Steam offers a rich assortment of PC games you can enjoy together with your friends. And by “enjoy,” we mean “going head to head to see who’s the best.” Fortunately, the sense of competition is much more joyful if you’re horsing around with your trusty pals instead of going up against random online pros. The rivalry remains friendly and easy-going that way, which is essential to keep good relations between close people. To get you started on that very road, we’ve compiled a list of the best competitive Steam games you can play right now with your friends. Better yet, most of these games are playable online, so co-op isn’t a necessity.
Garry’s Mod – Endless opportunities
Garry’s Mod is not just a regular Steam game. It’s more of a complex set of gameplay possibilities; a customizable and feature-rich sandbox. The project provides players with tools and complete freedom to use them. For what, you ask? For basically anything. You can do whatever you want, from modding a game to creating your own custom mod packs — together with your friends!
There are countless ways you can explore the vast universe of Garry’s Mod, which might seem a bit overwhelming at first. Fear not, though. Most of the work has already been done by the community. Since the game allows for creating custom playable modes, there’s a sufficient supply of them to start with, learn from, and try to out-do each other. Not many games encourage creative competition between friends, making Garry’s Mod a unique entry among other competitive Steam games.
Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition — A new take on a classic
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is the classic empire-building game where you build your empire up from humble beginnings. We know; we’re surprised a game called Age of Empires is about empire building, too. While it might sound a lot like Civilization, there are some key differences. Age of Empires is more focused in scope, it’s real time, and it’s more about resource management instead of big, sweeping choices.
That makes it perfect as a competitive Steam game. You can race against each other to amass all the resources needed for success, work together against others, or take on a number of challenges new to the Definitive Edition. It also boasts other new additions, like improved AI and better models. It’s not the first time we’ve seen AoE II redone, but it’s certainly the best version of the bunch (especially after all the bug fixes).
Ultimate Chicken Horse – Screwing over your friends
Ultimate Chicken Horse is a silly 2D platformer built around, well… building. It’s a party game by nature, so while there are single-player options, you can’t fully enjoy it on your own. In this platformer, a group of players is tasked with finishing a level — but if you finish it too easily, you actually lose points. The goal is to make levels hard, brutally unfair, and just plain nasty, and then see if anyone can actually survive it.
It can’t be just one person either. Each player has to build a number of traps. While effectively avoiding them on your own, you need to prevent other players from completing a level safely too. Ultimate Chicken Horse is a game of tricky balance, and we definitely recommend it for as one of the best competitive Steam games for a crew of long-time friends.
Stick Fight: The Game – A whole new level of fun
Stick Fight: The Game is a funny fighting game that relies on simple, yet sophisticated gameplay. The simplicity is built into a visual style that’s all about basic shapes and colors. It’s also in the basic concept. You’ll compete as poorly-detailed stick figures trying to stay alive as long as possible. That’s where it gets interesting.
The complexity comes from unexpected outcomes of the physics-based gameplay. The fighting arenas are fully destructible and sometimes feature deadly traps (including surprise guns). Even without the traps, the way the stage unfolds and falls apart has a drastic effect on how the match evolves. You can also lure your naïve, trusting friends directly to their death or face them in open combat if you feel brave. However you do it, Stick Fight: The Game is action-packed and full of fun for a group of four.
Brawlhalla – The ultimate brawler
Brawlhalla is a renowned fighter with a welcoming cartoon-ish visual style. It’s partly that beautiful character design and the tremendous interactivity of arenas that make the game extremely popular, too. That, and the superb, responsive fighting mechanics themselves of course. Brawlhalla‘s mechanics are renowned for being both simple to pick up on and some of the best in the genre.
With tons of characters to choose from, different playstyles, and weapons galore, there’s always a new way to experience Brawlhalla with your friends. The best part? The game is free, so there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying this competitive Steam game right away.
Gang Beasts – Absurdity fair
Gang Beasts is one of the best games of its kind in large part because it’s utterly ridiculous. In this party game, you play as customizable “gummy bears” (sort of) who can stick to each other to hilariously spoil the whole experience for everyone involved.
The game features fighting sequences and PvE elements, and the biggest threat actually comes from your friends. The environment and various foes oppose you, but it’s your friends who stick to you at exactly the wrong moment that makes things go south. It’s basically a game about ruining the game, and we love it for that.
Pummel Party – The true test of friendship
Pummel Party presents you with board game mechanics and the usual exotic locales you expect from party games. The difference here is that you aren’t trying to pass GO or get a certain number of items in this board game. You’re trying to completely destroy your friends. You’ll take advantage of any opportunity to do so in a variety of different scenarios, ranging from a third-person shooter to a wild last-man-standing knockout brawler.
The game supports multiplayer for four-to-eight friends, though they might become former friends after playing Pummel Party. It’s even more unforgiving when experienced. The primary board game mode includes some rather unexpected violence and blood, but it does complement the atmosphere of competitive rivalry for players who aren’t bothered by it.
Human: Fall Flat – Joint failure
Human: Fall Flat is an enjoyable puzzle adventure based on wacky physics, and it delivers some of the silliest situations you wouldn’t imagine were even possible. The ultimate goal is solving all the environmental riddles on the way to the finish line. It’s harder than it sounds, though. Doing so requires tight coordination between the players. Whether you actually try to work together or just torment the poor human is up to you.
When experienced by a group of good friends, Human: Fall Flat turns into a hilarious roller coaster of trial and intentional failure. You can top that with customizable character models and skins, which allow you to draw literally anything you want on your models to make it truly your own.
Granblue Fantasy: Versus — A different kind of fighter
You may or may not be acquainted with Cygames’ insanely popular Granblue Fantasy world. The original browser RPG and mobile spinoff amassed huge followings, mainly overseas. But the latest game is a different twist on the Granblue formula. Granblue Fantasy: Versus is a hybrid 2D brawler-meets-action-RPG, and there’s not much else like it out there. Versus’ fighting mode revolves around unique skills and actions you have to balance with a cooldown system.
It sounds like a lot, but it’s surprisingly easy to pick up. Story mode lets you upgrade characters and weapons as you experience a new tale in the Granblue world. What that means is you don’t have to play the other games or be an expert to get into this one. Naturally, you can get in the action with your friends too. Granblue Fantasy: Versus offers cooperative online play that lets you team up locally or online to take on massive boss fights, or you compete online with others in ranked matches.
There’s no better way to improve or destroy your friendship than with Steam games boasting a healthy competitive element. Which titles are the go-to games for you and your friends?