With the holidays right around the corner, you’ve probably been spending a lot of your time (and money) finding the perfect gift for your friends and family. While this season is all about spreading joy, going to open your wallet and finding it completely empty can have the opposite effect.
That’s why we’ve decided to make a list of the ten best, free-to-play PC games for December 2018. These games require no money to get started, have active communities, and are perfect for those times when you need a break from the holiday festivities in order to get back to your one true love: playing video games.
10. MU Legend
Genre: Hack-N-Slash MMORPG
Serving as a follow-up to MU Online, MU Legend is a free-to-play MMORPG that draws much of its inspiration from the Diablo series in both look and gameplay. With five classes, all with their own abilities ranging from spellcasting to melee attacks, there’s plenty of variety for different playstyles. However, the character customization is less broad with limited options for faces, hairstyles, and races if that’s your thing.
Gameplay centers on exploring dungeons, killing hordes of smaller minions, and battling strong bosses, all the while picking up loot to increase your power. While the hack-n-slash mechanics may leave you feeling overpowered at times and can be repetitive for some, anyone who enjoys games like Diablo III, should give MU Legend a chance.
9. Russian Fishing 4
Developer: Russian Fishing
Russian Fishing 4 offers a relaxing gameplay experience as you take on the role of a fisherman looking to score the biggest catch. This being the fourth entry in the series, the developers have made a number of improvements over the years, earning the series a reputation for being one of the best free-to-play fishing games currently out.
Aside from catching fish, RF4 also has RPG and survival elements, such as a skill tree for players to improve their abilities as well as needing to cook and eat food in order to maintain your stamina for encounters with tougher fish. If you’re someone that likes a more casual gaming experience, simulation games are perfect for killing time and having fun.
8. Minion Masters
Minion Masters combines the precision of smart, deck-building from card-strategy games with the action of a MOBA game. With a lighthearted tone and appealing aesthetic, the game is fun to look at and the UI is easy to navigate. Battling can be really addicting with short, unpredictable matches lasting about three to six minutes on average.
For those who are new or just inexperienced with card-strategy or MOBA games, MM is a great entry point for learning as the game is excellent at showing you the basics of both genres. It does feature paid lootboxes which can be a problem, but it doesn’t affect gameplay too much and is still fun even if you’re not looking to play competitively.
Developer: Paladin Studios
Card-strategy games, especially free-to-play ones, can truly be hit or miss. While there’s plenty of games out there that are pay-to-win, Stormbound is one of the few that doesn’t require a ton of cash to build a great deck. The game revolves around PVP battles, completing daily quests, and unlocking new cards in order to craft more powerful decks.
Like most CS games, there’s a mana system for how many cards you can place on the field in a given turn. The flow of battle feels unique compared to other games in the genre, with a frontline feature that allows you to summon cards relatively close to your enemy’s base, as well as variety in card abilities which make for interesting deck combos. The game’s art is colorful and stylized and with matches lasting ten minutes or more on average, it’s nice to have a pleasant background to look at while you play
6. Russian Roulette: One Life
Developer: Mechanics As Metaphor
While Russian Roulette: One Life is a much smaller game than the rest on this list, it’s a fun experience that can be quite thrilling at times. The game places you in a cabin in the woods, facing a creepy-looking man sitting at a table with a gun in front of him. While there are some interesting dialogue lines, the focus here is simple: there’s one bullet in the gun’s chamber and you and the man take turns shooting yourselves in the head until one of you dies.
The twist with the game is that you can only play it until you inevitably lose. Once you’ve died you can no longer try again and your name appears on a gravestone outside the cabin along with hundreds of other players who met the same fate. This feature alone makes the game more exhilarating and encourages you to learn how to trick the system in order to stay alive as long as possible.
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Developer: Aeria Games
Set in the year 2025, Ironsight sees you as a mercenary engaging in futuristic warfare for one of two rivaling factions. Players combat each other in familiar game modes like Team Deathmatch and Search-and-Destroy in order to progress through the game and earn items like weapon skins as well as cosmetics for your character.
Fans of the Call of Duty franchise will enjoy Ironsight as its gameplay and multiplayer modes are very similar as well as its aesthetic. In addition, the game runs smoothly and isn’t pay-to-win, which is a pleasant surprise in the free-to-play genre nowadays. If you’re into online shooters and want a familiar but refined FPS experience, give Ironsight a try.
4. Cuisine Royale
Genre: Battle Royale/ Third-Person Shooter
Developer: Darkflow Software
At this point, Battle Royale games have been done to death. However, Cuisine Royale sets itself apart with its ridiculous take on the genre. Coming from the same team that made the MMO squad-based shooter Enlisted, CR was originally created as an April fool’s joke but has morphed into a complete game with a still very active playerbase.
You won’t find any planes to jump out of, or lobbies to wait in before your match starts, instead, you automatically spawn on a random part of the map. From here, it’s the usual BR formula: find loot, get to the circle, kill dudes. However, where CR differs is that every piece of armor is composed of kitchenware and the more armor you obtain, the louder your character’s movement.
There are also vehicles in the game and loot boxes (don’t worry they’re free) in the form of refrigerators which contain a variety of foods you can eat to recover HP. If you’re a fan of Battle Royale games and want a fresh, albeit quirky experience, Cuisine Royale is worth checking out.
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Developer: Digital Extremes
No stranger to best free-to-play lists, Warframe has been delivering a robust and engaging experience for years and seems to always be improving with new updates. 2018 was no different and saw the game add a breadth of new story content as well as the addition of a freaking hoverboard that players can use for traversal.
While the grind can be tedious and the various systems are a bit hard to decipher, there are online guides as well as a very welcoming community behind the game. Given it’s free-to-play nature, there are some cosmetic items as well as the ability to speed up grindier parts of the game for purchase, however, it never feels intrusive to the core game.
With a variety of different character builds and weapons to craft, Warframe offers a lot of flexibility in how you choose to play. If you’ve been on the fence before, this is the perfect time to hop-in and become a badass, space ninja.
Highly praised as the king of all card-strategy games, Hearthstone has shown no signs of dethronement with its latest expansion Rastakhan’s Rumble, adding 135 new collectible cards as well an alternate shaman-class hero, King Rastakhan. The game is well-supported by Blizzard, with updates, card balances, and hero reworks implemented frequently.
While you’ll ultimately need to invest some money in order to climb the ranks of PVP, there are guides for building cheap, powerful decks to get you started. Additionally, you do earn in-game currency from battles that can be used to purchase cards as well. All in all, Hearthstone is the most polished card-strategy game on the market and has a wide array of different heroes to try, all for free.
Developer: Phoenix Labs
At the top of this list is none other than Dauntless, the free-to-play creature slaying action-RPG that shares a lot of similarities with Fortnite and Monster Hunter, two insanely-popular franchises. However, Dauntless looks to create its own identity by blending Fortnite’s wildly-successful battle pass rewards system and cartoonish-art with MH’s weapon-based class system.
The end result is a bright, aesthetically-pleasing world filled with giant monsters that need to be approached in different ways. Leveling up occurs in the form of crafting new weapons and armor with better stats and abilities. While the game is still in open-beta, its approach to handling microtransactions has been respectful to players and shows promise for the future of Dauntless.