Best games to play on a laptop that still run brilliantly in 2024

Life is Strange
(Image credit: Dontnod)

The best laptop games offer great things in small packages. The games on this list don't need a turbo-powered GPU or tons of hard drive space, as seen the best gaming laptops, in order to run like a dream. That makes them perfect laptop experiences to bring adventures on-the-go. If you're an Apple fan, there are plenty of options here to suit your Macbook as long as you have Steam, Epic Games, or Origin installed on your machine. Macs can make decent gaming machines, and this list will prove it.

Whether you're all about fast-paced online multiplayer games or story-rich single player experiences, the best games to play on a laptop don't sacrifice quality or performance despite their disk drive-friendly size and less demanding recommended specs. There's something here for everyone, so let's take a look at the best laptop games to pick up and play in 2024.

Recent updates

This list of the best laptop games was updated on January 18, 2024. We stand by our rankings below, as all the games listed provide a vast range of dynamic video game experiences that won't make your GPU sweat too hard.

10. The Sims 4

The Sims 4

(Image credit: EA)

Developer: Maxis

Glarch! The beloved life simulator first charmed its way into our hearts in the early 2000s, and it's bigger and better than ever in The Sims 4. The array of expansions available allows you to play the way you want, whether you're dreaming of living on a rustic farm in Cottage Living or have lofty aspirations of siring a legion of powerful vampires, werewolves, or magic-wielding spellcasters. Some might argue that The Sims 2 is the elite entry in the series, but The Sims 4 loads much quicker and is still constantly being updated in 2024. What's more, now that it's gone free-to-play, we count it as one of the best free Steam games to check out, too.

9. Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap art

(Image credit: Nuverse)

Developer: Second Dinner

Superhero fans, look no further than virtual playing card collector game Marvel Snap. Featuring famous faces from across the MCU, you can play it on your laptop as well as your smartphone. The simple interface makes it easy to dip in and out of for quick six-minute rounds, and collecting cards is as simple as it is satisfying – especially when you finally round off your deck with an especially elusive card. There's no multiplayer mode just yet, but you can learn more about the game in our Marvel Snap review for a more in-depth look at exactly how it works. 

8. Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Developer: ConcernedApe

When it comes to farming sims, it doesn't get more placid than Stardew Valley. Taking over your late grandfather's farm, you'll be creating your own character to carry on his legacy and start building your own. The cutesy pixel RPG has become a steadfast favorite since its 2016 launch, and one key thing about it for those looking for the best laptop games is its very undemanding system requirements. You don't need fancy specs or a gaming-level graphics card to play it, so Stardew Valley is a great option for anyone looking for a beautiful little game to get stuck into that won't make your laptop wheeze. 

7. Hades

Fishing in Hades

(Image credit: Supergiant Games)

Developer: Supergiant

Fast-paced and frenetic godly action awaits you in one of the best roguelikes ever, Hades. The expansive story puts you through your paces as Zagreus, the one and only son of Hades, fights his way through the levels of the underworld to reach the land of the living. You'll spend hours battling hordes of Hell's finest as the plot unfolds, but you won't have to worry about your machine overheating in the process. It's a surprisingly detailed game for one that runs so smoothly on laptops, with its performance on a Macbook Air from 2013 showing that there's still fun to be had with it even on outdated equipment. 

6. Cult of the Lamb

Cult of the Lamb, a roguelike crossed with a cult simulator

(Image credit: Devolver)

Developer: Massive Monster

If you've always dreamed of leading a flock of devoted followers under the guidance of a primordial monster, boy do we have the game for you. Cult of the Lamb is the unholy union of Animal Crossing and a roguelike, seeing your adorable woolly hero traversing treacherous realms to defeat the Bishops of the New Religion and usher in the return of The One Who Waits. As well as fighting your way through a number of foes, you'll be rescuing followers and bringing them into the cult's fold. Manage your cult grounds well and keep your followers happy, or risk mutiny as they one by one turn their backs on you. It's a fun (if not rather dark) indie gem, and you can pick it up on your laptop to play wherever you go.

