11 Unnoticed Indie Steam games under $10 in 2020 for July : Developers Interview Included!

1 ) Happy Grumps

By Glenn LaBarre & Drew Conley

Happy grumps is a dungeon crawler, roguelike game, but get this, instead of trying to steal treasures or fight monsters, you are on a quest to spread happiness. Sounds like Undertale.

Published by Glenn LaBarre

The team size is two people which is small and normal for an indie game developer making games.

At first glance, Happy Grumps has the feel of a black and white game. Very much similar to the GameBoy games back in the day.

Spreading happiness

The game is randomly generated so each time you complete a run, new combinations of maps, trinkets, and strategies emerge.

There are different kinds of heroes, powers, and secrets as you play more with the potential of growing your skills.

Trinkets to buy
Happy Grumps Trailer

As of writing this, there is an early access to Happy Grumps which you can pay $9.99 on steam. It just came out. July 24th, 2020. But when it gets released, the price will jump to a high 50%!

Let’s ask the developer what this game is about.

What is your game about?

Happy Grumps is a game about spreading happiness to a grumpy world. You play as one of several heroes on a quest to liberate Grumps. It takes the classic gameplay style of a roguelike dungeon crawler, but twists the goal of the game to be focused on liberating Grumps instead of gaining treasure. Happy Grumps was inspired by the birth of my daughter (who is now 3 years old). I was in a grumpy place at the time and she was this incredible joy. Her way of living life was constantly spreading happiness to me.

Glenn LaBarre

What makes your game unique?

Happy Grumps takes classic elements from games I love, but the most unique feature is that you spread happiness through line of sight in a grid-based, turn-based design. Like a twist on chess, you can join forces with liberated Grumps to clear rooms. Another unique feature people seem to enjoy is that the game uses your remaining turns as life and currency to buy new powers. And this might be the first dungeon crawler about happiness 🙂

Glenn LaBarre

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

Whew – that’s a tough one. There is obviously a lot of injustice in the world and other very hard, sad things that happen. I have no delusions that anyone can simply “spread happiness” and suddenly fix everything. I would never suggest such a simple solution. And would I never want people to cover up the real pain in their lives. But, like I mentioned before, my daughter helped me see that honest joy is a contagious thing. You can have real lament in your life and real joy too. And real goodness can get in under your skin and make life better – even when you are grumpy. And I hope people take some of that message from Happy Grumps.

Glenn LaBarre

2) My Koi

By Sakana Studios

Released on July 16th, 2020. Developed by Sakana Studios and is the number 1 hit on the Mac App Store Games. What’s even better is that this is only $4.99!! For a relaxing simulator game! I love koi fish and raised them for years. So this game resonates with me.

My Koi Trailer

There’s so much to do. You can manage up to 54 different koi fish, customize the pond by adding rocks, plants, substrate and water color, and discover new varieties of koi fish!

The time of day changes affecting the lightening and sounds. You can feed your koi fish and depending on how much they are fed, it affects their happiness levels. There’s fish growth stats and what’s amazing is that no two koi fishes are the same! That means, your koi fish are different from each other as well it being different from your friends! It’s like a snowflake but swimming in a pond!

Also, this indie developer knows about in-app purchasing and how it ruins games. There is none in My Koi. One time buy and play. Now that’s an indie game.

What is your game about?

My Koi is a very simple virtual pet, Koi (fish) pond App. It’s not really a game, more a relaxational fidget app with very simple objectives that expand the content of the game gradually. You can watch and feed your fish and touch them to make them swim away and then see them get bigger over time. You can customize the appearance of the environment and the weather and time of day changes while you play. The app has a strong focus on escapism and helping you relax and reconnect with nature.

What makes your game unique?

One of the most unique things about My Koi is that every single fish is unique, or at least, it is nearly impossible for you to generate the same fish twice. Every aspect of the fish is randomly or procedurally generated. The other unique aspect when compared to other fishpond apps on mobile devices is that you can view your fish from both above and below the water, which really helps you to engage with the app.

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

These are very strange times and I hope my app can provide some small distraction and relaxation in an increasingly mad world. If my app can help people in a small way, then that makes me very happy. And I’m looking forward to continuing to develop and expand the app in due course, so that it becomes richer and more satisfying in due course.

3) Modest Hero

Developed by Deniz Kayacan

In June 1848, an uprising started in the suburbs of Paris. In the peak age of France revolution, the streets were desolated by a violent civil war. They were harshly suppressed by the army. Seven workers were arrested. Victor, and his six captured friends, are accused of murdering a general. As they are dragged towards their judgement, their lives will end.

Modest Hero Trailer

Based on true historical events, Modest Hero tells a good indie story that perfectly depicts ordinary workers’ life, struggle, retribution, and political/social evolution in the 19th century France. A must-play for any historical and narrative fans.

The 7 Captured workers

What is your game about?

What makes your game unique?

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

4) Snow Trail

Developed by Benjamin Kerr

Snow Trail is a puzzle game that revolves around pushing snow blocks into the water to create bridges for you to cross over a lake which only has one path. Hence the name, “Snow Trail”. There’s 100 levels and many obstacles, like slimes, knights, tiny castles, and many other roadblocks that stand in your way.

Don’t they look cute together?

The game mechanics are simple but unique: snow blocks can connect to one another, rocks can break up snow, and slimes that pushes away any snow blocks that are beside it. There are more mechanics that makes this game interesting so give the game a try! It’s only $4.99!

Developed by Benjamin Kerr, a single developer from Canada. I can guess where his inspiration came from. Let’s have a chat with the developer!

What is your game about?

Snow Trail is about pushing “snow block” into water to reach a certain destination. Snow trail is a puzzle game and new mechanics get added further into the game.

Benjamin Kerr

What makes your game unique?

I think what makes my game unique from others is the ability for the “snow blocks” to connect to one and other. It is very similar to other games in the sako-ban genre where the player has the ability to push blocks in a grid like area but, making the “snow blocks” connect to one and other created some interesting puzzles. An example is the ability to create tools to pull or push “snow blocks” to certain areas.

Benjamin Kerr

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

If there was anything I want to say publicly it would be to players who play my game to write a review on steam or email me about your experience with Snow Trail. This was my first game I created and I would like some feedback so I can improve for the future. Feedback is how game developers improve and create better experiences for players. I have got feedback from friends and family but i would love to see how people outside my circle of friends experience the game (whether that be good or bad). I learned a lot from this experience and I can’t wait to start on my next game.

Benjamin Kerr

5) Vibrant Venture

Developed by Semag Games

Vibrant Venture is a singleplayer 2D adventure platformer game where you combine and mix unique character abilities to traverse the world!

The game features four playable characters with multiple unique abilities that can be combined for extremely versatile, fluid and fun movement!

It’s almost like Mario bros! It’s only $9.99!

Lots of jump and character transformations
Vibrant Venture Trailer

What is your game about?

What makes your game unique?

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

6) TankLike

Developed by Julian Edison and Grayson Dew

Tanklike is a cooperative 2D shooter for 1 – 4 players. Improve your stats, upgrade your arsenal, and ricochet your way to victory!

The appeal for this game is the colorful bullets and tons of explosions. Did I mention that bullets can destroy other bullets?

Bullets will cancel each other bullets out

And check this out. Bullets can ricochet to kill your opponents. Fancy tank work right there!

Impressive tank shooting

There is a level editor as well which is great for sharing your maps to other people to play on. This level editor really reminds me of advance wars. I just can’t believe this game is only for $9.99 with so much content!

Level editor for tanklike

What is your game about?

What makes your game unique?

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

7) Guile & Glory: Firstborn

Developed by Elston Studios

Guile & Glory: Firstborn is the story of a world on the brink of ruin. A legion of nightmarish immortals sweeps across the land, slaughtering all who would oppose them. Blades shatter and arrows snap against the demonic flesh of the horde, and death follows in their wake. As swords fail and kingdoms crumble, three heroes rise to challenge the darkness.

A dragon breathing monster

There are deadly traps in first born and as you make your stand against the darkness in this turn-based tactical combat, patience and courage is needed to beat these nightmarish titans.

Enimies in Firstborn

Firstborn is a very interesting game as it requires players to use their environment to kill enemies: Push them into the water, Pull them to the pit of death, or use your opponents arrows to kill the goblins. For only $9.99 I’d say give this game a try. Or check out the first impression gameplays on youtube! It’s a bit outdated and redesigned maps have been swapped.

Nookrium plays Guile & Glory: Firstborn

What is your game about?

Guile & Glory: Firstborn is a strategy RPG set in a savage, bronze age world inspired by swords & sorcery fictionand classic arcade titles. The game follows the converging stories of three heroes as they venture into a forgottenrealm where humanity was once enslaved by the monstrous first children of the Gods. 

Daniel Elston

What makes your game unique?

The thing that makes Guile & Glory: Firstborn unique is the combat system. Unlike most strategy RPGs, the player’s units can’t harm enemies directly. Instead, the heroes gain a range of abilities to maneuver enemies into various hazards on the battlefield. While enemies can attack directly, their behaviour is fully deterministic, and the player can learn to turnthose behaviours to their advantage, and even trick enemies into killing each other with the right strategy. 

Daniel Elston

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

First of all, we’d like to say thank you Yobob for having us on your blog! We’re a tiny team based in Melbourne, Australia,and Guile & Glory: Firstborn is the first title we’ve developed as a studio. We’ve been very fortunate to have a wonderfulcommunity come along for the ride, and we’re excited to see the game continue to grow with their incredible supportand feedback! 

Daniel Elston

8) Midnight Scenes: The Highway (Special Edition)

Developed by Octavi Navarro

The story is about Claire Barnes who is about to discover what kind of horrors lurk in the darkness of a deserted road. Based on Midnight Scenes: The Highway, the developer is a very talented pixel artist which gives this game a whole new meaning of pixel art games.

A drive in the dark of night

The game is 15 minutes long so don’t expect too much gameplay out of this. But I do recommend her other work. Some has gone viral like the librarian.

The Librarian screen shot of solving a puzzle
Midnight Scenes: The Highway Trailer

What is your game about?

What makes your game unique?

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

9) Winter’s Trumpet

Developed by Sun Labyrinth LLC

This game is a short interactive love story set against the backdrop of an 1918 flu inspired epidemic. You are quarantined with your roommate, Rosemary, who is bored out of her mind—and is more than a little suspicious of your mysterious suitor, Marcus.

Graphics looks painterly

You will see the story through three sets of eyes as you play as Tetrine Reish, Kalevel Venhera, and Markaius.

Watching this trailer, I can already feel the feels. Be warned, it’s also states in the trailer, it’s a very short interactive story. The price is $1.99 so it’s a game you can buy and enjoy the inspired story of the 1918 pandemic flue.

Winter’s Trumpet Trailer

What is your game about?

In short, Winter’s Trumpet is a short interactive love story set against the backdrop of a 1918-inspired flu.

Expanding on that, the story is part of a larger early 19th century style fantasy world also explored in my other games, a visual novels Asher and Tell a Demon respectively – a universe once ruled by a tyrannical immortal Empress, who created the world out of her own fear and desire for absolute power and control, which led to uprising and ultimately her death – proving she was not so immortal after all. Winter’s Trumpet take place a hundred years after her death, during a time when the wounds of tyranny are still felt by the populace, who fear her eventual return or her vengeful ghost’s retribution.

Winter’s Trumpet is a short interactive story told through point’n’click format, with light puzzles, centering around the sorcerer scrivener, Tetrine, and her lover Marcus – who is actually an immortal member of the Empress’ Old Court, which now secretly rules Aeser and its twelve city-states. The story also changes hands to different points of view, allowing the player to see the world through different eyes.

Sun Labyrinth LLC

What makes your game unique?

Although very short, Winter’s Trumpet combines elements of point-and-clicks and visual novels; two of the puzzles are treated as branching choices which can be solved differently, and the ending is influenced by choices you make in the game.

Sun Labyrinth LLC

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

I suggest that developers consider supporting and using OpenSource software when they can, especially solo developers and hobbyists – you can save a lot of money while you’re learning. Supporting OpenSource also means that someone somewhere else who might not otherwise have the opportunity can access a tool for free – and that tool relies on community support to get better.

The graphics for Winter’s Trumpet were made in Blender – all the sprites and background art – and the UI was made in the GIMP. If I’d had to purchase expensive 3D software before I learned modelling and animation, this game wouldn’t exist, as it took me several years to learn how to sculpt, model, texture, and animate (my background was in 2D art before this), and there’s still a ways to go; right now I’m working on a 2.5D game with 3D sprites on 2D backgrounds, rather than using pre-rendered sprites as I did in Winter’s Trumpet.

Sun Labyrinth LLC

10) Raid on the Zone

Developed by Nikolaj Piet Pagh

An inspired game of the arcade 80s, the zone is a top down 2d fighter. The world is procedurallly generated as you control your helicopter to destroy facilities, runways, planes, boats, and super weapons factory. There are even upgrades to make your work easier!

Aircraft carrier is taking a heavy hitting
Raid on the Zone Trailer

The game is in early access for the price of $8.99 with plans on expanding the game with more game modes with high replayability, different scenarios (more maps to be played in), and more enemies: Mobile AA units, armed foot soldiers, swarms of helicopters, and much more planned in the future.

As more content is being added, the developer will slowly increase the price so getting at this low price before it shoots up is a great way to support the developer and get the game at a cheap price.

The game is constantly being improved on and the developer loves getting feedback to improve on his game. Just contact him through twitter or discord. He posts regular updates about the game, showing you the progress that he has made. He’s even kind enough to give you credits to the game if you contributed an idea to him!

What is your game about?

The game is a remake of an old classic arcade action game from the C64. In the game you have to eliminate a fierce terrorist organisation by destroying all their facilities and thereby remove their ability to reign terror on innocent civilians.

Nikolaj Piet Pagh

What makes your game unique?

The game is unique in the way its a 2D topdown action game, where you fly a dual propellered helicopter and you have several tasks at hand : Destroy the enemy’s facilities. Kill the enemies protecting these facilities. Defend your aircraft carrier from enemy boats and planes. Keep and eye on your fuel and damage at all times.

Nikolaj Piet Pagh

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

I hope people still to like the old games, as they tended to have more focus on gameplay than on graphics 🙂

Nikolaj Piet Pagh

11) Turn on the light

Developed by Thedox Games

Turn on the light is a minimalist puzzle game which takes a lot of inspiration from real life electronics. The developer must know a lot about circuits to developed a puzzle game like this.

How electricity flows to turn on the light

I recommend this game because as someone who has a background in physics, this puzzle game will teach you how electricity flows and how to design your own circuit board. Though it may not be a direct teaching, you’ll have an understanding. For $0.99 to learn about the flow of electricity, that is a big saving from college tuition!

Turn on the light Trailer

What is your game about?

Turn on the light is a minimalist casual puzzle game in which you need to connect a circuit to turn on a light. It was made to provide the player a relaxing mental task.

What makes your game unique?

The main goal of Thedox Games is always to present an innovative idea in its games. Turn on the light features a mechanic where you need to explore small parts to solve the main puzzle. This mechanic gives the player an interesting perspective of space.

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense” Pablo Picasso

Worthy of Attention

12) Em-A-Li

Developed by Yobob

Inspired by portal 2, Em-A-Li is an advance artificial health care provider or “wife bot” designed to take care of their master. It was created solely for the purpose of cooking, cleaning, and comfort.

Em-A-Li Trailer

This game is fully voice acted and very much resembles like Glados from Portal 2. It’s a short indie horror game priced at $1.99. It’s short, about 30 minutes long but I can guarantee you that the voice acting will make you enjoy this game regardless of how short it is.

Already a bit creepy with all the flickering lights and stuff

The game is a walking simulator with a lot of dialogue so if you are a fan of visual novels or narrative games, put this game on your wishlist. It’s a cheap game that you won’t regret buying.

Woah, that’s a dead pixel art girl

What is your game about?

Em-A-Li is about an A.I. that is designed to serve her master. She eventually becomes depressed as she tries to understand what her meaning of life is. You’ll go through rooms and discover the bigger secret as to why Em-A-Li and you are together. It’s pretty much a horror walking simulator that’ll freak you out in the end.

What makes your game unique?

The voice acting. That’s all I can say. And the story. And the music. Hahaha.

Is there anything you want to say to the world?

Yeah. Em-A-Li is on my back. If you see her, just ignore her.

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