The 25 Best Steam Games

The 25 Best Steam Games

A rotating list of the best games on Steam may seem impossible on the surface, but against all odds, we've done it. Now updated for 2020!

This list of the best Steam games was originally published on April 26, 2018, but we've now updated it for 2020!

Steam obviously isn't a console like the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox One, but it's a packed platform for PC, Mac, and Linux nonetheless. There is no online marketplace for games quite like Valve's Steam, even as competitors like GOG and Epic Games Store try. Before Steam, Valve was a company known for creating the Half-Life series, Left 4 Dead, and many more widely adored franchises.

Best Steam Games

We decided to take up what may seem like an impossible task on the surface: listing the 25 best games on Steam right this very moment. After much internal debate, some hard cuts, we've finalized the 25 games we believe are essential to any computer-owning player with a Steam account. As with our other platform lists, we'll rotate games in and out as we see fit. In the meantime, enjoy our list of the 25 Best Steam Games!

Baba Is You. Flag Is Win. That's all you need to know. | Hempuli Oy

Baba Is You

Baba Is You still keeps me up at night. It's the sort of puzzle game where its logic burrows in your brain like a virus, and soon you're thinking of all sorts of ways to solve its dizzying levels. It's a game where you push around verbs and nouns around until they make some sort of sense, and hopefully, get Baba into a win state. That can be by pushing Flag together with "Is" together with "Win," but most of the time, it's never that simple. Just like life right? Life is never simple, and neither is Baba Is You. It may be relatively small in scale, but it's already won over most of our staff's hearts as one of the best games of 2019 so far. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Cities: Skylines fills the SimCity shaped hole in you heart. | Colossal Order Ltd./Paradox

Cities: Skylines

Our Review

When SimCity failed at its triumphant return, PC players thought all was lost for the city builder. Instead, Paradox Interactive and developer Colossal Order stepped up to deliver Cities: Skylines. What we got was a premier city simulation, focused heavily around a commitment to player modding. If there's a building or landmark you want in your city, someone has made it and likely, they've made multiple versions to pick from.

But Colossal Order didn't stop there, they've continued to improve Cities: Skylines with further expansions. After Dark added a day/night cycle and new tourism option, Snowfall offered everything snow related, Natural Disasters added new ways to destroy everything you've built, Mass Transit improved the traffic system that was the base game's focus, and the upcoming Parklife lets you amuse and entertain your citizens with theme parks and nature preserves. Simply put, Cities: Skyline is the best city sim period. —Mike Williams

Get It Here: Steam

Darkest Dungeon has a striking art style. | Red Hook Studios

Darkest Dungeon

Our Review

Darkest Dungeon is on many different platforms now, but the PC original is still unquestionably the best way to play it. It has all of the DLC, it looks great, and it doesn't have the niggling UI problems of other versions. However you choose to play it, though, Darkest Dungeon is certainly worth a time. A party-based roguelike in which you send hapless explorers into the deep places under the earth, it boasts an excellent battle system and memorable graphics. Even better, recent updates have dramatically cut down the time needed to grind up a party necessary to tackle the eponymous final dungeon. Combined with deep strategy, outstanding boss fights, and a very spooky narrator, it's an essential for any RPG fan. —Kat Bailey

Get It Here: Steam

Dead Cells plays great on any platform. It's a must-have in your Steam library too. | Motion Twin

Dead Cells

Dead Cells Guide | Our Review

Dead Cells got its start on Steam Early Access, where it was left incomplete for a whole year before emerging into 1.0 status: with bosses, polish, and more. Even in its incomplete form though, there were arguments last year that it should be considered as one of the best games of the year—that alone, I feel, speaks to its strengths enough. While Dead Cells may be a roguelike, it's the rare roguelike where you feel like you're actually progressing. Each run is both a lesson and an opportunity to level up certain perks or abilities. Even after beating it, you'll be glued to the screen, wanting to improve upon yourself again and again. In its final form, it's better than ever. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Like in traditional RPGs, everything comes down to a dice roll. But failure isn't the end. You just roll with your mistakes. | ZA/UM

Disco Elysium

Disco Elysium Guide | Our Review

Disco Elysium may be an RPG with no combat, but its action all comes in the talking. You're talking to everyone. The cryptozoologist's wife who loiters at the hostel, your partner Lieutenant Kim Kitsuragi, the rude-ass kid who's throwing rocks at the corpse hanging from a tree in a backyard—the corpse you're supposed to investigate to find out their murderer. You're also, mostly, just talking to yourself. The skills you're used to seeing other RPGs quite literally come to life in Disco Elysium, as they pipe into every conversation, from your affinity for "cop culture" to your general empathy. It all gets a voice.

