The best free PC games

The CS2 key art.
(Image credit: Valve)

There are a ridiculous number of free PC games out there, so if you've been looking to save some cash without missing out on some great gaming, we've got options for you. You can have hours of fun completely free of charge—especially with the seasonal events and updates that roll out in every free-to-play live service game—but sifting through them to find what's worth playing is no small feat. 

If you don't know what you're looking for it can be challenging to find the right game, so we've split the best free games on PC into specific genres to make the process easier. We've also taken care to only spotlight the free-to-play games that rely on a battle pass or paid extras as an essential part of the experience. 

Best of the best

Baldur's Gate 3 - Jaheira with a glowing green sword looks ready for battle

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

2024 games: Upcoming releases
Best PC games: All-time favorites
Free PC games: Freebie fest
Best FPS games: Finest gunplay
Best MMOs: Massive worlds
Best RPGs: Grand adventures

We're keeping this list updated with all the best free PC games so you'll always know the next best game to jump into. If you want something to play regularly with friends like Fortnite or The Finals, or if you're looking for a browser game to pass the time, we've got everything you need right here.  

Or if you're looking for free giveaways that you can permanently add to your game library, make sure to check out Epic Games Store free giveaway list.

The best free PC games right now

(Image credit: Scienart Games)

The best new free games: June 2024

  • Ale & Tale Tavern: First Pints - This is a free version of a forthcoming paid survival sim, but considering how popular its proven, it'd be silly to overlook it. It's all about running a fantasy tavern, but of course, you'll need to go hunting in the open world, and there's all manner of other busywork to conduct. Could be a fun one if you have friends keen as well.
  • The Powder Toy - This physics sandbox isn't new per se, but after more than a decade it's finally hit Steam. Its garnered quite the cult following since 2008 thanks to its deceivingly powerful simulation prowess, and a flourishing UGC scene. If you like fiddling with dangerous toys, but don't want to blow your arm off, give it a look.

Free-to-play games

the finals

(Image credit: Embark Studios)

The best F2P games to play at the moment


🎯 The Finals - This fast-paced first-person shooter puts you in the center of a game show, and to win the prize you have to defeat the other team. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. The environment around you can be manipulated to both your and your opposing team's advantage, allowing both sides to create a playstyle that suits them.  


XDefiant - Ubisoft's long-in-development arena shooter is finally at large, and if you're after a bloat-free take on Call of Duty, Jake reckons it's worth a shot. It's very much subject to ongoing tweaks and improvement, but a free take on COD is worth a look.


🐉Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel - If you don't have the space or money to collect cards in person, then Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is your gateway into the strategy card game. Its vibrant visuals and fast-paced battles are bound to sink their claws into you and keep you entertained for hours.  


🔫Counter-Strike 2 - Valve's hugely anticipated CS:GO sequel released to the wider public in October, shedding the cost-of-entry associated with its predecessor. Yep, the skill ceiling is going to be pretty high here—it's one of the biggest competitive FPSs in the world—but if you want to dive in, well, it's free.


🤞 Marvel Snap - The new card game from former Hearthstone lead Ben Brode is unsurprisingly great (or surprisingly great, as some members of our team have found themselves hooked despite not caring about Marvel). It's in early access on Steam, but we'd recommend playing it on a smartphone.


🦸‍♀️ Overwatch 2 - Overwatch is now a F2P shooter, and the launch of a big new FPS is an exciting time to play, even if we're not thrilled about many of its changes. Yes, it's a bit of a mess, but it's a fresh one right now.


Fortnite - Still Fortnite, which means it's the same and radically different every time we look. Season 4 just launched, with an interesting new metallic goo mechanic that lets you phase through walls.


🔫 Apex Legends - Our go-to battle royale hasn't had any big shakeups recently, but it's still our pick for the best FPS to play on a sprawling, freeform map.

Free puzzle games

Free PC game: Cube Escape: The Cave

(Image credit: Rusty Lake)

Best free PC games: Puzzle

Transmute! - Play as a wizard who can transform into different objects. You might turn into a key to open a lock, or a boat to sail the open sea. And you’ll do so to unlock a friendly little fantasy world.

