25 Best Free Games To Play In 2024

“Free-to-play” doesn’t mean what it used to. These days, the best free games on the market are also some of the biggest-budget and most-supported live-service games, with massive communities and regular streams of updates that keep them fresh and interesting. And while free-to-play games were once almost exclusively mobile with little variation, there are very good free games today available across PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch, running the gamut of just about every genre imaginable–from blockbuster shooters like Fortnite to turn-based RPGs like Honkai Star Rail, and everything in-between.

Many have been going strong for years now, which means there’s plenty to do for newcomers. Usually, their on-boarding for new users has been polished over time as well, giving you a great chance to catch up and learn the ropes even if you haven’t touched it before. If you want to play a game without spending a lot of money, these are the best you can find. For even more selections, check out our picks for the best free games on Steam.

Apex Legends

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, MobileGenre: Battle royale shooterDeveloper: Respawn EntertainmentRelease Date: February 4, 2019

A spin-off of Titanfall that has arguably overtaken its predecessor, Apex Legends exploded onto the scene in 2019 and has continued to satisfy fans and newcomers alike with regular updates and new characters. The hero-shooter has you squad up in teams of three to be the last ones standing as the map shrinks to force confrontations. What makes Apex distinct are the titular Legends: hero characters with their own carefully crafted power sets and abilities that makes finding your favorite a joy. Subsequent updates have regularly added new Legends, limited-time modes, a permanent Arena mode, and more. A handful of Legends are available for free, while the rest can be unlocked by earning in-game currency or spending real money. You can also spend real money on optional cosmetics, though limited-time events also let you earn some special cosmetics for free.

Brawlhalla

Platforms: PC, PS4Genre: FightingDeveloper: Blue Mammoth Games, UbisoftRelease Date: April 30, 2014

Brawlhalla is a fighting game in the style of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. series, as you and your opponents duke it out to knock each other out of the arena. Instead of a mash-up of Nintendo stars, though, Brawlhalla offers a roster of more than 60 playable original characters. On top of that, paid cosmetic items reskin the fighters to feature cameos from other series like Star Wars, the WWE, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Free players can find a selection of nine characters that rotate weekly, and you can either earn in-game currency to purchase the full roster, or pay a one-time real-money fee.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5 Xbox One, Xbox Series X|SGenre: Battle royale shooterDeveloper: ActivisionRelease Date: March 10, 2020

Call of Duty has been a perpetual hit for Activision for years, but its foray into the free-to-play market has made it even bigger. Warzone is similar to other battle royale games in many ways, but it carries the look and feel of Call of Duty with it. As opposed to most battle royale games that eliminate the player upon death, Warzone puts downed players in a Gulag where they can earn their way back. The game initially launched with Trios but has since updated to include Solos, Duos, and Squad options, as well. Other modes include Plunder, where players search for cash drops, and Resurgence, which allows players to come back as long as a member of their squad is still alive. In addition to a steady stream of smaller updates, Warzone outputs larger updates to match the theme of the latest Call of Duty campaign release. And since all of the cosmetics integrate with your Call of Duty profile, you can take your Nikki Minaj or Groot skin between Warzone and standard competitive multiplayer.

Counter-Strike 2

Platforms: PCGenre: Tactical FPSDeveloper: ValveRelease Date: September 27, 2023

As the follow-up to one of the most popular ongoing first-person shooters of all time, Counter-Strike 2 had a legacy to live up to. It was effectively meant to replace the original Counter-Strike, as well as its semi-sequel, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Like the originals, CS2 pits teams of terrorists and counter-terrorists against one another across a variety of objective-based modes. Unlike the previous games, though, CS2 moved to the Source 2 engine to deliver a noticeable visual upgrade, performance improvements, and better server architecture. In addition to the visual flair, this upgrade also meant new versions of some of Counter-Strikes most-popular maps. You can play for free, with an optional “Prime Status” upgrade to collect exclusive souvenir drops and weapon cases.

