Budget for Fun: Three Steam games worth buying

In an era of paid skins and loot boxes, DLC packs for unfinished-feeling AAA first-person shooter games and blockbusters that are heavy on breadth of content but light on depth, there’s a beauty to games that know how to just be games: providing a straightforward and enjoyable experience that doesn’t feel like a marketing ploy.

So in no particular order, here are a few games on Steam that are well worth their already low price tags. Each of these, to me, could sell for twice as much and still be a steal, and for under $50 they offer outstanding single player, internet multiplayer, and party-style gameplay that can entertain for years to come.

  1. FTL: Faster Than Light ($10)

FTL is a spaceship crew simulator that features white-knuckle space battles and challenging decision making as you lead a rag-tag crew to defeat a xenophobic rebel faction from taking over the Galaxy. The top-down tactical view and wealth of ethical and strategic decisions you’ll make lend a very Star Trek vibe to the game, and the randomized ship battles keep you on your toes and learning new ways to engage long after you’ve beaten the game the first time.

2. The Jackbox Party Pack 3 ($25)

All of the Jackbox Party Packs, especially the newer ones, are fantastic party games. Only one person needs a copy of the game, which other players join with their cell phones. Party Pack 3 includes the self explanatory “Trivia Murder Party” and the oft-raunchy madlibs successor “Quiplash.” It’s also got a statistics guessing game, a game where you try to catch which friend is faking answers to the prompts and sleeper hit “Tee K.O.,” where everyone draws logos and writes slogans to go along with them. (This game has proven to be my favorite.) You can’t go wrong with any of them, and they’re all great for non-gamers and gamers alike, so as long as you have a laptop and a TV you can whip them out.

4. Terraria ($10)

Try as I might, I can’t not bring this game up. I have nearly 700 hours logged in Terraria, and the nearly-decade old titan of mining-and-crafting games is still receiving major updates from its developers. While once derided as the 2D, awkward brother of Minecraft, I think most people now see the game for what it is: a combat-first, hypercolorful adventure game with an honestly absurd amount of content and room for the player to grow and conquer. I didn’t beat the game’s final boss until about hour 600, which should be a testament to just how much there is to do, between base building, recruiting NPCs for your town and exploring the randomly generated world you’re dropped on.

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