The Diligent Circle

Libre Game Recommendations

It can sometimes be hard to tell which of the hundreds of libre games out there are really worth trying. I would like to help out with that. To that end, I have compiled a list of completely libre games that I think are worth playing in their own right, regardless of whether or not you're a libre software movement proponent. So basically, whoever you are and whatever your politics are, give these games a try! :) The games are listed alphabetically, ignoring any leading articles ("the" or "a"). Links are provided to the most relevant and useful pages available for each of the games. Note that if you are using a Linux distro, the best way to install any of these is through the package manager, if possible.

Please feel free to contact me if you know of any additional libre games that should be listed here.

Individually Distinguished Games

This list is of games that stand on their own merit individually, meaning that it does not include games that are clearly designed to be very similar to other, more popular games, unless they do a good job distinguishing themselves either with noticeably better production value or with substantial design changes. In short: no clones. This list also does not include any game which is in an incomplete (alpha) state. A list of all rejected games is found in my Rejected Libre Games list. Note that some games rejected merely for lack of distinction might be found in the Clones and Implementations section further down.

Click a section to expand. Games that fit in more than one of these sections are listed in all those that they fit into.

Single-Player
  • A7Xpg - An arcade game centered around avoiding enemies while collecting as many gold pieces as possible. Centered around a "booster" which repels enemies and makes you go faster.
  • Adanaxis - A first-person 4-D space shooter game. Literally "adds an axis" to typical 3-D space shooters for a very unique experience.
  • Alex the Allegator 4 - A fun, lighthearted, short platformer.
  • Armagetron Advanced - A 3-D variant of the Light Cycles sub-game of the classic Tron arcade game. Highly configurable and very fun to play.
  • B.A.L.L.Z. - Highly engaging action puzzle game centered around a character that moves automatically. You start with only one action (jumping) and gain two more actions later in the game.
  • The Battle for Wesnoth - A turn-based strategy game with fantastic artwork, including campaigns and multiplayer.
  • Battle Tanks - An engaging multiplayer overhead shooter game. Features deathmatch and cooperative modes. Includes a nice selection of tanks and weapons. When your current tank is destroyed, your character ejects from it as an infantry unit and can search for and board a new one, or continue fighting on foot.
  • Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahaed - A vast sandbox survival roguelike game with a wide variety of complex scenarios and vast customizability for your character. Start out just trying to survive, and if you can achieve that, persue your own ambitions.
  • C-Dogs SDL - A fast-paced, fun top-down 2-D shooter with customizable characters and a wide variety of weapons. You "pay" points to shoot your gun and then gain them back for killing enemies. Includes single-player campaign and "quick play" (arcade) modes, as well as two multiplayer modes.
  • Criticalmass - A simple space shooter game similar in style to games like Galaxian with great production value and balance. The game awards you with more/better weapons for playing at higher difficulty levels.
  • Dopewars - A simple game where you buy drugs for cheap and then sell them to make a profit, avoiding (or fighting) cops along the way. You have one month to make as much money as you possibly can.
  • Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup - A very fun and well-made dungeon crawl game with a nice interface. Find the "Orb of Zot" and then exit the dungeon (without getting yourself killed, of course) to win!
  • Endgame: Singularity - A very fun real-time strategy game from the perspective of the Singularity, an advanced A.I. that seeks to eventually surpass reality itself. Help the Singularity achieve the highest possible state before the humans uncover its presence and destroy it.
  • Enigma - A fun marble-based puzzle game involving memory and golf aspects.
  • Flare: Empyrean Campaign - A very fun, engaging, well-balanced, and detailed isometric action fantasy RPG about someone who has been exiled from their homeland and their quest to regain entry.
  • Funguloids - A simple arcade game where you control some sort of blob thing in space, collecting mushrooms while avoiding asteroids. The thing you control moves at a constant speed which increases as you collect mushrooms and move through levels, so it gets harder and harder until you finally mess up. Great production value and very fun to play.
  • Gunroar - An abstract naval-themed bullet hell game.
  • Hex-a-Hop - A fun puzzle game where you have to find the right path to clear the board of tiles.
  • Inside a Star-filled Sky - Progress as deep as you can into an endless abstract world. Your actions in the current level affect the state of your character in the next level. You can enter into yourself and enemies, regressing back a level, to change their properties if you find yourself in a pinch. Very unique and challenging.
  • Jump 'n Bump - A classic multiplayer deathmatch game where you stomp on your friends' heads. Features fully customizable graphics, allowing you to create any kind of map you can imagine if you are so inclined.
  • Krank - A puzzle game incorporating elements from Pool/Billiards. You have to use a large ball to bump smaller balls into their proper place. Includes a lot of variety and gets quite challenging later on.
  • Konquest - A fun turn-based strategy game which is a twist on the Risk board game. Send ships from planets you control to conquer others. Crush all other empires and conquer the whole galaxy to win!
