Steam Deck lets you play your favorite games on the go, just like the Nintendo Switch. The cool part about Steam Deck is that it’s basically a portable PC that makes gaming on the go fun.
We did not arrange them in a specific order because we understand that each player has their own preferences. However, I did include my favorite Steam Deck games upfront to help whittle down what you might be looking for. This list simply aims to help you choose what game to take with you.
Related: 30 Best Games on Steam of all time
My favorite Steam Deck games
The Steam Deck runs a surprising amount of PC games very well. When seeing which games work well on Steam Deck, look for the “Verified” green check. Games that have the yellow “i” that are marked “Playable” can run on Steam Deck, but they usually have a few features that don’t transfer over well. Avoid anything that is “Not Supported.”
The list of games below has been some of my recent favorites to play on Steam Deck. A lot of the games on this list came out in 2023, but there are some gems not from 2023 that I feel need a special shoutout.
My favorite indie game in 2023 is Cocoon. While there are a lot of great indie games that came out in 2023, Cocoon is a perfect five-hour experience filled with extremely interesting and challenging puzzles. The graphics are incredible, the gameplay is groundbreaking, and it’s made by Jeppe Carlson, the genius behind Limbo and Inside. Since it’s short and doesn’t have a lot of information on the screen, it’s best to experience Cocoon on Steam Deck.
Dave the Diver
Dave the Diver is another beloved “indie” that won the hearts of many on PC Invasion this year. Cocoon is magnificent, but Dave the Diver has more meat on the bones if you’re looking for a longer experience. Also, this is one of those games that feels even better to play on Steam Deck than anywhere else.
Hogwarts Legacy is probably the best Potterverse game to date, and it’s a fun one on Steam Deck. While the combat and story aren’t remarkable, the immersion is. It’s a game that might be more enjoyable on a bigger screen, but it works great on Steam Deck if you’re looking to play on the go.
One of my favorite games of all time is Outer Wilds. This cosmic puzzle game features a fully functioning, interlocked solar system with fascinating planets and incredible ship and player movement. It’s a must-play and it works very well on Steam Deck.
Dredge is, yet again, an indie I absolutely loved this year. I haven’t played anything like Dredge – it’s essentially a fishing simulator but you can explore an open sea, upgrade your vessel, and fish (and watch out) for eldritch horrors. The atmosphere is killer, especially on Steam Deck.
Hi-Fi Rush was my 2023 GOTY all year until Baldur’s Gate 3 came out. That said, Hi-Fi Rush is absolutely incredible and I recommend it to everyone. It’s an action-rhythm game that perfectly captures that feeling of early 2000s mascot games (i.e. Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank). It’s a literal thrill ride that rules on Steam Deck.
A Short Hike
A Short Hike is one of my all-time favorite indies. The title gives it away — A Short Hike is a short hike. You explore a national park filled with anthropomorphic animals as an anthropomorphic animal. It’s extremely cute and very relaxing, the perfect game to snuggle up during the winter and experience the outdoors.
Lil Gator Game
If A Short Hike was too short for you, play Lil Gator Game. It’s basically the same exact game but with a more traditional third person camera setup. It’s an amazing game that goes hand in hand with A Short Hike — and it’s best on Steam Deck.
Return of the Obra Dinn
A game that I’m obsessed with that not enough people talk about or know about is Return of the Obra Dinn. This is a detective puzzle game where you need to piece together who everyone on the Obra Dinn is and how they died through watching various acts of the voyage. If I got nothing but a new Return of the Obra Dinn every year, I’d be happy, but sadly, there’s only one of these games so far. Again, perfect for Steam Deck.
The Case of the Golden Idol
I gave a second recommendation like A Short Hike so I’ll give a second recommendation like Return of the Obra Dinn. The Case of the Golden Idol is a point-and-click detective game that’s incredibly challenging, yet extremely rewarding. It gives that same “I’m a genius” moments Return of the Obra Dinn does and works well on Steam Deck if you stick to the touch pads.
The best games to play on Steam Deck
While the games mentioned above work great on Steam Deck and are some of my favorites, the games listed below also work really well on Steam Deck and are some of my favorites. I have a lot of favorites, okay?
Cuphead is a great game to take with you via Steam Deck because its levels aren’t very long, making it good for short gaming sessions. The game’s difficulty will force you to take it seriously with the boss battles, though, so it’s better to play this when you have time to spare.
This game is designed for speedrunning, which means you won’t spend a lot of time finishing levels. Practicing how you play it, however, is another thing. You’ll need to develop your platforming skills as well as master its card-based battle system to finish stages faster. I recently beat Neon White and can confirm it’s very good both on the quality front and on Steam Deck.
