65 votes

Steam Summer Sale 2024: Hidden gems

Inspired by the recurring topic every Steam sale over at /r/GameDealsMeta:

  • What are some lesser-known Steam games that you recommend?

  • Are there any genres you’d like hidden gem recommendations for?

If you're interested in previous Hidden Gem topics, you can find them here.

For popular recommendations and general purpose sale discussion, please use the main Steam Sale topic.


An update for this topic: I've always used the number of Steam reviews for a game as a rough proxy for the game's audience size. It's not perfect, but it works well enough. Steam effectively made this canon in one of their recent sales. They had a Hidden Gems category and then broke the game list out into different tiers based the number of reviews each one had. I saved their taxonomy so I could use it here.

Feel free to tag or group your recommendations based on these if you like:

Category Maximum Review Count
Shockingly Overlooked 20
Under the Radar 50
Buried Treasure 150
Underrated Great 500
Cult Classic 1000
Gem Graduate 1000+

All the categories above, except for the last one, are how Steam defined their different tiers. I have some qualms with them using "Cult Classic" there, but I'm going to follow suit for consistency's sake.

I myself added the last category, because I think there are plenty of games worth mentioning with more than 1000 reviews that still have a solid Hidden Gem vibe but have since found bigger audiences and "graduated" from the label.

38 comments

  1. [3]
    TyrianMollusk
    Link
    OK, sorted my list for our local hiddenness categories (though I really don't think it's worth distinguishing between <20 and <50 reviews, as both are obviously tragically low). I'm a gameplay...
    • Exemplary

    OK, sorted my list for our local hiddenness categories (though I really don't think it's worth distinguishing between <20 and <50 reviews, as both are obviously tragically low). I'm a gameplay player, not a story player, so these are play-focused picks I track for hidden gem type threads. Always makes me sad going over the list to see which devs feel so forlorn they don't even bother going on sale (Devader and Galak-Z this time, poor things).

    "Shockingly Overlooked"

    • $1.74 Twin Ruin (18 reviews)-- intense twin-stick shooter roguelite with color switching mechanic
    • $5.99 Radio Free Europa (9 reviews) -- rich little space shooter roguelite with facing-biased movement and aggressive enemies

    "Under the Radar"

    • $3.99 Gravity Ace (28 reviews) -- mission thruster with good base game and user level building
    • $1.99 Zeit^2 (27 reviews) -- scrolling shmup with a puzzly time manipulation mechanic (does not use the 3rd party DRM Steam warns about anymore)
    • $2.99 Dracomaton (33 reviews) -- simple, cute little top-down shooter where you pick three modes for your character/moves

    "Buried Treasure"

    • $2.49 Yar's Revenge (56 reviews)-- rail shooter with hit chaining named after an old Atari game it's got nothing in common with
    • $7.49 Cavity Busters (77 reviews) -- top-down roguelite with a lot of really game-play heavy mechanics and creativity
    • $1.99 Space Bandit (67 reviews) -- simple but tight and fast top-down shooter roguelite with enemies that act more interestingly [not on sale but they dropped the base price to $2 sometime, so it's cheap regardless]
    • $4.24 Metal Mutation (52 reviews) -- janky top-down melee roguelite with various abilities (including a strong parry) and layered metaprogression
    • $8.44 Red Tether (60 reviews) -- weird top-down roguelite where your weapon is launching bungie cables

    "Underrated Great"

    • $11.99 Trinity Fusion (419 reviews) -- platformer roguelite with some good fighting (and an unlockable parry)
    • $5.24 Jydge (393 reviews) -- top down mission/objective game built on Neon Chrome
    • $0.89 Galacide (31 reviews) -- mind-bending cross of scrolling shmup and Magical Drop style puzzle game

    "Cult Classic"

    • $3.74 Cryptark (869 reviews) -- top-down style roguelite with infiltrate and destroy design
    • $3.74 Super Time Force Ultra (648 reviews) -- sidecroller action where you build an assault by fighting alongside your own past selves
    • $7.99 Cloudbuilt (770 reviews) -- 3rd person parkour, user-made levels
    • $9.09 Quantum Protocol(544 reviews) -- deckbuilder with very gamey deck mechanics and programmed enemy cards that tick/respond, so there is no enemy turn, just things that happen as you play

    "Gem Graduate"

    • $2.99 Fury Unleashed (1,522 reviews) -- twin-stick style action platformer roguelite with an emphasis on fun, fast play
    • $5.99 Trials Rising Gold Edition (2,377 reviews) -- really rich evolution of 2d platforming with a fantastic user level building community (only buy gold edition because the progression is a lot worse without the expansion levels)
    • $10.49 Devil Slayer Raksasi (2,648 reviews) -- top-down melee roguelite with good spacing-oriented fighting, lots of varied enemies, and nice art
    • $8.99 Brigador (4,066 reviews) -- top-down stompy mecha style mission game with various vehicles and procedural mission generator
    • $6.29 Nova Drift (10,122 reviews) -- thruster-style space shooter roguelite with really rich build system, leaving its years of early access behind "in 2024" (not so much under-appreciated with so many reviews, but, notable on leaving early access)
    • $7.49 Dustforce (1,137 reviews) -- speedrunning platformer with user-made levels
    • $7.49 N++ (2,332 reviews) -- momentum-based 2d platforming, many user-made levels and added content
    • $4.99 Distance (5,290 reviews) -- time-trial racing with weird levels and lots of user-made content
    • $2.99 Monaco (3,731 reviews) -- top-down stealth heists with local/online co-op and workshop levels

    And please, twin-stick fans, play the demos for Combat Complex and Reality Break! Don't let these upcoming gems get hidden.