Crab Game

Platforms: PCGenre: Battle royale/PartyDeveloper: DaniRelease Date: October 29, 2021

This indie game inspired by the Netflix series Squid Game has a low-fi look but captures the experience of competing in a series of children’s games with fatal consequences. The cheeky description on Steam insists it’s “definitely not based on any online streaming pop culture Korean TV shows,” but let’s be honest. You and dozens of other players progressively get eliminated from the game by playing competitions like Red Light, Green Light, until there’s only one left standing. And while the Netflix show is grisly, Crab Game has a goofy, cartoonish look that makes it more silly than intense. It’s free to play with optional cosmetic items like backpacks.

Dauntless

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo SwitchGenre: Action-RPGDeveloper: Phoenix LabsRelease Date: September 26, 2019

An action game in the style of Monster Hunter, Dauntless has you stalking and battling ferocious beasts called Behemoths with up to five friends. Like Monster Hunter, you can then use the materials harvested from beast-hunting to craft better equipment and take on even loftier challenges. As a live game, though, the stream of Behemoths never really stops, and you can continue hunting monsters in perpetuity. Developer Phoenix Labs has added a steady stream of new challenges to tackle, along with other quality-of-life updates. You can start taking down beasts for free, with optional cosmetic items and temporary boosts available for purchase.

Destiny 2

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo SwitchGenre: Action RPG/Looter shooterDeveloper: Phoenix LabsRelease Date: August 28, 2017

Bungie’s MMO shooter needs no introduction, but when it first released, it wasn’t free to play at all. Like the first game, it began as a full-priced game. Several years and several expansions later, it has fully transformed into an ongoing, F2P live-service game. You can play a significant chunk of Destiny 2’s older content for free (including story missions, PvP, and more), and Bungie usually gives free access to some past expansions as it gears up for new ones. Bungie regularly adds new powers and rebalancing in the course of these expansions, and those often fold back into the base game as a default part of the experience, and the whole experience shows off Bungie’s particular knack for making a great-feeling shooter experience. New expansions that continue the ongoing story, as well as cosmetic enhancements, are available for purchase.

Dota 2

Platforms: PCGenre: Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA)Developer: ValveRelease Date: July 9, 2013

When Warcraft 3 was modified to make an entirely new game called Defense of the Ancients, aka Dota, it spawned a whole genre. The MOBA genre has become a popular esport, as professional players perfect their strategies of claiming lanes and encroaching on enemy territory while stopping their opponents from doing the same. It was a big risk when Valve brought on Dota-maker Icefrog to develop Dota 2, with the intent of replacing the original. But the gamble has paid off beautifully with a thriving competitive scene ever since. Dota 2 was one of the first games to move to the Source 2 engine, and it has gotten a steady stream of updates and promotional tie-ins. The full roster and items are free for all players, while there are paid cosmetics and an optional monthly subscription offering bonus features.

Fall Guys

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo SwitchGenre: Battle royale platformerDeveloper: MediatonicRelease Date: August 4, 2020

The wacky platformer takes battle royale in a different direction. Rather than an ever-shrinking arena that forces you into gunfights with other players, Fall Guys gives you a series of tricky obstacle courses as your little bean-shaped characters wobble along it, trying to make it to the finish line. Each round of the obstacle course eliminates some players, and the rest move onto the next challenge until there’s only one bean remaining. You can compete for free, with optional cosmetics for purchase. A season pass offers more unlockables for completing challenges.

Fortnite

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo SwitchGenre: Battle royaleDeveloper: Epic GamesRelease Date: July 25, 2017

The 400-pound gorilla of free-to-play games is Fortnite, which has become an absolute juggernaut with so many facets it’s hard to capture the full scope of them all. The core game is a battle royale shooter, which is offered both with and without a unique building element that helped define the game in its early days. But Epic has gone on to make Fortnite a platform for live events like concerts, and it’s started to integrate additional standalone games like a Rocket League-branded racing game, Rock Band successor, and even a Lego-based sandbox game in the vein of Minecraft. You can try everything that Fortnite has to offer for free, or pay for optional cosmetic upgrades. A regularly rotating season pass is also available for purchase, which often offers cosmetics based on crossovers with other popular brands and characters from Star Wars, DC and Marvel comics, WWE, and much more.

