Best games to play on a laptop

August 8, 2021

In the current climate of PC gaming, technology is climbing to new heights. GPUs are capitalizing on ray tracing to push realism in graphics while new rendering technology like NVIDIA’s DLSS is boosting frame rates and displaying games in higher resolutions. Problem is, this cutting-edge tech is sold out pretty much everywhere.

Rather than join the rat race of eBay scalping and long pre-order waiting times, it’s better to remember that the latest tech doesn’t make the best games. Good things come in small packages so why not invest in a quality gaming laptop?

What specs will I need?

New to gaming laptops? Here are some general specs to look out for:

  • Most games are GPU bound so look for a decent one like the GTX 1650 Ti to run most things comfortably.
  • For CPU you can run most things on an Intel I5 but make sure it’s at least the 10th Gen Core (You can find this on the model number e.g. Intel i5-1000H).
  • Standard RAM is 8GB for most games nowadays but bumping up to 16GB wouldn’t go amiss for boosting performance.
  • You’ll usually have a 1TB HDD for storing all your games but make sure it’s coupled with an SSD to increase load times.

Looking for something with these specs? Check out some of our top-quality modern gaming laptops at great prices.

Perfect games for the smaller screen

With your nifty new laptop, what kind of games should you get for it? We’ve put together a little list of games that aren’t graphically intensive, big on replay value, visually stunning, and are great for playing whilst traveling. Make sure you have a controller as well as that will be the best way to play a couple of these games

Return of the Obra Dinn

Lucas Pope, the man behind the award-winning Papers Please, returns with a first-person puzzle murder mystery for big fans of the Moby Dick audiobook. The Obra Dinn is a merchant ship that’s been missing for years. Upon its mysterious return, you take on the role of an insurance inspector who is tasked with boarding the ghost ship and determining the deaths of the missing crew members, and learning each of their stories.

The most striking thing about the game is its amazing art style. It creates a fully 3D world as if viewed through a 1980s Macintosh computer. Not only does this require very little power from your laptop but the style makes exploring every detail surrounding the supernatural happenings abroad the Obra Dinn all the more chilling. The slow explorative gameplay won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but plug in some good earphones and settle in for the best, and most likely only, insurance adventure of recent years.

Stardew Valley

Feel like you were missing out on the village life simulators Nintendo fans have in Animal Crossing. Luckily, PC gaming has an outstanding alternative in Stardew Valley! You play as a farmer who inherits your grandfather’s farm with the task of creating a lively habitat for animals, growing crops, and making a beautiful place to call home. You improve your skills over time through leveling up your farming skills to craft better tools and equipment as you expand your farming journey to the nearby villages.

The game even allows you to invite your friends to join you in building a thriving farming community. Or if you want to live farm life to the extreme, you can venture into your town’s caves in search of valuable gems to sell in town but you’ll have to battle against monsters to get them. Its cute retro art style makes it perfect for portable laptop gaming so don’t hesitate in picking it up.


Everyone loves a bargain, at only £2 roguelike platformer Downwell is an absolute steal. You play as a little character who jumps down a well equipped with gun boots to fight his way past enemies as you fall from level to level. The gameplay is very simple but difficult to master as you’ll face different enemies and pick up different weapon upgrades every time you play.

It has a retro 8-bit graphical style that not only looks good but means it won’t tax your laptop whatsoever. Its addictive arcade-style gameplay will keep you coming back, again and again, to top your high score making it great for playing in short bursts on a work lunch break or on train journeys.


This latest Minecraft-Esque survival game puts you in the midst of a Viking wilderness where you must hunt for food and craft weapons, armor, and even boats to explore the vast open-world environment. The game is perfect for a big group of friends and even supports player-hosted servers for those who want their own unique world just for their group. Bear in mind that if you feel you’ll be playing the game the most out of your mates then be sure you’re the one who hosts the server so you can jump in wherever you want.

While the game is in early access, it’s full of content and has stunning visuals. The vibrant colors stand out especially as the weather changes from sunny greenery to snowy mountaintops. The minimum system requirements suggest 8 GB of RAM and a GTX 950 which should be fine for any modern gaming laptop to handle at medium to high settings. If fighting against the Norse wilderness and the mystical beasts within sounds like a good time then this is a purchase that can guarantee you and your friends hours upon hours of fun.


Played Portal? If you’ve been playing games on PC and haven’t then you have some serious catching up to do. Portal ushered in a whole batch of first-person puzzle games where you progress linearly from puzzle to puzzle with a nifty gimmick as your means to get through. So here’s a particularly good one with a particularly nifty hook.

The gimmick to Superliminal is optical illusions and forced perspective to resize objects. Pick up a tiny dollhouse on a desk and then align it in the distance so it’s the size of a real house and once you drop it you’ll be able to walk right through the front door. It has to be seen to be believed! Its main campaign is consistently inventive and brain-bending throughout its short 2 ½ hour journey but includes a challenge mode to really test your perspective puzzling skills. Short, sweet, and playable on just about any laptop spec makes this a must-play.


Fancy stepping into the shoes of Yvette Fielding and living out your very own episode of Most Haunted? If the answer is yes, or even if it’s no, you should check out the online co-op horror game Phasmophobia. You and your friends become ghost investigators sent into haunted locations and tasked to figure out what kind of ghost is haunting the premises. You’ll be making use of CCTV cameras, ouija boards, and walkie-talkies to work together to get to the bottom of these haunted happenings.

Like Valheim, the game is still in early access which means you’ll be seeing regular updates to keep coming back to. You’ll need to have a mic set up so you can communicate with your friends but beware as the ghosts are listening too! The game relies on dark environments and simple graphics for its chilling atmosphere so it can be played on most modern gaming laptops. If you find yourself staying in a real-life spooky hotel high on a hill and want to reach out to your friends to share in a spooky experience then pick this up (just ensure your haunted hotel has wi-fi).


Considered by many to be a modern-day classic, Journey has finally come to PC after years of being exclusive to Playstation consoles. You play as a lone traveler exploring the desert ruins with the simple goal of reaching the shining light on top of a mountain way in the distance. The game has a simple control scheme of running and jumping with the main hook being a glide mechanic where you can fly across the game’s lush environments. The game even has hidden collectibles that allow you to glide higher and for longer that makes the experience all the more fun.

While the game is playable offline, being connected to the internet means you can randomly bump into other players during your adventure. The only way you can communicate with them is by making a little noise like a submarine radar as you explore the vast world together. These meetings with players can be fleeting or last for the entire game making those moments all the more special. Its simple but stunning graphics make it easy to run on any gaming laptop and its simple gameplay and short length make it great for the smaller screen. If you have any passing interest in games then Journey is required to play.

Getting the most out of your gaming laptop

There are thousands of great titles to start playing on your laptop. These are just a few smaller indie selections but games come out at such a fast rate that the next big experience is just around the corner. If you ever feel like you want to try some of the more graphics-intensive gaming experiences on your laptop then ‘Can You Run It?’ is the go-to tool to check your little pc has what it takes. Get playing and have fun!

Author Bio: James Sayers has a passion for writing on media like music, film, and video games. He works at Tillison Consulting as an SEO Campaign Manager working on blog content and SEO improvements for clients.


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