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Home / Features / The 25 best games to play on the Steam Deck today

The 25 best games to play on the Steam Deck today

Start your handheld PC journey with this lot

Best Steam Deck games featured

The Steam Deck has been with us for several years now. In that time, we’ve spent countless hours messing about with Valve’s undoubtedly flawed but extremely exciting first-gen handheld gaming console.

A lot of our issues with the original handheld have been addressed with the recently released Steam Deck OLED. This replaced the first Steam Deck‘s solid but unspectacular LCD display with an awesome HDR OLED panel. It also squeezes a bit more battery life out of the machine. And while there are now several rival handheld gaming PCs that are more powerful than the Deck, such as the Asus ROG Ally and the Lenovo Legion Go, Valve’s console-like marriage of hardware and software means it remains our preferred platform for taking our PC library on the go.

Deck verified

If you’ve just picked up either an original Steam Deck or the new OLED-toting model, you’re probably wondering where to start. The Steam store is intimidatingly vast, with a catalogue that spans many eras of gaming. Many of those games run beautifully on Steam Deck. Some, though, work only after you’ve tweaked them according to community advice. There are also still quite a few games that simply don’t function at all on Valve’s handheld. That’s just something you have to accept with the Steam Deck, and we’re here to give you a helping hand. 

We can confirm that every game in this list performs brilliantly on the Steam Deck, and often without changing any of the settings. We’ve included a mix of indie and more AAA fare, and you’ll also find a number of games that we think best show off the Steam Deck OLED’s supremely bright HDR display. 

We update this list regularly with games old and new that we’ve particularly enjoyed on the Steam Deck, but here are our top picks at the end of 2023.

1. Rogue Legacy 2

Best Steam Deck games: Rogue Legacy 2

This fantastic roguelite’s one-more-go nature makes it the perfect fit for Steam Deck. Steam Deck is the only platform on which you can play it natively on a handheld. Making your way through Rogue Legacy 2’s colourful hand-drawn dungeons is hard as nails. But death is a good thing in a game like this, allowing you to accumulate cash that can be used to upgrade your base and classes. Just be careful if you’re sneaking in a few runs before bed; it’s amazing how quickly 2am rolls around. 

Click here to purchase Rogue Legacy 2 on Steam

2. Tunic

Best Steam Deck games: Tunic

Think top-down Zeldas of old, but Link is a little fox, and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Tunic. It was one of 2022’s best indie games. As the titular Tunic (who also wears a tunic) you explore a mysterious fantasy world, slowly uncovering more of the map and learning how to progress by collecting pieces of an in-game instruction manual. It’s a brilliant, unapologetically old-school adventure that expects you to put the work in. While we’re not totally in love with the tricky combat, you can make yourself invincible if a particular boss is proving to be insurmountable. Tunic will probably come to the Switch eventually. But right now the Steam Deck is the best way to play it handheld.   

Click here to purchase Tunic on Steam

3. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Best Steam Deck games: The Witcher 3

When The Witcher 3 was ported to Switch it was lauded as something of a technological miracle, albeit one that involved more than a few performance sacrifices. The best thing we can say about diving into Geralt’s 100+ hour adventure on the Steam Deck is that you’re really not giving up that much at all, with the game running well at decent settings. This is the RPG epic you know and love, but now you can play it on the toilet.

4. Vampire Survivors

Best Steam Deck games: Vampire Survivors

The Steam Deck makes it possible to play graphically stunning AAA titles wherever you are. Vampire Survivors is categorically not one of those games, but it is one of the most addictive games we’ve played this year. It’s absolutely perfect on a handheld platform. Vampire Survivors is a graphically rudimentary time survival game. You move around a small map attempting to slay an increasingly overwhelming onslaught of monsters before they slay you. Each run allows you to unlock better characters, items and gear. So eventually you’ll be able to last the whole 30-minute gauntlet. Trust us: it’s brilliant – cheap as chips and the perfect game to pick up when you have a spare five minutes. 

Click here to purchase Vampire Survivors on Steam

5. Portal 2

Best Steam Deck games: Portal 2

Valve’s own timeless puzzling masterpiece performs, as you would expect, extremely well on Steam Deck. It runs at an unshakeable 60fps on pretty much its highest settings. If you’ve been looking for a reason to revisit the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, then doing so on its maker’s hardware is a no-brainer. If you’ve never played either Portal game, start with the also magnificent first one, which is also Deck-verified. 

