Home Tech 13 Best Games On Linux That You Can Play In 2021

13 Best Games On Linux That You Can Play In 2021

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Linux is one of the most widely used and popular operating systems on the planet. The popular system found fame when it was released in the mid-1990s.

Linux is present in nearly all home appliances, computers, cars, stock exchanges, and even runs most internet. Linux rivals other operating systems such as Windows and is the driving force behind Android. The operating system is one of the most secure and easy-to-use systems on the market today.

Furthermore, you can play a vast range of video games on Linux. Such games include Half-Life and even Shadow of Mordor. This article will outline the 13 Best Games On Linux that you can play in 2021. 

Best Games On Linux – Our Top Pick👌

  • Alien Isolation 
  • Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
  • Shovel Knight
  • Minecraft
  • Ark Survival Evolved
  • Civilization Series 
  • Rocket League
  • The Sims 
  • Half-Life Series 
  • Axiom Verge 
  • Apotheon 

1. Alien Isolation 

Alien Isolation is a survival horror game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. The game is set in the Alien universe and follows Amanda Ripley’s daughter Ellen Ripley as she seeks to uncover the truth behind her mothers disappearance.

Along the way, Ellen encounters the Alien, a terrifying creature that starts to stalk her. As highlighted, Alien Isolation is a survival horror game that has Ellen use every trick in the book to survive the Alien.

Best Games On Linux

The game is terrifying, with numerous jump scares, tense moments, and epic encounters. Alien Isolation is a real survival game at its heart and one of the best on the market.

It blends narrative storytelling with survival-based gameplay in the perfect way. It balances between a rich story featuring realistic third-person graphics and survival mechanics, making certain actions in the game feel like life or death.

Alien Isolation is a fantastic addition to the Alien universe and one of the greatest survival games of all time. The game is popular amongst twitch streamers due to its laugh-out-loud nature and the perfect game to play with friends.

Alien Isolation is available on PC consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Linux. It is one of the best games you can play on Linux and an all-time great. When Alien Isolation was released in 2014, the game scored an impressive 83 on Metacritic.

Alien: Isolation - Launch Trailer (Official)

2. Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor is a third-person action game set in the Lord of The Rings universe. The game follows Talion, a ranger of Gondor who Sauron’s evil servants kill.

Who seeks revenge on his family, who are also slaughtered. Talion is resurrected as a wraith by Celebrimbor, an ancient being who was the original creator of the rings of power.

The story follows Talion and Cellibringbore as they seek to halt Saurons evil plans. The game is the first in the Middle Earth series and the first to introduce the Nemesis system.

This operating system dynamically tracks player engagement with enemies, creating interesting encounters through NPC’s learning from past mistakes.

The system consists of a hierarchy of orcs to kill, with each victory giving you more information about the next and more powerful enemy. Thus, the game never gets old and is always interesting.

Alongside the Nemesis system, a dynamic combat system consists of combos and third-person action gameplay. Chaining enemy attacks allows you to summon powerful moves and abilities, giving you the upper edge in combat.

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor also deepened the lore of the Lord of the Rings Universe, introducing brand new characters, reintroducing old ones, and taking players to familiar locations.

The game also got DLC taking players back to the forging of the One Ring, pitting you against Sauron as he begins to consolidate his power.

Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor also got a sequel in Middle Earth Shadow of War, taking the battle further to Sauron. When the game was first released in 2014, the game scored a high 87 from critics. 

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - Story Trailer

3. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is a Star Wars action RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Lucasarts.

The game follows the protagonist as they seek to stop the evil sith lords Darth Nillus and Darth Sion trying to take over the galaxy. The game is set around four thousand years before the Phantom Menance and a few years after the first Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic.

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It follows on from the story of the first game, after the end of the sith wars. Darth Revan has fled the galaxy, and Darth Malek is defeated. The Jedi are also all but extinct, with the sith empire hunting them down.

The game has you hunt down the remaining Jedi to tackle this new sith threat. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords lets you travel across various planets, encounter new enemies, and forge friendships. The game also reintroduced old characters to the game present in the previous game, such as Canderous ordo.

Furthermore, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords improves much on the previous game by introducing improved graphics, updated controls, and smoother gameplay.

