive, and recommended.
  • Orcs Must Die 2, $3.74. If you're not content with killing orcs in Shadow of Mordor, you can quench your thirst in this title. A mix of a tower defense with an FPS, Orcs Must Die 2 is original and addictive. Best played with a friend.


  • XCOM 2, $35.99. The XCOM series needs little introduction, nor does the latest entry in the series. The latest title builds on the first game with a breathtaking pace and a host of new enemies.
  • Banished, $6.79. Hi, my name is Bruno, and I'm part of the BAA, the Banished Addicts Anonymous club. The premise is simple: you get a handful of settlers, a cart with a few tools, and you have to build a settlement and survive. It's a much trickier game than it appears at first sight. The web of dependencies built by resource gathering and refinement is complex, and it's very easy to have it fall apart. An all-time favorite timesink of mine.
  • Project Cars, $14.99. Who could forget about the best racing simulator in many a year? Project Cars is everything that the Forza and Gran Turismo series are, and a lot more. Plus, it's a great game to show off if you have a VR headset.
  • Metroidvania bundle, $25.47. Last but not least, here's our out-of-left-field choice. The bundle includes five titles, and me and Zak elected the excellent Strider remake and the unique-looking Salt and Sanctuary as personal picks.

Whew, that was a lot of of games. Just mind your wallet during the next couple weeks, it may end up astray like mine did. If we missed any noteworthy deals, go ahead and post them in the comments section below.

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