  • Kobo Deluxe - A fun, unique space shooter centered around destroying battle stations bit by bit. Fantastic production value and very fun to play.
  • Liquid War - A unique real-time strategy game: you tell your liquid what direction to move in, and nothing else. Liquid attacks enemy liquid when it goes in its direction. Your goal is simply to end up with more liquid than all of your opponents when the timer runs out. For such a simple concept, it is surprisingly engaging.
  • The Mana World - A simple, but fun 2-D MMORPG.
  • M.A.R.S. - A fun space deathmatch game with several interesting weapons and great visuals.
  • MegaGlest - The more recent continuation of Glest, a classic real-time strategy game centered around a medieval theme.
  • Meritous - A fun action-adventure dungeon crawler game.
  • Micropolis - The libre version of Sim City Classic. This is not a clone, but actually directly based on the Unix port of Sim City.
  • Mindustry - A pixel-styled "sandbox tower defense" game centered around building networks to collect materials and then using those materials to build defense systems. Fantastic production value and highly engaging, with online multiplayer support.
  • Mirror Magic - A fun puzzle game where you have to use mirrors to manipulate a beam.
  • Mu-cade - A unique abstract shooter game taking place on a ring. Knock your enemies off the ring while preventing them from knocking you off.
  • NetHack - One of the oldest and most famous roguelike games in existence, with its origins going all the way back to 1987.
  • Nikki and the Robots - A very nice original puzzle platformer with a retro style.
  • Noiz2sa - A fun and challenging abstract bullet hell game with nice graphics.
  • OpenClonk - A fun game combining elements of parkour with elements of RTS games. Features multiple game modes and has great production value.
  • OpenTTD - A faithful remake of Transport Tycoon Deluxe with several improvements. Centered around making money by building transportation systems.
  • Overgod - A fun twist on the classic Asteroids, featuring several different ships, multiplayer support, powerups, and "asteroids" that shoot back.
  • Phlipple - A simple, but engaging puzzle game centered around folding 3-D objects together.
  • Project: Starfighter - A classic original side-view space shooter, featuring a nice variety of missions and weapons.
  • Red Eclipse - A fun original first-person shooter with an emphasis on parkour.
  • Ri-li - A simple game centered around helping a train collect all cars on the board without allowing it to run into itself. Effectively, a variant of Snake where you are only allowed to move along set paths.
  • rRootage - An abstract bullet hell game. Your weapon is a continuous beam that fires straight forward, and all enemies are boss-like.
  • Rocks'n'Diamonds - A highly sophisticated game combining elements of Boulder Dash, Emerald Mine, Supaplex, and Sokoban as well as several original elements, creating an engine that is capable of highly varied gameplay. If that wasn't enough, the production value is great, too.
  • SolarWolf - A simple, but very fun game based on the Atari 2600 game SolarFox, but with much better production value. Centered around collecting cubes as quickly as possible while avoiding gunfire.
  • Spout - A simple abstract game where you use a spray to propel as high as you can through the level, without touching obstacles. Spraying the obstacles erodes them, clearing the path.
  • SuperTuxKart - A fun, family-friendly racing game heavily inspired by the Mario Kart series, but with its own spin (including several original game modes and an original item set) which makes it unique.
  • Titanion - An abstract shooter game in a style similar to the bonus stages of Galaga, with great visuals and an emphasis on fast action.
  • Torus Trooper - A highly fast-paced abstract shooter where you travel down a tube as fast as you can, destroying enemies to regain your timer and avoiding getting shot yourself (which causes you to lose time).
  • TUMIKI Fighters - A fun abstract side-scrolling shooter where you can pick up enemy "toys" to use as both extra weapons and shields.
  • Warzone 2100 - A classic post-apocalyptic real-time strategy game with a massive research tree and a strong focus on artillery.
  • Which Way Is Up? - A simple puzzle-platformer centered around rotating the stage to make it to the exit.
  • Word War vi - A simple, fun abstract shooter inspired by the famous rivalry between Emacs and vi.
  • Xonotic - A highly engaging, fast-paced, and beautiful futuristic multiplayer first-person shooter, featuring several gameplay modes and a nice variety of weapons. It puts a major emphasis on the mechanic of "bunny-hopping", where you move faster by repeatedly jumping in the air.
Local (Hotseat) Multiplayer
  • Armagetron Advanced - A 3-D variant of the Light Cycles sub-game of the classic Tron arcade game. Highly configurable and very fun to play.
  • The Battle for Wesnoth - A turn-based strategy game with fantastic artwork, including campaigns and multiplayer.
  • Battle Tanks - An engaging multiplayer overhead shooter game. Features deathmatch and cooperative modes. Includes a nice selection of tanks and weapons. When your current tank is destroyed, your character ejects from it as an infantry unit and can search for and board a new one, or continue fighting on foot.
  • C-Dogs SDL - A fast-paced, fun top-down 2-D shooter with customizable characters and a wide variety of weapons. You "pay" points to shoot your gun and then gain them back for killing enemies. Includes single-player campaign and "quick play" (arcade) modes, as well as two multiplayer modes.
  • Jump 'n Bump - A classic multiplayer deathmatch game where you stomp on your friends' heads. Features fully customizable graphics, allowing you to create any kind of map you can imagine if you are so inclined.
