Best free PC games to play today
The best free games offer you the perfect escape from the stresses of your day-to-day, perhaps after nine long hours of work. And, that’s without you needing to spend a dime.
Everyone loves free stuff, and that’s no different when it comes to the best PC games or even co-op PC games. The great news is that there’s a plethora of entertaining free games available right now on PC to choose from and play in your spare time or when you need to take a break.
Since free-to-play games are a huge hit, you should be able to download the best free games that hit the streets in 2019 from Steam, GOG and even (brace yourself) EA’s Origin client. You can even get a few premium indie titles for zilch once every few weeks through the Epic Games Store app.
From free-to-play Battle Royale games like Fortnite to online CCGs like Hearthstone, the best free games cover a wide range of genres and styles. We’ve put the most popular titles through their paces, and handpicked the best free games 2019 has on offer so you can try them on for size.
If you're looking for the best PC games, check out our list of the best laptop games instead.
Linux, Windows or Mac - which one is best for you? Watch our guide video below:
Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article
Best free game on our radar: Lost Ark Online
This extensive, immersive multiplayer role-playing game hailing from South Korea is among the most anticipated games to be launched in the West, fingers-crossed. Lost Ark delivers graphics that are an absolute stunner, an action-centric MMORPG game set in a gorgeous, unbelievably detailed world that you can explore, go on quests and even meet-and-greet other players.
Sadly, it’s still not officially available in the Western market. On the upside, the CEO of Smilegate has already voiced the company’s interest in bringing it to the US, Canada and Europe. In fact, rumor has it that the South Korean developer might follow through this year, though when exactly this year, we have yet to find out. When it does, it would make it one of the best free games 2019 has to offer… at least, if it does happen. Things are looking promising though, as the beta is now available in Russia.
Release date: Hopefully sometime in 2019
Best free PC games: 1 - 2
1. Fortnite Battle Royale
The Battle Royale is huge right now, and Epic Games has refined it to perfection with Fortnite Battle Royale. Originally designed as a kind of add-on for Fortnite, Battle Royale blew up in a way that nobody expected, fast becoming among the best free games 2019 has to offer.
Fortnite Battle Royale is entirely based on a simple scenario: you’re dropped in a map with 99 other players in a free-for-all melee, and the last one left standing at the end wins. Because of its meteoric success, Epic Games is working hard to steadily integrate new game modes and fresh features. Take Playground mode, for example – it drops 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 particularly cool is that with Fortnite, you can actually play with your friends, regardless of which platform they’re on. Whether you’re on PC, Xbox One, iOS, Android or PS4, you’ll be able to match up against millions of other players from all these different platforms.
2. Dota 2
This top-down arena battler is very dynamic, drawing in multimillion-dollar prize funds for serious tournament players. Yet, it’s not just for the most hardcore gamers.
A brief tutorial now shows you how to play, with the Steam Community offering guides to the original MOBA. Don't expect a warm welcome or an easy learning curve from its complex gameplay mechanics. However, bring a few friends, and Dota 2 will have you hooked on one of the biggest crazes in PC history.
Best free PC games: 3 - 4
3. Planetside 2
Two years prior to Destiny, we had Planetside 2, an all-out, epic first-person battle that’s so unbelievable, you’ll want to pinch yourself each time you boot it up just to remind yourself that a game this incredible is completely free. There are in-game purchases, naturally. However, you can still dive into the largest battlefield in gaming and still have a remarkable time with your starter equipment.
There's simply nothing as thrilling as taking part in a mass assault on an enemy base and coming out on top, or existing in a world where an enemy convoy might materialize on the horizon at any second. Planetside 2 is proof that 'free' doesn't mean prosaic.
4. Path of Exile
Path of Exile is a free dungeon crawler that might remind you of Diablo III, and it’s rather different than most of the best free games available in 2019. 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 takes its time, more than your standard multiplayer game. But, give it a chance, and you’ll find yourself obsessed. There are hidden mechanics and features to discover 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 of use since there's always the possibility 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.
Best free PC games: 5 - 6
5. League of Legends
Pick your champion and charge into battle in this trailblazing free-to-play title from the folks that brought you the Warcraft III mod, Dota. League of Legends’ automated matchmaking, sundry cast of characters and exquisite maps have made it a multiplayer behemoth over these last few years, and one of the best free games 2019 has that will absolutely stand the test of time.
It’s an aggressive gameplay experience to be sure, but one that rewards great teamwork and careful tactics. There is a bit of a learning curve as well, but you’ll be taken on a thrilling ride shortly after pressing play.
