The Budget Gamer: How to Game on $5 Next Week (1st Edition)

I have $5

 Week #1

Hello, my name is Petey and I am totally broke. Well, not quite broke, but close. I only bring in a small amount of money each week. After bills, taxes, food, entertainment, and severe budgeting, I end up with a small amount of cash which I use to satisfy my gaming habits. That small surplus in my budget always totals exactly $5 and anybody who says anything contrary to that statement is a liar and terrible person. Now, I could go spend this fantastic $5 on a much (and I mean much) needed new bottle of body wash or buy a friend lunch, but I always end up spending it on the best possible gaming deal I can find. To supplement my $5 spending habit, I also play as many free-to-play games as I can find. It is near impossible to beat the price of $FREE (the technical way to say $0), and in the current era of technology, these free games have become impressive, and often, worthwhile. The digital era of downloadable games has cut down production costs, and thus product costs, to incredible lows.

So, with that said, here is my list of recommendations on how to game for $5 this upcoming week.

Recommendation for Monday

SWOOOORDS! Colon Lords of the Sword from Nihilocrat (Price: $Free on Kongregate)- So it is Monday and you hate the planet and all its inhabitants. You get out of bed and begin grunting and moaning, all the while forgetting to put the coffee on the burner and eating an expired bagel. It is a brutal morning. Luckily, I have a way for you to take out your aggression. SWOOOORDS! should assist your gaming needs. This game is outright vicious. The graphics are simple, the music is primal heavy metal, and the gameplay is unforgiving in its difficulty.  I have not made it past level 3 in that monstrosity of chaotic sword combat since each time you die it sends you back to the very beginning of the game. The combat is outrageously tight and rewarding, but punishes frivolity. Think of it as an isometric action RPG like Torchlight II, which strips out all of the RPG elements and forces the player to use skilled combat tactics. These qualities, plus a beautifully rigid metal soundtrack, make for a fun, yet brutal, game. You wake up early on Monday to play this and I guarantee you will be wishing you had a broadsword, guitar, amp, and long wavy blonde hair when you head to work or school after playing this one.

Recommendation for Tuesday

Dukes and Dirigibles from Backward pieS (Price: $Free on Kongregate and Newgrounds)- Tuesday has rolled around and you are happy to finally be away from that damned Monday. The week has now gotten rolling and you so badly need something casual, as you know your brain will be as fried as an egg which inevitably got left on the grill too long at waffle by the end of the week. Therefore I have something not so demanding, but incredibly fun which I have been enjoying when I have an hour or so off during the day. Meet Dukes and Dirigibles, a steampunk-inspired arena shooter from developer Backward pieS. Players control a 1930s (read: old) aircraft fitted with a turret and a shell launcher which they must use to defeat different bosses, who control massive Hindenburg-type blimps. D&D (reminds me of something else I do in my spare time) never demands too much out of a player, even though the latter stages get somewhat more difficult.  It demands only a joy of aerial assault and hilariously named enemy ships, such as “Sir Thomas Derringer’s Terrible Dirigible”. Backward pieS also is planning a full release of Dukes and Dirigibles which they have put on Steam GreenlightDukes and Dirigibles is perfect for a Tuesday afternoon lunch or coffee break where you want a break from monotony and want to spend $FREE.

Recommendation for Wednesday

VVVVVV from Terry Cavanagh (Price: $5 on Terry’s Website)- My best friend and SOMEONE WHO REFUSES AN INTERVIEW WITH ME! created a gem of a platformer in VVVVVV and you can now get it for $5 from his website. I suggest it for Wednesdays because that is about the time I feel I am going to lose my mind during the week. It is not the weekend and it is too far into the week for any human to keep their sanity. Thus, play something which further challenges your sanity, which VVVVVV absolutely does. It is so positively quirky and focuses on minimalism to such an extent that it challenges the way video games are approached. I do not feel the need to say much about it, as it is famous enough to have been heard of by the majority of indie gamers. All you need to know is that it is a focused and unforgiving platformer well worth the $5 it requires you to pay for purchase. Take Wednesday to embrace your craziness and play a game made by a man likely crazier than all of us. Play VVVVVV.

Recommendation for Thursday

Cryptozookeeper from Robb Sherwin (Price: $FREE from Cryptozookeeper’s Official Website)- Thursday is typically when I begin playing a long game for the weekend as the week is winding down and my schedule clears up a bit. Cryptozookeeper is about as long of a free game as you can find. It is a text-based adventure based on who the hell knows what idea and requires a little over 12 hours, but the whole adventure is well worth it. The story is teeming with hilarious moments and presents a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy style of delivery. The puzzles are insanely creative and require careful thought and abstract thinking. Within the first five minutes of gameplay, I had to make my character vomit to solve a puzzle. To me that just wreaks of greatness and solvable obscurity. The soundtrack is another highlight, which features over 70 tracks of methodically conceived original music. There was so much care put into Cryptozookeeper by Robb Sherwin and his team that I am honestly thinking about buying the physical copy, despite the game being available to play for free. If you are into comedy and need something free to occupy your weekend, look no further than Cryptozookeeper.

Recommendation for Friday

A Game for Ana from David S Gallant (Price: $FREE on David S. Gallant’s Official Website)- So it’s Friday: the work week is near over and you begin thinking about your boo. She exists out there somewhere and you want to be romantic with her, but still get in your gaming fix. Well here, I have for you an amazingly simple platformer which is a romantic statement David Gallant made for his wife on Valentines Day. A Game for Ana is simple in the message and in the gaming style, but it is positively adorable in the delivery of the sentiment. It is a gaming programmer using his ability to express a direct and personal emotion, which he makes apparent that he is not afraid to share with the rest of us. It does not do anything overly complex and can be finished in about 10 minutes, but all the while is touching in a way that these 200 words could never describe. Play A Game for Ana with your boo and do something nice for her the following night. He/she deserves it.

That is all I have for you this week! Now go out, game for $5 this week, and I will begin compiling a list of games for you to chew on for next week’s feature. If you have a free game you would like to see featured here, please contact me on Twitter: @indiepeteyigm. I am always looking to try out free games and getting the word out about small developers is kind of my thing. For this and all your other indie gaming needs, stick right here with

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