  • Konquest - A fun turn-based strategy game which is a twist on the Risk board game. Send ships from planets you control to conquer others. Crush all other empires and conquer the whole galaxy to win!
  • Liquid War - A unique real-time strategy game: you tell your liquid what direction to move in, and nothing else. Liquid attacks enemy liquid when it goes in its direction. Your goal is simply to end up with more liquid than all of your opponents when the timer runs out. For such a simple concept, it is surprisingly engaging.
  • M.A.R.S. - A fun space deathmatch game with several interesting weapons and great visuals.
  • OpenClonk - A fun game combining elements of parkour with elements of RTS games. Features multiple game modes and has great production value.
  • Overgod - A fun twist on the classic Asteroids, featuring several different ships, multiplayer support, powerups, and "asteroids" that shoot back.
  • Rocks'n'Diamonds - A highly sophisticated game combining elements of Boulder Dash, Emerald Mine, Supaplex, and Sokoban as well as several original elements, creating an engine that is capable of highly varied gameplay. If that wasn't enough, the production value is great, too.
  • Slingshot - A fun 2-player turn-based strategy game centered around aiming shots so that the gravity of nearby planets flings them toward the enemy ship.
  • SuperTuxKart - A fun, family-friendly racing game heavily inspired by the Mario Kart series, but with its own spin (including several original game modes and an original item set) which makes it unique.
Online Multiplayer
  • Armagetron Advanced - A 3-D variant of the Light Cycles sub-game of the classic Tron arcade game. Highly configurable and very fun to play.
  • The Battle for Wesnoth - A turn-based strategy game with fantastic artwork, including campaigns and multiplayer.
  • Battle Tanks - An engaging multiplayer overhead shooter game. Features deathmatch and cooperative modes. Includes a nice selection of tanks and weapons. When your current tank is destroyed, your character ejects from it as an infantry unit and can search for and board a new one, or continue fighting on foot.
  • Dopewars - A simple game where you buy drugs for cheap and then sell them to make a profit, avoiding (or fighting) cops along the way. You have one month to make as much money as you possibly can.
  • Jump 'n Bump - A classic multiplayer deathmatch game where you stomp on your friends' heads. Features fully customizable graphics, allowing you to create any kind of map you can imagine if you are so inclined.
  • Liquid War - A unique real-time strategy game: you tell your liquid what direction to move in, and nothing else. Liquid attacks enemy liquid when it goes in its direction. Your goal is simply to end up with more liquid than all of your opponents when the timer runs out. For such a simple concept, it is surprisingly engaging.
  • The Mana World - A simple, but fun 2-D MMORPG.
  • MegaGlest - The more recent continuation of Glest, a classic real-time strategy game centered around a medieval theme.
  • Mindustry - A pixel-styled "sandbox tower defense" game centered around building networks to collect materials and then using those materials to build defense systems. Fantastic production value and highly engaging, with online multiplayer support.
  • OpenClonk - A fun game combining elements of parkour with elements of RTS games. Features multiple game modes and has great production value.
  • Red Eclipse - A fun original first-person shooter with an emphasis on parkour.
  • Sleep Is Death - A unique 2-player-only RPG, limited only by the players' imagination.
  • SuperTuxKart - A fun, family-friendly racing game heavily inspired by the Mario Kart series, but with its own spin (including several original game modes and an original item set) which makes it unique.
  • Teeworlds - A fun, original 2-D online multiplayer side-scrolling shooter game, with some minor parkour elements.
  • Warzone 2100 - A classic post-apocalyptic real-time strategy game with a massive research tree and a strong focus on artillery.
  • Xonotic - A highly engaging, fast-paced, and beautiful futuristic multiplayer first-person shooter, featuring several gameplay modes and a nice variety of weapons. It puts a major emphasis on the mechanic of "bunny-hopping", where you move faster by repeatedly jumping in the air.

Clones and Implementations

This is a list of clones and implementations of games which fail to meet the requirements for the Individually Distinguished Games section, but nonetheless are worth checking out if you are a fan of the games they are cloning or implementing. In addition to clones in the traditional sense, this section also includes libre software versions of board games.

This list is less stringent than the above section, but games still must be of reasonable quality and be reasonably complete to be put on this list. Additionally, if multiple clones or implementations exist for a particular game, only the best among them will be listed here. If there is no clear frontrunner for the best clone or implementation, all contenders will be listed, with strengths and weaknesses of each indicated.

Note that this is a list of straight clones and implementations, not original games inspired by other games. Those will only be listed in the Individually Distinguished Games section, if appropriate. This may mean that some games that are often considered to be "clones" may not be listed here if, despite their reputation, they deviate too far from the original game. Additionally, if a clone is substantially superior to the original, it will be included in the list above instead of the list below.

Click a section to expand. Games that fit in more than one of these sections are listed in all those that they fit into. Sorted alphabetically by the original title being cloned or implemented.

Single-Player
Local (Hotseat) Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer