When I ordered my Asus Vivobook 2-in-1, I immediately began to scour my voluminous Steam library looking for touch-friendly games. I was initially disappointed, and in some ways I still am. Many of the games are just simple mobile games on a bigger screen, and some games that do have mobile ports like Prison Architect won’t work without the second mouse button and a keyboard.
I haven’t found a good list of proper touchscreen games for Windows 10, so I figured I should make one. I thought /r/surfacegaming would be promising, but 99% of what they post there is just mouse-and-keyboard games running on a Surface device. There are curated lists of touch-friendly games on Steam, but they’re riddled with games that just don’t quite work.
I have tested every game on this list. Below the list are my mini-reviews of the games. If a game doesn’t have a review, that means I’ve only played enough to make sure the first level works.
These are just my findings so far. I plan to update the list as I find more games, and I will definitely be adding reviews for games as I start to actually play them!
tl;dr Just show me the list!
- Anomaly Warzone Earth
- Bad Hotel
- Banners of Ruin
- The Banner Saga
- The Banner Saga 2
- Chaos Reborn
- Contraption Maker
- Defense Grid: The Awakening
- Door Kickers
- Dungeon Rushers
- Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!
- Into the Breach
- Kingdom Rush
- Legend of Keepers
- Mini Metro
- Monster Train
- Plague, Inc.
- [Rebel, Inc. Escalation][rie]
- Remnants of the Precursors
- Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate
- Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
- Slay the Spire
- XCOM:Enemy Unknown
Into the Breach
Into the Breach is easily my favorite game on this list. I have played 12 hours within the first four days of owning the game.
Into the Breach sits in some sort of Goldilocks zone between simplicity and complexity. I certainly don’t want to play You Must Build a Boat on a 14” screen, but it was fantastic on my phone. I also don’t think I want to play something as hugely complex as Civilization 6 on a large tablet. Into the Breach is just right.
So far, this is the only game I have found that sits well inside this Goldilocks zone. What else should I be playing?!
Kingdom Rush is a port of a mobile tower defense game. I remember trying this out on Android about eight phones ago. I didn’t expect to enjoy an overgrown mobile game, but it is definitely more fun that I expected.
I’ve played for about six hours so far. Into the Breach is consuming all my time for now, but I expect I will get back to Kingdom Rush at some point. It is nice being able to see the entire map on screen, and there’s significantly more strategy involved than I ever would have imagined.
Mini Metro is very much a mobile game. I first played it on my old 12” Windows tablet with an underpowered Atom processor. That 2-in-1 couldn’t play any real games, but it played Mini Metro just fine, and it was a lot of fun!
Mini Metro is a game that you should probably me playing on a phone. The interface is quite simple, and you certainly don’t need a giant display. Even so, it is fun watching people move around on a subway map that’s as big as a sheet of paper!
I don’t have a tone to say about Monster Train. It was in the Humble Choice bundle this month alongside Deathloop. Monster Train is highly rated, and it sure looked like the sort of game that would be touch-friendly, so I gave it a try!
I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I played through the first level with the touch screen, and everything worked perfectly.
Remnants of the Precursors
I haven’t played this one yet, but I think it deserves a couple of paragraphs. Remnants of the Precursors is an open-source game that is modernization of the MS-DOS game Master of Orion. I used to enjoy playing Master of Orion 2, so when I learned of this game, I installed it immediately.
Remnants of the Precursors is a complicated strategy game. It isn’t going to hold your hand and teach you how to play. I fired it up, started a new game, and then made sure I could click around on things with my finger. It seems to work fine, but I haven’t had an opportunity to sit down and learn a brand-new strategy game yet.
This sits outside of the tablet-friendly Goldilocks zone.
The Banner Saga 1, 2, and quite possibly 3?!
I don’t expect that I will be playing The Banner Saga games, but I can’t help but leave a few words here, because the style makes these games look amazing!
I played enough of The Banner Saga 2 to start a game and make a few moves on the map. They’ve certainly made sure that these games are touchscreen-friendly!
I was excited to see the animation. It reminds me of the Don Bluth animated movies from my childhood like The Secret of NIMH or even his animation from the Dragon’s Lair arcade game. The artists for The Banner Saga games have done a fantastic job!
Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!
There are four Holy Potatoes! games, and I own two of them. They seem to go on sale for $0.99 every once in a while. That’s fun!
I had to fire up Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! on my tablet to give it a try. It looks neat, but I haven’t even completed the tutorial. I’ll give it a try one of these days when I’m looking to waste some time.
I’ve managed to craft and sell my first weapon without using the mouse. Pinch-to-zoom doesn’t work, and zooming is definitely a thing in this game. I had no trouble zooming the map with the scroll wheel, though it doesn’t let me zoom out very far at all. I have not played enough to know if this will be problematic later in the game.
It does let me move around my tiny map by dragging my finger.
Games that just won’t work
- Prison Architect
- Cities Skylines
- FTL: Faster than Light (a janky mod exists!)
- Invisible, Inc.
- Fae Tactics (double-tap to single-click)
- Democracy 3 (double-tap to single-click)
Some of these are really disappointing. FTL, Prison Architect, and Invisible, Inc. each have iOS ports, and Prison Architect is also available on Android. If you can make these games worth with no keyboard and no right mouse button, it should be possible for the developers have already solved the difficult problem. Microsoft should throw a few dollars at these folks to remedy the situation!
Some of them are just dumb. Fae Tactics seemed like it was going to work, except it doesn’t detect a touch as a click. You have to double-tap everything. I noped my way out of there quite fast! This seems to be a common problem.
Games like Cities: Skylines are probably way too complicated and intricate to play with just a touch screen.
Why isn’t my favorite game on the list?!
I am only listing games I have actually tested, and I am doing my best to avoid buying new games. There are already 1,950 games in my Steam library, and I want to get a chance to play more of them. I don’t want to buy more games that I won’t play or won’t have time to play.
Where am I looking for games beside Steam?
I have been wanting to comb through the Itch.io charity bundles that I’ve bought. I know for sure that I bought both the Bundle for Ukraine and Racial Justice and Equality bundle. There are literally thousands of games in these collections.
Thank goodness you can visit randombundlegame.com to filter the list by bundle, genre, and many other properties. I know for certain that there are awesome games in here. If we’re lucky, a few games from Itch.io are both awesome and tablet-friendly!
I hope you’ve found my collection of touch-friendly tablet PC games helpful. I am certain it isn’t complete, but I am confident that everything that has made it onto the list is properly playable and most likely enjoyable to play on a touch screen!
I will be working to expand the list. I am always playing games, and I even sometimes manage to start playing new games, so I expect the list will naturally expand in the future.
Do you think I’ve left out any awesome games that work well on a touch-screen tablet PC? Is your favorite game already on the list, or did I completely miss it! Let me know in the comments, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat with me about it!