42 of the Best Free Linux Games

Last Updated on December 10, 2018

“Can I game on it” is a frequently asked question we hear from Windows users toying with the idea of trying Linux for the first time. Well, the simple answer is yes!

To demonstrate the level of sophistication available, we have put together a list of 42 high quality Linux games that all have the virtue of being free to play.

To ensure that there is something of interest here for every type of gamer, we have covered a wide variety of computer game genres, including the ever popular First Person Shooters (FPS), Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), as well as arcade games, board/puzzle games and more.

To be eligible for inclusion in this list each game needed to meet the following requirements:

  • Free to play (no download charge, no monthly charge).
  • Does not require Wine to run. Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows software.
  • Not in the early stages of development.

The only sort of exception we made was to include the game OpenTTD, a personal favorite which we could not see miss the list. OpenTTD needs the MS Windows or DOS version of Transport Tycoon Deluxe. But assuming you already have the game, OpenTTD lets you play it for free natively under Linux.

Our three requirements automatically excluded a whole raft of high quality games that run under Linux. There are a collection of titles where a no-charge client is available for download, but where the game requires a small monthly subscription to play online. Notables examples of games which fall into this category include EVE (a massive multiplayer online game set in a science-fiction based world), Vendetta (a massively multiplayer online role-playing game), and Savage 2 (a fantasy and science-fiction themed game that combines elements of the first-person shooter, real-time strategy, and action role-playing game genres). Subscription based Linux games will be covered in a future article.

Wine has reached a level of maturity that it lets you play a wide range of commercial Windows games. This enables gamers to enjoy classics such as World of Warcraft, the king of the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (which has over 11 million subscribers), Half-Life 2, Silkroad Online, Planescape, Day of Defeat: Source Steam, Call of Duty 2 etc etc. We’ll also cover the world that Wine opens up in a separate article together with commercial native Linux games too.

There is no particular reason why the compilation is confined to a mere 42 games. There are, of course, many, many hundreds of other free Linux games that are great fun to play. But we had to stop somewhere. In any case 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything (Douglas Adams, The Hitcherhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

We published the second part in this series, which is available to read here.

We published the third part in this series, which is available to read here.

Now, let’s explore the 42 games at hand. For each game we have compiled its very own portal page, providing screenshots of the game in action, a full description of the game, with an in-depth analysis of the features of the game, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Linux Games
Alien Arena 2008Fast paced deathmatch shooter
AstroMenace3D Scrolling Space shooter
NexuizChaotic and intense multiplayer First Person Shooter
OpenArenaBased on the Quake III Arena source, similar to Open Quartz
Secret Maryo ChroniclesTwo-dimensional, sidescrolling jump-and-run platform game
TremulousAliens vs Humans action/strategy First Person Shooter
Urban TerrorTotal conversion/stand-alone First Person Shooter
WarsowFast Paced First Person Shooter
Armagetron AdvancedEnhanced version of Armagetron, a 3D lightcycle game
Critical MassSpace shoot'em up
ManiaDriveClone of Trackmania: 3D, stunts and skills
StepmaniaRhythm video game
SuperTuxKart3D kart racing game, with many tracks, characters, and items
WarmuxWorms clone
CrossfireCooperative multiplayer graphical RPG and adventure game
DaimoninMassive Multi-player online RPG
NetHackClassic dungeon crawling
Battle for WesnothFantasy turn-based where you battle for control of villages
FreecivTurn-based multiplayer empire-building
FreeColImplementation of Colonization
FreeOrionGalactic Conquest
Glest3D real-time customizable strategy
Scorched 3DBased on the classic DOS game Scorched Earth "The Mother Of All Games"
SpringGameplay experience of Total Annihilation (TA) into three dimensions
UFO: Alien InvasionX-COM inspired turn based 3D strategy game
Warzone 2100 RP3D realtime strategy set on a future Earth
FlightGearGeneral Aviation Flight Simulator
Frets On FireMusical skill and fast fingers
OpenTTDClone of the Microprose game "Transport Tycoon Deluxe"
TORCSRacing Car Simulator
FooBillardOpenGL-billard game with realistic physics, AI-player and many gametypes
Slam Soccer 2006Comic style football game
AtlantikMonopoly-like game
KMahjonggMahjongg Solitaire
PyChessChess Client
Fish Fillets NGPort of Fish Fillets from Altar Interactive
Frozen BubbleThrow colourful bubbles to build groups and destroy the groups
NeverballTilt the floor to roll a ball through an obstacle course
PingusLemmings-like game
GemRBClone of BioWare's Infinity Engine
Sauerbraten3D game engine
ScummVMInterpreter for 2D adventure games with several integrated engines
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

There are also fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.
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6 years ago

what about 0ad?

6 years ago

Hi and thank you for this this clear summary.

I agree with Steve and may add

“Team fortress II”
“Wolfenstein : Enemy Territory”
“Transmissions: Element 120”

which are popular and compliant with the 3 requirements.