These are the 7 games you need to play on gaming handhelds this May: Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Legion Go, and more

 ROG Ally playing Journey. .
ROG Ally playing Journey. .

Quick list

- What we're playing this month
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Previous months' games

Each of us on the Windows Central gaming team loves playing our various gaming handhelds. Some of us are Steam Deck fans. Others of us prefer our ROG Ally. Meanwhile, a few of us even have a Legion Go, a Logitech G Cloud, or even a Razer Edge.

Regardless of which gaming handheld we own, we all agree that the ease of playing anywhere — whether on-the-go or in the comfort of our beds — makes these devices incredibly convenient. We love sharing what we're playing with each other, so we've decided to loop you all in on our latest handheld gaming obsessions as well. Here are the seven games you don't want to miss out on playing this month along with any gaming handheld setting changes you should be aware of.

What we're playing on gaming handhelds this month

Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition (ASUS ROG Ally — Z1 Extreme)

Spiritfarer Farewell Edition
Spiritfarer Farewell Edition

Last month, I was attempting to play Hollow Knight on my ASUS ROG Ally in preparation for Hollow Knight: Silksong... Which may or may not exist (who knows at this point). Unfortunately, I simply couldn't get into the game, and decided to drop it. I moved on to the next game on my list, and within minutes I unequivocally fell in love. The game in question is Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition, the definitive version of an award-winning, much beloved cozy management sim. You take over the roles of the underworld ferryperson from Charon of Greek legend, and are tasked with finding lost spirits and helping them fulfil their final requests on the way to the other side.

It's an absolutely gorgeous game in both your eyes and ears, and its approachable and well-balanced management gameplay gives you full reign over a giant ship, which over time turns into a veritable city of diverse spirits, houses, farms, and other buildings. You play as Stella, and your friend can also hook up a controller to play as Stella's ever-faithful companion, Daffodil. You'll meet a wide variety of spirits, some of which Stella may have known in the living world, and ferry them across an ocean swarming with secrets, treasures, and hidden dangers. It's an absurdly relaxing game that feels right at home on the ASUS ROG Ally, as I mostly tend to use this powerful handheld either in bed before going to sleep or on the couch while my partner plays games of their own.

Recommended Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition settings for ROG Ally:

I don't need to provide any unique recommendations or tips for playing Spiritfarer Farewell Edition on your ASUS ROG Ally (or similar handheld), because it runs great from the moment you launch it. This is a game that plays wonderfully on the Nintendo Switch, so that's hardly a surprise. The game looks incredible and plays smoothly, and I've absolutely no complaints in regards to my overall experience. I'm very much looking forward to sinking dozens of hours into Spiritfarer, including exploring the three DLC updates the Farewell Edition includes. If you're interested in checking out Spiritfarer Farewell Edition for yourself, it's available across Xbox, Windows PC, PlayStation, and Switch. It's also a part of Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Xbox Cloud Gaming!

I'm using PC Game Pass to play the game myself, but I'm already having so much fun that there's a very good chance I'll be buying this game the next time it goes on sale. If you love to play on both Xbox and Windows PC, Spiritfarer is an Xbox Play Anywhere title — that means you buy it once for shared cloud saves and achievements across both platforms. If you're looking for a relaxing, long adventure in a beautiful world, Spiritfarer is the game for you.

Zachary Boddy

Spiritfarer: Farewell Edition (PC)

This indie management sim has you playing as a ferrymaster named Stella who helps the deceased as they cross over. You'll spend time fishing, farming, exploring, cooking, and more. It's a beautifully cozy game.

Buy at: GMG (Steam code) | CDKeys (Steam code)

Fallout 4 (Steam Deck LCD)

Fallout 4 running on Steam Deck LCD
Fallout 4 running on Steam Deck LCD

Get a load of this guy jumping on the bandwagon — name three Fallout songs! I know it's not a flex to share that I'm playing Fallout, especially not to have chosen Fallout 4. We could talk about the superiority of yellow-hued New Vegas or the almost limitless adventure potential of pixel-crunched Fallout 2, but I just wanted to replay the game I've had the least time with. I picked up Fallout 4 at launch and beat it once, taking my time with side quests and seeing as much as possible, though I never played the DLC expansion packs.

To be fair, I'd already started playing Fallout 4 on my LCD Steam Deck before the recent patch landed to, let's call it, "mixed" reactions, and it was almost perfect. Almost in that one glaring flaw was forcing me to pass on a heavily ingrained gameplay feature, though you could argue it was just forcing me to play with an extra layer of realism. That is, before the next-gen patch, I couldn't move the map's cursor within the Pip-Boy, meaning no fast travel for me. The patch did fix this, but I find myself walking more and 'Starfielding' through loading screens far less.

Fallout 4 running on Steam Deck LCD
Fallout 4 running on Steam Deck LCD

The gameplay experience is great when played with the best Fallout 4 settings for Steam Deck, though I'm seeing more evidence that OLED Decks might suffer unusual bugs related to the 90Hz refresh rate. It's mostly physics bugs, but other problems might arise before Bethesda releases a follow-up patch. For now, the game plays great on my LCD Deck, and it'll be coming with me on a 17-hour flight halfway across the planet, where I can finally dig into Far Harbor, Nuka World, and the rest of the DLC.

Recommended Fallout 4 settings for Steam Deck LCD:

Since the next-gen patch dropped, custom settings are automatically applied via Bethesda's recommendations. Previously, I'd launched the game at 960x600 and used FSR sharpening to upscale the image, but I'm not seeing any issues with the stock Steam Deck profile that the game launches with now.

 Ben Wilson

Fallout 76 (Logitech G Cloud)

Logitech G Cloud
Logitech G Cloud

As someone who put over 200 hours into Fallout 76 at launch and didn't have many people actually to talk to about it, it's been really strange, in a wonderful way, seeing so many people giving it a chance again. Thanks, of course, to the successful Fallout TV show. All Fallout games have had a resurgence in players thanks to the Amazon adaptation, but of all of them, Fallout 76 was the one that was kind of embarrassing to admit you enjoyed back in 2018. The criticism of the game wasn't unfounded, of course; it was buggy as hell even for a Bethesda game; server crashes every half hour weren't unusual, and frankly, if you didn't enjoy the multiplayer element, there wasn't a heck of a lot to do.

Things have changed since, though, with multiple drops of free content, bug fixes, and updates; it's a different game now. I thought I'd fire it up and jump in easily with my experience, but I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or why I had what felt like 76 outstanding quests. Fallout 76 is actually a difficult game to jump back into after a break because it's so different now.

I had no choice but to learn the ways of the Wasteland again. I'd have to nuke my character and start afresh. So I am here. I am emerging from Vault 76 as a newcomer to a world full of new quests and NPCs to talk to. Thanks to it being on Xbox Game Pass, I can play on my Logitech G Cloud, a handheld that doesn't get as much attention as others in the category due to its cloud-only capabilities. While I've installed Xbox Cloud Gaming on my Steam Deck, I'll actually choose the Logitech G Cloud over it for games like Fallout 76 simply because it's the most comfortable of all the handhelds I've tried. It is lightweight, and I don't have to worry about charging it very often with its obscene battery life.

Falout 76
Falout 76

It's been an atomic blast from the past playing Fallout 76 again. You can't beat the feeling of wandering around Appalachia collecting junk and shooting Ghouls to that classic mid-century jazz soundtrack. I know many prefer the solo adventures of titles like Fallout 4. Still, you can play the story elements completely solo in Fallout 76, and in my personal experience, other players I've met in the wasteland have been friendly, dropping useful materials or wanting to group up for XP boosts. It's just a good time, and if you haven't tried it yet, you can still grab a free code through Amazon Prime Gaming or, like me, play via Xbox Game Pass.

Recommended Fallout 76 settings for Logitech G Cloud:

The best thing about playing on the Logitech G Cloud is that I don't need to give you recommended settings for best performance; in the words of Todd Howard, "It just works."

Jennifer Young

Fallout 76 ( PC)

Fallout 76 is in much better shape in 2024 following bug fixes and a slew of free updates adding NPCs, new quests, weapons and more. Emerge from Vault 76 into Appalachia and follow the trail of your Overseer solo or with friends in a post-apocalyptic world.

Free XBOX console and PC codes with Amazon Prime Gaming 

Buy at:
$39.99 $8.59 at Fanatical (Steam)View Deal

My Friend Peppa Pig (Logitech G Cloud)

Logitech G Cloud
Logitech G Cloud

Speaking of the Logitech G Cloud, I don't get on it as much as I'd like to because it's extremely popular with smaller family members. Namely my youngest son, George. We've recently been testing an alternative to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for cloud gaming on the device, a service called Utomik, which costs a reasonable $8.99 a month for quite a large library of games (there's a $4.99 tier but this doesn't include cloud). There's plenty on there to keep my son entertained, and he's been enjoying My Friend Peppa Pig, which, of course, is also on Xbox Game Pass, but I like that there's a cheaper alternative out there that may appeal to those who just want a basic cloud gaming subscription for kids that works on multiple platforms.

The Utomik service works on smart TVs, smartphones, and Android devices like the Logitech G Cloud. There's a constantly expanding collection of over 1,400 games on PC and 300 currently available on the cloud. We've been enjoying the Peppa Pig game, some Paw Patrol games, and even Ice Age: Scrat's Nutty Adventure. Peppa is the firm favorite right now, though; with controls simple enough for a 3-year-old to understand, George can wander around different areas, clicking on objects and laughing when his favorite characters react. If you've got young children and don't want to stump up the money for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, this is a really viable option that I'm happy to recommend, and there's plenty of games for adults too

— Jennifer Young

Utomik PC and Cloud Gaming

Utomik is a cloud gaming service that offers a Personal + Cloud tier for $8.99 per month, allowing users to play their favorite games across various devices, including PC, TV, and mobile. There’s no need for downloading or installing games, as you can instantly start streaming and playing from the cloud. 

Buy at: UtomikView Deal

Balatro (Steam Deck LCD)

Balatro on Steam Deck screenshot
Balatro on Steam Deck screenshot

My colleague, Jennifer Young, is entirely responsible for my descent into hardcore Balatro addiction. I've only owned the game for about a week and a half as I write this, and I'm already 25 hours in. And that 25 hours is almost all on the Steam Deck.

The game is such a tiny download with such miniscule hardware requirements that it will run on basically anything, but it's absolutely perfect for the Steam Deck. I was a little shocked that I can play the game entirely with the Deck resting in my lap and just using the touchscreen. There's absolutely no need to touch the buttons, sticks or touchpads at all. It makes sense, though, with a mobile version of the game already confirmed to be in the works.

Balatro on Steam Deck screenshot
Balatro on Steam Deck screenshot

I still can't tell you why this game is so addictive, but it really is. The core is based around generating the best Poker hand you can, but augmented in true roguelike style by multipliers, special 'abilities' and building the strongest deck of cards imaginable. "Just one more run" is never just one more run. If I play this game on my Steam Deck before I go to bed, the next thing I know it's 1am. Utterly superb, and easily the most fun I've had with a game released this year.

Recommended Balatro settings for Steam Deck LCD:

Just launch the game and play it. It's so lightweight you don't have to change a thing, but I do recommend increasing gameplay speed to at least 2x. It makes a huge difference to how long each run takes, and it doesn't make it any harder to see what's going on.

 Richard Devine

Balatro | was $17.89 now $9.39 at CD Keys  

Bolatro is a poker-inspired rogue-lite deck builder. It challenges players to create powerful synergies and win big by playing illegal poker hands with unique Joker cards and arcanas. It's currently reviewed overwhelmingly positive on Steam for its addictive gameplay and psychedelic visuals. View Deal

Journey (ASUS ROG Ally — Z1 Extreme)

Journey desert scene.
Journey desert scene.

The indie adventure game, Journey, is one of those titles that has been on my backlog for several years. Thanks to my habit of playing games in bed on my ROG Ally before falling asleep, I've been able to catch up on that backlog and thus have finally been able to play Annapurna Interactive's gorgeous title.

Journey focuses on an unnamed character in a red robe who explores ancient ruins filled with odd interactive ribbons. Powerful symbols encountered make it possible to jump high or even fly at times while solving puzzles and avoiding enemies. You can play it on your own or with a friend in co-op.

Much like Giant Squid's Abzu and The Pathless, Journey is more of an interactive artistic experience than it is a traditional game. The music fills me with emotion as I explore vibrant scenes that are designed to make me feel contemplative and wondrous. It's the kind of game that you can casually play while watching a show, but paying more attention will delight your senses more.

While there are enemies and puzzles, these challenges are very easy to complete. So really, they're there to add depth to the game without making it tedious in any way. In my opinion, Journey is the perfect game to unwind with when you need a mental break after a stressful day.

Recommended Journey settings for ROG Ally Z1 Extreme:

Honestly, Journey is such a simple and laidback game that I didn't feel the need to adjust any of its settings for ASUS' handheld. However, as a general rule, I always think you should increase ROG Ally VRAM to 6G if you haven't done that already.

Rebecca Spear

Journey (PC)

Travel through mysterious ruins and solve simple puzzles in this artistic adventure game. Watch out for enemies as your eyes feast on the beautiful imagery backed by powerful music.
Buy at: $5.29 at CDKeys (Steam code) | $5.60 at GMG (Steam code) View Deal

Anomaly Agent (Steam Deck OLED)

Anomaly Agent is a remarkable indie game that offers a refreshing blend of chill vibes, humor, and uniqueness. It is a perfect fit for gaming on the go with devices like the Steam Deck, ROG Ally, and Lenovo Legion Go. Its neon-soaked, pixelated world immerses players in a retro-futuristic setting, where they take on the role of Agent 70, battling against time-distorting anomalies.

The game's punchy combat and quirky characters provide a delightful mix of action and comedy, ensuring that each session is as entertaining as it is relaxing. With its synth-wave soundtrack dynamically adapting to gameplay, Anomaly Agent creates an aural landscape that enhances the overall experience, making it easy to lose yourself in its rhythm. Whether you're looking for a game to unwind with or a unique adventure that tickles your funny bone, Anomaly Agent delivers on all fronts, making it a cherished addition to any gamer's library.

Daniel Rubino

Anomaly Agent (PC)

This cyberpunk action-platformer has you take on the role of Agent 70 as you try to stop the anomalies threatening the world. Think quickly and take out enemies in order to continue forward.

Buy at: CDKeys (Steam code) for $23.19

Previous gaming handheld game recommendations

Gaming handhelds: Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Nintendo Switch OLED, and more
Gaming handhelds: Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Nintendo Switch OLED, and more

Here are the previous games we've played on our gaming handhelds along with where you can buy them. They're all fantastic titles that play very well on Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Legion Go, and more.

You can also check out our list of the best ROG Ally games and their optimization settings if you're interested.

Portable PC gaming stays winning

More gaming handhelds

Gaming handhelds: Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Nintendo Switch OLED, and more
Gaming handhelds: Steam Deck, ROG Ally, Nintendo Switch OLED, and more

- Best gaming handhelds 2024
-
I was wrong about the ROG Ally
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Lenovo Legion Go Review
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Best power banks for ROG Ally
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Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD

There are plenty of options if you're looking for the best gaming handhelds, with rivals first popping up to take on the Steam Deck, triggering a category all of its own. An entry-level Steam Deck LCD costs $349 and still plays a wide variety of games without much stress, only needing some community tweaks to handle the higher-end modern titles, so it's not entirely expensive, either.

Some of us like the raw performance boost of an ASUS ROG Ally or Lenovo Legion Go, with the MSI Claw yet to become a mainstay in our team, but the benefits of portable PC gaming are clear no matter which device you choose. Come back in May to see which new games are destroying our social lives and free time, as this monthly series keeps rolling.