Genshin Impact

Platforms: PC, PS4, MobileGenre: Action-RPGDeveloper: MiHoYoRelease Date: September 28, 2020

This open-world action-RPG was the first foray into the HoYoverse, but not the last–more on that later. As a first entry, though, Genshin Impact was an impressive combination of Zelda-like exploration and traditional RPG elemental-based combat, with the ability to collect a huge array of anime-inspired characters. The massive world uses a variety of diverse cultural influences to create a living, breathing place, with something to do around every corner. You can play and begin collecting its huge roster of characters for free, though it’s worth noting that Genshin uses a gacha-style system with randomized drops. That means rarer loot and characters will often take lots of grinding or real-money transactions, but as long as you’re comfortable progressing at a slower pace, you can get by just fine for free.

Guild Wars 2

Platforms: PCGenre: MMORPGDeveloper: ArenaNetRelease Date: August 28, 2012

Guild Wars 2 took the successful foundation built by the first game and added some streamlined systems and a dynamic story system that responds to the players’ actions. That made it stand out as a real challenger in the MMO space when it first launched in 2012, and its steady stream of updates has kept it thriving ever since. Right now, you can choose from five races and nine professions and begin exploring the high-fantasy setting of Tyria. After years of large-scale expansions, ArenaNet recently changed its release cadence to produce smaller updates more frequently. Guild Wars 2 allows you to play the base game with up to two character slots for free, though you’ll have to pay to gain access to certain chat features, raids, daily bonuses, and other social elements.

Hearthstone

Platforms: PC, MobileGenre: CCGDeveloper: BlizzardRelease Date: March 11, 2014

Hearthstone, the breakout hit from Blizzard that helped reinvigorate digital collectible card games, is still going strong more than a decade later. In addition to the standard constructed card play, you can play the Battlegrounds auto-battler mode for a different flavor with some familiar mechanics. You can play either mode for free, with optional packs for purchase for the constructed card mode, and separate season passes available for both standard and Battlegrounds, along with loads of cosmetics. If you’re a new or lapsed player, though, generous “catch up” packs will give you a head start on building a respectable collection.

Honkai Star Rail

Platforms: PC, PS5, MobileGenre: RPGDeveloper: MiHoYoRelease Date: April 26, 2023

The HoYoverse follow-up to Genshin Impact, Honkai Star Rail is a traditional turn-based RPG with a sci-fi setting. Those elements set it apart, but it has very similar stylistic elements, especially in its visual style and enjoyably goofy sense of humor. And while it also has open-world exploration, it includes dungeon-crawling elements similar to classic RPGs as well that have kept players engaged for more than a year. Like Genshin, Honkai uses a gacha system to unlock new characters, but you can clear the game for free if you’re dedicated and patient enough.

League of Legends

Platforms: PCGenre: MOBADeveloper: Riot GamesRelease Date: October 27, 2009

One of the biggest MOBAs around, League of Legends has been a major esports pillar since it was first introduced in 2009. Like other MOBAs, you and your opponents fight for control of lanes to take down towers and eventually your enemy’s base. In addition to the main mode, called Summoner’s Rift, League has an All Random, No Mid mode for fiercer confrontations, as well as a Teamfight Tactics auto-battler mode. That latter mode has even spun off into its own game available on mobile platforms. League has gotten a steady stream of updates to heroes and game balance, making it one of the most highly polished MOBAs on the market. You can play for free using any of the champions currently in the weekly rotation, or pay to unlock them permanently, as well as items, maps, and cosmetics.

