When it comes to the best free Steam games, it’s all about great adventures that fit any budget.
In recent years, a lot of games, from all-star battle royales to EA’s popular life simulator The Sims 4, have gone the free-to-play route, making it hard to find the good stuff.
Don’t worry, because we’ve found some great options that won’t break the bank but will still give you a good time.
Keep in mind that this list is a little different from our list of the best Steam games, but that’s because all of the things on this list are free.
Since good games can be anything from looter-shooters to cute farming sims, who says they have to be expensive?
Here are the best free Steam games that you can play right now.
- 27. The Sims 4
- 26. Warframe
- 25. Doki Doki Literature Club!
- 24. Runescape
- 23. War Thunder
- 22. Conqueror’s Blade
- 21. GWENT: The Witcher Card Game
- 20. Brawlhalla
- 19. Paladins
- 18. Cry of Fear
- 17. Dota Underlords
- 16. Fishing Planet
- 15. A Raven Monologue
- 14. Team Fortress 2
- 13. Off-Peak
- 12. Crusader Kings 2
- 11. Fallout Shelter
- 10. VRChat
- 9. Emily is Away
- 8. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- 7. Deceit
- 6. Destiny 2
- 5. Lost Ark
- 4. Dota 2
- 3. Eve Online
- 2. Final Fantasy XIV
- 1. Apex Legends
27. The Sims 4
As someone who has spent a lot of time playing Sims 3, I can say with confidence that the new version is one of the best free games on Steam.
Like the games that came before it, Sims 4 is a strategy game where you create and control virtual people.
You can be single, start a family, buy a house and a car, go on trips, and live a full life in a virtual world. Just don’t forget about your real one.
If you like the high-tech space opera in Destiny but want something with a bit more action, Warframe is a fast-paced third-person PvE sci-fi shooter.
Here, the focus is on a quick cycle of upgrades that lets you jump into quickfire tasks with your choice of more than 40 character archetypes and enough customization options to make any loadout feel unique.
You can buy things with real money, but half the fun of Warframe comes from the grind.
25. Doki Doki Literature Club!
The less you know about Doki Doki Literature Club before you play it, the better, but let’s just say that its cutesy dating-sim look is just the start and makes it one of the most interesting visual novels in recent years.
And if you’re willing to play it again, it will push the limits even further, making it a game that tries to mess with you as you play.
There is now a paid version, but you can still play the free version.
Both the new RuneScape and its ever-popular Old School version are available on Steam, giving you two ways to play a famous MMO.
Both games have huge worlds to explore, each with its own fully-functioning economy, fighting that is more complicated than it seems, and a wide range of skills to learn, from making weapons to cooking.
Dozens of quests, like gathering ingredients for the local chef or hunting down and killing legendary dragons, will keep you busy for a very long time, as will active groups and regular developer updates.
Paid memberships give you access to more skills, tasks, and map areas, but if you play enough, you can pay your fees with gold from the game.
23. War Thunder
Even though there are a lot of guns on this list, none of them are really about war. War Thunder is the only game in this group.
This cross-platform MMO war game is all about fighting units, from planes and tanks to ships and helicopters.
Players can choose from more than 2,000 vehicles and fight in actual combat situations. War Thunder is one of the best games on Steam for people who want to play the real thing.
22. Conqueror’s Blade
Few other war games are brave enough to try what Conqueror’s Blade does: mix top-down battle planning with third-person fighting.
The developers of the medieval MMO, My.Games, give it regular updates and help, so you won’t get bored.
Each new season brings new units, areas of the map to explore, and time periods to learn about.
With the help of three brand-new Seasonal Units, Season 9 lets you start a revolt to free The Borderlands.
You can spend money on a battle pass or some cosmetic things, but the main part of the game is completely free.
21. GWENT: The Witcher Card Game
Gwent is a card game that was first added to the Witcher 3 game. But it became so famous that CDPR had to make it into a separate game.
GWENT is a fast-paced card game that mixes CCG and TCG card games.
With Witcher characters and their abilities, players can build the strongest decks to beat their opponents and become the real GWENT champion.
There are a few great platform fights for PC, but Brawlhalla fits the bill and doesn’t cost anything.
There are a lot of different fighters, guns, and gadgets, and the game gets seasonal updates and a lot of them.
This keeps it feeling fresh both online and locally. You can buy new characters and cosmetic things with real money, but this is one of the best free Steam games out there.
Imagine if MultiVersus was better and didn’t cost anything.
Even though it looks a lot like Overwatch, Paladins does its own thing with the hero shooter concept.
Using a deck of cards with special passive powers, you can help your team take control points and lead a siege engine to the front door of an enemy fortress.
For more information on how this works, check out our Paladins beginner’s guide. During a match, the Paladins Champions grow up.
At each new level, their skills get better because they draw new buff cards. After that, you can open boxes and get more cards for your decks, and voila, you have a new favorite free Steam game.
18. Cry of Fear
Cry of Fear was first made as a total conversion mod for the original Half-Life. In 2013, it came out as a separate game.
It uses some old technology, but Valve’s GoldSRC engine lets it shine, making it a wonderfully paced and deeply unsettling horror shooter.
It’s one of the best free Steam games, not just because it’s free, but also because the atmosphere is so tight that you’ll forget you didn’t pay for it.
17. Dota Underlords
After Drodo’s Dota 2 mods, Dota Underlords, and Valve’s mobile and PC games, the first official auto-chess game had a lot to live up to.
It’s a bit easier to use than the custom game it was based on, and people who have played the extremely hard MOBA before will feel right at home.
The Dota Underlords things system is one of the most important ways in which this free Steam game is different from Riot’s Teamfight Tactics, which is one of its main competitors.
In the first, second, third, tenth, and every fifth round after that, you can choose from three creep things.
Valve has also added the strong presence of the Underlords to each player’s team. Depending on the skills you choose for your Underlord each game, the Underlord adds significant buffs and damage to your lineup.
16. Fishing Planet
After you’ve played all of the above Steam games, you need a relaxing time, which Fishing Planet can give you.
This free-to-play game is a fishing model that puts you in the shoes of a regular person.
There are more than 170 different kinds of fish in the game, and their behavior changes based on the weather, time of day, season, and other things.
The game is also very pretty, and you can choose from more than 25 waters. So, if all you want is peace and quiet, check out Fishing Planet.
15. A Raven Monologue
The silent graphic novel A Raven Monologue is about a Raven with a top hat who doesn’t know how to croak.
It’s the kind of game you’ll want to play all at once because the characters are so well-drawn and the scene is so charming and colorful.
It’s well worth your time.
Also, you can get this one on both PC and Mac computers, making it a good choice for anyone who uses either.
14. Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 is a very popular game made by Valve that is always getting better. It has a lot of uses.
It is also very polished and always has a lot of players, even though it came out in 2007. The game is updated often to add more hats, modes, and maps.
But even though the game has changed a lot in the nine years since it first came out, it is still easy to learn, especially if you have friends to play with.
The package feels like it’s getting bigger and bigger, and there are a lot of different kinds of games, from the classic take point Red vs. Blu games to the co-op Mann vs.
Machine games, where players work together to stop waves of killer robots.
Off-Peak lets you kill time if you’re stuck at a train stop without a ticket that will let you leave. You can explore its strange world and talk to its larger-than-life residents.
There are a few loose ends to tie up in the story, but if you can find them among all the strange things that happen, you’re better at this sort of thing than I am.
If it’s your thing, though, you can also buy a spinoff called The Norwood Suite.
12. Crusader Kings 2
Even though the third game in the medieval series is the new king on the block, Crusader Kings 2 is still a strong contender because it has so much DLC.
The base game, which puts you in charge of your own part of Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, is completely free to play and gives you hundreds of hours of map-based negotiations and war.
If you don’t want to pay $4.99 a month for the subscription service that lets you play the 13 post-launch updates, it’s also one of the best free PC games.
11. Fallout Shelter
While The Sims is about handling a single person, Fallout Shelter puts you in charge of an entire bunker.
In this base-building game, players take charge of a Vault-Tec Vault that is the most advanced one ever made.
Now it’s their job to build, run, and make sure the people who live there are happy.
In this detailed game, you can keep an eye on these dwellers and make sure they’re just what you need.
Even though it’s not as popular as it once was, VRChat still has a large community and is a great example of how people connect online.
It’s more like a big virtual chatroom than a game, and it’s full of player-made avatars from almost every pop culture you can think of.
They all mix together in a way that’s both chaotic and interesting. Even though it’s called a VR game, you don’t have to have the best VR gear to play. You can also play it on your computer.
9. Emily is Away
Emily is Away is a touching story about love, friendship, and betrayal that takes place in an instant message service from the past.
The main character, Emily, is the one you’ll talk to and connect with the most.
The choices you make will change the story you and Emily share from high school to college.
Emily is Away Too, which came out in 2017, and Emily is Away 3 are both offered for a small price.
8. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
You probably knew this was where we’d start. CS: GO, a team-based FPS that has been a favorite among gamers for almost a decade, is still one of the best free games on Steam.
Global Offensive is the most recent CS game, and Counter-Strike 2 will be out soon.
There are many different ways to play the game, such as Casual, Deathmatch, Competitive, Arms Race, and many more.
So, CS: GO is one of the best free games on Steam to get if you want to play with a group of people.
Deceit is another game where you play as a team, but the idea is turned on its head. You can play as a survivor or an infected soul in this online first-person shooter.
And even though this might sound like “Among Us,” trust me, it gets a lot darker.
As the innocent, you can either work together to find things to help you escape or do it by yourself.
As a sick person, it’s your job to drink blood, stop people from trying to help, and then kill everyone.
Which side you end up on depends only on chance.
6. Destiny 2
Destiny 2 is one of the best free games on Steam, and not just because it has great images. It is also one of the best free games because it has a deep story.
Even though the game is MMO, you can still play it by yourself and enjoy the story mode.
You are a Guardian, and your job is to protect the last city of people from the bad guys. Destiny 2 gives players three different classes, thousands of guns, and a lot of gear to choose from.
So make up your own mix and start this space-age journey.
5. Lost Ark
After its first release in South Korea in 2019, Amazon Games and Smilegate brought the free-to-play MMORPG Lost Ark to the rest of the world in 2022.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of players have moved to the land of Arkesia, making Lost Ark one of the best massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).
And it’s easy to see why, since Lost Ark is one of the best-looking fantasy MMOs out there. It also has a lot of bosses, raids, and quests. In fact, you can read in our Lost Ark review just how much we love it.
With 20 Lost Ark classes to choose from, including MMO staples like Bard, Paladin, and Sorceress and unique choices like Gunslinger and Wardancer, there are many ways to make Arkesia your own.
Smilegate is also pretty good at listening to what the community wants. As a result, there are more gender choices for classes, regular content updates, and lots of free Twitch Drops and Prime Gaming goodies to keep you coming back.
4. Dota 2
Valve’s MOBA game is still one of the best in the genre, and it was made by the people who helped start the trend in the first place.
With hundreds of heroes to master, each with their own unique skills, Dota 2 can be overwhelming, especially for people who are new to the genre.
However, if you stick with it, you’ll find one of the deepest and most expansive PC games, as well as one of the most high-stakes esports scenes, all for free.
3. Eve Online
EVE Online, one of the best massively multiplayer online games of our time, is now free to play. This means that anyone with a PC can start their own journey into space to find out more about it.
Who will you be?
That’s the only question.
In EVE, you don’t have to be a ranger or a fighter and save the world like you do in class-based fantasy RPGs. It’s about becoming a part of a huge world that the players run.
So, do you want to be a seller and help people get things they need?
Or, will you work your way up through the ranks of a crooked company and use sabotage to hurt your enemies?
In this amazing, unbeatable MMO, these are just two of the tens of thousands of tracks you can take.
2. Final Fantasy XIV
You can play Final Fantasy XIV for free, that’s right. The most current version of this famous Square series as an MMO has won over a lot of fans.
It could be a good place to start if you’ve never played a Final Fantasy game before.
Set in the huge world of Hydaelyn, this MMO game is fun to play even when you’re busy running jobs for villagers, going fishing, hunting, or doing any of a number of other things to pass the time.
Of course, the game still has a big and interesting story at its core. You can easily spend 120 hours on the Realm Reborn storyline that came with the base game.
On top of that, Square keeps adding new story expansions, so you can now play through Heavensward, Stormblood, Shadowbringers, and Endwalker, some of which are even longer than the base story.
Even though you can only get to level 60 without paying, that’s a lot of stuff, so you should definitely give it a try.
1. Apex Legends
There are a lot of free-to-play battle royale games out there—several of them can be found on Steam—but Apex Legends might be the best of them all.
The game takes place in the fast-paced world of the Titanfall series.
Movement and gunplay are as smooth and fun as you’d expect, but the Legends are what make this game stand out.
No matter how you like to play, there’s something here for you, from speed demon adrenaline junkies to anti-gravity Scottish scientists. The world changes all the time to keep things interesting.