Releasing games in form of early access has benefits for both developers and players alike. Players not only get a chance to play their part in the development process but they also get to try the game way before the official launch without the need to wait for the finished product.

Developers, on the other hand, can use the feedback as an invaluable tool to make adjustments and polish the title to make it even better before it’s decided to release it as a full-fledged video game.

As a result, players usually get a better game, developers reach more people and get more money from satisfied customers, and everyone’s happy – it’s a win-win for all.

If you’re interested to find out more about some of the best early access games you can play right now, check out our list down below.

GameReleaseGenreDeveloper
Phasmophobia 2020-09-18 Horror, Co-op Kinetic Games
Baldurs Gate 3 2020-10-06 RPG Larian Studios
Vampire Survivors 2021-12-17 Indie, bullet hell Luca Galante
Project Zomboid 2013-11-08 Indie The Indie Stone
Valheim 2021-02-02 Sanbox, survival Iron Gate Studio
V Rising 2022-05-17 survival, co-op Stunlock Studios
Timberborn 2021-09-15 simulation Mechanistry
Ultrakill 2020-09-03 FPS Arsi Patala
Satisfactory 2020-06-08 Building Coffee Stain Studios
Shieldwall 2020-03-23 simulation, strategy Nezon Production
Core Keeper 2022-03-08 sandbox, multiplayer Pugstorm
Songs Of Conquest 2022-05-10 strategy Lavapotion
Potion Craft Alchemist Simulator 2021-09-21 Simulation niceplay games

Phasmophobia

Genre:Horror, Co-op
Developer:Kinetic Games

If you like horror games, you should check out Phasmophobia – a game where you’ll be playing as a ghost hunter.

In Phasmophobia players get a unique opportunity to play the role of a ghost hunter. With help of a variety of tools, such as EMF readers and spirit boxes, you’ll have to find the evidence and correctly identify the ghost haunting the place.

Phasmophobia comes with multiplayer mode which makes it a great option for a party game but if you’re looking for a truly scary atmosphere, nothing can beat playing alone at night – give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.

Key features
  • A horror game about hunting ghosts
  • A very realistic and believable take on the subject
  • Numerous unlockable scenarios to play
  • Virtual reality support for ultimate immersion

Baldur's Gate 3

Genre:RPG
Developer:Larian Studios

Fans of classic RPGs have a real treat in the making. Baldur’s Gate is about to make a return with style.

Set over 100 years after the events of Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn from 2000, Baldur’s Gate 3 will take players for another epic adventure. Mind flayers kidnap people and implant them with a unique type of parasite – your character is one of the victims and so your first task should be to find a way of getting rid of it.

The game features a different kind of gameplay when compared to early Baldur’s Gate games. Most notably, it uses turn-based combat which makes the title more demanding when it comes to the use of strategy during play.

Key features
  • A role-playing game from the classic franchise
  • Turn-based combat that requires clever use of available abilities
  • Great story with equally great voice acting
  • Co-op multiplayer mode

Vampire Survivors

Genre:Indie, bullet hell
Developer:Luca Galante

Vampire Survivors is a perfect example of a game that doesn’t necessarily have to be complex to be fun.

Vampire Survivors is a fast-paced game where your mission is to kill hordes of enemy creatures and survive as long as possible. There are tons of playable characters to choose from, each with unique skills and abilities, which adds a lot to the game’s replayability.

What’s really interesting, however, is the gameplay itself – your character attacks automatically at regular intervals, so your job is mainly about helping your character move and avoid contact with hostile creatures. It makes the game very easy to learn and play, while the craving for better scores makes the experience very addictive.

Key features
  • A fast-paced roguelike game that will test your reflexes
  • Dozens of characters and items to unlock and make use of during play
  • Well-balanced gameplay that makes trying new strategies a fun experience
  • Short play sessions – a great game to play when you don’t have too much free time

Project Zomboid

Genre:Indie
Developer:The Indie Stone

Zombie games will never get old but there are some that clearly stand out from the crowd, such as Project Zomboid.

Project Zomboid is a sandbox role-playing survival horror game that is set during a zombie apocalypse. As one of the survivors, your job is to stay alive as long as possible – easier said than done.

The game is incredibly difficult and requires players to learn a lot about the gameplay mechanics to succeed but once you familiarize yourself with the game’s world it will be fun to put all that knowledge to use and reap the benefits. Explore, scavenge, grow crops, craft, and survive the winter. This is Project Zomboid. This is the story of how you died.

