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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Best PC Games of 2018 (That Don’t Need a Graphics Card)

collage of GPU-friendly video games

So you’d like to play some awesome PC games, but you’re stuck on your dusty laptop with integrated graphics. It just can’t handle the latest GPU-melting AAA masterpieces, but that’s no problem—we have you covered.

Rather than just tell you to play older (but good games) like, say, Torchlight we’ve selected the best PC games from 2018 that can run on pretty much any machine from the last five years, even (and especially) on the kind of integrated graphics that are common in ultraportable and budget computers. These are fresh (but not GPU-melting) games that are contemporary and laptop friendly. The list is mostly 2D titles, which will indeed run on almost anything, but a few 3D games have also been made specifically with integrated graphics in mind.

You ‘ll find at least something to pique your interest in the list below, and all of them should be playable on any Windows-powered machine you might find in Best Buy. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt almost all of the games below are under $25 at the time of writing. Here are our picks, in no particular order.

Dead Cells ($25)

Cribbing unashamedly from classics of 2D platforming like Metroid and Castlevania, with the grim storytelling and “prepare to die” ethos of Dark Souls, Dead Cells is the kind of pain you learn to love. Its procedurally-generated levels shift with each play, but new weapons and abilities unlock as you go through repeated lives.

The combat is brutal, but with super-tight controls and a wide variety of approaches, the game doesn’t feel hard in the cheap way that some “Souls-like” titles do. While only a handful of level designs mean the game is short in a technical sense, it will probably take you weeks of play to master the tougher enemies and bosses.

Into the Breach ($15)

Into the Breach is chess, but with giant robots and aliens. You control three pixelated mechs on a small grid, taking turns to punch, zap, and shoot invading bugs. The game has the wonderful quality of a simple setup that feels like it unlocks infinite combinations.

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