If you have a Steam account, you can always download new free-to-play games without paying a cent. However, most of the free games available have either a sub-par execution or have nothing to offer in terms of story and gameplay.
Both of these qualities are required for a game to be enjoyable. Fortunately, you can always find a handful of free games that are worthy of your time. Here we present you with eleven of the best games that have been released this year on Steam under an F2P model.
This selection includes games of different genres, such as strategies, action games, adventures, MMOs, and CCGs, in order to satisfy every possible taste!
Developer: Trion Worlds
Atlas Reactor is a very unusual mix of MOBA and turn-based strategy, similar to the XCOM series. Two teams fight against each other on special arenas in a 4v4 format. The battles are really short and take no more than 20 turns. Whichever team earns more frags wins.
It is interesting to note that both teams can take action simultaneously, and then they both watch how their decisions work out in the context of the other team's decisions. Given the large number of heroes and abilities, every match-up plays out differently.
Atlas Reactor is like a very fast-paced game of chess that may seem too chaotic at first -- but after a few games you will adapt and grow to love it!
Genre: CCG, Strategy
Developer: Counterplay Games Inc.
There aren’t that many really good collectible card games around, especially those that try not to copy the most famous games in the genre, such as Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering. Duelyst is one of those games -- it really offers something both new and exciting at the same time.
Of course, it has the fundamental mechanics of a card game -- the deck building, the mana utilization, the battlefield, etc. However, Duelyst has a fantastic visual style that gives this game an exclusive quality. It looks and plays more like a turn-based strategy with CCG elements rather than a pure card-based game.
This makes it a completely unique game that takes a different approach to the whole genre; and worth the time of any fans looking for something slightly different.
Dungeon Fighter Online
Genre: MMORPG, Action, Adventure
This Korean game offers an unprecedented 2D MMO gameplay model that combines old and new concepts. The developers took classical RPG elements and put them in an old console 2D environment. Even the resolution settings are locked at 640x480.
But when it comes to the character creation menu, this is where the game offers a truly great RPG experience. There are lots of quests and other cool side events that bring humor to an otherwise action-packed story. The PvP element is present, as well.
Dungeon Fighter Online has been created with players who can’t afford high-end PCs (but still want to play a good game) in mind!
Iron Snout shows us that pigs can do so much more than just getting turned into bacon. They can also fight and protect themselves from hordes of wild animals equipped with various melee weapons!
The gameplay is really simple here -- all you have to do is control a piggy that stands in the center of the screen and hit every single minion that attacks you either from left or right. The more enemies you kill, the higher the pressure becomes, and the better rewards await.
You can also pick up weapons that drop from the dead enemies and use them to your benefit.
It's a simple but effective premise that makes for some bloody fun carnage!
Usually, when people think about a strategy game, they imagine it being slow and boring -- but that is not the case with Istrolid. This little indie project is extremely fast-paced, and yet totally makes you think in a strategic way.
Here, you need to take as many points under your control as you can, and at the same time watch out for enemies intruding and trying to intercept your points.
Of course, this game cannot be compared to the grand strategy games we are all so used to, but if you have a few spare hours, then Istrolid would be a perfect choice for you to get the strategy experience without the time commitment.
Developer: Blind Sky Studios
If you miss simple and beautiful 2D platformers from the NES/SNES era, then Mandagon is a game for you. There are no difficult game mechanics or revolutionary approaches to platforming, but it’s a solid game that has the potential to immerse you for many hours.
The best thing about Mandagon is its inspiration -- Tibetan Buddhism. You get to travel around the land of Buddhist temples and culture, meeting wrathful deities who share their wisdom with you. In this charming way you receive clues on how to move to the next levels in a colorful and inspired setting.
Developer: Hi-Rez Studios
Paladins is the latest game from the developers of Smite. Since it was announced around the time of the Overwatch release, many people naturally claimed that Hi-Rez Studios tried to copy the Blizzard formula.
If you compare the two games, you will see many similarities. However, unlike Overwatch, Paladins allows you to customize your hero’s abilities with the help of cards. On top of that, every hero can equip special items that can significantly increase their effectiveness on the battlefield.
Paladins also doesn’t require a high-end PC for it to perform well, so it is a good consideration for an entertaining team-based shooter, even if you don’t exactly own a high-end gaming computer!
Genre: CCG, Strategy, Action
Have you ever wanted to play a card game with an actual story? Now you can in Shadowverse -- a mobile game that became so popular the developers had to push it to other platforms.
Cards in Shadowverse have an ability to evolve, meaning that their stats become bigger and better as you play them. There are hundreds of different cards in the game, and this number just keeps growing. You have access to many spells, amulets, and of course, minions.
Building a deck in Shadowverse requires some knowledge of cards and their synergies. It is not enough to just put the most powerful cards in your deck and expect to win every game. Although it has elements of action, this is first and foremost a strategy game.
Genre: Action, MOBA
Developer: Buka Game Studio
Hunger Dungeon is an 8–bit pixelated arena fighter for 1-6 players. It is very similar in style to Battlerite, but with oldschool graphics and mechanics.
There aren’t that many heroes in the game yet -- but when it comes to skill trees and equipment, Hunger Dungeon will surprise you with an abundance of customizable features. Hero skills are designed to make the gameplay extremely dynamic and entertaining by using all kinds of traps, bombs, clones, shields and more!
Other things such as loot, dungeon raiding and a huge number of arenas are also present, making this a game packed with content despite being free to play.
Tiger Knight: Empire War
Genre: MMO, Action, Strategy
This epic MMO is currently in Early Access, but it already offers some amazing gameplay completely for free. If you like games like Mount & Blade, then be sure to check out this Chinese import (which is a rarity these days).
In its current stage the game offers three game modes:
- Command Mode -- involves huge 200 v 200 battles for 10-14 players that can each control a unit of up to 40 soldiers;
- Duel Mode -- designed as a PvP between the generals of up to 16 v 16 players;
- Epic War -- a PvE mode that portrays the ancient battles of the Chinese Han dynasty.
Get your fix of historical strategy with this gem of a free game!
Genre: CCG, Strategy
Developer: Dire Wolf Digital
Card games are everywhere now, and our list is full of them. However, this is not a drawback at all, as the statistics show that CCGs are just as popular as first-person shooters. Therefore it makes sense to talk about another great free-to-play card game -- Eternal.
What makes Eternal exciting and different is a total lack of Random Number Generation (RNG). This alone should keep you interested, especially if you got tired of the Hearthstone randomness.
Eternal has two PvE modes: Gauntlet and Forger, and one PvP mode called Draft. As a new player you need to climb the ladder and open booster packs for your collection. Later, when you have enough gold and cards, you can make the next step to play against some really experienced players and take your card battling to another level!
This is definitely not an ultimate list, and we are sure there have been so many other great games released this year on Steam.
The next year looks even more interesting as the indie scene is turning into a true catalyst of great free-to-play games. So watch out for some great new titles coming in 2017, as well.
What other great free Steam games would you like to see in this list? Post them below in the comments section.