The game remains much the same in gameplay mechanics with near-identical RPG combat and a similar skill-based system. You can level up your character, granting them new abilities through awarding skill points to certain attributes.

Although these skill trees remain much the same in terms of structure and purpose, they feature brand new skills and abilities not present in the previous game.

All in all, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is one of the best RPGs of all time and one of the best Star Wars games, period. The game is well suited to Linux and can be played effortlessly using the operating system.

When Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was released in 2004, the game scored well, scoring an average score on Metacritic of 86.

Hopefully, the remake of the first Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic will score just as well when it releases sometime soon.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords - Gameplay video

4. Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight is a 2D retro platformer available on Linux and Nintendo consoles. The game follows a brave Shovel Knight as he seeks to bring order to his land—shovel Knight ventures on a quest to take down several evil Knights and unite his kingdom.

The game is heavily inspired by the Mega Man series, featuring several different bosses with unique designs and move sets. You have to defeat each boss to progress through the story, like within the Mega man series of games.

The game features retro 8 and 16-bit graphics also a stunning soundtrack inspired by old retro games. Shovel Knight is a masterclass in level design and gameplay, featuring butter-smooth platforming gameplay alongside vibrant, engaging levels.

The game’s graphics are also stunning, with a 2D/3D layered background that is jaw-dropping. Furthermore, Shovel Knight also controls well and is easy to pick up for new players.

13 Best Games On Linux That You Can Play In 2021

However, the game can be brutally difficult and is not for the faint-hearted with challenging level design and gameplay. Although the game never got a sequel, it did get DLC which added new twists to the game, such as putting you in the shoes of the infamous Plague Knight.

Likewise, the Shovel Knight series also got a puzzle game known as Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon, an action-adventure puzzle game developed by LA-based Yacht Club Games. It takes the classic retro look and feel from the original Shovel Knight and adds a dungeon-crawling twist.

Pocket Dungeon incorporated what fans loved about the original game, including 8-16 bit music and graphics, and combined them with top-down block falling puzzle mechanics similar to Candy Crush.

The game added “groundbreaking” dungeon crawling elements to battle enemies using a unique combat system enabling chain attacks, health pickups, and powerups. 

Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon also included features such as the ability to take control of 10 characters from the Shovel Knight universe, loadout customization, and a range of game modes such as two-player versus mode.

Pocket Dungeon also included Amiibo functionality unique to the Nintendo Switch and a brand new story that keeps the classic tongue-in-cheek storytelling and humor of the original Shovel Knight.

As a result, the Shovel Knight series is branching out, expanding into new genres of gaming. When Shovel Knight was first released in 2014, the game scored an impressive 92 on Metacritic, making it one of the best platformers of all time. 

Shovel Knight - Official Trailer #2 (Official)

5. Minecraft

Minecraft has to make this list as one of the best games on Linux. It is not only one of the most sold games of all time, selling nearly 200 million units, but also one of the most highly rated games of the last decade.

Mojang first released Minecraft in 2011 and created a cultural phenomenon. Minecraft was the first game of its style and became an instant hit amongst children and older gamers.

It is one of the first games of its genre to reach such a large audience, capturing the imagination of gamers of all ages. Minecraft is at its heart a survival game that involves block-based crafting and building.

13 Best Games On Linux That You Can Play In 2021

The game allows you to build houses, weapons, and tools so that you can survive in the wild. Although Minecraft is over a decade old, the game is still one of the most popular games to play with friends.

The game is also highly popular amongst streamers and Youtube, with Minecraft-based videos getting millions of views every day. The pure simplicity of the game, combined with its intuitive crafting gameplay, made Minecraft not only relaxing but therapeutic to play.

Despite Minecraft never getting a sequel, the Minecraft series did get another entry to its series, in the form of Minecraft Dungeon, a unique, isometric dungeon crawler game, similar to the Diablo franchise with loot based objectives.

Although the game was not an instant success like Minecraft, the game does have a large player base and is enjoyed by fans of the franchise.

All in all, when Minecraft was first released, the game scored an impressive 93 on Metacritic and a high user score. It is undoubtedly one of the best games you can play on Linux right now. 

Minecraft at E3: Super Duper Graphics, cross-platform play and more!

6. Ark Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved is a third-person action-adventure survival game that puts you in the shoes of a stranded, washed-up protagonist who must survive on an island full of Dinosaurs. Ark: Survival Evolved was developed by Wild Card and released in 2017.

The game featured a sprawling dinosaur-filled open world, full of secrets to discover and mysteries to solve. The game featured dynamic weather systems, lush and vibrant biomes, and a huge variety of Dinosaur and animal types. Ark: Survival Evolved featured an intuitive crafting system, allowing you to craft weapons, tools, and materials to build housing.

Ark: Survival Evolved is one of the most complex survival games on the market, giving you the ability to tame dinosaurs and go to war against neighboring tribes on the back of your T-Rex.

Thus, the game is extensive, with a ton of content to explore. Likewise, Ark: Survival Evolved got several DLC installments introducing new maps, Dinosaurs, and features, adding even more content to the game. Ark: Survival Evolved is due to get a sequel soon, with Ark 2, exclusive to Xbox.

The game will feature Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel and introduce new features to the series. When Ark: Survival Evolved was released in 2017, the game received great reviews scoring an average of 70.

ARK: Survival Evolved on Nintendo Switch, Coming 30 November 2018!

7. Civilization Series 

The Civilisation series is the best strategy video game series on the market. Civilization is a top-down live-action strategy series that has you take control of certain historical armies and puts you in charge.

The games consist of procedurally generated maps and take on several different objectives, such as military conquest to achieve victory. The game puts you against computer AI, which controls other Kingdoms on the map.

The first game in the series was released in 1991 and developed by legendary developer Sid Meier. Each game in the series is centered on building up a civilization from the beginning of time to the present day.

The games make you invest in technology and infrastructure to build up cities and society. Civilization is an all-time great strategy game and deserves to be on this list as one of the best Linux games.

In total, the civilization series has sold around 40 million units worldwide and has been reviewed well across the board.

Civilization VI – Announce Trailer | Xbox One

8. Rocket League 

Rocket League is one of the most popular competitive video games of all time. Rocket League was first released in 2017 by developers Psyonix and took the world by storm due to its highly competitive nature and fun gameplay.

Rocket League is essentially car football, with the main aim to score in your opponent’s goal. The game consists of player vs player gameplay and ranked gameplay.

In player vs player, you can compete against your friends, people online, or against AI. AI gameplay varies in difficulty as well as matches online. Players match make, depending on how good they are.

In terms of ranked competitive play, players can enter tournaments and compete via ranked matches. The more you win, the better your ranked score, the more you lose, the worse it is. Thus, ranked matches are highly competitive and raise the gameplay stakes.

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Rocket Leagues matchmaking and servers are superb due to their excellent online infrastructure. Therefore, the game is highly sought after for competitive play by professional gamers.

Rocket League runs regular Esports tournaments alongside leagues. Gamers from across the globe compete for dominance in the Rocket League arena for huge prize winnings.

Although Rocket League is an older game, it is still just as popular now as it was when it was released in 2017. It has never been more popular. Part of that popularity comes from competitive play but is also down to how fun the game is.

Rocket League is a blast to play with friends and one of the best party games on the market. Likewise, the game also features heavy customization options such as the ability to change cars, customize your paint job and even add toppers to your vehicle.

Similarly, the game allows you to customize your goal finishers. Thus, the game is also great from a creative standpoint. As a result, Rocket League is one of the best Linux games.

It appeals to a large target audience, from competitive gamers to more casual gamers who want to beat their friends at a party. As a result, the game reviewed exponentially well when released in 2017, scoring an 85 on Metacritic.

Rocket League® - Neo Tokyo Trailer

9. The Sims

The Sims is the most well-known simulation game ever. Sims was originally released in 2000 on PC, and its success saw the release of countless other games in the series, from Sims Pets to My Sims.

It was one of the first simulation games to hit the big time due to its realistic simulation elements. The Sims effectively had you dictate and control the lives of Sims, virtual humans that act very similar to us.

You could make your Sim, walk the dog, eat some food. Or even buy a house. You could invite friends over to visit you and practically live out your dream life.

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Sims was popular for this reason, allowing you to live your best life online, creating an addictive experience that was constantly gratifying.

