As we head into 2023, it looks like the pace of new game releases is not going to slow down at all. I figured the last few weeks of November and December might just see a handful of games with most waiting for January and February 2023. I was wrong, because I can’t remember having so many games I’ve been interested in playing release this close to the end of the year. A lot of the games have been releasing on Steam with some being 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 featured here are in no particular order, and are currently not available on any console. Some of them likely will be on console next year, but right now they are only available on PC. This feature has been more fun than usual because a lot of the games have been built for keyboard and mouse gameplay. It has led me to getting into the Steam Input rabbit hole and seeing the fantastic work done by users to make these keyboard and mouse titles play well on Steam Deck. This feature only includes games that have been recently released or early access titles that have gotten major updates this year. I will also be mentioning the individual game Steam Deck compatibility rating from Valve.
Best new PC-only games to play on Steam Deck
Victoria 3 is a grand strategy game that’s designed for playing with keyboard and mouse, but I’ve had a ton of fun with it on Steam Deck (and bringing back the save to my laptop). It has no controller support, but a community layout sorted out my issues. The gameplay perfectly suits the pickup and play nature of the Steam Deck, and I’ve enjoyed playing it while traveling and while grabbing a coffee recently. This is the first Victoria game I’ve played, so I’m not sure how it compares to prior entries, but the dozens of hours I’ve put into it so far definitely make me want to check out prior games. I’m looking forward to checking out the DLC when it releases in the future as well. Victoria 3 has been one of the nicest surprises of the year, and it is dangerously addictive on Steam Deck. Victoria 3’s Steam Deck compatibility from Valve is playable.
Potionomics is a game I’ve been following for years whenever Xseed Games showcased it at events or had new information to reveal on Twitter. It finally released in October this year, and has been a lovely surprise with its blend of different mechanics and great character designs. The combination of deckbuilding, dating simulation, and shop management work surprisingly well with a focus on min maxing added. It does need a bit of quality of life improvements with its interface, but Potionomics remains one of the best PC exclusives I’ve played so far in 2022. Potionomics’ Steam Deck compatibility from Valve is verified on Deck.
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 of why I enjoyed Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn. Just like a few of the other games on this list, I regret not checking it out sooner. It also is a perfect fit for the Steam Deck, but I hope to see it hit iPad in the future. More people need to play this, and it is the rare experience with no padding. I can’t wait to see what this developer does next. The Case of the Golden Idol’s Steam Deck compatibility from Valve is playable.
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten
Monochrome Mobius: Rights and Wrongs Forgotten shouldn’t be on this feature, but it did release only on Steam outside 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 prior entries being visual novels with some tactical RPG battles. While it is supposed to be a prequel, I definitely enjoyed it a lot more having played the Utawarerumono trilogy games before. Out of every game on this list, it is likely that you haven’t heard of Monochrome Mobius. If you haven’t, consider playing Utawarerumono because those stories and characters and sublime.
This Way Madness Lies
Zeboyd Games’ Cosmic Star Heroine is one of my favorite indie RPGs ever. When the studio announced This Way Madness Lies, I didn’t even bother watching any trailers or reading up on it. I bought it the moment it went live on Steam and have been blown away by how good it is. It feels like a blend of Sailor Moon and JRPGs. Right now it is PC-only, and it plays great on Steam Deck. I enjoyed Cosmic Star Heroine most on PS Vita and then Nintendo Switch, so it made sense to play This Way Madness Lies on a portable from the start. This Way Madness Lies’ Steam Deck compatibility from Valve is playable.
Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga
This year has been amazing for tactical RPGs with Square Enix releasing both Triangle Strategy and the remake of Tactics Ogre: Reborn across platforms. One tactical RPG more people need to play is Dancing Dragon Games and Freedom Games’ Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga. This 2D turn-based SRPG has a focus on squads with a lengthy campaign. While the story itself is a bit weak, the gameplay and customization elevates it to be an easy recommendation to those looking to dig deep into a wonderful tactical RPG with loads of classes. Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga feels like a modern take on older console tactical RPGs in a lot of ways. Symphony of War: The Nephilim Saga’s Steam Deck compatibility from Valve is playable.
Baldur’s Gate III
Having adored both Divinity Original Sin games across platforms, I was a bit disappointed when Baldur’s Gate III was released only on PC through early access with no sign of a console version. While it might show up on consoles eventually, Larian announced that the PC version will hit 1.0 in August 2023. Until then, the early access build right now is a shockingly good RPG, and it plays surprisingly well on Steam Deck. The only downside is the massive install size. If you’re ok with a bit of tweaking for the controls (no official controller support right now), you’re in for an exceptional time with Baldur’s Gate III on Steam Deck. Even though this game debuted in early access before 2022, it has been updated during the year. Baldur’s Gate III’s Steam Deck compatibility from Valve is playable.
When Dwarf Fortress was announced to get a Steam release, my timeline on Twitter exploded with people celebrating. I wasn’t familiar with Dwarf Fortress, but decided it was time to experience it. With the Steam release, I’ve been learning how to play it slowly, and also being impressed with the possibilities of Steam Input. The community has some amazing layouts for Dwarf Fortress already making use of both trackpads on the Steam Deck. Dwarf Fortress itself seems like something I’m going to spend dozens of hours in over the coming weeks. The only issue right now is the lack of cloud saves to take your progress to your PC. Hopefully that gets sorted soon. Until then, Dwarf Fortress continues to blow my mind. Dwarf Fortress is currently untested by Valve for Steam Deck compatibility, but it is perfectly playable in my testing.
ASTLIBRA Revision released in October, and I had no idea it existed until a few weeks ago. A few of my friends suddenly started posting about it and telling me I’d enjoy it. I decided to take a chance on it, and I regret not playing it back 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 taste for the combat, but I’m floored at how good the story is. I had one audio issue running ASTLIBRA Revision on Steam Deck, but I sorted that easily by changing one of the in-game options. Right now, ASTLIBRA Revision is massively underpriced for 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. Right now, it is PC-only. ASTLIBRA Revision’s Steam Deck compatibility from Valve is playable.
Knights of Honor II: Sovereign
Knights of Honor II: Sovereign is the first game in the series I’ve played. I specifically wanted to play this now because I’ve been a big fan of Total War games for a while, and have been getting into Crusader Kings III recently. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign feels like a nice accessible take that blends in aspects of each series. As someone completely new to Knights of Honor, it also does a outstanding job with its tutorial and has fantastic music. I’ve been using a community layout to play this on Steam Deck, and barring the interface size, I love the time I’ve spent with it. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign is currently untested, but it does work fine on Steam Deck barring the interface being too small.
This is our final Steam Deck feature of the year ahead of the Game of the Year coverage we are working on. I also have a few 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!