We’ve all been there before; whether it was saving up for a new title or just trying to go on a budget, there are times when we just want games to be cheaper. While the notion of a budget title may turn off some gamers, there are some great games that can be had for the low price of $5 or less. To qualify for this list, each of the following ten games need to have a permanent price of five dollars or less at the time of this writing. In addition, I’ll list the primary current gen platforms you can play the game on, though there are other versions for older titles available.
Gunman Clive (PC/Mobile/Switch)
If you’re like me, you’re probably bummed out at how mediocre Mighty No. 9 turned out; it was an honest attempt for fans to revel in a Mega Man successor, with somewhat mixed results. However, the independently created Gunman Clive scratches that Mega Man itch very well, with fast paced gunplay and satisfying platforming. The sketched style of the game complements the western setting of the game (with a lot of anachronistic enemies peppered in.) Coupled with some satisfying boss battles and an unlockable mode where you can play as a duck, this game is a short and sweet must-have that’s available on a host of platforms. You can also get this game and its sequel for less than five bucks through the Gunman Clive HD Collection for Wii U and Switch.
Not Not (Mobile/Switch)
I’m not not having a great time with this game, but that’s probably because it’s one of those “simple to play, but hard to master” casual experiences that’s super exciting to play. Not Not is a fast-paced game that tasks you with following directions on the screen; while it starts out simple, with you following input directions like up and down, things like colors and qualifiers such as the notorious word not will try and throw you off from your focus. It’s a fun little title that’s also available on mobile, but the Switch version comes with a versus mode and some downright devious levels.
The Walking Dead: Season One Episode One (PS4/Switch/Vita/Xbox One)
This pick is stretching the “five-dollar limit” a tad, since this episode is part of a whole season of five installments, and current gen ports only have the whole package available. However, I believe Telltale’s first foray into the mega popular The Walking Dead franchise was one of the best storytelling experiences in recent years, and helped with the renaissance of modern point-and-click adventure games. Players control Lee, a man with a dark yet ambiguous past as he and a group of ragtag survivors try and survive a looming zombie apocalypse. What makes this experience unique is the fact that players are given potentially sadistic choices that carry over to future episodes; acting calmly or angrily to a stressful situation will have consequences. The episode also establishes his friendship with secondary protagonist Clementine as Lee tries to protect the girl from the harsh reality of death and destruction. The first episode is full of shocking developments, a tactful yet mature storyline, and a whole bunch of quick time events. By the end of the episode, players will be dying to get the rest of the season. It’s available on a multitude of consoles (including the PS Vita, smartphones, and even Ouya), so it shouldn’t be too hard to acquire this one.
Five Nights at Freddy’s (PC/Mobile)
While the perennial “Jumpscare Simulator 2014” is overpopulated by sequels and spin-offs, the original entry to Scott Cawthon’s indie juggernaut remains one of my favorite independent titles. Tasked with watching four slightly odd animatronics, you play as a security guard that must endure five (or more!) nights at the titular Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, where these characters suddenly whir to life and have one goal: to put you into an animatronic suit, which will kill you instantaneously. You must deal with a decreasing battery while keeping the animatronics in check by looking at them using a camera or closing the doors on each side. If one of them enters, it’s lights out. The first game in an ever-increasing franchise introduces the power mechanic which, while being neglected in most later games, causes a feeling of dread and urgency found in larger horror titles.
“Tinder, but with Monarchs” is probably the weirdest way to describe a game since “Dating simulator but with pigeons.” However, beneath the weird premise lies a pretty great strategy game where you decide how to rule your kingdom through listening to your people by swiping left or right. While I did give the PC version a 70, I maintain that the mobile version of the game is superior, as it fits the swipe mechanic quite nicely. The sequel, Reigns: Her Majesty, is also a nice romp with some technological themes interspersed within. You can download this game on Steam, the App Store, or Google Play.
I love when companies make small side projects that work out well; case in point, Hal Laboratory’s BOXBOY!. While the franchise now has two sequels (as well as a new game coming to Switch) I appreciate the first game’s novelty and originality. With minimalistic graphics and a simplistic yet challenging puzzle design, I haven’t felt this happy about a box since Portal. Using the gimmick of creating boxes out of thin air, players navigate through over 15 worlds of addictive puzzle solving action, with a great balance between difficulty and satisfaction. The game never feels stale, and is perfect for short bursts of play on-the-go or between meatier titles. This puzzle game will have you thinking out of the box without breaking the bank.
Released very late in the Game Boy Color’s lifespan, Wayforward’s Shantae was overlooked in lieu of Game Boy Advance titles. However, with the resurgence of Shantae’s popularity in the indie community, it’s worth checking out the belly dancer’s first romp with the virtual console version of Shantae. When her town is in danger from the nefarious Risky Boots, Shantae must use her half-genie powers and near-sentient hair to dance her way through a colorful world full of puzzles and baddies. She can transform into different animal forms to traverse the land, and players must know which dance triggers which power to progress. With a killer soundtrack and some of the best graphics the Game Boy Color should offer, it’s worth it to relive the Shantae experience again.
I might have a hard time stomaching the permadeath aspect of hardcore roguelikes, but I can appreciate the appeal of Downwell, which is a great vertical action game with roguelike elements. In order to survive, you need to utilize the power of your gunboots to descend a daunting well as you fight a variety of deadly foes. The tough but fair difficulty means that you’ll always be on your toes, and there is plenty to go back to once you finish… and die repeatedly. Downwell is currently available on a whole host of platforms, but you can read our review of the Switch version here.
Aliens Go Home Run (PC)
Aliens Go Home Run is probably the best breakout-baseball-bullet hell title in the market today (if not the only one out there). You control a baseball player as she dodges alien fire and hits blocks in a puzzle-shoot-em-up mashup. While you don’t have to keep the ball up in the air all the time, you can use your bat to swing it at enemies while also using a slide technique for some invincibility frames. While it’s simple at first, it can get overwhelming quickly, and you’ll always need to be aware of your surroundings. It’s a howling good time that checks out at a cool $3.99 on Steam. Check out our review of the game here.
Final Fantasy XV: A King’s Tale (PS4/XBO)
We’ll finish this list with a free game (don’t tell me I didn’t do anything for ya). Previously available as a pre-order bonus for Final Fantasy XV, A King’s Tale depicts the story of King Regis told as a bedtime story to a young Noctis. The game is a simple 2D beat-em-up with a surprising amount of depth as you can cast spells and attacks while dishing out some pixelated damage in some retro-themed settings based on the world of Final Fantasy XV. It’s a pretty nice title that gives fans a little more world-building, and one that you can experience right now for the low price of free!
Are there any other games with a bargain-bin price that you’d like us to know about? Sound off in the comments, and stay tuned for more news here on Gaming Trend.