Sims, as a result, gained a huge fan base and saw large sales numbers, which helped push out sequels to the game, such as Sims 2 and 3. The Sims also helped to reinvigorate the simulation genre, inspiring countless simulation games and tycoon builders.

The game set the gold standard for simulation, showing what games can do to mimic real-life effectively. Without Sims, gaming would be very different. When The Sims was released in 2000, the game scored high amongst critics scoring a 92 and a user score of 8.

10. Half-Life 

The Half-Life series is one of the most highly rated game series of all time. It is a first-person shooter series developed by Valve and published by Sierra Studios.

In the series, players take control of the protagonist Gordon Freeman. Gordon is a scientist who works at the Black Mesa Research Facility.

In the first game, Aliens invade the research facility; Gordon must escape the facility, fighting aliens and humans along the way.

 Half-Life was well known for its immersive first-person shooter gameplay, giving you complete control of Gordon without the interruption of cutscenes.

Half-Life 2 was later released in 2004 as a sequel to the first Half-Life game, set around 20 years after the first game’s events. The game once again follows Gordon Freeman as he takes on aliens.

In this game, Gordon joins a resistance movement to liberate Earth from the Combine, an alien race that has taken over the planet. Over the years, developers Valve have tried to release several new titles in the series but failed.

The most recent installment in the series was released in 2020, Half-Life Alyx, a prequel to Half-Life 1 and 2. When released, Half-Life Alyx was reviewed well amongst critics, scoring a 93 from critics.

Although not as high as its predecessors, with both scoring 96, the game is highly rated and a great pre-sequel to the first two games.

Overall, the Half-Life series is one of the best game series of all time. Each game in the series is highly rated amongst critics for featuring great graphics, excellent gameplay, and fantastic narratives. These are special games and one of the best game series you can find on Linux.

Hal Life 1 - Official GameSpot trailer / High Quality, Stereo

11. Axiom Verge 

Axiom Verge is a 2D action platforming game developed by Thomas Happ Games and released in 2015 across consoles.

The game is a sidescroller Metroidvania game that follows protagonist Trace, who seeks to uncover the mysteries of her surroundings after waking up from a debilitating injury in a new world.

The game features over 60 different powerups and items, adding considerable gameplay depth. Axiom Verge is a great game that any fan of sidescrolling 2D platformers should check out.

If you are a Metroid fan, you will love this game. It is well worth picking up. When Axiom verge was released in 2017, the game scored very well, with scores in the high 80’s. Thus, the scores speak for themselves. 

13 Best Games On Linux That You Can Play In 2021

12. Apotheon 

If you mix the context of ancient Greece with 2D sidescrolling platforming, you will get Apotheon. Apotheon is a 2D sidescroller that has you take charge of protagonist Nikandreos, who seeks to defeat and kill the Greek Gods, which want to starve Earth to death.

The game uses classic hack and slash combat and has you wield the power of the Gods to take them down. Apotheon features great intuitive action combat/ gameplay and a stunning art style based on ancient Greek pottery.

Apotheon is one of the most underrated 2D sidescrolling games and is one of the best Linux games of the genre. The game takes inspiration from the likes of God of War and creates a completely new story worthy of ancient Greek Mythology.

When Apotheon was first released in 2015, the game scored well, scoring in the high 70’s amongst critics. If you enjoy history and, more specifically, ancient Greek history, this game will be right up your alley.

13 Best Games On Linux That You Can Play In 2021

Final Thoughts 

Overall, the Linux operating system is a great place to play games. It features triple-A big-budget titles such as Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor and smaller indie titles like Axiom Verge. Likewise, Linux also includes some all-time classics such as the Half-Life series and 

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Thus showing the sheer diversity of games the Linux plays. This article has highlighted the 13 Best Games On Linux you can play for free in 2021.

It has highlighted the considerable breadth of games available on the system and how capable the operating system is with larger games such as Ark Survival Evolved being played easily on the system. Similarly, Linux has shown to have a large library rivaling other platforms in terms of gaming.

All in all, Linux is a great operating system that can play games to its full potential. It will be interesting to see in the future how Linux fits into the rising gaming metaverse and how it performs with Unreal Engine 5.

Likewise, as Apple continues to take a significant portion of the mobile gaming market share, it will be intriguing to see how Linux can compete with IOS in the future.