Mirror Isles - No list of puzzle games is really complete without a PuzzleScript game from Alan Hazelden, and Mirror Isles is one of the very best. It’s a top-down, Sokoban-style puzzler where you have to hop between islands, by using magic mirrors to swap places with your reflection.

Cube Escape - There’s a strange atmosphere to developer Rusty Lake’s series of locked room puzzle games. Getting out of each one will test your brain, but you’ll be even more taxed trying to figure out what’s going on in their bizarre universe.

Corrypt - What starts as a relatively simple block-pushing game ends as one where you’ll reshape the world, by using magic to reprogram the state of the environment.

The Republia Times - You're the editor of a newspaper in a totalitarian state in this game from the creator of Return of the Obra Dinn. Each day you must choose which stories to run and how much space to give them, impacting your paper's popularity and the government's approval with the general populace. Smart and cynical.

Free horror games

Free horror game No Players Online

(Image credit: papercookies)

Best free PC games: Horror

Project: Playtime - You and five other players will be challenged to create one giant toy in a creepy factory, but you're not entirely alone. A terrifying monster controlled by the seventh player is lurking in the shadows and destined to ruin your playtime by killing each teammate.  

No Players Online - In the spooky No Players Online, you log onto an old FPS server, but where you’re the only player in a futile game of Capture the Flag.

We Are Broken - An interactive visual novel where you must talk your way out of being eaten by a vampire. We Are Broken conjures a dark and cruel world with cutting visuals and music that makes your skin crawl.

Bleakshore - This chilling adventure uses the fuzzy, lo-fi aesthetic of PS1-era 3D graphics to create an impressively eerie atmosphere as a shadowy figure stalks you across the landscape...

Faith - Faith lures you into feeling secure—if a little jumpy—with its retro aesthetic, before it transcends its limitations in one shockingly scary moment.

David Lynch Teaches Typing - What begins as a friendly typing lesson from film director David Lynch slowly descends into a surreal, disorientating nightmare. At one point you have to touch a gross twitching bug. Great work, kiddo!

Best free strategy games

Free PC strategy game Terra Nil

(Image credit: Free Lives)

Best free PC games: Strategy

Goose Goose Duck - In a game of social deduction, you and your friends have to work together to discover the wolf among the sheep. Or, in this case, the other birds that have infiltrated your gaggle. If you've played Among Us, you'll be incredibly familiar with the format of this game, but with some cool additional options such as proximity chat.   

Dwarf Fortress - A complex game of colony management that’s still in development 18 years after its original inception. The incredible depth of its simulation doesn’t just add depth and challenge, it allows for emergent stories to arise as you play, giving your dwarves a life of their own.

Tiny Islands - You’re drawing maps of little islands in the sea here, by placing beaches, houses, even waves as random cards are dealt out to you. But placement is everything, as every icon has its own set of rules. 

Brogue - ASCII roguelikes have a reputation for being impenetrable. Brogue, despite staying true to the genre, works hard to feel approachable. The controls make navigating its dungeons a breeze, and the elegant shading makes its symbols atmospheric and readable.

Terra Nil - Terra Nil begins at the ultimate end of civilisation, letting you breathe life back into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In this relaxing, therapeutic anti-builder, you construct devices to cleanse the earth, and to regrow green plants and trees.

Best free Story & Adventure games

The Supper, a free story adventure game

(Image credit: Octavi Navarro)

Best free PC games: Story & Adventure

Unturned - It's the apocalypse, and you and a handful of friends are the final survivors. In this blocky, simple landscape, you and your companions have to now work together to forage, farm, hunt, and shelter from the environment. But you'll also have to master combat against any hordes of zombies that may threaten your bunker. 

Postmouse - In a treacherous world that towers over you, you have one purpose, and that is delivering letters from one place to another. But, as a tiny mouse, you'll have to navigate various landscapes and embark on some epic platforming to get there safely. It's not easy, and the story of this short but sweet game might move you to tears a few times, but it's worth playing if you're looking for a bitesize adventure. 

