Greatest video games for the Steam Deck
Earlier than we acquired our fingers on the Steam Deck, we joked that it could have a launch lineup huge and deep sufficient to place each console in historical past to disgrace. Steam is a really huge assortment of PC video games assembled throughout twenty years, and Valve’s ambition was for the Steam Deck to have the ability to run each recreation on its platform. It is taking awhile to get there—some 6,000 video games on Steam have been examined and marked as “Verified” or “Playable,” with many extra to go.
In our expertise, there have additionally been tons of video games Valve hasn’t examined that work simply advantageous on the Deck. Most of the time, once we strive a recreation it simply works. That is nice, however between the Verified listing and the remainder of your Steam library at your fingertips, it could be a bit overwhelming deciding what to play. So we have narrowed the listing to the video games we have had probably the most enjoyable with on the Steam Deck—those finest suited to moveable gaming and the Steam Deck’s energy and management choices.
The primary takeaway is that this: there’s rather more to handheld gaming than efficiency. The perfect video games on Steam Deck must be legible at 800p, work with a gamepad or contact display screen—the much less management mapping the higher, frankly—and save a few of that tight space for storing for different video games. And sure, the very best video games for the Steam Deck ought to run easily, even when which means utilizing Valve’s proprietary Proton compatibility software program. Listed here are the video games that we expect match into these classes and why. They have been sorted by style, or tag for comfort, and personally examined on the Steam Deck by yours really.
This is what we’re taking part in on the Steam Deck proper now, and suggest to anybody getting one in all their very own within the coming months.
Deckbuilders and technique video games
Ways Ogre: Reborn (opens in new tab) – 11.5GB
Launch date: 2022 | Developer: Sq. Enix | Our evaluate: 86% (opens in new tab)
The best technique RPG of all time? Ways Ogre: Let Us Cling Collectively is certainly within the working, and this 2022 remaster makes some huge adjustments to its base to take away cruft from the corners of the expertise. The dramatic, branching politically-driven story is left intact however positive aspects voice performing, and quite a lot of the unit leveling and theorycrafting has been made much less grindy. It is Deck verified, and dense sufficient to maintain you busy till Sq. lastly places Closing Fantasy Ways on PC (even when that takes years).
Dome Keeper (opens in new tab) – 857MB
Launch date: 2022 | Developer: Bippinbits | Our evaluate: 80% (opens in new tab)
2022’s Loop Hero? This compact roguelike forces you to assemble sources to guard your fragile glass dome from waves of monsters whereas making painful decisions between completely different improve choices to maintain your self alive. A compulsive “yet another run” recreation with some pretty pixel artwork and an set up dimension you may barely discover in your Deck’s SSD.
Slay the Spire (opens in new tab) – 500MB
Launch date: 2017 | Developer: Mega Crit Video games | Our evaluate: 92% (opens in new tab)
You noticed this one coming, proper? Deckbuilders are proper at residence on the Deck, which occurs to be a fortuitous coincidence, name-wise. Slay the Spire works straight off the bat, no adjustments or Proton wanted, and the sport’s tremendous small. It is simply one thing cute and informal to play in between a number of the bigger video games on the listing… in case you ever escape the pull of “only one extra run” and get round to putting in them.
Stacklands (opens in new tab) – 200MB
Launch date: 2022 | Developer: Sokpop Collective
That is one recreation that’ll offer you an excuse to mess around with the contact display screen, and that side works with no hitch not like a number of the video games I’ve examined. It might be somewhat intense on a small display screen, significantly as soon as your unfold expands into the entire play space, nevertheless it’s an excellent little recreation to take round with you to cross a while. It additionally does not take up any house in any respect.
Into the Breach (opens in new tab) – 400MB
Launch date: 2018 | Developer: Subset Video games | Our evaluate: 93% (opens in new tab)
Our 2018 GOTY, which acquired even higher (opens in new tab) with a 2022 growth. This one’s very controller pleasant, particularly because the cursor snaps to the centre of every sq. it lands on. What little textual content there’s could be learn on a small display screen, and there was no want for any particular tweaking or Proton for it to work. Missions solely take 10 or quarter-hour to finish, superb for a fast session. Benefit from that sleep button.
Puzzle and journey video games
Pentiment (opens in new tab) – 10GB
Launch date: 2022 | Developer: Obsidian | Our evaluate: 88% (opens in new tab)
A beautiful historic homicide thriller set in and round a monastery in early 1500s Bavaria. Pentiment has roots in basic PC journey video games however is constructed to be fully playable on a controller and Deck verified, so you recognize it will work effectively right here. Your time in Pentiment will likely be spent interviewing the locals to attempt to suss out a homicide—whenever you’re not dropping your self observing the gorgeous fonts (opens in new tab), anyway.
Dorfromantik (opens in new tab) – 650MB
Launch date: 2021 | Developer: Toukana Interactive
It is a tremendous minimal recreation that requires little to no studying, so there is no subject with display screen dimension. It additionally runs tremendous easy on the Steam Deck as it isn’t graphically intensive. A mid-2022 replace added official Deck verification and controller help. And the very fact the Deck is handheld means you may go discover a good quiet spot to relax out and construct some peaceable, hex-based landscapes.
Portal 2 (opens in new tab) – 8GB
Launch date: 2011| Developer: Valve | Our evaluate: 94% (opens in new tab)
It goes with out saying that video games made by Valve ought to run effectively on a gaming handheld by the identical firm. Being absolutely voice-acted and with no stock to handle, Portal 2’s an ideal recreation for the Deck (as is the unique). Each work nice with a controller, and are comparatively gradual paced so you may really feel comfy pausing it at any time when, moderately than making the physician wait when you end this stage. Chances are you’ll have to tweak the controls or use a group format however in any other case it runs easy as something.
Manifold Backyard (opens in new tab) – 3GB
Launch date: 2019 | Developer: William Chyr Studio | Our evaluate: 85% (opens in new tab)
With no intense graphics and a tiny file dimension, this peaceable puzzle platformer is nice on the Deck. It labored with out Proton, and the controls lend themselves rather well to the gamepad. There’s additionally no menu system to fret about, similar as many puzzle platformers, so no points with studying small textual content. Simply pure Euclidian bliss.
Fez (opens in new tab) – 500MB
Launch date: 2012 | Developer: Phil Fish | Our evaluate: 90% (opens in new tab)
I’ve all the time felt like Fez can be higher on handheld, and I used to be proper. A tiny recreation like this actually does not warrant turning on a full gaming rig, and but it is wealthy and interesting sufficient to need to play in all places you go whereas additionally being comparatively gradual paced, so you may put it down at any second and decide it again up whenever you get time.
Sable (opens in new tab) – 3GB
Launch date: 2021 | Developer: Shedworks | Our evaluate: 93% (opens in new tab)
A brilliant controller-friendly recreation that runs easily on the Steam Deck owing to its easy, cel-shaded graphics. Not solely will an extended session not eat an excessive amount of into your battery, it will additionally go away a heck of quite a lot of house for different video games, with how small the information are. Not like there are a lot of textures right here to eat into your space for storing.
What Stays of Edith Finch (opens in new tab) – 5GB
Launch date: 2017 | Developer: Big Sparrow | Our evaluate: 91% (opens in new tab)
This is without doubt one of the first video games I downloaded for the Steam Deck; since strolling sims are fairly gradual paced, you may soar out and in as you want and so they usually do not take up heaps of house. I did not must fiddle with the controls for this one and did not have to activate Proton.
Firewatch (opens in new tab) – 4GB
Launch date: 2016| Developer: Campo Santo | Our evaluate: 85% (opens in new tab)
One other one which lends itself rather well to make use of with a controller, and even exhibits up the suitable buttons for the Steam Deck (X,Y,A,B). The menu textual content is an efficient dimension and the graphics aren’t massively intensive both. To not point out its minimal file dimension.
The Wolf Amongst Us (opens in new tab) – 2GB
Launch date: 2013 | Developer: Telltale Video games | Our evaluate: 83% (opens in new tab)
Being absolutely voice-acted and never menu heavy in any respect, this is without doubt one of the best possible choices for the Deck. It is a tiny recreation, nevertheless it’s tremendous partaking and the fast time occasions (for me not less than) are a lot simpler with a controller. Wolf Amongst Us does not want Proton, both. You would possibly need to use a headset with it in case you’re taking part in in public although, as it is a bit risqué in locations.