    18 votes
    1. [2]
      ChingShih
      Link Parent
      N/N+ was such an awesome physics-y platform game. Loved it back when it was a flash game. Bought it on PSP when it came to that. At some point I should pick up N++ to enjoy it on the SteamDeck. I...

      N/N+ was such an awesome physics-y platform game. Loved it back when it was a flash game. Bought it on PSP when it came to that. At some point I should pick up N++ to enjoy it on the SteamDeck. I know it's on Switch, too, but I can't believe more people haven't played and reviewed it on Steam.

      Awesome list!

      7 votes
      1. TyrianMollusk
        Link Parent
        N++ has a ton more levels... Also, consider Trials. The use of momentum to get past obstacles is similar, but with more factors and controls to enhance play.

        N++ has a ton more levels... Also, consider Trials. The use of momentum to get past obstacles is similar, but with more factors and controls to enhance play.

        4 votes
  2. [4]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Here are links to my two previous hidden gem lists (1, 2). Most if not all of those still count. Everything below I've either played since the last topic, or didn't have on my previous lists....
    • Exemplary

    Here are links to my two previous hidden gem lists (1, 2). Most if not all of those still count. Everything below I've either played since the last topic, or didn't have on my previous lists.


    Shockingly Overlooked (≤20 reviews)

    Break Stuff With Coins

    • It's a bit buggy and it's a bit janky and that doesn't matter one bit because the game is 100% unserious. You throw coins to break as much stuff as possible. I was surprised by how much thought and effort was put into such a shitpost of a game. Reminds me of the Burnout series's Crash mode.

    Buried Treasures (≤150 reviews)

    DIG - Deep in Galaxies

    • A 2D mining roguelike -- kind of like Spelunky and Terraria but also not like either. Your character can get stat upgrades over the course of a run that let you break the game outright.

    FutureGrind

    • A difficult yet satisfying color-matching vehicle platformer score attack game. A mouthful? Yes. Fun? Also yes.

    Forgetful Dictator

    • Gamified country-learning edutainment with a tyrannosaurus who yells at you. Also does capitals and flags too! (Note: this game is permanently free!)

    Killing Time at Lightspeed

    • You're traveling at near-light speeds and refreshing your social media feeds from events back on earth. Every minute or two for you is years for earth and all the people you know.

    Little Red Lie

    • A powerfully, hauntingly pessimistic drama from the guy who made Actual Sunlight.

    Mato Anomalies

    • A very soft recommendation on this one. It's a Persona-like JRPG with ambitions far bigger than its actual budget and delivery. It's clunky and repetitive and rough around the edges, but through all of those you can see the good ideas it wants to deliver on. It has an entire Slay the Spire-inspired minigame in it!

    Super Cable Boy

    • The best precision platformer I've played in a long time. Gives homages to lots of other indie games: Super Meat Boy, FEZ, Celeste. Levels are short but satisfying. Movement feels great. Art style is impeccable.

    Tinertia

    • THE most overlooked game on Steam, IMO. This is a slickly made rocket-jump platformer that is difficult but incredibly satisfying to play once you get a feel for it. This game gave my thumb a blister.

    Underrated Greats (≤500 reviews)

    Coin Crypt

    • A roguelike deckbuilder where you spend coins for actions. Challenging but thoughtful and interesting.

    INFERNIUM

    • Another soft recommendation. This is a very odd, very niche game. First-person survival horror soulslike collectathon is the best description I can give, but even that doesn't really capture it. It's got a surprisingly large, surprisingly detailed world that's foreboding and ominous and interesting. I played it as a walking simulator by turning off the enemies.

    Lightmatter

    • A light/dark-themed first-person puzzler. Position lights to navigate dark environments. Surprisingly challenging in places.

    LOVE

    • A short, simple, no-frills precision platformer. Does one thing and does it well. I would replay this often if it weren't for one single level that I absolutely hate.

    RHYTHM SPROUT

    • A three-button rhythm game that is made for kids in everything but its surprisingly challenging difficulty curve. The soundtrack is genuinely unexpectedly great.

    Unspottable

    • A local multiplayer favorite of ours. Player characters on the screen are indistinguishable from NPCs, so you have to carry out tasks trying to make your character look like they're controlled by the computer, all while watching the other people on screen, trying to figure out which ones are human-controlled. A more modernized version of Hidden in Plain Sight (see below).

    The Zachtronics Solitaire Collection

    • A standalone game that has all the different versions of solitaire from the Zachtronics games. Sigmar's Garden is my favorite.

    Cult Classics (≤1000 reviews)

    Fashion Police Squad

    • A boomer shooter with over-the-top campy queer flair and surprisingly engaging gameplay. Different enemies can only be stylized using certain weapons, so the gameplay relies on rapid, precise weapon-switching. Requires a good amount of skill.

    Fling to the Finish

    • Co-op 3D time-attack platformer where your two characters are connected by a tether. My friend and I had a ton of ridiculous fun with this one. Would be great to play with kids. (Fair warning: it’s pretty buggy, but the jank is also part of the game’s clumsy appeal.)