Deltarune: Chapters 1&2 - This sorta sequel to Undertale is packed with memorable characters, catchy tunes, and emotive dialogue. Chapter 2 released in 2021 and was a Big Deal for Undertale fans.

The Doll Shop - Blending horror with romance, The Doll Shop transports you to a small village, which is being buried under a relentless snowfall. It tells a sinister story involving creepy handmade dolls. The art is sublime and the ending is especially memorable.

The Supper - The Supper is a dark story of revenge that brings to mind Sweeney Todd. You play as a peg-legged tavern owner, who has to serve three very special dishes to a trio of horrible pirates, who really should have checked the Food Standards rating first...

Lockheart Indigo - This is a sci-fi detective game that feels a lot like a JRPG. You’ve arrived at a vast mansion to solve the murder of its former owner, but locked doors and suspects stand in your way.

The Herbalist - A wordless adventure about a traveller searching for a mysterious herb. You wander around its strange world trying to interpret symbols, in the hope of discovering the plant you need.

Off-Peak - Stranding you at an otherworldly train station, Off-Peak encourages you to explore, talk to the locals, and luxuriate in its strange atmosphere. It’s got an incredible sense of place, despite feeling like nowhere on Earth, and as you poke around its nooks and crannies, the true nature of its world is revealed piece by piece. 

Emily is Away - Party like it’s the early-’00s in this narrative game set in a chat client. You’ll get to know fellow high school student Emily through snippets of online conversations about life, love and indie rock music. If you enjoy this, paid-for sequel Emily is Away Too is worth checking out.

Olav and the Lute - An enigmatic adventure game set in a post-apocalyptic world, with a cracking central mechanic. Rather than combining objects with other objects, you're affecting the world with a lute by plucking at its colour-coded strings.

Free action & platformer games

Free curling game Cuckoo Curling

(Image credit: Chromacool)

Best free PC games: Action & Platformers

Eraser - What appears as a simple, 2D platformer quickly opens up into a far more in-depth experience as you hurl your stick figure toward an eraser. Rather than sticking to a traditional 2D format, you start to explore depth in each level, and as you travel you'll learn more skills like dodging or parrying, and even though the end seems to be constantly in sight, you can never quite get there. 

No strings attached - This adventure platformer has you controlling a sentient puppet in a struggling circus. Due to its issues, you're trying to escape, but as you get used to how it feels to control your body, you'll realise this is easier said than done.  

1Boss1Battle1Button - This tough rhythm game pits you against a scary Picasso-faced monster, and your only hopes of survival lie with a single button. Pressing it in time with certain beats lets you jump, crouch, and dodge out of the way of oncoming attacks.

N 2.0 - In this ultra hardcore platformer with simple controls and a minimalist aesthetic, the focus is entirely on quick, precise control. And lots and lots of practice.

Eggnogg+ - This is Nidhogg, but free, and with different moves, and a bit more tongue-in-cheek. Expect hyperactive duels in a series of arenas.

Cuckoo Curling - A fun four-player game that combines the rules of curling with Connect Four. An easy game to pick up and play with friends, you can play Cuckoo Curling in local or online multiplayer.

First Cut - Flashy fighting games are all well and good, but there’s something satisfying about the one-on-one sword duel, as evidenced in Square’s classic Bushido Blade. First Cut is that but in 2D, essentially, offering feudal Japan-themed duels against some truly beautiful pixel art backdrops.

Best free chill games

Toripon, a free chill PC game

(Image credit: Victoria Smith)

Best free PC games: Chill and relaxing

An average day at the cat cafe - You work in a cat cafe. Do I need to say anything more to persuade you to play this game? Each day, you'll serve a variety of quirky characters each demanding different drinks which you'll master the art of. It's simple but incredibly sweet, and hours pass in a flash once you start playing.

Good morning! - If you're not much of a morning person, then this sweet morning routine simulator may have you thinking otherwise. From making tea to starting your first project of the day, there's a lot to admire over a well-structured start to the day, even if your own is in shambles. Paired with a soft colour palette and some lo-fi beats, its easy to sink time into this sim. 