Click here to purchase Portal 2 on Steam

6. Elden Ring

Best Steam Deck games: Elden Ring

FromSoftware’s 100-hour epic was our current game of the year for 2022. And although we think its biggest moments deserve to be experienced on the biggest screen possible, it’s also really well suited to handheld play, especially when you’re just farming for runes in the open world and levelling up your character. Elden Ring has had well-documented performance issue on all the platforms it’s available for. But actually it runs surprisingly well on Steam Deck, which is pretty incredible to behold. Expect it to guzzle away at the battery life, though. 

Click here to purchase Elden Ring on Steam Deck

7. Disco Elysium: The Final Cut

Best Steam Deck games: Disco Elysium

The dialogue-heavy nature of ZA/UM’s landmark RPG means it has always felt like the kind of game you want to play in bed, face right up close. But the long-awaited Switch port’s performance wasn’t up to much, sadly. Enter the Steam Deck, which for our money is the best way to experience Revachol’s murder mystery. This is thanks to myriad control options and the largely rock solid framerate that Nintendo’s machine couldn’t deliver.

Click here to purchase Disco Elysium: The Final Cut on Steam

8. Half-Life 2

Steam Christmas: Half Life 2

Probably the most famous Valve title of them all, and one that has aged surprisingly well, Half-Life 2 is another must-have for your Steam Deck library. The legendary FPS paved the way for so many shooters that would follow it. Its influence can still be seen today. The game performs flawlessly on Steam Deck while taking advantage of the platform’s various control options. Who knows, if Valve sees enough people playing it again we might even get Half-Life 3 one day. Don’t go holding that breath, though.

Click here to purchase Half-Life 2 on Steam

9. God of War

Steam Christmas: God of War

God of War is one of many AAA games that you’d be forgiven for thinking would struggle on the Steam Deck, but the PS4 classic runs like a dream at very decent settings. It is a joy to revisit in handheld form. And with the sequel (hopefully) not too far away, now is the ideal time to reacquaint yourself with Kratos’ unique approach to parenting. 

Click here to purchase God of War on Steam

10. Aperture Desk Job

Steam Christmas: Aperture Desk Job

Clocking in at less than an hour, this one is more of a tech demo than a proper game. But it’s also the only game specifically designed to make use of the Steam Deck’s extensive feature set. Set in the same universe as the Portal games, Valve’s typically amusing short puts you in the shoes of a new starter at Aperture Science, where an initially mundane first day on the job quickly takes a rather violent turn. Aperture Desk Job makes use of every button, sensor and hardware quirk the Steam Deck has to offer. And as it’s absolutely free, you really have no excuse not to give it a shot. 

Click here to download Aperture Desk Job on Steam

11. Hades

Steam Christmas: Hades

The winner of our game of the year award back in 2020 really hasn’t aged a day, and hacking and slashing your way out of the Underworld with Zagreus’ all-powerful arsenal seemingly never stops being fun. If you’ve already sunk tens of hours into this masterful roguelike dungeon crawler on PC, rest assured that taking it on the go makes the game feel brand new. Haven’t played Hades yet? The Steam Deck is as good a platform to fix that on as any. 

Click here to purchase Hades on Steam

12. Hollow Knight

Steam Christmas: Hollow Knight

We’re still waiting for Hollow Knight: Silksong, the much-anticipated (to put it lightly) sequel to Team Cherry’s gorgeous Metroidvania masterpiece, but luckily the original plays like a dream on the Steam Deck and, like a lot of the games in this list, feels like it was designed for handheld play. As you explore the meticulously detailed insect kingdom in which Hollow Knight takes place you’re going to die. A lot. But as with any deliberately difficult game, success feels all the sweeter when does come, and the ability to take this one everywhere with you makes gradual progress more realistic.

Click here to purchase Hollow Knight on Steam

13. Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered

Steam Christmas: Spider-Man

The second formerly PlayStation-exclusive game to appear in this list is, like God of War, one we expected to crumple the Steam Deck’s innards like a piece of paper. And while the long-awaited PC remaster of the still great Marvel’s Spider-Man does make the Deck’s fans roar and can zap its battery totally dead in well under two hours, it performs astonishingly well on the handheld PC. You’re pretty much getting the same near enough rock solid 30fps performance as the original PS4 game on the default medium settings (using the Deck’s built-in FPS-limiter is advised here), and although desktop and PS5 players can get nicer visuals and superior frame-rates, there’s something truly amazing about swinging through Manhattan while you’re sat on the toilet. And New York looks fantastic on the smaller display. We’re seriously considering a full Deck replay – while sat near a plug socket of course.

