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Free to Play Linux Games on Steam

Free to Play Linux Games on Steam

In little over a year since the first stable version of Steam for Linux emerged, the number of Linux-supported games continues to grow at a rapid pace. Valve's digital game distribution currently hosts 376 games for Linux, with many quality commercial titles such as Shadowrun: Dragonfall, System Shock 2, and Europa Universalis IV to name-drop just a few of our favorites. With more game engines being natively ported to Linux, this trend is going to continue. For example, the CryEngine technology has recently been natively ported to Linux, so we could see ports of games like Ryse: Son of Rome and Crysis 3.

The fact that the Steam entertainment platform is available for Linux is testament to the demand for open systems from gamers and game developers. Prices are quite reasonable, with the majority of the Linux games on Steam costing under 10 pounds; price distribution is shown in the chart below.

Steam Game Distribution Prices

Yes, you are right! There are a small number of Linux games hosted on Steam that can be downloaded without a charge. None of the games featured in this article are released under a freely distributable license, and so they are not free in the sense of freedom. But if you want some fun and entertainment without exercising your wallet, look here. What is particularly pleasing is that there are some real gems. Let's check them out!

Dota 2

Dota 2 is a free Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) and real time strategy game. It is the stand-alone sequel to the Defense of the Ancients (DotA) mod. Dota 2 is a competitive game of action and strategy, played both professionally and casually by millions of passionate fans worldwide. Players pick from a pool of over a hundred heroes, forming two teams of five players.

The objective of the game is to destroy the enemy team's Ancient, a building located in their base. On the enemy's side of the map are buildings protecting the enemy Ancient that must be killed before a team can reach the enemy Ancient.

Features include:

  • An extremely rewarding and tense team-based multiplayer experiences
  • 9 standard game modes
  • 112 "Heroes" - strategically powerful player-controlled units with unique special abilities. All heroes have different abilities, starting numbers in attributes, and attribute gains per level
  • Seasonal events
  • Match-Making
  • Spectating live games and viewing replays:
    • Player Perspective
    • Free Camera
    • Follow Hero
    • Auto Camera
    • Commentator (if applicable)
    • Resume From Replay
  • Commend/Report Player
  • Item Suggestions
  • Cosmetic Item Store
  • Steam Community Item Workshop
  • Search for and download the replays of recent games
  • Bot Matchmaking System
  • A secondary low priority match-making pool for players who ruin games
  • Guide System
  • Guild System
  • Tutorial System

Dota 2 in action

 Dota 2

Closed Source

Valve Corporation

Steam Store

OS: Ubuntu 12.04
CPU: Dual core from Intel or AMD at 2.8 GHz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeaon HD2600/3600 (Graphic Drivers: nVidia 310, AMD 12.11), OpenGL 2.1
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
Sound Card: OpenAL Compatible Sound Card

Guide, Forums, Developer Forums, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook

Selected Reviews:
IGN, PC Gamer, EuroGamer

Star Conflict

Star Conflict is a free action-packed Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) space game where players control their own spaceships. The game uses instanced battles, with struggle for dominance in space sectors.

Three thousand years have passed since the first colonists left Earth. Now the galaxy is divided between the militant star empires and independent mercenary groups. In a remote corner of the galaxy — Sector 1337, the area of the dead — a world has been left behind. Here, the ruins of a great civilization of Precursors have recently been discovered. Huge factories and sprawling cities are falling into decay. Fragments of ships lie on the fields where massive battles were once fought. But there is not a living soul. Everything has been destroyed by a mysterious Cataclysm — a pulsing anomaly that burned out all life within this sector.

This doesn’t stop mankind, the new «owner» of the Universe. Mercenaries and adventurers have flocked to the sector to sift through the ruins and loot its abandoned artifacts, without consideration of the danger. Many have disappeared — including members of well-armed expeditions — but those who have managed to return have uncovered unprecedented riches. So looters continue to come here, to find the Precursors’ lost treasures — and to fight for them.

With the galaxy on the brink of war and the Precursors’ legacy at stake, elite pilots will be in high demand. Join them in Star Conflict, where a new era of space action awaits!

The project is built by Star Gem Inc. on the basis of the studio's in-house Hammer Engine.

Features include:

  • Beautifully textured, environments
  • Action-packed interplanetary skirmishes
  • 3 sides of conflict: the Empire, Federation and Jericho. Each side is divided into two factions, so the game has a total of six factions
  • 3 ship classes: light and fast interceptors, powerful fighters and well-defended frigates. Each class can carry out a specific role
  • Based on Player versus Player battles between two teams
  • Various PvP game modes
  • PvE missions, where players can group together to fight against AI-controlled enemies
  • "Custom Battle" mode which provides players with tremendous opportunities for choosing the type of gameplay that suits them best
  • Develop your abilities, establish specialized skills, and perfect your tactics
  • Support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset

Star Control

 Star Conflict

Closed Source

Stargem Games

Steam Store

OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, fully updated
CPU: 1.2 GHz or equivalent
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia, ATI, or Intel GPU with hardware-accelerated drivers
Hard Drive: 250MB free hard drive space

FAQ, Forums, The Wolfpack, Facebook, Twitter

Selected Reviews:
Mana Pool, The Mittani

Champions of Regnum

Champions of Regnum is a free to play MMORPG focused in epic Realm versus Realm (RvR) and Player versus Player (PvP) battles. Choose your Realm and engage in the most dynamic player driven battlefield available on any MMO. Fight for the Alsius Empire, protect the woods of Syrtis or avenge the Brotherhood of Ignis.

Champions of Regnum is an evolution of the Realms Online and Regnum Online brands.

This is not a grindfest, it’s all about large scale player vs. player gameplay. A free-to-play with premium content.

Features include:

  • 3 Classes - Decide what class is for you, the Warrior, Archer, or mage each with a subset of classes with extensive customization
  • 9 fully customizable player races
  • Realm versus Realm PvP - Fight for your side and conquer every realm you can
  • Champions of Regnum's realms are divided in three main zones:
    • The Initiation Zone
    • The Inner Zone
    • The War Zone
  • Player versus Environment
  • An ever-expanding number of quests
  • The ability to capture forts & castles
  • Expansive lands to explore
  • Realm vs. Realm is the main attraction of Champions of Regnum
  • Premium items for enhanced gameplay

    Champions of Regnum in action

 Champions of Regnum

Closed Source

NGD Studios

Steam Store

OS: Ubuntu 12.04
CPU: Core2Duo
Memory: 1024MB
Graphics: Shader Model 2.0 and 256 MB RAM: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or ATI 2600
Hard Drive: 4GB
Network: Broadband Internet connection

Forums, Facebook

Selected Reviews:

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For open source Linux games, check out our collection of Gaming Group Tests.

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Last Updated Sunday, August 17 2014 @ 08:59 AM EDT

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