Steam, that Ur-platform of digital games distribution we all know so well, isn’t always great when it comes to discovering new, obscure titles. Many are lost in the sea of new releases, which expands at a faster rate every year. Fortunately there’s Steam 250, a site that uses Steam’s own data to compile lists of the best games on the service.
We went ahead and made our own list of the best free games on Steam.
What’s particularly nice about Steam 250 is that you can choose the list that uses data you’re most interested in. While Steam’s own rankings tend to focus on raw sales numbers, Steam 250 incorporates player reviews into their calculation, working out their ranking by comparing reviews with number of votes.
You can also look at lists of the best games of a particular year (or week, month, or quarter), their “hidden gems” list of games with low player numbers but high ratings, and best games by price bracket.
Unsurprisingly, this approach turns up some games you probably haven’t seen on Steam’s front page. While many of the top berths in their “best of all time” list won’t come as a surprise (Portal 2, The Witcher 3, Counter-Strike), there are a few odd standouts further on down the list: Industrial robot building sim Factorio is in sixth place, just ahead of Euro Truck Simulator 2 at seventh.
And a free, pig-centric wolf combat game called Iron Snout is at 29, well above Skyrim, which sits at 64th place.
Obviously, relying heavily on user data to compile rankings has its own drawbacks, notably its sensitivity to the review bombing phenomenon. But it’s still helpful to have an alternate means of sifting through Steam’s gigantic catalogue.