Lost Ark

Platforms: PCGenre: MMORPGDeveloper: Tripod StudioRelease Date: February 11, 2022

One of the more recent MMOs on this list, Lost Ark was one of the first titles published by Amazon Games. The game has a more contemporary setting than most high-fantasy MMOs, which is reflected in some of its six classes: Warrior, Martial Artist, Gunner, Mage, Assassin, and Specialist. And while many MMOs rely on a system of hotkeys and managing cooldowns, Lost Ark is based around an active combat system that uses combos and chain attacks. You can start adventuring for free, and the game offers a variety of starter packs and boosts.

Marvel Snap

Platforms: PC, MobileGenre: CCGDeveloper: Second DinnerRelease Date: October 18, 2022

Founded by several former Hearthstone developers, Marvel Snap is another take on the free-to-play CCG with simplified, digital-first gameplay hooks. You collect cards representing various heroes and villains from throughout the Marvel multiverse, and vye for control of three randomized locations. Simultaneous turns mean matches are quick enough to fit into a coffee-shop line, and an inventive betting and bluffing mechanic lets you “Snap” on your opponent to double your potential ranked rewards. You can start collecting heroes and villains for free, and a monthly season pass gives you a card to match the season’s theme, cosmetic rewards, and in-game currency.

Overwatch 2

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo SwitchGenre: Hero shooterDeveloper: BlizzardRelease Date: October 4, 2022

Following on the success of the original Overwatch, Blizzard made plans to follow up with another hero shooter that would introduce new characters, revise some mechanics (such as shifting from 6v6 matches to 5v5), and lay the groundwork for a more extensive set of cooperative adventures. The PvE portion never materialized as originally envisioned, but Overwatch 2 is still a great hero shooter with loads of personality. The large and growing roster has a wide variety of powers to play with, and you can play as every character for free following a change in early 2024. A paid battle pass gets you cosmetics, including currency to unlock the top-tier Mythic skins, although you can unlock many items for free, too.

Path of Exile

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox OneGenre: Action-RPGDeveloper: Grinding Gear GamesRelease Date: October 23, 2013

A spiritual successor to the Diablo series, and especially the dark fantasy world of Diablo 2, Path of Exile can scratch your dungeon-crawling itch. You select from seven classes (Duelist, Marauder, Ranger, Scion, Shadow, Templar, and Witch) and delve into caves and dungeons to take down increasingly fierce monsters to gain experience and, of course, powerful loot. This is all presented in an isometric perspective, and your skills can be augmented by socketing gems. The grind for better gear and skills is the fuel behind any great dungeon crawler’s longevity, and Path of Exile has been going strong for more than a decade thanks to a steady stream of expansions and updates. The game is free to play, though many players find themselves needing to buy Stash Tabs for extra loot storage using real money. The shop also offers optional cosmetics.

Rocket League

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo SwitchGenre: Arcade-style soccerDeveloper: PsyonixRelease date: July 7, 2015

Even as it approaches its 10-year anniversary, Rocket League remains one of the best ways to play soccer. Mechanically simple, Rocket League’s quick five-minute matches can keep you engaged for hours–it’s way too easy to finish up, convince yourself that you have time for one more match, and accidentally repeat that pattern so many times that you ultimately lose an entire afternoon. An incredible physics system acts as the backbone of Rocket League’s surprisingly high skill ceiling, rewarding repeated practice and strategic thinking with the opportunity to pull off acrobatic aerial goals, skillful passes, and well-timed blocks. Since its release, Rocket League has added additional modes to its repertoire–the basketball-inspired Hoops, hockey-inspired Snow Day, volleyball-like Dropshot, and item-loaded Rumble–as well as tournaments to test your mettle.

If you’re willing to drop some cash, Rocket League has a paid battle pass and a rotating store of cosmetics. You’ll unlock plenty of blueprints for cosmetics just by playing, but you need to use currency to build the items they represent.

Smite

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, Amazon LunaGenre: MOBADeveloper: ValveRelease Date: March 25, 2014

New MOBAs may not be popping up every other day like they once did, but they remain extremely popular, and Smite demonstrates why. Taking a genre usually played in an isometric format and shifting the camera to third-person provides a more intimate and intense way to get into the action (while also making it play perfectly well with a controller). The push-and-pull gameplay loop and strategic considerations in teamwork make for a consistently engaging game. Its myriad game modes provide both the standard three-lane MOBA structure as well as alternatives that focus more on action, while its extensive array of playable gods offers a huge amount of variety in how you play each match. A promising-looking sequel, Smite 2, is on the way, but the original game still provides a compelling and more-approachable-than-average MOBA experience.