Key features
  • An immersive sandbox experience set during a zombie apocalypse
  • A huge open-world environment that can be explored freely in its entirety from the very beginning
  • Incredibly addictive open-ended gameplay – survive as long as you can
  • Believable world, a demanding but rewarding difficulty level, and a multiplayer mode

Valheim

Genre:Sanbox, survival
Developer:Iron Gate Studio

Valheim also deserves a mention, and there’s a reason for that – it’s one of the most-played early access Steam games, after all.

Valheim is a sandbox survival game where you are thrown into a procedurally generated fantasy world. The world is open and you can go whenever you want – exploration is an important part of the game, and there’s a lot to discover.

The world consists of a number of different biomes, each with its own unique enemies and items, which results in a varying difficulty level. Embark on an epic journey full of dangers and surprises. Find and slay powerful bosses to prove yourself and earn the respect of the gods. Level up, build shelters, collect resources, and conquer the world of Valheim.

Key features
  • Immersive survival with gameplay focused on keeping the protagonist alive
  • Procedurally generated open-world environment that encourages exploration
  • A dynamic combat system that will keep you engaged
  • Online play with co-op and optional PvP

V Rising

Genre:Survival, co-op
Developer:Stunlock Studios

For some vampire action, you can’t go wrong with V Rising – a difficult survival game that will put your skills to the test.

V Rising will put you in the shoes of a newly resurrected vampire, allowing you to help him grow stronger to become the most fearsome creature that has ever walked among the mortals. It’s a survival game and so surviving is the main objective here.

As you progress through the game you will unlock new abilities and technologies that will help you to stay alive in the inhospitable environment, where you need to be wary not only of enemies but also of the light of the sun itself. Of course, it’s not where the fun ends. You can also, for example, build your own fortress and make a place to call home. You can also join multiplayer and raid castles made by other players or team up and tackle the challenges together.

Key features
  • A survival game that revolves around vampires
  • Open-world environment roamed by all sorts of hostile creatures
  • Skill-based combat that feels rewarding once mastered
  • Multiplayer co-op and PvP with castle raiding

Timberborn

Genre:Simulation
Developer:Mechanistry

How about a game set in lumberpunk, as described by the developers? Help your beavers to build a dream city, where everything works like cogs in a well-oiled machine.

Timberborn will test your management skills. Your objective here is to build and expand a prosperous city. Taking care of the needs of your residents is a must, and so is providing them with all the necessary services and infrastructure.

One of the cool features of the game is the possibility to stack some buildings on top of each other – it’s not something you see every day but it adds a lot of customizability and your personal touch to the city design. It also serves an important gameplay purpose, as expanding vertically allows you to save some space on the ground level that can be used for growing more crops, for example.

Key features
  • A unique city builder with beavers playing the most important role
  • Gameplay that requires good management skills
  • Vertical building stacking
  • Lots of factors to consider when building the city and a lot of room for further optimizations

Darkest Dungeon II

Genre:Survival, strategy
Developer:Red Hook Studios

Fans of the original Darkest Dungeons will be happy to know that a sequel to this popular roguelike game from 2016 is soon to be released.

Darkest Dungeon II is a role-playing video game that revolves around exploring all sorts of dungeons filled with traps, enemies, and surprising encounters. Just like in the original game, you will be able to command a party of up to 4 characters.

The key to success is to cleverly utilize the special abilities of each character – teamwork is crucial. The game stands out thanks to its unforgiving difficulty level – Darkest Dungeon II is not easy, but it sure feels great once you finally overcome all the obstacles.

Key features
  • A dark fantasy roguelike where you lead a party of 4 characters
  • Extremely difficult gameplay with permanent death
  • Dark-themed, beautiful comic book-like art style
  • A fitting soundtrack that helps to build the right atmosphere

Ultrakill

Genre:FPS
Developer:Arsi Patala

If you miss old-school shooters like Doom or Quake, you will feel at home with this one.

In Ultrakill there’s not much room left for taking a breath – the action never stops. You’ll have to make your way through enemy hordes to complete a number of increasingly difficult levels.

The task won’t be easy but you’ll have some cool upgradeable weapons at your disposal, which should make everything slightly more manageable.

Key features
  • Fast-paced dynamic action
  • Several upgradeable weapons to choose from
  • Gameplay centered around performing combos and gaining health by damaging enemies
  • A solid dose of action music that perfectly fits the game’s atmosphere

Satisfactory

Genre:Building
Developer:Coffee Stain Studios

If designing, building, and optimizing a factory is what you’re after, you can’t miss Satisfactory.

Satisfactory is a complex game where your job is to create a factory that will automatically produce and process various items for further use.

The most fun part comes when you decide to optimize it to run at maximum efficiency – the possibilities are virtually endless, so prepare for making good use of both your creativity and management skills.

Key features
  • A sci-fi sandbox management game
  • An open-world environment that can be roamed freely
  • The gameplay focused on producing increasingly complex items by building factories
  • Chill and casual atmosphere

Shieldwall

Genre:Simulation, strategy
Developer:Nezon Production

On a funnier side of the spectrum of PC games, we’ve got Shieldwall – command your legions to conquer the land.

Shieldwall is a light-hearted action game where you will be responsible for leading your legion troops to battle while personally participating in the encounters on the battlefield.

The game can be played solo against the computer, but if you’re competitive, you’ll love multiplayer. Conquer the points, issue orders, and look out for the catapults.

Key features
  • Action-packed strategy with a dose of humor
  • Simple rules – easy to learn, hard to master
  • Numerous upgrades to get during the game to turn the tide of war
  • Features competitive multiplayer

Core Keeper

Genre:Sandbox, Multiplayer
Developer:Pugstorm

If you like games like Minecraft or Terraria, you should keep an eye on Core Keeper as well.

Core Keeper is a sandbox game where you’ll have to mine for resources, build your base, grow crops, cook, and fight formidable bosses in order to survive in a hostile environment. Craft equipment and embark on a journey to discover the truths of this world.

If you’ve got friends to play with, you should also definitely try the game’s co-op which supports teams of up to 8 players.

Key features
  • A top-down sandbox game with combat, crafting, exploration, and survival
  • Procedurally generated worlds that consist of various biomes
  • Detailed retro-style art
  • Optional permadeath mode for an extra challenge

Songs of Conquest

Genre:Strategy
Developer:Lavapotion

It can prove to be extremely difficult to make a game that could rival some of the old classics, but Songs of Conquest is a worthy spiritual successor to Heroes of Might and Magic III.

Song of Conquest is a fantasy turn-based strategy where you will have to lead your people to victory as a ruler of a fictional kingdom.

The gameplay consists of two main parts – turn-based combat encounters and overworld exploration combined with kingdom management. If you want to succeed, you will have to make the right choices in both fields.

Key features
  • A fantasy strategy inspired by Heroes of Might and Magic III
  • Kingdom management with lots of possibilities
  • A turn-based combat system on hexagonal grids with a lot of depth
  • A unique art style that combines various 2D and 3D techniques

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator

Genre:Simulation
Developer:niceplay games

Simulator video games can sometimes focus on a very specific topic. This time players will have the opportunity to experience the life of an alchemist.

Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator is a game about discovering new kinds of potions and meeting the needs of customers.

The discovery system feels fresh and unique and it makes tinkering with available resources and tools a fun and addictive experience. Collect herbs, craft potions, and sell your products to amass wealth.

Key features
  • A simulation game focused on inventing potions
  • One-of-a-kind gameplay that encourages experimentation
  • Numerous upgrades to unlock
  • A distinctive art style that reminds of medieval books

Ready or Not

Genre:First-Person
Developer:VOID Interactive

Finally, something for tactical shooter enjoyers. Become a part of a SWAT police unit and face a variety of realistic scenarios.

Ready or Not aims to be a realistic tactical shooter where players will have to respond accordingly to all kinds of threats they’ll face throughout the game.

You’ll have various real-world tools used by real police units at your disposal – being able to cleverly utilize them all during play is often mandatory to achieve success, but ultimately, it’s up to you how to decide how to approach each task. It’s worth noting that even though the game has a single-player mode, it’s much better in multiplayer.

Key features
  • A believable tactical shooter focused on the work of police special units
  • A wide selection of playable scenarios to try
  • Lots of real-world tools and gadgets to utilize during play
  • Gets much better in co-op multiplayer if you have friends to play with

Early Access games are a fun way to try upcoming titles before they’re released. You get a chance to provide the development team with your feedback, which could lead to making an even more enjoyable experience for you.

There’s a small catch to keep in mind, though – sometimes early access games remain in that state forever. The development team may decide to abandon the project entirely. They may continue to support and develop the game indefinitely, which also has its own issues, like the need to constantly follow the news if you don’t want to be left out of the loop.

If you return to an early access game after a year, it may turn into a completely different game by then, requiring you to learn everything from scratch and that can be annoying if you already played the game – you already have some expectations on how certain things worked in the past and now you’ll discover they work differently.

Still, it’s worth it to keep an eye on early access titles – there are a lot of small indie gems that are only waiting to be discovered, and if you can grab them cheaper on sale, that makes an even better deal.