Games

Top Steam Deck games to play over the holidays

The Steam Deck is 2022’s ultimate Christmas present, but once you’ve unpacked the portable gaming PC and wiped a single tear after admiring its beauty, you’ll need some games to play. Valve’s done a lot of leg work to tell you what’s supported and what isn’t with Verification, but this traffic light system only goes far.

Some games are actually better on-the-go rather than being confined to a keyboard. Others work well regardless of whether you’re hooked up to the best Steam Deck dock or roaming about. What better point in the year to set some time aside to give those missed gems a go?

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Not all our suggestions are festive, but it wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t kick things off with a bona fide Christmas game. It’s set during the closing months of the year, there are Christmas trees… it counts – and while we’re at it, Die Hard’s a Christmas movie.

Anyway, Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales is one of the best action-adventure games and it picks up one year after the first, starring a new homegrown webslinger thwipping through Harlem. If the original is like a filling festive feast, the kind that you need at least half a day to digest, then Miles Morales is the part of the day when you gorge yourself on smaller, equally delicious nibbles. Bitesize but still brilliant, with a shorter runtime in addition to new and improved mechanics.

Despite its smaller scope, it’s impressive that Insomniac Games and Nixxes Software manage to get that coveted Verified green tick. You might not need to dial back a few settings and stick to a frame rate cap of 40fps, but it’s amazing that we live in a time when we can take a full-blown desktop game outside.

Rollerdrome's skater wears a Christmas hat while toting guns

Rollerdrome

Santa didn’t bring you that pair of rollerskates you wanted? Don’t worry, Rollerdrome is here to fulfil your rolly dreams, albeit with a dystopian twist. Best of all? It’s perfectly playable on Steam Deck, so you can enjoy the closest thing to Tony Hawk with Guns without leaving the Christmas dinner table.

Rollerdrome is many things, but it’ll ultimately make you feel like a badass while you wear that garish Christmas jumper your nan forces upon you. Not to sound like a broken record, but Roll7’s high-score shooter plays like a violent version of Pro Skater, while its cell-shaded visuals help it pop on the Steam Deck’s vibrant screen. Pulling off tricks before blasting opponents in the face with various weapons is invigorating, and you won’t find anything else like it on Valve’s storefront.

It’s addictive, it’s thrilling, and if you haven’t popped Rollerdrome on your Steam Deck yet, do so before Saint Nick slides down your chimney. Keep in mind that if all of the above sounds too stressful, you can enable assists that’ll help you roll with ease. Keeping things chill is what Christmas should be all about, so we won’t judge you for not chasing high scores.

Elster stares through her glasses at the player, wearing a Christmas hat

Signalis

What’s better than cosying up on the couch with a handheld this Christmas? Snuggling up with a creepy PS1-style outing that’s begging to be played on Steam Deck, of course! Signalis is a third-person horror game that pairs Ghost in the Shell vibes with classic tank controls, and we’re absolutely here for it.

If you’re a fan of horror classics like Silent Hill and Resident Evil, picking up Signalis on Steam Deck is a no-brainer. The experience honours mechanics of old, like inventory management and rotating gunplay, but mixes in a menacing aesthetic that manages to feel both familiar and entirely new.

Signalis admittedly isn’t very festive, but if you’re the kind of player that’d choose watching Krampus over Miracle on 34th street, you’ll want to pop it on your Deck. Turn off the lights, and sustain yourself with Christmas chocolate as you venture through one of the best indie games of 2022.

Slay the Spire mage wears a Christmas hat while casting a spell

Slay the Spire

Christmas can be one of the busiest times of the year, so having a game that can be played in short bursts like Slay the Spire is always a good idea. That said, you’ll want to keep an eye on the clock while you play, as this card-based rougelike can be quite addictive, and you don’t want to be the one to blame for a scorched festive dinner.

Slay the Spire is a great Steam Deck anytime of the year, but uncovering the hidden dangers and delights of the titular spire should maintain that sense of anticipation after you’ve opened all your presents. Just be equally prepared to find as many powerful cards on your runs as you do enemies hoping to spoil your holiday spirit.

God of War's Kratos shows the head of Mimir to Jörmungandr, the latter of whom wears a tiny Christmas hat

God of War

If you’re looking to sink your teeth into an adventure as hearty as any Yuletide feast, complete with a bearded father figure, look no further than God of War. The action adventure game runs surprisingly well on the Steam Deck, which seems to be a running theme for Sony games that come to PC, and its narrative theme of family set against a snowy Midgard feels appropriate for Christmas.

Don’t let its bloodthirsty battles fool you, the brawn of this former PlayStation exclusive is equally matched by its brain and, most importantly, its heart. Check out our God of War review for a more detailed look at what makes this Nordic romp so epic.

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