Toripon - You’re stuck inside your flat, thankfully with company. Instead of friends, your companions here are loads and loads of birds. Don’t look a gift parakeet in the mouth. Just sit back and explore your apartment, examining every nook and every crevice for your feathered friends.

Lieve Oma - Lieve Oma takes you on a relaxing jaunt through an autumnal wood on the hunt for mushrooms. As you scamper around, your granny follows slowly behind, teaching you about which mushrooms are okay to eat and teaching you her humble life lessons.

Forest Are For Trees - Walking through the forest is something that takes on new meaning in this mind-expanding exploration game, which is small and possibly infinite all at once. It’s a walking sim, sort of, where you traipse around an eerie woodland. But something funny happens when you make contact with a tree. Inside every tree there’s another forest full of ghostly trees.

Best weird and funny games

Funny free PC game Head Over Hooves

(Image credit: blarfnip)

Best free PC games: Comedy and Oddity

One-armed cook - This chaotic cooking simulator sells itself from the title. You have one arm to operate around a kitchen, and what comes next is nothing but destruction. To make things more complicated, you can take on the challenge of running a restaurant with a few pals, and probably lose a few of them in the process. 

Guano - You've got to do what seagulls do best in Guano, and that is being a nuisance. Between screaming at innocent bystanders and pooping on whatever is below, this witty game whisks you through what life would be like as one of the bird kingdom's biggest annoyances.  

Pet the Pup at the Party - You’ve run out of small talk at a rambunctious house party and before anyone notices how awkward you are, you must find a pooch and pet it.

Head Over Hooves: My Heart Bleats For You - An apocalyptic dating sim where you must make a goat fall in love with you and then sacrifice it to save the world from eternal damnation.

Alfonso's Bowling Challenge - This sort-of sports game swerves away from its premise quickly, building on its strange version of bowling until you’re making breakfast and chopping hair with your bowling ball. 

Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, And The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist - This team-up of The Stanley Parable creator William Pugh and stand-up comedian Simon Amstell takes you on a hilarious journey behind the scenes of a game falling apart at the seams.

The Book Of Beasts and Buddies - An interactive monster manual filled with curious creatures. Each page throws you into a brief Pokémon-inspired encounter, and through interacting with them you can gather your findings for the bestiary.

Stick Shift - As creator Robert Yang says, "Stick Shift is an autoerotic night-driving game about pleasuring a gay car." It’s part of an anthology with Hurt Me Plenty and Succulent, covering eroticism, politics and more. Stick Shift is funny while also offering food for thought.

Free classic games

(Image credit: Revolution Software)

Best free PC games: Classics

StarCraft - These days Blizzard sells a shiny remaster, but if the original’s good enough for South Korea, it’s good enough for us. There’s a reason that even today it’s an esports sensation – this iconic RTS remains a triumph of tight strategy and intense competition, with an incredible amount of depth for devotees to get lost in.

The Dark Mod - A tribute to the Thief series, this standalone game lets you download a massive variety of user-made stealth levels, from tightly contained ones like Thief’s Den to the more open variety of Return to the City, and plenty of spooky ones like The Creeps.

The Operative: No One Lives Forever - The classic stealth FPS, never re-released thanks to licensing hell. Its clever humour and charming 1960s setting hold up nicely, as do the arsenal of goofy, Bond-esque gadgets at your disposal. That includes lipstick bombs, sleeping gas perfume, and a briefcase rocket launcher.

The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall - 1996's Elder Scrolls sequel was huge and ambitious, letting you explore High Rock and Hammerfell. A lot of series staples, like joining the Mages Guild, started here.

Beneath a Steel Sky - This point-and-click adventure features art by Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons, a twisty sci-fi story, and a really goofy sense of humour. One of its neatest ideas is how you can stick your AI pal Joey’s electronic brain into different mechanical robots to solve puzzles.

The MS-DOS library - A collection of thousands of classic, free PC games playable in your browser. The MS-DOS collection on contains more than 4,000 games, all emulated and easy to play in just a few seconds. Wolfenstein 3D, Prince of Persia, Jazz Jackrabbit, Carmen Sandiego... you could spend a lifetime of lunch breaks in here. But then you might starve.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day. 

With contributions from