The Best-Reviewed Steam Games Of 2018

More so than perhaps even playing them, Steam is a place where people go to yell about games. Here are the games they yelled most positively about last year.

Steam reviews are kind of a mess. The positive/negative binary squelches nuance and doesn’t translate well into an overall percentage score, and the system is easily exploited by review bombers. Still, they’re the best available metric to determine how more than 100 million people feel about a vast selection of games.

In 2018, those users—or at least, the ones who leave reviews—really liked simulation games, inventive indies, roguelikes, and anime sex games. Per Steam 250, a site that ranks Steam games based on user reviews, the top ten games were:

1. RimWorld

2. Mirror

3. Beat Saber

4. Celeste

5. Subnautica

6. Dead Cells

7. Return of the Obra Dinn

8. Dusk

9. Gris

10. Nekopara Extra

Most of these games are pretty well-known if you follow the indie game scene. The only one I had to look up was Mirror. It describes itself as “a game that combines match-3, GALGAME elements, and beauties.” Accompanying screenshots show that it is not exactly subtle about these elements.

Now, it’s worth noting that Steam 250 ranks games via an algorithm that factors in both the percentage of positive reviews and the overall number of reviews. That’s why while Subnautica (94 per cent) has a lower percentage of positive reviews than Dead Cells (95 per cent), it has a lot more reviews in total, so it ends up ranking higher.

For comparison’s sake, I also looked at the top eight games (the list cut off after that) from 2018 on the third-party Steam data site SteamDB, which uses a similar algorithm—albeit one that weights things a little differently.

1. RimWorld

2. Mirror

3. Beat Saber

4. Celeste

5. Return of the Obra Dinn

6. Dusk

7. Gris

8. Dead Cells

Steam itself opts for a much simpler approach, dividing positive reviews by total number of reviews to determine an overall review score. Valve is much more rudimentary in determining its rankings, and while it’s not a free-for-all (games with less than 500 reviews don’t show up before any games with more than that), it’s close.

That method, naturally, produced a pretty different result than Steam 250 and SteamDB:

1. RimWorld

2. Beat Saber

3. Celeste

4. Dusk

5. Return of the Obra Dinn

6. Touhou Luna Nights

7. Lethal League Blaze

8. Cube Escape: Paradox

9. Steins;Gate 0

10. The Room Three

So there you go: now you know the best-reviewed Steam games of 2018. Or maybe you don’t? There’s a lot going on here, and also, like, is it really possible to know anything, man?


    I'm glad rim world is doing so well. Such an amazing game that the developer put so much time and effort into.

    I read metacritic more than I read steam reviews but one thing always happens: people leaving 0/10 reviews for media which is universally liked or acclaimed. It’s incredibly immature behaviour, lacking in any objective understanding. Trolling aside, what is the point of being a total moron? Hide behind some anonymity and behave like a fuckwit seems to be what the internet is built on for some people.
    User review systems are kind of pointless when they are corrupted by this crap, and most sensible people don’t need reviews to reinforce what they already know about their preferred gaming experiences. The way it is, it’s just more noise for the sake of noise.
    Just as an example, god of war: yeah it looks like a really well put together game which looks beautiful - but it’s not for me, I prefer different games. Doesn’t mean I’m going to project some transparent and pathetically juvenile agenda and take the time to go on a review aggregator site and tell everyone it’s “trash” or “cancer” like these sad little fuckwits. I’m gonna go play another game because I know what I’m gonna like and dislike through experience. And I have better things to do.

      At the end of the day, metacritic's glaring flaw is allowing people to leave a point score instead of yea or nay.

      Because ultimately, when it comes to thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of reviews, positive or negative in the aggregate is all that matters to the total - not some well-considered evaluation that individually came into a shade of grey.

      Knowing that is what drives people to rate at the extremes. It's not idiocy on the part of the user reviewers - it's attempting to amplify their voice to the greatest extent they can. It's idiocy on the part of metacritic to not account for that the way Steam does.

        I understand your point and agree with you to a certain extent but I think having a binary choice is also problematic. Nothing is either just good or bad. It may simplify things a little too much.
        But given what gamers are like sometimes this may be the sensible option where there is no fool proof answer to the problem of review bombs.
        It is truly stupid behaviour and I think the users have to take some personal responsibility for their actions.

          I think this is why Steam's phrasing of the question is a not-entirely-horrible compromise. Not, "Is it good?" but, "Do you recommend it?"

          It allows for something to be good, but buggy, or tainted by horrible dev politics, or unpolished but still enjoyable, or technically fantastic but underpopulated, etc, etc, etc.

      why does it matter to you?

      In what way does a 0 review affect your enjoyment of the game?

      You are getting worked up over nothing. Make these reviews irrelevant by not caring about them.

    Great seeing so many Indies getting recognition here. Also if you haven't tried it but get a chance, play Beat Saber. For such a simple concept that game is amazing.

    Dont you go pushing that postmodernist crap at me article author

    I can too know things! To as great a degree of certianty as is possible!
    Things like I exist, and that other people exist, and that eevee is the best pokemon by all objective metrics of both fluffiness and overall cuteness

    Things you can just know

    I'm astounded Eternal Dread didn't make the lists... ;)

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