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News video games 21 January 2023, 18:00

author: Krzysiek Kalwasinski

Best Steam Deck Games 2023

Steam Deck is definitely one of the most interesting gaming devices. It offers a lot of possibilities, all in a portable form. We present the best games in 2023 compatible with this hardware.

Handheld consoles are a great thing, especially if they don't have too many limitations. Steam Deck is a bit different. It is a portable PC that, thanks to its structure, allows you to enjoy large-scale games without major restrictions. Are you wondering what you can play on it? Well, what can't you play? The list below shows eleven different proposals.

Elden Ring

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  1. Developer: FromSoftware
  2. Release date: February 25, 2022
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): gold – runs perfectly after tweaks

Elden Ring is undoubtedly the most appreciated game of 2022, and even of the last few years – in terms of nominations for the game of the year, it beat the current leader, i.e. The Last of Us 2. The developers of FromSoftware reminded us that open worlds can be constructed in a completely different way than most similar games. In addition, they did not boast about its size, and instead gave players the opportunity to feel surprised.

To put it simply, it's the good old Dark Souls in an open world, but that wouldn't be entirely true. First of all, Elden Ring is much more accessible than the studio's previous games, although it may also be their most difficult game at the same time. It offers a lot of different ways to play, signaling from the very beginning that there are no walls that cannot be jumped over. Added to this is a beautiful world and a very good combat system.

Doom Eternal

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  1. Developer: id Software
  2. Release date: March 20, 2020
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): gold – runs perfectly after tweaks

2016's Doom is one of those rare cases where a reboot of a series is very true to its roots. In many ways, it’s the same game as years ago, but appropriately modernized. At the same time, it is an evolution of the brilliant Quake, which is another extension of the progenitor of the FPS genre. Doom Eternal takes it even further, enriching the great formula with more complex platforming elements and much more intense clashes.

There is no other game like Doom Eternal, especially in times when players are handed everything on a platter. Behind this seemingly senseless chaos lies a brilliant gameplay design that rewards the use of appropriate tactics and constantly keeps us on our toes. The smallest mistake can lead to the protagonist's demise. It's a shame not to try it, especially on Steam Deck, in a portable version.

Cuphead

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  1. Developer: StudioMDHR
  2. Release date: September 29, 2017
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): platinum – runs perfectly out of the box

If you value challenges, Cuphead may be the game you are looking for – although there is a risk that you will feel too much frustration and Steam Deck will crash against the wall. However, the game is so great that it is worth taking a risk and perhaps working on self-restraint. This is enhanced by the style itself, boldly referring to classic Disney animations (and not only) and the classic, side-scroller gameplay features.

In the game, we play as a walking cup that can jump, slide and... shoot from its fingers. That's basically it. The next step is traversing difficult levels filled with enemies, avoiding obstacles and dealing with artfully crafted bosses. All that seasoned with great humor and captivating visuals. The game is great for both long and short sessions – so it works well in a portable form.

Vampire Survivors

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  1. Developer: poncle
  2. Release date: October 10, 2022
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): gold – runs perfectly after tweaks

Vampire Survivors has been very popular since its reveal, which has only grown since the game was officially released. This is one of those productions that inspired many other developers to create something similar, although it is nothing innovative in itself.

Vampire Survivors may not be an innovative production, but that does not change the fact it is a highly addictive game. The rules are very simple – we play as a daredevil whose goal is to stay alive for as long as possible. This isn’t an easy task, because waves of enemies will be coming from all sides. It's another game on this list that is great for shorter sessions, so Steam Deck's portability favors it.

Forza Horizon 5

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  1. Developer: Playground Games
  2. Release date: November 9, 2021
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): silver – runs with minor issues, but generally is playable

An open world filled with content to the brim, a great driving model, hundreds of faithfully rendered cars from different eras, and crazy action inside a volcano. That’s one way to describe Forza Horizon 5. Although it should also be added that almost every fan of racing will find something for themselves – no matter if they’re fans of fully arcade, or more simulation-oriented experiences.

The festival of legal street racing in part five takes place in Mexico, so there’s no shortage of themed events referring to this culture. This is another game on this list that we can play either for a moment or for a longer period of time without falling out of the rhythm. There is no shortage of variety and unique activities that are hard to find in other games – such as finding and photographing ancient ruins.

God of War

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  1. Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  2. Release date: June 14, 2022
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): gold – runs perfectly after tweaks

If you fancy something more cinematic, God of War is a good candidate. It is a moving story about rebuilding family ties, coming to terms with the past and dedicating to what really matters. The game by Santa Monica will often take your breath away, but only if you appreciate a slightly slower pace of the game.

However, God of War is not only about the story. Among the games produced by one of Sony's studios, it offers one of the best combat systems, which gains a lot as the character acquires new skills. There is also a lot of exploring, solving puzzles and admiring beautiful scenery.

Alien: Isolation

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  1. Developer: Creative Assembly
  2. Release date: October 7, 2014
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): platinum – runs perfectly out of the box

If you think Alien is one of the greatest movies of all time, you can't pass by Alien: Isolation indifferently. This is one of the most generous nods to this classic. There is no other game that captures the atmosphere of Riddley Scott's debut picture so perfectly.

The phenomenon of this game, however, is not only the great atmosphere. It's all about gameplay and unique Xenomorph AI. It's a game of cat and mouse in a chilling style – here, we can feel like prey, with death lurking anywhere. Be warned – this is a game where even creating a save entails risks.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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  1. Developer: Bethesda Softworks
  2. Release date: November 11, 2011
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): gold – runs perfectly after tweaks

Skyrim can be played even on a refrigerator, so why wouldn’t it be available on Steam Deck? I mean, you can't take the fridge to bed before bedtime – not easily, at least. The Elder Scrolls V is a consistently great game that will hold up well for many years to come. Especially in the eyes of players who appreciate the convincing randomness of the world and great freedom of gameplay – this is what an RPG should be all about, and this game reflects it perfectly.

Even if you've already played it, it's always worth coming back to try a different character or join other alliances, and maybe tell the story a little differently. Let's not forget about the countless modifications that can dramatically change the experience of the game.

Stardew Valley

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  1. Developer: Concerned Ape
  2. Release date: February 26, 2016
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): platinum – runs perfectly out of the box

Are there any games more relaxing than running a farm? Probably. However, this does not change the fact that the great Stardew Valley is perfect after a hard day (after a pleasant one too), when you just want to unwind and do things that may well never end – although at the same time, they are not pointless by any means.

Stardew Valley is a game in constant development, and even in its original form, it offered content for at least a hundred hours. Over time, there came many new features – including a multiplayer mode. Another game perfect for short sessions, but on the other hand, it's also so addictive that it's hard to tear yourself away from it.

Stray

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  1. Developer: Blue Twelve Studio
  2. Release date: July 19, 2022
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): platinum – runs perfectly out of the box

It's puzzling that a cute kitten hadn’t been the protagonist of any game until Stray came along. Such agile and graceful creatures should have been given a good game a long time ago. In the case of this particular title, you can find fault with a few things, but you can't deny its charm and… the well-made furrball.

Stray is a variant of an adventure game. It’s devoid of combat, although there are sequences filled with action – when we have to run away. Most of the time, we explore, talk to characters, discover the mysteries of the in-game world, from which all humans have vanished, and solve simple puzzles. We also scratch carpets and do other mischief. What else could you need?

Dwarf Fortress

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  1. Developer: Bay 12 Games
  2. Release date: December 6, 2022
  3. Steam Deck compatibility level (ProtonDB): platinum – runs perfectly out of the box

Dwarf Fortress is the lifetime project of two developers – Tarn and Zach Adams – which has been in development since 2002. It's a construction and management simulator with clearly defined elements of rougelike, RPG and strategy. The player's task is to create a dwarven colony and ensure the right conditions for it to flourish, helping them survive in a hostile environment – for this purpose, we build the most important buildings and manage resources. In addition, there is a mode in which we can go into the world alone.

The production of a two-person studio features a high level of difficulty and complexity, especially when it comes to the original version of the game, which is based on a seven-bit character coding system, i.e. ASCII. The new version available on Steam allows you to play the original version, but also offers the opportunity to play in the two-dimensional, pixel-art graphics mode. This makes it a lot easier, because the control and understanding of everything is more convenient this way. This is important because each failure has the potential to teach us something valuable and useful for the next attempt.

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