The obligatory “10 top picks from the Steam summer sale” post

Yes, it’s Steam summer sale time once again, and you know what the law of gaming sites is: if there beeth a Steam Sale rising, then thou shalt post a list of games that thou thinkest are worthy of thy audience’s hard-earned.

Not wishing to break with tradition, then, we proudly and predictably present 10 hand-picked titles from the Steam summer sale of 2022 that you might want to consider adding to your digital collection. Let’s dive in!

Tales of Arise

Steam summer sale: Tales of Arise

If you’re yet to jump into the latest installment of the Tales series, now’s a good time to do so, because at 50% off (£24.99) in the Steam summer sale, it’s the cheapest it’s been for quite some time.

We described Tales of Arise as deviating little from the formula of previous Tales games — and that not necessarily being a bad thing — and its additions to the formula, such as mechanically complex boss fights that almost feel Soulslike at times, work extremely well. Regular combat can get a bit repetitive — but it’s an RPG, so chances are if you’re up for playing this you probably don’t have an issue with that.

Check out Isaac and Conor’s thoughts on the game, and nab it for yourself here.

Koikatsu Party

Steam summer sale: Koikatsu Party

The ultimate sex game, the ultimate anime character creator and the ultimate virtual dollhouse, Koikatsu doesn’t get a discount very often, so if you’re the slightest bit interested in anything it has to offer — whether it’s the erotic or creative angle — then it’s worth picking this up during the Steam summer sale at 20% off (£37.19).

It’s worth noting that the Steam version of the game has a number of bits and pieces cut from it in order to fit within Steam’s guidelines, but the “missing” material can easily be restored with a free official patch. it’s also worth installing the unofficial HF Patch, which not only restores the missing material, but also adds a bunch of additional content, user-made plugins and extra translations that aren’t in the retail release.

Start the Koikatsu party here.

RPG Maker MZ

Steam summer sale: RPG Maker MZ

The latest version of RPG Maker has a 40% discount in the Steam summer sale, putting it down to an affordable £37.79. If you’re interested in making your own games but don’t know much about the more technical side of things, RPG Maker is a great way to get started. Not only can simple click-and-create tools be used to get something up and running incredibly quickly, its ability to add plug-ins and additional bits of code mean that you can gradually learn some new programming skills along the way, too.

There used to be something of a stigma surrounding RPG Maker games, but I think we’re long past that now. There’s an incredibly active development scene putting out a variety of games in many different genres — indie horror devs love RPG Maker for how easy it is to create narrative-centric games, and Japanese doujin devs (particularly in the adult sector) are putting out RPG Maker titles on a seemingly daily basis — so don’t feel you’re limited to traditional RPGs either.

Excellent support from both the community and the developer is just the icing on the cake. Start your journey here — or, if you’re on a budget, be sure to check out the earlier RPG Maker titles also. They’re just as good as MZ in many cases, and they’re quite a bit cheaper now they’re not the “current” version.

Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal

Steam summer sale: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal

If you’re yet to dive into the wonderful world of Senran Kagura, Burst Re:Newal is a great place to start. It’s a reimagining of the first game, which was originally released on Nintendo 3DS, updated with new mechanics and visuals and slightly retconned to fit into the “second timeline” of the series. Don’t ask me to explain that right now, we’ll be here all day.

Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal takes the time to establish the main characters from the Hanzou and Hebijo academies, and delves into the core philosophies behind being a shinobi in the world of Senran Kagura. Along the way there’s plenty of fast-paced fighting action in a variety of arenas — plus the series’ iconic fanservice. If you’ve previously written Senran Kagura off as being nothing but fanservice, I urge you to give it a go — you might just be surprised at how much depth these characters have.

Get hacking and slashing for 60% off in the Steam summer sale here.

Gal*Gun Returns

Steam summer sale: Gal*Gun Returns

As sure as every Steam sale will be accompanied by a listicle offering suggestions, you’ll also find a Rice recommendation for a Gal*Gun game, since it’s one of our favourite series. This time around, we’re recommending Gal*Gun Returns, which is the remake of the very first title in the series. It’s available for 45% off (£24.74) in the Steam summer sale, which is one of the deepest discounts it’s seen to date — so if you’re yet to jump in to the wonderful world of Gal*Gun, this is a great place to start.

