Cyberpunk as a genre is already a few good decades old. Over its lifetime it has seen many books and short stories, movies, quite a few analog games (of both “role-playing” and “board” varieties).

There has also been, of course, a fair share of video games eager to take on the aesthetic and/or thematic aspects of the genre to tell their stories and built their worlds.

The genre is flexible enough to easily contain action games, narrative-first experiences, and even a bit of party-based tactics for good measure. As a result, we’ve chosen a mix of genres and playstyles to represent here so that you can find something that suits your needs.

So let’s hop into the futuristic landscapes and existential dilemmas in…

GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
Deus Ex Mankind Divided 2016-08-23 RPG SQUARE ENIX
The Ascent 2021-07-29 Action Neon Giant
Ghostrunner 2020-10-27 Action ONE MORE LEVEL
Stray 2022-07-19 Adventure BlueTwelve Studio
Citizen Sleeper 2022-05-05 Indie Jump Over the Age
Soma 2015-09-21 Adventure Frictional Games
Cloudpunk 2020-04-23 Indie ION LANDS
Ruiner 2017-09-26 Indie Reikon Games
Va 11 Hall A Cyberpunk Bartender Action 2016-06-21 Adventure SUKEBAN
Katana Zero 2019-04-18 Indie Askiisoft
System Shock 2 1999-08-11 RPG Irrational Games
Signalis 2022-10-27 Adventure rose-engine
Cyberpunk 2077 2020-12-10 Action RPG CD PROJEKT RED
Invisible Inc 2015-05-12 Indie Klei Entertainment
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance 2014-01-09 Action & Shooter PlatinumGames
Transistor Gogcom Key Global 2014-05-20 Indie Supergiant Games

Blade Runner

Release date:1997-11-14
Genre:Point'n'click
Developer:Westwood Studios

Hard to talk about the best cyberpunk games without at least mentioning the game based on one of the most fundamental movies for the development of the genre: Blade Runner.

Not only is the movie legendary, but the game adaptation it is a treat too, with neon-lit streets in the shadows of giant skyscrapers, engaging story, and, perhaps most of all, amazing replayability.

The game focuses mostly on detective work: gathering and analyzing evidence, talking to NPCs, and only rare puzzles or combat. You’ll also learn to use the Voight-Kampff machine to check whether NPCs are Replicants or not, and the result will vary from playthrough to playthrough, creating an interesting suspense every time you return to the game.

Key features
  • Based on one of the iconic cyberpunk movies
  • You can never be sure who’s the replicant
  • Thirteen endings
  • A classic point&click adventure game

Cyberpunk 2077

Release date:2020-12-10
Genre:Action RPG
Developer:CD PROJEKT RED

After fixing launch woes and getting a large, game-changing expansion in the door, Cyberpunk 2077 is ready to enter the lists of the best cyberpunk games out there.

Based n a classic tabletop RPG, it presents a compelling image of Night City, a metropolis of contrasts, ran by corporations from the top, gangs from the bottom, with plenty of people caught between the rock and a hard place.

Some of these people are mercenaries looking for a violent buck by working for corpos and gangs, and you’ll be playing such a character, named V, who got tangled in a decades-old grudge of a certain famous rockerboy and the Arasaka corporation. The plot is CP2077’s high point, so no spoilers. We’ll just say the city is large, immersive, and rich of exciting opportunities you’d be unwise to ignore.

Key features
  • Thematically complex story
  • Multiple endings
  • Urban open world filled with quests and activities to spend time with
  • A large expansion coming in September

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Release date:2013-10-25
Genre:RPG
Developer:Eidos Montréal

Although the original Deus Ex is still held in high regard over two decades later, its 2013 prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution feels like a somewhat better fit for the list.

Not only is it much more modern in presentation, but it also spends a lot of time inspecting the themes of corporate influence and cybernetic enhancements, both of which are frequent trappings of the cyberpunk genre.

Like its predecessor, DE:HR is an FPP RPG/shooter mix with special focus on stealth, exploration, and conversations. Combat is definitely an option, but staying low-key and non-lethal tends to yield better results, and, debatably, finding a way to ghost the levels can be much more satisfying. It’s not an open-world like CP2077, it’s much more concise and focused, with great pacing to its story.

Key features
  • A worthy successor to the original Deus Ex
  • Many interesting and powerful augmentations you can unlock
  • Interesting setting: the world still adapting to the existence of advanced cyberprosthetics
  • A story involves corporate sabotage and technological conspiracies

Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Release date:2014-09-18
Genre:Adventure
Developer:Harebrained Schemes

Shadowrun is an unusual cyberpunk, because in addition to the usual thematic and technological trappings like cybernetics and megacorporations it also has elements typically associated with fantasy.

To explain how trolls and magic are present on otherwise normal Earth would take too long, but the mix works really well and creates an interesting twist on a familiar formula.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall is makes you a (customizable) member of a mercenary group who had a vicious spot of bad luck and came across a conspiracy long in the making. It is a fully-fledged RPG, however, so in addition to chasing the core story you’ll also build rapport with your teammates, complete side quests, and work on your skills through a robust progression system.

Key features
  • Fully customizable player character
  • Turn-based tactical combat
  • Multiple endings, including side-stories
  • A fun mix of cyberpunk and fantasy

Transistor

Release date:2014-05-20
Genre:Indie
Developer:Supergiant Games

Transistor might involve a big sword as your main method of dealing with enemies, but make no mistake, it’s very much a cyberpunk story.

