If you’re looking for the best free games to distract you with after a long day’s work, then you’ve come to the right spot. Everyone loves free stuff, especially when it comes to the best PC games. After all, there are so many fun, entertaining free games out there right now on PC, and, unlike Xbox and PlayStation, which periodically give out free games on Xbox Games With Gold and PlayStation Plus, respectively, things work much differently with gaming PCs. The top free games are a genre all their own.
Due to the huge popularity of free-to-play titles, the best free games are available from Steam, GOG and even (brace yourself) EA’s Origin client. You can even download the Epic Games Store app, and score some premium indie games for free every couple weeks.
From Battle Royale free-to-play games, like Fortnite, to online CCGs, like Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, the best free games cover a wide range of genres and styles. We tested the most popular titles, and picked out the best free games you must download today.
1. Fortnite Battle Royale
The Battle Royale is huge at the moment, and Epic Games has all but perfected it with Fortnite Battle Royale. Initially developed as a sort of add-on for Fortnite, Battle Royale took off in a way that nobody predicted, fast becoming one of the most played games of 2018.
One of the best free games right now, Fortnite Battle Royale is entirely based around a simple scenario: you’re dumped in a map with 99 other players in a free-for-all melee, and the only winner is the one who is left standing at the end. Because of its meteoric success, Epic Games is hard at work adding new game modes and features all the time. Take Playground mode, for instance – it dumps you in the map and lets you build up structures for a set amount of time before the floodgates open and the carnage begins.
What’s especially cool is that Fortnite lets you play with your friends, no matter what platform they’re on. Whether you’re on PC, Xbox One, iOS, Android or PS4, you’ll be able to be matched up against millions of other players from all these different platforms.
- Play Fortnite Battle Royale for free
2. Dota 2
The Dota universe may have derived from a WarCraft 3 mod, but Dota 2 is very much its own entity, and holds its own as one of the best free games.
This top-down arena battler is incredibly active, attracting multi-million dollar prize funds for serious tournament players. However, it’s not just for obsessives.
A brief tutorial now points out the ropes, with the Steam Community stepping in to provide guides to the original MOBA. Don’t expect a warm welcome or easy learning curve from its complex gameplay mechanics, but bring a few friends and Dota 2 will have you hooked on one of the biggest crazes in PC history.
- Play Dota 2 for free
3. Planetside 2
Two years before Destiny dropped into orbit, we had Planetside 2, an epic, all-out first-person battle that’s so incredible, you might have to pinch yourself every time you load it. Just to remind yourself that a game this amazing is completely free. There are in-game purchases, of course, but you can still dive into the biggest battlefield in gaming and still have an awesome time with the default equipment.
There’s simply nothing as exhilarating as taking part in a massed assault on an enemy base and coming out on top, or living in a world where an enemy convoy could appear on the horizon at any second. Planetside 2 is proof that ‘free’ doesn’t mean prosaic.
- Play Planetside 2 for free
4. Path of Exile
Path of Exile is a free dungeon crawler in the style of Diablo III, and it’s a tad different than most to the best free games out there. It’s not just about fragging real-life people until they scream at you in shrill pubescent tones through their Skype headsets.
Path of Exile is a bit more slow-paced than your typical multiplayer game, but give it time, and you might just find yourself hooked. There are hidden mechanics and features to uncover after playing for hours, as well as a huge skill tree to slowly progress through. It really is the best free game for former Diablo addicts.
Even basic loot can be useful because there’s always an opportunity to enhance even the simplest weapon with magic. If you’re bored with the grind of Diablo III, it’s a good one to check out.
- Play Path of Exile for free
5. League of Legends
Pick a champion and head into battle in this seminal free-to-play game from the creators of the Warcraft III mod, Dota. League of Legends’ automated matchmaking, diverse cast of characters and pristine maps have made it a multiplayer behemoth over the last few years, and one of the best free games on this list that will definitely stand the test of time.
It’s an aggressive gameplay experience for sure, but one that rewards good teamwork and careful tactics. You won’t master it overnight, but you’ll be having fun shortly after you hit that ‘play’ button.
