It's a great time to be an indie gamer, with amazing, fully realized games available for immediate digital download at the fraction of the price of retail. Here are this month's picks for the best computer games under $15.
1. Party Hard
Crash the hottest, loudest, craziest parties in town. Hit the dance floor, cheer on a dancing, fez-wearing bear, crank up the volume until the cops come. Get to know an entire cast of interesting, attractive people, and then murder them.
Party Hard is a dark, highly thematic and intensely difficult stealth-strategy puzzler game where you're just a guy who really wants to get some sleep. The neighbors keeping you up all night are loud, obnoxious, and in various states of drunk.
What's a guy gotta do to catch some Zzz's?
You guessed it: murder spree.
From frat houses to rooftop pools, neon-saturated Vegas strip clubs to cruise liners filled over-capacity with bodybuilders in speedos and bikini-clad bleached blondes, you'll be infiltrating the nation's most obnoxious parties with the ultimate goal of murdering everyone in attendance, from the guests to the wait staff, the bouncers to the guys in clown suits to the D.J.'s to the pool boys, it's a free-for-all sale on murder victims, and it's time to fill up Hell's handbasket.
Plan your strategy carefully: make it look like an accident by pushing party boat guests overboard into shark-infested waters; send a friendly neighborhood tree crashing through the window and onto couches filled with passed-out frat boys; and my personal favorite, unleash a luxury sports car from its display and watch as it careens into a crowd of people waiting in line at the entrance to a dance club.
But unlike all those other famous deranged serial killers in the movies, you're not invincible: you'll need to hide bodies, evade the cops, and outwit overzealous security staff, or else you won't get to live to murder another night.
From its gameplay, to its bright and ultra-violent graphics to its over-the-top murder methods, Party Hard is intense, brutal, and a gorily decadent display of pixel murder artistry at its finest.
Are you bro enough to rescue the president?
Bring democracy to the most criminal scumbag laden jungles of the world in Broforce, an action packed, cigar chompin', rocket launching, minigun shooting, car flipping, sidescrolling pixel art shoot 'em up.
With bicep flexing features like “fully destructible everything,” co-operative campaign mode for up to 2 players, online and local multiplayer, more alternate game modes than you can shake a pack of C4 at.
If you can't tell by the trailer, Broforce is also a loving homage to the best 'Merican action flicks to come out of the '80s and '90's, and beyond.
Machine gun your enemies to pieces as John Rambro. Pity the fools as B. A. Brorachus. Get crackin' as the esteemed adventurer Indiana Brones. Ask 'em if they're feeling lucky, punks, as Dirty Brorry Callahan. Roundhouse your enemies to the moon as Brodell Walker, Texas Ranger...and the list goes on. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of Bros.
As a member of the ultra elite commando team Broforce, you'll be dropped into the most inhospitable, terror stricken areas of the world with one mission, and one mission only: shoot all the things, rescue all the POWs, and destroy all the fully destroyable everythings. Seriously.
Armies of masked thugs will fall to your bronslaught, structures will crumple and collapse as you dispense fiery justice, and to top it all off, each level concludes with your Bro hoisting an American flag before grappling onto the ladder of an escape chopper while the level starts exploding around you.
Now if that's not democracy, I don't know what is!
With is amazing cooperative multiplayer capabilities, deceptively adorable pixel graphics, randomly generated levels, and punishing difficulty, you'll be sure to have a great time with Friendship Destroyer Simulator 2016.
Er, I mean, Spelunky.
Its procedurally generated levels mean there's always plenty of interesting stories each level has to tell, and you'll be telling your own by the time it utterly destroys you. And your friends.
In Spelunky, you are all explorers vying for treasure and glory. You are given bombs to explode your way through the level, rope to stop you from falling to your death, and uh, that's it. Mostly.
You are given the opportunity, sometimes, to buy more supplies from friendly (or mad) shopkeepers scattered throughout some levels, but things aren't always so straightforward when everything is out to kill you.
And that's pretty much the core design aesthetic in spelunky: assume that everything is deadly, so at least when you die, it won't come as that crushing a surprise.
Long drops might land you in harmless, cool cave water, or a deadly spike pit. Arrow traps might jettison you onto a higher, previously inaccessible elevation – but more likely it will just impale you on more spikes. Seemingly playful monkeys will steal your bombs and explode them in your face. Ghosts float through walls to hunt you down beyond the pall of death.
That shopkeeper we mentioned? Turns out he's got a hair-trigger temper. And by hair-trigger, we mean, he's as likely to show you his wares as a fistful of buckshot between the eyes.
And then there are snakes. There are always has to be snakes.
But best of all, you can try Spelunky for free by playing the original freeware game, re-christened Spelunky Classic.
With the popularity of crowdfunding, the success of small strike teams of passionate game designers and developers and support from online digital delivery services like Steam, it's a great time to get into the indie gaming scene.
All the games on our list deliver on top-notch quality gameplay without boring a hole through your bank account, so why not give some of them a try?