Motion video games and platformers
Yakuza 0 (opens in new tab) – 24GB
Developer: Sega | Launch date: 2018 | Our evaluate: 90% (opens in new tab)
Our favourite of the basic Yakuza video games and the place anybody experiencing the sequence for the primary time ought to begin. This brawler slash crime drama slash karaoke simulator runs at a verified 60 fps on the Steam Deck, with sufficient efficiency overhead to web you hours of battery life. The dream.
Launch date: 2014 | Developer: Platinum Video games | Our evaluate: 80% (opens in new tab)
Do not inform Bayonetta, however this can be Platinum’s best motion recreation. Given a katana that may reduce actually something in half and a parry system that makes use of the identical button as attacking, and Rising is simply nonstop sword swinging, frantic in one of the best ways. It is Deck verified and with some settings tweaks can run at a steady nearly 60 fps. For smoother efficiency, strive capping the Deck’s refresh price at 59 fps, which is the framerate Revengeance runs at, for some cause.
Cuphead (opens in new tab) – 4GB
Launch date: 2019 | Developer: Studio MDHR | Our evaluate: 86% (opens in new tab)
Cuphead could also be somewhat intense to play in public, however there is no cause to not have this one downloaded contemplating how small the file dimension is. It really works nice with a controller, extra so than with a keyboard, the truth is, and it isn’t graphically intensive sufficient to want any tweaks. Simply be sure you do not give it to somebody with a bent to throw controllers in frustration.
Position taking part in video games
Disco Elysium (opens in new tab) – 20GB
Launch date: 2019 | Developer: ZA/UM | Our evaluate: 92% (opens in new tab)
Nearly solely voice-acted, this recreation requires you solely to learn your responses and a few menu stuff, although the textual content could also be somewhat small for some. Nonetheless, the sport runs completely effectively with out Proton’s intervention, and works nice with a controller. In truth there’s an excuse to mess around with the contact display screen right here as effectively in case you fancy. It isn’t the smallest set up, however it’s, you recognize, the very best PC recreation, interval (opens in new tab).
Divinity: Authentic Sin 2 (opens in new tab) – 64GB
Launch date: 2017 | Developer: Larian Studios | Our evaluate: 92% (opens in new tab)
It is somewhat bigger than a number of the video games on this listing, however Divinity: Authentic Sin 2 is absolutely verified for the Deck. The system necessities are minimal, so it runs fairly easily, although since it is a flip primarily based recreation it is in all probability price switching the body cap right down to 30fps to avoid wasting on battery. Nonetheless, I acquired a very good few hours out of it with all the things on default settings. It is nice with a controller and absolutely voice-acted so that you solely actually must learn tooltips and your individual responses. There’s a technique to scale the UI, however discovering it within the Linux OS is a little bit of a ache.
Closing Fantasy 7 Remake (opens in new tab) – 94GB
Launch date: 2021 | Developer: Sq. Enix | Our evaluate: 88% (opens in new tab)
Okay, it is a ridiculously enormous recreation for the Steam Deck, we will not deny that. However contemplating how good it seems to be, it runs remarkably effectively (although you’ll want to set up a small mod to disable its stutter-causing automated decision scaling (opens in new tab)). You may easily play this RPG at 40 fps on the Steam Deck, which might be unattainable on the Change. Heck, even the PS4 ran it at a locked 30 fps. It is huge, bombastic, and has some fairly nice motion fight constructed for a controller.
Elden Ring (opens in new tab) – 50GB
Launch date: 2022 | Developer: FromSoftware Inc. | Our evaluate: 90% (opens in new tab)
We spent a very good whereas testing whether or not Elden ring works on the Steam Deck, and might verify that Valve has deployed a model of Proton that cuts out a lot of the body drop points gamers have been experiencing to start with. That is additionally one recreation many desire taking part in with a controller. It is somewhat bigger than we might usually suggest for the Deck, nevertheless it’s additionally an unlimited RPG, and a kind of video games that basically hits the “I am unable to imagine this runs on the Steam Deck” pleasure middle.
Occasion/co-op video games
Valheim (opens in new tab) – 1GB
Launch date: 2021 | Developer: Iron Gate AB | Our evaluate: Unscored (opens in new tab)
Not solely is that this a tiny set up, contemplating it is open world, it is also fairly nice with a controller, significantly as there are such a lot of choices for assigning your hotbar objects. We propose following these steps to make Valheim look spectacular (opens in new tab). So long as you are someplace with a steady web connection, I wholly suggest becoming a member of your pals for some Viking shenanigans.
No Man’s Sky (opens in new tab) – 12GB
Launch date: 2016 | Developer: Good day Video games | Our evaluate: 64% (launch model) (opens in new tab)
No Man’s Sky has had an extended redemption arc, and the very fact it runs with out Proton and has an official controller format that works simply advantageous provides it an excellent benefit on the Deck. Switching down the settings is likely to be mandatory whenever you begin flinging particle results in all places however in any other case it runs rather well, and provides you an unlimited universe to discover. It additionally provides you an excuse to make use of the gyro for house flight, too.
Brothers: A Story of Two Sons (opens in new tab) – 2GB
Launch date: 2013 | Developer: 505 Video games | Our evaluate: 85% (opens in new tab)
Brothers is ideal for cuddling up on the couch with somebody for a cooperative gaming session. Utilizing one hand every, this recreation requires some intense coordination, however so long as you each maintain the controller equally, not like my good friend and I, that should not be a problem. If they seem to be a ache within the butt, you may all the time play it alone and work either side of your mind. Brothers is not too graphically intensive both, and runs simply advantageous with out the necessity for Proton. Oh, and it will not take up a bunch of house in your Steam Deck’s storage.
PHOGS! (opens in new tab) – 6GB
Launch date: 2020 | Developer: Coatsink | Our evaluate: 75% (opens in new tab)
One other controller sharing recreation that works nice on the Steam Deck, right here. No settings wanted altering for an excellent easy expertise, and with a definite lack of menus there is no subject with studying on a small display screen. It isn’t precisely the largest recreation ever, however contemplating it is mainly simply cel shaded noodle bois, I am unable to work out what makes use of up 6GB. Phogs is certainly price it if that is your sort of recreation, although.
Jackbox (opens in new tab) sequence – numerous sizes
Launch date: 2014 | Developer: Jackbox Video games
The intense portability of the Steam Deck makes it a improbable social gathering recreation system. Identical to you’d pack up your Nintendo Change and take it to your pals’ for just a few rounds of Smash Bros, there are many sofa co-op video games that work nice with the Deck. Even with out the dock, you may play Jackbox since you use your cellphone to work together, versus a controller. Simply keep in mind to set it to stay awake after some time of inactivity, as a result of that caught us out mid-Fibbage sesh. The file sizes for these are miniscule too, in order that’s all the time good.
Heave Ho (opens in new tab) – 1GB
Launch date: 2019 | Developer: Le Cartel Studio
Excellent with a controller, it is a nice one for the Deck. It really works straight off the bat with no settings or management tweaks, although it is price turning down the body cap simply to avoid wasting battery—30fps ought to just do advantageous. The textual content (what little there’s) is sweet and huge too, so no have to put in your studying glasses. If you wish to join different controllers so your pals can take part, you may need to get a dock, or watch for the official Steam Deck dock (opens in new tab) to lastly launch. Although any ought to do.
Life, colony and administration sims
Cult of the Lamb (opens in new tab) – 1GB
Launch date: 2022 | Developer: Huge Monster | Our evaluate: 82% (opens in new tab)
Is Cult of the Lamb a sim? An motion recreation? A dungeon crawling roguelike? Uh… sure, to the entire above. Half base builder, half actioner, this cutesy occult recreation is like “Animal Crossing if Tom Nook craved energy as a substitute of cash,” in line with our reviewer (opens in new tab). Dungeons present the motion in between build up a society in your newfound worshippers. Outdoors of some small textual content, it is an excellent Deck recreation.
