Gaming on a laptop or PC today is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to generations of hardware improvements and a staggering amount of digital games readily available. However, not all of us can afford the latest and most powerful GPUs like the RTX 2080 and instead have to work within the constraints of a limited budget. Thankfully, there are still plenty of great games across all genres capable of running on low-spec PCs flawlessly.

Here we’ll be highlighting the best laptop games for less-powerful rigs that are sure to keep you entertained for hours without overloading your system. A majority of them are newer indie games with low system requirements; however, there are few classics which have managed to stand the test of time. Make sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list in the future with new entries.

If you would like to receive more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:

Untitled Goose Game

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 510

Aside from generating some of the best goose-related memes to date, Untitled Goose Game manages to deliver a humorous albeit simplified stealth experience centered on one unruly fowl. In it, you control a maniacal goose tasked with wreaking havoc throughout a series of sandbox environments, frequently at the displeasure of any nearby humans.

Sandboxes are densely packed with various items that can be combined in interesting ways to complete bonus objectives. The game has a charmingly minimalistic presentation that’s complimented by a playful soundtrack and writing. It’s a lot shorter than many of the entries on this list, but still sure to keep you entertained for at least an hour or two.

Thimbleweed Park

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 3000

Thimbleweed Park is a point-and-click adventure game inspired by classics like Maniac Mansion. The game tasks you with investigating a murder in a small town from the perspective of FBI agents Ray and Reyes. Things expand as several persons of interest are revealed and become playable, allowing the player to gain further insight on each character’s personality and ulterior motives.

The game’s vibrant 2D pixel art presentation means it can run on just about any PC or laptop with no issues whatsoever. While we won’t spoil the story, rest assured there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns along with some clever writing reminiscent of detective shows like Twin Peaks.

Slay the Spire

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • GPU: 1 GB VRAM / OpenGL 3.0

Slay the Spire is a Roguelite card-strategy game developed by American studio MegaCrit and published by Humble Bundle. At the beginning of each playthrough, the game sees players selecting from one of three predetermined characters, each with their own starting conditions that affect the amount of health, gold, and cards players begin with.

The goal of the game is to make your way through several levels of a spire, each with their own number of potential encounters determined by a branching path that culminates in a boss battle. During each run, you’ll come across campfires that allow you to heal or upgrade cards, shopkeepers that offer cards you can buy, chests with random loot, and random choice-based encounters.

Kerbal Space Program

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: 512 MB VRAM

Kerbal Space Program is a space flight sim in which players can create and pilot a variety of aircrafts, rockets, rovers, and more with help from green aliens known as Kerbals. While the game takes on a more comedic tone, it features a surprisingly realistic physics engine capable of replicating real-life orbital maneuvers performed by NASA pilots. 

The most charming aspect of the game has to be the Kerbals themselves, who are prone to getting into dangerous situations and seem to lack any common sense despite having the ability to craft complex spaceships. It’s not as structured or linear as many of the other entries on this list, with many of the goals left up to the player to determine.  However, there are assigned contracts for completing milestones such as reaching a certain altitude or landing on different planets.

Amid Evil

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2.5 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 4400

Amid Evil is a first-person shooter inspired by classics like Unreal, Doom, Quake, and Heretic, with it being considered a spiritual successor to the latter. Set in the ancient past, the game sees players taking on the role of “the Champion,” a skilled warrior who’s been bestowed with a holy battle axe.

After a mysterious and powerful force begins destroying lands within different realms, the Champion is called upon to enter an inter-dimensional gateway and defeat the evil force’s minions. Amid Evil offers fast-paced first-person action and the ability to kill enemies with a variety of weaponry including axes, swords, and magical staffs.

My Friend Pedro

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-530
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT 440

My Friend Pedro is based on a 2014 Adobe Flash game of the same name and maintains many of the original’s mechanics and controls. The game is a shoot em’ up in which players traverse uniquely themed levels, killing enemies in real-time while also being able to enter a slowed-down version of reality.

