The Steam Deck has taken the gaming world by storm, but with tens of thousands of games available on Steam, which games are the best to play on Deck?
In theory, Valve has the answer to that question with the “Great on Deck” filter in the Steam Store. The trouble is that users have reported serious issues with a number of titles given that billing. On top of that, Great on Deck isn’t actually an endorsement of the game’s quality. It just means it fits within the Steam Deck’s hardware parameters and has effective controller support.
Each of these games are highly regarded by critics, are rated Great on Deck, and haven’t seen significant reports of performance issues to this point.
The 10 best games to play on the Steam Deck
There are a variety of great games that can be comfortably played on Steam Deck, ranging from indie darlings to AAA blockbusters. Everyone will have different tastes in regards to what qualifies as the best, and this list isn’t meant to say that these are the best games ever. It’s instead meant to highlight a variety of different games that run smoothly on the Steam Deck. This includes a variety of factors such as the game’s genre, price, age, and file size. It’s worth remembering that many players will only have 64 GB of built-in memory on their Steam Deck.
While none of these games have suffered from notable performance issues or bugs on the device, some Great on Deck games have seen users report various issues with performance. These games haven’t experienced serious issues for most users. With Valve shipping updates to the operating system multiple times per week, it’s likely many of these problems will be sorted over time regardless.
10. Yakuza Kiwami
Yakuza Kiwami 1 and 2, Yakuza 0, Yakuza 3 Remastered, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon are all rated as Great on Deck. While that billing doesn’t necessarily translate to a perfect experience in some cases, the Yakuza games most certainly do. Start from Yakuza Kiwami 1 and go from there to begin your journey through the beloved series.
9. Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game captured the hearts of players around the world. The game allows players to become the embodiment of nature’s cruelty, delivering misery to random people just trying to make it through their day for no good reason. The game is available on every major gaming platform but the game’s handheld feel makes it perfectly suited for the Steam Deck.
8. God of War
Some of the PS4 blockbusters that were released on PC don’t run particularly well on Steam Deck despite having Great on Deck billing. Thankfully, God of War isn’t one of them. This single dad simulator runs well on Steam Deck and enjoys strong performance even at maximum settings.
7. DOOM Eternal
There are plenty of first-person shooters that are rated as Great on Deck, but many of those are multiplayer-focused. If you’re a PC player that refuses to play competitive games on analog sticks but still want to blast some enemies, DOOM Eternal may be the best option on the Steam Deck. DOOM Eternal is a solid FPS by any measure and it runs very nicely on the handheld PC. The 2016 DOOM title is also worth checking out for those who haven’t played it and want to save some change.
6. Vampire Survivors
Vampire Survivors has been a surprise hit on Steam in recent months. Its budget price and endless replayability makes it an exceptional pickup for anyone. The kicker is that it requires just 250 MB of space which means it can comfortably fit into the cheapest model of the Steam Deck for those who opted for it.
5. Hollow Knight
There are many high-quality Metroidvania games that run well on Steam Deck including Infernax, Guacamelee, and Ori and the Blind Forest. Hollow Knight is regarded by many as the best game in the genre over recent years and the good news is that it’s also a great choice for the Steam Deck.
“The Dark Souls of shoot’em ups” is a modern classic that both runs smoothly on Steam Deck and has a style that fits well on the platform. Some indie games actually have stuttering and freezing issues on the Steam Deck, something that would be disqualifying for a game like Cuphead that is demanding in terms of its timing and execution. Thankfully that isn’t the case, leaving Cuphead as one of the best games to play on Steam Deck.
3. Elden Ring
One of the greatest selling points of the Steam Deck is its ability to play modern AAA titles. Elden Ring is a prime example of that. Though it won’t run as well as on a premium $2,000 gaming rig, the Steam Deck can steadily run Elden Ring over 40 FPS with maximum settings.
Hades is available on every platform and has been acclaimed as one of the best games of its generation. It’s worth picking up on any device that can play it. Hades runs very well on Steam Deck and the game is perfectly suited for a mobile platform.
1. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is an ideal game to play on the Steam Deck. It’s perfect for both short and long sessions and already has full modding support, which makes it worth replaying even for people who have exhaustively played it already. There have been some performance issues with Stardew Valley on Steam Deck with freezing and stuttering, but these are manageable problems and will likely be patched out over time.
The cherry on top is that it’s in the same boat as Vampire Survivors when it comes to its light space requirements. The game calls for just 500 MB of storage space. Even with extensive modding, it tops out at around one gigabyte.