Steampunk has always been a special style for lovers of Victorian style, steam, soft browns, copper and bronze. It’s a fun way to let the imagination run wild and imagine a world with ideas of exploration, weird science, and socioeconomic inequality circa the late 19th century. It’s an extraordinary departure from the usual medieval or lateral modernity, always open to a “what if” that could never be. The steampunk subculture has expanded over the years since its beginnings in literature and spread to other forms of media—including video games. In this list, we offer you 10 suggestions for interesting steampunk games in different genres, arranged in alphabetical order.
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magica Obscura
Developer: Troika games
Developed by the sorely missed troika of games from the developers who brought us the original Fallout, Arcanum is one of the true lost gems of isometric RPGs. This game has it all – a rich story, a mix of fantasy and steampunk, puzzles to solve, great character development, and great graphics for its time. Your choices really mattered in this game, and the juxtaposition of ironclad advancements in Steam technology and a holistic approach to magic blurred moral lines in a way that few other games since have done. It’s a bit difficult to run on modern computers, but it’s a game worth the effort.
Released: 2007, 2010, 2013
Developers: Irrational games, extreme digital, 2K
When the first Bioshock game was released, it took the gaming world by storm. It was a breath of fresh air for first-person narrative games, offering both action and adventure in equal measure. Set in the fantastical locations of Rapture, deep underwater, and Columbia, high in the sky, all of the Bioshock games share a steampunk sci-fi aspect. They are known for great storylines that draw you in and make you invest in the characters and the world they live in. With remastered versions available for a new generation, it’s always worth revisiting the enormity of the ego-driven failure that is the series’ main theme.
Disrespect 1 and 2
Released: 2012, 2016
Developer: Arcan Studio
Dishonored is a game series with a serious triple pedigree. Right, because it features a mesmerizing story set in a city inspired by Victorian London where our protagonist must clear his name after being accused of murder in the highest degree. The gameplay includes an amazing combination of combat, stealth and magic, as well as a unique karma system that allows players to control the progress of the main character. With stunning art and graphics, as well as an all-star voice cast, the Dishonored series represents some of the best steampunk and gaming in general.
Final Fantasy VI
Developer: Square Enix
Part of Square Enix’s perennial Final Fantasy franchise, the sixth installment takes place in a world that is darker and grittier than its predecessors. Inspired by the Industrial Revolution and set in a very steampunk-like world, the game features an expanding roster of 14 characters and explores more mature themes than some of the previous games in the franchise. The game has been released several times over the years, most notably and most recently as part of the remastered version of the pixel update that other Final Fantasy games received as part of the adaptation efforts for modern machines.
Developer: 11-bit studio
Frostpunk is a narrative city-building game set in the late 19th century where the Earth has suffered an apocalyptic volcanic winter. Like this studio’s previous title, This War of Mine, this game has a dark and sad side to it that coincides with the difficult choices you often have to make. The whole premise of the game, where you build cities around massive heating towers, as well as many of the mechanics and visuals just scream “steampunk” written all over them, making it a must-have game for all fans of the subculture. Even with a passing interest in the city-building or strategy genres.
Developer: Amanita design
Machinarium is a quirky little gem of an indie game where you play as an adorable robot in a robo-steampunk world of towering metal spiers, smoke and garbage. It’s a classic point-and-click adventure with beautiful hand-drawn graphics where you progress by solving puzzles. The story revolves around helping the cute robot Joseph try to save his robot girlfriend Bertha who was kidnapped by a group of evil robots. It was a breakthrough in a genre that hasn’t had an entry in a while, and if you’re nostalgic for these types of games, it’s worth your time.
SteamWorld Dig 1 & 2
Released: 2013, 2017
Developer: Video and form games
SteamWorld Dig is a pair of indie platformers that combine cute cartoon graphics with steampunk and western elements. The main character of the game is a steam robot named Dorothy, who is looking for her missing friend Rusty by digging in the ground and equipping various abilities and funky weapons. The game has some elements of classic platformers with just a bit of Metroidvania thrown in. The art style and especially the coloring of the game make it a very fun experience, while the gameplay is surprisingly smooth and crisp. The deeper you dig, the more you discover about the world and its inhabitants, with some surprising twists that match the mysterious steampunk vibe.
Sunless seas / Sunless skies
Released: 2015, 2019
Developer: Failbetter games
Both Sunless games are deeply story-driven adventure games where you pilot steampunk-inspired ships and explore vast expanses of underground sea and boundless sky. The somewhat dark and lyrical tone of both games is perfectly in keeping with the literature that inspired the steampunk genre in the first place, with its abundance of allegory, metaphorical descriptions, and esoteric musings. The games are deeply exploratory, with distinctive Lovecraftian elements well employed. Both are set in a generic Victorian European world that they share with an older browser-based game, Fallen London.
Released: 2002, 2011, 2017
Syberia is a series of point-and-click adventures where you take protagonist Kate Walker on a series of mysterious journeys set in a Victorian setting. While it’s a lot more than some of our other entries, there are still plenty of steampunk references throughout the three games, and the overall tone and aesthetic fits perfectly. The series is a fairly casual gaming experience that focuses more on storytelling and character exploration than gruesome action. Story and dialogue are prioritized along with P&C adventure elements.
Released: 2007, 2012, 2014
Dress up as master thief Garrett as he carries out dangerous tasks in a Victorian town that looks suspiciously like a reconstructed London. This series of first person stealth games are some of the best skulls you can get into gaming. You can hone your craft and explore amazing urban areas of cobbled streets and dark alleys. Even when you start one of these games, you are immediately faced with the feeling of being in a world different from ours, yet very familiar. It’s very steampunk, and the more you look around the corners, the more it becomes apparent. The Thief games are classic stealth games for a reason, and if you like steampunk settings, you should definitely try them out.