PC players really are just spoilt for choice with dozens of games releasing each day, often to the point where some gems go completely under the radar. Trawling through Steam charts should come with a health warning — it can be completely overwhelming. If you don’t want to splash the cash, there are plenty of the best free PC games to catch your eye instead, but as you might expect, it’s hard to separate the worthwhile from the filler.
Below you will find some of the best PC games that won’t cost you a dime, just so you don’t have to figure out if Minecraft rip-off X is a more worthwhile download than Minecraft rip-off Y and actually play something worthwhile. We’ve gone for an eclectic mix of different genres to make things for more interesting, including shooters, MOBAs, TCGs, and narrative-based adventures. We’ve also deliberately tried to avoid talking about the free PC games that are just gateways into a grind without much else to offer apart from a wallet tease; we’re mostly prioritising full games over “introductory” deals.
If you have some hard drive space that’s existence is irritating or you just want to make your Steam library look bigger, here are the free PC games you should download and also how you can. Bear in mind that these are not in any order and that it is a living list, so we may add a new game if it impresses.
The Best Free PC Games
1. Doki Doki Literature Club
Developer: Team Salvato Publisher: Team Salvato Microtransactions? None Download:Steam
Perhaps the most original game on this list, Doki Doki Literature Club may look like your ten a penny visual novel featuring high schoolers but it’s anything but. While it is a little on the slow side to truly get going, it’s worth the wait.
To explain what makes Doki Doki already such a cult classic would be to spoil some of the experience. Instead, go into it expecting to have your expectations subverted and remember that it is “not for those that are easily disturbed”. Consider yourself warned.
2. Marie’s Room
Developer: like Charlie Publisher: like Charlie Microtransactions? None Download:Steam
Marie’s Room isn’t a game that will change the landscape of the industry as we know it, instead serving as a worthwhile journey into someone else’s life that you can get through in your lunch break — it takes only an hour to get through but it’s an hour that you will be glad you spent.
Perhaps most easily (and maybe cynically) labelled as a walking simulator, Marie’s Room is a mystery about two friends and the passage of time presented through a recollection that’s open to interpretation. If you want to play something that will make you sit back and reflect, this is the free PC game for you.
Developer: Epic Games Publisher: Epic Games Microtransactions? Yes Download:Epic Launcher
Fortnite (Fortnite: Battle Royale specifically) is a supremely ridiculous game that’s as much a meme at this point as it is a seriously competitive shooter that may leave you out in the cold if you’re trying to get into it with so many players building Legoland during every fight.
It will be rough going if you’re only just getting into it, but stick with the learning curve and maybe also get a squad together and there could still be plenty of surprised in store. Fortnite is also a game that refuses to sit still for a minute, so expect constant updates with new items and map changes.
Just like Fortnite, there’s a well-established pool of experienced players still playing CS:GO that may offer some brick walls to overcome. However, with the option to play offline with bots to learn the ropes, you’ll learn to play Dust 2 over and over again and hang with the best of them before too long.
CS now also has a battle royale mode with the cheesily named Danger Zone. While most still gravitate towards the “classic” experience, there are many different ways to play Counter-Strike but beware of in-game chat if you’re of a sensitive disposition. The best way to experience it is with some friends who don’t mind carrying the newcomer.
Developer: Digital Extremes Publisher: Digital Extremes Microtransactions? Yes Download:Steam
It’s quite bananas how far Warframe has come since its rough and ready launch in 2013. Originally a fairly straightforward action adventurer, Warframe is now an epic undertaking that consumes the lives of almost anyone who touches it thanks to the almost endless content and a grind that is very real.
While the grind can be a little unforgiving at points, it’s offset somewhat by just how much there is to see and do. Featuring a friendly community owing to its PVE community and an alternative for those left jaded by Destiny, Warframe just continues to go from strength to strength with each passing year.
Another older Valve game that’s almost as popular as the new games released on Steam each week, Team Fortress 2 served as the inspiration for the likes of Overwatch and Paladins while doing it many years earlier — and arguably better. It’s free, which gives it a leg up over the former, and isn’t completely extortionate with its microtransactions, which helps it against the latter.
A radical departure from its predecessor, TF2 dropped the serious military shooter aesthetic and went in a completely different direction. A bright and colourful team-based shooter, Team Fortress 2 offers plenty of silly fun despite being over a decade old and a little rough around the edges.
If you’ve played a MOBA in the past and haven’t really gelled with it, you almost certainly won’t get on with Dota 2 either as it’s one of the less “smooth” of the options out there. There’s also a steep learning curve to overcome, but offline practice modes can help you get the gist of things, which is lucky as MOBAs are notoriously difficult to approach for newcomers.
Here’s a word of warning, though: the addiction will come at you fast. Dota 2 is notorious for consuming your life, so you better enlist some friends to share the slide into obsession with as you chip away at the surface of this game before realising that there’s an a hulking and intimidating beast within.