We’re closing in on the midway point of 2019 so let’s slow down for a moment, take a step back and look at some of the top games released with Linux support so far this year.
Note: I am not counting Early Access or in-Beta titles and only including games that support Linux, so for those looking for something new you can expect a full completable experience with any of these titles. Also, it’s in no particular order as this isn’t meant as a best to worse compilation. Also, some may have had their official Linux releases later than the other platforms.
Forager - Genre: Adventure/Crafting
I honestly knew I would enjoy Forager from the moment I first laid my eyes on it. The curious mix of adventure, exploration, crafting and combat wrapped up in some smooth retro art makes for a rather odd experience. There’s no rush to do anything, you basically do whatever you want and it’s an awesome game just to chill out with.
Slay the Spire - Genre: Roguelike/Card Game
Slay the Spire is basically the opposite of Forager, it’s not a game you load up to chill out with. You load it up when you think you have what it takes to overcome the odds. It’s frustrating and yet equally engrossing, especially when you’ve managed to build a deck of cards that enables you to play some powerful combination attacks.
Baba Is You - Genre: Puzzle
One of my biggest surprises this year! Baba is You took a simple idea of pushing blocks around and turned them into rules to change everything. You complete levels by breaking them and messing around with everything. I still can’t get over my shock of changing myself into a wall, thinking I would be a single bit of wall but instead I moved every single wall on the level at once which was pretty hilarious. It left a lasting impression that many puzzle games have been unable to do with me.
Tropico 6 - Genre: City Builder
While the performance can be a little messy in places, it’s still a great and slightly unusual city-builder with a sprinkle of comedy and satire thrown in. There’s a lot of city builders out there, but many play too safe with their settings so it’s pleasing to see Tropico still attempt to be different. The latest version in the series certainly succeeds with that aim.
Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark - Genre: Tactical RPG
A high quality RPG with turn-based tactical battles, with some fantastic (although weirdly mixed) artwork that certainly gives off a good Final Fantasy Tactics vibe. It's another game that has quite a few difficulty options you can tweak, so those who enjoy a good battle can have plenty of challenges and those who prefer the story can focus more on that. A lot to appreciate, with not many out there like it.
Surviving Mars: Green Planet - Genre: Building Sim
I've lost a great many hours to Surviving Mars, trying to stop colonists from decided to take long walks to nowhere because they've been without power for an entire day. The Green Planet expansion is honestly amazing, it's changed the game in so many ways making it once again exciting to expand across the red planet and hopefully turn it green without causing a catastrophe.
DiRT 4 - Genre: Racing
Personally, I found DiRT 4 to be a great racing sim that’s a little more forgiving than DiRT Rally while still giving a decent enough challenge to be fun. It looks good, performance is excellent and works well with various wheels and pedals.
Pathway - Genre: Tactical Adventure/RPG
I do have some slightly mixed feelings on Pathway. On the one hand it's incredibly stylish, it has a fantastic world and idea but some parts of it do need expanding. Even so, I've enjoyed a lot of hours adventuring in it taking down a nazi or two and befriending a dog on my travels.
Undead Horde - Genre: Action/RPG
An action-RPG with a control element like Overlord and you get to run around with an army of surprisingly strong chickens. There's a lot to enjoy in this one, with a good style and great performance too.
Iron Marines - Genre: RTS
A real-time strategy game for those who perhaps don't usually enjoy them and it has an awesome style I've come to expect from Ironhide Game Studio. It mixes in a few elements from their previous games with towers that can be upgraded, hero units and the traditional RTS style combat as you explore each level.
DUSK - Genre: FPS
DUSK takes plenty of inspiration from the classics, while also still managing to come off quite unique in its own way. It’s dark, slightly scary in places (okay, I’m a wuss) with a pace that doesn’t let up. If you do enjoy classics like DOOM and Quake, it’s worth your time.
Descenders - Genre: Sports
I've lost count of the amount of times I've tried to finish a track as fast as possible, only to firmly place my face into a tree right near the end. An extreme downhill freeriding game that now has multiplayer and it's awesome. Thanks to the procedural generation, there's a lot of variations in the tracks too and a number of different environments all with their own unique hazards for you to overcome while still trying to look cool doing a front-flip 360 into a wheelie.
Rise of Industry - Genre: Strategy/Tycoon Sim
One of the most accessible strategic tycoon games I've played in a long time. It has a nice clear and easy to follow tutorial, a crisp interface and it's not bad to look at either. It can be complex, however I've found it to be a much more easy-going game than others which is part of why I enjoy it. After all, if I wanted to melt my brain with production chains I would go for something more like Factorio. I see at as a point in its favour though, there's enough complex games out there to last a lifetime but not always a lot that sit nicely in the middle like Rise of Industry.
Guard Duty - Genre: Point and Click Adventure
It made me laugh, quite a lot actually. I hope they make more just like this! A point and click adventure gem, calling it a love-letter like so many others doesn't really do it justice. Classic inspired, obviously, but that takes away too much from that fact that it's a streamlined and up to date experience and could serve as a good introduction to the genre.
Snakebird Primer - Genre: Puzzle
Doing a lot with a little, Snakebird Primer deserves to be added to your puzzle game collection. Don't be fooled by the cute looks, it hides the devil in the level design. It has a number of different mechanics, carefully introduced to not overwhelm you like the previous Snakebird may have. A good, well-designed puzzle experience that will make you think a little without being too frustrating.
Sunless Skies - Genre: Exploration/Open World RPG
Some of the writing in Sunless Skies could be considered small masterpieces. It has the kind of atmosphere not found in many text-heavy games. It's an odd mix too, plenty of lonely exploration to take in the sights and sounds when you suddenly find yourself surrounded by enemies firing cannons at you. Incredible artwork, excellent writing and very fascinating.
Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm - Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
I’m sure some will fight me to the death on this, as they protect their precious Civ V but honestly I’ve enjoyed Civ VI more. Since the Gathering Storm expansion, I’ve found the world-building it does to be far more interesting. Everything has more of a sense of purpose and urgency that I didn't find before.
Tannenberg - Genre: FPS
It doesn’t have the biggest player base ever, sure, but it’s a fantastic and quite brutal WWI FPS. The attention to the little details is impressive, as is the work that went into the sounds for the various weapons. Absolutely love the spawn system too, the way the camera flows down from the sky into a character and then you're there.
Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus
An exceptional style, one that really does Warhammer justice and a great atmosphere too. I think they absolutely nailed every aspect of the design work on Mechanicus. The gameplay is an interesting mix with a flavour of XCOM for some of the battle mechanics and a little dungeon crawling exploration too. They work well together, especially with the fantastic Warhammer lore.
JUMPGRID - Genre: Arcade
It has been compared to Super Hexagon by many people, both because of how intense it is and the simple design. It's not going to win any awards for the style but the gameplay is incredible…and hard. My fingers seriously ached after playing it, due to just how energetic you need to be to overcome it. It's a challenge for both your fingers and your mind.
Pikuniku - Genre: Casual Puzzle Adventure
Few games make me smile as soon as the intro starts and Pikuniku is one such game. It has a very charming style and atmosphere too it, although it's pretty unusual. The way your character moves is quite hilarious too, although the story isn't quite as bright and happy as it might seem initially.
Shotgun Farmers - Genre: FPS
Ending the list with a slightly unusual one with Shotgun Farmers. It’s not massively popular, it doesn’t have a huge following and yet it’s one of the most innovative first-person shooters released in some time. You fire, your bullets miss and hit the floor and a bunch of new guns grow, what’s not to love about that? The weapons are quite amusing too.
There’s obviously been a lot more that’s released this year, plenty I still haven’t even played and we have another 6+ months full of releases to come yet. Those are just a few of my own highlights. Hopefully, this little round-up of games you can pick up and play will interest some of you and help those not keeping up.
What has been some of your favourites and what are you looking forward to for the rest of 2019 and beyond? Do let everyone know your recommendations in the comments.