The 10 Best Linux Games [2020 Edition]

Are you looking for PC games to play during your free time? Here are the hand-picked ten best Linux games you can enjoy on your PC in 2020. Download them now!

Not too long ago, people had to use Wine or run virtual machines like VMware to play Windows Games on their Linux PCs. Not only was this inefficient, but it also consumed a lot of extra resources and resulted in a sub-optimal gaming experience. But standing in 2020, gaming on Linux is like a long-time dream come true.

Users have access to a massive library of games – many of them are AAA titles designed for Windows PCs – that can be played without needing any virtualization. And the gaming performance is comparable to Windows PCs.

A part of the thanks goes to Proton – a compatibility layer designed by Steam, which allows Microsoft Windows games to run on Linux-based operating systems without any noticeable hit on performance. Read this to learn more about Steam for Linux.

Other than this, all the major gaming studios are using the Vulkan API to make their games available on Google Stadia. And since Google Stadia runs on a Linux Server, this means every game that is available on Stadia can be played on a Linux system as well.

The 10 Best Linux Games To Play in 2020

With the ever-expanding list of excellent games, now is as good a time as any to get your hands into Linux gaming. But which ones should you try?

Well, to help you choose, we have put together a shortlist of the best Linux games to play in 2020. Most of the games here are available on Steam, but some of them need to be installed from other platforms. However, we made sure that all the games were well-optimized and would run smoothly on the Linux OS. So without further ado, let’s get started:

1. Shadow of the Tomb Raider

image-of-shadow-of-the-tomb-raider
Image Courtesy: Steam | Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Starting off our list of the best Linux games, we have the Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It is the latest entry in the series of the rebooted Tomb Raider game, starting with Tomb Raider 2013. Tomb Raider is one of the most popular franchises in the action-adventure genre. It is a story-based game that follows the adventure of Lara Croft uncovering various mysteries and traveling diverse environments like mountain tops, jungles, under-water caves, and much more.

The gameplay is a mix of cinematic platforming and high octane action sequences enough to keep you at the edge of your seats. This is topped off with mesmerizing graphics, making you wish that you were there beside Lara in her adventures (well, at least sometimes). Coming to the real question – how well does this AAA-title run on Linux PCs?

Well, even on Windows systems, this is a demanding game that requires a beefy system. It’s the same story with Linux, where you need to have powerful hardware to run the game.

But as far as compatibility with the OS is concerned, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is optimized for Steam on Linux and runs smoothly on all Linux distros.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: 3.4GHz Intel Core i3-4130 or an equivalent Processor
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 2GB AMD R9 285 (GCN 3rd Generation), 2GB Nvidia GTX 680
  • Additional Notes:
    • Requires Vulkan
    • Nvidia requires 418.56 or newer drivers.
    • AMD requires Mesa 19.0.1 or newer
    • AMD GCN 3rd Gen GPUs including the R9 285, 380, 380X, Fury, Nano, Fury X
    • Intel GPUs are not supported.
    • Intel GPUs are not supported at the time of release.

Price:$59.36

Download Shadow of the Tomb Raider

2. Counter-Strike: Global Offense

image-of-cs-go
Image Courtesy: Steam | CS: GO

Counter-Strike: Global Offense also abbreviated as CS: GO is one of the most popular multiplayer first-person shooters on the planet. It’s an objective-based game where two teams – the terrorists and the counter-terrorists, try to complete their goals. Depending on what game mode you are playing, the goals will vary.

For example, in the classic mode, the terrorist team will try to plant bombs, whereas the counter-terrorist team will try to defuse them.

But what makes CS: GO an excellent title for your Linux gaming rig is the fact that it has been natively developed to run flawlessly on the Linux OS. This means you will get the same gaming performance on Linux compared to a Windows PC running the same hardware configurations.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: 64-bit Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600 (Graphic Drivers: Nvidia 310, AMD 12.11), OpenGL 2.1
  • Storage: 15 GB available space

Price: Free (Optional Upgrades)

Download Counter-Strike

3. Faeria

image-of-faeria
Image Courtesy: Steam | Faeria

It is hard to describe Faeria because it is so unique in its gameplay mechanics. In a nutshell, it can be classified as a turn-based strategy board game. You have elements of CCG (collectible card games) and TCG (trading card games) games like Magic and Hearthstone. But at the same time, it works like a map builder as well.

Similar to other card games, you can build a deck, from where you can randomly draw cards. There are creature cards and spell cards. You will need to use these to attack your opponent and reduce their heath point to zero to win.

But unlike traditional card games, here you can’t just summon a creature and have it attack the opponent the next turn. In Faeria, you and your opponent will also construct a map of the battlefield. The creature will travel across the battlefield, fighting the opponent’s monsters till they finally reach the opponent to attack.

You can play Faeria online with your friends, making it an excellent way to showcase your deck building skills and smart strategies. However, it also comes with tons of mind-bending puzzles as well as a long & captivating campaign paired with an intelligent AI, making offline play just as much enjoyable.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: 2.2GHz Dual Core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 3.3 compatible, 2GB+
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 2 GB available space

Price:$24.99 ($124.99 for the game and all DLC Bundles)

Download Faeria

4. Dota 2

image-of-dota-2
Image Courtesy: Steam | Dota 2

You most probably already know about Dota (Defense of the Ancients) 2. After all, it is one of the most popular games on the planet and the first major title in the MOBA genre around which multiple sponsored tournaments have been held.

You might have even played it before, or you may be one of the millions of players who play it daily on Steam. If you are new, then it can be a challenging game to master. It is complex where you need to learn tons of in-game mechanics like different heroes, powers, skills, artifacts, and a myriad of sophisticated strategies.

You also need to act on those strategies, which is a form of skill. And you need to be an outstanding team player, as you will be part of a five-player team trying to take down the stronghold of the opposing team.  However, the main reason that makes Dota 2 an excellent title for Linux gamers is that, similar to CS: GO, it’s developed to run natively on Linux. This means you will face no hiccups or frame drops when playing the game, even during those intense action sequences with tons of on-screen objects.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: Dual-core CPU from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 8600/9600GT (Driver v331), AMD HD 2xxx-4xxx (Driver mesa 10.5.9), AMD HD 5xxx+ (Driver mesa 10.5.9 or Catalyst 15.7), Intel HD 3000 (Driver mesa 10.6)
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 15 GB available space

Price: Free (optional DLC purchases available)

Download Dota 2

5. Xonotic

image-of-xonotic
Image Courtesy: Xonotic | Xonotic

Xonotic is the first game on this list, which doesn’t have its roots in the Windows gaming community. Being an open-source first-person shooter, Xonotic became a part of Linux’s growing library of games as soon as it was released back in 2017.

The game was very positively received and is still really popular with tons of players actively playing it in both offline and online modes. The game is built on the DarkPlaces engine, which is a heavily modded version of the Quake engine. Naturally, the gameplay feels directly inspired by titles like Quake and Unreal Tournament.

You will get a fast-paced arena-style shooter that brings in-your-face action that is sure to get your heart pumping. However, it isn’t a direct rip-off and adds many unique elements, including some awesome weapons, into the mix.

In terms of performance, you can rest assured that you will have buttery smooth frame rates as long as you meet the hardware requirements. The biggest perk of running Xonotic on Linux is that it doesn’t require any installation process. All you need to do is download the game from the official page (using the link we provided), unzip it, and start playing it right then and there.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: Pentium IV 2.8 GHz or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 2.1 GPU
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 1000 MB available space

Price:$19.99

Download Xonotic

6. 0 A.D.

image-of-0-ad
Image Courtesy: 0 A.D. | 0 A.D.

0 A.D. is yet another open-source free-to-play game that targets the fans of the RTS (real-time strategy) genre. The game had been super popular in the Linux community since its original release back in 2017. You can most probably download it from your distro’s repository.

