If you’re lucky enough to have got hold of the ever-ephemeral Steam Deck, you’ve probably already met the big issue a lot of people are having with the system; because it just uses your Steam library, you’ve already played all of these games. So we wanted to put together a list of games that new Deck users can buy and try that you may not have played before (though you probably should have). These games are fully confirmed to be completely functional on Deck, so you just need to open your virtual wallet.
‘In the towns of Muldraugh and West Point, survivors must loot houses, build defences and do their utmost to delay their inevitable death day by day. No help is coming – their continued survival relies on their own cunning, luck and ability to evade a relentless horde.’
Project Zomboid is a co-op focused zombie sandbox that is a great experience with friends, and on Steam Deck you can sit in the same room as your friends as you play. This hardcore survival game is sure to lead to countless great moments, and anyone who’s played it will have stories to tell.
‘Welcome to the neon-covered, 2D-meets-3D Cyberpunk world of ANNO: Mutationem. In this Action-Adventure game with RPG elements you become Ann: a highly-skilled combat-trained lone wolf on a personal mission in the giant Metropolis, full of sinister mega-corporations, mysterious fringe groups and creatures more bizarre than words can express.’
Anno: Mutationem is stunning, visually it’s really one of the most interesting looking games of the last few years and is maybe the best of the recent spate of 2D/3D hybrid games from the last few years. If you want a title with an interesting story you can devote some time to on your new device, this is one to look into.
‘Cuphead is a classic run and gun action game heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, the visuals and audio are painstakingly created with the same techniques of the era, i.e. traditional hand drawn cel animation, watercolor backgrounds, and original jazz recordings. Play as Cuphead or Mugman (in single player or local co-op) as you traverse strange worlds, acquire new weapons, learn powerful super moves, and discover hidden secrets while you try to pay your debt back to the devil!’
Come on, let’s not pretend you don’t know cuphead, this run-n-gun mostly boss-rush title is one of the most prolific indies from the last decade, it even got a netflix show. This is great for not only playing on the go, but if you hook it to a tv and add some controllers it can be a great co-op title that will run great at any resolution!
Risk of Rain 2
‘Escape a chaotic alien planet by fighting through hordes of frenzied monsters – with your friends, or on your own. Combine loot in surprising ways and master each character until you become the havoc you feared upon your first crash landing.’
Risk of rain 2 is perfect for Steam Deck, this crushing roguelike ideally captures the pick-up-and-play gameplay you want from a game made for deck and on top of that it’s got multiplayer. There’s a lot to discover and we challenge you to resist the ‘just one more run’ feeling.
‘Neon White is a lightning fast first-person action game about exterminating demons in Heaven. You are White, an assassin handpicked from Hell to compete with other demon slayers for a chance to live permanently in Heaven. The other assassins seem familiar, though…’
Neon white is fresh off the presses and is a unique genre combo we can’t recommend enough. With a 90% on metacritic the numbers speak for themselves, you’ve got to try this, and it runs buttery-smooth on deck, if you needs some fast, twitchy action then this is the one for you.
DarkTide is a great FPS in a grim place
I’ve spent just over 130 hours hacking and blasting my way through Tertium’s infested corridors and feel qualified to say that…
Defy the Gods as a Witchy Moon Goddess in Hades 2
Greek-mythology-themed roguelike Hades is getting a sequel, but developer Supergiant has kept the details scant beyond a Hades 2 reveal trailer…
No Man’s Sky
‘Inspired by the adventure and imagination that we love from classic science-fiction, No Man’s Sky presents you with a galaxy to explore, filled with unique planets and lifeforms, and constant danger and action. In No Man’s Sky, every star is the light of a distant sun, each orbited by planets filled with life, and you can go to any of them you choose. Fly smoothly from deep space to planetary surfaces, with no loading screens, and no limits. In this infinite procedurally generated universe, you’ll discover places and creatures that no other players have seen before – and perhaps never will again.’
After its rocky initial launch, No Man’s Sky has slowly become one of the best survival/exploration games on the market thanks to an undying devotion to the game from Hello games. This is a huge game that you can wile away hundreds of hours, if you want a gigantic game you can theoretically play forever, and you somehow don’t already have it, you’ve got to try No Man’s Sky. Even better, you can rub how good it looks in the faces of new Switch players.
‘Hades is a god-like rogue-like dungeon crawler that combines the best aspects of Supergiant’s critically acclaimed titles, including the fast-paced action of Bastion, the rich atmosphere and depth of Transistor, and the character-driven storytelling of Pyre.’
One of the biggest games of the last few years, this is for lovers of Ancient Greek Mythology and action-RPGs. With great characters and a great story, and some of the best dungeon-crawler combat on the market, this is a must-buy.
‘Disco Elysium – The Final Cut is the definitive edition of the groundbreaking role playing game. You’re a detective with a unique skill system at your disposal and a whole city block to carve your path across. Interrogate unforgettable characters, crack murders, or take bribes. Become a hero or an absolute disaster of a human being.’
If you’re somehow not satisfied with the great stories and worlds we’ve offered you so far, then this will be the kicker, with some of the best and most in-depth writing in a game, an interesting look and an interesting world, this is one of the most critically-acclaimed games of the last few years and is absolutely worth playing. The gameplay is perfect for Steam Deck, and if you have a long weekend or a work trip this is going to be the one for you to buy.
‘Dig, Fight, Explore, Build: The very world is at your fingertips as you fight for survival, fortune, and glory. Will you delve deep into cavernous expanses in search of treasure and raw materials with which to craft ever-evolving gear, machinery, and aesthetics? Perhaps you will choose instead to seek out ever-greater foes to test your mettle in combat? Maybe you will decide to construct your own city to house the host of mysterious allies you may encounter along your travels?’
Let’s be honest, I’ve played this game to death, you’ve played this game to death, we’ve all played this game to death, but consider this hypothetical situation; You go to a friend’s house, you’re wondering what to do, you get a great idea! An hour later you’re both sat in the same room, in the same world, one of you on PC and the other on Deck, what could be a cozier gaming experience than that.
‘Winner of Best Game at the 2020 BAFTA Games Awards and named Game of the Year 2019 by Giant Bomb, Polygon, Eurogamer, and The Guardian, Outer Wilds is a critically-acclaimed and award-winning open world mystery about the newest recruit of Outer Wilds Ventures, a fledgling space program searching for answers in a strange, constantly evolving solar system. The planets of Outer Wilds are packed with hidden locations that change with the passage of time. Visit an underground city before it’s swallowed by sand, or explore the surface of a planet as it crumbles beneath your feet. Every secret is guarded by hazardous environments and natural catastrophes. Use a variety of unique gadgets to probe your surroundings, track down mysterious signals, decipher ancient alien writing, and roast the perfect marshmallow.’
Outer Wilds is one of the best games ever made and if you have yet to play it you’re doing yourself a disservice. Now that it’s on deck, with the Switch version looking like it’s been forgotten, this could be the only way you get to play this game portably. We wish you luck on your adventure, and be sure to tell us when you get back, the wilds are a dangerous place…
And that’s it for our exquisite selection of games we recommend you try or pick back up on your Steam Deck, for more news, reviews and coverage of the latest in the indie gaming community be sure to check out our other articles!
Liked this list? Why not try Josh’s List of 5 Indies that Belong in a Museum or Jamie’s List of 5 Relaxing Indies to Chill With.