Click here to purchase Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on Steam

14. Fable Anniversary

Steam Christmas: Fable

We’re going to be waiting a very long time for the rebooted Fable entry on Xbox Series X|S, but if you wanted to remind yourself about why a return to the iconic Xbox RPG series has been in demand for so long, the remastered original is a Steam Deck gem. The handheld handles the 2014 game effortlessly, and the 7in display helps to disguise any muddy textures. Fable has definitely aged, its grand ideas handled much better by RPGs that came after it, but this is still a charming and very funny adventure. We hope the new game, whenever it does arrive, remembers its roots.

Click here to purchase Fable Anniversary on Steam

15. Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course

Steam Christmas: Cuphead

Studio MDHR’s hard-as-nails 2D platformer may cause you to throw that sought-after Steam Deck straight out of the nearest window, but it’s a risk worth considering to play the game in handheld form, where you can chip away at the challenging boss battles whenever you have a free five minutes. The game’s retro cartoon visuals are as stunning to behold now as they were when the game first came out in 2017, and really pop on the Steam Deck’s display. This year’s The Delicious Last Course DLC adds a new island and new foes, but its most significant contribution to the the Cuphead experience is Ms. Chalice, a new playable character whose alternative moveset and additional health point arguably make both the base game and the new levels a bit more forgiving. A bit.

Click here to purchase Cuphead – The Delicious Last Course on Steam

16. No Man’s Sky

Steam Christmas: No Man's Sky

“The universe in the palm of your hands” sounds hyperbolic, but that’s what you’re getting with No Man’s Sky on Steam Deck, every one of its near infinite procedurally generated planets explorable on the handheld. And the game runs incredibly well considering the dizzying scale, even if you’ll probably want to dial down the settings a bit when the screen gets really busy. No Man’s Sky‘s deliberately directionless spacefaring isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but if you do enjoy the game, you owe it to yourself to try it on the Deck.

Click here to purchase No Man’s Sky on Steam

17. Valheim

Best Steam games: Valheim

While Valheim is currently in early access, over 300,000 Steam users have already rated it ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’. And who are we to argue with that many people? This exploration and survival co-op is set in a procedurally-generated Scandinavian world where you must craft, build and fight your way out of a Viking inspired purgatory. It’s a great co-op title, and will scratch that post-God of War Ragnarök itch for Viking glory.

Click here to purchase Valheim on Steam

18. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Moon Studios’ masterpiece of a Metroidvania remains one of the very best first-party Xbox games, but it arguably suits handheld play even more, and if you have a Steam Deck OLED it’s simply a must-play given that Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the ultimate showcase for its HDR display. The varied and vibrant areas that Ori visits on their adventure absolutely pop on the 7.4in OLED panel, and you really feel the benefit of the 90Hz refresh rate during the frantic escape sequences that are some of the best moments of the game. Will of the Wisps is often bundled with its also brilliant predecessor, Ori and the Blind Forest, in Steam sales, and both games are absolutely worth playing through in their entirety on either Deck. 

Click here to purchase Ori and the Will of the Wisps on Steam

19. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion 

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion 

The prequel to Final Fantasy VII was originally a PSP exclusive, but as that system is no longer with us, the Steam Deck is the ideal handheld home for its HD remaster, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion. As it was developed with portable play in mind, the game’s bite-sized side missions make more sense on a device like the Steam Deck than they do on a console and the TV, and the game runs brilliantly on Valve’s machine. Crisis Core follows the story of Zack Fair, a SOLDIER operative whose fate already tied him to Cloud Strife in the original Final Fantasy VII, but if you played the remake you’ll know that Zack is going to be play an even bigger role in this modern re-telling of the legendary RPG’s story. With the sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake due to land in early 2024, now is the time to get caught up on Crisis Core if you haven’t already. 

