Touch-screen gaming isn't just for phones.
There are an increasing number of games being made for touch-screen devices, thanks to the popularity of smartphone and tablet gaming. That means storefronts on Windows devices like Steam are full of touch-enabled games, many of which you may not have known are fully playable with just your finger.
We selected 13 new and old titles you can snag if you're looking for something to play on your tablet or laptop — everything from Hexcells Infinite to large-scale tactical games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
Galaxy of Pen and Paper combines video games and tabletop role playing in a clever and endearing way. You play as a group of tabletop gamers set before a Games Master as the events of your campaign are illustrated in the background. Since it was also released for mobile phones, Galaxy of Pen and Paper will play perfectly well on a tablet or touch-screen laptop, thanks to large user-interface elements and the lack of precise or finicky maneuvering. Gameplay remains true to tabletop experiences like Dungeons and Dragons, which means everything you do is turn-based and dependent on dice rolls — many, many dice rolls. Credit: Behold Studios
SteamWorld Heist is a departure from the studio's previous and popular game, SteamWorld Dig. That title was a simple resource-collecting game in which you dug deep and cashed in all your findings on the surface in a steampunk, Western-themed world. SteamWorld Heist exists in the same world, but this time it's a turn-based action game. Although you can aim your guns at enemies once it's your turn, controls remain mostly menu-based. This is a big plus when you're using a touch screen. Overall, his 2D, indie title should run well on lightweight hardware like a tablet and has native touch support carried over from the mobile version of the game. Credit:Image & Form
Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based role-playing game with a strong element of psychological horror. Native touch controls make the already touch-friendly title a good pick for your tablet or laptop, and the gameplay is also well-suited to quick play-sessions. You control a growing encampment of adventurers as they explore and plunder the depths of a mysterious dungeon beneath your inherited mansion. The big twist on gameplay is the horror effects your party can suffer, which may result in unpredictable behavior or refusal to respond to commands. Different people you hire can have different tolerances and phobias that can turn a simple encounter into a life-or-death situation. Credit: Red Hook Studios
Hitman GO is designed for mobile platforms, and, therefore, it's also designed for touch screens. This game boils down the primary sneaking mechanics found in the full-fledged Hitman games to rigid scenarios with movement and actions narrowly defined. It's akin to a puzzle game in many ways and adds a strangely charming figurine aesthetic to the game world. You guide a tiny, static model of Agent 47 along set tracks in the floor, after which all other occupants on the map get to move along the same tracks. Your goals are generally to avoid detection and to assassinate specific targets up close or at range, and then escape. You take out other characters by moving onto their space along the track, but they can do the same to you if you're not careful. Credit:Square Enix Montreal/Square Enix
Mini Metro works very comfortably on a touch screen — the Windows version saw a port to iOS devices a year after release — and it starts out as a very simple strategy and resource-management game. You must draw railway transit lines to connect matching stations. Over time, more stations appear that need to be connected and more passengers use the lines. You can draw two rail lines of differing colors and, from there, you can add more track to those lines or more carriages to the train that runs on them. Things really pick up when you gain access to more rail lines and you need to avoid crossing lines and keeping the riders below a maximum threshold. Credit:Dinosaur Polo Club/Playdigious
You Must Build A Boat is a funny and frantic base-management game with some match-3 gameplay that takes place during dungeon raids. The menus and match-3 tile selections are all very touch-friendly, and the game lends itself well to quick drop-in and drop-out play sessions. The simple match-3 combat and exploration system make it a good game to keep on the side or play before bed. The goal is, evidently, to build a boat. You acquire loot and companions while capturing monsters to help upgrade your existing boat until it is large enough to complete the game. Simplistic pixel graphics make sure that the title won't overtax tablets or low-end laptops. Credit:EightyEight Games LTD
Hexcells Infinite is a chill puzzle game that plays somewhat like Minesweeper. The visual design is very bright, clean and minimal but also animated in a lively fashion. Your task is to identify tiles that are part of a hidden pattern while removing excess tiles. As you click, some tiles show a number that tells you how many adjacent tiles should remain, and it's up to you to logic your way through increasingly challenging and randomized puzzles. With the primary actions being touch and touch-and-hold (replaced by left click and right click on a mouse), Hexcells is a good choice for unwinding at the end of the day or playing something innocuous in a public space. Credit: Mathew Brown
The Civilization series took a slight turn with Beyond Earth in 2014, placing players in a distant and technologically advanced time period. But it remains a sprawling, turn-based strategy game that's as much about fighting as it is about diplomacy. A year after release, the developer patched in native touch-screen support, bringing the game in line with prior Civ games, to help you become a literal armchair general. As with other Civ games, Beyond Earth is a "4X game" (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) that has you building up resource tiles, encountering potential foes and allies and managing a whole bunch of resources. Competitive and cooperative multiplayer is also a long-time staple of the series, so turn that Wi-Fi switch on. Credit:Firaxis Games/2K Games/Aspyr
Originally released on mobile platforms, The Room later saw a Windows release with full touch support. The Room — and its sequel, The Room Two — present the player with a series of puzzle boxes that need to be manipulated, turned, dialed, looked at and otherwise handled to unlock a compartment that hides another box. The puzzles become increasingly difficult, and there's little in the way of narrative, save for what's teased to the player on the periphery with short notes. Credit:Fireproof Games/Fireproof Studios
This War of Mine is a dreary civilian's perspective of a devastating domestic war. It was released on PC alongside mobile platforms and retains the touch-screen support seen in the Android and iOS versions. If you don't mind the bleak setting, then you're in for a tense time of managing bare-minimum resources among a gang of survivors holed up in a dilapidated house. Venturing out to gain food and medical supplies can lead to chance encounters with other survivors, and these meetings don't always go smoothly. In this resource-management game, your people are given tasks, such as building workstations or clearing debris, with simple taps to guide the individuals around. Encounters with other people and the use of weapons take place in real time, so be prepared for some quick responses. Also be prepared to face the stark realities of food shortages, poor sleeping accommodations and other problems that affect party-member morale. Fun! Credit: 11 bit studios
XCOM: Enemy Unknown and its 2013 expansion, Enemy Within, can be played with a native touch-input control scheme. Half of the game is spent building your base up to defend against alien invasions, picking squad members and choosing which weapons system to research next. The other half is spent in the field fighting the invaders in gridded, turn-based combat. A squad of specialist soldiers can be issued commands to move on and fire upon targets, and the game is devoid of any direct aiming or time-sensitive inputs. XCOM is among the beefier titles on this list, so older touch devices may not be able to run this title at workable frame rates. Newer, integrated graphics processors on Intel CPUs should be able to play on low or medium settings. Credit:Firaxis Games/2K Games/Feral Interactive
SpaceChem might bend your mind a bit if you're not immediately inclined to multitasking or seeing the bigger picture in a puzzle game. By touching nodes on guided tracks called "waldos" you need to re-create an arrangement of atoms shown on the right side of the screen. Everything takes place on a grid; here, you slide atoms around on the tracks until you get enough of them in the correct arrangement. It's the kind of thing that will come easier to some than it will to others. But if you have the mind for it, SpaceChem should prove to be mental workout you've been looking for. Credit:Zachtronics Industries
You can't beat an old-school point-and-click game if you're looking for a simple yet deep game to play on a touch screen. This game makes no use of keyboard inputs, so a finger or stylus is all you'll need. Like with many of these puzzle-adventure games, you'll need to look around your environment to trigger some device to tip a bucket that dumps water on a wheel that turns a gear and — well, you get the idea. Hunting around for the various triggers is best done on larger screens due to how packed with tiny details the game is. You'll need to devote some time, and maybe even a pen and paper for note taking, to this game. Credit:Amanita Design