5. PUBG Battlegrounds

An image of a selection of playable characters from PUBG Battlegrounds, one of the best battle royale games

(Image credit: PUBG Corporation)

Developer: Krafton

This free-to-play survival title is not only one of the best battle royale games, but one of the best laptop games to boot. You'll spawn on a battlefield and have to beat your enemies to gather loot, supplies, and weapons to help you stay alive long enough to be the last soldier standing. Go at it stealthily or charge in headfirst; the choice is yours. Thanks to cross-progression, you can play it on either your smartphone or your laptop for even greater portability, and its deceptively small file size means that you won't be stressing your machine out either way. 

4. Life Is Strange

Life is Strange Remastered collection Max

(Image credit: DONTNOD / Square Enix)

Developer: Dontnod

Life is Strange is more than your average point and click adventure. The surprisingly emotional journey introduces you to photography student Maxine Caulfield as she grapples with her newfound powers of rewinding time. It's not long until they get her involved in something far greater than her family's personal troubles, suddenly finding herself navigating a sinister mystery unfurling at her high school. Equal parts immersive adventure and tense murder mystery, the player-led choices system makes for branching relationships, multiple endings, and in general means that you have a greater sense of control over how Max's story plays out. It's a surefire winner for anyone looking for the best laptop games to provide strong narratives in relatively small file sizes.

3. Minecraft

Minecraft

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Developer: Mojang Studios

Classic sandbox game Minecraft should need no introduction. The iconic blocky adventure is available on various platforms, including box PC and Mac versions that allow you to experience the best-selling video game no matter where you are. The good thing about Minecraft is that it's easy to pick up and play for players of most ages, meaning you won't have to shield your kid brother's eyes when you sit down to play it on your laptop. In fact, he'll probably want to join in and get building his own fantasy land, too, so it's just as well you can play it on your smartphone as well. 

2. Fortnite

Fortnite

(Image credit: Epic Games)

Developer: Epic Games

Fortnite stands out from other hero-focussed battle royales for its unique building mechanics, requiring you to approach arena combat with slightly different strategies if you want to win. With chaptered updates to introduce new character skins, battle passes, back bling and more, check out our Fortnite tips for more detailed information on making the most of this exciting online multiplayer game that remains one of the most popular and best laptop games there is. 

1. Apex Legends

Apex Legends Season 14

(Image credit: EA)

Developer: Respawn Entertainment

Rounding off our list of the best games to play on a laptop is Apex Legends. Much like fellow battle royale Fortnite, it boasts a series of characters with unique attributes that give them a competitive edge over others. There are a range of arenas and game modes to choose from, whether you want to go for traditional capture-the-flag antics or a quick game that takes the usual 40 minute runtime down to just 15, Apex Legends boasts something for everyone. Another title that is playable on either a laptop or your smartphone, it's easy to take with you on the go. Just bear in mind that there is no cross progression between the two versions, so you won't be able to pick up where you left off. That being said, each platform offers its own quirks and benefits, so that's not necessarily a bad thing.

On the lookout for your next gaming fix? Check out the GamesRadar team's most anticipated games 2023. 

Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Staff Writer, GamesRadar+

Jasmine is a staff writer at GamesRadar+. Raised in Hong Kong and having graduated with an English Literature degree from Queen Mary, University of London in 2017, her passion for entertainment writing has taken her from reviewing underground concerts to blogging about the intersection between horror movies and browser games. Having made the career jump from TV broadcast operations to video games journalism during the pandemic, she cut her teeth as a freelance writer with TheGamer, Gamezo, and Tech Radar Gaming before accepting a full-time role here at GamesRadar. Whether Jasmine is researching the latest in gaming litigation for a news piece, writing how-to guides for The Sims 4, or extolling the necessity of a Resident Evil: CODE Veronica remake, you'll probably find her listening to metalcore at the same time.