Best Steam Deck games in 2023

The best Steam Deck games aren't just indies, as this handheld gaming PC has enough horsepower to make most games portable if you tinker with the settings

Best Steam Deck games: Vampire Survivors in action on the Library map

What you consider the best Steam Deck games will depend on what you use your handheld gaming PC for. Some people want to eke the battery life out for as long as possible while travelling, while others just want to continue playing their favourite games without being hunched over a keyboard. Fortunately, it’s a versatile little device with a bigger launch library than any console, so there’s something for everyone.

Much like the best gaming PC, the flexibility of the Steam Deck comes in the ability to tinker with game settings. If you put enough elbow grease in, you can get most games running at around 30fps on the 800p resolution screen. Naturally, this will become more difficult as newer games get more demanding, but the rise in AMD FSR upscaling gives Valve’s handheld some longevity.

Depending on which model you’ve opted for, you might want to consider pairing it with the best Steam Deck SD card for more space. Games are forever growing in size and even the chonky 512GB version will need a helping hand to store games without having to uninstall the ones you have downloaded. It’s also worth grabbing the best Steam Deck dock to hook your handheld up to your gaming monitor, but please note that this doesn’t offer a performance uplift like the Nintendo Switch does when docked.

The Jsaux Steam Deck dock isn’t currently available on Amazon UK.

These are the best PC games to play on Steam Deck:

  • Vampire Survivors
  • Among Us
  • Persona 4 Golden
  • Minecraft
  • Skyrim
  • Cities Skylines
  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered
  • Stardew Valley

Best Steam Deck games: Vampire Survivors menu screen on the Valve handheld's screen

1. Vampire Survivors

Vampire Survivors might be the best Steam Deck game for traveling, with rounds lasting between 15 and 30 minutes apiece. Not done with your run? No trouble, as it’s easy enough to suspend the Steam Deck and come back to it when you’re ready. The survival game is a bit heavy on your thumb considering there are no other controls, but if you feel your digit getting sore, you can switch it up and use the trackpad instead.

2. Among Us

Much like the Nintendo Switch and mobile phone ports, this social deduction game is a perfect fit for the Steam Deck. Its pick-up-and-play style makes it the perfect title to play on the go for a few minutes, while the simple 2D graphics will look great and scale well on the smaller 7-inch screen. You’ll probably want to pair it with the best gaming headset, though, so you can interrogate suspects or deflect attention away from yourself.

3. Persona 4 Golden

This version of the JRPG was born as a handheld, but it’s much more at home on Valve’s portable gaming PC than it ever was on the PS Vita (we might be a bit biased here…). The story is a bit more immersive than some of entires on this list, but being turn-based means it’s easy enough to suspend and resume the game where you left off whenever you need to pop the Steam Deck down for a bit.

Player has a golem skin in Minecraft. He is standing next to a real golem and a bunch of cats.

4. Minecraft

You could say the Steam Deck has the perfect building blocks for games like Minecraft, considering it runs on a potatoe at this point. Puns aside, some builds take months upon months to complete, but taking it with you to work on-the-go means you’ll finish up and move onto the next idea far quicker. It’s not the first time you can take Minecraft outside, but the Steam Deck is considerably more comfortable than your smartphone’s touchscreen.

5. Skyrim

Skyrim is another game that proved its worth in a portable format when it landed on the Nintendo Switch, but translates even better onto the Steam Deck. Not only does Valve’s handheld run the 2016 remaster with much improved graphics, it also gives you easy access to mods.

6. Cities Skylines

Cities Skylines is one of the best city-building games, and it runs natively on SteamOS. While the controls weren’t the best on its console ports, the Steam Deck’s two track pads are great for playing strategy games that usually rely heavily on a gaming mouse. Plus, the 16GB of internal RAM should be able to handle even the biggest cities.

7. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered

EA’s remaster feels just as fresh as its original 2010 release, and its arcade style makes it the perfect racer for the Steam Deck. It’s a great on-the-go game, as you can either play quick events as a street racer or cop when you’ve got a few spare minutes, or cruise around the expansive open world to your heart’s content.

8. Stardew Valley

Animal Crossing: New Horizons might be exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, but Stardew Valley is a great alternative for the Steam Deck. It runs natively on SteamOS, so it works without fuss. It’s a game that you can easily sink hundreds of hours into, even before you take a look at the best Stardew Valley mods – which aren’t available for the Switch.

Of course, with the Steam Deck essentially being a fully-fledged PC beneath its default SteamOS skin, the list of games you can play on the device is nearly endless. The MicroSD storage expansion slot means you can install larger games like Grand Theft Auto 5, too.