Steam Deck, Valve’s massive mini PC, arrived only this year, and while there are plenty of reasons to check out one of the most exciting pieces of gaming hardware available today, the amount of great, hassle-free games available on the device is enough proof of its success.
But Steam is a big market, and not every game does well on a deck. While many successful games run fine on the device, some will not play, while others will require you to go through various settings and scroll through forums and Reddit posts for solutions. Fun for tech enthusiasts, but not ideal when you just want a great gaming experience. Valve has made the process easier by labeling some games as “Verified” on the device, but sometimes this isn’t always a guarantee that the game will run without a problem.
But don’t worry, this list will guide you through the best experiences you can get in the first year of Steam Deck’s life. All of these games are cross-platform verified, so you don’t have to boot into desktop mode or fiddle with any settings to get something to work. Heck, I won’t even tell you to adjust the graphics settings with any of these. It works great on first boot. (Although if you’re feeling brave, adjusting a few settings here and there might make the experience better for you. That’s the magic of the deck.)
As you know, there are relatively simple ways to play non-Steam games on your deck, but those we’ll deal with at another time. This list focuses on great games that you are guaranteed to access right out of the box.
There is no specific order for these titles, but before we move on, there are some honorific mentions. Here they are, with a little info on why they don’t cut if you choose to turn them on:
God of War
The PlayStation 4 exclusive for 2018 arrived on PC in January of this year, and the experience has been pretty good on most PCs. It was also verified on Steam Deck, so I naturally expected this to be a good fit for Best Of.
However, performance issues completely prevented me from enjoying myself on the deck. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that some will overlook skips, stutters, and full freezes, but even at low graphical settings, I can’t fully recommend this.
Definitely look elsewhere to try this game, you’ll be better off with a more powerful machine.
the outside It is an epic fantasy game with some survival mechanics. You can’t really die, though – each “death” directs you down another branching story path, which means failure isn’t just met with outright frustration. I really wanted the outside to make this list. Some may find the combat a bit too rigid, but I think the scope that the game offers mostly outweighs those criticisms. Unfortunately, the outside It’s got a lot of scripts—a lot of interesting scripts and dive menus that, on the smaller Steam Deck screen, have become a deal breaker.
Maybe your eyes are better than mine. If so, this is a very epic game to play in such a small format. And the graphics look right at home on the 800p display – just make sure to flip the resolution in the game to match your deck screen if given that picture.
exotic gardening It is a great puzzle game that combines magic, astrology and gardening. You may have a great time with this deck, but I found Smaller text font It weighs too much against the game for it to be included in the main menu.
There is a very useful zoom function that you will use a lot while playing on the deck. However, the need to jump to zoom levels makes it a different experience than what you’d get on a larger screen with more resolution to play with.
It kind of broke my heart Dungeon Munchies He only gets an honorable mention here. This side-scrolling RPG is a really lovable, addictive, and slasher cooking game with a great sense of humor. He was really close to making the cut, and maybe even spiritual. Sadly, I think images of lines and characters could serve to fill more deck screen real estate. Also, I found the settings menu to be a touch buggy.
If this was a list of the top 11 games, then there would be room for this one.
stray It was very close to making the list, and you should check it out. Its relatively short runtime makes it work well in a portable format, and I find the colors and visuals sit nicely on my Valve mini PC. Unfortunately, stuttering in frames in the game’s faster sections spoils the experience a lot, and often, an issue that might have been overlooked had the game been larger.
Well, with those far away, let’s get into the best Steam Deck games of 2022!