Ever since Valve announced support for Steam on Linux back in 2012, the gaming library on Linux has been growing by leaps and bounds. This has led to a library of almost 2000 titles, and growing. While this is still a meagre amount compared to the library available on Windows, Steam, combined with other stores such as Good Old Games (GOG) and Humblr Bundle ensure that gaming on Linux is no longer an afterthought.
So, we are listing down our picks for the best new Linux games you should be playing. All the titles mentioned below have been released on Linux in 2016, and unless noted otherwise, are native ports, i.e., they do not need a compatibility layer such as WINE or DOSBox to run. While most games are officially supported only on Ubuntu, there are methods (not included in this article) to make them run on other distros, so Mint, Fedora, Arch Linux, and of course, SteamOS are supported.
Disclaimer: All the prices mentioned in this article are accurate at the time of writing. Prices may change due to ongoing sales and deals.
Marooners is a mix of fun multiplayer party games that you can play with your friends. You can choose to play a local multiplayer game, or online – any combination of 2-6 players is supported.
Pick a character, and you will be dropped into a random minigame with your friends, or random strangers on the internet, depending on your choice. You will be randomly switching back and forth within multiple minigames, which adds to the already high fun factor. The games themselves are easy to pick up and play due to the simple control scheme of just the directional buttons for movement and one action button, so do not worry if you or your friends are not hardcore gamers.
Availability: Steam ($11.99)
2. Super Time Force Ultra
Super Time Force Ultra is an action-packed platformer filled with robots, dinosaurs, bullets, explosions and time travel. This spiritual successor to the classic Contra games is fun, fast-paced, and offers a selection of 16 different characters that includes men, women, a skateboard-riding dinosaur, a machine-gun toting dolphin and an anthropomorphic turd (yeah, really).
The pixel-graphics adorned platformer introduces a unique mechanic to the classic genre: time travel. The game lets you rewind time, and hop into action with your past selves. One of the unique interactions that result is that if your first character dies, you can go back in time with the second one to kill off the enemy before it hits your first character, thus saving yourself from death! Do give this one a try if you want a fresh take on the classic platformer games of yore.
3. Mother Russia Bleeds
Mother Russia Bleeds is an ultra-violent beat ’em up game set in an alternate reality of USSR. It mixes the gameplay of classic beat ’em ups such as Streets of Rage and Final Fight with the grotesque pixel graphic violence of Hotline Miami. You can battle alongside your friends, as the game supports up to four players in local co-op.
The game centers around a group of imprisoned, drug-addicted street fighters that must fight their way out of an oppressive criminal authority. To keep yourself alive, you are continuously in search of the “Nekro” drug that you extract from fallen enemies. The fights are some of the most brutal we have seen in any video game, and include snapping necks, smashing heads with baseball bats, blowing people up with hand grenades, and crushing skulls with your bare hands. As you can probably tell from this description, this game is not for the faint of heart.
Explosions, mayhem and destruction. This is what RIVE is about. There is a story line to the game, but it can be ignored. The basic premise of this fast-paced twin-stick shooter is to shoot your enemies till they either die, explode, or die in an explosion. No BS. The game is single-player only and has full controller support.
The game feels like a modern, more colorful version of Metal Slug, except you control a robot instead of humans. There are strategy elements other than mindlessly shooting all your enemies – you can “hack” and gain control of enemy robots, who will then proceed to mindlessly shoot your enemies with you. Even though the playthrough is rather short (4-6 hours for most people), the game does have decent replay value due to just how challenging and diverse the levels are. Highly recommended for fans of classic shoot ’em ups.
Availability: Steam ($14.99)
5. A Boy and His Blob
A Boy and His Blob is a PC port of the original Wii version, which is in turn a re-imagining of the NES classic of the same name. The Blob, seeing his homeworld Blobolonia threatened by an evil emperor, comes to earth in search of help. The game features cutesy hand-drawn graphics that will charm kids and adults alike.
The gameplay involves traversing through woods, swamps, caves, and citadels while dodging enemies, and moving through the levels by transforming the Blob into a canon, trampoline, mecha suit and 12 other useful items, depending on the hurdles placed by the game. The gameplay is simple enough for adults and kids, but some of the puzzles might prove to be tricky for the kids.
Continuing the theme of cutesy puzzle adventures, Pan-Pan is a delightful little game with simplistic, yet beautiful graphics. Despite the cartoonish appearance of the game, the puzzles themselves are often difficult, require good observation and a willingness to experiment with the terrain.
The game is controlled almost entirely using the mouse and like most puzzle games, does not require quick reflexes or making on-the-spot decisions. As immersive and interesting the gameplay is, do note that the game itself is rather short, clocking in at about 2 hours for a playthrough and does not have a lot of replay value. Think of it as a fun way to spend an evening instead of watching a movie and do not expect long winded sessions over several days.
Hue is a vibrant puzzle-adventure game. The innovative platformer offers a unique gameplay mechanic – you have the power to change the color of the background. Every time you change to a color, all of the objects of that color disappear and you can move yourself and other objects through them.
All the puzzles in the game are based on color-switching. Dodging obstacles, avoiding deadly traps, pulling levers and walking through walls are all based on switching to the appropriate color at the correct time. The puzzles range from simple to moderately challenging. The game does throw curveballs here and there, but they never cross into the realm of frustrating the player. All in all, a fun-filled and colorful experience.
Availability: Steam ($14.99)
Role-Playing / Simulation
8. Stardew Valley
If you were around during the SNES era, you might be thinking to yourself, “Wow, this game looks like a successor to Harvest Moon!” and you would be correct. Stardew Valley is a farming simulator, the spiritual successor to the classic Harvest Moon franchise that the fans always wanted, but never received.
You inherit your grandfather’s overgrown farm in Stardew Valley, and must live off the land to make it a thriving home using hand-me-down tools. You get to expand your farmhouse, raise animals, catch fish, mine, craft machines, and much more. In addition to that, you also get to socialise with the villagers, earn money, and woo a partner to get married. It is like real life, except a lot more fun and interesting. Also unlike real life, you can restart from a save point if you say or do something stupid.
If you get bored by the more pacific aspects of the game, there also exists a dungeon, where you get to slay monsters, collect loot, and uncover mysteries. If all this sounds interesting to you, or if you just want to relive the nostalgia of the classic farming sims, do give Stardew Valley a try.
9. Darkest Dungeon
Darkest Dungeon is a challenging roguelike RPG with a dark, gothic aesthetic and features turn-based combat. You must lead your team of heroes with diverse fighting styles and classes such as the Crusader, Bounty Hunter, Occultist, Man-at-Arms, Grave Robber and more against terrible foes, famine, disease and the ever-encroaching dark.
Each class has its unique fighting style, skills, quirks (both positive and negative) and fill different roles in combat. In addition to that, heroes can also be inflicted by diseases, some being more vicious than the others, and possibly deadly. The game ranks rather high on the difficulty level due to the complex combat style and permanent death. You can lose all your game progress due to one misstep, which can borderline on frustrating and hair-pulling at times. Get this one only if you are willing to take on a tough challenge.
10. Cockroach Simulator
Cockroaches and humans are at odds, and it is time for war! That’s the premise of this strictly-multiplayer simulation game. The plot is perfectly ridiculous – play the role of a cockroach, and make the human’s life a living hell, or play as the human and squash every cockroach you see. Fortunately in the gaming world, ridiculous is often a synonym for “a hell lot of fun”, and that is exactly what this game is.
As a cockroach, you need to team up with your fellow cockroaches, and avoid getting killed by the human. The ultimate goal is to lay eggs away from the reach of the human and make sure that all of them hatch.
As a human, you need to kill all the cockroaches by any means possible. Squash them, cut them up with a knife, spray them, or burn them with a flamethrower. You need to ensure that the cockroaches’ eggs do not hatch, and if they do, you need to kill the young roaches too.
Keep in mind that the game is strictly multiplayer, and it is advisable that you have friends with whom you can play, as the online lobbies are anything but populated.
Availability: Steam ($14.99)
11. Worms W.M.D
The classic Worms franchise is back with a bang in Worms W.M.D. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, you control a team of cute worms armed with a huge arsenal of deadly weapons, ranging from the Knife, Shotgun, Grenade and the all-time favorite Bazooka to advanced warfare machines such as helicopters, tanks, and mecha suits, all the way to the advanced and wacky such as Homing Missile, the “OMG strike”, Electric Sheep and the Dodgy Phone Battery. The goal of the game is simple: blow up all your enemies before they blow you up.
While the game does not offer a whole lot of new content compared to the previous entries in the series, it still feels as fun and as fresh as any other Worms game. Play against the computer, or have a blast in local multi-player with your friends or against strangers on the internet in this fun-filled, wacky blow ’em up game.
Availability: Steam ($ 29.99)
Stellaris is a real-time strategy (RTS) game based on space exploration and building a galactic empire. Traverse the vast space to find habitable planets, establish colonies and expand your empire. The diplomacy system lets you interact with alien races, some of which are actively hostile, others more peaceful, and still others only pretend to be peaceful. A major focus, like in most RTS games, is on researching technologies, and acquiring them before your foes do can be crucial.
The game supports competitive and co-op multiplayer. One player hosts a game that others can see in the lobby and join. Hot join is also supported, which means that players can join an in-progress multiplayer game.
Availability: Steam ($39.99)
13. The Curious Expedition
The Curious Expedition is a roguelike adventure game set in the 19th century where you lead an expedition with famous personalities such as Charles Darwin, Nikola Tesla, and even Aliester Crowley. The worlds are diverse and procedurally generated, which means there is a new randomly generated map every time you play, giving the game an edge in replay-ability.
The main theme of the game is exploration and experimentation, looting ancient ruins, meeting local tribes, while defending your team and surviving against natural hazards, wild animals -including giant crabs and dinosaurs. Among the exploration and fights, it is necessary to balance ambitiousness and discretion, while being conservative in using available supplies.
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Satisfy your gaming tooth with these latest Linux games
We hope you enjoyed these cool new Linux games. Try them out and let us know how you liked them. If you want to share more Linux games that you discovered, make sure to mention them in the comments section below. As always, please vote with your wallet and support the developers of these games. Your purchases ensure that developers get their time and effort’s worth, and continue to support their games on Linux. So have fun, and game on!