That's not even touching on Disco Elysium's more groundbreaking efforts: Its general pizazz for storytelling. Disco Elysium isn't a story you're necessarily shifting dramatically, but rather, finding your own place within its cruel world (or rather, city block). It is the most affecting RPG in years because of it, and why it was deemed our Game of the Year in 2019. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

And now in Divinity: Original Sin 2, you can transfer your save to your Nintendo Switch to continue playing on-the-go. | Larian Studios

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Our Review

Larian Studios knocked it out of the park with its first Kickstarted role-playing game, Divinity: Original Sin, but the studio didn't stop. Divinity: Original Sin 2 offers more character choices, some excellent writing, an improved set of spell and skill combos, leading to one of the deeper turn-based RPGs on the market. The new Tag system means NPCs meaningfully react to your character background and some of the solutions to problems around the world make the player feel truly novel. On top of a great RPG, Larian added cooperative play, a Game Master mode, and even a PVP arena. There are CRPGs that comes close to Divinity: Original Sin 2, but none with as much content as Larian has added here. —Mike Williams

Get It Here: Steam

Dragon Quest 11 is a fantastic, classic-minded JRPG. | Square Enix

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Our Review

Dragon Quest 11 is arguably at its best on PC. It's available in 4K, and even better, fans have already released a mod that replaces the wretched soundtrack with an orchestral version that's much easier on the ears. The game itself is a love letter to the most classic of RPGs, featuring familiar moments from almost every game in the series. Compared to most JRPGs, it's fairly easy to get into thanks to its simple battle system, and it has a deep and often tragic story. Dragon Quest may be the series that brought RPGs to consoles for the first time, but it's right at home on the PC, and we can't recommend the latest game enough. —Kat Bailey

Get It Here: Amazon

Fallout: New Vegas is the best of the latter day Fallout games. | Obsidian Entertainment/Bethesda

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas Retrospective

Fallout 3 and 4 are better-known, but Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas might be the best of the latter day Fallout games. Like the rest of the series, Fallout: New Vegas casts you as a wanderer in the post-nuclear wastes, this time in the Mojave Desert. It sets itself apart from other entries with its complex politics, which can result in dozens of different endings depending on who you choose to support, who you choose to let live, and who you choose to let die. You can support the flawed but well-meaning New California Republic, the savage Caesar's Legion, or the enigmatic Mr. House, or you can simply strike out and build an army of your own. Whichever route you take, you're in for some of the best storytelling in the series. Plus, there are a ton of fan mods out there; so if you've already finished Fallout: New Vegas, there are still many more ways to enjoy Obsidian's masterpiece. —Kat Bailey

Get It Here: Steam

Getting Over It will frustrate you, and make you feel very proud of yourself. | Bennett Foddy

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy

Failure is a hard thing to get right in video games. Usually, you respawn relatively quickly and before you know it, you forget about that tumble from an hour or so earlier. In Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy though, failure is affecting. You play as a mysterious man who's attached to a cauldron, and your goal is to reach the peak of a junk-littered mountain. If you fail, as in you fall all the way back to where you started, it's incredibly disheartening. But then a chipper voiceover quips something back, like that failure is inevitable and you shouldn't get too upset about it, and it's back to propeling yourself upwards. Getting Over It, despite all the failure, is unexpectedly a very cathartic game. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Hotline Miami has an iconic soundtrack too. | Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital

Hotline Miami

Our Review

There are few games that radiate as much cool as Hotline Miami. Like Ryan Gosling in a bomber jacket, or a neon-hued soaked night club bumping synth pop, Hotline Miami is a game that knows what's cool, and beats it into players' skulls. It's a methodical top down game about getting through a level and effectively not dying in the process. It's gruesome because of this, despite its pixelated art style. But if you can stomach the blood, then Hotline Miami (and its sequel) is well-worth the challenge. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Into the Breach will have you playing over, and over, and over again. | Subset Games

Into the Breach

Our Impressions

Into the Breach is brutal and unforgiving. It's also completely addictive. With Into the Breach, FTL's Subset Games once again finds the perfect balance of challenge and reward that made its previous hit game so popular. Only now it's all wrapped up in a fantastic sci-fi storyline featuring customizable mechs. Every decision in Into the Breach feels earned, and as a consequence every failure feels personal. The added layer of strategy that comes with customizing your favorite robots and building your mech team is accessible, but particularly addictive for those of us who grew up with giant robot anime. —Matt Kim

Get It Here: Steam

Giant eagles, mammoth boats, secret highways, flooded towns. Kentucky Route Zero's journey is unforgettable. | Cardboard Computer

Kentucky Route Zero

Our Review

Kentucky Route Zero's evolved quite a bit since its humble beginnings in 2013, when it was just a lone episode. It wasn't even on Steam at first. Eventually, it made its way to the platform. And the episodes kept coming: Act 2 some months later, Act 3 in 2014, Act 4 in 2016. In January 2020, the magical realist adventure finally reached its conclusion with Act 5, and brought along its interstitial episodes for the complete package too. (Previously, the interludes were only downloadable via Kentucky Route Zero's website.)