A large chunk of MFP’s appeal stems from its Hollywood-esque action sequences that see players chaining together flashy kills using pistols and shotguns as well as environmental objects such as a skateboard, barrels, and cooking pans. The game awards points based on each shot landed, multiplied by the number of kills achieved, and gives players a ranking at the end of every level.

Minecraft

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i3 3210 / AMD A8 7600 APU
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 4000 / AMD Radeon R5 and HD 7000 / NVIDIA GeForce 400

By now, most will recognize the staple Minecraft formula: you break blocks for resources and use them to construct tools, weapons, decorative items, you name it. A bulk of the game’s popularity stems from its minimal hardware requirements, allowing the game to be played on just about any laptop or PC.

The survival sandbox’s appeal is made even better by messing around with Minecraft PC mods which can drastically alter the experience visually and gameplay-wise. Flexible in-game goals, a relaxing soundtrack, and addictive gameplay make it one of the best experiences tailored for low-spec PCs.

Night In The Woods

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i5 Quad-Core
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 4000

Night in the Woods is an adventure game that emphasizes its narrative over gameplay while still finding ways to keep players engaged. You play as a young woman named Mae who finds herself struggling to adapt to college life and decides to return to her small hometown called Possum Springs.

While on the surface things seem to have stayed the same, Mae begins to suspect something sinister is going on within the confines of her humble hometown when kids begin disappearing. The game does a wonderful job at exploring themes like mental illness and the struggle of middle and lower classes in America.

Celeste

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i3 M380
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • GPU: Intel HD 4000

Most 2D platformers tend to place an emphasis on gameplay over story; however, in the case of Celeste, you’ll find both components have been carefully thought out. The game has you assuming control of Madeline, a girl looking to escape the struggles of everyday life by climbing a mysterious mountain.

You progress through the game by completing difficult platforming levels that require precise jumping and dashing. Celeste features a number of collectibles to find for an extra layer of challenge in addition to an Assist mode for players who are more interested in the game’s story.

Opus Magnum

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: 1366 x 768 / OpenGL 3.0

Opus Magnum is a puzzle-based programming game that has you taking on the role of alchemist to create potions, poisons, and more by manipulating the atoms of elements using a transmutation engine. Each challenge provides you with a number of components like programmable arms, customizable tracks, etc. that can be combined and structured to complete certain tasks.

The game starts off fairly simple, assigning you to make basic concoctions that require less complex solutions; however, things begin to ramp up as items like precious gemstones and deadly weapons are introduced, requiring you to make more intricate designs using multiple chains of mechanisms.

Cosmic Express

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i3-2100 3 GHz / AMD A8-5500 3.2 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 / AMD Radeon 7770 / Intel HD 530

Cosmic Express is a cute yet challenging puzzle game centered on creating train routes for a space colony. Each level tasks you with safely guiding passenger trains through hazardous environments filled with numerous obstacles while meeting certain conditions for different passengers.

While it may appear simple at first glance, meeting the increasingly demanding passenger requirements while making sure to avoid obstacles can require a lot of planning. Luckily, maps are designed to have multiple solutions and encourage experimentation.

Devil Daggers

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz Dual-Core
  • RAM: 1024 MB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8200M G / OpenGL 3.3

Devil Daggers is another first-person shooter that fully embraces its retro aesthetic. The game intentionally uses unfiltered textures and warps visuals in order to create the kind of polygon jittering found in early 3D games from the 90s. In it, players are tasked with surviving for as long as they can while waves of demons and other monsters continuously flank them from every direction.

Your character has the special ability to shoot daggers from their fingertips and moves quick enough to avoid incoming damage. The longer you manage to stay alive, the more threatening enemies become, as new types spawn in from all sides. If you’re a fan of shooters like Doom and Wolfenstein but simply can’t get them run on your laptop, Devil Daggers offers a bite-sized alternative that’s sure to scratch that FPS itch.

Baba Is You

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • GPU: ATI Radeon X1300 / NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT / Intel HD 3000

Baba Is You is a quirky top-down puzzle game that presents its rules as physical objects in the game’s world. While controlling Baba, a small white creature, you can walk up to interactive-objects and manipulate their positioning to alter the environment.

For example, you may encounter a solid wall that needs to be passed in order to collect a flag, with the words ‘Wall Is Stop” located nearby. Removing the word ‘Stop’ from the chain of objects will result in Baba being able to pass through and collect the flag. It’s an interesting mechanic that encourages experimentation and often leads to surprising puzzle solutions.

Cuphead

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 3 GHz / Intel Core2 Duo E8400 / AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT / AMD HD 3870 512MB

Cuphead is inspired by challenging retro run-and-gun titles where memorizing enemy attack patterns were less of a strategy and more of a necessity for survival. What’s more, this action-platformer does an excellent job at luring you into a false sense of security with its joyful 1930s hand-drawn cartoon visuals before revealing its true sadistic nature.

In it, you take on the role of Cuphead, who along with his brother Mugman, is forced to defeat a series of bosses in order to repay an outstanding debt with the devil. These lengthy battles put your platforming skills to the test, with environments constantly shifting and bosses becoming increasingly aggressive with each passing phase.

Darkest Dungeon

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 8200M G

Not many games manage to blend Lovecraftian horror with dungeon crawling as masterfully as Darkest Dungeon, a turn-based RPG that tasks players with recruiting and training a team of heroes as they traverse hellish environments littered with both physical and psychological dangers. Featuring hand-drawn, gothic crowquill visuals, the game presents a disturbing world filled with supernatural horrors.

Each of the 16+ character classes included come equipped with special skills and flaws that can be combined in interesting ways and often lead to devastating outcomes for both party members and enemies. Challenging turn-based battles are made more intense thanks to features like permadeath and an affliction system which assigns characters psychological debuffs such as paranoia, masochism, fear, and irrationality.

Stardew Valley

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • GPU: 256 MB VRAM

Inspired by the beloved Harvest Moon games, Stardew Valley is a farming sim game that offers players a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Days are spent growing crops, gathering resources, crafting items, exploring mines and completing tasks for a cast of well-written NPCs, each with their own distinct personality.

The game offers a lot of flexibility in terms of how you choose to spend your days, allowing you to focus on doing the activities you enjoy most. Over the in-game years, you’ll get to know the community of Stardew Valley well, forming relationships that can leave a lasting impression. Additionally, the game supports modding on PC, allowing you explore a bevy of new in-game items as well as reduce grinding.

Gorogoa

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 1 GHz
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 6 / Radeon X1000

What initially started out as an idea for an interactive graphic novel eventually became Gorogoa, a puzzle game developed by Jason Roberts. The game has players combining up to four images on a 2×2 grid, finding connections between them in order to progress.

Players can manipulate each image, such as zooming in or out, and discover interesting clues that can be used to find a solution for each scene. The game is depicted in a beautiful, hand-drawn art style and uses its puzzles to tell a story about a boy’s fascination with a divine creature.

Return of the Obra Dinn

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 2 GHz / Intel i5
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 6100

From the same developer that brought us Papers, Please, comes Return of the Obra Dinn, a stand-out title for both its bold, 1-bit monochromatic art style as well as its ability to take you on an engaging, atmospheric adventure. You play as an insurance adjuster, tasked with determining how the crew of a mysterious ship met their demise.

To complete this task, you’re given a ‘Memento Mortem’, a pocket-watch that replays the moments before a character’s death. The game offers little in terms of tutorials and hand-holding, encouraging you to make discovers on your own by paying close attention to clues you encounter along your journey.

Dead Cells

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i5
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA 450 GTS / Radeon HD 5750

Dead Cells is a 2D-roguelite with Souls-inspired combat that revolves around exploring procedurally-generated dungeons in search of blueprints that allow players to craft better gear. However, finding these schematics is no easy task, thanks to mobs of tough-as-nails enemies that can be found wandering the dungeon’s numerous levels.

