Playing Ten Different Game Genres on the Steam Deck: What Works and What Doesn’t

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It becomes easier every day to know which games will simply work on a Steam Deck; the list of games rated by Steam Verified grows steadily, and SteamDB also tracks playable and unsupported games. Yet while these might be old favorites you’ve already spent hours in on a desktop, you might still be wondering How? ‘Or’ What these games play when transplanted to the smaller screen and gamepad controls of a handheld.

Liam was wondering, anyway. So he chose ten different genres of the most played games on Steam, asked me to play at least one game that would broadly represent each, and report on which ones are most (and least) suitable for the life on the Steam Deck.

You can listen to our full chat in the video above, while enjoying the predictable results of my attempt to play Super Meat Boy for perhaps the second time in 12 years. That said, even this fastest and trickiest 2D platformer isn’t a challenge for the Deck’s hardware, and games I was sure would suffer without a mouse and keyboard – like Tropico 6 and Total War: Three Kingdoms – adapts pretty well to gamepads. and buttons. The right trackpad can often fill out mouse commands effectively too, but beware that it sometimes feels more precise in some games than others.

The biggest recurring issue is the 7-inch, 1280 x 800 display leaving some text looking like fine print, which can leave some high-strategy games playing a little… dodgy? The Deck has its own OS-level zoom feature, which unfortunately isn’t called Hold on mode, I’ll need my glasses, but help – expect to use it a lot when playing Total War or Crusader Kings III.

Learn more about how the Steam Deck handles grand strategy and nine other styles – racing, shooters, open world, MMO, and more. – watch Liam’s video. And if you’re specifically curious about how long Valve’s mobile PC will last when running different games, head over to our Steam Deck battery life guide. I’m taking game-testing requests from you cool, smart RPS readers in the comments.

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