10 Best Steampunk Video Games, According To Metacritic

Out of all the speculative fiction subgenres that derived from cyberpunk, steampunk is the most popular with plenty of upcoming video games, such as the highly anticipated Frostpunk 2, exploring the genre. Based on the Steam Age that occurred between the late 1700s and the early 1900s, steampunk features retro-futuristic worlds where the machinery and aesthetic of steam-powered technologies remained prevalent and even progressed.

Though there have been hundreds of steampunk games over the years, certain titles like Skies of Arcadia, are especially noteworthy according to Metacritic.


10/10 Stacking (2011) - 84


Developed by Double Fine Productions, who's best known for Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, and the crowdfunded adventure game Broken Age, Stacking is a 2011 puzzle adventure game where the player controls a small matryoshka doll named Charlie Blackmore. When his father and older siblings are forced to work for a rich industrialist known as the Baron, Charlie embarks on a journey to rescue his family and defeat the Baron.

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Since all the characters are matryoshka dolls, the player is able to use their ability to stack and unstack to gain the attributes of other dolls to solve puzzles. Unlike most adventure games where there's only one solution to a problem, each puzzle in this game can be solved in multiple different ways.

9/10 Code: Realize (2014) - 86

Cardia watching Lupin talking to the dog, Sisi, in the game Code: Realize

Released in 2014, Code: Realize — Guardian of Rebirth is a critically acclaimed visual novel dating sim that follows a young woman named Cardia Beckford, who's one of the best otome game heroines, as she tries to find a cure for a mysterious poison within her body that causes her to melt everything she touches. While trying to uncover her past, she's joined by Arsène Lupin and other characters based on literary and historical figures.

Similarly to other otome dating sims, the player will have to select dialogue and action choices as Cardia navigates this alternate history version of London. Depending on these choices, Cardia will either end up with one of the several love interests or meet a tragic ending.

8/10 Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (2008) - 86

Professor Layton and Luke in the game Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

Created by Level-5, who's also known for franchises like Ni no Kuni, Yo-kai Watch, and Inazuma Eleven, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is a 2008 puzzle adventure game and the third entry in the original Professor Layton trilogy. After the titular Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke, receive a letter that's seemingly from a future version of Luke, they travel to a clock shop that somehow transports them ten years into the future.

While exploring this new steampunk London, Layton and Luke team up with Future Luke to supposedly defeat Future Layton, who has become a Mafia Boss. But, as they solve puzzles and meet some interesting characters, they slowly realize that things may not be what they seem, and that it may all be tied to Layton's lost lover, Claire.

7/10 Frostpunk (2018) - 87

A screenshot from the game Frostpunk

Since Frostpunk 2 is currently in development, now is the perfect time to play the original 2018 survival city-builder Frostpunk. Set within an alternate 1800s where humanity is struggling to survive during a worldwide volcanic winter, cities are built around gigantic heat generators that help keep out the intense cold.

As the leader of one of these cities, the player must construct the buildings, manage resources, create laws, explore the surrounding area, and make tough decisions. During each of the game's several scenarios, the player will have to deal with different stories and challenges, but they all focus on the struggle between trying to remain humane while experiencing brutal circumstances.

6/10 80 Days (2014) - 88

A screenshot of Phileas Fogg and Passepartout in the game 80 Days

Because iconic French novelist Jules Verne is often considered one of the foundational authors for the steampunk genre, it's not surprising that the 2014 adventure game 80 Days, which is based on Verne's 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, would be one of the best steampunk games. While at the Reform Club in London, Phileas Fogg makes a bet that he can travel around the Earth in 80 days or less.

To prove this, he and his French valet, Passepartout, immediately set off on this adventure. Taking on the role of Passepartout, the player must decide which routes to take, manage resources, monitor Phileas' health, and make dialogue choices.

5/10 Machinarium (2009) - 88

A screenshot from the game Machinarium

Created by Amanita Design, who have also developed Happy Game and the Samorost series, Machinarium is a 2009 hand-drawn point-and-click adventure game that's set within a post-apocalyptic world populated only by robots. After being thrown from the highest tower in the city, the protagonist, a robot named Josef, reassembles himself and goes on a journey to rescue his girlfriend, Berta.

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As he makes his way back through the city, he learns about the Black Cap Brotherhood's plans to destroy the city's tower and decides to stop them. With a stunning art-style and pure visual storytelling, Machinarium manages to make this machine-filled world feel alive rather than dull.

4/10 Opus Magnum (2017) - 90

A screenshot from the game Opus Magnum

Developed by Zachtronics, who's best known for creating puzzle games like SpaceChem and Infinifactory, Opus Magnum is a 2017 programming game that follows a young man named Anataeus Vaya, who's a gifted alchemist. He's about to graduate from the Imperial University and become the Head Alchemist of House Van Tassen, which is an old, rich, and respected house.

Using a transmutation engine, the player must create various products such as potions, poisons, gemstones, and more by building complex machines that can manipulate the atoms of alchemical elements. As Anataeus begins his work for House Van Tassen, he slowly learns about the dangers and mysteries that lurk in the shadows of these houses.

3/10 SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition (2017) - 91

A screenshot from the game Steamworld Heist

Released in 2017 on the Switch as a port of the original 2015 Nintendo 3DS title, SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition is a turn-based strategy shooter and the third entry within the SteamWorld franchise, which is a post-apocalyptic series that follows a race of steam-powered robots. After the planet Earth exploded into a million pieces, the robots now travel through the galaxy using their steamboats.

The player controls a space pirate captain named Piper Faraday who must rebuild her crew and enact revenge against the Scrappers that killed most of her previous crew. Along the way, however, she finds herself also fighting against the diesel-powered Queen's Royal Space Force in order to save the galaxy.

2/10 Skies of Arcadia (2000) - 93

Vyse, Aika, and Fina from the game Skies of Arcadia

Released in 2000, Skies of Arcadia is a JRPG from Sega that's often considered one of the best Dreamcast titles. Taking place across six floating civilizations that make up the titular skies of Arcadia, the game follows a teenage space pirate named Vyse who, together with his childhood friend Aika, rescues a teenage girl named Fina that was tasked with finding the powerful Moon Crystals before the tyrannical Valuan Empire does.

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Since these Moon Crystals can be used to activate a powerful weapon known as Gigas, the main trio along with several other party members work together to prevent this catastrophe. Using the air ship, players are able to explore an incredibly detailed world filled with intriguing characters.

1/10 BioShock (2007) - 96

A screenshot from the game BioShock

Created as a spiritual successor to the System Shock series, BioShock is a 2007 FPS that follows, Jack who recently survived a plane crash. While leaving the wreckage behind, he discovers a ruined underwater city called "Rapture," which declined after the residents discovered a genetically modifying substance known as "ADAM."

With the help of ADAM-based Plasmids and various firearms, Jack battles enemies while trying to escape the city and uncover the mysteries behind its destruction. Similarly to the System Shock duology, BioShock uses detailed environments to help tell an intricate and immersive plot. The success of this entry has led to an ongoing franchise that has had two beloved sequels so far.

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