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My top 5 Linux games released in 2019, those that truly won me over

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As 2019 is now properly over and done with, it's time to take a quick look back. Here's some thoughts on the Linux games released that sat above the rest.

Streets of Rogue - My personal GOTY.

Developer: Matt Dabrowski | Released: July 12 - Humble Store - GOG - Steam.

It's tough to pick a single game that sits above the rest, but for me it was Streets of Rogue. An action rogue-lite taking place in a procedurally generated city rather than a dungeon, and the chaos that's possible just keeps me wanting to come back whenever I possibly can to have just one more run. Some of the interactions possible are just crazy, there's a lot of moments playing it that stick by me but I will let the below video do some of the talking:

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That video is just a small slice of what to expect. With all the different playable characters, each with different starting equipment and special abilities you can really cause all kinds of havoc. A hacker that can send a fridge flying through a wall, a doctor that can put people to sleep or a soldier that can place an explosive on a door to then knock on it and watch everything go BOOM when it opens. Madness.

Streets of Rogue is also getting a full level editor soon, which is currently in testing.

Slay the Spire - A close second.

Developer: Mega Crit Games | Released: January 23 - Humble Store - GOG - Steam.

The game that made deck-building suddenly super popular again, with good reason too. Slay the Spire does practically everything just right. You start off with a tiny amount of cards, and as you progress you build a powerful deck of crazy abilities with the ability to do some awesome combination attacks. The incredible style is what I really appreciate with Slay the Spire, the design work that went into all the enemy types and the random events is brilliant.

I'm a huge fan of the Relic system in Slay the Spire too. As you progress, you don't just collect cards, you also end up with a crazy-long list of powerful Relics. These can prevent you from dying, raise your max HP, give you Block every turn and all sorts.

Slay the Spire has some excellent modding support too. You can add in entirely new characters, completely revamped decks of cards and a lot more.

Baba is You

Developer: Hempuli Oy | Released: March 13 - Humble Store - - Steam.

It's hard to put into words just how sweet Baba is You actually is. A puzzle game where you push around simple logic blocks, to combine them and change the rules of the level. It doesn't look or sound like much but when you play it the beauty of it is clear. Easily one of my all time favourite puzzle games now.

Baba is You will be getting a level editor this year, it's going to be fun to see what crazy puzzles people come up with. What will I have to turn myself into now?


Developer: Falkenbrew | Released: September 2 - Steam.

Easily the most insane twin-stick shooter I've ever played. Not just because the action is intense but the overall design work. The enemies styles are outrageously varied. It's incredibly unique, all taking place in a single location which might sound boring but the way it constantly throws new and terrifying things at you make it well worth playing.

It's a damn shame Devader has been largely ignored, because it's just so much fun. I've often been left unsatisfied by the action in twin-stick shooters, whereas Devader has pleasure coming out of every explosion.

Oxygen Not Included

Developer: Klei Entertainment | Released: July 30 - Steam.

Klei win points here for creating a game that's equal parts fun as it is frustrating. ONI is a a space-colony simulation game that can give you 30 minutes of pure building joy, as you see your little Duplicants run around doing their work. A few minutes later, one is angrily hitting everything and another is urinating in your only clean water supply.

Oxygen Not Included is a game of constant improvement, you will regularly find new and interesting ways to do something different or better and you will want to start over and build bigger. It's a fun struggle.

There's a ton of other really good games that released in 2019 like Rise to Ruins, Police Stories, Shadow of the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, Dicey Dungeons, Total War: THREE KINGDOMS, DUSK and so on but those above are the five that really properly stood out that keep calling me back for more.

You can also read my overview on Linux gaming in 2019 here, and there's plenty coming to Linux in 2020 a few of which you can read about here from crowdfunding projects.

What were your top 5 games released for Linux across 2019? The comments are open, let us know!

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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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Liam Dawe 3 Jan, 2020
Quoting: no_information_hereLiam, I have a question (not a criticism):

Since you "have" to play so many games for review, do you find you are attracted to more Rogue-like games since they have bite-sized gameplay? I have noticed a drift in your favourites over the last while...

There are no deep, story-oriented single-player games on your list!
Good question. No it's honestly not that, my tastes just change as the years go on and while we had a few interesting story-based games this year, they just didn't hit home the way I had hoped when compared with my top 5 here. Time is really nothing to do with it. For example, it didn't make my top 5 but I played through Little Misfortune entirely in a single sitting and thought it was excellent but probably only in my top 20 of games played in 2019.
BrazilianGamer 3 Jan, 2020
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Eagle island

And I ran outta names. But those worth 5 actually lol
Nezchan 3 Jan, 2020
I'm bad with favourites, but I played these quite a lot this year:

Slay the Spire
Dicey Dungeons
A Short Hike (well, enough to finish it and get almost all the things)
Monster Sanctuary (demo)

Plus a bunch of games from previous years that are new to me, which is the important part.
Fraaargh 3 Jan, 2020
* Shadow of the Tomb raider
* Timespinner
* Classic Racers
* Dirt 4
Koopacabras 4 Jan, 2020
14 9 Jan, 2020
Total War: Three Kingdoms didn't make anyone's list?

It would be cool to see a list of all decent Linux games released in 2019. Other sites like Gamespot/Giantbomb are very unreliable when trying to find Linux games. does well at it (by my request :)) but they have their own niche.
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