July 23, 2024

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The 20 best free-to-play games [September 2022]

The 20 best free-to-play games [September 2022]

There are an abundance of free-to-play games to try when you’re hunting for something new but don’t fancy spending any cash. While some free-to-play titles may not have the best of reputations, or may entice you to spend real money in-game, there are also plenty of free games that’ll keep you entertained for hours, days, and even weeks without having to pay a penny.

Looking to know how progression and rewards work in free fighting game, MultiVersus? This video has you covered.

These games are especially good for when you want to experience a new genre, developer, or style of game without spending any money first, and fortunately, there’s a free-to-play game for every type of player. Whether it’s fragging out in Counter Strike: Global Offensive, trading Pokémon cards, or exploring the world of MMO’s with RuneScape or Genshin Impact, there’s no doubt something free out there to take your fancy.

What’s even better is that many of these free-to-play games mentioned below should be capable of running on most gaming rigs, with plenty of these titles being available on consoles too! While we can’t fit every great free-to-play title on this list, and we’ve tried to spread the choices between genres, and there’s even more honourable mentions for you to check out. Be sure to let us know your favourites, too!

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

  • Release: 2012
  • Developer: Valve, Hidden Path Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC

For those who want a team-based FPS to play, Counter Strike: Global Offensive is perhaps one of the best places to start if you’ve a PC and patience. The game revolves around two teams of five battling it out as terrorists and counter-terrorists in a realistic setting, with realistic weapons.

CS:GO launched almost exactly a decade ago, and it wasn’t always free to play. Considering the game is still regularly updated and has a relatively active esports scene, now is a pretty good time to jump in and test the waters.

Now, if you’d rather a realistic shooter that takes a battle royale format, Danger Zone is a mode that provides just that in CS:GO. Alternatively, there’s always Call of Duty: Warzone if you’re playing on PS4 or Xbox One.


  • Release: 2020
  • Developer: Riot Games
  • Platforms: PC

Valorant is what I’d argue to be a blend of Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Apex Legends. It borrows CS:GO’s format and combines it with the hero-shooter elements and general vibrancy of Apex. So, if the 5v5 format appeals to you, but the realistic environment of CS:GO doesn’t, Valorant is a safe bet.

Key artwork for Valorant map, PEARL.

Valorant is another tactical shooter packed with heroes to play as. Choose your agent, and then prepare to plant or defuse a bomb while taking out the enemy team in the process. The shooter is just over two years old, has an active community and esports scene, and continues to keep growing.

Similarly to CS:GO, you’ll simply need to steer clear of the store of weapon cosmetics if you wish to resist spending any money.

Apex Legends

  • Release: 2019
  • Developer: Respawn Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS

Apex Legends is for those of us who fancy utilising the abilities of various heroes and legends in combat, but while in the battle royale format. You can claim victory in Apex as either a trio or a duo, or even put your trio to the test in the 3v3 Arenas.

Like Valorant, Apex Legends is still a relatively new shooter from the team that created Titanfall 2. The FPS first launched in 2019, but its player base has continued to grow ever since as the game continues to revitalise the genre.

This particular shooter isn’t exclusive to PC, either, which is a grand positive. Not only is the game available across consoles with cross-play between them and PC available, but you can even dive into the action on mobile devices. Although, cross-play between mobile and consoles or PC isn’t available, as you’d expect.

Spelunky Classic

  • Release: 2008
  • Developer: Mossmouth, LLC
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Switch

Spelunky, one of the best platformers of its time, still remains free 14 years later. It also still remains a pretty good platformer, if that’s more your ballpark than FPS titles.

Throughout the 8-bit inspired title, you play as a spelunker exploring various cave systems, doing everything a spelunker should do: collecting treasure, rescuing damsels in distress, battling with enemies, and cleverly avoiding traps.

A player manoeuvres a procedurally generated level in Spelunky Classic

What’s even more impressive from this 2008 2D title is that all of its caves are procedurally generated. So, if you played Spelunky back in the day, your run right now will be entirely unique from your run back in 2008 or after! There are also plenty of monsters to come face to face with, including bats, ghosts, and my personal favourite enemy in any scenario ever, man-eating plants.


  • Release: 2019
  • Developer: 1047 Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Splitgate feels a lot like if you combined Portal with Halo, or any other out-of-this-world FPS title. What does this mean? Well, imagine being dropped into an arena where you must fight with other players, but there are portals to use to your advantage too.