On the offchance you’re a new visitor and/or are unfamiliar with Gal*Gun, this series combines elements of dating sims and rail shooters in a delightfully comedic slice-of-life anime style — albeit with a bit of heavenly intervention. Taking on the role of Tenzou, who has been cursed with “super popularity” for a day due to an angelic accident, you’ll need to fend off the excessive advances of every girl in the school and find true love by sundown.

Lock and load for love here!

Death end re;Quest

Steam summer sale: Death end re;Quest

One of Compile Heart’s most interesting RPGs, Death end re;Quest combines elements of isekai fantasy with urban horror to create something altogether unique in both narrative and mechanical terms. Unfolding in both the real world and a video game in which the main heroine is trapped, you’ll investigate a variety of strange happenings and discover lots of horrible ways to die along the way.

The battle system features a really enjoyable “knockback” system in which you can smash enemies into one another — plus the ability to temporarily “change genre” in order to perform special attacks as if you’re in a fighting game, third-person shooter, platformer or even billiards game! And, of course, this being a Compile Heart game, the cast is almost entirely made up of cute girls. Winner.

Death end re;Quest is available for 80% off (£4.74) in the Steam summer sale here.

The Blood-Soaked Bundle

Steam summer sale: Misao

If you’re in the mood for some classic indie horror, the Blood-Soaked Bundle from Playism and developer sen is sure to get you nicely creeped out. Including the modernised versions of both Mad Father and Misao, this set of two horror classics is just the thing to get your teeth into after the sun goes down.

Also, remember what we were saying about RPG Maker and similar game-making software above? These two titles are ample evidence that software like this can be used to make widely beloved games with enduring popularity.

The Blood-Soaked Bundle is 37% off in the Steam summer sale, making it £7.04 for two great horror titles.

Buried Stars

Steam summer sale: Buried Stars

This excellent visual novel thriller is well worth a go if you’re in the mood for a pretty intense narrative. Presenting an enjoyably thought-provoking take on reality TV and celebrity culture, Buried Stars is a well-designed, stylish visual novel with some excellent, deep characters, a thoughtful story and some engaging mechanics to keep things interesting.

To say too much more would be to give too much away, so you’ll excuse us if we don’t say more right now. In our in-depth review, we described Buried Stars as one of the best thriller visual novels of 2020, but don’t just take our word for it — snag it while it’s 30% off (£21.69) in the Steam summer sale!

BUSTAFELLOWS

Steam summer sale: BUSTAFELLOWS

While often regarded as an otome title, BUSTAFELLOWS is actually a visual novel with a pretty broad appeal, since its emphasis is very much on its core crime thriller drama rather than the romantic aspects. For those interested in such things, though, it features a thoroughly adorable heroine and a cast of lovely young gentlemen to get to know a bit better. Plus a fun twist on time travel, because what would a game like this be without a bit of enjoyable weirdness to get stuck into?

Developer eXtend is extremely cautious about spoilers for BUSTAFELLOWS, so we’ll refrain from saying too much about the story right now — but suffice to say if you’re up for a real thrill ride of a story, and what is commonly regarded to be one of the better high-profile visual novels in recent years, BUSTAFELLOWS is well worth your time.

Nab it for 33% off (£23.44) in the Steam summer sale here.

Demon Gaze Extra

Steam summer sale: Demon Gaze Extra

Finally, here’s a rerelease of a thoroughly excellent dungeon crawler from Experience, Inc., originally released on PlayStation Vita. Demon Gaze combines beautiful artwork with complex and fascinating dungeon designs, mechanically interesting combat and some delightful characterisation for the characters back at your main base. Its unusual soundtrack also features the Vocaloid stylings of IA on vocals.

Personally speaking, after being quite intimidated by the genre for many years, Demon Gaze was the title that actually got me into them. It’s accessible without being overly simplistic, and its nice balance between mechanically dense dungeon crawling and light-hearted narrative content makes for a good first DRPG, especially if you’re someone coming from more story-centric RPG subgenres. Plus it’ll keep you busy for a good long while!

Get delving into those dungeons for 25% off (£33.73) in the Steam summer sale here.

Header art by ProfitShame. Go support the original art and the artist here!

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Pete Davison
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