    Galactic Mining Corp

    • Mine for resources so that you can spend them to let you mine for deeper, more valuable resources. It’s mindless and a perfect game for playing while listening to audiobooks or podcasts.

    Hidden in Plain Sight

    • See Unspottable above. This is the OG version of that game. Still a ton of fun.

    Human-powered spacecraft

    • A short, unique take on the clicker genre.

    Perspective

    • First-person puzzle game where you change your viewpoint to create levels which a character must then platform through. Was made by students for a project. (Note: this game is permanently free)

    The Station

    • Short first-person narrative adventure. Explore a derelict spaceship. Figure out what happened. I played this a few years ago and have forgotten most of it — except for the ending.

    Vaporum

    • First-person grid-based steampunk dungeon crawler. A solid title for anyone who likes the genre.

    Gem Graduates (1000+ reviews)

    20 Small Mazes

    • What it says on the tin. There are twenty small mazes.

    428: Shibuya Scramble

    • A campy, ridiculous, but also endearing visual novel featuring intersecting plotlines for lots of different characters. Way bigger budget than most standard VNs — this one has different actors who play each character in the still shots.

    Loddlenaut

    • Power Wash Simulator x Subnautica. Clean up underwater pollution to make homes for cute sea animals. Simple and cozy.

    Rollerdrome

    • A 3D rollerblading bullet time gun ballet. Use guns to kill enemies. Do tricks to reload guns. Challenging but rewarding.

    Save Room

    • Take Resident Evil’s grid-based inventory management and make it into its own puzzle game. That’s this.

    Tinykin

    • My favorite game I’ve played this year. It’s a Pikmin-inspired 3D platformer collectathon with a great art style. The big sandbox levels are incredible.
    24 votes
    1. [2]
      Inanimate
      Link Parent
      You say a soft recommendation on Mato Anomalies - my question is, even if it’s rough and repetitive, would you call it at least fun or charming the whole way through? I can deal with some grinding...

      You say a soft recommendation on Mato Anomalies - my question is, even if it’s rough and repetitive, would you call it at least fun or charming the whole way through? I can deal with some grinding and whatnot, as long as the game is appealing enough! And even just something made with enough passion can achieve that.

      3 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        I stopped playing after the first chapter, which took me about 5 hours to get through. That said, I did enjoy what I played, but the game’s limitations were starting to show through more, and I...

        I stopped playing after the first chapter, which took me about 5 hours to get through. That said, I did enjoy what I played, but the game’s limitations were starting to show through more, and I felt like another 20+ hours would have soured me on it.

        The combat system has a lot of potential. The problem is that, throughout the entire first chapter, there are only maybe four or five different enemy types? You fight them over and over and over again, in the same configurations. Granted, the game does have an auto-battle feature so you can just cruise through the combat if you like, but if I’m playing a JRPG then I want to be the one making the choices!

        It boiled down to me becoming my own auto-battler anyway: I pretty much had two sets of optimal choices — one for when I faced a big group of enemies, and one for when I faced smaller numbers. I just kept manually executing those same battle scripts repeatedly. It’s possible the battle diversity opens up after chapter 1, so this might be a complaint limited to just my experience.

        The Slay the Spire-like minigame is really cool, but it only happens at scripted moments in the story — I think there were maybe 3 total in the first chapter. These felt more like boss battles, and they were much more challenging than the regular game, especially because you can’t grind or gear-up to get the advantage in them.

        The game’s writing didn’t do much for me. I appreciated that they didn’t do a whole bunch of boring expository stuff at the beginning, but it kind of feels like it went too far in the other direction and didn’t explain enough for me to be connected to the world and understand characters’ motivations. It wasn’t bad, it’s just that it didn’t grab me. By the end of the chapter I found myself skimming the dialogue instead of reading it fully.

        I know this all sounds really negative, but the game still had a sort of magnetic pull for me. I genuinely did actually like what I played. I could see all the good ideas there, even though I think the execution whiffed it a little bit. It was more compelling than the actual sum of its parts.

        I don't know anything about the development of the game so this is me projecting, but it seems like the scope of the game far exceeded its budget. I included it in the list because it really does have a "hidden gem" vibe to it on account of this "underdog" status. It feels like the kind of game that most people would overlook, but a select few people would really come to love because they can look past its faults.

        3 votes
    2. Nefara
      Link Parent
      Think I'll give Rhythm Sprout a try! It's on sale for ~$3 which is hard to say no to.

      Think I'll give Rhythm Sprout a try! It's on sale for ~$3 which is hard to say no to.

      2 votes
  3. [3]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    Shockingly Overlooked: The Spellswapper I’m making a separate post for this because I didn’t want it buried in my longer list. It deserves to stand out! This game was made by our very own @Tygrak...
    • Exemplary

    Shockingly Overlooked: The Spellswapper

    I’m making a separate post for this because I didn’t want it buried in my longer list. It deserves to stand out!

    This game was made by our very own @Tygrak for our very own Timasomo event last October. Tygrak has been sharing his game prototypes with us here at Tildes for years now, and this game is noteworthy for being his first ever Steam release!

    The game itself is great. It’s kind of a survivors-like, but different enough to be its own thing.

    Your character is stationary, but you manually aim at the oncoming horde. You also have four spells that you can cast yourself (or toggle them to cast automatically). The aim line for each spell identifies the spell element and type before it’s cast, so you can plan which spell goes where as you cast them. After you defeat each wave, you have to swap out one of your spells for a new one.