It’s incredibly satisfying, and landing those stealthy shots before hopping through your portal and retreating to safety feels almost like bad manners, but that’s exactly how Splitgate should be played. With the portal mechanic, there are tonnes of opportunities to sneak around and take on opponents, leading to an FPS that feels incredibly distinctive.

If you don’t fancy trying out combat in the sci-fi FPS right away, there’s also a fun race mode that I’ve spent a lot more time playing than the actual game itself. No guns necessary, this mode has you using your portals to navigate a map and collect disco balls as quickly as possible. It’s some great head-empty fun trying to chase those near-impossible world records, if I say so myself.

Rocket League

  • Release: 2015
  • Developer: Psyonix
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Rocket League is another title that wasn’t free-to-play initially, and it certainly benefited from dropping the price tag. It has never personally been my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had fun with the football-meets-racing title.

Two players chase the ball in Rocket League

While you’d never catch me riding solo, pairing up with a pal to score goals while manoeuvring a racecar is where I find most of the fun to be had. Mainly because it’s amusing to me just how awful I am at it, and then even more comical when I somehow manage to accidentally score a goal. Usually an own-goal, might I add.

The games themselves are just the right length for you to easily step in and out of Rocket League, and it’s perhaps the perfect game for killing off some spare time. The game itself is easily approachable and great for clowning around, or you can get even more competitive and see just how skilled at Rocket League you truly are!

League of Legends

  • Release: 2009
  • Developer: Riot Games
  • Platforms: PC

League of Legends marks yet another appearance for Riot Games on this list, who has an every-growing list of free-to-play multiplayer games under its belt. The MOBA title takes inspiration from WarCraft 3 to offer players a tactical experience that feels a little more approachable than Dota 2 – which appears on this list shortly!

Zed from League of Legends.

You’ve a roster of heroes to pick from, which can be expanded upon through purchases with real money or an earnable in-game currency known as IP, all of which offer their own unique perks and abilities. In this 5v5, League welcomes new players to the MOBA genre, but that doesn’t mean the tactical title is easy.

You won’t become a Grandmaster or Challenger overnight, but League of Legends does promise you some MOBA fun for trying. That’s if you play alongside friends, though, as League is privy to plenty of issues with in-game toxicity from players (which Riot is working on via honour rewards and more).

Fall Guys

  • Release: 2020
  • Developer: Mediatonic
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch

Fall Guys only recently went free-to-play, and what a good decision that was. While there were plenty of issues at first due to the unprecedented amount of players, all the creases have since been ironed, and we can all go back to being clumsy beans.

Fall Guys' artwork for Season 6 featuring beans in new cosmetics stumbling along an assault course.

The party game drops you into a nefarious course that you must race to the end of. Either solo, or as a squad, you must run and bump your way to victory. It’s outlandish and silly, but it’s so much fun, both alone and with friends.

If you need something colourful that almost any friend can easily join you on – thanks to cross-platform play – Fall Guys is the best game to take a tumble with… literally.

War Thunder

  • Release: 2012
  • Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

War Thunder is a vehicular combat multiplayer game that lets you take your pick of war-era vehicles that grace the land, air, and sea and go to battle in them. If you feel like sailing in a pre-World War I vessel, driving tanks from the Spanish Civil War, or battling it out in a fighter jet, this one’s for you.

While the game initially focused on simulation back in the early 2010s, it has since evolved into something full of explosions and excitement for many. Whether you’re a full-blown aviation enthusiast or simply want to try out some military vehicles in a multiplayer environment, War Thunder boasts over a thousand aircraft, land vehicles, and vessels to test out.

As far as free to play games go, War Thunder boasts a lot of content for no cost at all; you can play out fast-paced arcade battles, realistic battles, or simulator battles which, in a way, are actually a lot more realistic than the realistic battles themselves. There are also plenty of events to take part in when you’ve some time away from trying out every vehicle, too!

Dota 2

  • Release: 2013
  • Developer: Valve
  • Platforms: PC

Dota 2 is yet another MOBA that takes inspiration from WarCraft 3, and it pits two teams of five against one another as they battle it out to destroy the enemy team’s base. It’s a format that you’re no doubt familiar with, but Dota 2 certainly does its best to challenge players as much as possible.

Medusa from DOTA 2

Amidst the battle and your bid to destroy your enemies base, you must also deal with waves of enemy creatures, making teamwork of the essence. Dota 2 may seem daunting on the whole, and it hosts a steep learning curve if you haven’t played a MOBA before, but there’s still room for newcomers.

As one of the most popular games on Steam, and one of the most popular in terms of the esports team, Dota 2 and its community show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. So, if you want a title you fancy committing to, Dota 2 may be it!

Path of Exile

  • Release: 2013
  • Developer: Grinding Gear Games
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Path of Exile is an action-adventure RPG treat for anyone interested in dark fantasy. While it definitely bears some resemblances to the Diablo series, Path of Exile acts as a form of spiritual successor to the series in a way.

A player battles with enemy NPCs in Path of Exile

Choose from seven classes and start your life as an exile on the continent of Wraeclast and battle your way back home to Oriath. As you do so, you’ll be tasked with taking on ancient Gods across the continent in dungeons, caves, or outdoor arenas.

Path of Exile is packed to the brim with free content, plenty of replayability, and is also entirely free-to-play with no pay-to-win opportunities available; that means no in-game purchases or monetisation whatsoever, making the game accessible and approachable to every type of player!

Team Fortress 2

  • Release: 2007
  • Developer: Valve
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Team Fortress 2 will go down in history as one of the first and best multiplayer shooters of all time. The game as we know it now was initially born from a 1996 mod for Quake before being made into Team Fortress Classic in 1999. Now, we have TF2, which continues with more class-bassed shoot-outs.

A player being killed by an enemy player in Team Fortress 2

The game is wholly praised for just about everything, excluding its current bot problems which Valve are – finally – addressing, meaning it’s still well worth jumping into TF2 today. I fondly remember TF2 being my first ever experience with a shooter on PC, and while my aim still leaves more to be desired years later, TF2 felt like a lively place to start.

It’s one of those titles that every player should try at least once, even if shooter titles aren’t necessarily your thing, TF2 might surprise you with its charm. Or it’s character customisation if you’re also a sucker for that!

Guild Wars 2

  • Release: 2012
  • Developer: ArenaNet
  • Platforms: PC

Guild Wars 2 is an expansive MMORPG that just recently came to Steam, which takes you away to the vast expanse of Tyria. In this fantasy world, you must reunite the disbanded members of the Destiny’s Edge, a guild dedicated to fighting the colossal Elder Dragons that are taking over Tyria.

Two characters engage in combat in Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 is a free MMORPG, but there is a slight catch; you can’t install the standalone game, sadly, and can only install it while simultaneously purchasing one of the game’s DLCs. You can pick up the game alongside the Path of Fire and Heart or Thornes DLCs for £25.99/$29.99 if you fancy it.

Alternatively, there’s a few other free MMORPG options on this list, but let’s not also forget Final Fantasy XIV, which is incredibly welcoming to newcomers, and free for your first 30 days before you will then need to commit to a monthly subscription.


  • Release: 2001
  • Developer: Jagex
  • Platforms: PC, Mobile

You most likely already know what RuneScape is. It’s the largest MMORPG out there, and while it started as a browser game back in 2001, it continues to live on with a mass of dedicated players and newcomers still flocking to the game.

A screenshot from Old School RuneScape

The game was remade in 2013 as RuneScape 3, offering players overhauled combat and improved graphics. Many players still prefer to play the old-school version, where fighting using abilities is not a thing, and idle-tasks are aplenty.

Both RS3 and Old School RuneScape aren’t the flashiest MMOs you could come across, especially when the likes of Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy XIV look outstanding, but don’t be dissuaded by this. RuneScape has a mountain of content to keep you busy, and it’s completely free. There are no doubts that it’ll continue to be updated for a long time to come, too!

Genshin Impact

  • Release: 2020
  • Developer: miHoYo
  • Platforms: PC, Mobile, PS4, PS5

Perhaps one of the most popular and approachable gacha games of all time is Genshin Impact. Yes, if you’ve heard of Genshin but are yet to try it, you’ve also no doubt heard that there are microtransactions. Your hard-earned Primogems – used to roll for various heroes in the game – can also be purchased outright and so forth.

Klee from Genshin Impact catching fish

Now that that’s out of the way, Genshin Impact is a rather fruitful albeit pocket-sized RPG adventure that proves to be pretty fun without needing to spend a penny. As you level your character and unlock more, you put together the perfect team of four to take on the lands which are packed with quests, ruins, and monsters to engage with.

Each character and region comes with its own stories for you to enjoy, and honestly, whether you’re embarking on the main story or simply roaming around aimlessly, the world of Teyvat has lots to do and see, and farming artefacts and the likes alongside friends feels very wholesome.

Phantasy Star Online 2

  • Release: 2021
  • Developer: Sega
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Phantasy Star Online 2 is intriguing, because the game initially released in 2012 in Japan. It wasn’t until 2021 when an all-new game that borrowed from the original, Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, was released worldwide.

A player walks away from an explosion in Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis

It’s another MMORPG, but the difference is that levelling up can prove to be quite the challenge. After having chosen from the nine classes on offer and sculpting your character, you’re thrown into the ambitious open-world of Halpha where combat is at the forefront of your gameplay.

There are quests to embark on and NPC’s to interact with, but Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is all about the action as you try to overcome the Dolls.


  • Release: 2014
  • Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
  • Platforms: PC, Mobile

Hearthstone is Blizzard’s gargantuan online card-game, and if you’re tempted to try it, just be aware that you’re likely to become hooked. Forget about one more match of League or Valorant, or spending the evening with World of Warcraft, you’ll be vying to play more Hearthstone instead. Conveniently, the card game is also set in the Warcraft universe.

In Hearthstone, you’ll build a deck of 30 cards with a particular hero and their power in mind, then you’ve also got a limited amount of mana to carefully use on abilities, or to summon the likes of minions. It’s easy to pick up, but you’ll have your work cut out for you if you’re adamant on being the best.

What’s also great about Hearthstone is the fact that most rigs can run it. It’s only downfall, however, is that to build a strong deck to battle it out with, you may have to make a few in-game purchases before you’re happy. Alternatively, Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is free and without microtransactions, so you can get a card-game fix from that without spending a penny, if needs be.

Pokémon Unite

  • Release: 2021
  • Developer: TiMi Studio Group
  • Platforms: Mobile, Nintendo Switch

Pokémon Unite is a MOBA game for Switch and mobile that pits two teams of five against one another. Rather than battle it out with each other, you and your team must battle with NPC trainers to collect points, and ultimately, whichever team has the most points after ten minutes is hailed the winner.

Players start their game of Pokemon Unite

It’s a simple premise that can provide a lot of fun. Each map is privy to its own ‘mons, and you’ll be able to witness yours grow in strength as matches progress, too. If you’re into Pokémon and like the idea of battling alongside others, this is a must-try, which can conveniently be played on mobile, too.


  • Release: 2022
  • Developer: Player First Games
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

MultiVersus is the free, cross-platform spiritual sibling of sorts to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In my personal opinion, it’s nowhere near as good, but it still puts fighting game fun on the table and covers it in sprinkles. It’s vibrant, full of memorable characters, and it’s far from boring.

MultiVersus characters Harley Quinn, Jake the Dog, Arya Stark, and Batman are in a 2v2.

As you might’ve already anticipated from the comparison with Smash Bros, MultiVersus is a platform fighter that can be played as a 1v1, 2v2, or even a free-for-all if you fancy. The roster of characters you get to pick from consist of various familiar faces from Warner Bros. various franchises. This includes Superman, Wonder Woman, Iron Giant, Jake the Dog, Shaggy, Velma, and even Morty Smith.

It might not appeal to every fan of fighting games, but there’s something deeply satisfying about witnessing Shaggy beat up Velma that you can’t experience anywhere else. That, and the toasting mechanic is pretty cool.

Doki Doki Literature Club

  • Release: 2017
  • Developer: Team Salvato
  • Platforms: PC

This wouldn’t be a complete list if I didn’t mention at least one game that’s guaranteed to creep you out. It’s hard to speak about what Doki Doki Literature Club entails without spoiling the game, but let’s set the scene.

In Doki Doki, you’re a teenage boy whose neighbour has invited them to join the school’s literature club. At first glance, and especially as multiple girls keep sharing their poetry with you, it appears that this game is an amusing dating simulator.

However, Doki Doki Literature Club is far from what it seems. I really don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who’s somehow made it this far without hearing about what Doki Doki entails, but I will say one thing; it takes an incredibly dark and awry turn. I may have just warned you about it, but believe me, everything grim happening still comes as a shock in Doki Doki Literature Club.

Honourable Mentions

Honourable mentions are owed to Lost Ark, Albion Online, PUBG: Battlegrounds, Tower of Fantasy, EVE Online, Planetside 2, Crusader Kings 2, Pokémon Trading Card Game Online/Live, Fortnite, Gwent, Magic: The Gathering Arena, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Call of Duty: Warzone, Warframe, Lord of the Rings Online, DC Universe Online, Paladins, World of Tanks, Dragalia Lost