Special Feature

07 . 09 . 2024

Budget Gamer: 4 Games for $5 Each


I’ve been wanting to do a round-up for some time of games that aren’t expensive but pack in the value. These four titles aren’t all super-recent, but they are all pretty awesome, and you can pick up all four for $5/game or less, and a grand total of less than than $15. This gives me and you and opportunity. I get an opportunity to gush about four games I really wish more people would play. You get an incredibly good deal on those four games.

I have refrained from giving numeric scores below; while each gets my recommendation, I’m letting each mini-review speak for itself; parental warnings are listed at the end of each section.

I will note that, with respect to the links below, itch.io is not as a general rule a safe site for browsing if practicing custody of the eyes (perhaps even less so than Steam.)

The screenshots are all taken from the games’ official Steam pages, itch.io pages, or press kits.


Genre: Precision Platformer
Price: $4.99 ($6.99 Switch)

Platforms: PC (Steam and itch.io), Switch

This game came out in the summer of 2020. In the stale air of the 2020 pandemic, finding RITE was like a breath of fresh air. This is a REALLY good game at a really good value.

RITE does a really good job of the “encouraging” level design we’ve come to hear about with platformers. These are challenging levels, but they are made to be beaten, not made to be struggled with indefinitely. It can feel a little mechanically twitchy in places, and on occasion the levels can be frustrating, but with the game’s solid controls and design all-around, I found these flaws forgivable at worst.

The exact nature of the “Rite of Passage” the game’s levels represent is left to the player’s imagination, but the conceit and the name, fit the game to a T. The levels, and the obstacles which make them up, have a very natural rhythm and flow of their own. They feel, at their best, almost liturgical.

There are a lot of games in this vein that present a number of absurd collectibles. This was one of the few that made me want to go back and get them. As of the time of this writing, I collected all the items needed to enter and finish the main world. Only a scant few eluded me by the time I was finished with this game. At $4.99 in full price, this one is a keeper.

Morality/Parental Warnings:

Mild Cartoon violence

RITE is available on:

Switch eShop

Leap Year

Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Price: $4.99
Platforms: PC (Steam, itch)

Leap Year is a puzzle platformer where you’re trying to collect all of the days of the February 2024 calendar. It’s centered around its unique jump mechanic, which has two main elements that almost no modern platformer uses.

First, you will get knocked out by almost any noticeable fall; falls greater than one in-game tile will do you in. Since you jump two tiles, even a fall equal to your full jump height will kill you.

Second, when you jump against a ceiling, you do not fall down right away, as you would in many platformers, but retain a good amount of the ‘float’ you normally have at the top of a jump. This is a convention seen in some older platformers, and in other platformers where there’s no automatic collision detection for hitting the ceiling. But these two things are almost immediately put to use for the game’s first few little jump puzzles.

But there’s more to the story. You’ll find figure out fairly early on that falling just a bit longer will result, not in a deathier death, but in a sort of “spring-jump” off the ground, leaving you to manage the fall from the second jump height the same way you had to manage the first. And it gets better, and weirder, from there.

I would recommend going into this one as blind as you can, and playing as much as possible without the use of guides. After some head-scratching, I ended up using a guide to find two or three of the pieces, but there’s a good chance you, the reader, are smarter than me for this sort of nonsense this game requires.

But what nonsense! Quite a good show overall.

I will admit, its look wasn’t my favorite. But the whole, as they say, was greater than the sum of the parts, and I found it charming in the end.

Morality/Parental Warnings:

Mild Cartoon violence

Leap Year is available on:


Mosa Lina

Genre: Puzzle platformer
Price: $4.99 / FREE*
Platforms: PC (Steam, Itch*)

Mosa Lina is weird: Probably the weirdest game on this list. And it’s a little unfair. In fact, it’s probably the most unfair game on this list.

I know, I’m really selling this one, right?

But it’s good in its weirdness, and it’s excellent in its unfairness.

Mosa Lina drops you into a set of randomly chosen puzzle-platformer levels with randomly chosen tools that you shoot from your gun. In each setup, the goal is to either collect or remove all of the fruits, and then exit through the portal. Your set of various and sundry tools includes, among other items, a delete gun, a frog gun, a rocketship gun, a block gun, and even a “gun” gun. It’s very difficult to describe the exact experience of playing Mosa Lina. It’s confusing at first, because you’re just given a set of situations ranging from very easy to nearly, or actually (the game warns you about this possibility) impossible, and you don’t know how anything works.

The developers bill this game as “a hostile interpretation of the immersive sim, where nothing is planned, and everything works”, and that last part is much closer to the truth than you might think when starting out.

Slowly, you learn the tools and even new or unexpected ways to use and combine them. This middle phase was the most satisfying part of the game for me, and it makes for an excellent “play with your friends” game, just the right combination of discovery, frustration, fun to play and fun to watch.

As you play, the game gives you various achievements depending on how you beat the level. Some of these are fairly obvious (“First try” for beating a level on your first attempt; “Touched Fruits” for when you touch the all of the fruits in a level.) Others, like “Yesyesyes” and “Yeehaw” I still don’t actually understand.

Eventually, you become more knowledgeable, and some (though not all) of the magic of the middle phase is lost. For those so inclined, this may be where the speedrun mode comes in, but even if you’re not a speed-gamer, there are still going to be some pockets of undiscovered mechanical nuance left for you.

Morality/Parental Warnings:

Mild Cartoon violence

Mosa Lina is available on:


* Note: The version on itch.io is the free game-jam version, which the author of this piece has not played.

LXD :: Red Honey

Genre: Mini-Metroidvania
Price: FREE
Platforms: PC (itch.io)

LXD :: Red Honey is the sort of quirky “indie-weird” game I love. The kind that has a unified aesthetic, where the charm is greater than the sum of the parts.

I started this game on a weeknight and almost immediately played it way later than  was responsible.

From play control to programming ‘seamlessness’, the game is solid, solid, solid all around and has few bugs. The abilities are partly of the “stock” Metroidvania variety with a dash and a double-jump, but both are handled very well. There was also a swimming ability, somewhat reminiscent of a Yoshi‘s Island Yoshi transformation. It could have perhaps been slightly more user-friendly, but it did the job and mostly didn’t get in the way.

The game’s charm is greater than the sum of its parts. When you look at it it feels a little messy or disjointed. I’m a square exploring a relatively abstract world. Never seen this in an indie game before, right? But when you play it, you find yourself charmed, well beyond expectation. Everyone knows there are some things that a still image just doesn’t do justice. LXD is one of those.

The story is minimal: You’re a square player moving around the world nurturing various plants to reach and stop the great evil enveloping the world you’re in. That’s it. But what plants, what a world, what movement.

As of the time of this review, I’ve not yet beaten the final boss, which is probably the closest the game has come to being really frustrating. But despite occasional frustration, this game gets a big recommendation from me all around.

LXD was made for the Metroidvania Month 24 game jam, in which it took home 3rd place.

Morality/Parental Warnings:

Mild Cartoon violence

LXD :: Red Honey is available on:


About kkairos

Here at CGR, kkairos mostly takes a back-seat approach, offering his services as one of a few Wordpress theme monkeys and occasionally offers advice or prayers to writers.