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We often talk about having the latest and greatest graphics cards and playing games at the highest settings, but sometimes that’s not an option. Whatever the reason, in times like these, it’s nice to have a library of fun games that won’t bog down our processes.
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Fortunately, there are many older games and even newer indie titles that are optimized for low-end PCs and laptops with integrated GPUs. Searching Steam or your favorite PC gaming platform trying to find a fun game that won’t tax your system can be exhausting. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 25 great games that we can wholeheartedly recommend.
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Some are ideal out of the box, while others may use lower settings depending on the hardware you have at hand. In general, you want to use at least a dual-core CPU, an integrated GPU of the last few years or better, and around 4GB of RAM.
To test it, I tried it all on my wife’s three-year-old laptop, which only has integrated Intel graphics. This may still be more modern than your average old laptop, but it’s by no means a gaming machine. If you’re still not sure, you can download demo versions of many games, and Can You Run is also a good place to check if your equipment is suitable. Let’s win.
Oxenfree by Night School Studio is a must-have on any system, and thanks to its minimalist yet stunning graphics and animations designed by Disney students, it’s ideal for your old laptop. You play as the protagonist Alex, a young girl who goes on an overnight trip with her friends to a mysterious island that was once a World War II military base. The children accidentally open the door to the spirits and encounter demons and discover worldly messages from the past.
The real strength of the game is the conversation system, as each conversation can change the course of the story. You will spend most of your time exploring the island and trying to find a way to close the ghost rift. The puzzle elements are difficult, but not too difficult. The gameplay may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the story is what really drives the game.
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As the name suggests, FTL takes you to your star faster than light. The game is played from a top-down perspective that shows different parts or rooms of your ship. Each of your ships five systems, shields, engines, medbay, oxygen and weapons, are in these rooms and are managed by your crew. Your overall mission is to deliver “data” to the Federation, but along the way you’ll have many encounters, some friendly and some not so friendly. To make matters worse, as you dart from system to system at the speed of light, you’ll have a fleet of Rebels hot on your trail. If it reaches you, your ship will be destroyed.
FTL battles happen in real time, but you can wait for strategy and give orders to your crew. You’ll always have something to do, whether it’s managing your ship’s systems or commanding the crew to make repairs or fight on board. The game is very difficult even on easy difficulty because every game is produced perfectly. We played for 27 hours and never got to the Federation, but every game was unique and fun.
Although the game is still in early access, Factorio is a game that works well and is worth your time. In a way, it’s like SimCity, only instead of building streets and buildings, you build belts and factories. At first you will collect resources and build everything by hand, but as you progress, your factories will become more complex and automated.
However, building a mass production empire while plundering the world’s resources creates enemies with alien inhabitants — “Spiters”, “Griters” and “Worms”. Finally, you have to defend yourself against enemy attacks using turrets, tanks and other different weapons. Developer Wube Software has an official release scheduled for September 25, 2020, but don’t let that stop you from purchasing the highly stable and nearly flawless version.
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When the first-person shooter Borderlands launched in 2009, developer Gearbox advertised that it had “87 bazillion” different weapons. In fact, the game’s “Procedural Content Creation System” is capable of seamlessly generating over 3.5 million variations of different features, but who’s counting? It also gives each weapon something unique.
Although primarily a shooter, the game features a rich RPG character development system that allows players to customize one of four classes, each with unique abilities and skill trees. These elements combined with vehicular combat, an open world environment, tons of side quests, and a unique co-op multiplayer mode for up to four players make Borderlands a title you can play over and over again with each new game that feels fresh. Try again.
Untitled Goose Game from indie publisher Panic Inc is a newer title. Players take on the role of a bored city goose. The city is divided into sections, each with a series of missions or tasks to complete, such as stealing items or tricking villagers into doing something. The game combines stealth and puzzle elements, and surprisingly, developer House House said it was inspired by Mario 64 and the Hitman series.
With its simple graphics, it’s easy to let this game slip under your radar, but its gameplay is fun and silly enough to make it a good choice for low-end systems. Its only real flaw is that it is too short. Most players can finish it in a few hours.
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Hotline Miami is a top-down action game originally released by Devolver Digital in 2012. You play as a nameless hero (referred to as “Jack” by the audience) in 1989 Miami. The game is divided into sections, each of which has several stages. The missions begin with a phone message in which Jacket confronts a Russian mafia operative. The goal is always to scare away all the bad guys out there.
Starting each phase unarmed, Jacket must use stealth, at least until he finds a weapon or melee weapon. It also has access to masks that can be seen on bodies. Each mask comes with unique accessories to help with the stage. Although it’s an action game, it’s also somewhat puzzle-oriented, as players have to figure out how to complete areas without getting killed, which isn’t easy. If you can’t jump on an enemy, you will probably die and have to start the level over.
Its retro graphics combined with the 1980’s inspired soundtrack almost gives off a GTA: Vice City vibe. Its structure makes it great for playing in short bursts, like while waiting to board at the airport.
Despite its cartoony, beautiful graphics, Cuphead is one of the most demanding games on the list, both on your hardware and your health. Bullet Hell in Studio MDHR 2017 was found to be frustratingly difficult by many, so it’s not for everyone. However, once you reach its levels (after dying many, many times), it becomes addictive. The feeling of relief and satisfaction after completing a stage is a fitting reward.
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You play as Cuphead or his brother Mugman. The 1930s style is reminiscent of the old “visit snackbar” animations with anthropomorphic popcorn and soda dancing around. With great sound, the game provides a fun experience whether you’re watching someone else die or playing alone.
Perhaps one of the most underrated titles on the list, the Hack series consists of three hacking simulators from developer i273 — Hack Run, Hack Run Zero, and Hack Time. They harken back to the days of text adventures, so you could literally walk on anything. The game puts players in the shoes of a hacker who receives an “offer” from a strange “employer” who seems to know more about his (or her) skills than he should.
The story unfolds from the command line as you delve deeper and deeper into a mysterious company by tracking emails, running scenarios, and discovering clues. The puzzles can sometimes be very difficult and require a lot of attention to detail. It’s easy to miss the clues when the text is off the screen, but when you crack one of the secure systems, the diligence comes off and it’s satisfying. If all else fails, i273 has added a hint for those stuck on the latest updates. All of these games are worth their very low $3 prices.
Released in 1998, Half-Life remains a classic that has been updated and remastered on multiple platforms. The first-person shooter puts you in the shoes of Gordon Freeman, a scientist at a research facility known as Black Mesa. Thanks to an experiment gone wrong, Freeman battles beings from another dimension. in 2004
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