Updated: April 10, 2010
Welcome to the eighth mega compilation of Linux games. When I started writing my first article, with just three humble entries, all rather common and popular First Person Shooters, I've never envisioned I would manage eight collections, with at least three more planned, and an untold number of single game reviews in queue. But the world of Linux games does have quite a bit to offer.
While you may disagree with the variety, originality, graphics level, plot detail and complexity, bugs, problems, and most importantly, how all these games fare with their Windows counterparts, do not let any of these stop you from trying them. In the worst case, you will have lost a few precious minutes of your time trying something you may not like. But there's a chance you will discover something new and wonderful. Imagine the impact Scorched 3D had on the diehard Scorched Earth fans. Imagine the cry of joy UFO fans cried when UFO: Alien Invasion was created. Sometimes, it goes beyond the size in GB and crude system requirements. Anyhow, if you're in a mood, please read on. You may find some of the games to your liking. Most run on Windows and Mac, too, so you don't have to stop there. Most are free, while others offer limited versions or demo versions.
Today, I depart from my standard focus on shooters and real time strategies and explore the world of online role-playing mostly, with several interesting, unique candidates that will intrigue you. Then, we have arcades and racing games, plus some educational physics. And for the first time, a sprinkling of links pointing to excellent game reviews written by other people. As always, you can always go back and read the seven other mega threads, as well as a handful of one-game reviews, tips and tricks that should help you find, install and enjoy your games on Linux. It's all there, just a few mouse scroll lower.
MMORPG titles are becoming more and more popular lately, as broadband Internet tightens its grip on our souls. World of Warcraft seems to have made the revolution and since, online roleplaying titles have cropped like mushrooms after radioactive rain.
ATITD is a roleplaying game focused on crafting, trading and social challenges, taking place in ancient Egypt. There's no combat in the game, and the emphasis is on your cultural and social impact rather than bludgeoning curious monsters to death.
You start as a humble Egyptian bloke, standing at the Welcoming Island. Your first task is to get acquainted with game. This includes reading signs, learning how to interact with the environment, work the camera angles, and possibly even meet other players starting in the game, just like you.
Personally, I found ATITD a little slow to my pace, but you may like it. The game is quite colorful. However, it requires time and patience. Even getting started will take a few handsome hours, as you collect materials for building a barge and getting into mainland Egypt. On the same note, the intro stage will get you familiar with game concepts, crucial to your success and enjoyment. The game can be played for 24 hours free, after which you will need to subscribe on a monthly basis.
RuneScape is quite similar to ATITD, except it takes place in a medieval world. RuneScape takes place in the world of Gielinor, a medieval fantasy realm divided into several different kingdoms, regions, and cities. Players can travel throughout Gielinor on foot, through use of magical teleportation spells and devices, and via numerous other methods, such as charter ships. Each region offers different types of monsters, resources, and quests to challenge players. You begin by creating your account online and customizing your character to your liking.
Since the game is quite rich and complex, you begin with a tutorial. The tutorial helps you familiarize with the camera views, how to move and the basic interaction with the world. After mastering this first step, you will learn how to make your living in the fantasy world, collect items, build your skills, and fight opponents.
RuneScape has more than 10 million users, which makes it the most popular free MMORPG.
Furthermore, RuneScape is Java-based and it runs inside your browser. This is quite convenient, as all it takes to play the game is the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). What more, I did lament the lack of solid Java-based games, and save for the legendary Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, featured in my fifth mega-collection, I have not found any. Now, there's RuneScape. The only thing you should pay attention to is enabling RuneScape to run, when a Java warning popup comes up.
RuneScape is quite an interesting game. It's really a virtual world, with more inhabitants than most countries in the world, so the options are virtually limitless. The graphics element of the game is not strong, so don't expect any miracles, but then it runs in every browsers, which is a definite bonus. Overall, RuneScape is a very similar to ATITD, so if you don't fancy the old world and too much realism, you can explore the fantasy wonders of Gielinor.
Regnum is another MMORPG, however, focused on combat rather than hobnobbing. The game focuses on the conflict between three realms, with gameplay revolving around realm vs. realm combat. Players fight in groups against players from the opposing factions. Some strategic elements are present, in that you can capture enemy fortress and castles. There's also character development. You build your skills as you progress, so there's an emotional attachment to your avatar. You begin the game by choosing your realm. You won't be able to switch later, so it's important to make the right choice.
And then, mold your character:
Once past this stage, you begin your training, which introduces you to the game concepts slowly. You learn how to interact with the environment, talk to other characters and get assignments from them, train with weapons, collect items and valuables, and fight monsters.
