13 Best Steam Deck Games to Play on the Go

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Best Steam Deck Games

Steam Deck is a modern and unique take on hand-held consoles by Valve. And, if you’re a Steam Deck owner, you have come to the right place, as we will list the best Steam Deck games to play on the go.

Hand-held gaming had its glory days in the past. After all, who can forget the days of the Nintendo DS, Game Boy, Sega Nomad, Atari Lynx, and PlayStation Vita? These consoles gave us countless hours of portable gaming fun!

However, with the recent surge of portable gaming consoles, you’ll find plenty of options. And Steam Deck is undoubtedly one of the top 3 hand-held consoles in the market. It gives its users the ability to enjoy games on the move, along with PC-level quality in terms of graphics and gameplay.

And that’s why we’ll list the best Steam Deck games to play while traveling. Before we get started with the list, however, let’s know more about the Steam Deck.

What is the Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck is Valve’s take on hand-held gaming. Technically, it is a portable gaming personal computer (PC) that you can use to play games on the move. It comes in three variants, including 64 GB eMMC, 256 GB NVMe SSD, and a 512 GB NVMe SSD variant with premium anti-glared etched glass.

The Steam Deck is powered by the custom APU using Zen 2 + RDNA 2, which is more than enough to play most AAA games. It has different Watt settings (4W -15W), which you can flick to power your games. So, if you’re playing an indie game, running it at a lower power option is best. And, when it comes to AAA games, set it to more power to enjoy seamless 30FPS gameplay on its 7-inch, 16:10 aspect ratio, 1280 x 800p screen — while on the move.

Steam Deck
Source: Steam

The Steam Deck’s most unique selling point is the Steam library access through its custom Steam OS, based on Arch-Linux and KDE Plasma. And Steeam takes the compatibility rating for each game (Steam Deck Verified) seriously, providing information to the player on how “well” the game runs on it.

The full-size control sticks are also created with care and work with different hand sizes. You also get access D-pad, L & R analog triggers and bumpers, 4 x assignable grip buttons, and HD haptics. The nifty trackpads on both sides offer better latency in a few situations.

What are Steam Deck’s Features?

The key Steam Deck features include the following:

  • A 1280 x 800p 7-inch IPS screen offers a bright screen of 400 nits to enjoy your games.
  • Ability to change APU power from 4W to 15W, allowing you to adjust power based on the game’s demands.
  • Ample 16GB on-board LPDDR5 RAM, capable of offering fast loading speeds.
  • It has many excellent control inputs, including ABXY buttons, a D-pad, analog triggers, thumbsticks, etc.
  • Easily access all your Steam games in a single place.
  • You also get the ability to enjoy Steam games on the big screen through a dock that easily connects to external displays and offers USB peripherals connectivity.

Tips to Optimize Steam Deck Performance

Technically, Steam Deck is a portable PC. This means you can optimize it for performance like your gaming computer. The optimization enables you to run demanding games at better frame rates.

Before optimizing your Steam Deck, you must see how the games perform. Steam offers a performance overlay that you can use to learn about various game details, including frames per second (FPS), GPU/CPU Usage, Battery, and Temperature

To enable it, 

  1. Press the Quick Access Menu (QAM) button, present on the bottom right-hand side of the console.
  2. Now, scroll down and look for the battery icon. Press A to open it. 
  3. The Performance Menu will open, where you’ll need to toggle the Performance Overlay Level by pressing A again. 
  4. You can also toggle the different options to limit or show more information on the screen.

Now, the tips to optimize the Steam Deck performance include:

➡️ You can use the per-game profile to customize games’ performance. Go to the QAM button to access it and show the Performance settings under the battery icon. Now, toggle the Use per-game profile option. Doing so will save all your customized settings for that particular game.

➡️ With the per-game profile option enabled, return to the Performance Settings Menu available from the QAM button. Here, you’ll find a plethora of options to customize the game’s performance, including Framerate Limit, Refresh Rate, Thermal Power Limit (TDP), Half Rate Shading, Manual GPU Clock Control, Half Rate Shading, Scaling Filter, and Allow Tearing. These options are tweakable, and the UI does offer some explanation of what each one does. Try to experiment with these to see if the performance increases, or search online for proper descriptions (detailed explanations are beyond the scope of our article).

➡️ With Steam’s game performance customized, it’s time to look into the in-game settings to find performance. Most games have good graphics and video settings that let you change resolution and other graphical options such as texture, shadow, and reflection. All you need to do is fiddle with these settings to see if they perform with the least compromise on visual quality.

➡️ Lastly, you can use third-party performance tools such as CrypoUtilities to experiment further to gain the last ounce of performance.

With these tips, you should be able to improve your Steam Deck’s gaming performance. Now, let’s jump right into the best Steam Deck games!

Cuphead

Cuphead is a thrilling and nostalgic game that challenges you to use your superpowers to beat creative, challenging, yet doable boss bottles. Its run-and-gun action sequences are inspired and rendered like 1930s cartoons to keep the feeling of classic games. Apart from the graphics, the audio is also heavily inspired by the animation of the 1930s.

YouTube video

In terms of gameplay, you play the game as Cuphead or Mugman, which you can play solo or team up with your buddy in a local co-op. During your journey, you’ll find hidden secrets and use new weapons and super moves to defeat the colorful bosses.

You can buy the vanilla Cuphead version or get it with the DLC, “The Delicious Last Course.”

  • Developer: Studio MDHR
  • Estimated time to complete: September 29, 2017
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Play at smooth 60 frames per second.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Diablo IV

If you love RPGs, there’s no reason for you to not play Diablo IV. Blizzard Entertainment’s iconic series has influenced plenty of similar games. There are good reasons for this as well, since the Diablo series pretty much hits it out of the park when it comes to both gameplay and story.

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With the release of Diablo IV, Blizzard improved upon an already successful formula. The level of detail, the world-building, the graphics, the overall combat system — there’s nothing much that stands out as a negative in any of these aspects.

Coming to the experience on Steam Deck, there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy Diablo IV on Steam Deck than you would on your PC or any other major console. So, make sure to give this action RPG a try. Believe us – you won’t regret it!

  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Estimated time to complete: 26 to 163 hours
  • Release Date: October 18, 2023
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! It works at a constant 30fps with decent visual fidelity.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Dead Space

Dead Space is the remake of the classic sci-fi survival horror game Dead Space, initially released in 2008. The new and improved Dead Space lets you re-live the adventure with renewed atmospheric audio and visual fidelity.

Your journey to the horror sequence starts when you, Isaac Clarke, as a service engineer, visit USG Ishimura, a vast mining ship. Once you reach it, you’ll find something horrific has occurred with the ship’s crew and his beloved partner, Nicole. You need to uncover the mysteries through your engineering and survival skills.

Dead Space Remake 2023
Source: Dead Space

You can play Dead Space in all its glory on Steam Deck. The game is Steam Deck verified but needs help balancing visual fidelity and performance. This makes the game an excellent pick to play on the go — giving you a surreal experience of a well-crafted horror world.

  • Developer: Motive Studio
  • Estimated time to complete: 12 to 30 hours
  • Release Date: January 27, 2023
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! It works at constant 30fps with decent visual fidelity.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Divinity: Original Sin II – Definitive Edition

If you’re an RPG fan, then Divinity: Original Sin II can quench your thirst for a fantastic adventure. It lets you engross in an epic adventure across the world of Rivellon, where you can start by choosing your identity from 6 unique origin characters, and where your choice has consequences.

You play in a team of four members where you can control each one, using their unique abilities in deep turn-based tactical combat, offering access to 200 skills in 12 skill schools. The combat also utilizes the environment. You can also invite your friends as it supports 4 players’ drop-in/drop-out cooperative play.

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The open world is well-crafted, and to take the RPG experience to the next level, the Larian Studios team has ensured that you have complete freedom when exploring. You can go anywhere, talk or interact with everything, and even kill NPCs.

  • Developer: Larian Studios
  • Estimated time to complete: 59 to 152 hours.
  • Release Date: September 14, 2017
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Renders at constant 30 fps.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade

Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake (FF7R) Intergrade completely overhauls the original Final Fantasy VII, released in 1997. The game brings forward the key aspects that made Final Fantasy VII great, offering real-time combat with command-based combat.

FF7R Intergrade is also an upgrade to the FF7R remake released in 2020. The Intergrade edition lets you play as Yuffie Kisargai, where you explore a new episode of INTERmission. The Intergrade version also features better visuals, improved loading speed, and a Photo Mode.

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The original story remains mostly the same, where you play as part of the Avalanche HQ resistance that fights against the Shinra Electric Power Company, which controls Mako Creators. These Mako Creators power the planet. In the main story, you play “Cloud Strife” as he joins Avalanche HQ and proceeds to destroy Mako Reactor 1 in Midgar City.

The FF7R Intergrade is Steam Deck verified, meaning you can play it smoothly out of the box.

  • Developer: Square Enix
  • Estimated time to complete: 33 – 86 hours for the main story and 5-19 hours for DLC.
  • Release Date: April 10, 2020
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Renders at 30 fps.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy lets you explore the open world, RPG-style, in the universe introduced in the Harry Potter books. The game is set in the 1800s, and you play as a student who holds the key to the ancient secrets set in the game. During your journey, you’ll make friends and fight dark wizards.

The world is immersive, where you explore the world full of hidden treasures, magical beasts, and dungeons. The RPG take means you get complete control over your character as you customize how they look, while also crafting potions, upgrading your talents, and mastering spell casting. You also get to explore the world with flying mounts.

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Hogwarts Legacy is Steam Deck verified, meaning the game works flawlessly on Steam Deck.

  • Developer: Avalanche Software
  • Estimated time to complete: 26 hours for the main story and 66 hours for the completionist.
  • Release Date: February 10, 2023
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Recommended to run at 30FPS for stable performance.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight is a classically styled 2D action-adventure game in the depths of Hallownest. The ruined kingdom is inter-connected as you move across ancient cities, twisting caverns, and deadly waters. You’re free to explore the Metroidvania game as per your liking.

YouTube video

The side-scrolling combat keeps you on your toes as you fight against some of the most challenging enemies, using your refined 2D controls such as slash, dash, and dodge. You also get to evolve your abilities and skills. In addition, you’ll get a chance to equip Charms — ancient relics that offer new power and skills to destroy over 130 enemy types and 30 epic bosses.

You can access free content besides the main story, including Godmaster, Lifeblood, The Grim Troupe, and Hidden Dreams.

  • Developer: Team Cherry
  • Estimated time to complete: 27 hours for the main story and 62 hours for the completionist.
  • Release Date: February 24, 2017
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Runs at an excellent 60FPS.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a solid action hack-and-slash ninja game that offers excellent combat and story. In this epic action adventure, you play as Raiden, a half-cyborg ninja.

YouTube video

The game brings the adventure to PC/Steam Deck and lets players enjoy a nostalgic experience when they played the game on their old yet trusty Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The game has an HD environment and offers access to three DLC missions: Jetstream, Blade Wolf, and VR Missions. Additionally, it also provides customizable body armor.

The updated game also lets you change graphics, including options like resolution and anti-aliasing. You also get to access codecs and cutscenes from the Main Menu.

The game is Steam Deck verified so that you can enjoy it at optimal performance.

  • Developer: Platinum Games
  • Estimated time to complete: 7 to 37 hours for the main story and 2 to 8 hours for the DLCs.
  • Release Date: January 9, 2014
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Runs at an excellent 60FPS.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky takes you on a journey through the galaxy, where you explore unique planets, lifeforms, and factions. Here, you can fly to any world you see and explore without worrying about loading screens. The game uses a procedurally generated universe, meaning you always have something new to explore.

No Man's Sky
Source: Steam

The game comes with all the significant updates, including Foundation, NEXT, Living Ship, and more. These updates add new content, mechanics, and extra elements to the story. You play as an astronaut whose aim is to learn about the pulse at the galaxy’s center. 

At the core of the gameplay, you play as an explorer, trying to survive while exploring the world. You can craft your base, ships, armor, and many more, giving you complete control of your journey.

  • Developer: Hello Games
  • Estimated time to complete: 30 hours for the main story and 139 for the completionist.
  • Release Date: August 9, 2016
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Runs at a constant 40FPS.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 makes its comeback in style, setting new standards as Capcom completely rebuilds the game for new systems using their proprietary RE Engine. You can enjoy the original story in breathtaking, realistic visuals and outstanding audio in the remake. The game also introduces modernized controls and an over-the-should camera.