While FromSoftware’s epic is best enjoyed on wider screens, being able to play a game this massive outdoors is something to celebrate. Get immersed in the game’s narrative while defeating enemies in the Lands Between. My brother-in-law played all of Elden Ring on Steam Deck and absolutely loved it.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
The Witcher 3 features a gripping story, exciting battles, and a lush world to explore. Steam Deck lets you enjoy everything you’ve loved about the game but in a more portable format. You can now go on adventures as Geralt of Rivia from the comfort of your seven-inch screen.
God of War (2018)
It’s a treat seeing Kratos slay enemies on the big screen. Now, it’s a treat seeing Kratos do all that he does on the small display of a handheld device. Enjoy the game’s intense battles and deep narrative, which is centered on the battle-hardened dad’s relationship with his son, anywhere you go.
This highly-acclaimed rogue-lite features intense fast-paced battles that are just as exciting on the Steam Deck as they are on other platforms. You play as Hades’ son Zagreus as he attempts to escape the Underworld, dies, tries again, dies again, and so on.
This enthralling action rogue-lite has you doing your best to survive an onslaught from massive hordes of enemies on all sides. You can unleash bullet hell on them, but the real objective is to last as long as you can each round. This Steam Deck title will make you forget the time. And since stages have a time limit of 15 or 30 minutes, you can plan for quick gaming sessions on the go.
Reminiscent of games like Diablo, Soulstone Survivors has you facing hordes of enemies. You form a party, level up your characters, and do your best to defeat all the enemies that come at you. This game might have some bugs on Steam Deck, however, but you’ll find fixes for them online.
Slay the Spire
This roguelike has you slaying enemies and bosses as you make your way through a spire. It features many elements that make it a unique game on Steam Deck. It’s exciting and will entertain you for hours at a time.
This interesting sci-fi game puts you in the paws of a cat that has to solve puzzles, avoid enemies, and make its way through obstacles. Its runtime lasts roughly five hours, which means it’s great for short gaming sessions as well.
Persona 5 Royal
This stylish JRPG features a gripping story, an amazing soundtrack, and satisfying turn-based combat. It’s an enticing game that won the hearts of many players. If you loved this game on other platforms, you’re going to enjoy playing it on the go via the Steam Deck.
Tales Of Arise
Tales Of Arise is a Steam Deck-verified JRPG, and one of the best ones to include in your library. It features a gripping story focusing on serious themes, an interesting cast of characters to love, and a fantastic combat system.
This relaxing farming simulator immerses you in the slow-paced joys of building farms, cultivating crops, raising animals, and making a profit from your produce. You can also build relationships with the people around you in town. The Steam Deck merely lets you take this gem with you anywhere.
This fast-paced shooter lets you play as Legends — characters who have unique abilities — to shoot down other players in intense free-for-all battles. The Steam Deck is designed for games like this, so make sure to add this to your library.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
If you’re a fan of the Star Wars franchise, then you need to get this Lego version of the entire Skywalker storyline. You can choose what episode to take part in, and also choose the characters you’d like to play as. This is a lighthearted recreation of a series loved the world over.
Resident Evil 2 Remake
Although the Steam Deck’s display might not be able to convey the horror in full, Resident Evil 2 Remake is still a thrilling game for the portable gaming device. Depending on your character, you will still dread being chased by Mr. X, or G. This is the perfect choice for fans of the Resident Evil series.
Devil May Cry 5
Fancy slaying hordes of demons in style? Devil May Cry 5 might be one of the best games to get for your Steam Deck, as it lets you bring the game’s signature flashy combat and stylish characters anywhere you go. This is a must-have for the handheld.
Risk Of Rain 2
This third-person sequel to Risk of Rain has you doing your best to survive attacks from hordes of hostile beings as you try to escape from an alien planet. A unique scaling system helps you become more powerful as the game progresses, but how long will you survive in this new world filled with dangers? Play it to find out.
This indie hit lets you explore, hunt, fight, craft, and build in a huge, procedurally generated world. It’s a sandbox game that gives you the freedom to choose what you want to do in the game. Playing it on Steam Deck means being able to enjoy that freedom anywhere.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge
This 2D beat-em-up from the TMNT franchise can be one of the best additions to your Steam Deck library of games. The handheld runs the game perfectly, its physical controls make it easy to play the game, and the game itself is fun to play on the device. This is a must-have for those who enjoy beat ’em ups and side-scrollers.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
Fans of the remake of the most-loved JRPG in history can take their time with it via Steam Deck. The main game lets you play as crowd-favorite main characters Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, and Barrett, while the Intergrade DLC gives you a better look at Yuffie Kisaragi’s life.
