2020 Steam Winter Sale: 8 really good indie PC gaming deals

The Steam Winter Sale is in full swing, and with many of us staying home for the holidays and growing increasingly weary of this pandemic and the year 2020 in general, this one feels maybe a little more special than it usually does. As always, there are no lack of deals to peruse, and while I usually write a list like this every year, I thought this year I'd shake things up a little bit by focusing entirely on indie games.

You see, major publishers and I are going through something of a rough patch right now. Lately I find myself fed up with a number of big publishers that don't have consoles to sell me – and even one that does – so we're going to put them to the side for the time being and look at some games made by small teams of people who don't have boards of directors or shareholders to please (or, at the very least, games that are published by smaller companies like Devolver Digital or Chucklefish Games).

Horizon Chase Turbo

While it certainly isn't anywhere near the scope of a racing sim like Forza Motorsport, Horizon Chase Turbo is still a fantastic arcade racer. The game has colorful, bright visuals that are just what the doctor ordered for this bleak nothing of a year, and the soundtrack is incredible as well. Horizon Chase Turbo shouldn't be overlooked by racing fans – even the hardcore simmers among us – and at $5.99, it's worth considering even if you don't usually go for racers.

They Are Billions

I know for a fact that this game has made it onto one of my Steam lists before, and after this one, it will probably appear on more because it's just a fantastic game. Brutally difficult, They Are Billions is all about building an outpost that can survive continuous attacks from hordes of zombies. A mix of RTS, tower defense, and roguelike games, I don't know that I've ever played anything quite like They Are Billions before, and I keep coming back to it because the satisfaction I get from winning a game is unmatched by any other. At $23.99, it's a bit more expensive than the other games on this list, but it's easily worth double or triple that given the amount of fun on tap.


When was the last time you played a game that was set in 17th-century British-colonial Mars? Probably never, but picking up Jamestown+ will change that. Jamestown is a top-down shoot 'em up game that has been around for a long time, and it features really solid gameplay, an interesting setting that you aren't likely to find anywhere else, and really awesome music. Jamestown+ is something of an enhanced edition of the game, complete with the DLC that was released for the original. During the Winter Sale, the game costs $8.99, and with a number of different difficulty levels, it's a good choice for both newcomers to and veterans of the genre.

Steredenn: Binary Stars

This is the second shoot 'em up on the list, but unlike Jamestown+, which focuses on theming and flexibility that allows a wide range of people to play, Steredenn: Binary Stars is a side-scrolling roguelike shoot 'em up, and that means it's difficult. You'll die a lot playing this game, but each new run you start, you'll make it a little bit further, and that incremental progress can be very fun and very addicting. With a variety of sweet weapons, Steredenn is definitely worth checking out for fans of the genre looking for a challenge, especially at its $6.49 price point.


With a normal price tag of $4.99, Islanders was already priced firmly within impulse buy territory, but with it going down to a mere $2.49 in the Steam Winter Sale, it's worth taking a chance on regardless of your preferences. Islanders is a different kind of city builder where the only goal is to earn points through the placement of your buildings. At certain score thresholds, you're able to move onto a new island and start anew with your score intact, with the goal of getting as high a score as possible. It's one of those games that's easy to learn but difficult to master, and it's perfect for when you're looking for something simple to play.


If you're a fan of either Factorio specifically or the tower defense genre in general, then Mindustry is a game you should definitely pick up during the Steam sale. Like Islanders, Mindustry is normally priced in impulse range at $5.99, and the discount it has in the Steam sale isn't massive at only 15% off. Still, the $5.09 you'll spend on it gets you a surprisingly deep game about collecting resources and getting them to your weapons through automation. If you have an eye for efficiency and you enjoy games like the aforementioned Factorio or Satisfactory, then don't pass up Mindustry.

FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL: Faster Than Light is unquestionably the most popular indie game on my list, and being more than 8 years old, a lot of people have likely already played it. As far as I'm concerned, FTL has earned a permanent spot on any list talking about really good indie games, because it's fantastic in literally every sense. A roguelike game that puts you in command of a spaceship crew and places you in perilous situation after perilous situation, FTL is one of my favorite games of all time, and at $2.49 during the Steam sale, I think it's a game that every PC gamer should pick up.


Parkasaurus is a game that came out of left field for me, which is surprising because it's right up my alley (as a certain dinosaur theme park entrepreneur might say). If you wanted a deeper focus on simulation out of Jurassic World Evolution, you should definitely give Parkasaurus a look. Its graphics are certainly cartoony and the dinosaurs a little goofy looking (they can even wear hats), but this game is a solid park simulator that should give Dino Park Tycoon or Jurassic Park fans a lot of hours of enjoyment. At $18.74 (25% off), it's a bit on the expensive side when compared to the other games on this list, but you definitely get a lot of game in return for your 18 bucks.


Obviously, one of the great and frustrating things about Steam is the fact that there's an endless number of indie games to pick from. There are a lot of really good indie deals to take advantage of at the moment, so if your favorite indie game is on sale and didn't make this list, be sure to head down to the comments section and tell us what it is!