There’s a futuristic city, a nefarious robotic AI making things harder for everyone, and, above all else, a strong motif of consciousness outlasting life by being transferred into a machine.

In this case: the machine is the big sword, and the consciousness belongs to the dead man you encounter right at the beginning of the game. Outside of all this cyberpunkiness, Transistor is an excellent isometric action game with RPG-like ability customization through so-called Functions, and a limited turn-based mode you can deploy during fights.

Key features
  • Created by the studio which later created Hades
  • Cool setting
  • Customizable abilities
  • Themes of voice and existence continuing beyond death are important to the story

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Release date:2014-01-09
Genre:Action & Shooter
Developer:PlatinumGames

This one is a much lighter, in a way approach to cyberpunk, and it’s mostly related to advanced cybertechnology (and nanomachines, son!) involved in pulling off the game’s absurdly spectacular combat.

That said, there is some consideration given to the relationship of characters to the technology that defines them, which is quite nice, if lost among all the dope action.

You’re playing as Raiden, a cyborg with penchant for absurdly sharp sword and feats of strength. And the feats aren’t limited to cutscenes, many of them come through in regular gameplay (such as the incredible Blade mode) or Quick Time Events when the robust combat mechanics just can’t support a beat in a boss fight.

Key features
  • Excellent melee-oriented third-person action game
  • Meaningful progression, including several weapons with unlockable moves
  • Blade modes allows you to slice pretty anything that isn’t an essential level geometry
  • Doesn’t take itself very seriously

Invisible, Inc.

Release date:2015-05-12
Genre:Indie
Developer:Klei Entertainment

Invisible, Inc. was a private intelligence agency, but it got under corporate control through armed takeover.

This cannot stand, so as one of the remaining agents you become a handler for operatives around the world and prepare to strike against the meddlesome corporation. What follows is a series of turn-based stealth missions played against a rising alarm level.

Most missions start out with only two agents under your control, but sometimes you have the opportunity to free captive operatives to bolster your options mid-mission and be available for future assignments. Invisible, Inc. is a fantastic option for every fan of turn-based tactics with a thirst for cyberpunk and espionage stories.

Key features
  • A reasonably sized roster of agents you can eventually acquire
  • A turn-based, party-based stealth game
  • Several game modes
  • An expansion adding new options and a way to make the campaign last longer

Ghostrunner

Release date:2020-10-27
Genre:Action
Developer:ONE MORE LEVEL

Ghostrunner is set in a postapocalyptic world, and the entire game takes place in a huge tower housing what remains of humanity.

You awaken as an amnesiac titular Ghostrunner, one of enhanced peacekeepers who once protected the tower. With a singular goal embedded in your mind, you start making your way up the tower to free the consciousness of the tower’s creator.

Gameplay-wise, Ghostrunner is a first-person action/platform game heavily reliant on parkour and quick assassinations. Everybody dies in a single hit, so you must be careful and precise. Over time you gain access to more abilities, just in time to deal with more complex challenges. Ghostrunner’s cyberpunkiness is not as pronounced as in other games on the list, but it is undeniable.

Key features
  • Intense, fast-paced parkour
  • Cool setting: a tower protecting humanity against a ruined world
  • Everyone dies in one hit, including you
  • Looks amazing

The Ascent

Release date:2021-07-29
Genre:Action
Developer:Neon Giant

Let’s move the camera back a little. A little more… perfect.

The Ascent is an isometric twin-stick shooter with RPG elements. It’s set in a futuristic city once controlled by a megacorp, The Ascent Group, whose unexpected collapse left the city’s districts to fend for themselves. You, dear player, are one of the people who do the “fending” for other people in your district, and it involves guns.

The collapse initiated something of a battle royale, as different sections of the city try to consume others, and new corps try to get in on the business left behind by The Ascent Group. But what’s important is that your customizable character get to shoot fools, loot their bodies, and get strong and dangerous enough to defend the home turf and invade other regions for good measure.

Key features
  • Optional co-op for up to four players
  • A cyberpunk city thrown into chaos after the ruling megacorp collapsed
  • Character customizable through weapons and cybernetic
  • Exciting twin-stick action

Stray

Release date:2022-07-19
Genre:Adventure
Developer:BlueTwelve Studio

Stray made its big splash mostly because it has a very cute cat as the player character.

To be fair, it is a very cute cat, with all the grace, mischievousness, and cuddliness typically associated with the fuzzy felines. However, for all the platforming, puzzle-solving purring fun, Stray is also set in a distinctly futuristic city with quite a few things in common with the cyberpunk genre.

The most prominent element is the overwhelming presence of robots. Some of them look and behave like humans, others, the Sentinels, are violent drones acting as a security force. There are also themes of evolving artificial consciousness, and identity transfers. It’s a great game, and possibly the most wholesome one on the list, which makes for a pleasant final entry.

Key features
  • You get to play as a cat, and If that’s not a selling argument, what is?
  • Set in a city populated by human-like robots
  • Gameplay mostly involves exploration and environmental puzzles
  • Interesting story investigating what happened to the city

Dystopian futures we could avoid

This is the end of our list for now. We’ve explored neon-lit locales in first person, tackled existential threats and questions, led attacks against corporations, and, most important of all, helped a cute cat survive in a city threatened by mutant bacteria and trigger-happy drones.

Hopefully among these themes you’ve spotted a game you’d like to augment your library with and you’re ready to grab a leather jacker, reload your AR gun, and ponder the nature of consciousness.