Like Dota 2, League of Legends attracts many high-end players, and the top tournaments offer prize pools of over $1 million. The weird world of esports, eh?
- Play League of Legends for free
6. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Ever played Magic the Gathering, the card game? Hearthstone is Blizzard’s attempt at making an online version of it, for free.
In typical Blizzard style, it’s impressive. It’s immediately inviting, lacking the terrifying learning curve you would expect from an online fantasy card game. Hearthstone plays quickly, boasts a very casual visual approach and benefits from a basic rule set, all of which add up to a very approachable card battler that will give you plenty of fun – especially if you’re a World of WarCraft fan.
- How to play Hearthstone
Not that it’s not challenging as well, especially if you’re up against an opponent that plays their cards right, which is why its gets our vote for one of the best free games to date.
- Play Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft for free
7. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Taking the Star Wars MMORPG after Star Wars Galaxies went away (may it rest in peace), Star Wars: The Old Republic was not free at release. However, it has since, like so many MMORPGs before it, adopted the free to play model. If you want to get Sith kicks, this is the best way to get them for free.
Subscriptions are on hand for more in-game potential and end-game content, but in true best free games fashion, all the story missions are still available for free – it just might take a bit longer now.
It’s worth your time just to see the Star Wars universe from different sets of eyes, like the hyper-professional Imperial Agent and Bounty Hunter. If you want to go with the dull option and just have a generic Jedi Knight, though – you can totally do that.
- Play Star Wars: The Old Republic for free
8. Forza Motorsport 6 Apex
Forza Motorsport 6 Apex in particular brings a complete Forza Motorsport game to PC gamers for the first time – before Forza Horizon 3 came out in 2016. It’s not quite the full-fledged experience you can expect with full entries to the series. However, Forza Motorsport 6 Apex is the best free game would could have asked for from Microsoft’s long-standing racing series.
When Xbox head Phil Spencer said he was going to bring the console’s best franchises to the PC, he wasn’t kidding. Among these notable games is Forza Motorsport.
Shunned by petrol-heads and embraced by gamers, Forza Motorsport may seem like an arcadey offshoot of its biggest rival on PlayStation, but it consistently looks and feels outstanding nonetheless.
- Play Forza Motorsport 6 Apex for free
Dauntless is essentially a household name at this point, becoming an overnight success on PC, thanks to Monster Hunter World. However, what if we told you that you could get a very similar experience for free, with a game that it’s also easier on your PC? Enter Dauntless.
Rather than the clear environmentalist focus of Monster Hunter: World, where you’re trying to preserve the habitats, Dauntless simplifies things a bit and just tasks you with slaying behemoths to protect a human colony.
The gameplay itself is much simpler as well, free of some of the more obtuse gameplay systems that you either love or hate in the Monster Hunter series. The core DNA of the series, however, is there – hunt monsters, craft gear, hunt more monsters, making it one of the best free games to have right now.
- Play Dauntless for free
10. World of Tanks
World of Tanks is a different kind of MMO, as you might have already guessed from the title. Team-based, massively multiplayer action with a huge range of war machines to drive into battle awaits, with new players able to jump into the fray right away.
The upgrade system adds a sense of personalization, while being surrounded by an entire army at all times to remind you that loners won’t survive on the battlefield. Get sucked in, and you may find yourself spending a chunk of your wages on great big chunks of virtual metal.
Some premium tanks cost just a few dollars, while others are more expensive. You can see where maker Wargaming is earning some cash from World of Tanks enthusiasts. Still, this doesn’t stop it from being one of the best free games right now.
- Play World of Tanks for free
11. Heroes of the Storm
It was only a matter of time before Blizzard dipped its toes in the MoBA phenomenon, and with Heroes of the Storm, we’re left asking: what took it so long? It’s an incredibly accessible esports title, sitting somewhere between League of Legends and DOTA 2 in terms of complexity, with the added bonus of playing characters you know and love.
That’s right: the roster is completely made up of Blizzard characters from across its library of classic games. If you’ve ever wondered who would win in a fight between Thrall and Kerrigan, Heroes of the Storm can show you how that fight plays out on the battlefield.
Blizzard knocked it out of the park here, making one of the best free games that keeps getting better by the day.
- Play Heroes of the Storm for free
Its future was briefly uncertain after the sale of Sony’s online entertainment division in February 2015, but Everquest has now returned with a vengeance, featuring new expansion packs and continued support by Daybreak Game Company. And, that’s one of the many reasons why it’s made our best free games list.
The first of its kind to commercially succeed with a 3D game engine, Everquest was released in 1999 as an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) and has since been documented as one of the most important games in the medium’s history.
Featuring consistently released expansion packs (quite massive in scale, at least early on) with vast new areas, races and classes, Everquest brings to the table just about everything you would expect from an MMO. Plus, it’s notably better at handling co-op than its alternatives.
- Play Everquest for free
Originally hailed as the game that would finally dethrone World of Warcraft, Rift had its moment – and is still going strong depending who you’re talking to. It brought innovation to a genre that was changing very slowly, letting you change your class whenever you felt like it.
The whole game is focused on separating giant boss battles and events that occupy entire zones. It’s ambitious, exciting, and massive with dozens of interdimensional rifts that keep things exciting and unique from other MMOs. And, even after Rift went free to play, Trion has stayed on top of things, rolling out regular expansions for everyone to enjoy.
Plus, you can ride on a landshark.
- Play Rift for free
Runescape is one of the biggest free-to-play MMOs out there, and now would be a good time to take a look. In 2013, it entered its third reboot – this is actually ‘Runescape 3’, although just jumping in now, you might not even realize that it has been around in one form or another for more than 10 years.
Despite the revamp, it’s definitely not the sparkliest MMO in the world, but hanging onto this many players shows it’s doing something right. The big change introduced in Runescape 3 that made it appear a lot more modern was the ability to see much further. In Runescape 2, the horizon quickly gave way to fog… not so now.
You can download the game for free or run it in your browser using Java, making it much more convenient than most other online role-players of this epic scale.
- Play Runescape for free
If you’re sick of the dark fantasy aesthetic of most MMORPGs, you’ll love Maplestory’s imaginative and inspired style. Described by Nexon as the original 2D side-scrolling MMO, Maplestory takes the classic Dungeons and Dragons-inspired genre, and makes it kawaii.
The lighter tone and customization of Maplestory makes it feel more like Harvest Moon than World of Warcraft or Rift. And, it’s more focused on improving cosmetics than many other MMOs, allowing players a lot more control over how their characters look.
Maplestory even has in-game weddings and dinosaurs that play guitar. Really, the only thing missing from Maplestory is an Oasis-inspired soundtrack.
- Play Maplestory
If you’re into third-person co-operative shooters, Warfarme is one of the best free games out there. Players take control of members of the Tenno, an ancient race warring with enemies such as the Grineer, the Corpus, the Infested and the Sentients. Your Tenno soldier uses the Crysis-style Warframe armor equipped with guns or melee weapons to fight back.
Better looking than your average free-to-play shooter, much fun can be had in Warframe’s player-vs-enemy raids — so much so that some gamers see it as, “The Destiny that never was.” High praise all around.
- Play Warframe for free
Gods from every pantheon come together in Smite to battle it out in a free Dota/MOBA inspired clash. Even though Smite wears its influences on its sleeve – it comes from the same developer that made the FPS smash Tribes Ascend, but it’s still a completely different beast.
The camera is behind the characters this time, giving you a more direct connection to the action than simply guiding your lord around with a mouse. However, the premise will be either familiar if you’ve played its inspirations, or a way to get a feel for the style, if you haven’t. Gods include Zeus, Thor, Kali, Artemis and… Cupid? Well, at least he has his own bow…
- Play Smite for free
18. Lord of the Rings Online
There are so many MMOs that have been released or rereleased as free-to-play games, but Lord of the Rings Online is one of the titles that most warrants a second look. It’s already an excellent game in its own right, but it’s also one of the more mature MMOs on the market.
You’ll probably have to pay eventually to unlock adventure packs. However, there’s no subscription fee and nothing to buy up front, making it one of the best free games to immerse in right now. If you missed it at launch, or even if you quit playing since then, it’s time to give it a go.
- Play Lord of the Rings Online for free
19. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Life is Strange and its sequel are among the best modern adventure games on PC in 2018. Lucky for us, there’s now a free way to play this amazing series. Unveiled back at E3 2018, the Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit places you in the shoes of a 9-year-old Chris as he, and his alter ego, Captain Spirit, go on an epic adventure.
It’s a free-to-play single player adventure game free of any kind of malicious microtransactions or predatory monetization – simply a nice prelude into Life is Strange 2. Just don’t go in expecting the longest gameplay experience in the world, as you’ll likely get through it in just a couple of hours. That still doesn’t stop it from being one of the best free games, however.
- Play the Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit for free
20. Eve Online
In 2003, Icelandic developer CCP Games unleashed Eve Online, an immersive and in-depth “sci-fi experience” that would ultimately garner the attention of well over 500,000 players. Eve Online is unlike any game in its category, thanks to the vast range of activities to take part in as well as its (appropriately) out of this world in-game economy.
Unfortunately, the Eve Online player base has been getting smaller since 2013. It shouldn’t be surprising that as time goes on, fewer and fewer gamers are interested in paying a subscription fee for a glorified space sim with a steep learning curve. However, since the Ascension Update, released back in November 2016, Eve Online has gone free to play – at least to an extent.
The new ‘alpha clones’ system featured in Eve Online is similar to the “unlimited free trial” featured in World of Warcraft. You can still engage with other players in piracy, manufacturing, trading, mining, exploration and combat, but certain skills will be off limits. If you don’t want to limit your access to some of the game’s most lumbering ships, you can always opt for the Omega subscription – otherwise, the game won’t cost a cent, which is why it makes for one of the best free games to grace the gaming world.
- Play Eve Online for free
21. Apex Legends
To say that Battle Royale games are popular in 2019 would be a massive understatement, but the level of success that Apex Legends has enjoyed so quickly after launch speaks volumes. It’s definitely earned its spot on this list as one of the best free games. Not only is the game itself fantastic, bringing unique mechanics from the awesome Titanfall games to a Battle Royale, but the game itself has reached over a whopping 25 million players after a week.
Apex Legends places 60 players in the middle of a gigantic map, armed with a bunch of unique abilities that make both combat and traversal extremely addicting. It’s not quite the chaos of 100 player battle royale titles like Fortnite or PUBG, but it feels balanced. If somehow you haven’t jumped on the Apex Legends bandwagon yet, you’re sorely missing out.
- Play Apex Legends for free
Hawken is a game about mechs. But, not just any mechs – fast mechs. These aren’t your average slow, lumbering tanks of MechWarrior Online. These are more comparable to the Exoskeletons of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Of course, being a free-to-play game, expect to pay for upgrades to your starter mech. However, economical players can still get a taste for Hawken without spending a dime. Plus, attach an Oculus Rift, and you can see first-hand what VR games have in store for you. Admit it, you’ve wanted to know what it feels like to power a mech for yourself since Pacific Rim came out.
- Play Hawken for free
23. Evolve Stage 2
Hey, remember Evolve? Don’t worry if you don’t – it quickly fell off the face of the Earth after release, until it was eventually removed from Steam. But Turtle Rock re-released it back into beta a year and a half after its initial release, and it was then that Evolve was unleashed as a free-to-play experience. It was even given a new moniker: Evolve Stage 2, and now it’s one of the best free games we’ve ever played.
Despite going free-to-play, the game’s core structure remains intact. It’s a game of humans vs. zombies… err, monsters, a new twist on a beloved pastime. A team of four players, called hunters, is pitted up against a single monster, with each hunter assigned their own class. Of course, with four players taking on one, there is a unique catch — hence the game’s title. Monsters start out at a basic level then evolve over time by killing and consuming wildlife in nearby areas.
Evolve cost $40 before, so rest assured you’ll get access to a game that looks triple-A, even if much of the content is locked behind a paywall. Nevertheless, you can give it a shot for yourself for the nominal cost of $0 on Steam.
- Play Evolve Stage 2 for free
24. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
While we sit, anxiously awaiting whatever The Elder Scrolls VI ends up being, you should take the time to give the classic The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall a try. This 1990s RPG is a precursor to those incredibly popular RPGs, and is a bit of a classic in its own right.
Its game world is many times the size of any of its sequels – indeed it’s the size of a continent, and absolutely packed with atmosphere. It might look a little rough around the edges by today’s standards, but it’s worth exploring if you’re an Elder Scrolls fan.
- Elder Scrolls 6 release date, news and rumors
It’s available direct from Bethesda. The publisher started offering it for free to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the game. As if we didn’t feel old enough already.
- Play The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall for free
25. Starcraft II
One of the biggest games to ever hit the PC/Mac landscape is Starcraft II, a competitive real-time strategy game whose Wings of Liberty installment is just one of three parts of the campaign. At one time, it was massive in South Korea, but the scene fizzled out a bit when MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2 took over the scene. Maybe that’s why Blizzard decided to convert Starcraft II to the free-to-play business model.
As a result of its compelling strategy game mechanics, combined with creatively designed environments and a fascinating narrative that can only be expressed in a video game, Starcraft II is one of the most widely enjoyed eSports in the entire world, not to mention one of the best free games.
Of course, being a Blizzard game, you’ll need a Battle.net account to enjoy it. Other than that, both the campaign and the multiplayer are free to enjoy. Only certain characters require your prized coin.
- Play Starcraft II for free
26. Wolfenstein 3D
Interested in knowing what Wolfenstein was before The New Order? Wolfenstein 3D is now free, and will take you back to the year 1992 when celebrity game developers John Carmack and John Romero teamed up to make a shareware game like nothing before it.
Wolfenstein 3D took concepts from Muse Software’s Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein to shape a three-dimensional first-person shooter that would later inspire the development of Doom.
Keep in mind while playing that while Wolfenstein 3D was impressive for its time, it’s probably not what you would expect from a first-person shooter of today’s standards. Nonetheless, it’s an easy and free way to experience game history in an old-school World War II game rich with narrative about, well, shooting Nazis in the face. Don’t expect to be blown away by the story in the same way as the Wolfenstein franchise’s more recent entries, however.
- Play Wolfenstein 3D for free
27. Team Fortress 2
It may be an old vet in gaming terms, but nothing offers such crazy fun as Team Fortress 2. Unlike most shooters of its age, players in this game are still there to have a good time rather than hurl abuse at newcomers, and there’s no shortage of cool toys to have fun with. Endlessly silly and incredibly fresh, it’s still one of the shooter genre’s kings, free-to-play or not. Of course, it only makes sense for it to secure a place in our best free games list.
As you might guess, there are some micro-transactions involved. You can buy additional items, often used to customize your character. You can even create your own. It’s fun, and gets you even more involved in TF2. Those cheeky devils at Valve obviously know what they’re doing.
- Play Team Fortress 2 for free
28. Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links
If you grew up in the ‘90s like we did, you have plenty of memories of playing Yu-Gi-Oh, maybe even watching the anime. Well, what if we told you that an injection of nostalgia is waiting in Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, and it’s free to boot?
In Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, you won’t just be able to play the titular card game competitively online. You’ll also get to play against AI opponents voiced by actors from the anime. There are plenty of microtransactions here – you can buy new cards – but it’s a CCG in 2019, so there’s no real way around that. Be prepared to spend some cash.
- Play Gigantic for free
29. Magic Duels
Magic: The Gathering is fun, but what if you could play it from the comfort of your PC? It’s definitely possible, thanks to Magic Duels. Whether you’re a first time player or a 20-year vet, Duels will let you do everything the card game does and more. While over 300 new cards are advertised as being accessible throughout the game, there’s also a unique story mode where you can experience Magic like never before.
If narrative in your card games isn’t your cup of tea, there’s also a Battle Mode in which you can challenge your friends, a four-player Two-Headed Giant battle and even an offline solo mode you can use for practice against AI.
- Play Magic Duels for free
30. DC Universe Online
Though it’s yet another free-to-play MMO on this list, DC Universe Online takes characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and more into a massive (and shared) public world.
Choose whether you want to be a member of the Hero or Villain faction, then personalize your character. Soon, you’ll be sent out into the world of DC Universe Online at the hands of Daybreak Game Company.
After some training, the game assigns you a position as either a member of the Justice League or The Society, depending on your choice of hero or villain. Unlike other MMOs on this list and outside it, DC Universe Online is designed to be much more interactive while also retaining traditional MMORPG elements such as leveling, raiding, inventories and post-game progression. It’s also not difficult to play without using real-world currency too, which is why it has our best free games vote.
- Play DC Universe Online for free
It’s not hard to see why Paladins catches a lot of flack for its similarities to Overwatch. At the same time, the team-based shooter also bears many distinctions from that of Blizzard’s. Abilities are upgraded based on a collectible card system, and can completely change the way each character plays.
What’s more, unlike Overwatch, Paladins is completely free-to-play. While cosmetic items are available to buy using real-world currency, everything else can be unlocked simply by playing the game. For instance, you’ll start Paladins with a single deck of basic cards, and from there, unlock more dramatically impactful decks.
Regardless of how you choose to play Paladins, you’ll get XP as you play. As long as you’re completing the daily quests and achievements featured in the game, you’ll be compensated with Radiant Chests and Gold. These can be used to purchase more cards, costumes and weapon skins to make your characters more unique and skillful on the battlefield.
- Play Paladins for free
32. Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 Lite
You might be familiar with Fifa already, but Pro Evolution Soccer – or PES – is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all-time, not to mention one of the best free games. It doesn’t have all the flair (or licensing) of its EA Sports rival, but some would argue that it’s the better soccer game series, not to mention one of the better sports series overall.
PES 2018, in particular, isn’t too much of an improvement over its predecessor, but it does introduce better dribbling and makes an effort to perfect the fan-favorite Master League mode. The ‘Lite’ version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 gives you access to the Online myClub and PES League Mode in addition to the Offline Exhibition Match and Training Mode, entirely for free.
There are in-app purchases along the way, and you can always upgrade to the full version later should this one not satisfy.
- Play Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 Lite for free
You can now get Spelunky on all sorts of platforms – it’s pretty high-profile for an indie title. However, it started its life PC-exclusive, and its original ‘non HD’ Classic version is still available for free today.
The catch is that every time you play, the entire game is randomized to keep things exciting. In one game, you’ll stumble through screen after screen of spiked horrors and swarming monsters; in the next, the software will bend over backwards to give you gold and help you on your way.
You learn how each randomized world ticks and which equipment will give you a fighting chance. And then you’ll die some more. And scream. And restart. Again. Is this one of the best free games that has graced our screens, or what?
- Play Spelunky for free
As a free MMO, Neverwinter sets a lofty standard for itself as it’s based on perhaps the most iconic role-playing game of all-time, Dungeons & Dragons. Like everything else in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, the game takes place in the Forgotten Realms, specifically, as the name suggests, in Neverwinter.
Featuring eight character classes with groups of up to five players supported, Neverwinter is based on the fourth-edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons. However, the rules are slightly different, letting players heal their allies in addition to allowing for the use of special abilities in combat after racking up enough action points.
- Play Neverwinter for free
35. Doki Doki Literature Club
An ostensibly charming visual novel on the surface, Doki Doki Literature Club is a game that’s best experienced blindly. It comes from Dan Salvato, a game developer known best for his work in the Super Smash Bros. Melee modding community, who says he developed Doki Doki Literature Club because of his indifference towards anime.
That’s ironic considering the main character in Doki Doki Literature Club is obsessed with anime and manga, and has minimal experience with the writings of more prestigious authors. As engrossing as the trio of female supporting characters appear to be in Doki Doki Literature Club, we would advise against getting too attached to them.
Without spoiling the story, the first thing you see when you boot up Doki Doki Literature Club is a content warning, suggesting that those with severe anxiety refrain from playing altogether. It’s not entirely unwarranted, as you’re bound to learn the hard way that Doki Doki Literature Club is more horror than generic fan service.
- Play Doki Doki Literature Club for free
36. Puzzle Pirates: Dark Seas
For nearly 15 years now, Puzzle Pirates has been a household name for kids with unrestricted access to the computer labs at school. It’s a massive, totally free-to-play multiplayer online role-playing game — among the best free games, in fact – originally created by the Sega-owned Three Rings Design. The goal is to join a crew and ideally become a captain, by completing puzzles alongside other players.
Puzzle Pirates: Dark Seas, on the other hand, is the Steam-exclusive version of Puzzle Pirates that brings in an entirely new ocean known as Obsidian. Dark Seas introduces factions and player-versus-player (PvP) combat in a way that didn’t exist prior to the Steam release of Puzzle Pirates. It also comes from a different developer, a nonprofit called Grey Havens, which was founded by several former members of Three Rings Design.
Before the advent of Dark Seas, you could only get the multiplayer portion of Puzzle Pirates on Steam. Now, the single-player mode can be downloaded and installed from Valve’s client as well.
- Play Puzzle Pirates for free
37. Phantom Dust
Its development cycle was a disaster, but in the end, the Phantom Dust remaster prevailed. A new IP in the form of a Japanese budget card game for the original Xbox, it seemed to good to be true when Microsoft revealed back at E3 2014 that a complete remake was in the works… and, as it turns out, it was.
The remake was canned in 2016, but Microsoft still wanted to revive the cult classic one-off. As it turns out, the company did so with a remaster, not a remake. Luckily, the new version of Phantom Dust for Windows 10 (and Xbox One, for console-goers) is free to play unless you opt to purchase some of the in-game “multiplayer cards”.
- Play Phantom Dust for free
38. Dwarf Fortress
Inspiring the creation of Minecraft was no small feat for 2D sandbox game Dwarf Fortress. Dubbed a construction and management simulator, Dwarf Fortress takes simple text-based graphics into a more modern, 2006 piece of software. The game is often classified as a cult classic because of its open-ended nature, and serves as one of the most iconic examples of a procedurally generated roguelike.
This means Dwarf Fortress both randomizes its environments and makes the game’s permadeath system a much more difficult problem to avoid. This led to the unofficial slogan for the game “Losing is fun,” which was either ironic or an accurate description of what happens in the game. Tough to say either way.
One thing’s for sure. If you want to experience an important part of games history, Dwarf Fortress is a solid start. It was even exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City back in 2013. Can’t say that for a lot of free-to-play games, making this one of the best free games on offer in 2019.
- Play Dwarf Fortress for free
39. Fable Fortune
After a troubled development cycle, Fable Fortune is the collectible card game that you probably thought would never get released. Either that, or you’ve never even heard of it. We can’t blame you. The team behind the Fable franchise – the illustrious group of individuals at Lionhead Studios – has since closed its doors two years ago.
In the time following Lionhead’s closure, its parent company, Microsoft, licensed off Fable Fortune to a group of former Lionhead developers at a new company called Flaming Fowl Studios. It was there that Fable Fortune found private funding despite a failed Kickstarter campaign. The end result is a fairly competitive card game that’s completely free to play.
Skeptics will be quick to compare Fable Fortune to Hearthstone. But other than the fact that they both make our best free games list, the two games differ drastically due to Fable Fortune’s more complex set of hero powers, less randomness and a morality system that rewards an understanding of its ‘good’ and ‘evil’ points.
- Play Fable Fortune for free
40. Fallout Shelter
If you’re more interested in the property management systems of Fallout 4 rather than the overwhelming majority of the role-playing game’s content, Fallout Shelter is a great place to start. Up until recently, the simulation game was limited to mobile platforms Android and iOS. However, with the introduction of Quests in version 1.6 of Fallout Shelter, Bethesda Softworks also felt the need to port the game to PC by way of the Bethesda.net client.
