Finding quality free games can be very hard. Finding quality free games that you can play offline is even harder, especially on PC, which is why I’ve gone through the trouble for you and created this list!
Best Free Offline PC Games
- Dwarf Fortress
- Crusader Kings II
- Fallout Shelter
- Starcraft 2
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall
- Tales of Maj’Eyal
- Cave Story
- Sims 4
- Dink Smallwood
- Warzone 2100
- 0 A.D.
Keep reading to learn more about each of these games and why they made it on my list.
Dwarf Fortress is an all-time classic game and one of the most vast games ever developed—free or not. The game truly feels limitless and there’s a reason it is the inspiration for many amazing colony building games (like RimWorld).
Dwarf fortress is a simulation/roguelike game, and it’s precisely this simulation aspect that makes it so popular.
Dwarf Fortress generates a persistent world, along with kingdoms, civilizations, detailed history, and even music, poetry, and art.
There’s monsters, animals, simulated weather and terrain, and pretty much anything else that you can think of that would bring a simulated world to life.
Dwarf Fortress is all about managing your own outpost/fortress or an adventurer in this simulated world. You can build an entire Dwarf civilization with libraries, taverns, etc.
In addition to building your civilization, you also have to teach its inhabitants to survive by ensuring they gather enough food and water, are protected against the elements, and can defend against any raids that may befall their village.
Dwarf Fortress is the original colony management game and it’s still the most in-depth one to date (it helps that the game has been in constant development for over 15 years).
The game is completely free and can be played offline. The only true con of Dwarf Fortress is that there is a pretty high learning curve.
Thankfully, the game has a big community so the learning curve is reduced by the numerous guides, videos, and walk-throughs you’ll find for this game.
It’s well worth it to get through the learning curve of this game, as it can easily provide thousands of hours worth of unique gaming experiences.
Crusader Kings II is another classic game that was developed by Paradox. Paradox is known for 4x strategy games. The 4x in 4x strategy stands for “Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate”.
Unlike strategy games focused on micro strategy (e.g. Civilization), 4x strategy games are based around creating a huge kingdom of some sort and implementing on a “grand strategy”.
If you’re a fan of medieval settings and strategy, then Crusader Kings II is perfect. It has a crazy amount of depth to its strategy and every playthrough will feel different.
There are a ton of kingdoms to choose from as well, so you can experiment with different playstyles.
You can play as a greedy ruler that buys mercenaries to handle their dirty work or you can play as Viking raiders sacking Paris over and over to build your wealth before conquering your neighbors.
Every playstyle is possible and Crusader Kings II is one of the best strategy games of all time, free or not.
Spelunky is one of the most influential games of the last couple decades and has spawned countless indie games trying to make a new spin on its magic.
Spelunky is a platformer roguelike game that is very difficult and punishing. The game is all about dying over and over again and trying to clear one extra level every single time all while collecting gold and killing enemies.
The levels are all procedurally generated, so every run will feel very unique. If you’re a fan of roguelikes or games that reward skill, then Spelunky is the game for you. It’s completely free, can be played offline, and is extremely addicting.
Fallout Shelter is another great colony management game that can be played completely free and offline. Fallout Shelter is based on the popular Fallout series of games, but it puts a huge spin on the classic gameplay.
Instead of playing as a wasteland survivor in a post-apocalyptic world, your task is to manage a group of survivors and build their shelter from the ground up.
You get to decide which facilities to build in the shelter, which survivors to send scavenging, etc.
The strategy and colony simulation isn’t nearly as in-depth as Dwarf Fortress, but that makes Fallout Shelter much easier to pick up and play.
The game still has enough depth to provide countless hours of entertainment. I should note though, that after a certain point, Fallout Shelter becomes an idle game.
Some quests take hours to complete, so you’ll just have to leave the game and come back to it to make progress.
5. Starcraft 2
Starcraft 2 is mostly known for its competitive online mode where players choose one of three unique armies and battle head-to-head in classic RTS combat.
However, what many people don’t know is that Starcraft 2 also has a very fun and decently-sized single player campaign / story mode that you can play for free offline.
There are three campaigns in Starcraft 2, the last two campaigns cost money, but the first one, Wings of Liberty, is completely free.
Wings of Liberty takes about 18 hours to beat, but thanks to the nature of Starcraft and its unit upgrades, different strategies, etc, you can replay the campaign multiple times and have a ton of fun.
I know that name will look familiar to a lot of people and you’re right on the money. Daggerfall is the precursor to Oblivion, Skyrim, etc, and it has a very similar formula to those games despite being much older.
Daggerfall offers so much freedom and so many different ways to play that it’s almost overwhelming.
The game is not going to hold your hand and tell you where to go because you can truly go everywhere and do anything you want.
The game has an insane amount of depth and, despite its graphics, it feels completely alive. If you rob the crypt of a wealthy family, guess what? They’ll hire an assassin to come after you.
It’s a game of experiences and the stories will be yours alone to experience.
Keep in mind that Daggerfall is also very hard compared to most modern games. It can be difficult to even get past the tutorial rat.
But once you get the hang of it, Daggerfall is one of the most rewarding games.
