The best Steam games these days are a bit harder to find on your own than ever before. Now that the platform has just so much software under its belt, finding the really great titles can be kind of tricky.
That doesn't mean the best PC games can't be found on the platform, though. Whether you're into indie games like Hades or AAA heavy-hitters like Elden Ring, you're going to be able to find a title that fits your fancy. And if you have a gaming PC with one of the best graphics cards, you can find games that will push it to the limit. In fact, there are so many games on Steam, that most of our favorite PC games can be found on the platform.
That has changed a bit in the last few years, especially with the rise of competing game storefronts like the Epic Games Store and GOG Galaxy, but Steam still has plenty to love. Plus, who doesn't want to play games on a platform that will let you collect silly little cards to get a higher profile level than all of your friends?
1. Elden Ring
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It'd be easy to call Elden Ring an open world Dark Souls game, but really it's so much more. This is the ultimate evolution of the fan-favorite Dark Souls series, even if it isn't affiliated. And just like those games revolutionized the action RPG, Elden Ring revolutionizes what it means to be an open world game.
There's very little that will hold you back from exploring wherever you want in the absolutely vast world of the Lands Between, but you can absolutely get your ass kicked if you walk into an area that's perhaps a little too tough for your current level.
So, even though it's just so big, it manages to feel extremely structured at the same time. This is a game where you can do a million different little side activities, like dungeons, quests and more - but it will all feel like it's feeding into your ultimate goal of mending the Elden Ring by becoming Elden Lord. Elden Ring isn't only the best Steam game right now, it's the best game period.
Read the full review: Elden Ring
Groundhog Day has never been so fun. Deathloop (opens in new tab) is kind of like the 90s movie, but in game form. It’s a stylish first-person shooter from Arkane Lyon with a fun little twist and some strategy. You play as Colt, an assassin who’s stuck in a time loop and on an island with a rival. And, your objective is to break that time loop. Sounds easy enough? Not quite, as you need to kill eight key targets before the day ends and starts over again. Luckily, every new cycle offers an opportunity to explore new paths, acquire new weapons and abilities, and figure out new strategies until you find the best way to break the loop.
3. Deltarune Chapter 2
Not every great game needs to take advantage of ray tracing to be engaging. Deltarune Chapter 2 (opens in new tab), just like its developer’s previous game, Undertale, has more in common with the best RPGs to grace The Nintendo systems of the 90’s with its top-down point of view and pixelated graphics than the big AAA titles of today. You play as a human named Kris who travels to the “Dark World” to save the world. But, it’s more than just a typical RPG as the gameplay will sometimes change, including puzzles and bullet hell gameplay. The best part is that the first and second chapters are free.
4. Into the Breach
Not every top Steam game is an epic open world title that will set you back $60 on PS4 and Xbox One. Into the Breach (opens in new tab) is a sophisticated sci-fi strategy blast that you can play on your lunch break at work.
It is made by the team behind Faster than Light, still one of our favourite PC games of the last decade. And for the handheld gaming veterans out there, there are shades of Advance Wars to it too.
Earth has been attacked – and almost occupied – by aliens. In Into the Breach, you control groups of mechs sent from the future to reverse this fate. That may sound like a mind-bending premise, but it actually proves that the plot doesn’t matter too much sometimes. We know Earth will come out tops, it’s just a matter of how.
Each encounter takes in an 8x8 block grid, your battlefield. Play unfolds in turns, and your mechs have to stop aliens from obliterating too many of the field’s buildings and outposts. It has the tactical purity of chess. As you play, you can upgrade your mechs to improve your chances.
Like FTL, Into the Breach is moreish, smart and deceivingly deep.
5. Surviving Mars
Some screenshots make Surviving Mars (opens in new tab) look like The Sims: Red Planet edition. However, this best steam game is, in fact, more like Sim City meets The Martian. You build an outpost on a barren patch of Mars, and have to keep it running to avoid your colonists from dying on the planet’s harsh surface. And, it’s harder than it sounds.
That is, while mismanaging resources in Sim City or Civilization may make your inhabitants angry or lower your income, in Surviving Mars it can cause a chain reaction that sees life support systems fail. You’ll hear “a colonist has died”, and be left scrambling to fix the problem before other inhabitants start dying like bubbles popping as they touch the ground.
Surviving Mars’s interface leaves something to be desired, but its survivalist approach to “city” building is absorbing.
6. Final Fantasy XV
After the massive multiplayer Final Fantasy XIV, Square Enix finally got back to their series’ single player roots with Final Fantasy XV. It came to PS4 in late 2016, but was only ported to PC in March 2018. However, you do get all the DLC released on the consoles and, if your PC is beefy enough, you’ll experience better frame rates.
Final Fantasy XV (opens in new tab) is somewhat different from the FF games of old. You travel around an open world, often by car, packed with Americana-style buildings, all your companions are human and the combat plays out in real time, not as turns. Still, you can tell this is a Final Fantasy game just by catching a 15-second clip of it in action.
7. It Takes Two
It Takes Two (opens in new tab) is more than just a Mary Kate and Ashley classic from the 90’s. It’s a new co-op platformer from EA where every level is unique. You might be taking on swarms of wasps, navigating an environment using magnets, or manipulating time. Whatever you’re doing, it will be something new.
In It Takes Two, you control either May or Cody, parents who have decided to divorce at the beginning of the game. In a magical twist of fate, their daughter Rose accidentally turns them into dolls who have to overcome challenges conceived by Dr. Hakim, a talking self-help book attempting to bring May and Cody back together.
The PC tends to get linked with the kind of games that sit you down – for hours on end until your eyes are red and part of you start to regret your life choices. However, it isn’t always that way.
With Descenders (opens in new tab), you can play in quick blasts. If you can drag yourself away from its moreish-ness, anyway. You’re a downhill free rider who has to get down procedurally generated courses with as much style as possible, preferably using a gamepad. It might remind you of the heyday of Tony Hawk games, or snowboard console classic SSX.
The use of generated “tracks” means you can’t master courses, which means that it’s the mastery of the bike’s physics you need to be shooting for. A career mode pits you against a series of courses in the same style of environment, each with objectives. Finish the “boss course,” and you unlock a new terrain. But you have limited lives for the whole run. A mix of mobile game style and merciless old-school progression mechanics gives Descenders a fresh feel, just one of the many reasons why it’s made our best steam game list.
9. American Truck Simulator
Not every game has to be about destroying aliens or gunning down unnamed soldiers. For instance, American Truck Simulator (opens in new tab), one of the best steam games to play in 2019, feels like mindfulness meditation next to those games.
You drive a big 18-wheeler-style truck over the long highways of the US, transporting cargo from A to B. Breaking the traffic codes doesn’t end in a GTA-style police chase, just a fine. This is the sort of game you can put on like cozy slippers after a long day at work.
Yet there’s also a business side to it, giving it depth. You start as a lowly contractor, but can earn enough money to build your own shipping empire.
From the indie team that gave us TowerFall and TowerFall Ascension comes one of the most rewarding pixel platformers in years. As you climb the titular mountain, flame-haired heroine Madeline battles her innermost demons just as much as the harsh and dangerous conditions around her. In its simplest form, Celeste (opens in new tab) is a tight, 2D, twitch-style platformer, but in reality it’s one of the most unforgettable games we’ve come across in many years.
As poignant in narrative as it is unforgiving in gameplay, Celeste has over 700 ‘scenes’ to traverse, a myriad of secrets to uncover and a story that will grip you as much as the muscle-memory building formula of its platforming. For a game built around the simple mechanics of jump, air-dash and climb, there’s an incredible amount of depth to be found as you claw your way to the summit in more ways than one, which is why it warrants a spot on our best steam games list.