Despite PC gaming being big business, Linux users have often been left to rot in gaming obscurity. With Triple A publishers favoring operating systems with bigger market shares, gaming on a Linux machine has been underwhelming to say the least. However, this doesn’t mean that gaming is non-existent. In the spirit of open-source software, talented developers have been toiling to create entertaining and engaging games on Linux. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite open-source games you can enjoy on Linux.
1. OpenRA (Red Alert, Tiberian Dawn, Dune 2000)
Command & Conquer set the bar for real-time strategy games, and there are some who argue that it’s never quite been topped. OpenRA is an updated, uprezzed and polished version of not just Red Alert but also Tiberian Dawn and Dune 2000, faithfully recreating these classic games with the interface and usability perks that we’d expect from a game made today. All the games are completely free and are without question the best way to play these classics. And yes, of course you can play LAN games with your pals.
2. 0 A.D.
Despite still being in an Alpha stage, 0 A.D. is one of the most impressive open-source games out there. Players take control of one of twelve ancient civilizations and are tasked with its survival and proliferation. In order to do this you must engage in combat with other civilizations while managing your economy. Featuring a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer, 0 A.D. is perfect for those who are going through Age of Empires II withdrawals.
3. Super TuxKart
It may have started as a Mario Kart clone, but Super TuxKart has come into its own over the years. This kart racer has a slew of game modes, offering lots of racing replayability. In addition to colorful graphics and well-designed tracks to race on, one of the best things about Super TuxKart is its collection of characters. Mascots from various open-source projects appear in the game. Keep your eyes peeled for the GNU wildebeest, the SUSE gecko and the Mozilla Thunderbird.
4. The Dark Mod
Don’t let the name fool you – this isn’t just a mod of an existing game. Instead it is a standalone game born from an attempt to remake the game “Thief” in the Doom 3 engine. In The Dark Mod players control an agile thief who must use a variety of tools and equipment to avoid various threats. The software is bundled with a level editor which allows users to create their own missions. There are currently over one-hundred fan-made missions with various objectives. The Dark Mod has received significant attention from gamers and the press, even being crowned the “#2 best free PC game” by PC Gamer in 2016.
In this delightfully destructive game, players control hedgehogs who use anything and everything to kill, maim and obliterate each other. The turn-based action takes place on various destructive environments and features a dizzying amount of weapons. The collateral damage of the weapons can alter the landscape, restricting the movement of the hedgehogs. Luckily, the hedgehogs have various tools like ropes and parachutes at their disposal to help them navigate the land and get a clear shot at the enemy. If this sounds to you a lot like another turn-based war game featuring seemingly harmless animals, you wouldn’t be wrong. Hedgewars is heavily influenced by the long-running “Worms” series.
Voxelands is a sandbox construction game in the same vein as Minecraft. It places players in a fully-destructible 3D world where they can build pretty much anything they want. Voxelands also boasts role-playing elements, requiring players to defend their structures from the elements and enemies. The game features a large number of tools and over 500 different types of blocks to aid in their construction. Whereas some players can experience some performance issues with heavyweights like Minecraft, Voxelands is feather-light. The game’s website claims that Voxelands can run on a Pentium 1 processor and be played online with a 14.4 KB connection!
The only FPS on the list, Xonotic is a fast-paced multiplayer game built on a heavily-modified version of the Quake engine. Xonotic features multiple game modes including staples like capture the flag and deathmatch and features a number of futuristic weapons. Gameplay emphasis is on speed and mastering level layout, making Xonotic similar to games like Unreal Tournament and Quake.
8. The Battle for Wesnoth
Fancy fighting elves, trolls, orcs and dragons? The Battle for Wesnoth indulges all your Tolkien-esque impulses in a turn-based strategy game. Players fight for dominance in a high fantasy realm populated with colorful retro sprites. In addition to factoring in the strengths and weaknesses of units, players must also account for weather and types of terrain during their quest, all of which can have an effect on the outcome of a battle. The stable version of the game includes sixteen campaigns; however, there are many unofficial campaigns in the form of user-made add-ons.
A remake of 1995’s Transport Tycoon Deluxe, OpenTTD tasks players with managing a major metropolitan transit system. The goal of the game is to build a transportation network utilizing a variety of vehicles such as trains, boats, planes and trucks. In addition, players earn money for successful deliveries. The money can then be used to build a more efficient infrastructure. OpenTTD supports multiplayer games of up to 255 people split between fifteen different transport companies, all in direct competition with one another. The game also supports a large and active user-base, resulting in a wide variety of mods being available.
10. Secret Maryo Chronicles
It’s no ‘secret’ as to what classic game Secret Maryo Chronicles gets its inspiration from. Rest assured, this isn’t simply a half-baked rip-off. Secret Maryo Chronicles has been championed by many as a solid platform loaded with challenging puzzles. If you’ve been dying to take a trip down memory lane via a big green pipe, look no further.
It is a common misconception that lemmings march to their own demise, but in this game the threat is very real. Pingus is a clone of Lemmings, a popular game from the early 90s. The goal of the game is to prevent cute penguins from plummeting to their deaths by giving them instructions to navigate an area. Players can instruct penguins to build bridges, construct tunnels and more in order to redirect the other penguins to safety. The game includes a number of levels, multiplayer functionality and even a level editor. There hasn’t been much development in recent years, but if you’re looking for a throwback to a simpler time, Pingus may be it.
It’s a plot that we’ve all heard before: Aliens are invading, and it’s up to you to annihilate them all. With impressive visuals, AstroMenace is an arcade-style shooter that really tests a player’s hand-eye coordination. In the game players will have to navigate the frontier of space while repelling hordes of enemy spaceships. Enemy units boast unique attacks and serious firepower, requiring players to be on their toes at all times. Weapon and ship upgrades become available throughout the game, and trust us when we say that you’ll need them to succeed in your mission.
What are your favorite open-source games to play on Linux? Let us know in the comments!