Here's my own take on a top list of games to check out for Steam Deck that were released in some form in 2022, or had a major update to improve them.
These lists are highly subjective of course, and I'm not going to throw in anything I haven't actually personally played just because it's a "big" game. These are my picks, games I know work well and are enjoyable and I think you should absolutely pick them all up and play them through.
Consider this my 2022 year-ending list of Steam Deck essentials!
You know the drill with Vampire Survivor-likes by now I'm sure, this surge of horde games is never ending but Brotato has many things that make it just fantastic. I can't sing its praises enough it's even my own personal GOTY. Technically it hasn't "released" but it's in Early Access and fully playable. Steam Link.
"Brotato is a top-down arena shooter roguelite where you play a potato wielding up to 6 weapons at a time to fight off hordes of aliens. Choose from a variety of traits and items to create unique builds and survive until help arrives."
Only just beaten by my love of Brotato is the retro-inspired RPG Chained Echoes, which is close to perfection when it comes to these sorts of games. Blending together a world where dragons are as common as piloted mechanical suits. This is a great one to cosy up with on a cold night. Steam Link.
Spider-Man Remastered & Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Two for one here. Both of them being some of the best Marvel super hero action you can find on any platform. I cannot overstate just how much fun it is swinging around, and beating up some bad guys like this in an open world while levelling up and unlocking new abilities. Spider-Man Remastered Humble Link - Spider-Man: Miles Morales Humble Link.
Not released during 2022 but it did have quite a massive update, one that helped performance on Steam Deck quite dramatically too with the inclusion of AMD FSR 2.1 that has a much clearer picture quality than the previous versions of FSR. Steam Link.
Crysis Remastered Series
Ah but can it run Crysis? Yes, all three of them in fact. Gain a powerful super-suit and deal with an alien invasion. Starting off on an island, moving onto a world ravaged by climate disasters and then a transformed New York City.
Still one of the best shooter series to play through, and the performance on Steam Deck is a genuine surprise. Steam Link.
I got a little bit obsessed with this one when first discovering it. Much like Vampire Survivors, Brotato and others, it has that easy to get into feel that helps the hours just vanish in what feels like an instant. Technically not released since it's in Early Access but you get the idea. Steam Link.
"Amass an army of deamonic undead to fight endless waves of heroes intent to end your boneraising ways! In this gothic-horror auto-battle roguelite, use the bones of slain heroes to raise your minions, collect powerful relics and spells, and unlock meta upgrades, all to survive King Gigald's crusade!"
Kitty! *ahem*, look it's a game about running around as a Cat where you can knock stuff off of things, scratch things and I'm sure for many of you the description doesn't need to go further than that. Steam Link.
"Lost, alone and separated from family, a stray cat must untangle an ancient mystery to escape a long-forgotten cybercity and find their way home."
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE
Another previously exclusive PlayStation title. A remake of an absolute classic, with some truly gorgeous looking scenes and intense action. I can see why many of my friends were ranting and raving about it when it initially released, and it's a really surprising experience on Steam Deck, especially given the level of details in the graphics too. Humble Store Link.
"Cloud Strife, an ex-SOLDIER operative, descends on the mako-powered city of Midgar. The world of the timeless classic FINAL FANTASY VII is reborn, using cutting-edge graphics technology, a new battle system and an additional adventure featuring Yuffie Kisaragi."
It's tough as hell and will keep you going for some time, with a world that needs you to do some very careful exploration. Die, die again, and again and — just me? Okay, I'm terrible at it, but the world and the creature design really is quite something. Humble Store Link.
"Rise, Tarnished, and be guided by grace to brandish the power of the Elden Ring and become an Elden Lord in the Lands Between."
UNCHARTED™: Legacy of Thieves Collection
Sony repeatedly smashing it through 2022 with multiple releases, who can forget UNCHARTED? Humble Store Link.
"Play as Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer in their own standalone adventures as they confront their pasts and forge their own legacies. This game includes the critically acclaimed single-player stories from both UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End and UNCHARTED: The Lost Legacy."
No Man's Sky
I am a space-nerd. If it's sci-fi and space involved, I'm there. No Man's Sky started off life pretty poorly but it's a good example of a developer who really loves their work, and wants to do right. It's repeatedly had HUGE updates, completely changing parts of the game to be bigger and better and they just haven't stopped. They also made multiple Steam Deck improvements directly. Humble Store Link.
"Inspired by the adventure and imagination that we love from classic science-fiction, No Man's Sky presents you with a galaxy to explore, filled with unique planets and lifeforms, and constant danger and action."
High On Life
Probably one of if not the single funniest game I played all year. The comedy of it is an acquired taste, you need to appreciate the voices of Justin Roiland, along with the incredibly crass dark humour of it as it really doesn't hold back on anything. A big warning though: no cloud saves, that almost stopped me including it because it's frankly ridiculous for a game release in 2022 not to have Steam Cloud saving but I enjoyed it too much not to include it. Humble Store Link.
"Humanity is being threatened by an alien cartel who wants to use them as drugs. It’s up to you to rescue and partner with charismatic, talking guns, take down Garmantuous and his gang, and save the world!"
Deep Rock Galactic
Another not released in 2022, but it had some pretty huge upgrades and for such an intense game, it can work very nicely on the Steam Deck and it's easily one of the best co-op shooters ever made. A game I will never get tired of playing with the GamingOnLinux community. With every mission giving a different map, aliens coming out of the god damn walls and plenty of laughs to be had. Humble Store Link.
"Deep Rock Galactic is a 1-4 player co-op FPS featuring badass space Dwarves, 100% destructible environments, procedurally-generated caves, and endless hordes of alien monsters. Work together as a team to dig, explore, and fight your way through a massive cave system filled with hordes of deadly enemies and valuable resources. You will need to rely on your teammates if you want to survive the most hostile cave systems in the galaxy!"
I'm going to give Death Stranding Director's Cut (Humble Store Link) an honourable mention too. If I didn't encounter weird frame-drops during BT encounters and exploring the open world (causing me to play it via Remote Play instead), it would be very high up on the list. Plenty of people seem to play it fine though, it's weird how for some games even on the same hardware they perform differently.
I'm also going to give the upgraded Selaco demo (Steam Link) an honourable upcoming game mention, because it deserves to be mentioned whenever I possibly can. I have a feeling it could be very high up on my GOTY list for 2023.