The game progress is not very fast, at least in the early stages, but the plot is colorful enough to keep you intrigued. The story builds through your interaction with other units, so you feel compelled to run around and explore. The game world feels very real. It's large and well executed. Combined with decent graphics and careful attention to details, you get immersed into the virtual reality Regnum creates.
While I have only managed to slay a few insects so far and take the most basic training in the few hours I've played, I hunger for more. Of all MMORPGs I've tried, Regnum seems like the most complete, most interesting title. And while I'm not a fan of quest-like games, I will be returning to Horus.
Regnum offers gameplay in several languages, including English, Spanish, German, and French, each playing their own world. Horus is the international English-speaking world. The game is essentially free, but the premium account entitles you to several extras. You can buy the in-game currency, Ximerin, for real money, and then use the virtual shekels to buy special items like spells, man potions, war banners, tools, paints, teleport scrolls, and other stuff.
Single Player RPG is pretty much like MMORPG, except that you play at the leisure of your own home. This genre has somewhat lost its popularity recently, as people have grown more and more impatient, however the old school of veteran gamers will certainly appreciate the revival of this type of games.
Eschalon is a classic, Dungeons & Dragons meets Diablo kind of game, which warmly reminds me of the sweet, innocent days of late DOS era. The game has a very simple premise - you need to discover who you are. And you do that by exploring a dangerous, magical world of Eschalon.
You begin the game by creating your character. You can choose your origin, your axiom (religion) and your class.
Each brings its own advantages and penalties. For example, being an Nor'lander Atheist Ranger is quite a bit
different than a Druidic Rogue from Kessia. Accordingly, you will have your unique skills and attributes, which
will determine how you play and handle various situations. You will get bonus points if you stick to your nature
and lose points if you step out of the character, so to speak.
The game begins with you waking up into blissless amnesia. You don't remember who you are or where you are. And so your perilous journey begins. The emphasis of the game is in strategy. The game play is tile-build, turn-based, and the result of absolutely every action is rolled, calculated or statistically determined. Strategy is paramount to success; careful skill management, equipment selection and magic usage will win your fights, not rapid button clicking.
The game may seem very complex, but you're introduced into its various elements slowly, including managing your resources, exploring and collecting items, fighting strange monsters, hoarding treasure and hidden goodies, and countless other surprises. All combined, this makes Eschalon unpredictable and fun to play.
I must say I'm quite pleased with the game. It works well, it's intriguing and it will grab your attention for many long hours. Not for the impatient though. Eschalon takes quite a bit of time getting used to various functions and using them properly. Dungeon & Dragons fans will love it. The one downside is that the full game is not free. But you can try the demo and see how it works for you. However, the price seems quite affordable.
It's all about speed babe, all about speed!
Racer is a somewhat unoriginal name for a racing game, but it fits the bill nicely. Racer combines a number of features that make it probably the best free racing simulator available for Linux. Very decent graphics, a wide selection of tracks and cars and respectable physics all attribute to a fun and challenging driving experience.
The graphics level is particularly nice. On my RD510 laptop powered with Nvidia 9600GS card and the right drivers, I tuned the level of details to the max, including shaders, blow and whatnot, all of which contribute to the spectacular visual effects.
Mastering Racer is not very easy, especially at high speeds or slippery tracks. For example, heading on to a frozen snow track with racing tires on Murcielago is not the best course of action, which is why except kicking snow flakes into the air, I was not able to accomplish that much. Frustrating, but part of the lesson.
There's inertia, wheel locking and proper braking and cornering, all of which you need to take into account, unless you want your cars to behaves as a well thrown brick. Racer supports Track IR devices, so you can elevate the experience a whole notch.
The game ships with a single map and one car, but you can download many more. The official site has links to various repositories where you can find the extra vehicles and racing tracks. Some of these will work with your game versions, others will not. You may also experience visual glitches and quirks, but overall, you should be able to hoard a handsome collection rather easily. All in all, Racer has a few rough edges and it's quite hard to play, but it rewards with great graphics and high level of realism.
Physics games are all those games that require you use bits of your CPU capacities inside your brain to manage 2D and 3D problems by relating to basic physics principles. Great for education, especially with kids, as these kinds of games can help develop thinking, orientation, intuition, problem solving, understanding of basic laws and forces, and a whole bunch of other concepts. Plus, it's a refreshing departure from the classic genres.
Numpty is similar to Phun 2D, a physics sandbox game where you build all kinds of things and then watch them obey the classic mechanics. Numpty Physics teaches you about gravity. The game screen in an interactive panel where you construct all kinds of devices, like ramps, bridges, pulleys, etc, and then use gravity to create motion. The goal is to make your ball (a red thing) hit a star (a yellow thing).
