The best free games are on PC, and if you want to know what the best 50 are then you’ve come to the right place.
RPS Feature No free-to-play, just free.
RPS Feature How to cheat and prosper
We’ve all been there. When a puzzle is so obtuse you can’t even begin to work out how to solve it. When you’ve been searching for the next bonfire in a Dark Souls game for hours on end. When you’ve committed to finding a game’s scattered collectibles and one proves a bit too well hidden. Wikis and guides can replace hours of frustration with a few seconds of Googling, making up for an oversight on the part of a game dev or the occasional brain fart on the part of the player.
They can also leach the fun out of games. Looking up solutions can quickly devolve into a paint-by-numbers experience, with almost as much time spent alt-tabbed as playing a game. The moment that door is opened, there’s a danger that any sense of challenge or discovery will be lost. So, how do you decide when turning to external sources such as guides, FAQs, Wikis and search engines is worth the risk?
The latest Humble Bundle is a good’un, with games including Spelunky, Rocket League, Nidhogg, and Skullgirls going cheap. The first three of those are modern PC classics, I’d say, and Skullgirls isn’t half-bad either. The Humble Revelmode Bundle has more games too, obvs.
RPS Feature Never say goodbye,
As much as PC gaming hardware has changed and improved over the years, there’s always been one constant: the limitations of disk space. Granted, it’s far cheaper and easier (no more absurdly tiny Master/Slave toggles) than it used to be to grab a new hard drive, but the rise of ever-faster but more expensive SSDs set things back a bit in that regard. With new mainstream games regularly asking for as much as 30 Gigabytes I remain, as I always have, in a battle for space. Which means I’m constantly uninstalling half-finished stuff in order to make space for the next big thing. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking. But there’s a line. There are a few games I can never uninstall, because it would hurt too much. Granted, they change a little over the years – new ones come in, old ones finally, finally lose their lustre (or I give up entirely on the belief that I will ever go back), but here’s how that list of inviolable treasures looks right now.
RPS Feature From code to chaos
This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites a developer to help him put their game up on blocks and take a wrench to hack out its best feature, just to see how it works.
The arrow trap that shoots the croc man that causes him to telefrag you. Being caught mid-jump by a boomerang that juggles you towards a spike trap, leaving you stunned in front of it until it springs. Shopstorm.
These are not necessarily the noblest events in Spelunky, but they’re surprising, funny, fascinating, and entirely consistent and logical and correct. They might not be exactly your fault, but neither are they, really, the game’s fault. They’re the result of a big reason – the big reason? – why Spelunky is amazing:
THE MECHANIC: How every object in Spelunky has shared fundamental traits
I’m used to Spelunky [official site] speedruns being filled with incredible feats, but the “No Gold True Pacifist Hell Run” below is a thing of wonder. To clarify: entering into the game’s Hell world requires obtaining the Ankh from the Black Market, killing Anubis for his staff, killing Olmec, and completing the game requires killing Yama in hell. How do you kill things without violence? Well, you’ll see.
RPS Feature Team RPS chooses the must-buy games from among thousands
There are thousands and thousands and thousands and oh God help thousands of games discounted in the current Steam Winter sale. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. Where do you start? Where do you end? How many will you ever really play? How many do you have to buy in order to discover the secret Half-Life 3 release date? Well, we can’t help with the more existential aspects of that, but if you’re entirely stuck on what to get, what we can do is tell you which single game each member of the RPS staff would pick from the vast and endless digital discount shelves.
These, as far as we’re concerned, are the games you must must must pick up in the sale if you don’t have ’em already.