Here Are Some of the Most Notable Free Games
Having too many free video games is hardly the worst thing in the world. Still, when it comes to the Steam marketplace, the enormous amount of free-to-play content can make finding the right choice seem daunting. Fortunately, Steam has nurtured a plethora of challenging, unique and addictive titles over the years that won't cost you a cent. In fact, if you have an account, you technically own all of these titles already, and they're just waiting for you to give them a spin. From fast-paced arcade action to immersive exploration, here's a taste of some of the most notable free games you can get on Steam right now.
Credit: Crystal Shard
Many free games tease you with the possibility of future content as a way of getting you hooked. But considering Endless Sky doesn't cost anything and lets users handle future additions, you really lose nothing by giving it a whirl. Go space hopping in a customizable ship, or add content yourself thanks to the game's open-source programming. Endless Sky is proof for anyone who needed it that there are still developers out there interested in the classic top-down space romp — at least for the gamer who isn't afraid of reading lots of text.
Credit: Michael Zahniser
One of the most positively reviewed free games on Steam is ... a stunningly simple, cartoony brawler about a pig beating up wolves? Huh? If you're skeptical at first, trust us that the intuitive gameplay and goofy visuals (with optional blood) make this a great casual time waster. All you have to do is hit your attackers while dodging obstacles and collecting weapons. It's not necessarily the deepest experience you'll ever have, but it's certain to fill the Plants vs. Zombies- or Fruit Ninja-shaped void in your life.
Heroine's Quest is so faithful to Sierra's classic RPG-lite Quest for Glory series, it almost feels like an official sequel. This game casts you as a female warrior, enchantress or rogue in a Norse-inspired setting, where you go up against trolls and Jotun foes as you seek to avert Ragnarok. You'll fight monsters, collect inventory items, explore a sprawling forest and try not to die of frostbite in your pun-filled quest. Heroine's Quest is a pleasant modernization of a beloved franchise, eschewing the more frustrating parts of the original series (obtuse puzzles, poor combat, etc.) while keeping lots of the hard work that made it so enjoyable.
Credit: Crystal Shard
You're not going to fool around in Steam for long without running into some of Valve's big names, but unlike some of the company's other best sellers, Dota 2 is, you know, free. It's attracted a wide variety of praise and has an international tournament you may have heard about, so there will always be other gamers you can play with. As for the game itself, calling it a fantasy-themed strategy/warfare thing with oodles of heroes and creatures doesn't really do it justice, so if you're at all interested, you should probably just go ahead and dive in.
Most people will tell you that we have long since reached peak '80s nostalgia, which makes it all the more impressive when a game like Null Vector comes along and captures your interest. Set inside an old-school arcade cabinet, this grid-bashed shooter is like a hybrid of Asteroids and Zelda, sending youthrough a series of sectors as you blast enemies, collect crystals and upgrade your ship. The presentation is quite impressive, and the catchy synth soundtrack is sure to get firmly lodged in your brain almost instantly.
Credit: Optical Override
No More Room in Hell
Zombie shooters may be done to undeath (and so are Half-Life mods), but there's a time and a place for everything, and there's a good chance No More Room in Hell can scratch that deadhead-huntin' itch for no money on your part, with co-op options and some interesting variations of the formula to keep you on your toes. Though it's been around for a while, this game has racked up some serious acclaim. It also has a sequel in the works that looks primed to expand mightily on the original.
Credit: Lever Games
Never trust a game in which you play as a cute little blob. Drop Alive hits that perfect sweet spot between "adorable" and "maddening" as you guide a sentient drop of water through a cruel, hazard-filled world. Naturally, your avatar isn't the most durable protagonist in the world, but you might be surprised by just how resilient you can be, as each detailed and lovingly drawn stage introduces new mechanics. Freeze into an ice ball, morph into a cloud and try to avoid carbs, just like in real life.
Credit: Ipsilon Developments
Refreshingly straightforward, Spiral Knights has all the intrigue of an MMO — without all the nickel and diming of a subscription. Customize your own little warrior, and play in an evolving science-fantasy world. Getting set up is easy enough, and the game seems to still be getting updates, with an armor pack and other optional extras that can add to the experience. Spiral Knights represents a nice middle ground that goes a little beyond casual gaming, without the baggage of some of the heavier titles out there.
Credit: Grey Havens
Need a fun party game that you won't mind playing solo every once in a while? Try out Totemori. With a neat aesthetic and cool character designs, this race to build towers is like a hip, peppy meld of LittleBigPlanet, Super Smash Bros. and Jenga — with bombs. Whether you focus on stacking your own little blocks high or knocking down your opponents like a real jerk, chances are, you'll get sucked in pretty quickly. The many, many chances of failure only make you more likely to try again. Your friends may never forgive you, but the pleasures of demolishing a painstakingly built tower might be worth it.
Credit: Mito Studio
It's hard to imagine a game that sounds more boring on paper than OLDTV. The plot is minimal, and the gameplay consists of sorting words based on color. And yet the music, the shifting backgrounds and the high potential to screw up combine to make the best kind of click fest. As a "gifted child" sitting in front of a TV set, all you have to do is keep your colors and words straight while connecting with other characters farther and farther around the world. The unlockable bonuses make for a fun incentive to keep at it, even if the "actual" game is rather short.