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The Best Games to Grab During the Steam Winter Sale

The Best Games to Grab During the Steam Winter Sale

Alright, we had our fun with the Epic Games Store and the Black Friday stuff, but it’s time to stop beating around the bush. We all know what we’re here for: the PC gaming sale event of the year, the chance to bulk up that library in preparation for a long, lonesome winter. Ladies and gents, I hope you’re ready for a miracle. Here are some of the best games to grab during the Steam Winter Sale 2021, which runs from December 22nd to January 5th.

Before we get to the deals, let’s cover the bonus junk. Steam isn’t doing anything particularly fancy this year, no crazy minigames or anything like that. As usual, by purchasing games during the sale and scrolling through your Discovery Queue, you’ll earn sale-themed trading cards. Complete the set, and you can unlock the Winter Sale badge, which comes with some chat emoticons and profile wallpapers.

Additionally, voting has opened for the Steam Awards 2021. The nominees have been revealed for ten categories, and every vote earns you an additional Winter Sale trading card, so there’s no reason not to. Voting will be open until January 3rd, which is also when the winners will be announced.

The Best Games to Grab During the Steam Winter Sale

With that out of the way, here are some choice picks from the sale. Everything that was discounted during the Autumn Sale is on sale again, so let’s dig a little deeper this time.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy: 50% off for $14.99

The Best Games to Grab During the Steam Winter Sale - Phoenix Wright

Visual novels have always been a bit of a niche genre. After all, if you wanted to read a book, why would you be playing a video game? But the Ace Attorney series has such a fascinating and lovable cast of characters and satisfying mysteries to solve, you really can’t experience it any other way. Seriously, I tried watching the Ace Attorney anime, and it wasn’t nearly as good.

Ace Attorney Trilogy contains all 14 episodes from the first three Phoenix Wright games: the original Ace AttorneyJustice for All, and Trials and Tribulations. All of the character sprites have been touched up and smoothed out from the original games on the Nintendo DS, making for an excellent way to stimulate that noggin.

Guilty Gear -STRIVE-: 35% off for $38.99

The Best Games to Grab During the Steam Winter Sale - Guilty Gear Strive

I am awful at just about all fighting games, yet I always seem to find myself drawn to them. In the case of the Guilty Gear series, the reason can be summed up in one word: style. These games ooze style, from their slick character art and flashy attacks to their kick-awesome (and as of The Game Awards 2021, award-winning) soundtracks.

If you’re in the market for a pinnacle of fighting game design, you can’t go wrong with Guilty Gear -STRIVE-. Arc System Works once again combined their laser-precision fighting game design with all that flash and flare they’re loved for. Even if you’re bad at fighting games like me, STRIVE has an impressively in-depth tutorial feature to really help you understand not just its own mechanics, but some of the norms of fighting games in general.

Deathloop: 50% off for $29.99

Am I crazy, or do stories about time loops almost always seem to win awards? There’s a very particular kind of pressure and despair potential that comes with being forced to relive the same day over and over, moreso if said day includes your violent death. But I guess that’s part of the appeal of Deathloop: the pursuit to break that loop by any means necessary.

At The Game Awards 2021, Deathloop took home the trophy for Best Game Direction, thanks to its far-out aesthetics combined with a novel implementation of time looping mechanics. It’s also a pretty funny game. People like funny games.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove: 45% off for $21.99

Even though I’m nothing more than an onlooker, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride when I see how far Shovel Knight has come as a property. This simple pixel platformer has become a tentpole of indie game success stories, so much so that the man himself has made dozens of cameos in other indie games! If, somehow, you haven’t played the game that started this new legend yet, you really ought to remedy that.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is the feature-complete version of the game, created after years of tweaks and new content updates. In addition to the original campaign where you play as the titular Shovel Knight, there are three additional campaigns where you play as Plague Knight, Specter Knight, and King Knight. There’s also Shovel Knight Showdown, a multiplayer brawler in a similar vein to Super Smash Bros. Basically, there’s almost definitely at least one thing for you to enjoy in this game.

It Takes Two: 50% off for $19.99

Well, obviously we weren’t gonna pass up the Game of the Year for this list. Following up on their previous co-op success story, A Way OutIt Takes Two was Hazelight’s true hail Mary play, and buddy, it paid off in spades. Gorgeous, colorful graphics and constantly shifting gameplay mechanics all work in tandem to depict a surprisingly touching and relatable tale of family and relationships.

It Takes Two is co-op only, so you do need a friend to play it with you. If only one of you can afford the game, though, don’t worry; as long as one player owns the full game, the other can download the Friend’s Pass and play at no additional cost.

Hades: 35% off for $16.24

Whenever someone asks me to show them proof that games are art, I point to the library of games produced by Supergiant Games, and more specifically, to Hades. From the moment it left Early Access last year (and even a bit before then), this game has been an absolute critical darling thanks to its incredibly tight rougelite game design and remarkably compelling story that makes impeccable use of its multi-run nature.

You may be interested to know that just this week, Hades added a Hugo Award to its list of trophies. The Hugo Awards have commemorated excellence in fantasy and science fiction storytelling since the 50s, and Hades is the very first video game to receive one. How’s that for narrative excellence?

Spiritfarer: 50% off for $14.99

Spiritfarer is a game about death, but that’s not quite as morbid as it may sound. In it, you care for the spirits of the departed, helping them come to terms with their lives and regrets, before sending them off into… whatever comes next. Out of all of the games I’ve played, I think Spiritfarer is the first to make me contemplate the nature of death, not as a terrifying end of all things, but as a simple process of nature. It’s a game about cherishing the lives of those you love and bidding them farewell.

Recently, Spiritfarer received its last major content update, prompting the devs to update it to “Farewell Edition.” Compared to the vanilla release, this edition features multiple new spirits to care for, locations to visit, and even some new game mechanics. 

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