    The spells all have different types, elements, and affixes, and the fun of the game is trying to manage these while constantly being required to swap out spells. Stacking elements gets you bonuses, so, for example, it might be worth getting rid of a good spell you have because a lesser one came up that matches your element spread.

    There are also items you get that will give advantages/disadvantages to certain build types. There are also different characters to play, each with their own individual stats. There is some solid design depth here. Tygrak did a great job with all of the different options.

    As you play you unlock items and characters, and you can also climb the Ascension ladder of difficulty. Runs are less than half an hour each.

    Steam says I’ve put 10 hours into the game so far, and there will be more since I have to finish out the last few unlocks and achievements. That also isn’t counting time I spent playing the standalone build of the game before it was released on Steam (which would be another several hours).

    I do realize the game technically isn’t on sale, and this is specifically a Steam Sale topic, but I also believe the game is worth the full current $5 asking price. It is now on sale for 20% off. Definitely grab it! It is the definition of a hidden gem, and it’s not every day that you get a chance to support a hobbyist indie solo dev in your community.

    18 votes
    1. [2]
      pekt
      Link Parent
      As a small update I saw that it is on sale for a 20% discount. The game seems cool and I've wishlisted it for when I have some disposable money to try out!

      As a small update I saw that it is on sale for a 20% discount. The game seems cool and I've wishlisted it for when I have some disposable money to try out!

      4 votes
      1. Minori
        Link Parent
        $4 was cheap enough to snag it!

        $4 was cheap enough to snag it!

        1 vote
  4. Trobador
    Link
    I don't have many recs that come to mind at the moment, here's 3 : Under Cult Classic, I recently played Jet Lancer and it was a blast. It's a dogfight action game using the same gameplay concept...

    I don't have many recs that come to mind at the moment, here's 3 :

    Under Cult Classic, I recently played Jet Lancer and it was a blast. It's a dogfight action game using the same gameplay concept as Luftrausers, but it has a whole campaign and is a lot more developed. Very fast paced and extremely gratifying, though the thing that got me interested in it in the first place was the ridiculously good soundtrack.

    Also under Cult Classic, there's Cloudbuilt. Fun TPS/platformer hybrid focused on speed, with a fairly large community of speedrunners if I recall. I actually played a different version, Super Cloudbuilt, but it is, for some reason, no longer for sale on Steam...? I'm not sure how they differ, but I am aware that Cloudbuilt first of its name is great too.

    Then under Under the Radar, I highly recommend Petal Crash (though I'd suggest buying it on itch.io instead!). It's an all-new arcade action puzzler in the vein of Puyo Puyo, Panel de Pon and all the ones that originated in the 90s on 16-bits and arcades. Deep and satisfying gameplay, but also a decent amount of content with several game modes, as well as essential modern amenities like rollback netcode. And it's so cute-looking! I'll add, the developer worked on the Freedom Planet games and there's a Kickstarter going on for a sequel!

    4 votes
  5. [3]
    grenades
    Link
    I only have one that would fit the 'Underrated Great' category, and that's Bingle Bingle. If you've played Balatro and wished 'I wish there were more casino games that have this kind of thing...

    I only have one that would fit the 'Underrated Great' category, and that's Bingle Bingle. If you've played Balatro and wished 'I wish there were more casino games that have this kind of thing going on', Bingle Bingle might fill that hole with its take on the genre, only with roulette instead of poker. It's quite fun but a bit more involved than Balatro. Either way, it's good fun.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      ShroudedScribe
      Link Parent
      I've heard that it still has some room for improvement (and I know it's in early access). Would you recommend waiting until it has more content or gameplay tweaks, or are you enjoying it enough in...

      I've heard that it still has some room for improvement (and I know it's in early access). Would you recommend waiting until it has more content or gameplay tweaks, or are you enjoying it enough in the current state?

      1 vote
      1. grenades
        Link Parent
        I would probably wait a bit longer but they are gradually adding more content. I think it is worth a purchase if you liked Balatro a lot but waiting a bit wouldn't be a bad idea either.

        I would probably wait a bit longer but they are gradually adding more content. I think it is worth a purchase if you liked Balatro a lot but waiting a bit wouldn't be a bad idea either.

        1 vote
  6. Spaz
    Link
    Super Blood Hockey Inspired by the NES classic Ice Hockey, this old school arcade style hockey game is an absolute riot, especially if you can get a few players together for some local co-op. It...

    Super Blood Hockey
    Inspired by the NES classic Ice Hockey, this old school arcade style hockey game is an absolute riot, especially if you can get a few players together for some local co-op. It also features a single player franchise mode where you can build/train a team and play through seasons. Unfortunately it has no online multiplayer but does support Steam's remote play, however the handful of times I tried to use it there was enough latency to create a clear advantage for the host. Your mileage may vary but I wouldn't recommend the game if you were only looking to play online with friends.

    Kopanito All-Stars Soccer
    Another arcade style sports game that's great for couch co-op, it's like the NBA Jam of soccer. Unlike Super Blood Hockey this title does feature online multiplayer support and I've had much better luck using Steam's remote play with it as well. Not much else needs to be said, it's fast paced arcade soccer with power-ups, no refs and no rules.