What makes Kentucky Route Zero one of the very best games not just on Steam, but of the 2010s, is how its episodic structure feeds directly into how the Acts progress. It's a game about the downtrodden of America—the victims of its economic collapse in 2008, but it's also a game about what to do with that. Do you pick up the pieces and push on anyways, or do you quietly let it destroy you? It's a harrowing, but sometimes hopeful game. It is unabashedly American, in a way most games that wave patriotism are not. It is, for that reason and many more, one of the best adventure games on Steam. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Monster Hunter: World's Iceborne expansion came to PC in January 2020. | Capcom

Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World Guide | Our Review

Monster Hunter: World was one of our favorite games of 2018. It came to PC many months after its debut on consoles, but that hasn't slowed it down much, aside from lagging behind events and other updates. Still, it has the best performance of all the versions, and of course, looks the sharpest if you have a capable PC. If you're thirsting for a game about loot, hunting terrifying beasts, having a cat companion, and more, then Monster Hunter: World is where you should direct your attention. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Amazon

Papers, Please is a bleak, but memorable time. | Lucas Pope/3909

Papers, Please

It's hard to think of an indie game that was more of an unexpected hit than Papers, Please. I mean that because of its heavy content matter—something that's arguably hard to connect with a wide audience. In Papers, Please, you play as a border crossing immigration officer for a fictional country. With your job, you have the ability to approve who can enter the country and who cannot as more drama unfolds around you. And the only way you can do this is through checking people's immigration papers, and ensuring that they are legit (among other more nefarious screening tasks). It's a harrowing game, putting the harsh reality of immigration directly into players' hands. Papers, Please is a can't miss experience because of it. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG)

PUBG Guide | Our Review

There are so many words that can be written about the phenomenon that began with PUBG. On the surface, it almost seems like any other military-like shooter: a bunch of players shoot each other, and one or a team comes out victorious. But PUBG positions 100 players at each other's throats, and that's where things get hellish. PUBG has only grown in scope since it launched in early 2017, with more maps, more guns, and even limited event modes at its disposal. If you're fishing for a video game to play with your buddies after work or on weekends, then look no further than PUBG. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Portal 2 is a great co-op experience. | Valve

Portal 2

The first Portal is one of the best puzzle games of all-time with the ingenious portal mechanic near-bulletproof and applicable for all kinds of devilish puzzles. This meant that for Portal 2 Valve simply had to rely on the tried-and-true Portal mechanic and maybe throw in a few more mechanics like the reactive gels to craft an equally masterful puzzle game. But the other half of the Portal equation that made the game great was the ambient storytelling of Aperture Labs and its perfect creation Glados. For Portal 2, Valve wisely triple-downed on the storytelling, fleshing out Glados, Chell, and Aperture Labs to the point where story, not puzzles become the star. Though the puzzles are really good too. —Matt Kim

Get It Here: Steam

Claire's in for a bad time with Mr. X on her tail. | Capcom

Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 Guide | Our Review

You already know this year's Resident Evil 2 remake is great. It even topped our recent rankings of the best Resident Evil games. On PC, it's made even better thanks to the plentiful mods people have made for it. Mr. X in a thong. Mr. X as Thomas the Tank Engine. Someone even bent that San Andreas meme to make Leon be CJ, and Mr. X be Big Smoke. On PC, Resident Evil 2 embraces comedy. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Return of the Obra Dinn might just be the best mystery game, period, available on PC. | Lucas Pope/3909

Return of the Obra Dinn

Our Impressions

When Lucas Pope announced Return of the Obra Dinn in 2014, he surmised that it'd take him about a year until it was out. Four years later, Return of the Obra Dinn finally released, with a staggering level of detail in tow. Aboard the Obra Dinn, you're tasked as an insurance adjuster figuring out what went wrong aboard this ghost ship that washed ashore. What you discover is shocking at every turn, and will leave you scribbling your own notes in pursuit of the truth. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Sekiro may have that familiar FromSoftware difficulty, but it plays smoother than any of its games before it. | FromSoftware/Activision

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Guide | Our Review

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is not to be toyed with. Gone are the multiplayer helping hands of Dark Souls, and the progression of the RPGs that made FromSoftware a household name. In this action game, all you have is your own skill and carefulness. Luckily, the environments are so beautiful and the story is as intriguing as any other From game, which makes the frustrating moments worth it. Perhaps it's best to think of it like a tough college course, where each boss is like a lesson, and Sekiro is the very harsh professor who does not grade on a curve. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Amazon

