20 Great Games for $10 or Less

If you're on a budget, this handy list of high-quality games is exactly what you need.

Great Games on a Budget

It’s certainly no revelation that the economy is not in great shape. And buying every new video game under the sun can quickly add up. Never fear: We’ve scoured countless new and used video-game deals on the Internet to assemble our list of 20 games for $10 or less that are worth playing on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, iPhone, and iPad.

Anomaly: Warzone Earth

$10 on Steam

Games in the tower-defense genre typically have you defending a building or base from onrushing waves of enemies. Anomaly: Warzone Earth, however, flips things around as you lead a platoon to topple various towering extraterrestrial structures around the world. On top of its original premise, Anomaly sports luscious visuals and is genuinely a lot of fun.

BioShock 2

$7.50 on Glyde

Sure, BioShock 2 didn’t quite set the world ablaze the same way its predecessor did, but let’s face it: Those were some Big Daddy-size shoes to fill. In any case, the sequel is a great way to prepare for BioShock: Infinite considering that it fleshes out some of the back-story of what went down in Rapture before it went to hell. Plus, you can’t complain too much about getting the chance to stomp around as a Big Daddy.

Brutal Legend

$10 on EB Games

Even if heavy metal and Jack Black (who voices Brutal Legend protagonist Eddie Riggs) aren’t your cup of tea, Brutal Legend has more to offer than what first meets the eye. Developer Double Fine’s knack for crafting clever dialogue and scenarios really comes through in Brutal Legend’s intentionally cheesy story, and the game’s unique blend of real-time strategy and God of War-style action actually works.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena

$9 on Glyde

Surprisingly, this video game loosely based on Vin Diesel’s wretched Riddick movies (The Chronicles of Riddick holds a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) is actually quite good. It’s one of the few examples of an ambitious game developer--Skybreeze Studios in this case--rising far beyond the source material in terms of creativity and quality, and delivering a worthwhile sci-fi experience.

Dead Rising 2: Case West

$10 on XBL Marketplace

Picking up shortly after the cataclysmic conclusion of Dead Rising 2, Case West once more puts you in the role of the original Dead Rising’s protagonist, photojournalist Frank West. What makes Case West worth a look is its two-player co-op, which allows the second player to control DR2 hero Chuck Green. The return of the first game’s photography mode (which plays into investigating the outbreak) is also a welcome addition.

Dead Space

$7 on iTunes; $10 for iPad

The iOS versions of Dead Space exemplify how the iPhone and iPad can not only deliver high-quality visuals and gameplay, but also successfully translate a previously console-exclusive franchise to mobile platforms. If you’re a fan of Dead Space, you shouldn’t think twice about checking out one of the best horror-themed titles currently on the iPhone and iPad.

Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition

$10 on Steam

With the hotly anticipated Deus Ex: Human Revolution about to spread its cybernetically enhanced wings this fall, what better time than now to refresh yourself on the extraordinary original? Even if you’ve already played the first Deus Ex, 11 years is plenty of time to forget things. And the GOTY Edition comes with some nifty extras, such as a software development kit and the game’s soundtrack. Oh yeah, skip Deus Ex 2.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Shivering Isles

$10 on EB Games

What better way to prepare for the beast known as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim than to play this beefy stand-alone expansion to Oblivion, one of the most imaginative fantasy games of this console generation? Shivering Isles may not be quite as lengthy as Oblivion, but it still provides several hours of pure enjoyment as you and Sheogorath, the Prince of Madness, protect the island from annihilation.

Fallout 3

$9 on Glyde

Although the newer Fallout installment, New Vegas, is also available in stores, the third mesmerizing game in Bethesda’s Fallout franchise is still worth revisiting (or playing for the first time if you missed it). And for the price of dinner at Applebee’s, you can explore Fallout 3’s imaginative and harrowing vision of America after a nuclear holocaust--without the post-Applebee’s heartburn.