Like Dota 2, League of Legends attracts many high-end players, and the top tournaments offer prize pools of over $1 million. The wacky world of esports, eh?
6. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Ever played Magic the Gathering? Hearthstone is Blizzard’s attempt at building an online version of it, for free.
As a typical Blizzard offering, this one’s truly impressive. It’s instantly enticing, lacking the terrifying learning curve you would expect from an online fantasy card game. Hearthstone plays fast, has a very casual visual approach and benefits from a basic rule set, all of which add up to a very accessible card battler that offers you plenty of fun – especially if you’re a World of WarCraft fan.
Not that it's not challenging as well, especially if you go against an opponent that plays their cards right, which is why it gets our vote for one of the best free games to date.
Best free PC games: 7 - 8
7. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Taking the Star Wars MMORPG mantle after Star Wars Galaxies ended its run (may it rest in peace), Star Wars: The Old Republic was not intended to be free at release. However, it has since, like so many MMORPGs before it, adopted the free to play model. If you want to satisfy your inner Sith, this is the best way to do that 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 accessible for free – it just might take a bit longer now.
It’s worth your time just to experience 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 as well.
8. Forza Motorsport 6 Apex
When Xbox head Phil Spencer said he was going to bring the console's best franchises to the PC, he wasn't joking. Among these notable games is Forza Motorsport.
Forza Motorsport 6 Apex in particular brought a complete Forza Motorsport game to PC gamers for the first time – before Forza Horizon 3 arrived in 2016. It’s not quite the full-fledged experience you get from full entries to the series. However, Forza Motorsport 6 Apex is the best free game that we could have asked for from Microsoft’s long-standing racing series.
Shunned by petrol-heads and embraced by gamers, Forza Motorsport may seem like an arcade-y offshoot of its biggest rival on PlayStation, but it consistently looks and feels incredible, which is reason enough to add it to our best free games 2019 list.
Best free PC games: 9 - 10
Dauntless is a household name at this point, after becoming an overnight success on PC, thanks to Monster Hunter World. It offers a remarkably similar experience that’s free and easier on your PC.
Drifting away from the clear environmentalist focus of Monster Hunter: World, where you’re trying to preserve the habitats, Dauntless simplifies things a little, just tasking you with slaying behemoths to protect a human colony.
The gameplay itself is much more straightforward 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.
10. World of Tanks
World of Tanks is a different kind of MMO, as you may have already guessed from the title. Team-based, massively multiplayer action with a wide array of war machines to drive into battle awaits, with new players able to jump into the fray right away.
The upgrade system lets you personalize, while being surrounded by an entire army at all times to remind you that loners won’t make it on the battlefield. But be forewarned: get sucked in, and you may find yourself spending a hefty sum on great big chunks of virtual metal.
Some premium tanks go for just a few dollars, while others require a bit more coin. You can see where maker Wargaming is earning some money from World of Tanks enthusiasts. Still, this doesn’t stop it from being one of the best free games right now.
Best free PC games: 11 - 12
11. Heroes of the Storm
It was only a matter of time before Blizzard joined the fray in the MoBA phenomenon, and with Heroes of the Storm, we’re only left asking: what took it so long? It’s an astonishingly approachable esports title, sitting somewhere between League of Legends and DOTA 2 in terms of complexity, but with the added bonus of playing characters you know and love.
You read that right: the roster is made up entirely 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 it one of the best free games that keeps getting better by the day.
Its future was briefly in question after the sale of Sony's online entertainment division in February 2015, but Everquest is back with a vengeance, swaggering with new expansion packs and continued support by Daybreak Game Company. That’s one of the many reasons why it’s made our best free games 2019 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 steadily 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 could want or need from an MMO. Plus, it's notably better at handling co-op than its alternatives.
Best free PC games: 13 - 14
Initially hailed as the game that would finally depose World of Warcraft, Rift had its moment – and is still going strong depending on who you ask. It brought innovation to a genre that was evolving very slowly, letting you change your class whenever the urge compelled you.
The whole game is focused on separating giant boss battles and events that inhabit entire zones. It’s ambitious, thrilling, and monumental with dozens of interdimensional rifts that keeps things exciting and unique from other MMOs. And, even after Rift went free to play, Trion has stayed on top of things, bringing out regular expansions for everyone to enjoy.
Plus, you can ride a landshark.
Runescape is one of the largest free-to-play MMOs available, and now is a good time for a deeper look. In 2013, it entered its third reboot – this is actually 'Runescape 3', although just jumping in now, you may not even realize that it has been around in one form or another for more than 10 years.
Despite the overhaul, 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 updated 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 enormous scale.
Best free PC games: 15 - 16
If you’ve grown tired of the dark fantasy aesthetic of most MMORPGs, you’ll love Maplestory’s creative and inspired flair. 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 has more emphasis on improving aesthetics than many other MMOs, letting players a lot more personalization 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.
If you're into third-person co-operative shooters, Warframe may be one of the best free games available. Players take control of members of the Tenno, an ancient race warring against enemies such as the Grineer, the Corpus, the Infested and the Sentients. Your Tenno soldier uses a Crysis-style Warframe armor equipped with guns or melee weapons to fight back.
Better looking than your usual free-to-play shooter, there’s a lot of fun to 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.
Best free PC games: 17 - 18
Gods from every pantheon come together in Smite to duke it out in a free Dota/MOBA inspired clash. Even though Smite is pretty overt with its influences – it comes from the same developer that brought us the FPS smash Tribes Ascend, it’s still a completely different beast.
The camera is behind the characters this time, which lets you a more direct connection to the action than simply ordering your lord around with a mouse. However, the idea will either be 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…
18. Lord of the Rings Online
There are so many MMOs that have been released or re-released as free-to-play games. However, Lord of the Rings Online is one of those titles that most deserves another look. It’s already an incredible game in its own right, but it’s also one of the more mature MMOs on the market.
Ultimately, you’ll have to pay to unlock adventure packs. However, there’s no subscription fee and no up-front cost, making it one of the best free games 2019 wants you to check out. If you missed it at launch, or even if you quit playing since then, it’s time to give it another chance.
Best free PC games: 19 - 20
19. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Life is Strange and its sequel are one of the best modern adventure games on PC. Lucky for us, there’s now a free way to experience this spectacular series. Unveiled back at E3 2018, the Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit puts you in the shoes of 9-year-old Chris as he, and his alter ego, Captain Spirit, go on a grand adventure.
It’s a free-to-play single player adventure game without any kind of monetization – simply a nice prelude into Life is Strange 2. Just don’t go in anticipating the longest gameplay experience in the world, as you’ll likely finish it in just a couple of hours. That still doesn’t stop it from being one of the best free games, however.
20. Eve Online
In 2003, Icelandic developer CCP Games unleashed Eve Online, an immersive and in-depth “sci-fi experience” that would ultimately grab the attention of well over 500,000 players. Eve Online is unlike any game in its category due to the vast range of activities to participate in as well as its (appropriately) out of this world in-game economy.
Unfortunately, the Eve Online player base has been shrinking 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 some extent.
The new ‘alpha clones’ system featured in Eve Online is like the “unlimited free trial” feature in World of Warcraft. You can still engage with other players in piracy, manufacturing, trading, mining, exploration and combat, but there are limitations such as certain skills that are 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 penny, which is why it makes for one of the best free games to grace the gaming world.
Best free PC games: 21 - 22
21. Apex Legends
To say that Battle Royale games are popular in 2019 would be a massive understatement. However, the level of success that Apex Legends has reached so quickly after launch speaks volumes. It’s certainly earned its spot on this list as one of the best free games. Not only is the game itself incredible, bringing unique mechanics from the awesome Titanfall games to a Battle Royale, but the game itself has reached over a stunning 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 awfully addicting. It’s not exactly the chaos of 100 player battle royale titles like Fortnite or PUBG, but it feels balanced. If somehow you haven’t joined the Apex Legends bandwagon yet, you’re sorely missing out.
Hawken is a game about mechs. Not just any mechs, but fast mechs. These aren’t your average slow, lumbering tanks of MechWarrior Online. These are more in line with the Exoskeletons of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Of course, being a free-to-play game, expect to spend some money for upgrades to your starter mech. However, economic 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 always wanted to know what it feels like to power a mech for yourself since Pacific Rim came out.
Best free PC games: 23 - 24
23. Evolve Stage 2
After disappearing from the face of the Earth following its release then eventually being dropped from Steam, Turtle Rock re-released Evolve back into beta a year and a half later. It was then that Evolve was revealed as a free-to-play experience. It was even given a new name: 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 the same. 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 matched up against a single monster, with each hunter given 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’re getting access to a game with a triple-A quality, even if much of the content is locked behind a paywall. Nevertheless, you can give it a shot for yourself for the initial cost of $0 on Steam.
24. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
As we wait eagerly on news about The Elder Scrolls VI, you should take the time to give the classic The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall a try. This 1990s RPG is a precursor to the iconic ones that came after, 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 is absolutely filled with atmosphere. It might look a little rough around the edges by today’s standards, but it’s worth diving into if you’re an Elder Scrolls fan.
It's available direct from Bethesda. The publisher started offering it for free to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the game. As if we don't feel old enough already.
Best free PC games: 25 - 26
25. Starcraft II
Among the most popular 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 hit the scene. Maybe that’s why Blizzard decided to transform Starcraft II to the free-to-play business model.
As a result of its engrossing strategy game mechanics, combined with creatively designed environments and a gripping narrative that can only a video game can tell, 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 access it. Other than that, both the campaign and the multiplayer are free to enjoy. Only certain characters need your prized coin.
26. Wolfenstein 3D
Interested in knowing what Wolfenstein was before The New Order? Wolfenstein 3D is now free, and will teleport you to the year 1992 when celebrity game developers John Carmack and John Romero paired 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 create a three-dimensional first-person shooter that would later inspire the development of Doom.
Keep in mind while playing that while Wolfenstein 3D was cutting edge for its time, it's perhaps not what you would expect from a first-person shooter of today's standards. Still, 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. Just don't expect to be blown away by the story in the same way as the Wolfenstein franchise's more recent entries.
Best free PC games: 27 - 28
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 instead of spitting insults at newcomers. And, there's no shortage of cool toys to have fun with. Infinitely silly and incredibly fresh, it's still one of the shooter genre's kings, free-to-play or not. Of course, it makes sense to add it to our best free games 2019 list.
As you might have guessed, there are some micro-transactions included. You can buy additional items, often used to personalize 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.
28. Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links
If you grew up in the ‘90s, you probably have a lot of memories of playing Yu-Gi-Oh, or maybe even watching the anime. Well, an injection of nostalgia is waiting for you in Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, and it’s free to boot?
In Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, you won’t just have access to the titular card game competitively online. You’ll also get to play against AI opponents voiced by actors from the anime. There are a lot 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.
Best free PC games: 29 - 30
29. Magic Duels
Magic: The Gathering is fun, but what if you can play it from the comfort of your PC? Thanks to Magic Duels, you can. Whether this is your first time or you’re 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 that lets you experience Magic like never before.
If narrative in your card games isn't your cup of tea, there's also a Battle Mode where you can go head to head with your friends, a four-player Two-Headed Giant battle and even an offline solo mode you can use to practice against AI.
30. DC Universe Online
While it's yet another free-to-play MMO on this list, DC Universe Online places 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 thrust out into the world of DC Universe Online at the hands of Daybreak Game Company.
After some initial training, the game assigns you a position, 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 meant to be much more interactive while also keeping traditional MMORPG elements such as leveling, raiding, inventories and post-game progression. It's also easy using real-world currency too, which is why it has our best free games vote.
Best free PC games: 31 - 32
It’s not difficult to see why Paladins gets a lot of grief because its similarities to Overwatch. At the same time, the team-based shooter is also decidedly different from that of Blizzard’s. Abilities are upgraded based on a collectible card system, and can entirely 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 just by playing. 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 go. As long as you’re completing the daily quests and achievements featured in the game, you’ll be compensated with Radiant Chests and Gold, which can then be used to purchase more cards, costumes and weapon skins to make your characters more unique and skillful on the battlefield.
32. Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 Lite
You may 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 2019 has on offer. 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, is only a slight improvement over its predecessor, but it does introduce better dribbling and tries to perfect the fan-favorite Master League mode. The ‘Lite’ version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 allows you access to the Online myClub and PES League Mode in addition to the Offline Exhibition Match and Training Mode, all 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.
33 - 34
You can now grab Spelunky on a number of platforms – it's pretty high-profile for an indie title. However, it started its life as a PC-exclusive, and its original 'non HD' Classic version is still available for free today.
The catch is that with each run through, the entire game is randomized to keep things interesting. In one game, you might 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 along your way.
You learn how each randomized world ticks and which piece of equipment will give you a fighting chance. And you’ll die a ton. And scream. And restart. Again. Is this one of the best free games that has graced our screens, or what?
As a free MMO, Neverwinter sets the bar high 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 is set in the Forgotten Realms, specifically, as the name suggests, in Neverwinter.
Touting 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 somewhat different, as it allows players to heal their allies in addition to allowing for the use of special abilities in combat after racking up enough action points.
Best free PC games: 35 - 36
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 most known 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.
It’s ironic, considering that the main character in Doki Doki Literature Club is consumed by anime and manga, and has minimal experience with the writings of more prestigious authors. As absorbing 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, indicating that those with severe anxiety should consider NOT playing. It’s not entirely unfounded, as you’re certain to learn the hard way that Doki Doki Literature Club is more horror than generic fan service.
