It’s Steam sale time again, and you know what that means — a good old punch in the wallet. But what should you fritter away your hard-earned cash on this time around?
Steam’s Golden Week sale primarily focuses on games from Japan, which is right up our alley here at Rice Digital. So here’s ten top picks for you to fill out that digital library… in no particular order!
Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart
Conveniently, we talked extensively about why this is a great — and vastly underappreciated — installment in the Neptunia series just the other day. So now’s a great opportunity to jump on board with Noire and friends in this highly accessible take on the tactics RPG genre.
Don’t be scared off if you’re typically crap at this sort of game, either — I’m terrible at games like Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics, but I found this a lot easier to get into. Plus the vast lineup of game-referencing cute girls in the cast — most of whom have only ever appeared in this specific title — is a happy bonus, as is the fact that yuri is a game mechanic.
Don’t bother with the DLC, though; there’s a ton of it, and it all just makes the game much too easy.
All three Gal*Gun games are in the Golden Week sale, so if you’re yet to catch up on Inti Creates’ delightful series of rail shooters-cum-dating sims, now’s the perfect time!
Gal*Gun Double Peace was the first Gal*Gun game to be released in the west, and features rail-shooting gameplay with a variety of different narrative routes to follow. Date either of your childhood friends Shinobu and Maya — or both at once. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for something a little more… special? See if you can win the heart of angel Ekoro or devil Kurona. Or if none of them quite tickle your fancy, date any of the extended cast in the True Love mode.
Gal*Gun 2 shakes up the gameplay by making it a little more “first-person shootery” with a fully moveable viewpoint. Once again there are multiple narrative routes to follow, but this time around the progression is a little more non-linear. Can you help Risu the angel meet her corporate Demon Busting quota before it’s too late — and can you get all the phone numbers of the girls in your school while you’re at it?
Finally, the recently released Gal*Gun Returns brings the original Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 classic up to date for modern platforms — and to the west for the first time. See where all this crazy nonsense started as you date the spiritual Kaname, the sporty Akira, the musical Aoi or the seemingly spoiled Kaoruko — and get double-teamed by adorable angels in the Doki Doki Carnival mode!
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
After several years’ absence, many people wondered if Namco still had what it took to give us a quality Ace Combat experience — particularly after Assault Horizon had such a mixed reception.
Fortunately, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown was a spectacular return to form for this series that dates all the way back to the PS1 era, providing dramatic, cinematic aerial combat, the series’ iconic blend of arcade-style action with light simulation elements and an amazing soundtrack.
If you’re not normally into “military” games, be sure to give Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown a chance; in contrast to more western approaches to this type of subject matter, the Ace Combat series has always had a flair for anime-style exaggeration, and this particular installment is no exception. The last mission in particular involves real-world aircraft doing some of the most implausible things you’ll ever see — but by the time you’ve got to that point in the game, you’ll be well and truly on board with whatever it throws at you.
We really liked Code Vein here at Rice Digital, so if you’re yet to explore the game that many dismissed as “anime Dark Souls” back on its original release, now’s a great time to pick it up for a very nice price indeed.
Code Vein is noteworthy for a variety of reasons, including its rather fluid character progression system. Throughout the game, you can change your character class at will, adjust your loadout and partner up with a variety of different NPCs to complement or support your preferred play style.
It also has an excellent character creator, so if the Souls series always put you off with its inability to design an avatar who didn’t look like they’d suffered some sort of horrific cheesegrater accident, you’ll have fun with this one. Playing as a tiny loli with a huge weapon is, of course, optional, but highly recommended.
All the RPG Maker titles are discounted as part of the Golden Week sale in Steam, so if you’ve ever fancied putting your own game together, now you can — at minimal expense if you grab one of the older versions!
RPG Maker is an easy to use toolset that allows you to create your own RPGs, and go into as much depth with the process as you want. The more recent installments feature a full scripting language that allows you to customise the engine as you see fit — or install a variety of third-party plugins that let you completely revamp the way your game works.
If all that sounds a bit overwhelming, the basic RPG engine included with all versions of RPG Maker is perfectly solid and competent enough to get a Dragon Quest-style game up and running quickly and easily. A generous variety of included characters, tiles and objects will let you start designing right away, and you can easily import your own images, sounds and music.
While it might be tempting to jump straight in with the new versions of RPG Maker, don’t write off the old ones — RPG Maker 2000 and 2003 in particular have a lovely low-res pixel art style about them that is great if you want to create an authentically retro-feeling game. And if you find yourself getting distracted by the possibilities of scripting and plugins in the newer versions, deliberately limiting yourself to one of the older versions can help you focus!
Take your pick from any of the following, all of which are in Steam’s Golden Week sale:
What do you mean you haven’t played one of the greatest visual novels of all time? Rectify that this instant! I can’t beli… sorry, I’ve been told by the voices from above that I shouldn’t shame people for not having played one of the greatest visual novels of all time, and should instead gently encourage people in the direction of experiencing Steins;Gate for themselves, because it’s a masterpiece of interactive fiction.
Seriously, though, Steins;Gate is amazing, and is beloved as a classic with good reason. Featuring a colourful, memorable cast of characters, a wonderfully distinctive art style and a narrative that takes a fascinating look at the idea of time travel and parallel universes, it’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed — and its presence as part of the Steam Golden Week sale makes it more accessible than ever.
Send a D-Mail back through time to yourself so that you will have already bought Steins;Gate by the time you read this. Alternatively, just click here and pick up a copy for cheap.
Zero Escape: The Nonary Games
Kotaro Uchikoshi’s legendary mysteries Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (aka 999) and Virtue’s Last Reward are collected together in this compilation, allowing you the chance to experience some of the most consistently surprising, cleverly written and mind-bending adventure games in the last couple of decades.
Blending visual novel-style storytelling with “room escape” puzzle sequences, these are the games that put Uchikoshi on the map. Filled with interesting and diverse casts of characters, all of whom have a wealth of interesting secrets to discover, these two games spin some fantastic tales that will keep you constantly questioning and guessing from start to finish. And when you’re all done, there’s always the long-awaited third game Zero Time Dilemma to follow them up!
Look under the bed, find the key, use the key to open the fishtank, arrange the dead fish in order of size, take the lockpick that is revealed, pick the lock on the computer case, open the case, turn on the computer, fire up Steam and grab yourself a copy of Zero Escape: The Nonary Games here.
This is obviously barely scratching the surface of the wide variety of amazing games in Steam’s Golden Week sale! What titles have caught your eye so far — or what have you already added to your collection? Let us know in the comments below, or via the usual social channels!
Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!
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