Resident Evil 2
Source: Steam

The story starts when an outbreak takes place in Racoon City, transforming all its residents into zombies. You take on the zombie and explore the story as Leon Kennedy, a rookie police officer, and Clarie Redfield, a college student, each with separate playable campaigns. 

The game is Steam Deck verified and runs at 60FPS.

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Estimated time to complete: 9 hours for the main story and 35 for the completionist.
  • Release Date: January 25, 2019
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Runs at a constant 60FPS.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

The Sims 4

If you like creating unique characters, maintaining them, making them laugh, and doing random activities, then you’ll find The Sims 4 to be just down your alley. It is an excellent simulation game that has both casual and enthusiast elements. Here, you can create people (known as Sims) according to your taste.

The Sims 4
Source: Steam

For example, you can dress them or decide how they act in different situations. You also get the tools to create and decorate their homes. The game also enables you to set the decor and furnishings yourself. 

Apart from the creative elements, you can explore neighborhoods and go on adventures with them. It also lets you develop relationships and create stories your way — giving you complete freedom to do whatever you want.

And you can enjoy playing Sims 4 on the go, as the game is Steam Deck verified, giving you a great handheld gaming experience. As far as PC simulation games go, there are very few better than The Sims 4!

  • Developer: Maxis
  • Estimated time to complete: 20 to 296 hours.
  • Release Date: September 2, 2014
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Runs at a constant 60FPS.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of the most popular RPG games of all time. You set sail into the world of monsters and play as Geralt of Rivia, trying to track down the Child of Prophecy – Ciri.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Source: Steam

From the onset, you explore the world with your horse, Roach. You can check out the different landscapes that span from corrupt Novigrad lands to cold Skellige islands. You can also explore shipwrecks, caves, and forgotten ruins, among others. Geralt of Rivia is a monster-slayer who excels in sword mastery, stances, potions, and much more. So, you’ll have to be ready for combat at any time!

Surprisingly, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt performs well with Steam Deck, offering a 50-60FPS performance at Low settings. You can also play at a constant 40FPS with decent visual fidelity.

  • Developer: CD Projekt Red
  • Estimated time to complete: 51 to 173 hours.
  • Release Date: May 19, 2015
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Runs well with constant 40FPS and Medium settings.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

God of War

We’re living in a time when Playstation games are constantly released on PC, giving you a chance to play God of War, an epic action single-player adventure game on Steam Deck. The game is Steam Deck verified, meaning excellent performance at decent framerates.

God of War 2018
Source: PlayStation

In God of War, you play as Kratos, who wants to live in peace but finds himself amidst fights, trying to protect his son Atreus while teaching him survival skills.

The linear open-world design allows you to explore Midgard through caves, mountains, and gritty forests. And you can enjoy all these breathtaking visuals, fighting the gods through an over-the-shoulder perspective, making you feel closer to the action.

The PC version has many excellent features, including high-fidelity graphics, control customization, DLSS support, and more. And this means you get the same benefits when you play the game on Steam Deck.

  • Developer: Santa Monica Studio
  • Estimated time to complete: 21 to 51 hours.
  • Release Date: January 14, 2022
  • Steam Deck Verified: Yes! Runs well with constant 40FPS and Medium settings.

➡️ Check it out on Steam.

One Game at a Time: On the Go

Having a Steam Deck is a blessing in disguise. It gives you access to your Steam library without worrying about performance and compatibility issues. You can also enjoy the action-adventure of God of War or the side-scrolling boss fights of Hollow Knight, at any time and any place. And, if you’re like me, you’ll choose amazing RPGs such as The Witcher 3 and Final Fantasy VII for your portable gaming sessions.

In short, you get plenty of choices! So, load the game before you start traveling and immerse yourself in a completely different world.

  • Nitish Singh
    Author
    For the past 20 years, Nitish has been an avid gamer. His primary focus is on PC games, but he also enjoys exploring the worlds of Nintendo, XBOX, and PlayStation. Nitish is always looking for new games to try out and is particularly fascinated… read more
  • Anirban Choudhury
    Editor
    Anirban is an English Literature post-graduate with over 7 years of writing experience, and 2 years of editing chops. As a gaming enthusiast who’s been playing games since he was 5 years old, he’s a strong proponent of video games as a literary… read more