As you can guess by the name, the game revolves around the time of 0 A.D. making it a historical RTS game similar to Age of Empires.

You will get to create buildings and armies that were present at that period. Other than this, there are aspects of developing your economy, researching various technologies, training your army, waging war against your opponents (other players or the computer A.I.), and defending your base from attacks.

There is also the element of advancing through different phases – starting from the “Village phase” to the “Town phase” and finally to the “City phase.” Each stage will unlock new buildings to build, units to create, and technologies to researching. Also, even though it’s a free game, the graphics are outstanding and can rival many commercial competitors.

Note: At the time of writing, 0 A.D. is in the alpha stage of development. However, new releases are coming out in a timely fashion, adding more features and improvements to the game.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: 1 GHz Intel or any equivalent CPU, Needs to be x86 compatible
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: Any graphics card that supports OpenGL 1.3 with Hardware Accelerated drivers and at least 128 MB memory.
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 700 MB available space

Price: Free

Download 0.A.D

7. Celeste

image-of-celeste
Image Courtesy: Steam | Celeste

Celeste is a game that teaches you that “there is beauty in simplicity.” On the outside, it looks like your average 2D platformer. The goal of the game is to take your characters and climb up the mountain, Celeste – hence the name. However, in climbing up the hill, you are faced with numerous platforming challenges that will put your skills to the test.

The controls to the game are pretty basic and limited to only moving around with the character, jumping, air-dashing, and climbing. However, there are layers of expressive depths that you need to master to reach the top (literally).

Not only is the gameplay super tight and borderline addictive, but it also has a touching story of self-discovery at its core. The best part is that the story is seamlessly blended into the levels, and isn’t handed to you in the form of cut scenes or outside narratives. And let’s not leave out the awesome synth work that’s done to score this brilliant masterpiece. It is a game that you would want to have on your Linux PC.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 M380
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+ (2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable)
  • Storage: minimum 1200 MB

Price:$19.99

Download Celeste

8. Wakfu

image-of-wakfu
Image Courtesy: Steam | Wafku

Wakfu is an excellent free-to-play MMO RPG game on the Steam store. However, unlike other MMO games that require players to bash a particular set of buttons brainlessly, Wakfu offers a much more tactical gameplay with its turn-based combat system.

Wakfu also ditches the traditional classes like Knight, Mage, and Rouge found in classic RPG games. Here you have 18 original classes starting from the Foggernauts to Xelors, Masters of Time, and many more.

Design-wise, the game goes for a cartoonish style that takes significant influence from the old classics in the RPG genre. Some players even found the art style similar to the old Disney movies.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: Pentium IV 2.8 GHz or equivalent
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 4Ti or equivalent
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 1500 MB available space

Price: Free

Download Wakfu

9. HedgeWars

image-of-hedgewars
Image Courtesy: HedgeWars | HedgeWars

You remember Worms, right? The game with all the different worms with access to different weapons trying to blow each other up. Well, HedgeWars is a modern remake of the classic Worms game, only with pink hedgehogs instead of worms.

Similar to Worms, HedgeWars is all about strategy. You have to pick the right weapon in the right situation to dominate other players in the game. Speaking of which, did we mention that HedgeWars supports multiplayer?

And since the game is entirely open-source and free to play, it is always under constant development. So you can expect new weapons and customization options being added now and then keeping the game and gameplay as fresh and exciting as possible.

With that being said, HedgeWars isn’t the flashiest game on the list. It doesn’t have stunning graphics and meticulously designed world maps. But it is a lot of fun! Furthermore, the minimal graphics requirements mean it can run on any old hardware, making it the perfect game for Potato PCs.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • Processor: 1 GHz (1 core is enough)
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 250 MHz or so (any decent card from the year 2004 or later should do fine)
  • Storage: 200 MB available space

Price: Free

Download HedgeWars

10. AwesomeNauts

image-of-awesomenauts
Image Courtesy: Steam | AwesomeNauts

And for the final entry in our list of the best Linux games, we have the popular indie title – AwesomeNauts. It is another free game available from the Steam Store; however, there are some optional purchases you can make to get access to all the playable characters. So what makes AwesomeNauts so “amazing”?

Well, to start, the gameplay is unique. It is a 2D side-scrolling MOBA (yes, you heard that right) that feels like a cross between Mega Man and DoTA 2, and that too, in a good way. The gameplay revolves around two teams consisting of 3 players each competing against one another, similar to other MOBA games, but inside a 2D platform. Just imagine the chaotic fun!

For serious MOBA players, the 2D side-scrolling aspect might seem a bit gimmicky. However, if you are looking for a fresh experience, then you should try out the game.

Minimum System Requirements:
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or higher
  • Processor: Any processor with 2 Cores or more
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: AMD or NVIDIA video card with at least 512MB, or Intel HD Graphics
  • Storage: 3.5 GB available space
  • Other Requirements: Broadband Internet connection

Price: Free (with optional purchases)

Download AwecomeNauts

Get The Best Gaming Performance Using GameMode

GameMode is a tool that optimizes your Linux PC so you can get the best performance when playing games on your system. It requests the host OS to temporarily apply a set of options, which will boost the overall gaming performance.

In case your Linux system barely meets the minimum recommendation for running a particular title, you might want to use GameMode to ensure a smooth gaming experience.

If this has got you interested, here is our full in-depth guide on how to enable GameMode on Linux. Check it out!

Wrapping Up

So these were our picks for the ten best Linux games that you can play right now. As you can see, we have tried to keep this list as diverse as possible with a mix of games from different genres, including great indie titles, as well as graphically-mesmerizing AAA games.

But, that being said, this is by no means a definitive list. As such, we might have missed out on some impressive titles that you love. If that is the case, then feel free to mention your favorite Linux games in the comments section. Your input is always welcome, and it will help your fellow readers to discover more Linux games.

Nitish.S
Nitish is a Technical Writer with five years of experience. He enjoys covering new tech and has a special love for Linux. He also has a keen interest in Blockchain and WordPress.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

STAY CONNECTED

23,312FansLike
385FollowersFollow
16SubscribersSubscribe

LATEST ARTICLES

MUST READ

Buyers who wish to go for a machine that is based on Linux often show interest in Chromebooks due to the form factor and extended battery life capabilities. Although ChromeOS power these machines, users can still miss out on a more genuine Linux experience. For those who happen to agree, the new Lemur Pro by System76 might get some heads turning.
Linux is growing faster than ever. As per the latest report, there is a drop in the Windows 10 market share for the first time, and Linux's market share has improved to 2.87% this month. Most of the features in the list were rolled out in the Pop OS 20.04. Let's a detailed look into the new features, how to upgrade, and a ride through video.

VIDEO: Linux Lite 4.8 Features and Desktop Tour

Linux Lite eases Windows 7 users transition to Linux much more comfortable by offering simple software like Team Viewer, VLC, Firefox, TimeShift backup utility, and a full Microsoft Office compatible office suite in LibreOffice.

10 Best Screen Capturing Software for Linux

Do you want to make a video tutorial for YouTube or show-off your epic victory royale to your friends? Look no further — as we have compiled the 10 Best Screen Capturing Software for Linux. Whether you need to record your desktop screen or take a simple screenshot, FOSSLinux has got your back.

Enabling GameMode on Linux for best gaming performance

GameMode is a combination of various libraries and daemons that allows all the users to improve the gaming performance on the Linux system. Developed by games publisher Feral Interactive, it improves gaming performance by requesting a group of options that will be applied temporarily to the Linux system.

Top 10 reasons to use KDE as your Desktop Environment

In this article, we will take a look at yet another popular desktop environment, KDE. It's one of the most amazing Linux Desktop environments available in the market.