Roots of Pacha (opens in new tab) – 600MB
Launch date: 2022| Developer: Soda Den
Sluggish paced and excellent with a controller, farming sims are a number of the finest video games for the Steam Deck. This I’ve picked over Stardew as a result of it is all the things I needed and extra (opens in new tab)—please do not hate me—however Stardew works simply as effectively. Video games like this take up little or no house, will not drain your battery, and are nice for brief, informal drop in gaming periods.
Frostpunk (opens in new tab) – 8GB
Launch date: 2018 | Developer: 11 Bit Studios | Our evaluate: 89% (opens in new tab)
This is without doubt one of the video games I actually did not anticipate to be nice on the Steam Deck. It is somewhat awkward utilizing a controller, however as soon as you have assigned all the things and adjusted the sensitivity curve on the thumbstick, it actually is not too dangerous. It does not want graphical tweaks to run effectively, and it isn’t a humongous recreation, both.
Rimworld (opens in new tab) – 389.99MB
Launch date: 2013| Developer: Ludeon Studios | Our evaluate: 74% (opens in new tab)
Bear in mind the dimensions above does not account in your 3 million mods. With out these although, that is an appropriately small recreation for the Deck. It is somewhat awkward getting your controls so as, however there are some good controller layouts and loads of buttons to get you began. It is likely to be price discovering a mod that permits you to scale the UI, because it does not truly will let you in the usual recreation, in my expertise. Nonetheless, in case you do not thoughts the small textual content, the sport runs completely effectively.
The Sims 4 (opens in new tab) – 18GB+
Launch date: 2014 | Developer: Maxis | Our evaluate: 79% (launch) (opens in new tab)
Sure, the Steam Deck does play The Sims, and really the controls aren’t too dangerous as soon as you have acquired them tweaked to your liking. There are sufficient buttons and triggers to assign to all of the helpful shortcuts like web page up/down and residential/finish. You possibly can even create motion units for Construct and Purchase mode versus dwell mode in case you needed to. The truth that you may get your lots of mods engaged on the Steam Deck too makes it all of the extra tempting to get right into a Simming sesh. Oh, and with the ability to scale the UI is a giant plus. Simply possibly keep watch over the dimensions of your mods folder as a result of I do know the temptation to fill it up.
Two Level Hospital (opens in new tab) – 6GB
Launch date: 2018 | Developer: Two Level Studios | Our evaluate: 87% (opens in new tab)
That is one I actually did not anticipate to be any good on the Deck, however when you get the controls proper it is fairly nice. I like to recommend ensuring you might have play/pause mapped to one thing accessible and altering whichever stick you utilize for the mouse to a extra relaxed sensitivity curve. Aside from the minor controller faff, the menus for Two Level Hospital generally is a little small however the file dimension makes it an excellent one to have, and never mega graphically intensive.
Sports activities/Driving video games
Launch date: 2022 | Developer: Sports activities Interactive | Our evaluate: 80% (opens in new tab)
Not my sort of recreation personally, however my boss says it really works nice on the Deck with no controller or different compatibility points. Perhaps that is why I have not seen him in just a few weeks… It isn’t an excellent graphically intensive recreation, and it suits into the ‘not ridiculous’ class so far as the file dimension goes. Why not give it a shot (pun supposed)?
Euro Truck Simulator 2 (opens in new tab) – 7GB
Launch date: 2012 | Developer: SCS Software program | Our evaluate: 85% (opens in new tab)
Messing round with the Steam Deck’s gyro in Euro Truck Sim is sooner or later I will always remember. Lastly I felt just like the truck driver I might all the time dreamed of changing into. Beep beep.
Jokes apart, it runs rather well on Deck and does not want any particular remedy graphics-wise. It is also not an enormous recreation, supplied you do not overload your haul with DLCs.
Circuit Superstars (opens in new tab) – 4GB
Launch date: 2021 | Developer: Authentic Hearth Video games | Our evaluate: 85% (opens in new tab)
Small, not graphically intensive, and nice with a controller, Circuit Superstars is an excellent match for the Deck. You get all of the enjoyable of a circuit racing recreation with out pushing your Steam Deck to its limits and needing to change down the settings. There is no want to make use of Proton right here, and it even exhibits up the proper controls.