Linux gaming is booming and prompting a wider increase in software development across the open source world. While it has always been possible to play games on Linux — whether dedicated releases or Windows games played under emulation — the arrival of Steam on Linux has had a massive impact.
Whether you use the Steam client on your PC, or rely on the SteamOS operating system, a whole host of amazing games are available, including dozens of top titles. But what if you’re looking for a way to populate your Linux gaming library with extra titles? Perhaps you’re short of cash and cannot afford any of the Civilization series?
Whatever the case, a vast collection of free games are available on Steam that you can play on Linux. Often these are indie titles, which means you’ll have a great opportunity to enjoy the work of some excellent developers operating beyond the confines of the modern gaming “studio system”.
So what’s available? Here are 10 free Steam games you can install on your Linux PC today.
What happens when you mix capture-the-flag with a platform game? Awesomenauts! With the graphics of a Saturday morning cartoon and the chance to select from a range of unlockable characters, Awesomenauts is also a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA). As a result, your opponents are other players, not bots.
Offline play is here too, however, with support for three players in a local splitscreen scenario. You can upgrade characters and weapons, and the Awesomenauts developers have even provided tools to design your own custom scenarios. Here’s a look at the game:
If you’re looking for a fun game that plunges you right into the action from the start (and provides you with a two-stage tutorial level), then hit the link and install this on your Linux box.
Download: Awesomenauts on Steam (Free)
2. War Thunder
An awesome cross-platform MMO (along with Windows and macOS, the PlayStation 4 is also supported), War Thunder gives you the opportunity to try out military hardware from the 1940s and 1950s.
Although the core game is free, you can purchase various expansions which bring premium aircraft, single-player game missions, and more. For the standard online gaming experience, you’ll find that both vehicles and game characters can be upgraded, and also destroyed with a realistic damage system.
War Thunder features PvE, co-op, and PvP situations, and there’s even the opportunity to create and sell your own in-game content. If you haven’t tried War Thunder yet, now is the time!
Download: War Thunder on Steam (Free)
3. Dota 2
It’s amazing that Dota 2 is actually free. A 3D isometric MOBA, installing this game will drop you into an action real-time strategy (RTS) environment that is instantly engaging and hugely addictive.
A simple point, click, buff system of attack and defense (albeit with a vast selection of options) enables you focus on the RTS angle, whether you’re playing in offline single-player mode or online in a team environment. Dota 2 has such a lot to offer fans of the genre, it will be a surprise if you’re not already playing it. New players should check out our tips for success to get the upper hand.
Should you somehow get bored with the free game, there’s a bunch of DLC available too! And if you’re a fan, there are so many great Linux strategy games to choose these days.
Download: Dota 2 on Steam (Free)
4. Kith: Tales From the Fractured Plateaus
Now this is a stunning-looking game, one that marries 8-bit style adventure environments with point-and-click and modern graphics.
Presented as a “regular mini-adventure series,” Kith takes place on an eponymous planetoid covered in fractures, between which are plateaus. This is where life can be found… but deep below, a dark and mysterious mist pervades.
Each episode of the game is small and free, but you’re encouraged to buy the $0.99 Lorebook (available as DLC) to help maintain development. And once you dip your toe into Kith, you’ll realize it is worth every cent.
Download: Kith on Steam (Free)
5. Once on a Windswept Night
Here’s an interesting game — more of an interactive story, in fact. You can consider Once on a Windswept Night a visual novel, one of several such titles on Steam.
Taking from 2 to 10 hours to complete, your journey through Once on a Windswept Night is accompanied by an evocative soundtrack, punchy sound effects, stunning anime graphics and a surprisingly efficient narrative.
From an unusual awakening in the beginning of the game, Once on a Windswept Night takes you on a memorable adventure via a small house on a hill occupied by two nuns. You’ll have to check it out yourself to see what happens next.
Download: Once on a Windswept Night on Steam (Free)
You don’t see enough 2D scrolling shooters these days in a world where almost every gun game is a first person shooter. Onraid is capable of changing that. This is a top game with a great combat mechanism, pitting you against platform-based levels, drones, and bosses.
Offering singleplayer, local multiplayer action, online multiplayer, MMO, and online co-op, Onraid lets you formulate your own strategies and style of play as you combat your enemies.
And if you’re surprised a game of this quality is free-to-play, you’re not alone. However, an in-app purchase system is in place to keep the game running and deliver some upgrades to your Onraid experience.
Download: Onraid on Steam (Free)
7. Regeria Hope
An anime-styled interactive courtroom drama, Regeria Hope also offers soap opera trappings. But it’s engaging (although the piano music is a little distracting) and the user interface is easy to use.
You play as Regeria Hope, and are tasked with proving mourning groom Brok’En Hart innocent of the wedding day murder of his bride. This is done by analyzing evidence, and presenting it in the right way, at the right time. It borrows a good bit from the phenomenal Ace Attorney series, complete with goofy characters and an intriguing plot.
Assisted by Hope’s boss Pharrell Triton, you’ll hopefully get to the bottom of the mystery. Expect a few thrilling court scenes along the way!
Download: Regeria Hope Episode 1 on Steam (Free)
8. Kickoff Legends
Dedicated to soccer, this is a multiplayer team management game, with matches played in real-time. Managing the training and development of your team is the aim, with qualification for competitions the first of many challenges.
Once you have an opponent, you’ll be thrust into a full match scenario. Information is provided with commentary and stats, the latter similar to what you would see on TV. Your role here is to issue instructions to the team, much as a real-life manager would, attempting to counter the tactical evolution of the other team’s attack. If you can block this well enough to launch your own successful attacks, all the better!
Kickoff Legends isn’t yet a finished product, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting involved. It won’t hit the list of the best sports management sims this year, but maybe next?
Download: Kickoff Legends on Steam (Free)
In this title, you have to build towers using blocks. With single player, local multiplayer, and local co-op modes available, it’s a literal race to the top!
Boulders fall from the sky. Use them to build towers, which you must then defend. Special blocks also fall, which can enhance the importance of the tower and increase your score. You win when your towers earn enough energy to reach the top of the bar. To win, you need to play dirty, knocking over your enemy’s tower, throwing them off the game area, or chucking boulders in their direction.
Download: Totemori on Steam (Free)
10. AdVenture Capitalist
In this funny game, all you’re doing is clicking the mouse, with no real tactical element or idea of an ingame world.
Yet AdVenture Capitalist is hugely addictive, pushing you to click the mouse to make money, until enough cash is made to either hire a manager (thereby automating the clicking) or buy a new business (at which point you might have to click a bit more, to make the most money).
Various upgrades are also available. For instance, you can buy more and more of the same type of business, but the real benefit comes when you add upgrades. So, umbrellas for the starter lemonade store, or robot cars for the pizza delivery business.
While there is a tactic you can apply — don’t expand your business, or buy into a new sector until you can afford it — the game keeps you hooked with the possibility of additional funding, and upgrading your business to the next level of industry.
Oh, and AdVenture Capitalist keeps playing when you close the window, so make sure you don’t stop until you have managers for all of your active businesses!
Download: AdVenture Capitalist on Steam (Free)
Free Linux Games: What Did We Miss?
We’ve presented you with an eclectic choice of free games on Steam currently available for you to play on your Linux PC. Indeed, most of these are also compatible with Windows and macOS. Gamers on a budget, rejoice!
For more great titles, check out free Steam games that don’t force you into spending money.
Image Credit: AndreyPopov/Depositphotos