Shovel Knight has had a long and healthy life. | Yacht Club Games

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight Guide | Our Review

Shovel Knight got its start as a Kickstarter success story. And then developers Yacht Club Games opted to keep going and going, until there was so much Shovel Knight that we had no clue what to do with it. With three standalone free additional campaigns, and a fighting game called Shovel Knight Showdown, the excellent throwback platformer has reached its most stuffed state yet. There's even a Downwell-like spinoff called Shovel Knight Dig in development. For those that just want to dive into the most robust 2D platformer in recent memory though, you can't go wrong with Shovel Knight and its expansions Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment, and most recently King of Cards. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

Stardew Valley is a relaxing, but absorbing time. | ConcernedApe

Stardew Valley

Our Impressions

Stardew Valley is available on a baker's dozen of platforms, which is the way things should be, but it came to Steam first—and Steam is where I fell in love with this goofy farming sim by Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone. I suppose it was destiny: I've been a long-time Harvest Moon fan, though I fell away from Natsume's take on video-farming after Friends of Mineral Town.

Maybe that's why Stardew Valley feels like Harvest Moon's final, most powerful form, regardless of the fact Natsume has nothing to do with it. There's no bad translation to contend with, and no rigid rulesets about when certain tasks must be performed. In fact, what you do in Stardew Valley is up to you. Yes, you can farm. Obviously. But you might also want to try raising animals for cash. Or you can mine. Or you can grow fruit. Or you can go on adventures that let you find and sell loot. Or, like me, you can fish, fish, fish.

You can also settle down with a damaged partner in Stardew Valley, which technically makes you a therapist in addition to a farmer, fighter, fisher, and the rest of it. But being able to find easy-ish solutions to problems that are difficult to solve in the real world is honestly part of Stardew Valley's charm. —Nadia Oxford

Get It Here: Steam

Subnautica

There are about a gazillion survival games on Steam, but none are quite as absorbing as Subnautica. Boasting well over 73,000 user reviews on Steam, all of them overwhelmingly possible, it's evident it's won over the legions of survival game fans too. In Subnautica, you play as a survivor on a crash on an alien ocean world, and are left to survive. In it, you build bases, you scavenge for supplies to craft things, but mostly you explore the depths of the ocean. And that's where it's at its best. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 Guide | Our Review

The Witcher 3 is the only game to appear across three out of four of our platform lists. Why? Because it's just that good. The Witcher 3 is an impressive RPG across all merits: its quest design, narrative, characters, and combat have inspired leagues of other games, even unexpected ones like Nier: Automata. The Witcher 3 is arguably one of, if not the best game of our current generation of video games. For action RPG fans far and wide, it's essential for your Steam library. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam

XCOM 2

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Guide | Our Review

Absent a disappointing final mission, XCOM 2 is an outstanding update of the first game. It basically subverts the premise of the original, casting you as rebels against a terrifying alien-run government while retaining its familiar tactical gameplay. To this it adds a strategic layer in which you must race to stop the aliens before they can complete a mysterious "Avatar Project." It's an intense campaign, especially toward the end, and it only gets better with the massive XCOM 2: War of the Chosen expansion pack, which dramatically expands on the content in the base game. XCOM 2 is one of the absolute best tactics games around, and it's at its best on the PC. —Kat Bailey

Get It Here: Steam

Catch Kiryu's younger self on the dancefloor in Yakuza 0. | Ryu ga Gotoku Studio/Sega

Yakuza 0

Our Impressions

After a year and some change on PlayStation 4 exclusively, Yakuza 0 made the unexpected jump to PC via Steam. It was the first of the Yakuza series to come to Steam, as it was followed up by Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 (both also great) later. Yakuza 0 coming to PC was a big deal, as it brought with it uncapped frame rates and 4K resolution. It's also, perhaps inarguably, the best of the series, as it follows series hero Kazuma Kiryu and regular frenemy Goro Majima as they wrestle with real estate deals gone horribly wrong and more in the 1980s. It also has unforgettable karaoke. —Caty McCarthy

Get It Here: Steam


Update, 11/20/2018: We bumped up this list to 25 games in total, from its original amount of 15, which was published April 2018.
Update, 05/23/2019: We added four new entries in total to this list, bringing in Resident Evil 2, Baba Is You, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Monster Hunter: World. We bid farewell to Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Pillars of Eternity 2, RimWorld, and Ring of Elysium.
Update, 02/03/2020: We have replaced BattleTech, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Frostpunk, and Starbound with Disco Elysium, Shovel Knight, Kentucky Route Zero, and Yakuza 0.

You can find our other rotating Best Of lists for current-generation platforms below:

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