    Who's Lila
    A point and click detective game of sorts where instead of dialogue choices you react with facial expressions that progress the story through a multitude of outcomes. It was a very unique and intriguing experience that I absolutely adored. It's very interpretive by design which leans heavily into psychology and philosophy, while also using ARG elements. There are two other very small games by the developer, Garage Heathen, that also have ties to the story of Who's Lila but aren't required; Schastye and Your Amazing T-Gotchi are interesting but I would only recommend them if Who's Lila really grips you and you want a little bit more. These two games contain some hints/context for Who's Lila.

    4 votes
  7. [2]
    emnii
    Link
    Underrated Great - Anachronox "Great" may be pushing it but this is one of the more successful early 2000's endeavors for a western developer to make a console-style RPG on PC. It's a little messy...

    Underrated Great - Anachronox

    "Great" may be pushing it but this is one of the more successful early 2000's endeavors for a western developer to make a console-style RPG on PC. It's a little messy but surprisingly playable in 2024.

    Cult Classic - Daikatana

    "Cult classic" might be the best way of describing this game. I am one of its defenders and I would never call it good. It's mid at best. But man, there's something here. It is deeply flawed but also a fascinating piece of gaming history.

    Both of these games are less than a dollar each. To me, that makes them worth checking out, even for a laugh in Daikatana's case. I've been revisiting the Ion Storm catalog, and the rest of their games don't qualify as hidden gems, but they're all pretty playable on Steam Deck without a whole lot of config tweaking. You can even get them updated with community patches and mods fairly easily using ProtonTricks and Luxtorpedia.

    4 votes
    1. Kerry56
      Link Parent
      Anachronox is one of my favorite games. Played through it again last year and had a great time. The dialog is fun and witty. The turn based fighting isn't my favorite style, but I can endure that...

      Anachronox is one of my favorite games. Played through it again last year and had a great time. The dialog is fun and witty. The turn based fighting isn't my favorite style, but I can endure that because the story line is so good. I didn't know it, but there were hidden sections in the game and you can only access them by choosing different characters before getting captured by the Comic Book Villain's ship. Still haven't seen one of the hidden sections, and will try it out the next time I play it.

      3 votes
  8. turmacar
    Link
    It's a Gem Graduate (~2200 reviews), but had a great time with Minishoot' Adventures. Heavy top-down Zelda influence, light metroidvania, slower paced bullet hell where you're a lil spaceship...

    It's a Gem Graduate (~2200 reviews), but had a great time with Minishoot' Adventures. Heavy top-down Zelda influence, light metroidvania, slower paced bullet hell where you're a lil spaceship dude.

    Bought it last sale mostly because I thought the art looked cute and then 100%'d it twice in a week because the controls were fun. It does a good job of having a variety of options to tune the difficulty as well.

    4 votes
  9. [17]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    Generally speaking, I would like recommendations for games that only really make sense on PC as opposed to console. Other than that, I would like recommendations for retro or old-school RTS games...

    Generally speaking, I would like recommendations for games that only really make sense on PC as opposed to console.

    Other than that, I would like recommendations for retro or old-school RTS games that are not 4x, and for always online games such as MMORPGs and similar online experiences.

    3 votes
    1. [13]
      Nefara
      Link Parent
      If you haven't already tried it, I like to put out the word about Guild Wars 2. It's an MMORPG that's generally been crappy at marketing itself but has some of the most user friendly gameplay and...

      If you haven't already tried it, I like to put out the word about Guild Wars 2. It's an MMORPG that's generally been crappy at marketing itself but has some of the most user friendly gameplay and progression in the genre. There's a ton of player hostile bullshit in other MMO's that they just don't do and they seem to care that, you know, you actually have fun while playing. No subs, there's an RMT gemstore but it's mostly cosmetic and convenience items, and there's even an in-game gold to gem conversion service. It's got 12 years of content now and still going strong, which might be overwhelming. I find it relaxing to muck about in it and live out my fantasies of being obscenely rich and flying through scenic vistas on a dragon or a griffon. I think they offer a free trial with a limited account so you can give it a try.

      5 votes
      1. [9]
        Wafik
        Link Parent
        I bought GW2 back when it first came out but stopped playing before any expansions. How does it work now? If I come back now do I have access to anything or would I need to buy all the expansions?...

        I bought GW2 back when it first came out but stopped playing before any expansions.

        How does it work now? If I come back now do I have access to anything or would I need to buy all the expansions?

        Anything you recommend for getting the most out of playing the game chill?

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          TyrianMollusk
          Link Parent
          OK, if you bought it, then you have a paid account. The game went F2P at some point, which mainly made the original base game fully free but kind of made it a trial version, where there are...
          • Exemplary

          OK, if you bought it, then you have a paid account. The game went F2P at some point, which mainly made the original base game fully free but kind of made it a trial version, where there are restrictions on free accounts that get removed if you buy any expansion, which upgrades you to a paid account in addition to the expansion content. You're already a paid account, so that's just some background. You have the full base game and no free account restrictions, and everything you had should still be there and work for you. Watch out for birthday gifts on your characters. Those will have some pretty valuable things, but it'll pile up a bit if you take them all and get opening, so maybe put that off a bit while you re-acclimate, unless you had bought a bunch of inventory space before. Do *not * delete those old characters before you both take their birthday gifts and know what you'd be missing from future birthday gifts that new characters will be many years from seeing.