Following each death, the game transports players right back to the start, only this time with slightly more resources than their previous run. This is at the core of the game’s formula and leads to an addictive gameplay loop that will see you risking it all just to see how far you can make it without dying. Dead Cells features a wide-selection of different weapon types and perks to unlock which adds to its replayability and prevents it from ever feeling too repetitive.

Forager

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 1.2 GHz
  • RAM: 1024 MB
  • GPU: 512 MB VRAM

Forager is a crafting/survival game set in a colorful 2D open-world. In it, you’re tasked with gathering enough resources to construct a humble base which can be expanded upon by unlocking new workbenches and pieces of land. As you continue exploring, you’ll encounter a variety of biomes filled with different puzzles to solve, dungeons to raid, and secrets to discover.

The game features 64 different skills for you to master using a free-form upgrade system that allows you to tailor your experience to fit your preferred playstyle. In our review, we praised Forager for having easy-to-grasp controls and mechanics as well as an addictive gameplay loop that makes it impossible to put down.

Hollow Knight

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E5200
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX+

By this point, Hollow Knight has pretty much solidified its place in Metroidvania hall of fame. The game is centered on its title protagonist, a silent sword-wielding knight on a quest to unlock the mysteries of Hallownest, a dark and dangerous kingdom that offers great rewards to any brave enough to explore its treacherous environments.

The 2D action-platformer does an excellent job at finding new ways to use its Metroidvania format to encourage exploration by providing the player with massive environments littered with collectibles and rewards. Additionally, experimenting with different load-outs opens up new opportunities to min/max and reach hidden areas.

Hypnospace Outlaw

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: 1.4 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA / AMD 1 GB VRAM

Hypnospace Outlaw is not your average video game; it serves as a time capsule for 90s’ internet culture, allowing players to explore a myriad of janky webpages cluttered with low-res gifs and flashing text as they take on the role of Hypnospace Enforcer, volunteers empowered to flag internet violations such as copyright infringement and malware.

Players are rewarded for their hard work with virtual currency that can be used to purchase vaporwave-inspired music tracks, wallpapers, and screensavers. Additionally, the game features a series of built-in applications ranging from a full-on sound synthesizer to a virtual pet sim.

Yoku’s Island Express

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i3-2100 3 GHz / AMD A8-5500 3.2 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GT 630 / AMD Radeon 7770 / Intel HD 530

Yoku’s Island Express expertly blends elements of pinball and adventure games to deliver a unique 2D-platformer that sees you traversing vibrant environments from the perspective of a parcel-delivering dung beetle. In it, you control Yoku, a postmaster with dreams of living a relaxing life on the tropical island of Mokumana.

However, upon arrival, Yoku receives news that the island’s deity has become trapped in an endless sleep. To protect Mokumana and its inhabitants, Yoku is tasked with rebuilding the island to its former glory and waking up its ancient protector.

Wargroove

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-530
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6250

Wargroove is a turn-based tactics game developed and published by Chucklefish that heavily draws inspiration from the Advance Wars series. The 2D game takes place in a fantasy setting and sees players taking control of one of thirteen unique commanders, each with their own campaign, motivations, and personality.

Every commander also has a special move called a “Groove”, which can be activated when a meter is completely filled. Every Groove is unique and alters the battlefield in different ways, making for some interesting battles. Aside from a campaign mode, the game features the ability to craft custom maps, cutscenes, and scenarios using an in-game editor.

Risk of Rain 2

Min. Spec Requirements

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-6100 / AMD FX-8350
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • GPU: GTX 580 / AMD HD 7870

Risk of Rain 2 is an Early Access Steam title that’s been making big waves due to its shift from a side-scrolling 2D platformer to a fully 3D third-person shooter. However, the sequel has maintained the series’ energetic combat as well as its Roguelike mechanics, which sees you attempting to survive as long as possible while enemies become increasingly difficult.

 The game rewards you for fighting through hordes of alien monsters with better gear to augment your character’s abilities. Currently, Risk of Rain 2 has six different character classes, which developer Hopoo Games plans to add to in the future.

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