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These Popular Games Run Great On Steam Deck

The launch of the Steam Deck handheld PC on Feb. 25, 2022 was a big deal, and not just because of the console's hefty size. While both fans and critics have their qualms about the console, including concerns about battery life and a unique controller configuration, the Steam Deck also has many gamers singing its praises. With powerful specs and a competitive price point for all three models, it's easy to understand why the Steam Deck is popular enough to warrant a massive production boom post-launch.

In addition to solid hardware and software, a key part of the Steam Deck's appeal is its integration with the massive library of games available on Steam. However, there are some significant gaps, since four of Steam's top 10 titles don't run on the Deck yet, including "Apex Legends" and "PUBG." Add to that the absence of "Fortnite" and fans are sure to feel skeptical about what's missing.

That being said, fans will be happy to learn that Valve is working towards the goal of getting the whole Steam library on the Deck. Part of that effort is a review process that sorts games into one of four categories. Verified games will work on Steam Deck "right out of the box," while those deemed Playable "may require some manual tweaking," and Unsupported and Unknown designations speak for themselves.

Though there's still plenty more to look forward to as the console evolves, the lineup of games currently available on Steam Deck boasts an impressive variety of popular titles across genres sure to keep players busy for a while.

Hades

The indie rogue-like dungeon crawler that made history as the first-ever video game to win a prestigious Hugo Award, "Hades" is worth all the hype and then some. With 98% of its tens of thousands of Steam reviews coming in positive, fans who haven't yet battled their way through the Greek mythology-inspired Underworld as Zagreus are in for a treat.

Weaving together an intricate plotline that puts a spin on lesser-known Greek legends with compellingly challenging combat, "Hades" is truly a masterpiece. If its standout status isn't enough to win fans over, its $24.99 price point on Steam might just do the trick, since it's a huge bargain for a game that offers hundreds of hours of ever-changing yet satisfyingly repetitive gameplay.

Developer and publisher Supergiant Games celebrated the verification of "Hades" on the Steam Deck by sharing a video of the game's audio director Darren Korb giving it a run on the new console. He said he's "super pleased it's working so well and feels so good to play" on the Deck, and the two-minute gaming session shared in the video looked smooth as can be.

Horizon Zero Dawn

There's literally no better time than the present to get into "Horizon," since "Zero Dawn" sequel "Forbidden West" just launched on Feb. 18, 2022 as a PS4 and PS5 exclusive. Though the latest installment in the series isn't perfect, critics and fans alike have found it to be a generally strong next chapter for Aloy.

As for the original, "Horizon: Zero Dawn" was first released as a PS4 exclusive until Sony expanded its availability to PC to reach a wider audience. The award-winning open-world action-adventure RPG offers a robust sci-fi plot, stunning scenery, and complex combat against enemies and Machines, the robot animals that are distinctive to the series. The game is wildly popular with impressive sales numbers and tens of thousands of positive reviews on Steam.

On the Steam Deck, multiple sources – like PCGamesN, The Gamer, and PushSquare –  found that "Horizon: Zero Dawn" runs solidly at 30fps, and though the graphics aren't the sharpest, performance is solid. This should come as a relief to players since the even more recent title "Horizon: Forbidden West" is capped at 30fps for PS4, and though the original title has been updated to run faster on PS5, 30fps will still get the job done.

Overcooked 2

"Overcooked 2" is the co-op game that will satisfy many gamers' appetites for something low-key, versatile, and engaging. An indie title by Ghost Town Games, "Overcooked 2" builds on the success of the original "Overcooked" by adding an online multiplayer function. Though the games are comparable in length when it comes to the main story, "Overcooked 2" has kept fans well-fed with a large number of free and paid updates over the years.

Whether playing solo or with up to four total players, gamers will get a kick out of cooking high up in the sky, underground in a mine, and everywhere in between. Chopping veggies, putting out kitchen fires, and scrambling to get everything plated before time is up makes for a thrilling co-op experience, with cute animal and human chefs to boot.

As for how things will run on the Steam Deck, "Overcooked 2" fans can expect things to go smoothly thanks to the game's verified status, as well as statements from Valve on both online and local multiplayer support on the console. For those who can't get enough of the wacky kitchen shenanigans, "Overcooked 2" pairs well with the original "Overcooked," which is also Steam Deck verified.

Dying Light

It may come as a surprise to gamers that popular 2015 first-person zombie survival horror "Dying Light" was once quite the underdog. Because of developer Techland's past problems with glitches in "Dead Island," hopes were low, but sales numbers immediately defied the odds and rocketed upwards.

"Dying Light" went on to become an award-winning title. In addition to exciting opportunities for gory combat, open-world city exploration, different modes for daytime and nighttime, and crafting for a solo player experience, "Dying Light" has a co-op mode. It's safe to say there's something for everyone in the game, as long as players are OK with a high amount of gratuitous violence.

Since its release, the "Dying Light" series has seen a new entry, Holiday 2021 release "Dying Light 2: Stay Human." As for what critics are saying about "Dying Light 2," it may not have the best story in the world, but the gameplay and parkour capabilities make it an absolute blast, like its predecessor. So, trying out "Dying Light" is well worth it for similar reasons, as it's likely "Dying Light 2" will eventually come to Steam Deck. Similar to "Horizon: Zero Dawn," "Dying Light" is an appealing pick for players since it opens the door for thrilling sequels.

With all the games available so far, Steam Deck gamers are in for a great variety of content.