It has been nearly a year since the Steam Deck first started appearing in mailboxes around the world, and since then gamers have been enjoying the freedom of playing their Steam libraries anywhere. While it may not have 100% compatibility with every game on Steam, Valve’s handheld computer offers the perfect opportunity to play a huge variety of games that you wouldn’t typically find on portable devices. While there are many games that are worth playing, here are 5 great games to play on the Steam Deck.
Explore the magical mysteries of Hogwart’s castle, the town of Hogsmeade, and the Scottish highlands in Hogwart’s Legacy from Avalanche Software. Featuring a brand new, original story, Hogwart’s Legacy gives players the opportunity to cast spells, take classes, and uncover the mysteries and dangers that lurk in the halls. Seeing as this Harry Potter spin-off has sold over 12 million copies in two weeks and has been on the receiving end of countless accolades, it is an adventure many gamers don’t want to miss. In KeenGamer’s review, Hogwart’s Legacy was deemed a spellbinding experience.
Hogwart’s Legacy is the newest game on this list, and runs surprisingly well on the Steam Deck despite having steep system requirements. Valve’s device handles the magical vaulted halls well, and the game runs between 30 and 40 fps on medium settings. Hogwart’s Legacy features native support for the Steam Deck, and the controls are fully customizable with Steam’s user configurations. Anecdotally, I’ve spent more than a dozen hours exploring the open world while on the Steam Deck and haven’t had any crashes, or problems with the cloud saves. In fact, it’s my preferred way to play because it is so convenient!
Monster Hunter Rise and Sunbreak
Monster Hunter Rise is the latest entry in Capcom’s monster slaying franchise that has taken the world by storm. With new quality-of-life features and the acrobatics of the Wirebug, hunters can scale walls and zip through the air to hunt their prey. The latest expansion, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, released several months ago and provides new areas and monsters including the vampire-inspired Malzeno. Since the expansion’s release, Capcom has been releasing free title updates that add all sorts of new events and features – Now is the perfect time to leap into combat!
Initially releasing on the Nintendo Switch, Monster Hunter Rise on the Steam Deck improves pretty much all aspects of the game. Not only is the framerate higher and much more stable, the game has improved visuals and minimal input lag. Monster Hunter Rise also has a fantastic modding community that you can take advantage of, although more extensive mods will likely require more fiddling to get working on the Steam Deck. Playing Monster Hunter Rise on Steam, whether you use the Steam Deck or not, is also the only way to play online without a subscription!
RimWorld is a colony simulation game that originally released in 2015. What makes RimWorld so unique are the stories it tells. By guiding a rag-tag group of colonists through a dangerous world, the action packed moments and battles are bookended by softer, sometimes heartfelt moments that spontaneously occur between your colonists. As your colonists age and your colony expands, you’ll face tougher situations and ultimately end up making difficult decisions. With several expansions that add numerous new features and mechanics to the gameplay, RimWorld boasts one of highest ratings on Steam with a 96% positive rating.
While there is an Xbox port of RimWorld, the game is very obviously intended for mouse and keyboard interfaces. That’s why it was so surprising when RimWorld received native Steam Deck support with it’s own dedicated control scheme. While not as comfortable as using a mouse, the Steam Deck’s trackpads offer a great alternative. On the default settings, the left trackpad will bring up a radial menu that lets you access the most common menus in the game. The right trackpad acts as a mouse, while the back paddles offer convenient ways to zoom in and out. All in all, RimWorld is fun, accessible, and another great game to play on the Steam Deck!
Deep Rock Galactic
Deep Rock Galactic, developed by Ghost Ship Games, is a cooperative dwarven mining adventure with fully destructible environments, four highly individualized dwarves, sci-fi weaponry, and lots of juicy bugs. Take your team of rugged dwarves into alien planets to fulfill numerous objectives, and, of course, mine plenty of gold! There’s so much content available in Deep Rock Galactic between all of the characters and unlocks, you’ll be hard pressed to see everything after 100 or more hours. It’s a lot of fun with friends, but the game also has a healthy population with a very welcoming community.
On the Steam Deck, Deep Rock Galactic plays very well overall with one caveat. Deep Rock Galactic is marked as “Playable” on Steam Deck – This is due to the text size being a tad small at first. However, the HUD size is easily adjustable in the interface options of Deep Rock Galactic. In terms of performance, it’s definitely possible to hit a smooth 60 FPS but some settings will likely have to be adjusted. I found the experience quite enjoyable on medium settings, and very playable even in online modes with a full team of dwarves.
Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters
The Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters are the flagship versions of the first six Final Fantasy titles. These titles feature new upscaled graphics, rearranged music, achievements, and many quality-of-life features that make these older games more approachable. While some of these titles, such as Final Fantasy I and II, may show their age, I highly recommend playing these remasters because they are more accessible than ever.
On the Steam Deck, each Final Fantasy Pixel Remastered play wonderfully. While they are not “Verified” for Steam Deck, there are no incompatibilities and are a smooth experience the entire way through. It’s a breeze to play through these classic games thanks to the auto-battle mode and the instant-resume capabilities on the Steam Deck. As an example, I played through all of Final Fantasy III and I’m currently working through Final Fantasy VI – I hope to get to complete the rest of them someday!
The above games are just some of the likely thousands of Steam games that are playable on the Deck. While not every game is compatible, Valve’s Deck does give busy gamers an opportunity to catch up on games they may have missed over the years, and even some newer games as well. It seems every few weeks, Valve releases more Verified Steam Deck games. Do you have a Steam Deck? If so, let us know in the comments below what games you have been playing.