Feed Me Oil

$1 on iTunes; $2 for iPad

The premise of Holywater Games’ vibrant iOS puzzler is simple: You have to clean up the leakage coming from a broken oil pipe. As Feed Me Oil’s name suggests, you must do so by guiding rivers of oil into the mouths of various creatures, which are also part of your surroundings. Weird? Sure. Incredibly charming and fun? Definitely.

Galaga: Legions DX

$10 on XBL Marketplace

Although Galaga: Legions DX is certainly nowhere as revered as the quintessential arcade game it spawned from, it's still a fun, visually stimulating shooter that’s worth its price. And while Galaga: Legions DX (available on Xbox Live Arcade) changes the fundamental gameplay from the original significantly, it riffs on the core concept of battling progressively nastier waves of multicolored insect-shaped spacecrafts in a way that feels both modern and in the vein of classic Galaga.

Infinity Blade

$6 on iTunes

Epic Games’ visually astounding first-person fantasy game Infinity Blade pushes the potential of iPhone/iPad gaming forward. While its premise, sword-swinging combat mechanics, and exploration are simple, Infinity Blade is still a tremendously satisfying adventure game that has likely converted more than a few folks into iOS gamers.


$10 on Steam

Playdead’s moody, monochromatic platformer Limbo most likely won’t appeal to everyone. But if an eerie adventure game with mesmerizing art direction sounds like something you might be into, you should definitely give Limbo a try. The X360 and PS3 versions of Limbo are available to download for about $15, but you can pick up the PC version on Steam for just $10.

Ms. Splosion Man

$10 on XBL Marketplace

Even though Ms. Splosion Man’s grating, nonstop babbling can become quite unbearable (thank goodness for that mute option), Twisted Pixel’s hysterical sequel surpasses the original in just about every way. The game is more clever, more colorful, and just more fun than 'Splosion Man, which is actually pretty great, too. It’s remarkable how the developer can do so much with a game where essentially your only ability is to explode.

PixelJunk Shooter 2

$10 on PSN

Q-Games’ hypnotic PSN title PixelJunk Shooter 2 is a superb follow-up to the company's original two-player multidirectional shooter, and well worth the price of a single Hamilton. Not only is the sequel a much longer (and more grueling) experience, but the level design really shines this time as PJS2 takes you to inspired new locales such as worlds lit up by glowing insects, and the intestinal track of a massive reptilian monster. It’s a must-own for fans of the first game.

Rage HD

$2 on iTunes

Although you’ll have to wait until October 4 to get your hands on Id Software’s anticipated postapocalyptic shooter Rage, you can already play the iOS edition. Rage HD, a simple on-rails version of Rage in which you gun down monstrously misshapen mutants, is surprisingly quite good. Though the game is brief, $2 is not a bad deal for this enjoyable shooter and appetizer for the full console release.

Super Meat Boy

$10 on EB Games

Team Meat’s sweet meat-themed indie platformer Super Meat Boy is as simple as video games get. As the titular Meat Boy, players must navigate over 300 short levels that are riddled with saws and other obstacles hazardous to meat men. Super Meat Boy’s straightforward level design, charming music, and 8-bit-inspired visuals all make for one of the best games you can get for $10.

Team Fortress 2

Free on Steam

Originally released as part of Valve’s The Orange Box compilation, Team Fortress 2 is one of the most entertaining multiplayer shooters you can play on PC. From its striking cartoon art style to its memorable characters (such as the one-eyed alcoholic Scotsman, Demoman), TF2 is too good for any shooter fan with a decent rig to pass up--especially considering that the game is now free to play.

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

$10 on EB Games

The extra goodies packed in this special edition of The Witcher go beyond throwaway features that don’t affect the main game. For instance, it comes with 200 new animations, two new playable adventures (Side Effects and The Prince of Neutrality), bug fixes, and expanded dialogue. They’ve even thrown a making-of DVD and a soundtrack into the Enhanced Edition.

Zombie Gunship

$1 on iTunes

Modern Warfare’s AC 130 gunship night missions--in which you obliterate ground targets from above--are some of the franchise’s most memorable levels. This iOS game takes that appeal and throws in packs of flesh-devouring zombies, which you must keep away from your bunker and destroy in order to purchase more devastating weaponry.

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors