Press "Enter" to skip to content

Five Super Cool Open Source Games

In 2014 and 2015, Linux became home to a list of popular commercial titles such as the popular Borderlands, Witcher, Dead Island, and Counter Strike series of games. While this is exciting news, what of the gamer on a budget? Commercial titles are good, but even better are free-to-play alternatives made by developers who know what players like.

Some time ago, I came across a three year old YouTube video with the ever optimistic title 5 Open Source Games that Don’t Suck. Although the video praises some open source games, I’d prefer to approach the subject with a bit more enthusiasm, at least as far as the title goes. So, here’s my list of five super cool open source games.

Tux Racer

Tux Racer
Tux Racer

Tux Racer is the first game on this list because I’ve had plenty of experience with it. On a recent trip to Mexico that my brother and I took with Kids on Computers, Tux Racer was one of the games that kids and teachers alike enjoyed. In this game, players use the Linux mascot, the penguin Tux, to race on downhill ski slopes in time trials in which players challenge their own personal bests. Currently there’s no multiplayer version available, but that could be subject to change. Available for Linux, OS X, Windows, and Android.



The Warsow website explains: “Set in a futuristic cartoonish world, Warsow is a completely free fast-paced first-person shooter (FPS) for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Warsow is the Art of Respect and Sportsmanship Over the Web.” I was reluctant to include games from the FPS genre on this list, because many have played games in this genre, but I was amused by Warsow. It prioritizes lots of movement and the game is fast paced with a set of eight weapons to start with. The cartoonish style makes playing feel less serious and more casual, something for friends and family to play together. However, it boasts competitive play, and when I experienced the game I found there were, indeed, some expert players around. Available for Linux, Windows and OS X.

M.A.R.S – A ridiculous shooter

M.A.R.S. - A ridiculous shooter
M.A.R.S. – A ridiculous shooter

M.A.R.S – A ridiculous shooter is appealing because of it’s vibrant coloring and style. There is support for two players on the same keyboard, but an online multiplayer version is currently in the works — meaning plans to play with friends have to wait for now. Regardless, it’s an entertaining space shooter with a few different ships and weapons to play as. There are different shaped ships, ranging from shotguns, lasers, scattered shots and more (one of the random ships shot bubbles at my opponents, which was funny amid the chaotic gameplay). There are a few modes of play, such as the standard death match against opponents to score a certain limit or score high, along with other modes called Spaceball, Grave-itation Pit and Cannon Keep. Available for Linux, Windows and OS X.

Valyria Tear

Valyria Tear
Valyria Tear

Valyria Tear resembles many fan favorite role-playing games (RPGs) spanning the years. The story is set in the usual era of fantasy games, full of knights, kingdoms and wizardry, and follows the main character Bronann. The design team did great work in designing the world and gives players everything expected from the genre: hidden chests, random monster encounters, non-player character (NPC) interaction, and something no RPG would be complete without: grinding for experience on lower level slime monsters until you’re ready for the big bosses. When I gave it a try, time didn’t permit me to play too far into the campaign, but for those interested there is a ‘Let’s Play‘ series by YouTube user Yohann Ferriera. Available for Linux, Windows and OS X.



Last but not least is SuperTuxKart, a clone of Mario Kart that is every bit as fun as the original. It started development around 2000-2004 as Tux Kart, but there were errors in its production which led to a cease in development for a few years. Since development picked up again in 2006, it’s been improving, with version 0.9 debuting four months ago. In the game, our old friend Tux starts in the role of Mario and a few other open source mascots. One recognizable face among them is Suzanne, the monkey mascot for Blender. The graphics are solid and gameplay is fluent. While online play is in the planning stages, split screen multiplayer action is available, with up to four players supported on a single computer. Available for Linux, Windows, OS X, AmigaOS 4, AROS and MorphOS.

Help keep FOSS Force strong. If you like this article, become a subscriber.


  1. DuskoKoscica DuskoKoscica August 24, 2015

    Now I wonder!
    Is there, or if there is no such a thing, why do they don’t make one app that would enable android games to be instaled on Linux PC, that way you would be able to tap into to world of good quality games very quickly.

  2. Eddie G. Eddie G. August 24, 2015

    I don’t know about Android games, but I’m hoping that at some point in the (near?) future that the SteamBox becomes as prevalent as the PS4 and the XBox systems. I’m longing for a “console” for Linux that will allow me to play all manner of games (which I’m willing to pay for, so its not like I’m looking for free entertainment!!)I happen to love sci-fi/role-playing games a la’ “Mass Effect” and I’m a definite sucker for RPG’s that are based on dragons, wizards, spells, enchanted scrolls etc. Throw in a surprise game with military tactical game play, and a “serious” racing game like “Need For Speed” or “Gran Tourismo” and that would pretty much encompass my entire gaming life! Oh well, here’s to hoping huh?

  3. Mike Mike August 24, 2015

    There are some other really good open source games out there. For retro space sim fans Oolite is a great clone of Elite with tons of optional improvements. For turn-based strategy gamers, FreeOrion is very cool.

    Personally I don’t care to see Android or Steam games on Linux. I have no need for closed source or DRM crippled games.

  4. Mindaugas Mindaugas August 24, 2015

    About Warsow license. Game code is under GPL license, this means you can get all source code, study it and reuse it as soon as you keep it open and give back to game developers your changes. Yes, it is open source, but all artwork, musics, dialogues, stories, names, 3d models, etc… are under a proprietary license. This means you cannot reuse those in any way. If you plan to create another game based on our source code, remember you will have to redo all art,music,models,stories,etc…So, this game not full free…

  5. Mike Mike August 24, 2015


    Thanks for the heads up. I will avoid Warsow.

    That’s the difference between an open source game, and an open source game engine.

  6. Ivan Ivan August 25, 2015

    Some German guy, who’s job it is to complain about these sorts of things, says that Super Tux Kart is sexist and advocates pedophilia and Japanese hentai*. You should consider whether or not you want that on your conscience.


  7. Mike Mike August 25, 2015


    I wish I hadn’t read that thread; it is the stupidest thing I’ve read all year.

  8. Mindaugas Mindaugas August 25, 2015

    You are welcome, Mike 🙂

  9. Mindaugas Mindaugas August 25, 2015

    Mike. About Super Tux Kart.This German guy is right. Pedophilic or not, a sexualized adolescent depicted following the standards of Hentai porn characters in a kids’ game is too much to be ignored…

  10. Mike Mike August 25, 2015


    I’ve seen the game and the images being complained about – it’s baseless nonsense. The characterization of the artwork is beyond ridiculous.

  11. pete pete August 25, 2015

    The two images displayed (beach scene and mayan temple in the thread noted above) ARE NOT in any person’s mind “a sexualized adolescent” unless of course the person claiming this has taken the time to ponder Hentai images and then projected perverted images (in their own mind) to what is displayed. I suspect this “German guy” may be in that camp, otherwise, why is it even being suggested and/or discussed? That being said, perhaps there is something depicted but not posted, that is in this category and those discussing the topic are paranoid and afraid to display the image(s). If so, they need to grow up!

  12. Mike Mike August 25, 2015


    There is nothing more. The images, as you said, are not sexualized, not hentai, not porn, and only arguably adolescent. They’re just a couple of anime style girls in swimsuits.

    I think the person who posted that has no idea what hentai is (or probably porn for that matter), and is either:

    a) A troll
    b) An idiot
    c) Both

    Either way, they’re looking to censor things they don’t like, rather than avoiding said thing.

    Censorship is oppression.

  13. Ivan Ivan August 26, 2015


    Suso Baleato is not a) a troll, b) not an idiot, and c) certainly not both*. It really is his job to complain about these things and apparently he is good at what he does as you had to create a strawman to dismiss his argument.


  14. Stux Stux August 26, 2015

    I have no idea where you got that “Tux Racer” screenshot from, but it is certainly not Tux Racer ( Tux Racer is a very old game for which development stopped at around 2001 (I guess) and its latest version 0.61 only has a single.

    As far I know, I never have seen tree stumps or 3D-modeled trees or basically any model more complex than Tux itself in Tux Racer.

    There is a active (and advanced) fork of Tux Racer, called “Extreme Tux Racer” (, but this game too does not look like in the screenshot, I also never have seen tree stumps or any “advanced” modelling in it. The graphics just don’t fit.

    But the game is still fun to play,

  15. Mike Mike August 26, 2015


    You’ve got it backwwards. There is no strawman. I didn’t dismiss his argmuent by calling him an idiot. I called him an idiot BECAUSE his argument is so pathetic.

    Anyone can look at those images and see that his argmuent is COMPLETELY BASELESS AND WITHOUT MERIT. Apparently to that idiot, depicting anyone wearing a swimsuit, especially in anime style, is the equivalent of pedophilic hentai porn. It’s so ridiculously over-the-top assinine that he MUST be an idiot.

    I’d invite ANYONE to look at those images and judge for themselves.

    I can’t even begin to express the disdain I have for someone who attacks a project because of their personal distaste for its art. When that fails they turn to a downstream distro in an attempt to block it from inclusion. The guy isn’t just an idiot, he’s a dangerous one.

  16. Mike Mike August 26, 2015


    It’s not Tux Racer.

    There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just scaremongering by people who want to censor anything they don’t agree with.

  17. Stux Stux August 27, 2015

    Mike, I was referring to the first screenshot of the post (labelled “Tux Racer” and not the fifth one (labelled “SuperTuxKart”) and compared it with the actual Tux Racer.
    My post will ONLY make sense if you read EVERYTHING again.

    Now if you really want to know about STK:
    I said nothing about the “sexism” in STK. But now I do: I played STK and finished Story Mode and stuff several times. There is no sexism, the screenshots are not convincing, a girl in a swimsuit at a beach is no sign of sexism. It’s obvious, why is there a discussion?

  18. Mike Mike August 27, 2015


    Sorry I see now you were referring to the screenshot in the article, not the one linked in the comments with regard to STK. I assumed you were responding to the most recent comments.

    With regard to sexism in STK: I agree. The only discussion is because Ivan linked to some crazy German guy’s effort on the Debian mailing list to get STK pulled or patched.

  19. CFWhitman CFWhitman August 27, 2015

    I looked at the images involved, and the objections to SuperTuxKart seem ridiculous to me. You could claim it is sexist, I suppose, because there are girls in swimsuits and no guys (of course that could be solved by including guys in swimsuits, which I don’t think would be good enough for this guy).

    The images are anime style, so there is no real way to determine that they are supposed to be adolescents rather than young women. They are on a beach, so swimsuits aren’t exactly out of place. I would barely have noticed them without some nut bringing it up.

  20. DuskoKoscica DuskoKoscica August 28, 2015

    Yeah does girls are in those things,
    to make it acceptable to all, they could make option that you check and they are all dressed up…
    You know, developers don’t think about those kind of things that might be issue to some people…

  21. Mike Mike August 28, 2015


    They could, but why should they? It is not offensive to most people, and obviously not to the developers.

    Instead of insisting everything be acceptable to everybody (an impossible task), people can simply fork or avoid the things they don’t like. That’s the way things should work.

    Trying to force a developer to change their work, or have it removed from distros IS CENSORSHIP AND IS BAD.

  22. Mike Mike August 28, 2015

    …in other words:

    For those who have a problem with a particular game or program, why are you installing and running it?

    You have a right to not be subjected to things you don’t like, but you do NOT have the right to try to take it away from anyone else. If it means that much to you, fork it or create your own distro.

    I’m reminded of the old joke where the patient tells the doctor “It hurts when I do this.” and the doctor replies, “Stop doing that.”

    Stop doing that.

  23. DuskoKoscica DuskoKoscica August 31, 2015

    When it comes to this
    CENSORSHIP is not equal to acceptable.
    Yes, you could say that you should not instal something if you don’t like it, if you are grown person etc…
    There are so many other situations that are just different.
    By the way it is one check and then one thing that gets rendered in one way or another.
    There is more work, but how many people would like it just because you have done that thing…
    If you are girl, it would kind a be more appropriate to have boys around, not girls.
    Well, for this one I guess, not 100% sure.

  24. Mike Mike August 31, 2015


    I’m not saying it is a big or small change.

    If you do not like it, you can certainly ask the developer to change it. But if they refuse, it is their right as the creator.

    At this point you can choose to not use the software, or fork it.

    Instead of behaving like a responsible adult, this idiot tried to have the software banned from Debian. THAT IS CENSORSHIP.

  25. DuskoKoscica DuskoKoscica September 1, 2015

    Well, I don’t play video games, I just don’t have time for it.
    One you come to this kind of video games there is just to many issues to consider any way.
    People are people, what can you do!
    That is one of the reasons I would prefer to have space ship inside Sierpinski 3D carpet or some flake and than chase the some other things that are mean…
    instead of driving the car and … you know the rest.

  26. DuskoKoscica DuskoKoscica September 3, 2015

    How important is for a child or young person to play good video games.
    There is a case when one kid had saved life of his sister and it is all due to the fact that he had leaned that in video games.
    Well, if people don’t see it that way the video games are educational stuff also.
    Most kids get some information about world from video games, they experiment and it will affect them, that is for sure…
    It would be good basis for nice analyze I guess.

Comments are closed.

Breaking News: