Best Games For The Steam Deck

The Steam Deck offers PC gaming on the go. Which are the best Deck Verified games?

Launching on February 25, 2022, the Steam Deck introduced Valve to the handheld gaming world. Coming in three variants, these devices are intended to provide a portable option for PC gamers, one that does not come at a high cost of performance. The product has received a mostly positive reception, and the Steam Deck is steadily becoming easier to acquire.

Since the hardware’s release, Valve has been gradually going through Steam’s massive library to verify that a game is compatible with the Steam Deck. Any title that receives the company’s seal of approval has passed all checks and should be a good experience on the portable system. Using Deck Verified as a criterion, let’s take a look at the best games for Steam Deck.

Hogwarts Legacy

Release DateFebruary 10, 2023
StudioAvalanche Software
GenreAction-Adventure, Open-World
Steam LinkHogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy has been arguably the game of 2023 so far, at least in terms of popularity. The Harry Potter title takes place roughly a century prior to the events of the books and movies, allowing players to follow a unique story set within the Wizarding World. Avalanche’s project brings to life a lavish and detailed open-world, and the game shines brightly when it simply encourages players to exist within its immersive environments.

Even though a Nintendo Switch port has been announced, at the moment, the only way to play Hogwarts Legacy on the go is through a Steam Deck (or, technically, a laptop). Once upon a time, these types of projects seemed destined to remain on home consoles or computers, but Valve’s portable system has destroyed the barrier separating these sides of the gaming marketplace.

Hi-Fi Rush

Release DateJanuary 25, 2023
StudioTango Gameworks
GenreHack and Slash, Rhythm
Steam LinkHi-Fi Rush

Hi-Fi Rush came out of nowhere. Tango Gameworks’ game was announced and released on the same day, and it is even available on Xbox Game Pass. As an added bonus, the hack and slash title is already Steam Deck verified, so owners of the handheld system can immediately jump into this project.

Boasting striking visual design and a stellar soundtrack, Hi-Fi Rush is a feast for the senses. Ultimately, high production value does not mean that much if the gameplay is not up-to-snuff, which is something that Tango clearly understands. Hi-Fi Rush rewards players who synch their movement with the beat, and this goes beyond providing a power boost in combat. Even explorative actions benefit from this synergy.

Persona 5 Royal

Release DateOctober 21, 2022
GenreTurn-Based JRPG, Social Sim
Steam LinkPersona 5 Royal

Once upon a time, a PlayStation console was necessary to experience a mainline Persona entry, but that is no longer the case. The latest turn-based entry in Atlus’ franchise is now available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PC, the latter of which also means Persona 5 Royal can be played on the Steam Deck. Offering more than 100 hours of content, this beloved JRPG can keep someone entertained for potentially months.

The story revolves around the Phantom Thieves, a group of teenagers who seek to inspire social change by invading a corrupt individual’s Palace, a metaphysical representation of their negativity. P5R is divided into two sections: social sim and dungeon crawling. The latter features relatively traditional turn-based combat, albeit one elevated through a stylish presentation and an addictive monster-collecting system. Outside of palaces, players can hang out with their friends, grab a bite to eat, and take on adults who are ruining the world.

The following Persona games are also Deck Verified:

  • Persona 3 Portable
  • Persona 4 Golden
  • Run 3

Dying Light

Release DateJanuary 26, 2015
GenreSurvival Horror
Steam LinkDying Light

Both Dying Light games are Steam Deck verified, and the sequel is a decent title in its own right. However, Techland’s 2015 original is extra special since it leans a lot more into survival horror than its successor, which helps distinguish it from the many other open-world projects flooding the market.

Gameplay-wise, the franchise is predominantly known for its parkour, which is allowed to flourish thanks to a map that emphasizes verticality. The first-person combat is also intense, particularly during the nighttime. Dying Light is a prime contender for the best open-world zombie game of all time.

Cassette Beasts

Release DateApril 26, 2023
StudioBytten Studio
GenreTurn-Based RPG
Steam LinkCassette Beasts

As there is no way to officially play Pokemon on the Steam Deck, people looking to catch ’em all will need to check out some alternatives. In April 2023, a new contender not only entered the monster-taming market but immediately cemented itself as a front-runner to become one of the subgenre’s modern greats. While it takes a few notes from Game Freak’s ludicrously successful franchise, Cassette Beasts has no trouble whatsoever establishing its own identity.

Washing up on an unfamiliar shore seemingly removed from reality, players learn they have the ability to transform into “beasts,” which proves to be useful since this realm is overrun with creatures. Alongside a partner, players must explore the island while acquiring new monster forms, exploring a mystery involving Archangels, and occasionally fusing in the middle of a heated battle. Cassette Beasts has fantastic combat, music, visuals, and monster designs.


Release DateSeptember 29, 2017
StudioStudio MDHR Entertainment Inc.
GenrePlatformer, Run And Gun
Steam LinkCuphead

On June 30, 2022, Cuphead released its long-awaited The Delicious Last Course expansion, making this the ideal time to jump into the hard-as-nails platformer. Inspired by classic cartoons, Cuphead has gorgeous visuals, tight controls, and many brilliantly designed bosses that yearn to make players suffer.

The best Steam Deck games might be the ones that cater to shorter play sessions, and Cuphead is one such title. Now, while the levels themselves are not extremely long, their high difficulty greatly expands their completion time, so they do require commitment. Also, try to resist the urge to fling the Steam Deck out of a window out of sheer frustration.

Neon White

Release DateJune 16, 2022
StudioAngel Matrix
Steam LinkNeon White

A pleasant surprise, Neon White is specifically designed for speedrunning. The goal is to repeat stages in search of progressively quicker times, and while that might seem like a niche structure, the game’s strong fundamentals give it wide appeal. Neon White builds its platforming and combat on a card-based system that forces the player to think on their feet, and executing a perfect run after memorizing the stage’s layout is incredibly satisfying.

As stages do not last more than a few minutes, this is the perfect Steam Deck game for short bus rides or quick breaks. Admittedly, Neon White‘s addictive nature makes it difficult to put down once someone finds their rhythm, which might lead to some missed meetings.

Elden Ring

Release DateFebruary 25, 2022
GenreOpen-World RPG
Steam LinkElden Ring

Released alongside the Steam Deck, Elden Ring was something of a test of the portable system’s potential. Can Valve’s platform handle a massive open-world game that just debuted in 2022? Luckily, the answer is yes!

Elden Ring is arguably the best game of 2022 so far, so there is a great chance that most Steam Deck adopters have already traveled or will be traveling to the Lands Between. What awaits them is a pretty impressive experience that delivers decent performance and visuals. The Steam Deck has made playing Elden Ring on a flight a reality, something that hardly seemed possible before the platform’s launch. It is also way more comfortable than gaming laptops for these types of situations.

The following FromSoftware games are also Deck Verified:

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin
  • Dark Souls 3
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – GOTY Edition

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Release DateMay 18, 2015
StudioCD Projekt Red
GenreOpen-World RPG
Steam LinkThe Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Valve has been working with CD Projekt Red to optimize The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Cyberpunk 2077 for the Steam Deck, ensuring that owners can take these ambitious RPGs on the go and have a blast in the process. The Witcher 3 set a benchmark for gaming in general, particularly when it comes to storytelling in side content.

Set in a beautifully crafted world that builds upon the lore of previous franchise releases while still delivering an accessible package for newcomers, The Witcher 3 is gripping, deep, and addictive. The combat system takes a bit of getting used to, but things do start to come together once the player grows familiar with Geralt’s signs and tools.

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