10 Must-Play linux games for 2012

Gaming on Linux? A few years ago this would only be said as a joke. Thankfully for us, linux gaming has evolved offering some mature open source games, as well as some very nice commercial games. Let’s try and find out what are the best 10 games a linux gamer must play this year…

Oil Rush

Type: Real Time Strategy
19.95 USD
Latest Version/Release Date:
1.07 / March 13, 2012

I start with the most awaited game I’ve ever seen in the linux gaming world. Oil Rush offers stunning graphics and amazing optical realism and for that only, I can say it is the mark of a new era for the linux gamers. If a new graphics card lives inside your system, then this game is one of the few that will take advantage of all its features. The gameplay is a bit out of the “classic” RTS style, but it is easy to learn and very enjoyable. Offering an amazing campaign, unique scenarios and competitive multiplayer action, Oil Rush is a must play for all of you linux gamers out there.

Oil Rush Website



Type: Simulation
Licence: GPL
Price: Free
Latest Version/Release Date: 2.6 / February 20, 2012

FlightGear is the most successful and sophisticated open source simulation project. Although its developers don’t consider it being a game, I choose to put it here because of the nature of this simulator. FlightGear has been taking us to the skies since 1997, and it is now mature, stable, packed with airplanes, weather realism, beautiful scenery, flight dynamics engine designed by NASA and Boeing engineers, extremely useful for research projects and very enjoyable for us gamers. This year’s version, brought many things to be happy about, and there will be one more major release (version number 2.8) this year, so I believe this is a must for all simulation fans.

FlightGear Website


Heroes of Newerth

Type: RPG
Licence: Commercial
Price: Free
Latest Version/Release Date: 2.5.14 / March 09, 2012

Heroes of Newerth is an action RPG game, based on the popular Warcraft III mod map named Defence of the Ancients (dota). It may be the only choice for linux dota lovers, but thankfully it is the best we could have. This game offers the best “dota” experience, using beautiful graphics and optical effects, atmospheric sounds and music, stable multiplayer with a lot of choices for the player and above all it is free to play (you can buy some extras with real money). This game is evolving with constant update packs every week, and is now already very mature and linux-supportive. It will only get better through this year…must-play.

HoN Website


Trine 2

Type: Puzzle Platform
Licence: Commercial
Price: 14.99 USD
Expected Release Date: April, 2012

Trine was a magnificent, mind seducing, wonderful tale. Trine 2 is going to be 4 times that. Using better graphics, more advanced physics, more satisfactory puzzles, more challenging obstacles and the multiplayer cooperation mode, this game is a must play for all linux gamers this year. The only complain that we can have, is that Frozenbyte already released this game for other platforms…

Trine 2 Website



Licence: Commercial
Price: Free
Latest Version/Release Date: 1.0 / February 29, 2012

Wakfu is a unique tactical MMORPG that continues the story of Dofus. In Wakfu, the player can choose between 14 different character classes all with different characteristics and abilities. There are four nations in Wakfu that rule their respected territories, have their own law system and clima. A player can be whatever he/she chooses to be, and their nations will be what their citizens choose them to be. This game is like a living ecosystem giving everyone the freedom of choice, but nothing comes without consequencies whether these are positive or negative. Enter the magical world of Wakfu, and enjoy a game that brings character evolution and multiplayer cooperation to a new level.

Wakfu Website


Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

Type: Horror Adventure
Licence: Commercial
Price: Unknown
Expected Release Date: Halloween 2012

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs will be the second episode of the Amnesia series. This episode is not connected directly to the first one, but it takes place on the same universe. This time we will be in the shoes of a rich industrial tycoon named Oswald Mandus, who collapses from a feverish nightmare in which he sees a mysterious dark machine… After having played the Penumbra series and the first episode of the Amnesia series called “The Dark Descent”, I am 100% sure that whatever horror related story is inside the minds of Frictional Games developers, it is going to be once again simply unforgettable.