36. Puzzle Pirates: Dark Seas
For nearly 15 years now, Puzzle Pirates has been a household name for kids with unfettered 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 objective is to join a crew and eventually 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 includes an entirely new ocean known as Obsidian. Dark Seas introduces factions and player-versus-player (PvP) combat in a way unique to the Steam release of Puzzle Pirates. It also comes from a different developer, a nonprofit called Grey Havens, which was established 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.
Best free PC games: 37 - 38
37. Phantom Dust
Despite its development cycle being a disaster, the Phantom Dust remaster still succeeded. A new IP in the form of a Japanese budget card game for the original Xbox, it seemed too good to be true when Microsoft announced back at E3 2014 that a complete remake was in the works… and, as it turns out, it was.
The remake was shelved in 2016, but Microsoft still wanted to revive the cult classic one-off. And turns out, the company did so with a remaster, instead of 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”.
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 took simple text-based graphics and turned it into a reasonably modern, 2006 piece of software. It’s often deemed a cult classic, thanks to 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 harder problem to avoid. This led to the unofficial motto for the game "Losing is fun," which was either ironic or an accurate description of what happens in the game. Hard to say either way.
One thing's for sure. If you’d like to play an important part of gaming 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 2019 has on offer.
Best free PC games: 39 - 40
39. Fable Fortune
Surviving a troubled development cycle, Fable Fortune is the collectible card game that you undoubtedly expected to never see the light of day. 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 – closed their 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 in spite of a failed Kickstarter campaign. The end result is a moderately competitive card game that’s absolutely 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 quite a bit due to Fable Fortune’s more complex set of hero powers, less randomness and a morality system that rewards a grasp of its ‘good’ and ‘evil’ points.
40. Fallout Shelter
If you prefer the property management systems of Fallout 4 rather than the great majority of the role-playing game's content, Fallout Shelter is an excellent place to start. Up until recently, the simulation game was only on the mobile Android and iOS platforms. However, with the introduction of Quests in version 1.6 of Fallout Shelter, Bethesda Softworks also decided to port the game to PC by way of the Bethesda.net client.
All in all, Fallout Shelter doesn't feel that much different on PC, and that's a good thing. Mouse controls work well in lieu of a touchscreen, graphics look good 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 unquestionably manageable price point (free), however with micro-purchases on hand, Fallout Shelter could very well become the next Solitaire in your office or at school.
Best free PC games: 41 - 42
Have you been missing out on the action, just watching all your friends play Super Smash Bros Ultimate, because you don’t have a Nintendo Switch? Well, with Brawlhalla you’re in luck. Brawlhalla is a 2-8 player 2D brawler that pulls quite a bit of inspiration from Nintendo’s classic franchise.
And, it pulls it off. It’s an exceedingly fun way to pass a few hours. With an esports league, you can rest assured that you'll always have people to throw down against. It might not quite be the same as playing some Smash on a friend’s couch, but it’s close enough to be worth your time. 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 branded as a “free trial” on Steam, there isn’t much to separate 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 hit the market in May 2016, the same month as Overwatch. The main distinction is that Battleborn is influenced by 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 purchased using real-world currency.
Best free PC games: 43 - 44
43. The Elder Scrolls: Legends
There appears to be this never-ending arms race developers are caught in to put out the next Hearthstone. That is, an incredibly 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 takes inspiration from the lore of the firm’s beloved RPG franchise, The Elder Scrolls: Legends distinguishes itself from the likes of competing virtual card games such as Hearthstone and The Witcher 3’s Gwent by using a two-lane system that keeps players on their toes when it comes to devising strategies.
And, if you simply want more Skyrim, you’ll be pleased to learn 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.
Whether you loved or hated World of Tanks, you’ll be delighted to learn that Robocraft, a worthy addition to our list of best free games, is what you get when you take traditional vehicle combat and twist it into something completely new. From independent developer and publisher Freejam, Robocraft allows you to commandeer jet cars (not jets and cars, but jet cars), tanks, flying warships, helicopters and drones.
In doing so, you’ll spend a lot of your time engaging in combat with other players online. Like a vehicle-based Fortnite, you’ll also play with different combinations of 250 preset blocks using a simple crafting interface, letting you 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 beat other teams. When everything is said and done, and you’re happy with your creations, you can showcase them at the virtualized Community Robot Factory to get likes and shares.
Best free PC games: 45
45. Total War Battles: Kingdom
Real-time Strategy (RTS) games don't get 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 even when you're not at your main battle station. Total War Battles: Kingdom is set at the turn of the 10th Century and combines army management with kingdom building to deliver a bite-sized RTS game you can dive into and play anywhere, anytime.