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Bored at home? Check out the best games on Steam in 2021.
There are probably more games than you could ever play on Steam, even if you started right now and never stopped. It’s hard to narrow down the best titles, but there’s certainly something for everyone on this list. I’ve chosen a few of the most-played and top-rated games on Steam, as well as a few classics and even a handful of newer indie titles that are worth checking out.
Best games on Steam:
The Portal Series (Portal and Portal 2)
Each game in the Portal series is $9.99, and they are both worth every penny. The games involve unique and challenging portal-based puzzles. You have to figure out the best way to manipulate your surroundings and navigate to the end of each puzzle. The witty writing polishes off this series even more.
There are areas where you can only play single player, like the first few levels of Portal. Eventually, you can play online with friends, and the games become a new, enjoyable experience. These two games are definitely ones to add to your collection.
This is a sweet farming simulator in which you inherit your grandfather’s farm in Stardew Valley. You have to fix up the farm and learn to make a living from growing and tending to your crops, fishing, mining, and more. It’s so easy to spend hours in this game and feel like only minutes have gone by.
Over 30 non-player characters (NPCs) in the game are unique and interesting to talk to every day. You can eventually choose from some of the NPCs to marry and have kids with later in the game.
The developers also added a multiplayer function a year or so ago, so now you can play the game with up to 3 friends at one time. From finding all the artifacts for the museum to trying to reach the bottom of Skull Cavern, there is plenty to keep you engaged in this game. For $14.99 (or less if it’s on sale), this game is a steal.
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at ghost hunting, now is your chance. Phasmophobia is a VR-ready indie game that puts you and your friends in charge of investigating the paranormal. You each have a role to play, and the ghosts aren’t happy about it. The game has become a streaming phenomenon, and you can count on being scared.
One of the best aspects of Phasmophobia is the interaction. You get to take full advantage of your computer’s microphone and speak directly to nearly a dozen types of ghosts. The game also incorporates famed ghost hunting devices like night vision cameras and spirit boxes.
Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, Phasmophobia packs hours of fun for you and up to three friends. Just take our word for it when we tell you that the truth is out there.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition
Skyrim is a classic game to own for a reason and easily one of the best on Steam. It’s won over 200 Game of the Year Awards, and it has stood the test of time. The enhanced Special Edition was recently released in 2016 for $39.99, and it looks fantastic. The Special Edition also brought with it new quests, characters, weapons, and more.
Skyrim is a single-player fantasy role-playing game (RPG). There are so many different characters you can play as and many different skill builds you can pursue. There is a story to follow, but the game is massive and open-world, so you’re free to explore the world at your own pace.
The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition
There are not enough great things I can say about this game. You play as Geralt of Rivia, a witcher, or a professional monster slayer, and follow a riveting storyline. You could easily spend over 150 hours in this game; there’s crafting, magic, gruesome fights, beasts, humor, and much more. The Game of the Year Edition comes with the base game and all the expansions.
You have free reign to decide whether you follow side quests or the main story. You also have multiple skills to choose from to upgrade, so you can build Geralt in whatever way suits your fight style. The game is regularly $49.99, but it goes on sale all the time.
Although there is a pretty interesting story to follow in the game, this game is great for its shooting mechanics and various weapons. You play as one of four vault hunters, each equipped with their own unique set of skills and special powers.
Throughout the game, it’s your mission to take down the evil Calypso twins before they can unite the bandit clans. There are quite a few side quests and bosses leading up to your goal, and it all ensures that the game never loses your interest. The animation style is really awesome, too – it has sort of a comic book feel to it.
You can play this game by yourself or with up to 3 other players through online co-op. What’s awesome about the online co-op functionality is it’s drop-in/drop-out, so you don’t have to restart the game for other players to join.
For only $9.99, Terraria comes packed with content; you could spend 200 hours in this game and still have stuff to do. Terraria is a 2D action sandbox game, and you can customize how you want to spend your time.
You can choose to build a giant mansion and spend most of your time collecting raw materials and crafting. You can seek out the toughest bosses in the game and defeat all of them. Or, you can search for the most treasured or rare items in the game. It’s really up to you.
The game is super inexpensive for all that it has to offer you. Plus, the developers just released the final update for the game recently, so you’ll be playing the final version of the game. Terraria is not only one of the best Steam games, but one of the most extensive as well.
