Gift Guide: 11 Indie Gems to Buy on Steam this Holiday Season

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It's the holiday season once again, which means it's time to find the perfect gift for yourself or the gamer in your life. Chances are that the hottest AAA games have been crossed off the Christmas list already, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other great titles that you can pick up and make a gamer happy. For every AAA release, there's loads of awesome indie games that need a little bit of love. 

Steam has a huge library of indie games to choose from, and there's literally something to suit everyone's tastes. Whether it's a vibrantly colored, fast-moving platformer or a golf simulator where you play as 100ft robots, the indie scene has what your gamer wants. And there's no better place to find something quirky and different than the indie section on Steam. 

But with over 700 pages to look through, where do you start? Well, let us do the hard work for you. We’ve sought out 10 amazing games that are currently available for purchase on Steam. You can pick any of them up today and receive the kudos of choosing a really awesome game for someone -- all without the hassle of visiting an actual retail store. Win-win!

Cross Code
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Price: $18.64
  • Buy It: Steam

This is an early access, Japanese retro-inspired 2D RPG game, set in the future where players kill enemies with balls of energy in a MMORPG. There is a great mixture of retro SNES style graphics, a sci-fi story, and smooth modern physics.

Cross Code great choice for people who want to jump into a game and mold how it works. Perfect for the retro gaming or JRPG lover in your life.

House of the Dying Sun
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Price: $18.64
  • Buy It: Steam

Sit in the cockpit of a Starfighter, where players fight enemies in a classic and confident simulation combat game. Hunt down the enemies of a dying empire -- and through success in combat, obtain higher class weapons and assets to progress in the game. A great gift for the sci-fi loving gamer who wants tense and spectacular aerial combat. 

Factorio
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Price: $18.68
  • Buy It: Steam

This is a real-time survival and strategy resource collecting game about a spaceman crash landing on an alien planet. That spaceman must build increasingly complex automated factories in an infinite, open 2D world.

Factorio could be a great gift for the imaginative type or for builder fans, given that players are required to design the factories and then combine elements to create specialized structures and superior technology and ensure factories are protected from enemies. 

Clockwork Empires
  • Rating: 7/10
  • Price: $28.59
  • Buy It: Steam

A charming British steampunk-themed game, Clockwork Empires has players assume the role of a Junior Bureaucrat to build a prosperous colony via steam -- this includes houses, businesses and more. You must manage each individual simulated person to ensure that they remain happy and don’t become a cannibal! 

It is up to the player to ensure the colony is successful stays aware of Eldritch style horrors that may unfold. A great innovative game for those who love steampunk and strategy type games.

Rusty Lake: Hotel
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Price: $2.47
  • Buy It: Steam

A premium point-and-click adventure game where players assume the role anthrpomorphic characters who are brought to a hotel and each have their own reasons for being there. There is a twist to the game for those who have not played it (and I won’t reveal), but it is a puzzle escape game.

For those who like perfectly odd games and intriguing puzzles, Rusty Lake Hotel is a good choice.

Pre-Civilization: Egypt
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Price: $7.45
  • Buy It: Steam

A turn-based historical themed simulation strategy game, this indie gem has players guide Egyptian characters through the Egyptian era as build, develop their society, and rule. Featuring evolutionary breakthroughs and the mysteries of Egyptian lore, the game truly immerses you in the ancient world of Egypt.

It's a great game, with a true historical narrative for those who want something different than fantasy-themed games. A perfect gift for fans of games like Civilization VI.

What The Box?
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Price: $4.96
  • Buy It: Steam

This is a fun little multiplayer shooter game where players control living boxes that are hiding among regular boxes and trying to destroy each other. Run around with a box cutter in hand, or stand still and wait for the perfect moment to strike -- all on a 5 minute timer.

What the Box is a fun and silly shooter game, perfect for those who want to play against multiple friends to become monarch of all the boxes.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted
  • Rating: 8/10
  • Price: $18.64
  • Buy It: Steam

This open world survival game is a great gift choice. Players are trapped on an island that seems rather inspired by that Richard Connell short story "The Most Dangerous Game". You must hide from hunters who are dressed as Victorian gentleman and trying to kill you.

Each playthrough provides a different landscape, and the randomized nature of the game is a real benefit. Great for those who love darkly comic games and survival mechanics. 

 

Mount Your Friends
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Price: $4.96
  • Buy It: Steam

This game, which seems to have become popular purely by word of mouth, is a simulated sporting event game that involves lots of climbing. The player’s character literally has to mount their friends by climbing up to the top of the tower of friends. It's like the reverse version of that Barrel of Monkeys game we all played as kids.

Easy to learn, but difficult to master, this game will make a great gift for any gamer who wants pure silly fun. Just don't be surprised when you get asked to play it over the holiday vacation...

Prison Architect
  • Rating: 9/10
  • Price: $19.99
  • Buy It: Steam

This prison sim has quickly become on of the most popular indie games on Steam this year. You must build and manage a maximum security prison, making sure that all your prisoners are taken care of and your prison is functioning as best it can. 

This game includes a story mode as well, where you play through several chapters as a variety of different characters who each have a different perspective on prison life. There's also an escape mode, there you can play as a prisoner and try to get out of the supermax prison you've finished building. 

If you pick up this gem and find yourself stuck, we also have a solid collection of Prison Architect guides to help you keep things running smoothly. 

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
  • Rating: 10/10
  • Price: $13.67
  • Buy It: Steam

A real fun-filled game, Keep Talking has players find themselves in a room, with bomb all ready to explode! You can see the bomb, but your friends can’t. Your friends have the defuse manual, and you don't. You must communicate and work together to defuse the bomb…quickly!

This quirky little game is perfect for those who enjoy local multiplayer and challenging co-op. 

So there you have it -- 10 amazing indie games currently available on Steam.  Love them, play them, and enjoy them with the recipient of your (well-informed) gift. After all, they’ll need friends to play with!

Published Nov. 15th 2016

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