Can You Play Aliens: Dark Descent on Steam Deck?

Can Aliens: Dark Descent be played on Steam Deck?

by Matthew Kevin Mitchell
Image: Valve and Focus Entertainment

Are you wondering if you can play Aliens: Dark Descent on Steam Deck? If you’re looking for an action RTS game with an overhead view perfect for handheld devices like the Steam Deck, Aliens: Dark Descent might just be what you need. The game boasts some pretty intensive graphics requirements and a surprising Valve rating, but don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about playing Aliens: Dark Descent on your Steam Deck.

Aliens: Dark Descent on Steam Deck, Explained

Image: Attack of the Fanboy

Yes, you can play Aliens: Dark Descent on Steam Deck. However, Valve testing indicates that Aliens: Dark Descent is Unsupported on Steam Deck which means: some or all of this game currently doesn’t function on Steam Deck. This game’s graphics settings cannot be configured to run well on Steam Deck. Regardless, don’t let this message scare you away; Dark Descent still works great in my experience. This means you must tweak a few settings to make it run smoothly.

Even with the Unsupported rating, I have played Aliens: Dark Descent for over 30 hours on my Steam Deck with minimal issues. My biggest issue is the game crashing when hitting a new cutscene, like when I left Dead Hills after completing all missions. Outside of that, there have been no real issues with playing the game on Steam Deck.

Related: Which Difficulty Should You Choose in Aliens: Dark Descent?

Best Steam Deck Settings for Aliens Dark Descent

Image: Attack of the Fanboy

To optimize your gaming experience, it is recommended that you set your Steam Deck’s Refresh Rate to 60 and Framerate Limit to 30. Although some FPS drops may occur during intense cutscenes, most will run without issue. Overall, gameplay FPS remains good with the recommended in-game Graphics Settings I have tested extensively.

After extensive playtime and testing the below settings are what I recommend using to get the most optimized performance of Aliens: Dark Descent on Steam Deck:

  • Display Mode: Fullscreen
  • AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution: Performance
    • This setting will help you pull out more performance at the loss of image quality. However, the performance gain far outweighs the image loss, which isn’t much anyways.
  • Anti-Aliasing: High
  • Texture: Low
  • Effects: Low
  • Post-Process: Low
  • Geometry: Low
  • Shadow: Low
  • Foliage: Low
  • Shading: Low

However, if you want to push your Steam Deck for all it’s worth to enjoy those beautiful yet terrifying cutscenes involving the Xenomorphs, you can up your Refresh Rate to 45 and Framerate Limit to 45. This is the highest I recommend because even if unlocked at a higher rate, the game still dips to 30 constantly. I’ve tested the in-game graphics settings that will still provide a playable experience with some performance issues, mainly lag, and stutters. These issues are especially noticeable if your battery drops below 20% (even on the charger), so watch your battery levels.

  • Display Mode: Fullscreen
  • AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution: Balance
    • This setting will make your game look a little prettier but at the expense of some minor performance. You may keep it at Performance if you notice too my stuttering issues.
  • Anti-Aliasing: High
  • Texture: Medium
  • Effects: Medium
  • Post-Process: Medium
  • Geometry: Medium
  • Shadow: Medium
  • Foliage: Medium
  • Shading: Medium

Additionally, the game will automatically recognize your input and use controller mode, similar to an Xbox controller, meaning no configuration is required. This is great because most Unsupported games require that you use a custom controller map with buttons and in-game functions that don’t work correctly. This is not the case with Aliens: Dark Descent, and you won’t run into any issues controlling your Marines.

- This article was updated on June 20th, 2023

About The Author

Matthew Kevin Mitchell has been a contributing writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion since 2022. Matthew primarily covers Manga like One Piece, horror movies like Scream, and survival horror games like Dead by Daylight. His favorite moment came during his first press event covering Scream 6 for AotF. He hails from Denver, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Regis University. When he isn’t scaring himself silly or writing, he loves to play ice hockey, spoil his dog, and drink an unhealthy amount of coffee.