Smite limits your access to gods initially, although additional ones can be unlocked through gameplay or by purchasing them with real-world money. There are also a ton of skins and cosmetics to purchase, though you can unlock some of those without paying, too.

Team Fortress 2

Platforms: PC (console versions lack updates and aren’t free-to-play)Genre: First-person shooterDeveloper: ValveRelease date: October 10, 2007

Despite its age, Team Fortress 2 remains among the best (and funniest) shooters you can play today. The dynamic between its nine distinct classes has provided it with such legs; you’ll have a wildly different time playing as the fast-moving, double-jumping Scout than you will the lumbering, minigun-wielding Heavy. The Spy class alone is worth jumping in for–with his ability to go invisible or disguise himself as a member of the enemy team, you’ll be on the edge of your seat as you sneak behind enemy lines before taking out a foe with a single backstab and then disappearing, which is an experience as exhilarating as anything in multiplayer gaming. A variety of modes, maps, seasonal events, and delightful cosmetics make for a joyous game. And if you only ever played TF2 in its early days (or on console, which never received key updates), you’re in for a dramatically expanded game, as the loadout system and different weapon options for each class provide a ton of additional dynamism.

TF2’s paid elements primarily revolve around cosmetics. Free accounts do have stricter limitations on the number of items they can hold and blueprints you can use to craft, but those are removed by making any purchase (and odds are, if you like the game, you’ll want to grab a sick hat).

The Sims 4

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox OneGenre: Social simulationDeveloper: MaxisRelease Date: September 2, 2014

Like the previous entries in the series, The Sims 4 is all about creating and managing the daily lives of your Sims as they go to work, relax at home, find love, explore hobbies, and more. The Sims 4 introduced more robust building tools for their homes, along with deeper emotion and personality systems for the Sims themselves. The Sims 4 had already garnered a dedicated fanbase by 2022, when EA switched to a free-to-play model. Under the new model, the base game is free to download, and it’s supported through the various add-on packs and expansions that had been added over the years, along with new ones still being released at a regular pace. A new Sims game is in development now, but in the meantime, The Sims 4 is in a very good place with countless ways to customize your characters and experiment with their virtual lives.

Warframe

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, MobileDeveloper: Digital ExtremesGenre: MMO shooterRelease Date: November 15, 2013

One of the most distinctive free-to-play games on this list, Warframe is an action-oriented third-person game with parkour-platforming and stealth elements. As a member of an ancient race of warriors, you customize and pilot a biomechanical combat armor called a Warframe to fight a variety of alien races bent on destruction. This gains you levels that you can use on mods and other improvements to your warframe to take on more-complex missions. At times, Warframe resembles more of a fast-paced action game than a free-to-play MMO, which goes to show the flexibility of the genre. And while you can play and earn everything for free, you can also pay for boosts or level skips to advance your progress faster.

War Thunder

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One Xbox Series X|SDeveloper: Gaijin EntertainmentGenre: Vehicular combatRelease Date: August 15, 2013

As opposed to the fantasy and sci-fi settings of many games, War Thunder goes for hyper-realism, and its community is known for taking it seriously. The vehicular-combat game features actual vehicles from World War 1, World War 2, the Vietnam War, and other recent conflicts. It utilizes tanks, ships, aircraft and more from the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, France, and many more, representing them with a meticulous level of precise detail. It’s so realistic, in fact, that US army tank crews used it for training during the COVID-19 pandemic. All that makes it very sim-like, but for fans of actual military hardware, it’s hard to find a better playable museum. You can play for free and earn in-game currency to unlock most of the vehicles in the game, though some premium vehicles are only available for purchase with real money.

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