- Fallout Shelter tips and tricks
All in all, Fallout Shelter doesn’t feel much different on PC, and that’s undoubtedly a good thing. Mouse controls work well in lieu of a touchscreen, graphics are optimized even for low-end hardware and with windowed mode enabled by default, it’s easy to find yourself caring after your vault residents during your downtime at work. With an indisputably manageable price point (free), albeit with micro-purchases on hand, Fallout Shelter could very well become the next Solitaire in your office or at school.
- Play Fallout Shelter for free
Have you been missing out on the action and just watching all your friends play Super Smash Bros Ultimate because you don’t have a Nintendo Switch? Well, with this game, you’re in luck. Brawlhalla is a 2-8 player 2D brawler that draws very heavy inspiration from Nintendo’s classic franchise.
And, it pulls it off. It’s an extraordinarily fun way to pass a few hours. With an esports league, you can rest assured you’ll always have people to test your skills against. It’s not quite the same as playing some Smash on a friend’s couch, but it’s close enough to be worth your time. And that’s why Brawlhalla makes it to our list of best free games.
CEO and president of Gearbox Software Randy Pitchford will tell you differently, but Battleborn is free-to-play. Officially classified as a “free trial” on Steam, there isn’t much to differentiate this hero shooter from other free-to-play games on the market. You can play for as long as you want using six of the game’s 30 characters, rotated weekly to shake things up.
Battleborn originally rolled out in May 2016, the same month as Overwatch. The main difference is that Battleborn draws influence from MOBA games. Overwatch, on the other hand, is a more traditional PvP shooter with an eccentric cast of characters. Battleborn also has a single-player campaign, which can be unlocked using real-world currency.
- Play Battleborn for free
43. The Elder Scrolls: Legends
There’s an ostensibly neverending arms race developers are in right now to put out the next Hearthstone. That is, a wildly popular collectible card game (CCG) that’s “easy to learn but challenging to master.” Those are the words, verbatim, publisher Bethesda Softworks is using to describe The Elder Scrolls: Legends.
A CCG that draws inspiration from the lore of the company’s beloved RPG franchise, The Elder Scrolls: Legends separates itself from the likes of competing virtual card games such as Hearthstone and The Witcher 3’s Gwent by enacting a two-lane system that keeps players on their toes when it comes to devising strategies.
And, if you’re simply craving more Skyrim, you’ll be happy to know that the Heroes of Skyrim expansion for The Elder Scrolls: Legends packs in 150 additional cards, some of which are familiar faces like Aela the Huntress, J’Zargo and Delphine. It’s no doubt this one’s earned its spot on our best free games list.
- Play The Elder Scrolls: Legends for free
Whether you loved or hated World of Tanks, you’ll be pleased to know that Robocraft, a worthy addition to our list of best free games, is what you get when you take conventional vehicle combat and completely turn it on its head. From independent developer and publisher Freejam, Robocraft lets you commandeer jet cars (not jets and cars, but jet cars), tanks, flying warships, helicopters and drones.
In doing so, you’ll spend most of your time engaging in combat with other players online. Like a vehicle-based Fortnite, you’ll also experiment with different combinations of 250 preset blocks using a simple crafting interface, allowing you to equip the vehicle of your choosing with the weapons of your choosing as well.
Likewise, Robocraft lets you create or join clans with up to 50 members. Within those clans, you can invite friends to ‘parties’ and play cooperatively in an effort to take down other teams. Once everything is said and done, and you’re satisfied with your creations, you can showcase them at the virtualized Community Robot Factory in exchange for likes and shares.
- Play Robocraft for free
45. Total War Battles: Kingdom
Real-time Strategy (RTS) games don’t come much grander than those in the Total War series, and the latest entrant, Battles KINGDOM, is free-to-play. Available to play on iOS and Android, as well as PC, you can pick up where you left off when you’re away from your main battlestation. Total War Battles: Kingdom is set at the turn of the 10th Century and integrates army management with kingdom building to deliver a bite-sized RTS game you can pick up and play anywhere, anytime.
- Play Total War Battles: Kingdom for free