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Budget Gamers Rejoice! $1 or Less for Hidden Gems on Steam

Space Farmers game art
Darron Dixon
Darron Dixon
Jan 24, 2018 • 6 min read • Posted in Reviews


As a parent and husband, I can empathize with entertainment budgets being tight. That is why I wanted to make a list for those who might not be able to spend much of their money on video games. Join me in my search for hidden gems.

I hope you find something you like out of the games highlighted. Happy gaming!
GameStop, Inc.

Steam and Metal



Steam and Metal is a shoot ‘em up, or shmup, as fans of the genre referred to it, as someone who is a beginner in the genre I’ve been intimidated on where to start.

The first thing that intrigued me about it was the steampunk aesthetic and the artwork scenes that appear during the story sections before stages. Controls were responsive enough from the 30 minutes of play time I logged with it, although I was confused which buttons did what as the layout seems to only be for keyboard and mouse.

Once you play for a few minutes it becomes easy to discern the majority of the controls; it took me the longest to figure out how to use a special attack. As someone relatively new to the genre, the difficulty felt fair and I was able to get to stage 4 with only losing all my lives a few times. This isn't much of a problem in the game however since you start at the beginning of the stage you're currently on instead of restarting from the beginning each time.

I felt the music fit the mood pretty well for the game, neither blowing me away or coming off as lackluster. It definitely frustrated me, but I see myself going back and trying to beat all the stages at least once. It scratches the "just one more" itch that I get now and again.

I would recommend Steam and Metal for anyone who likes arcade games or wants to get into the shmup genre. I'm not sure it has a high enough difficulty to appeal to veterans though.



Steam and Metal

DashBored



DashBored is a fun, little RPGMaker game that clearly has some issues. The frame rate is not consistent, especially when sprinting but of course, your mileage may vary. Battles are quite tedious in the beginning as you are by yourself and there can be 6-7 enemies on screen at once, meaning you must wait for each one to attack or defend before you can start the next turn.

I also want to add that if you do decide to purchase DashBored for yourself, be sure to gain a level or two in the beginning before the boss fight or you could risk having to do the introduction again as I did.

While I have only mentioned the faults so far, there are some good qualities to this game. The story is interesting and makes me want to play more than the 40 minutes I put into it to find out what exactly is happening and to meet more characters in the game. Another pro is the artwork and music, both perfectly fitting the strange atmosphere within DashBored. Be aware that the strangeness comment is not meant negatively, I quite like it because it reminds me of another small RPGMaker game I enjoyed called "Suits: The Business RPG."

Both DashBored and Suits remind of Earthbound with their charming humor and weird vibes. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of RPGs, especially ones that venture off the beaten path.



DashBored

Dungeon Marathon



Dungeon Marathon took me by surprise when browsing for what games to include, an action RPG/dungeon crawler hybrid that has no combat whatsoever. Instead, you run through each floor avoiding enemies and collecting apples that you need to restore your continually falling health as well as to open the next floor. You can obtain money in the dungeons to purchase potions or permanent stat upgrades, which is where the RPG feel comes in.

There are also different classes to choose from once you unlock them, although I did not see a significant enough difference between them to feel like I had to select specific ones to advance on any given floor. The biggest issue in my 40 minutes of playing was it being far too easy to back out to the overworld hub; thankfully the issue is mitigated by being able to select whichever floor you were on again.

The music is not anything to write home about but the graphics certainly remind me of games such as Diablo, which to me is a good thing. If you're a fan of games thinking outside the box, definitely give this a shot. However, if you are still on the fence, it might be best to wait for it to be bundled.



Dungeon Marathon

Space Farmers



Space Farmers is the weakest entry of the games mentioned in this article; it's a multiplayer only action game that mixes in some mundane puzzles along the way. Despite this, it could be fun if played with a close friend. I played it with my wife, and we enjoyed ourselves despite having some difficulty figuring out the controls.
We "finished" the game in about 40 minutes. There are a ton of levels in the game though so I would keep that in mind.

Another plus is that you receive two copies when you purchase it, meaning your friend would not have to buy their own copy just to play with you.

It's also impressive that it includes split-screen, online, and LAN multiplayer. Graphics are bare-bones as are the sounds, unfortunately.



Space Farmers

Science Girls



Science Girls is an interesting mix of visual novel and turn-based RPG battles. All opinions about this game are my wife’s, as she was the one who played this title. While originally only planning to play for 60 minutes, she ended up spending 90 minutes on it. This is a good indicator that the game is worth your time from the start, even before getting into the details.

The game runs well, for the most part, maybe a few instances of stuttering but not enough to ruin your experience. It has a leveling system that is simple, but it works well for what it is. The ability to save at any time is also another plus, showing its visual novel side.

In the beginning, you are given some science-related questions that give you a taste for the kind of choices you can make in the game. Dialogue is cute but also intelligent, as are the character’s personalities. The battle system is addictive albeit simplistic in design.



Science Girls

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