Players who are used to playing Doom on their PCs using mice and keyboards will be glad to know that a keyboard and mouse can be attached to the Steam Deck. This means you can engage in fast-paced shootouts wherever you go, without having to worry about the handheld button layout.
This roguelike Metroidvania title has you taking control of a corpse who wants to escape a dungeon. The difficulty is high, which means you should expect to die a few times when you try. It’s challenging, but it’s fun and very rewarding.
Valheim is a brutal survival game inspired by Norse mythology. You explore worlds, collect materials, craft weapons, and use these to slay enemies big and small. The sheer amount of things to do in this game means hours and hours of playing fit for a Viking.
Left 4 Dead 2
L4D2 is a fast-paced shooter that lets you team up with up to three other players in an attempt to survive hordes of undead attacking you. The Steam Deck version has the same mechanics, replayability, and features as its console and PC counterparts. It’s a must-have for shooting game fans.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
Steam Deck lets you play as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger in Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered even while you’re on the road (not while driving, we hope). The game features open-world exploration, fun battles, and the pure bliss of swinging around Manhattan.
Kena: Bridge of Spirits
This story-driven fantasy action adventure game lets you play as the titular Kena as she journeys in search of the hidden Mountain Shrine. It features lovable characters, fast-paced battles, rich worlds, vivid colors, a great soundtrack, and impressive particle effects. It’s Steam Deck verified and should be in your library.
Judgment / Lost Judgment
These two entries in the Yakuza franchise put you in the shoes of a private investigator who looks into the criminal underworld in Japan. The game’s emphasis on stealth and will require you to think like a detective. Steam Deck lets you enjoy the game on the road.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
While you might need to tweak some settings to avoid performance issues, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection lets you enjoy AAA gameplay on the Steam Deck. You play as either Nathan Drake or Chloe Frazier and go on to create a legacy that will last.
Forza Horizon 5
If you’re looking for one of the best realistic racing games for the Steam Deck, then you should get Forza Horizon 5. The handheld device’s controls are a perfect fit for this fast-paced racer, allowing you to drive your favorite cars along various race tracks. Just make sure to lower the graphics settings for optimum performance.
Rogue Legacy 2
This indie platformer will satisfy your cravings for a challenging way to kill time. It’s a roguelike that will have you exploring a castle and fighting it out with what lurks within. Despite its difficulty, the game is fun and will have you laughing at times. It’s the perfect Metroidvania title to play after finishing games like Hades, Dead Cells, and the like.
Valve’s masterpiece will be just as thrilling on the Steam Deck as it is on other platforms. You will still solve puzzles and tricky situations, but this time while looking at them from a small 7-inch screen instead of a TV or monitor. While the small display adds to the challenge, the device’s buttons make it easy to play the game.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
If you loved this highly acclaimed entry to the phenomenal Metal Gear Solid franchise on consoles, then you’ll love it on the Steam Deck. Relive the thrill of playing as Big Boss as he goes around stealthily to dispatch opponents and move in for the kill — while you ride the bus or sit on a bench somewhere.
Hitman 3 is another game that should be on your list if you like stealth titles such as the aforementioned MGS5. This live-service title lets you dip into any in-game location, including those from earlier entries, to eliminate your targets as Agent 47. The Steam Deck simply lets you enjoy the game whenever and wherever you want to.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
Fancy hunting down monsters of all sizes during your free time? Then Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak just might be what your Steam Deck needs. You can hunt small monsters during short breaks, bigger beasts during longer breaks, and save the hunt for elder dragons when you’re at home. The best thing here is that you can slay them at your own pace.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
As one of the popular entries in the stealth-focused franchise, the action-heavy Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is one of the best ways to enjoy your Steam Deck. The game features fast-paced combat, as well as a great soundtrack that takes advantage of the handheld’s speakers. This is an absolute must-have for fans of the genre.
If the games in this list aren’t thrilling enough for you, then you should get Alien: Isolation. This terrifying survival horror game is even scarier on the Steam Deck’s small screen, simply because you might have difficulty seeing all sorts of fine details. Be careful not to drop your handheld once you feel the dread of being chased and hunted throughout the space station you’re in, though.
And there you have it! This is our list of the best games on Steam Deck right now. All of these titles are great in their own way, so feel free to choose what you think is best for you. Also while you’re looking for your next Steam Deck game, check out how to see your Steam Year in Review 2023.