Searching for the best Steam games to play? Yet, not wanting to spend a fortune on them? Well, then check out our picks for the best free Steam games you can spend countless hours playing.
For gamers that aren’t averse to cross-platform gaming and may want to try PC games, Steam is a great way to build your gaming library. The best PS4 games and best Switch games can keep you occupied and entertained for hours. However, with the best gaming laptop at your arsenal, you can easily lose yourself in the best PC games of all time.
For those who have never heard of Steam, let’s begin with the basics; what is Steam? Since its launch in 2003, Steam has become one of the most prominent platforms for PC gaming. Developed by Valve, Steam has garnered over 100 million users who use this one-stop shop for the best PC games.
Thousands of daily users use Steam to buy, download, and play a plethora of PC games. Additionally, Steam hosts a community for gamers to hold forums and discussions regarding a wide variety of video games. On top of that, Valve’s video game client is also a great platform for major and indie developers. Game developers can partner up with Steam in order to get their work onto the market. With that in mind, users can even watch demos of up-and-coming video game titles.
How To Get Free Steam Games
Steam itself is a free game client with a vast catalog of video games that do come with a cost. However, there are plenty of free games available. Now, when it comes to free games, they’re generally split into two categories: free and free-to-play.
True free Steam games are those you can download, install, and play with no cost whatsoever. Free-to-play games, however, are base games that you can play for free, but offer other in-game contents for a price. Normally this would include downloadable content (DLC), character skins, and the like.
To see the latest and best free Steam games:
1. Launch the Steam desktop app and go to ‘Store’ or you can go to the Steam website.
2. Go to the ‘Browse’ tab then select “Free to Play.”
3. Scroll through the options of Free and Free to Play games.
4. Once you’ve selected a free Steam game to play, click “Play Game.”
However, if you are curious as to how to get other Steam games for free, there are a few options.
FreeGamesOnSteam on Reddit
This Reddit forum is a dedicated message board where gamers can find developers that are giving away promotional Steam games keys. Though more likely than not, you will be required to visit developers’ pages and join Steam groups.
On top of that, users can also find other gaming enthusiasts sharing codes, keys, and other ways to access Steam games for free.
On Steam itself, there are several community forums such as Free Games Finders and GrabFreeGames to get game codes and keys. Here you can find Steam users post game giveaways from developers and share them with other community members.
Twitch is a popular platform wherein gamers can live stream their games — some of them even earn money out of it. Now, before looking up how to stream on Twitch in hopes of gaining monetary compensation, you may first be interested in knowing how to get free Steam games. One popular way to access free Steam games in the Twitch community is through Prime Gaming.
Prime Gaming is Twitch’s monthly paid subscription that offers free games and in-game loot. Once you’ve signed-up, you will be eligible to redeem a variety of game codes and keys for free. Moreover, Prime subscribers can also access additional in-game loot such as weapons, characters, skins, boosts, upgrades, and more.
Prime Gaming’s benefits are not just limited to Steam games. You can also get the best PC games of all time from different game clients for free.
Best Free Games on Steam
As mentioned above, we can categorize free Steam games into two: free and free-to-play. We’ve scoured the Steam gaming library to bring you the best Steam games that are truly free. You needn’t worry about in-game purchases and other microtransactions — just install and enjoy.
Released in 2010, Alien Swarm is a free cooperative (co-op) game developed by Valve. This video game takes all the best elements from extraterrestrial lore and molds them all together in one great shooter game. In this free PC game, you and up to three other players must eliminate a hoard of aliens that have colonized the planet. Players can choose from over 40 weapons in their arsenal such as assault rifles, grenade launchers, and healing beacons. Other equipment needs to be unlocked by leveling up, although the default weapons are sufficient for more difficult enemies.
Powered by a source engine, Alien Swarm is one of the best PC shooter games that enables players to create their own maps and campaigns. This results in more challenging and fun missions for players.
Alien Swarm encourages players to work together with its four classes of Marines. Players can choose from Officer, Special Weapons, Medic, and Tech — each of these classes possess their own strengths and weaknesses. Players will need one of each to survive the game. Thus, this PC game emphasizes the need for players to cooperate and coordinate with each other.
Alien Swarm Steam download is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Battle for Wesnoth
The Battle for Wesnoth is a turn-based strategy game set in a high fantasy world. Inhabited by staple creatures found in the fantasy genre, these creatures are split into six different factions. The player takes on the role of a young prince as he travels the world of Wesnoth. It’s one of the greatest fantasy games wherein players must face different miniscule adventures. These adventures will ultimately lead them to a greater understanding of the game’s history and lore.
At its surface, Battle for Wesnoth is an easy to learn but hard to master game with an abundance of content. It offers 17 core-campaigns, accompanied by several battles within them. Players can choose from a single-player campaign or multiplayer online matches to fully experience the full fleshed out world of Wesnoth.