The video game industry owes so much to the original Doom, and Eternal has brought the incredible franchise right back to the forefront. You already know what to expect — monsters, guns, and explosions.
Your goal is to reclaim Earth from the armies of Hell through a brutal single-player campaign. If you’d rather take your destruction global, you can hop right into battle mode and take on other players. Doom Eternal also claimed Steam’s award for the best soundtrack of the year, so you should be able to fully immerse yourself in the action.
Doom Eternal retails for $59.99 like most AAA titles, but you should be able to find a discount thanks to Steam’s frequent sales.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is the latest in the series of a famous first-person shooter franchise. It’s also one of the most played games on Steam, and for a good reason. It’s a highly competitive online team-based tactical game that requires you to use strategy to win. The game has a huge learning curve, but it’s really fun once you get the hang of it.
Sometimes you play defense, coordinating with your team to prevent the other team from breaching your strongholds. And sometimes you play offense, using tactical maps and observation drones to your advantage to get to the other team. You can pick up Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege for $19.99, but there are discounts available often.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Similar to Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, this game includes online team-based, tactical gameplay. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or more commonly known as CS: GO, was released in 2012, but it’s still one of Steam’s most played games.
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The game is free to play, so if you’re looking to test out an online team-based strategy game, this is a great place to start. You can see if you like the genre without shelling out any money. CS: GO features new maps, game modes, characters, and updated versions of classic Counter-Strike content.
Garry’s Mod is one of the most popular options on Steam and a classic for your collection. It’s described as a physics sandbox because you spawn objects and use them to create whatever you want to.
You can play from hundreds of modes that follow a different goal, like “Prop Hunt,” a unique version of hide-and-seek. Or, you can just create your own contraptions and build your own game to play. It’s enjoyable by yourself or online with friends. Plus, it’s only $9.99.
A Hat in Time
This is a 3D platformer that features a little girl traveling through space. Her adventure through space is stopped when she loses the Time Pieces needed to power her ship. You travel through the world, completing various missions while you search for the lost Time Pieces.
She, and the rest of the world, are adorably animated, and it’s quite an enjoyable game to play. The gameplay is easy and relaxing, perfect for winding down at the end of the day. You can buy this game for $29.99.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
The games in the Halo series have previously been exclusive to Xbox consoles. Now, with the Master Chief Collection, you have a chance to play 6 games that have been optimized for PC. Games are being released separately, but you’re guaranteed access to all the updates if you spend $39.99 for the Master Chief Collection.
The Master Chief Collection will include a total of 67 campaign missions. Plus, each game released into the collection will also have its own multiplayer maps, modes, and game types. When all 6 games are released, players will have access to over 120 multiplayer maps.
Dota 2 is another great strategy game that is completely free to play. If you’re interested in the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre, or MOBA genre, this is your chance to try it out with no strings attached. You can learn the basics of the game by playing against bots. Then, once you feel comfortable with your skills, you can move into hero demo mode. And eventually, you can be matched with other online players at your skill level.
All of the heroes available to play in Dota 2 are completely free to you. Fans can pay for cosmetics and fun add-ons if they want to, but all the essentials you need to play are provided for free. Dota 2 consistently gets regular updates, one of the many reasons it’s one of the most played games on Steam.
Red Dead Redemption 2
This game is a western open-world adventure in which you play as outlaw Arthur Morgan. You are on the run and have to steal and fight your way across America to survive. Red Dead Redemption 2 has won over 175 Game of the Year awards, so it’s no surprise that we love it as one of the best games on Steam.
Plus, you’ll also have access to Red Dead Online, where you can create your own story. A few of the many things you can do include running an underground distillery as a Moonshiner or creating a business as a Trader. The game is $59.99, but it occasionally goes on sale.
Welcome to the tenth Norse world, Valheim. You assume the role of a battle-slain Viking warrior, and your only goal is to restore order to the realm. While you begin your quest at the peaceful center of Valheim, you’ll only achieve glory and riches as you venture out to slay the beasts of chaos.
Valheim is designed as a two to 10 player PvE game, and the developers recommend fitting between three and five players into your crew. You can build your very own longship and explore new lands, claiming treasures as you go.
If you tire of the open seas, Valheim also features an in-depth settlement-building mechanic. You can forge your own weapons and raise legendary mead halls as you bring peace to the Viking purgatory. Valheim is currently an early access title, and it boasts more than two million Viking warriors.