The Steam Deck from Valve is one of the most powerful handheld gaming devices available today. It aims to play all Steam games, but they are currently still working on that goal - not all Steam games work on it yet.

Worry not though - in this article, Gurugamer is going to showcase 10 of the best games available on the Steam Deck.

1. Elden Ring

2022's GOTY, Elden Ring, is probably the best game for the Steam Deck if you want a little bit of challenge. Being the newest game in the Souls franchise, it is pretty much the hardest one. A gamepad is more or less mandatory, as keyboard & mouse just can't cut it anymore... and the Deck is perfect for that.

Elden Ring
Elden Ring is fairly challenging.

FromSoft didn't make Dark Souls 4. This game is Dark Souls 4, 5, and 6 all in one. Absolutely massive game and the open world part doesn't feel like an attempt to pad the game (like most open world games do). Elden Ring's open-world game has various mini-dungeons/secrets hidden away in every corner of the map. It is to your advantage to seek out these locations to find rare materials and unique weaponry that may or may not change your play style altogether.

2. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Ori and the Will of the Wisps hit a home run and is a more than worthy sequel to the already fantastic Ori and the Blind Forest. This sublime experience combines the best of storytelling with delightful action-platforming to create my favorite gaming experience ever. It works perfectly on the Steam Deck, but the initial load might be a bit slow.

Ori And The Will Of The Wisps
Ori's music is also great.

As you progress and obtain more abilities (even more than the first game), Ori gradually becomes more monkey-like in their movements, opening up the world for more exploration. The whole map essentially becomes a delightful playground with hidden nuggets/collectibles in every nook and cranny. Thanks to the responsive controls, the different mechanics can easily be combined with one another to result in fast, agile, and fluid movement - which happens to be the perfect accompaniment for the exciting escape sequences and the thrilling boss fights.

3. No Man's Sky

One of my favorite games of all time. I have 'wasted' an embarrassing number of hours in this Sky. It is not a game for those who like a strong story or those who need a strong sense of direction. It truly shines as a kind of "chose your own adventure" game. The game actually works really well on Steam Deck, outside of the initial load time.

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No man's sky is more of an exploration game.

Do you want to just see how far you can explore and how many planets you can discover and name after your cat? You can do that. And while there is more than a little repetition in the plants and animals found on those planets, there is enough variety to keep it interesting. I have a rather extensive folder of the very different and exotic animals I have discovered in my travels including a cute teddy bear creature as tall as a building and others that you can ride just for the fun of it.

4. Mass Effect Legendary Edition

Mass Effect is one of the greatest pieces of sci-fi literature of our generation. Yes, literature. The fact that it’s also a playable experience is really just the icing on the cake. With this edition not only are you getting 3 games, but you’re also getting 3 of the best games ever made. That being said the first game has aged a bit and the AI was and still is awful in that game. The story, characters, and world, however, more than makeup for any minor flaws.

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The game runs on Steam Deck without any issues whatsoever.

What makes the story great is throughout the games, the player is presented with many situations that don't just have a straightforward answer. Instead, it creates a grey area that really makes you think about the choice you're about to make and how it will impact the story later. The characters are the best part of the games, each of them is unique with their own backstories, flaws, and how they can interact with Shepard.

5. Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Civ 6 is a good game. It had a rocky start, but the devs managed to iron out all the kinks and now it's a fine addition to the series.

Firstly, there is a massive pool of CIVs to choose from (46 leaders and almost as many CIVs!). There is more unique stuff for each civ, with a special perk coming from both the CIVs and the leader in addition to two (sometimes more) unique "things" (units, improvements, buildings, etc). Makes for a ton of stuff to see and use.

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CIV 6 is actually one of the earliest games to work on the Steam Deck.

The government system has also been improved. Like with the amount of CIVs and leaders, the sheer number of options here adds to the variety that is probably Civ 6's greatest strength. A card system with different categories that allows a lot of fine-tuning and frequent switching of buffs to whatever your current short-term and long-term goals are.

6. Alien Isolation

It’s been said that the best horror games have you just as terrified when something isn’t happening as when something is happening. Silent Hill 2 understood this. Amnesia: TDD understood this. And I’m glad to say Isolation does as well. The sound of the Alien crawling in the vents above you is constant, as well as the subliminal noises and creaks and bangs that keep your skin crawling, making you never aware of when the Alien will drop down. And when it is on the screen, it’s fantastic.

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Everything in Isolation is almost perfectly sculpted and placed

Creative Assembly has designed Giger’s Alien (there’s only one in this game) with virtually no scripting and mostly organic AI, creating the effective illusion that this is a real, breathing predator that searches rooms and doubles back, and reacts to sound. It’s genuinely terrifying when you’re hiding in a locker, barely a meter away from the beast, knowing that if it turns right, it might hear you breathing or your motion tracker beeping, rip off the locker door, and end you.

7. Stray

Stray is a third-person, adventure, puzzle, walking-simulator type game that is set in a dystopian cyberpunk world, in which you control a cat, that tries to go back to the surface after some unfortunate events happened.

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Stray has gotten quite a few GOTY nominations this year for an indie title.

The player controls a cat that has fallen into a walled and isolated city populated by robots and small metal-eating creatures called Zurks. The cat is led to a lab where it ends up finding a new companion called B-12. During the journey back to the surface the player meets new robots, helps out friends, and tries to survive whilst doing cat stuff like pushing objects to the ground and meowing.

8. NieR: Automata

As for the game, NieR: Automata is at its core a jRPG, but it incorporates several other genres like a platformer, bullet hell, spectacle fighter, shoot’em up, etc. And it blends everything surprisingly well. Camera perspective will often shift between 3rd person view, a top-down view, and a 2.5D left-right platformer view.

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Due to this genre-blending factor, it is great on the Deck.

The core gameplay consists of following the story, doing side quests, exploring the world to find secrets or extra loot, collecting and upgrading weapons, fighting multiple enemies at once & impressive bosses, and adjusting character loadouts where you slot plug-in chips granting you a wide variety of enhancements.

9. Divinity: Original Sin 2

DOS 2 is a single-player and cooperative multiplayer fantasy role-playing video game by Larian Studios. It is one of the best cRPG out there, if you are a fan of roleplaying games, this is definitely a must-buy. Because the game is classless, you can be anyone, mix and match anything you like, you may be born a warrior but dream to be a mage, go learn some magic and become a battlemage. Who says warriors can't be sneaky, go ahead and get yourself some rogue abilities...

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The game also runs flawlessly on the Deck.

One of the best things about DOS 2 is its gameplay. It's turn-based, and slow-paced but really interactive with many different elemental combinations, and cool interactions between each ability and your surrounding environment. For example, you can create some nasty chain explosive reactions with a combo of Fire and Poison, any kind of liquid (water/blood/poison/...) left on the battleground can react to Air turning it into a pool of Electricity dealing damage and stun anyone in it.

10. Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 is a masterclass example of how to do an open-world racing game, bar none. Thanks to its deeply rich map, wealth of content, and fantastic visuals, it's the best racing experience I've had yet. The most noticeable improvement compared to FH4 would probably be engine sounds and a much larger map.

Forza Horizon 5 is a great experience.

The Horizon games basically let you do your own thing and let you go at your own pace. It's a game you can play when you don't really feel like playing or feel like challenging yourself. Whether you plan to 100% all the content or just freeroam in your favorite cars doing small challenges. The online modes let you compete or work together with other players or you could just drive in a convoy with friends.

>>> Read more: Top 5 Best Open World RPGs For Low End PC (2023)