Fans of the fantasy genre will have no problem immersing themselves in hours of lore that this game has to offer. Whether you prefer a single campaign alone or matches with friends, Battle for Wesnoth is truly one of the best strategy PC games available for free.
Battle for Wesnoth Steam download is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
SCP: Secret Laboratory
Based on the fictional stories of the SCP Foundation website, SCP: Secret Laboratory is one of the best free horror games found on Steam.
SCP Secret Laboratory follows the aftermath of a containment breach caused by an armed group opposed by the SCP Foundation: the Chaos Insurgency. Players can take on various roles who each have their own task. These can range from a member of the Chaos Insurgency, a member of the armed group defending the SCP Foundation, an escaping prison inmate, or an escaping scientist.
One of the most intriguing Steam horror games, Secret Laboratory has a strong focus on social interactions. Considered by many as one of the top multiplayer horror games, it offers a unique concept of communication between players and enemies. With a proximity voice chat, radios, and intercoms, players can actually interact with the attacking supernatural entities, referred in-game as SCPs. With that said, players can actually talk their way out of being killed by the SCP.
Hailed by many as one of the best free Steam games, SCP Secret Laboratory is available for Windows.
Ultimate Custom Night
For gamers that love a challenge, Ultimate Custom Night is definitely for you. Released in 2018, this survival horror game is the second spin-off in the Five Nights at Freddy’s series. This free Steam game features 50 characters from all six main Five Nights at Freddy’s games and FNaF World.
Like other titles in the series, the primary goal of the game is to survive the night against deadly Five Nights at Freddy’s characters. Players can choose from different difficulty levels as they try to survive from 12 midnight to six in the morning.
However, for some players of Ultimate Custom Night, they do find this game to be overly difficult. It’s not the kind of game for beginners since there are a lot of hard-to-learn controls and mechanics. Players must learn how to manage every aspect in the right way to survive the night.
Unlike other games in the franchise, Ultimate Custom Night allows its players to play at their own pace within their own stages. Additionally, there are plenty of customization options. This includes the customization of the animatronics’ intelligence and adjustment of the game’s mechanics and controls. While this can make the game slightly easier, players will still have no control over what happens once the game starts.
Without a doubt, it is one of the best horror games found on Steam. It molds all the best bits from the other titles in the series to make the ultimate survival game. Ultimate Custom Night is an overall great game for those who like a challenge and want the freedom in creating that challenge.
Another horror game on our list, Dark Deception is a first-person video game developed and published by Glowstick Entertainment. Have you ever imagined playing Pac-Man but in a Five Nights at Freddie’s setting? Well, imagine no more, because that is what Dark Deception exactly is. Released in 2018, players take on the role of a faceless protagonist who has met his end. However, instead of going to the afterlife, your character finds themselves face to face with a woman called Bierce.
Bierce offers you a chance at a second life in exchange of you going into portals to collect gems called Soul Shards. Simple enough, right? Not exactly, as several monsters are guarding these Shards.
Another challenge in this game is the fact that it’s a maze game from a first-person perspective, not from the usual top-down view. Thus, you must travel across different locations with blind intersections. You will never truly know if an enemy is around the corner waiting to attack you.
The first chapter of Dark Deception is available on Steam for free, but the subsequent chapters will cost you.
Besides being available on PC, Dark Deception is also available on the PlayStation 4. So, if you’re also a PS4 gamer, why not add Dark Deception to your list of best PS4 games?
Once upon a time, three little pigs had to defend themselves against a big bad wolf by hiding in a house made of bricks. Nowadays, the pigs will face the wolves head on by punching and kicking them. Iron Snout is a fun, colorful, and rather brutal game developed by SnoutUp. Players of this video game must dodge axes and knives thrown by the endless stream of wolves. This free Steam game offers a basic and simple yet overly satisfying concept. Players can easily get lost in this game, and if you’re superb at it, you wouldn’t even notice the passage of time.
Besides being one of Steam’s free video games, the Iron Snout game is also available on the Nintendo Switch for $4.99. However, for those who just want to try this game without installation, an online version is available on Poki. There, you can play Iron Snout alongside with other free online games.
Courtesy: Devolver Digital
Fans of action movies will surely cheer for the next entry on this list. Based on the 2014 American action film The Expendables 3, The Expendabros is a standalone expansion of the video game Broforce.
Released to promote the movie, The Expendabros follows the adventures of the “Bros” in Eastern Europe. Players of the game must defeat the ruthless arms dealer Conrad Stonebanks, played by Mel Gibson in the movie.
Just like in the film, gamers will see the familiar faces of The Expendables 3 cast in this video game. These include the characters of Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Wesley Snipes, Terry Crews, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, there are a few notable The Expendables 3 cast not included in the game. This includes Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Harrison Ford, and Kellan Lutz.
In terms of gameplay, The Expendabros follows that of the Broforce game with a few tweaks here and there. It offers the same jam packed action adventure of Broforce, while featuring ten missions inspired from the film. This video game is perfect for those who want to try Broforce without buying it yet.
Undoubtedly, The Expendabros pays the perfect homage to action movie heroes of the ’80s and ’90s.
The Expendabros is available for both Windows and Mac OS.
Free To Play Steam Games
Let’s move onto games that are free for the most part but have restrictions on free play that require purchases with premium in-game or real-world currency. Here are our picks of the best free to play Steam games available now.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
For veteran PC gamers, Counter-Strike is indisputably one of the most iconic and best PC games of all time. First released in 1999 for Windows, the game has become a phenomenon in the gaming industry. And, in 2012, Valve released the fourth game in the series — Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Like its predecessor, CSGO offers a similar style of gameplay, while introducing new maps, weapons, and other original content. Dubbed by many as one of the best first person shooter games, CSGO offers straightforward and easy-to-understand mechanics. In this video game, teams of terrorists and counter-terrorists must face each other in a series of objective-based matches.
Even though it debuted back in 2012, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive still holds its own against more modern video game titles. This is due to the fast-paced and no-frills experience it offers for gamers.
Courtesy: Apex Legends
Released in 2019 with barely any prior promotions, Apex Legends took the gaming industry by storm. For many gamers, Apex Legends is one of the best free to play battle royale games out in the market because of its time-to-kill. In other shooting battle royale games, death comes almost instantaneously after being hit by an enemy. However, in Apex Legends, that’s not the case. With the longer time-to-kill, players have a better chance to either heal themselves or get revenge on their opponent.
This may be a downside if you’re on the other end of the rifle or machine gun, though. Some players find it difficult and downright annoying because of how challenging it is to kill an enemy. Even if they’ve unloaded an entire magazine, skill is of the essence in order to kill an enemy.
Moreover, patience and good communication are essential elements needed to win this multiplayer shooting game. In order to survive, you must work together with your teammates. Undoubtedly, Apex Legends is one of the best PC games 2019 has seen.
Apex Legends is available for free download on Steam for Windows.
Longtime Halo fans may already be familiar with Bungie’s Destiny 2. This multiplayer space shooter video game immediately introduces you to its principal antagonist, a warlord called Ghaul. He attacks the City and strips away all the Guardians’ powers and forces them to flee the City. Players take on the role of one of the Guardians tasked with finding and reuniting three high-ranking Guardians called the Vanguard. This is all on top of trying to reclaim your powers in order to take back the City from the hands of Ghaul.
A more polished version compared to its predecessor — Destiny 1 — it offers more fluid character movement. With its solid jumps and reasonable geometry used in graphics, Destiny 2 plays much smoother compared to Destiny 1.
Moreover, it is one of the best free to play Steam games in terms of solid gunplay. No two guns feel similar when used in combat. Players are also given a decent amount of customization with the two sub-trees under each class and subclass of characters and races.
Bungie also provides regular content updates and new modes to keep players on their feet. With its remarkable graphics, buttery smooth gameplay, and incredible world building, Destiny 2 is truly Bungie at their finest.
Destiny 2 Steam download is available for Windows.
Dota 2 is a cultural icon in the realm of multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. Released in 2013, it is the most popular game on Steam. The game’s all-time peak reached over one million players in 2016. Dota 2 is in matches between two teams of five players, with standard game times usually taking 40 minutes to one hour. It’s a lengthy game to play, making it perfect for those who want to forget the outside world and immerse themselves in the world of Ancients.
It gives its players complex gameplay worthy of mastery. Unique control techniques such as creep-pulling, creep denial, and tower denial, make for interesting matches against enemies. Additionally, it also has item couriers, and plenty of active items for utility.
Moreover, what sets Dota 2 apart from other popular MOBA games such as League of Legends (LoL) and Heroes of the Storm is its heroes. Dota 2 heroes have more flexibility to them compared to others. For example, there are Dota 2 characters that could fill in almost any role. While there are characters that are mostly for supporting roles, with the right set of items, they could easily carry the team to victory.
Players can also customize the appearance of their Dota 2 heroes by purchasing cosmetic items individually. Unlike the individual skins per character in LoL, you can purchase armor and other items from a set. Dota 2 is available for offline play, unlike other MOBA games which are typically online-based only.
Dota 2 download is available on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Team Fortress 2
A timeless classic released in 2007, Team Fortress 2 is one of the best Steam games for many gamers. Team Fortress 2 is an objective-based, multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) game developed by Valve. It’s a simple game wherein players can choose to be part of either the RED or BLU team. Players must choose one of the nine classes with their own unique strengths, weaknesses, and weapon sets. In order to succeed in the game, they must compete for a combat-based objective.
Players can choose from nine Team Fortress 2 characters that are broken down into three classes. While this may not be the biggest library of characters in a game, it makes up for it with its number of game modes. Team Fortress 2 offers five core game modes and several alternative modes that are detached from the core game modes.
Team Fortress 2 offers fast-paced multiplayer matches with a solid variety of gameplay modes. The gameplay offers a feeling of you improving at the game the more you play.
While the graphics may seem outdated for some, the game can still hold its own compared to other newer FPS games. This is due to the wide range of maps and objectives that offer good diversity and longtime fun for gamers.
Valve is still continuously providing frequent updates for Team Fortress 2. This equals more interesting content that gamers can immerse themselves in.
Team Fortress 2 download is available on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux.
World of Warships
Released in 2017 for Windows and macOS, World of Warships is the third installment in the World of series by Wargaming. World of Warships is a strategic online action game that features an enormous selection of historic and legendary warships.
For new players, it may take some time to get into the swing of things in this game, but it is definitely worth it. This free to play Steam game offers tense and fun gameplay that’s ultimately addicting. Players take command of a naval fleet featuring some of the most iconic war vessels in history.
It offers team-based gameplay that encourages players to work as a team. Players can choose from different team divisions and four classes of ships to take part in explosive battles on the oceans. Every match offers a unique gaming experience with a myriad of upgrades to unlock and strategically designed environments.
Want to unlock more sophisticated warships without having to spend a fortune on them? Don’t worry, you can find World of Warships codes on the official Twitter page of the game.
World of Warships also has versions made for different platforms, with the mobile version released in 2018. Wargaming also released the World of Warships PS4 and Xbox versions the following year in 2019.
Crusader Kings 2
For lovers of grand RPG games like the Final Fantasy series, including the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the next entry on our list is certainly up your alley. Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy game that undoubtedly deserves the “grand” label. Set in the Middle Ages, this simulator features historical figures such as William the Conqueror, Genghis Khan, and Richard the Lionheart. Other iconic names of the Medieval century also make an appearance.
Crusader Kings 2 is a complex game that tackles themes of politics, religion, and war. Players can start the game at any date between 1066 and 1337. The primary goal of the game is for players to travel across the Medieval world and look for one ruler. Then, players must protect and serve them in hopes of inheriting their dynasty after their death.
Crusader Kings 2 is a grand game that features thousands of characters, with a never-ending historical based story. From scheming to back-stabbing siblings, feudal ambitions to even incest, this Game Of Thrones-esque game will surely make any lover of historical dramas cheer.
And on the topic of Game Of Thrones, there is a paid Crusader Kings 2 DLC mod based on the hit HBO show. Now, for those who haven’t watched Game Of Thrones — first of all, where have you been for the past eight years? There are ways to get you started to watch Game of Thrones online for free, after all.
In 2020, Paradox Interactive launched Crusader Kings 3 and it is already being considered as one of the best PC games 2020 has released. However, you might want to ease yourself into the world by playing one of its predecessors.
Crusader Kings 2 Steam download is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Game of Thrones Winter is Coming
Let’s move on from a Game of Thrones-like game to the actual Game of Thrones PC game. Officially licensed by HBO, the Game of Thrones Winter is Coming game sees its players take on the role of an ambitious Westeros lord. Their principal objective is to bring back peace between the Seven Kingdoms and save the people plagued by war. Moreover, just like in the television show and books, a player’s goal is to win the Throne and rule over all of Westeros.
In terms of gameplay, players will participate in real-time battles. However, they must first recruit and train their army to build and expand their territory. Players can even control chief characters from the show, like Jon Snow and the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen — played by Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, respectively. It also features 300 different terrains, reflecting the different regions found in the Seven Kingdoms.
There’s no denying the impact that the show left on society. These range from the silly Game of Thrones Winter is Coming meme to the change of representation of human psychology in the media, as reported by the RollingStone. Without a doubt, this hit HBO series has certainly cemented itself as a cultural phenomenon.
So, while the Game of Thrones TV series may be over, you can still visit the world of Westeros to visit your favorite heroes, antiheroes, and villains.
Most Steam games are optimized for Windows. However, we’ve also included some of the best Steam games for Mac and Linux on this list as well. With our selection of free Steam games, endless hours of gaming fun won’t cost you a penny no matter what PC platform you play on.
These excellent game titles deliver just as much fun and immersive experience compared to their full-price and, more often than not, wallet-destroying counterparts. Truly, with the best free Steam games, there’s no need to churn out dozens of dollars to expand your gaming library.