          A second big FYI is the game released on Steam, but they did it in a weird way. You have a standalone GW2 account, and that is different from having a Steam GW2 account. One of those can never become the other, so you should never buy anything GW2 through Steam, because then it will go to a Steam GW2 account and be unusable to your standalone GW2 account.

          However, while you can't buy through Steam, you can play though Steam perfectly easily, by having the Steam client add the launch argument "-provider Portal" (mind the capital) which tells the game to start in standalone mode. Just don't forget that doing this doesn't make you a Steam account, and you still must not buy through Steam. Anywhere else is ok, just not Steam. Steam accounts are the opposite: they can only ever buy and run through Steam, and they can't even use gem gift codes.

          You're almost caught up ;) Next is expansion content, which has also gone through changes and left things pretty messy to make sense of.

          We have three kinds of content: the three big "real" expansions and the "living world seasons" (which act as filler between expansions) are the old model, while the new model is much smaller annual expansions that release in quarterly chunks, so the game always has something coming within three months, to keep players from calling the game dead because they are off working on big content. A second part of the new model is basically a seasonal battlepass, and buying the current year's expansion includes premium tier on the battlepass for that expansion's August to next August year (and that's the only way to have premium tier).

          So, for example, people who bought Secrets of the Obscure all have premium tier until late August, when premium tier will switch to anyone who has bought Janthir Wilds, which will drop its first quarterly chunk at that time. If you want to both have premium and ignore all the details, consider the game to have a $25 annual subscription you buy in August, which will always get you the new content and the premium tier.

          OK, that's the new model. Unfortunately, catching up requires the old model, but since you don't have any expansions, this has a shortcut. The $50-on-sale "Elder Dragon Saga Complete Collection" bundles up all the old model stuff, both the expansions and the otherwise gem-store-only Living World. If $50 isn't a big deal to drop on playing, just buy this, know you're getting a lot of content for a good deal, and never worry about how you'd have assembled that piecemeal. If you're rather take the cheap bit at a time step back into the game, the $7.50 two expansion bundle of Heart of Thorns and Path of Fire will get you the lowest price for the game's best and most valuable content, or the $20 bundle of those plus End of Dragons, will give you the three big core expansions, giving you essentially the core content.

          Living World mainly adds a bunch of somewhat smaller map zones to explore, but Living World Season 4 also allows you (with work and gold) to get the racing beetle mount and the flying dragon mount.

          Secrets of the Obscure has basically three zones to play plus a smaller hub city, a "streamlined" (but still arduous and costly) path to the dragon that doesn't require LW4, gives all classes one new weapon option to play with, has a path to legendary armor that does not require raids and is all PvE world stuff, and premium tier battlepass until late August.

          Janthir Wilds will drop its first chunk (and usually the largest, so don't set expectations based on that) when it releases late August. It promises another weapon option for every class (this time, they are all two handed spears, which are becoming a land weapon option--you can log in and try them all through the spear beta until Sunday), some more maps, and some kind of home designing system, so players can have individual homes to customize instead of just the pre-designed home instances in the racial capitals. Like I said above, it's also the premium battlepass from its launch until August 2025.

          That should crash course you back into things. My short super-simple answer: buy the $50 complete collection I linked above, and get playing. You'll have a ton to do while you figure out what SotO and Janthir have to offer.

          My play advice whatever you buy would be start Heart of Thorns with a character (use a level-80 boost on someone if you don't have someone max level, especially if they're good for the celestial all-stats gear the boost gives you), play until you unlock the glider (comes very early), and then get the heck out of that crazy place and start Path of Fire. Explore it to unlock and upgrade those mounts while you catch up on the game. If you play World vs World, make sure you set a WvW guild, because that's how teams are organized now instead of by servers, and you'll need to do some work there to unlock WvW gliding and your warclaw mount (which is the only mount you can use in WvW).

          10 votes
          1. Wafik
            Link Parent
            Amazing, appreciate all of the information!

            Amazing, appreciate all of the information!

            2 votes
          2. [2]
            3d12
            Link Parent
            Since you're dumping lots of GW2 info, can you tell me how playable the game is in a 2-person party? One of the biggest turn-offs for me about FFXIV and MHW was that I kept having to drop out of...

            Since you're dumping lots of GW2 info, can you tell me how playable the game is in a 2-person party? One of the biggest turn-offs for me about FFXIV and MHW was that I kept having to drop out of my party to complete certain mandatory-solo quests to process the story, before I could party up again just to walk to the next solo quest together.

            1 vote
            1. TyrianMollusk
              Link Parent
              I can definitely talk about that, as I've been duo partied for most of my playtime :) I'm not sure there's anything we had to actually split up to do solo, but there are some issues you'll hit...

              I can definitely talk about that, as I've been duo partied for most of my playtime :) I'm not sure there's anything we had to actually split up to do solo, but there are some issues you'll hit here and there of various types, mostly just bugs and poor design.

              First off, the game has several modes and ways to play. Where you go and how you want to play will have a big effect on duo-ing. My partner and I are kinda anti-social, so there are several things we don't do because they are designed for more than two, and several things we don't do optimally, because we don't like "other people" :) Dungeons and fractals, for example, are instanced modes designed for parties of 5. We've duoed enough of those (I suggest necromancers if you try this) for basic box-checking and opening content, but it's definitely easier if you bring a group. Raiding and strike missions (think mini-raids) are for larger squads, and we don't do those. Naturally, if you don't mind grouping up and are only concerned about forced solo stuff, you'll have no issues with such parts of the game.