Amnesia Website



Type: FPS
Licence: GPL
Price: Free
Latest Version/Release Date: 0.6 / March 8, 2012

Xonotic is a first person arena shooter with fast and intense gameplay. The game is developed by former Nexuiz developers, and after quite some time of hard work from these talented people it has evolved into being better and more advanced in all sectors, making it the best FPS game on the linux platform. Xonotic uses a heavily enhanced version of the Quake engine named DarkPlaces, that offers modern graphics and optical effects that will meet the requirements of even the hardest to please. Singleplayer and multiplayer fun, with balanced futuristic maps and more than enough different game modes to choose from. It may not be finished yet (version 0.6), but it surely is the best of its kind and a must play for all linux users this year.

Xonotic Website


0 A.D.

Type: Real Time Strategy
Licence: GPL
Price: Free
Latest Version/Release Date: Alpha 8 / December 24, 2011

Although still far from finished, this game is more than enjoyable. If you try the most promising open source RTS game in the world, you will be amazed by the 3D graphics, the detail of the artwork, the realism of the animations and the beauty of the music. 0 A.D. already offers 6 unique in every aspect civilizations, many realistically designed maps and peer to peer multiplayer. I decided to include this game on that list, because I firmly believe that the next few alphas coming this year will be amazing.

O A.D. Website


Savage 2

Licence: Commercial
Price: Free
Latest Version/Release Date: / February 8, 2012

Savage 2: a tortured soul, is the sequel to the fantasy themed Savage: the battle of Newerth. Savage 2 combines RPG and RTS giving the player the choice of either the commander (RTS), or the action player (RPG). The aim of the game is to destroy the command center of the enemy team through a commander driven combat in a large beautiful battlefield. In game, a player gains experience that allows him/her to unlock several more powerful units and abilities. Besides the free-of-charge side of Savage 2, there is also the option for a paid “Premium Account” that expands some aspects of the game. This game is a must for the nice graphics and the  “easy to learn – hard to master” gameplay that will keep you entertained forever.

Savage 2 Website



Type: Adventure
Licence: Commercial
Price: Unknown
Expected Release Date: May, 2012

Cradle is a science-fiction first-person quest with freedom of movement. The story is built around the relations of the protagonist and a mechanical girl, who by enigmatic circumstances find themselves together in a yurt among the desert Mongolian hills. The player is to restore the lost functions of his companion’s mechanical body parts and together reveal the mystery of the neglected entertainment park found not far from the yurt. This game is using the magnificent Unigine engine, and is one of the big promises for linux gaming this year. Definitely a must play…

Cradle Website


These are the 10 must play games for 2012 as we see it now. I am sure there will be more great games that are not yet revealed, and we will be here to play and review them for you. Have a fun gaming weekend everyone!

  • tr3quart1sta

    your article is already outdated! u mad bro?

  • cheeks


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4SUVNVXGRKMLWA6GJTC32YBYHY Ivan P. Friely

    Savage 2 was released in January 2008, not 2012.  Honestly, Bill, how hard is it to search the web for information outside of your Desura client?

  • http://post-pc.fr/ post-pc

    for a complet games list  http://post-pc.fr/top-games-ubuntu-2012

  • guest

    wot aboot overgrowth

  • Bill_Toulas

    Hello Ivan!
    Let me explain to you…Both Savage 2 and Heroes of Newerth were not initially released in 2012. I decided to include these two games on the article because both games receive constant patch updates that change them significantly to the better. In other words, these two games evolve constantly with every patch that brings new material and new features, and not only bug fix updates. So the date February 8, 2012 is the date that the latest update patch for Savage 2 released. 
    As for my research…I shall inform you that I personally contacted many linux games developers before writing this post in order to make sure that the “expected release” dates are correct. I can also assure you that there will be more great commercial games coming this year for the linux platform that I couldn’t include on this article yet, due to the policy of the companies that will release them (if you know what I mean…). Stay tuned, and you will be the first to know…

  • Bill_Toulas

    Writing of this article was finished on March 14. 0 A.D. Alpha 9 was released on March 15. This article was published on March 16. Just a little bit of bad synchronization…

  • Tim Blokdijk

    Or other Spring engine games?

  • Yahnx

    +1, but it’s not finished and linux supported yet

  • Forrest Guyton

    STK is getting pretty awsome

    it also has some realy nice looking code

  • Happy

    Why not mentioned X-Plane?
    It’s the best flightsim on any platform taking full advantage of hardware
    I’m running it for many years on Linux. It’s low cost.

  • Bill_Toulas

    I prefer FlightGear for the reasons mentioned on the description
    Xplane is a very good piece of software, but I consider FlightGear to be generally better

  • Kdam Crew1

    Can you tell me which games play online or offline?

  • Guest

    Teeworlds is missing :'(

  • Frederikvanassche

    Urban terror is missing, i have a modern gaming pc with a lot of new games like skyrim and bf3 and i still play urt on a weekly basis, imo the best multiplayer fps ever made

  • Frederikvanassche

    Urban terror is missing, i have a modern gaming pc with a lot of new games like skyrim and bf3 and i still play urt on a weekly basis, imo the best multiplayer fps ever made

  • Frederikvanassche

    Urban terror is missing, i have a modern gaming pc with a lot of new games like skyrim and bf3 and i still play urt on a weekly basis, imo the best multiplayer fps ever made

  • Frederikvanassche

    Urban terror is missing, i have a modern gaming pc with a lot of new games like skyrim and bf3 and i still play urt on a weekly basis, imo the best multiplayer fps ever made

  • Guest

    You should mention FreedroidRPG.  http://www.freedroid.org/

  • Waltdog72080

    Look like that Cradle game is going to be awsome, but It’s not out yet. I can’t wait that game.

  • Waltdog72080

    Look like that Cradle game is going to be awsome, but It’s not out yet. I can’t wait that game.

  • Guest

    Tried Xonotic…. hardly any multi-player maps active… even at 120+fps, game feels like its running at 30fps (not easy on the eyes).  In the above list, I would replace Xonotic by Sauerbraten

  • Etcetera

    “UFO:Alien invasion” is one of the best X-COM or UFO: Enemy Unknown type of a game that runs on linux.

    When the other UFO look-a-likes misses something the very essential things,
    the free  UFO:Alien invasion seems to catch the idea and feeling better than many of its sequels or tryouts.

    The original game was exploited, bleached and destroyed within the the worst scenario of the modern time and moneymaking,

    So it is very positive that the community took the things on their own hands with love and kept something of the original game alive.

    Free on linux and for the first time I do not miss the original game anymore,

    not bad: “UFO:Alien invasion” .. find it and you can try it?

  • Bill_Toulas

    UFO: Alien Invasion is a truly wonderful game and I agree with what you are saying 100%. I also played X-COM as a kid and when I met Alien Invasion it blew my mind. I think I’ll have to feature it as a Friday-Game soon…


    all of games are cool but the best is Amsesia

  • Guest

    Regnum Online mmo. Msssive playerbase in linux. pls add.

  • http://mashgaming.net/ Mash Gaming

    Great list Bill! Can’t wait to try Oil Rush on my Ubuntu!

  • ACR

    Assault cube reloaded

  • Shackleford

    I’m a loyal Linux user and I love MMORPGs, but I do not see what is so great with Regnum Online. I think it’s fan base is just so big because it’s free, for Linux, and most any computer can run it. I’d rather play something for Windows using Wine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.coyle.395 Pat Coyle

    And why is that ? is it because FG is opensource and free ?

  • Guest

    this is ridiculus none of them are not present at ubuntu software center

  • carvalho da silva

    excelent selection. congratulatios.

  • Sabun

    Hahaha seconded!

  • yooozy

    no urban terror??!

  • Forastas

    so true. shines in dimensions where nowadays games don’t even dare to enter.

  • lolMac?Paid for Linux

    That fits my definition of better.

  • Bill Gates

    Mac Ripped off Unix more like.

  • Steven Jobs

    I ripped off EVERYTHING MUWAAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!!!!! *cough*
    AWAAA *cough* URRGHHh h h h h h h h h hh h h…..

  • jhg

    hay numbnuts use terminal