With all the new games hitting the market, it’s hard to keep up with some of the great experiences falling between the cracks. Whether they be older games that haven’t quite achieved classic status or for some reason or an overlooked masterpiece that came out at the wrong time… there are a ton of cheap gems worth your time on digital distribution.
We’re here to show you the titles that haven’t gotten their moment to shine, but if you’re on a budget or don’t have a rig that can play the newest graphical powerhouse… give one of these a try if they pique your interest. We’ve probably missed a ton of games out there that fit the criteria, but here are a mere sixteen that popped into our minds. With Steam in its autumn sale, look for deals on some of these and pick them up for cheap!
1. Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb
Available on GOG
Originally released during the PS2/Xbox era, Emperor’s Tomb is a third person adventure that acts as a prequel to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Gameplay wise it’s a platformer action game set in 1935. It’s a solid game, and more importantly, it gets the feeling of Indiana Jones right. While Indiana and the Fate of Atlantis may get the most love of any Indie game, this one is certainly worth a look.
2. Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
A space simulator about bridge command before we got the amazing Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Starfleet Academy is set during the era of Star Trek II – VI. Thanks to some cheesy FMV cutscenes that were all the rage in the 90s, we get extended appearances by William Shatner, Walter Koenig, and George Takei as their respective Trek characters. You play a cadet in command school trying to balance successful simulator missions with his personal life, which even features Bioware-style dialogue choices and branching storylines. Overall, the game may have been a bit ambitious for its own good, but the space combat is fun and the Star Trek love is all over the place. Case in point? You get to take the Kobayashi Maru test. Good luck!
3. Star Trek 25th Anniversary
An adventure game set during the original series, you can command the Enterprise in what feels like a lost season of the show. The characters are all voiced by their respective actors, the stories all feel like natural extensions of the show, and the missions are even broken up into episodes. The game also has a sequel: Judgement Rites.
Available on GOG
If you love Shadowrun, you’ll love this. A cyberpunk RPG/Strategy hybrid where you play as a company involved in the shady world of corporate espionage in a dystopian future.
5. Gemini Rue
Speaking of cyberpunk, Gemini Rue is one of the best adventure games in years outside of Telltale’s offerings. Presented in a classic pixel art style, the story chronicles a detective on a distant world searching for his brother who is stuck in a mysterious prison/re-education facility. It’s Blade Runner meets Memento with some Cowboy Bebop thrown in for good measure. Overall, a fantastically written and atmospheric experience with a great noir inspired soundtrack.
6. Game of Thrones
Available on Steam
Yes, the gameplay isn’t very good. The writing, however, is fantastic. Set in the world of the books rather than the show (despite the fact actors Lena Headey and Conleth Hill voice their characters of Cersei and Varys from the series), the game tells a tale that takes place before and during the first book. The dual narratives give a great glimpse into the world beyond the main story if you can put up with some lackluster combat. If you’re feeling the hunger for more Westeros between seasons of Game of Thrones and you’ve finished Telltale’s series, consider picking this up.
7. Nexus: The Jupiter Incident
If you’re a huge Battlestar Galactica fan or looking for something a little more intimate than Homeworld or Sins of a Solar Empire, we recommend checking this one up. It’s a very tactical RTS, with you only commanding just a handful of ships at a time, but that makes every move count. The story isn’t very good, but you play this one for the space combat.
If you love Amnesia, check out this horror game from the same studio. As it was one of their first titles, it hasn’t quite gotten the acclaim of its successor. However, given the game’s icy setting, you might want to give this a look if you’re a fan of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
9. Zombie Driver
Available on Steam
You can drive over zombies with a car. You can choose from many cars. And you can upgrade the cars to have all sorts of weapons. This one is really a no brainer, especially since the game is very fun.
10. The Swapper
If you love Metroid games, you’ll love this one. With a stop motion-esque art style and eerie lighting, The Swapper is a great exercise in atmosphere and fantastic puzzle solving in an open side-scrolling world. The game has scored numerous perfect 10s from many outlits, so if you love a good puzzle based sidescroller this one is for you. Turn out the lights and turn the sound up for this one.
11. Jade Empire
Everyone loves a good Bioware game. Jade Empire is a great Bioware game. A lot of people haven’t played Jade Empire, which needs to be rectified. If you’re anxious waiting for Mass Effect 4 and haven’t played this game, we highly recommend you check it out as soon as possible.
12. To The Moon
A super old school adventure game made in RPG Maker, To The Moon is all about the story. You play as a team of memory reconstructionists that change people’s lives in their own minds right before they die. Their latest patient’s desire is to go to the moon. Why? Well, the answer is probably going to make you cry, as it has with pretty much everyone else who’s played this game. This one is for everyone who’s a romantic at heart. It also features a fantastic soundtrack as well.
13. Wings of Prey
If you love a good hardcore flight sim, this one is for you. It may take a while to get used to the WWII era craft, but according to the reviews it’s well worth your time.
14. Poker Night at the Inventory
Available on Steam
Do you love playing poker with your friends for the ambience and friendly banter? If so, this game was made for you. You get to play poker with Max the homicidal rabbit, Heavy Weapons Guy, Strongbad, and Tycho from Penny Arcade. The real joy of the game isn’t the poker, however, it’s the conversations between the characters written by Telltale. If you want to spend some time with old friends from gaming culture, this one is a hoot. There’s also a fun sequel to check out as well.
15. Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages
Do you like science fiction and twin stick shooters? If so, pick this up. The reviews are spectacular. It has a 30 hour story driven campaign based on a companion novel and online multiplayer. Throw in customizable ships and solid gameplay and there’s no reason to say no.
A hacking game that actually involves hacking, Uplink is a conspiracy thriller played on the screen of a computer. If you screw up, the game will delete your save… which means every moment is filled with tension. The reviews for this one are absolutely glowing and there have been video essays on why the game is great. Pick it up if you’re remotely interested in the subject.
Know of any games we missed? Let us know! There are ton of gems out there that deserve their time in the sun.