Click here to purchase Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion on Steam

20. Dave the Diver 

Dave the Diver

Perhaps 2023’s biggest word-of-mouth Steam success story, Dave the Diver is a Steam Deck no-brainer, no matter what version of the system you own (trust us, we’ve played hours of the thing on both). Quite literally dipping into the titular diver/waiter/shotgun-wielding action hero’s many underwater adventures is a delight on the Deck, with the core diving/restaurant loop suiting handheld play perfectly. If you’ve yet to experience the joys of Dave the Diver you can read all about it here, but let’s just say that in an average play session you can expect to be serving picky food critics a rare plate of shark-infused sushi one minute, and battling live sharks the next. After you’ve finished running an errand for a mermaid and checking in on your social media profile, of course. All in a day’s work for Dave. 

Click here to purchase Dave the Diver on Steam

21. Diablo IV 

Diablo IV

The latest entry in Blizzard’s enduringly popular always-online RPG series was a pain to get running on the Steam Deck at launch, but now you can buy the game directly from Steam it gets our wholehearted recommendation. Merrily grinding your way through Diablo IV’s deliciously grim world and slaying the many monsters it throws your way is even more fun when you’re half-watching the football as you collect loot, and its painterly gothic aesthetic looks particularly spectacular on the Steam Deck OLED. Whether you’re playing solo or with friends, there’s nothing like being able to play Diablo from the comfort of your bed. 

Click here to purchase Diablo IV on Steam

22. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart 

Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is not only still one of the very best PS5 games, but it also remains one of the most technically impressive games on the system. You’d think, then, that squeezing all that shiny intergalactic action onto the Steam Deck would prove too much for it to handle, but that’s surprisingly not the case. Sure, the game doesn’t run quite as smoothly, but you can still get solid performance on mostly medium settings, and the generally short, sweet and stress-free levels translate really well to handheld play. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is also a very colourful game, so it’s naturally a treat for the eyes if you’re playing on the Steam Deck OLED. 

Click here to purchase Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on Steam

23. Marvel’s Midnight Suns

Marvel's Midnight Suns

A superhero game in which you have to wait your turn to punch someone into oblivion doesn’t sound much fun, but Marvel’s Midnight Suns is not only one of the most enjoyable tactics RPGs we’ve played, but one of the best games to carry the Marvel licence in years, thanks to its winning blend of tense card-based tactical battles, and downtime that lets you go fishing or share a picnic with Tony Stark. It’s also a dream Steam Deck game, whether you’re in combat or growing your bonds with the various spandex-clad heroes in your team, and while the game had some performance teething pains on Valve’s console at launch, these days it runs really well. 

Click here to purchase Marvel’s Midnight Suns on Steam

24. Octopath Traveller II

Octopath 2

Sprawling RPGs that demand more than 100 hours of your time to experience in their totality are slightly less intimidating affairs on a handheld, where you can slowly chip away at them whenever you have a few free minutes, and wherever you happen to be. 

Octopath Traveller II is definitely one of those RPGs, with eight different playable characters, each with their own story to tell and destiny to pursue. It’s also one of the best games of its type for a very long time, thanks to a winning blend of deep but accessible turn-based combat, stunning HD-2D graphics (which look particularly nice on an OLED display) and some seriously good music to boot. Octopath Traveller II is available on just about anything, but as it’s best enjoyed under a duvet with the lights dimmed, the Steam Deck gets our vote. 

Click here to purchase Octopath Traveller II on Steam

25. Persona 5 Royal 

Persona 5 Royal

Previously, we would have said that the Switch OLED is the best place to play Persona 5 Royal on an OLED, because while the Steam Deck could run the game better, those inky blacks and reds just need to be admired on the superior screen tech. Now there’s an OLED Steam Deck you get the best of both worlds, and you’re giving yourself the best chance of actually finishing Atlus’ enormous all-time great RPG if you can play it on the go. By now you surely know the deal with Persona 5, but if it’s somehow passed you by, the game is part supernatural dungeon-crawling RPG, part teen drama social sim, where you play as a high school student who’s able to infiltrate palaces that are manifestations of the twisted unconscious desires of the various corrupt adults you encounter on your adventure. Provided you’re up to date with your studies, of course.

Click here to purchase Persona 5 Royal on Steam

Profile image of Matt Tate Matt Tate Contributor


I'm fascinated by all things tech, but if you were going to leave me on a desert island, I'd probably ask for my Nintendo Switch, a drone, and a pair of noise-cancelling cans to block out the relentless seagull racket. When I'm not on Stuff duty you'll probably find me subscribing to too many podcasts, playing too many video games, or telling anyone who will listen that Spurs are going to win a trophy this season.

Areas of expertise

Video games, VR, smartwatches, headphones, smart speakers, bizarre Kickstarter campaigns