Ok, so a bit of preamble before we get into the list itself. Feel free to scroll down to the good stuff if you want to.
It turns out that lots of people online have been searching for lists of the best free single player games on Steam.
At first, we thought that was sort of strange, since Steam generally offers some excellent search filters when you’re browsing the storefront.
But while researching for this article, we found that these filters didn’t always work the way we wanted them to, and we guess that plenty of other people have had similar experiences.
One of the biggest barriers here is that if you go searching for free games, you’re bound to come across hundreds or even thousands of “free-to-play” results, which, as we all know at this point, aren’t actually free and almost never offer a true single player experience.
So we set out to find some quality Steam games that offer substantial single payer modes or that are entirely single player.
As for calling these the best free single player games on Steam, quality is really tough to judge.
For one thing, game quality and gameplay satisfaction are subjective in nature, but we did hold these games to some basic standards.
Every one of these games currently has a thumbs-up overall user rating, but of course the reliability of that marker depends heavily on how many reviews a game has and who put the reviews there in the first place.
In other words, we can’t guarantee that you’ll love every one of these games.
But they are free games on Steam and they’re all single player.
And based on what we’ve seen and experienced of them so far, they’re all pretty good. Not too shabby.
Of course, they’re being offered for free, so also don’t expect high-budget visuals or voice acting.
Ready to go? Let’s do iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.
Doki Doki Literature Club!
Ok, this is one game on the list that has broken into the mainstream gaming space, and it currently holds an Overwhelmingly Positive review summary on Steam.
Doki Doki Literature Club, the original version, is a free satirical take on Japanese (and Japanese-inspired) visual novels.
As other reviewers have already noted, it’s a difficult game to talk about specifically because it relies so heavily on surprise and going into it spoiler-free.
At the same time, we need to provide a content warning for this game as well. Doki Doki Literature Club goes to some very dark places and deals with very serious subjects, so please keep that in mind before downloading and playing the game.
But it’s definitely a highly creative game that has won over thousands of players.
There is also a Plus version of the game available for about $15 US, but there’s no reason not to try the free version first.
This game gets the highest recommendation of any on this list.
NEKOPARA – Catboys Paradise
Hmm, well alright.
NEKOPARA – Catboys Paradise is another visual novel, but certainly a much more traditional one.
Your character inherits a cafe after your grandfather’s death, and four different catboys help you run it.
Again, it’s a visual novel, so don’t expect to come across Diner Dash-style gameplay.
Personally, we’re not super into catboys or visual novels, but if this seems interesting to you, the price is right for a quick try.
It’s also part of a much larger series, so you may even find yourself caught up in a much longer story.
Lines X Free
Lines X Free is a free puzzle game. More specifically, it’s a numberlink puzzle game with 50 different puzzles and some calming, ambient background music.
There’s a full version of the game that costs $1 US as well.
It’s not exactly mind-blowing, and the game’s trailer is very … simple. But even so, it’s a solid puzzle game that will give you a decent amount of play time.
Guilt free is yet another visual novel that made the list.
It’s a story of a couple who are going through some issues, and even on the store page, it’s explained that the game deals with mental health and eating disorders.
Now, we haven’t finished the game’s story ourselves, so we can’t say for certain whether its depictions of these struggles are accurate, but so far, Guilt Free has a rating summary of Very Positive after about 150 reviews.
It features a monochromatic charcoal look that works well enough for the subject matter, and the tone is appropriately understated and serious.
If you can handle the subject matter and this sounds interesting, go check it out, and then tell us what you thought of it in the comments.
The Way of Life Free Edition
The Way of Life is a walking simulator, which is a borderline derogatory term for story-centric games that don’t tend to ask much of the player other than walking around and interacting with objects.
The game lets the player experience the same events from the perspective of three different characters of three very different age groups.
As the title implies, this is the free version of a full game. Ironically, the $15 full-priced game has mixed reviews, and only a fraction of the total reviews that the free version has.
We assume this communicates that the quality feels concurrent with a free game, and not so much for a slightly steep paid indie game.
This is a decent pick for anyone who’s interested in story-driven video games.
Escape Room – Der kranke Kollege
Escape Room – Der kranke Kollege (the sick Colleague) is an escape room game about a sick colleague. Simple enough, right?
The visuals of this game are rather simplistic, but it still has a cohesive style that makes exploration and puzzle-solving fairly straightforward.
With a Very Positive aggregate after almost 4,000 reviews, this game has gone over quite well so far, and if you’re already into escape rooms, whether virtual or in-person, it’s kind of a no-brainer.
Runo is another walking simulator game that focuses on story. This is a Finnish game set in the great outdoors, and there are moments when the visuals actually, kind of, sort of rival those of other, more well-known walking simulators like What Remains of Edith Finch and Firewatch.
One of the most interesting aspects of this game is that it claims to be heavily inspired by finno-karelian folklore, which is not a terribly common influence in game design of the past or present.
Also, as far as we can tell, this is the full game, being offered completely for free, not a free version of a larger game. That’s pretty impressive, if you ask us.
Ok, you’ve probably heard of this one, especially if you’re into FPS games.
Aim Lab is a massively popular “game” that’s meant to give you tons of stats on your shooting precision in game environments.
It’s also just a great way to practice shooting with a controller, mouse and keyboard, gyro controller, or any other input type.
The game offers lots of paid DLC, so keep that in mind, but in almost every way, Aim Lab is exactly what it needs to be for what it set out to do. At times, it’s more than that, with actual gameplay elements.
But for that price, it’s pretty hard to complain.
Forgotten Journey is a 3D puzzle-platformer in a sci-fi setting.
Its technical system requirements are very forgiving, so it will run on most modern machines.
This definitely isn’t a AAA game in terms of overall quality, but it does still sport an impressive level of detail and interesting game design elements.
It’s something you’ve seen before, except this time it’s free.
Influent is a language-learning game.
Well, that might be a bit misleading. Playing this free game to completion probably won’t teach you a whole new language, but what it is pretty good at is teaching basic, common vocabulary for a language.
The free version of Influent includes French, Italian, and Korean, so if you’re looking for a different language, expect to pay for the privilege.
It’s a genuinely interesting idea, and it could potentially be developed into a rather immersive language-learning tool.