              General open world play is most of what we do, and it's pretty duo-accessible. There are some "group" events you'll need to watch out for, but once you are leveled and have decent exotic-tier gear, you can take many of the champions and groups events that aren't too big. There are large-scale "map meta" events in many zones which won't succeed unless you have a group (and sometimes a well-organized one), but many of these can be done just by hitting them alongside others at good times, so while you'll need to catch other people, there's nothing you won't be able to experience. We don't mind working with other players in open world type stuff, as it's generally sufficiently impersonal.

              Now, for the story, you will have various issues. Occasionally, you hit an achievement that only counts for the lead player, which requires various tedious workarounds, like redoing the story. We generally write these off, mainly because story is generally terrible and something we try to get over with so we can go back to things we enjoy. Sometimes the story will get too into being a solo story, and it will make the non-leader something dumb like a ball of light that just follows, or cheers for the lead, or your actions just don't count and you have to wait for the leader to advance things. That's annoying, but it doesn't block anything or force you to split. One issue that used to come up was story instance size changes, where the story would advance and change the boundaries of the instance, but not actually check where the players were. Since the non-lead is irrelevant, they can get suddenly kicked for being outside the new boundary. I think that has been fixed, so you get bounced into the instance instead of kicked from the activity, but we avoid triggering it regardless out of fearful habit. I think we may have sometimes ended up running separately because of a bug or connection glitch that dropped one of us, but we usually log out and back in again to restart the story section together.

              Oh, one thing to note, is the early story depends on your character creation choices, so if you want to play those together, you need to make the same choices. You're not locked out or anything, as you can always do them together anyway, but you may need to, for example, do one person's level 10 chapter, and then do the other person's level 10 chapter. You have to be at the same step in the same story for doing it together to advance the story for both of you. Making the same race and character background choice (these sound important, but by the time you do about the level 40 story chapter, they'll never matter again) will let you play all story together, but if you want different races/backgrounds, you can work around that by repeating or splitting, until the storylines merge.

              There are some activities that don't work with parties. These are on the level of goofy mini games that come up in seasonal festivals and some such things, and you'll often or always get split doing these. They're not really a big deal, and most aren't great concepts anyway, so most just want to get it over with and get out.

              In short, no, you don't have mandatory solo things that split a party, but there are issues to be aware of and things that need more than two if you want to do them.

              5 votes
        2. [4]
          Nefara
          Link Parent
          If you logged in today you would have access to all of the base game (all core Tyria maps) and any living story chapters you had unlocked before you went inactive. There's been a lot of content...

          If you logged in today you would have access to all of the base game (all core Tyria maps) and any living story chapters you had unlocked before you went inactive. There's been a lot of content and ways to interact with the world introduced since you last logged in, the most noticeable would be mounts. They came in the Path of Fire expansion and Gliding came in Heart of Thorns. They're a fun way to navigate the world and add a lot to the game but you don't need them per se. Personally for me my favorite way to chill is to do map exploration, doing world events and gathering from nodes. My favorite thing when going to a new map was finding secrets and jumping puzzles (there are some fantastic hidden areas in core Tyria and stumbling into them is incredibly rewarding). That's me though, maybe you would like running with commanders in WvW or doing Fractals (variable difficulty dungeon instances) or collecting cats (there's a "secret" scavenger hunt where you can entice certain cats around the world to join your home instance). Try a bunch of different classes, they all play differently and one that isn't right for you will be more stressful than one that "clicks". If you have fun after coming back and want to keep logging in, then the expansions are all definitely worth it.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            Wafik
            Link Parent
            Yeah I also loved finding secrets and jumping puzzles. Do you know if you still get access to mounts without the corresponding expansion?

            Yeah I also loved finding secrets and jumping puzzles. Do you know if you still get access to mounts without the corresponding expansion?

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Nefara
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              You only unlock mounts if you have Path of Fire. HoT, PoF and EoD all introduce new class specializations which can change how a class plays and a bunch of new maps. The first 3 expansions are...

              You only unlock mounts if you have Path of Fire. HoT, PoF and EoD all introduce new class specializations which can change how a class plays and a bunch of new maps. The first 3 expansions are good value and on sale for $20 right now, but I'd still recommend just getting on again first and running around to see if you vibe with the combat and general gameplay first. Try a few different classes, even ones that don't sound that interesting, the one you like might surprise you. I thought for sure I'd like being a sneaky mobile thief but I ended up maining a guardian. There's a lot of new content out there now, raids, strikes, new Fractals, new maps and world bosses, instanced mass group fights and all sorts of things to craft and collect. Certainly no shortage of things to do but it's all based on the same general basic gameplay of the combat, movement and event systems.

              3 votes
      2. [3]
        TyrianMollusk
        Link Parent
        I don't think it's fair to call one of the big MMOs a hidden gem, but the fact that it doesn't really work like most MMOs (permanent max level, no gear treadmill, and all content stays relevant...

        I don't think it's fair to call one of the big MMOs a hidden gem, but the fact that it doesn't really work like most MMOs (permanent max level, no gear treadmill, and all content stays relevant and fun, not just the newest thing) and is a lot more fun to engage even for people who don't want to play MMOs has some of that hidden gem quality.