For example, take a look at the puzzle below. What do you do? In my case, I drew a little ramp going from the block with the red ball to the yellow star, then drew a triangle chunk above and to the left of the ball above it. The chunk drops and hits the ball. The gradient impact of the triangle is translated into rolling motion. The ball then rolls down the ramp and hits the star. Simple. Just an example of many beautiful and tricky puzzles that Numpty offers.
Numpty is a really nice game. Very recommended, especially for children, although adults can have hours of blasting fun. You think you're smart and inventive? Well, let's see you use your mouse cursor and put your thoughts into physical motion.
Arcade games are all kinds of simple one-screeners. For people who do not fancy huge downloads, complex games with lots violence or may not have the resources to run heavy games, arcades are a great way to spend time in between meetings, while waiting for the boarding time for your flight or when you just need to let go for a while.
No need for a homepage link, because this game comes included with the basic game set in most distributions. Still, it's quite popular and deserves a mention. Exercise your mind, without compromising on aesthetics. Rather educational, too.
Note: I know there's Mahjongg 3D, as well, but it seems to be an older game, not recently updated. If you do have any recommendations for a 3D version of Mahjongg, I'd appreciate it.
Blobby is one of those eternal games that survive the rites of time, weather and fashion, just like Liero. It could be the extremely simple premise of the game or the absolute, archaic fun you can fun two people can have sharing the same keyboard. I used to play Blobby in its 4-color incarnation back in the DOS game. Then, at the university I played this very new, colorful, fashionable version. And it's been ported to Linux. And now it has a network game component, too. If you're looking for some innocent, friendly fun, you can go wrong with Blobby.
I've written quite a few. If you're interested, take a long, deep look:
Linux gamers - First Person Shooters - This article introduces three FPS games, OpenArena, Sauerbraten and Nexuiz. These three titles are among the most popular and well known FPS for Linux, having been around for quite some time.
Linux gamers - First Person Shooters - Part Deux - This article introduces two more FPS games, AssaultCube and Urban Terror. The latter title is a mature, grown game, with thousands of people playing it daily in hundreds of servers online.
Linux gamers - First Person Shooters - Part Three - This article introduces two more shooters, Alien Arena 2008 and Warsow.
Linux gamers - Lots of great choices - This article is a massive compilation across genres, including two FPS titles, Tremulous and America's Army, two racing games - Torcs and ManiaDrive, two flight/space simulators - FlightGear and Vega Strike, three real-time strategy games - Warzone 2100, The Battle of Wesnoth, and the open-source clone of Transport Tycoon Deluxe known as Open Transport Tycoon (OpenTTD), an Worms-style artillery game called Wormux, a scattering of board games, and some basic tips on how to search for Linux games.
More about Linux games - Part 5 - This is another big collection, covering the following games: Toribash - a ragdoll physics violence game, Phun - 2D physics sandbox, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - a Java-version remake of the legendary title, FreeCiv - A Civilization-style world-building game, TuxRacer - a Penguin racer game, Glest - a 3D real-time strategy somewhat similar to Warcraft, Lincity - a city-building game similar to older versions of SimCity, and Savage 2, a beautiful, complex, unconventional FPS game with stunning graphics and semi-RPG elements.
Another superb collection of Linux games - This article introduces yet more fine Linux titles: Yo Frankie! and World of Padman FPS games, VDrift - a racer game with serious physics, Vendetta Online - a payware space simulator played by thousands of people in a vast universe, Dwarf Fortress - an unusual, extremely realistic and hard strategy game played in terminal, Kapitalist - a monopoly game, and a slew of Flash games, although not strictly Linux, still fun and enjoyable on Linux platforms, including Armor Games, Scriball and Line Rider.
Linux games mega collection - part 7 - This article has it all: Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Smokin' Guns, Postal 2, UFO: Alien Invasion - a remake of the legendary DOS-era UFO: Enemy Unknown, Scorched 3D - also a remake, of Scorched Earth, the Mother of All Games, a couple of Liero clones, Ultimate Stunts - a racing game, Brutal Chess, Foo Billard and Trackballs 3D board games, Soldat 2D platform/shooter game, a Worms-like clone called Hedgewars, and a pair of real-time tactics/strategy games - Bos Wars and NetPanzer.
There are also several more single-game reviews, like Alien Arena 2009, Nexuiz and Quake Live, an ultra-tutorial explaining all the different ways and methods of playing games in Linux, how to install DirectX using WINE, and how to get hundreds of games in virtually a single mouse click. In fact:
How to get and install Linux games - This long and thorough article explains how to find and install Linux games, covering game repositories, manual downloads, WINE, Cedega and CrossOver solutions for Windows games, virtualization, DOS games via DOSBox, browser games (Flash and Java), and more.