If you’re not a fan of the old school graphics, you can install a mod known as Daggerfall Unity – which will bump up the graphics slightly from sprites to low-poly 3D.
Tales of Maj’Eyal is one of the best games ever made, period, and if you’re a fan of Roguelikes, then you have to play ToME.
When you create your character, you choose one race and one class, so you’re immediately given a ton of options for how you want to play.
Afterwards, you can modify your stats and skills as you see fit for whatever build you decide to go for. There are countless ways to play, and every run feels very unique and exciting.
The game isn’t too punishing unless you accidentally wander into an area you’re not prepared for yet, and overall this is the perfect mish mash of TTRPG character creation, MMO ability and itemization, and turn based strategy/roguelike gameplay.
8. Cave Story
Cave Story is one of the most popular indie games ever. It’s a platformer/Metroidvania-esque game featuring charming graphics plus an original story.
The music is phenomenal, the gameplay is fun (weapon upgrades, choices, etc) and overall it’s a fantastic game that has stood the test of time. The game is a little difficult, but not in an unfair way.
The game is completely free on the website, can be played offline, and is well worth the time it takes to complete. I promise the story will keep you captivated all the way through.
Cave Story also has a “true” ending for those that really like challenging gameplay.
9. Sims 4
The Sims 4 only recently became Free to Play, but gamers everywhere are super excited that it is. If you’ve never played a Sims game before, then I highly recommend trying out Sims 4.
The game isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of simulations, then you’ll be very happy. It’s extremely addicting to create multiple families / characters with unique traits and habits then watching them live their lives.
There’s a ton of DLC available for the Sims 4 as well, so if you ever do want to drop some cash you’ll have a lot of new stuff to choose from.
10. Dink Smallwood
Dink Smallwood is a cult classic and a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously at all. Dink Smallwood is almost a parody of games like Diablo, except it executes its humor while still being insanely fun.
You play as a pig farmer thrust into an epic adventure. The RPG mechanics and gameplay are very solid, despite its immature and quirky humor.
If you’re a fan of RPGs and games like Diablo, then you’ll definitely enjoy Dink Smallwood because it gives you that same great gameplay with a ton of puns thrown in for good measure.
OpenTTD stands for Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe – it is a free-to-play, open source “clone” / expansion of Transport Tycoon Deluxe.
As the name implies, OpenTTD is a tycoon game, so the goal is to make money and spend that money so you can make more money.
In OpenTTD, your money is coming from building very complex transportation systems and routes that use ships, trucks, and trains for transportation.
If you’re a fan of games like Factorio, then OpenTTD will be very familiar in that regard. The game is difficult, rewarding, and an incredible time sink, making it perfect for offline gaming.
12. Warzone 2100
Warzone 2100 was developed in 1999, and is still one of, if not the best RTS games ever made. If you’re a fan of games like Starcraft, Starcraft, Age of Empires, Command and Conquer, etc then you’ll love Warzone 2100.
It has an insane amount of depth and one of the most expansive tech trees of any RTS. The graphics are pretty retro, but I honestly find that charming and it was more of a selling point for me.
There’s a single player campaign mode and plenty of AI opponents to fight, so this is definitely a great game to play offline. Plus, it’s 100% free from the developers / community.
13. 0 A.D.
0 A.D. is yet another RTS that makes this list (this says a lot about RTS game developers and how passionate they are even when releasing games for free).
0 A.D. is pretty much a free-to-play version of Age of Empires (with a few distinct differences like a combat experience mechanic).
There are multiple civilizations to choose from, all with unique art and mechanics and plenty of tech trees to learn.
The game doesn’t have a campaign mode, so it’s not amazing for offline gaming, however you can have a lot of fun playing against the Ai, especially on higher difficulties.
Brogue is one of the best modern ASCII games available. As its name implies, Brogue is extremely similar to the original Rogue game.
It features procedurally generated dungeons, and the entire gameplay loop is you trying to delve deeper and deeper into the cave before you eventually meet your fate.
Brogue is super simple to pick up and start playing, but the difficulty comes in when you have to make hard decisions.
If you sleep too long, you’ll starve. If you fight something you shouldn’t, you’ll be too damaged to progress. If you don’t fight enough, you’ll be too weak once you progress further into the run.
Brogue is extremely rewarding and very punishing, which makes it a perfect roguelike.
Lycanthorn is a 3D Castlevania game built in the Doom engine.
It’s an incredible homage to Castlevania and does a good job of capturing the visuals and atmosphere of the classic game while completely revamping the gameplay.
While it’s not a sidescroller, there’s still a ton of familiarity between Lycanthron and Castlevania, and I think its worth a playthrough for anyone that’s a fan of the original game.
More Top Gaming Lists:
-  Best Cross Platform Games
-  Best CPU Intensive Games
-  Best PC vs. VR Games
-  Best Boat Games
Eric streams 3 days a week on Twitch and uploads weekly to Youtube under the moniker, StreamersPlaybook. He loves gaming, PCs, and anything else related to tech. He’s the founder of the website StreamersPlaybook and loves helping people answer their streaming, gaming, and PC questions.