As we head into 2023, it looks like the pace of new game releases won’t slow down at all. I assumed that the last weeks of November and December might see only a handful of games with most waiting for January and February of 2023. I was wrong, because I don’t remember having that many games that I have been interested in playing so close. until the end of the year. Many of the games have been released on Steam and some are PC-only titles. For this new Steam Deck feature, I wanted to highlight the best new PC-only games worth playing on Steam Deck.
The games shown here are in no particular order and are not currently available on any console. Some of them will likely be on console sometime next year, but they’re only available on PC right now. This feature has been more fun than usual because many of the games have been built to be played with a keyboard and mouse. It has led me to go down the Steam Input rabbit hole and see the fantastic work done by the users to make these keyboard and mouse titles work well on the Steam Deck. This feature only includes games that were recently released or early access titles that received major updates this year. I’ll also mention Valve’s Single Play Steam Deck Compatibility Rating.
The best new PC-only games to play on Steam Deck
Victoria 3 is a great strategy game that’s designed to be played with keyboard and mouse, but I had a lot of fun playing it on the Steam Deck (and brought the save back to my laptop). It doesn’t have controller support, but a community design solved my problems. The gameplay perfectly suits the pick up and play nature of Steam Deck, and I’ve enjoyed playing it on the go and over coffee recently. This is the first Victoria game I’ve played, so I’m not sure how it compares to previous entries, but the dozens of hours I’ve put into it so far definitely makes me want to check out the previous games. I’m really looking forward to seeing the DLC when it releases in the future as well. Victoria 3 has been one of the best surprises of the year and is dangerously addictive on Steam Deck. Valve’s Victoria 3 Steam Deck compatibility is playable.
Potionomics is a game I’ve been following for years whenever Xseed Games introduced it at events or had new information to reveal on Twitter. It was finally released in October of this year and it has been a pleasant surprise with its mix of different mechanics and great character designs. The combination of deck building, dating sim and shop management works surprisingly well with a focus on the added minimum. It needs a bit of quality of life improvements with its interface, but Potionnomics is still one of the best PC exclusives I’ve played so far in 2022. Steam Deck compatibility of Valve’s Potionnomics is Deck checked.
The case of the golden idol
The Case of the Golden Idol is a surprisingly challenging and inventive mystery puzzle game from developer Color Gray Games and publisher Playstack. It gives you a lot of freedom with how you can approach things and reminds me why I enjoyed Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn. Like some of the other games on this list, I’m sorry I didn’t try it sooner. It’s also perfect for the Steam Deck, but I look forward to seeing it come to iPad in the future. More people need to play this, and it’s the rare experience without padding. I can’t wait to see what this developer does next. Steam Deck compatibility of Valve’s The Case of the Golden Idol is playable.
Monochromatic Mobius: hits and misses forgotten
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten shouldn’t be in this feature, but it was only released on Steam outside of Japan. The Japanese release is on PS5, PS4, and Steam. With that out of the way, Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten is the newest release in the long-running Utawarerumono series, and this one is a JRPG compared to previous entries that are visual novels with some tactical RPG battles. While this is supposed to be a prequel, I definitely enjoyed it a lot more having played the Utawarerumono trilogy games before. Of all the games on this list, chances are you haven’t heard of Monochrome Mobius. If you haven’t, consider playing Utawarerumono because those stories and characters are sublime.
so madness lies
Cosmic Star Heroine by Zeboyd Games is one of my favorite indie RPGs. When the studio announced This Way Madness Lies, I didn’t even bother to watch the trailers or read about them. I bought it the moment it was released on Steam and was blown away by how good it is. It feels like a mix of Sailor Moon and JRPG. Right now it’s PC only and works great on Steam Deck. I enjoyed Cosmic Star Heroine more on PS Vita and then on Nintendo Switch, so it made sense to play This Way Madness Lies on a laptop from the start. Steam Deck compatibility of Valve’s This Way Madness Lies is playable.
Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga
This year has been an incredible one for tactical RPGs with Square Enix releasing Triangle Strategy and the new version of Tactics Ogre: Reborn on all platforms. A tactical RPG that more people need to play is Dancing Dragon Games and Freedom Games’ Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga. This turn-based 2D SRPG focuses on squads with a long campaign. While the story itself is a bit weak, the gameplay and customization elevate it to make it an easy recommendation for those looking to delve into a wonderful class-heavy tactical RPG. Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga feels like a modern take on older console tactical RPGs in many ways. Symphony of War: Valve’s The Nephilim Saga Steam Deck compatibility is playable.
Baldur’s Gate III
Having adored both Divinity Original Sin games across all platforms, I was a little disappointed when Baldur’s Gate III released only on PC via early access with no sign of a console version. While it could eventually appear on consoles, Larian announced that the PC version will hit 1.0 in August 2023. Until then, the early access version right now is a surprisingly good RPG, and it works surprisingly well on Steam. Deck. The only drawback is the huge installation size. If you’re okay with a bit of tweaking for the controls (no official controller support at this time), you’re in for an exceptional time with Baldur’s Gate III on the Steam Deck. Although this game debuted in early access before 2022, it has been updated throughout the year. Valve’s Baldur’s Gate III Steam Deck compatibility is playable.
When it was announced that Dwarf Fortress would be releasing on Steam, my Twitter timeline blew up with people celebrating. I wasn’t familiar with Dwarf Fortress, but decided it was time to experience it. With the release of Steam, I’ve been slowly learning to play the game and I’m also impressed with the capabilities of Steam Input. The community has some amazing skins for Dwarf Fortress already using both trackpads on the Steam Deck. Dwarf Fortress itself looks like something I’m going to spend dozens of hours on over the next few weeks. The only problem at the moment is the lack of cloud saves to bring your progress to your PC. Hopefully that gets fixed soon. Until then, Dwarf Fortress continues to hallucinate. Dwarf Fortress has not currently been tested by Valve for Steam Deck compatibility, but it is perfectly playable in my tests.
ASTLIBRA Revision launched in October and I had no idea it existed until a few weeks ago. Some of my friends suddenly started posting about it and told me I would enjoy it. I decided to take a chance and I regret not playing it again in October. ASTLIBRA Revision might be one of the best 2D action RPGs I’ve ever played. The demo available on Steam gives you a good idea of the combat, but I’m surprised at how good the story is. I had an audio issue when running ASTLIBRA Revision on the Steam Deck, but I easily fixed it by changing one of the game options. Right now ASTLIBRA Revision is priced well below what it offers and how good it is. I hope more people play it. I’m looking forward to revisiting it when it potentially comes to console. At this time, it is only for PC. Valve’s ASTLIBRA Revision Steam Deck compatibility is playable.
Knights of Honor II: Sovereign
Knights of Honor II: Sovereign is the first game in the series that I have played. Specifically, I wanted to play this now because I’ve been a huge fan of the Total War games for a while and have recently been getting into Crusader Kings III. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign feels like a nice accessible take that combines aspects of each series. As someone completely new to Knights of Honor, he also does an excellent job with his tutorial and has fantastic music. I’ve been using a community layout to play this on the Steam Deck and, barring the size of the interface, I love the time I’ve spent with it. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign is currently untested, but it works fine on Steam Deck, unless the interface is too small.
This is our final Steam Deck of the Year feature ahead of the Game of the Year coverage we’re working on. I also have some Steam Deck reviews coming soon, including Need for Speed Unbound, so stay tuned for those.
Interested in more lists? Check out our other Steam Deck recommendations!