Linux: Install a million games in one click - The article introduces djl and GameStore, Steam Valve like software for Linux with instant access to hundreds of titles, available for download and automatic installation, along with additional features like screenshots, chat, online score board plugins, and more. With more than a 100K views in the last several months, it has proven quite popular with my readers.
How to install DirectX in Linux using Wine - Care for some fancy Windows titles? Well, you can have them. This article shows how to install DirectX using Wine and then demonstrates the powers of this method with Tropico 3.
All combined, not including this mega collection, the different articles I've written cover some 40-50 games titles, give or take a few, including online Flash and Java games, so if you're not a fan of desktop-oriented fun, you can still enjoy yourself. The rest of articles and reviews not mentioned here are available in the Linux gaming section.
More to come, including both mega collections and single-game reviews and re-reviews, so stay tuned!
Hear hear, no need reinventing the wheel. I found a few extremely well-written articles online, so sharing them is in the best interest of us all. Over at tuxmachines.org, srlinuxx has written a few interesting reviews.
Supergamer Supreme is a complete Linux distribution, based on Vector, packed full with a variety of games, a total of 8GB, covering titles like Sauerbraten, Tremulous, Alien Arena, SuperTux, Urban Terror, Torcs, Plane Shift, and many others, including several titles I have not yet had a chance to explore. Some of the games are full versions, others are teasers and demos, including Doom3, Quake4 and UT2004.
You're welcome to try and see for yourself. It's a huge download, but it's definitely worth it. In fact, having just upgraded my Internet to a respectable new level, I will be seeding this beast aplenty. As to testing and playing the Supergamer awesome arsenal, I will be doing that soon, and although the above review pretty much covers everything, I'm not sure I'll be able to resist a temptation of writing my own review sometime soon.
The screenshot taken from the official website (until I get my own testing done).
Machinarium is a puzzle point-and-click adventure game, focusing around a robot called Josef, who wakes up broken in a heap of parts in a scrapyard outside the city walls. And this where the quest begins. Josef first has to reassemble himself, then get back into city and find his girlfriend. A love story, really. Online demo is available, in Flash format.
Several games refused to cooperate, despite my best efforts. The following would not really work me. Whether we're talking installation problems or inability to connect to online servers, the end result is not being able to have fun. I was considering whether to mention these failures in my reviews or just dust them into oblivion and went for the first option. Part of the Linux gaming effort is exposing problems and pointing users in the right direction.
Dark Oberon is a simple Real Time Strategy, similar to Warcraft II. The game focuses on a small number of units and buildings, designed like plasticine models. There's no AI in the game, so you will have to play against humans to enjoy it. Furthermore, recent development has slowed down. Nevertheless, I was intrigued and wanted to try the game, but it would not run or compile. As such, Dark Oberon has not made it into any of my reviews yet. Considering the game has not been updated in several years, this is most likely a defunct project. The game does run on Windows, but that's not the point here, really.
Widelands is a free, slow Real Time Strategy game, similar to Settlers. I was looking forward to getting the game tested, but I was unable to get it to run. This does not tell us anything about the game quality, which is why I'll probably report success back in the next article. So far though, it has not worked for me.
True Combat Elite is an extensive modification of the extremely popular Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory, which I've reviewed in my last mega compilation. True Combat Elite focuses on modern combat with modern weapons and steps away from the WWII arena. As such, it's closest to Urban Terror.
While I managed to get and install the game without any problems using PlayDeb repository, as I've shown in my gaming how-to article, I was unable to find any servers. Reading online, it seems the development of the mod has ceased, which could explain some of the difficulties I've encountered. Shame really, as I've warmed up to Enemy Territory and really wanted to see what True Combat Elite brings. But I have not lost my hope.
That does not mean I won't succeed yet. Hey, that's what the ninth compilation is for! Do not be surprised if you
see some of the games mentioned just above fully reviewed in the next thread. However, I can't promise anything
yet. Of all these, True Combat Elite seems like the most interesting one. Hopefully, I'll be able to find some
servers and play, as well as collect a handful of screenshots. And there's the Spring Project, too! Let's not
forget that one.
There you go, another review. This time, we focused mainly on role-playing titles, but they were kind of neglected in the previous collections, so it evens out just fine. Then, some arcades for less zealous gamers, some physics for educationally inclined, and a few articles by other people. Not a bad package.
I expect to release another article soon and squeeze in a few more games. You should also expect a review of payware and demo games, like Quake 4 and UT2004 soon. We'll also have a Best of ... article. Furthermore, since most of the games reviewed are in constant development, you should expect re-reviews of individual games periodically, just as I've done with Nexuiz and AlienArena. I would appreciate any suggestions and recommendations you may have.