        My partner and I actually are such anti-MMO players, and came suspiciously to GW2 on suggestion when we were looking for a Diablo-style ARPGs that had more actual gameplay instead of feeling like play was basically running a build simulator, and that turned out to be a pretty great suggestion as we've enjoyed it for a couple thousand hours now (and dumped a bunch of cash into it, since while the content is cheap, the gemstore is pricey and even having a character of every class is surprisingly expensive).

        You can even play on controller (which we have our whole time) at only minor (and mostly ignorable in the open world) disadvantage, thanks to the optional action camera setting and something like Steam Input to handle and automate the kbm mapping. Here's the configuration we use, but there are others available if you look for it.

        Whether you play on controller or not, make sure you uncheck the double-tap movement key to dodge in the settings, and get used to a dodge key. That double-tap dodge will 100% kill you at some point, and probably many times over.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Nefara
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I didn't call it a hidden gem, but according to MMO population counts I'd say it's certainly overlooked or underrated. Considering the amount and quality of the content, and the population...

          I didn't call it a hidden gem, but according to MMO population counts I'd say it's certainly overlooked or underrated. Considering the amount and quality of the content, and the population capacity of the game, it is certainly smaller than it seems to me it "should" be. A lot of people also have played it at some point closer to release and might not realize how far it's come since then. I've been playing regularly since beta (and played GW1 before that) so I know Arenanet has always sort of been that MMO dev off in a corner doing their own thing their own way, and IMO it works. Except for their marketing!

          1 vote
          1. TyrianMollusk
            Link Parent
            This is the Hidden Gems thread, so posting does have some presumption of being a hidden gem, and I don't know that I'd really double down on arguing something your linked site estimates averaging...

            This is the Hidden Gems thread, so posting does have some presumption of being a hidden gem, and I don't know that I'd really double down on arguing something your linked site estimates averaging over 90,000 daily players this month as hidden, just because they have it ranked "only" the 14th highest populated MMO. This month has Helldivers 2 posting a peak 90k daily Steam player count.

            Other games in the thread are looking at 1,000 total Steam reviews as a major, sometimes even insurmountable milestone. Double-digit average player counts are something many such overlooked games count as a blessing. Some of the games I suggested--which are legitimately great games in their space--have all-time daily peaks in single digits.

            Now, I'm not saying people shouldn't have a look around if they haven't paid GW2 any attention, and that goes even if they don't like MMOs, because it does have its own feel. But this thread doesn't work if we bring in everything with huge active player counts just because we'd like to see even more people play them. A 90k daily playerbase is a massively popular game, and it's straining the bounds of rationality to call it overlooked just because a handful of MMOs have even higher numbers.

            2 votes
    2. [3]
      Wafik
      Link Parent
      I'm assuming you must have played Command & Conquer? If not, happy to sell you on why.

      I'm assuming you must have played Command & Conquer? If not, happy to sell you on why.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        lou
        Link Parent
        I have played this game briefly decades ago. It's great that it has a remaster, I didn't know about that. I'll check it out for sure. Thanks.

        I have played this game briefly decades ago. It's great that it has a remaster, I didn't know about that. I'll check it out for sure. Thanks.

        2 votes
        1. Wafik
          Link Parent
          Yeah it's well done and hits the spot if you want the old school RTS feel.

          Yeah it's well done and hits the spot if you want the old school RTS feel.

          1 vote
  10. hakuchu
    Link
    I do have one suggestion for shockingly overlooked: SNKRX. soundtrack and gameplay are equally amazing. its a rougelite snake game, whats not to love?

    I do have one suggestion for shockingly overlooked: SNKRX.

    soundtrack and gameplay are equally amazing. its a rougelite snake game, whats not to love?

    3 votes
  11. Tiraon
    Link
    Buried Treasure Titan Outpost - a non combat RPG taking place on an outpost on Titan. Offers an atmosphere of isolation that the player can break or not as preferred and several possible paths...

    Buried Treasure

    Titan Outpost - a non combat RPG taking place on an outpost on Titan. Offers an atmosphere of isolation that the player can break or not as preferred and several possible paths through.

    The Next World - a visual novel, simulation taking place after a crash landing on a planet.

    Underrated Great

    Golden Treasure: The Great Green - a visual novel, survival exploration hybrid. Does a very good job of giving unique voices to various animals including the dragon that the player takes from hatching to maturity.

    2 votes
  12. kru
    Link
    I picked up News Tower which is in EA and only has about 1k reviews. At first glance I thought it was a sim tower wannabe. It is very much not. It has elements of sim tower in that you're building...

    I picked up News Tower which is in EA and only has about 1k reviews. At first glance I thought it was a sim tower wannabe. It is very much not. It has elements of sim tower in that you're building office spaces upwards and managing the habitats of the workers. But the meat of the game is choosing which reporters to send out to the stories and how to position those stories on the newspapers that you send out to the public. You do this with a clever symbol matching mechanic (which is a personal favorite mechanic of mine). On top of that there is a city map where you slowly expand outward by growing your subscriber base who wants you to cover stories with ever increasing symbol complexity. Meanwhile you're also optimizing the distance your reporters and production chain staff have to walk to create and prepare a story for print, and designing their layouts to minimize noise, heat and other distractions while providing enough space for inspiring posters and desk ornaments that provide stat bonuses.

    Honestly, it might be a tad bit too crunchy. However, I've thoroughly enjoyed the ~4-5 hours I've put into it.

    1 vote