Multiplayer online games

Best Fighting Games for Steam Deck – From Guilty Gear and Skullgirls to Street Fighter and The King of Fighters – TouchArcade

After covering the best games you can play on your Steam Deck and the best JRPGs for Steam Deck, I tested games in another of my favorite genres, fighting games. Over the past decade, PlayStation and Steam have become the top platforms for fighting games, and many of the best in the genre run brilliantly on Steam Deck.

I own many fighting games on Steam and have been playing them for the past few weeks on Steam Deck for this feature and to play online with friends. In no particular order, here are our picks for the best of the bunch. I’ll note when a game has been officially “verified on Steam Deck” by Valve and comment on how those that haven’t been tested by Valve still perform well when applicable in this feature with minor tweaks where necessary. It was hard to narrow this selection down to just 10, but hopefully this helps you find some great fighters to play on your Steam Deck.

Guilty Gear Effort ($59.99)

Arc System Works’ Guilty Equipment Effort has been one of my favorite fighting games for years. I love the characters and it plays amazing on all platforms. I was shocked at how well it performed day one on Steam Deck, and I’ve dipped in and out of it on the system often over the past few weeks. Online play also held up well out of the box in my testing. Guilty Gear Strive is getting a lot of new content this year with cross-platform play on PC and PlayStation also being added. It’s one of the best fighting games of all time, and excels on Steam Deck. I’m surprised it’s not already verified on Steam Deck considering it’s been used in a promotion of the system by Valve before.

SoulCalibur VI ($59.99)

Bandai Namco Entertainment SoulCalibur VI and its weapon-based combat won me over on Xbox One and PS4 when I originally played it, but it was even better to experience it on more powerful systems. I’m shocked at how well it works and looks like Steam Deck, and I’ve been testing the game both online and offline over the past week with no issues. This one goes on sale quite often, and I recommend grabbing it with the DLC 2B (NieR Automata) when you get to buy it because the team did a fantastic job with this DLC in addition to some of the main characters like Ivy. SoulCalibur VI is also not available on any portable systems, as is Guilty Gear Strive, making it a fantastic way to play it on the go.

King of Fighters XIV Steam Edition ($59.99)

I love The King of Fighters, and The King of Fighters XIV continues to hold a special place in my heart as the first game in the series that I properly spent time with when it debuted on PS4. The PC versions are excellent on the Steam Deck, and the release is held back only by its netcode. It’s not as bad as Samurai Shodown, but noticeably bad compared to modern fighters like Guilty Gear Strive. The King of Fighters XIV Steam edition is also verified on Steam Deck by Valve. This is usually discounted often, which is worth considering if you haven’t played a game in the series for a while. There are plenty of classic entries with better updates online, but I always like to spend time on The King of Fighters XIV on Steam Deck.

Street Fighter V Champion Edition ($29.99)

Street Fighter V had a rough launch, but it’s gotten a lot better every year since launch. After playing it extensively on PS4 and PC, the PC version on Steam is much better, and I’m surprised how well it plays on Steam Deck. It even loads faster than when I play it on PS5 thanks to backwards compatibility. Street Fighter V Champion Edition has a ton of out-of-the-box content and the game itself is in a pretty good position now when it comes to its content and online play. I know online play varies for a lot of people due to the implementation in Street Fighter V Champion Edition, but I’ve had good experiences so far, even against people who live far away. This game will likely never see a Switch port, making the Steam Deck a nice portable way to experience Street Fighter V.

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax ($29.99)

Originally released on PS3 and Xbox 360 years ago, Sega and Arc System Works have brought an enhanced version of Persona 4 Arena Ultimate on PS4, Switch, and Steam this year, including a balance update that has never been released outside of Japan before. The game runs and feels great on Steam Deck as long as you play offline. I haven’t had a good experience with this online, even when playing wired at the moment. It will probably get better as the developer fixes it with a rollback netcode this year. Until then, it’s a great must-have fighter if you like Persona characters and good music.

Granblue Fantasy Versus ($19.99)

Until Guilty Gear Strive is released, Granblue Fantasy Versus was Arc System Works’ best fighting game. Even as someone who wasn’t into Granblue Fantasy when I played Granblue Fantasy Versus, the game impressed me with its awesome story mode and battles. He’s only disappointed that the online experience isn’t as good as modern throwback fighters. It’s not as bad as playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online, but it’s not an ideal experience. If you’ve never heard of Granblue Fantasy but think Granblue Fantasy Versus sounds cool, I recommend you get it. The music, visuals, and brilliant character designs come together really well here.

Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate ($59.99)

Mortal Kombat 11 has been one of the best fighting games in years, and one of the few to excel in both online play and single-player content. While the Switch port is good for hardware, it shines on Steam Deck both offline and online. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate is the best the series has watched and played online, and I’ve enjoyed it enough to play it on literally every platform, including history a few times. Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate on Steam Deck isn’t officially supported, but it’s pretty easy to get it working via Proton GE where online gambling is hassle-free.

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle Special Edition ($49.99)

BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is one of the most fun fighters if you like the different franchises that have crossed paths. This includes BlazBlue, Persona 4 Arena, Under Night, RWBY, Senran Kagura and many more rolled into one awesome fighting game. BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle is available on PS4, Switch, and PC, but only the PC and PS4 versions of the game have been updated to support restore netcode support for online play. The game is very lightweight and works on pretty much anything, so I wasn’t surprised to see it run so well on Steam Deck. It also looks excellent in handheld mode and has a robust story mode for those who enjoy single player content in fighters. If you want a more traditional BlazBlue experience, you can also try BlazBlue Central Fiction which is better on PC.

Skullgirls 2nd Encore ($24.99)

Browsing through my Steam library a few weeks ago to download various fighters, I completely forgot I owned Skullgirls 2nd Encore for a few years. The official Steam Deck compatibility status is unknown, but I played the fast-paced 2D fighter without any issues today on the latest version of SteamOS. The line worked really well against a friend halfway around the world, and it worked and looked great. With the Vita version no longer supported and the Switch version not having all the content right now, Skullgirls 2nd Encore looks amazing on the Steam Deck. I can’t wait for more DLC to come out this year. He’s a super polished fighter right now who’s a joy to play on the Steam Deck.

The Herds Fight ($14.99)

They fight against the herds is a 2D fighter with smooth gameplay and great visuals, but is held back by its small roster. I’ve owned it on Steam for a while now, and never got around to it until I checked it out on Steam Deck when the team announced console releases and new content. Them’s Fightin’ Herds is officially verified on Steam Deck by Valve and works perfectly online and offline. The multiplayer worked smoothly, it has a great tutorial and has a lot of potential with the console and crossplay versions coming this year.

Bonus games

Classic SNK fighters

The King of Fighters 98 Ultimate Match Final Edition and king of fighters 2002 unlimited match on PC are fantastic versions of classic games. The PC versions are the best way to play these games, and the new online updates they’ve received over the years make them essential for fighting game fans. If you already own and play The King of Fighters XIV on Steam, it’s worth grabbing these as they play great online and are great fighting games. Garou: Mark of the Wolves is weird because it worked fine for me initially, but has refused to start since unless I’m using an older version of Proton on Steam Deck thanks to compatibility. What is strange is that it works without problems for one of my friends, but another one has the same problems as me.

Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition / MK9 (NA)

Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition Unfortunately, it’s no longer available for purchase, but it’s verified by Valve for Steam Deck and looks great for handheld play, after a few tweaks. I don’t know how Valve verified this, as it doesn’t work immediately and requires using Proton 6.3-8 to work in my tests. Once you put it to work, it works and looks like a dream. I loved playing this on Xbox 360 back in the day, and it’s great to have a fully functional version without discounts on a handheld. If you’ve owned it since it was available for purchase, it’s an awesome Mortal Kombat game well worth playing on the Steam Deck. I’m glad I bought it when I could, and it makes me regret not buying the Transformers Devastation action game before it was delisted.

As with my JRPG list, I had a few more games that I wanted to feature, but either didn’t work properly or gave me a lot of trouble. I’ve also limited some of them to a single specific entry in a franchise if said entry works best on Steam Deck. Hope this helps you find a great fighting game on Steam for your Steam Deck. I will still play the few that I haven’t been able to test on Steam Deck yet like The King of Fighters XV in the future. You can always buy some on Steam and refund them if you’re not a fan of the games or how they work with Steam’s refund policy. What do you think? Do you have any fighting games you would like to add to this list? Feel free to comment below with your favorite fighters on Steam that you’ve played on Steam Deck or whatever else you have in mind when you get your Deck.

[Featured image source: Polygon]