Best free sports games for 2023

Image of Lionel Messi scoring a volley in eFootball 2022.

If you've ever wanted to live out your fantasies of winning trophies, scoring points, and celebrating with adoring fans, then our list of the best free sports games is for you. Sports games are a great way to emulate the thrill of real-life competition virtually, and as such, you're likely wondering where you can grab some for free. Look no further because we've got some brilliant choices down below.

In this list, we'll run through some of the best sports games on both console and mobile that you can play totally free of charge. Ranging from familiar classics to more arcade-style spins on existing sports, there's something for everyone to enjoy here - even if you don't know your Maldini from your Maradona.

Here are the best free sports games

Knockout City

Image of the player throwing a dodgeball in Knockout City.
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First on our list is a wacky arcade dodgeball game that very recently went free-to-play. The conceit of Knockout City is simple: 3v3 matches where your aim is to hit your opponents with a ball while also dodging incoming throws. It sounds easy, but Velan Studios' game is the best translation of dodgeball to the digital realm yet.

What makes it so special is its movement system, which lets you double jump, grapple onto higher ground, and customise your throw. From curve shots to fake throws, there's more tactical thinking behind Knockout City than you may initially expect. Couple that with a range of special-powered balls and maps teeming with obstacles to overcome, and you get a sports game that has pace, approachability, and breathtaking action.

eFootball 2022

Image of two footballers jostling for the ball in eFootball 2022.
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SEGA's successor to the PES series, eFootball 2022 suffered a rough launch in late 2021, with players lambasting its lack of game modes and ghoulish character models. In the months since release, the game has made something of a comeback with a huge update in April 2022 bringing the game to a more complete state. It's still not perfect, but when it comes to free football games on console, there aren't any better options than eFootball 2022.

That's because, despite its problems, the gameplay itself is enough to make it worth downloading. Shots feel weighty, passes are precise, and the crowd atmosphere is accurate enough to rival its closest competitor, the FIFA series. While it may not win over those loyal to EA Sports' annual series, this free-to-play spin on the yearly football game model is definitely worth trying out.

Rocket League

Image of two cars vying for the ball in Rocket League.
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Easily the most popular game on our list, Rocket League has consistently been one of the biggest free sports games since it first launched in 2015, then went free in 2020. The game is once again very simple in concept - football, but with cars - but even a quick glance at pros in action is a testament to how much skill can go into the game. There are few sports games more enjoyable to hop into with friends, making for rapidly-paced matches that often go right down to the wire.

Even better, the microtransactions within Rocket League have no impact on gameplay, making it a proper free-to-play treat. You can kit out your car like the Batmobile or an F1 car if you like, but you'll still need to put the hours in the arena to juggle the ball or send it careening into the goal from a clearance. Rocket League is the truest definition of easy to grasp but difficult to master.

Touchgrind BMX 2

Image of a BMX in mid-air in Touchgrind BMX 2.
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Touchgrind BMX 2 is a lot more casual than the other games on our list, but it's the perfect remedy if you have five minutes to spare and want a quick blast of fun. A mobile game to its core, you use one finger to control the handlebars of your BMX, and the other to control the back end. Your job is then to zip around courses ranging from mountain ranges to theme parks, performing any kind of stunt you can conjure up along the way.

It gets very competitive at times, with detailed leaderboards showing where you rank alongside friends and other people within your region. Best of all is the power meter at the top of the screen, which increases as you chain together tricks without bailing out. Fill it all the way up and you can slow down time to pull off tens of tricks in quick succession, getting your score into the millions. It's a very easy game to pick up and try, getting you hooked in no time.

New Star Soccer

Image of a match in progress in New Star Soccer.
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This particular free sports game has been around for years but still finds a way to be as engaging as ever. It's a very graphically simple top-down football simulator where you start off in a humble National League team, gradually progressing season by season to ultimately lead your country to World Cup glory. Of course, you can take a different route, bringing your local team into the Premier League and the upper echelons of football. The choice is entirely yours.

In terms of gameplay, New Star Soccer focuses on moment-to-moment action where you control your player during flashpoints of a match. Be it passing across the pitch or taking a decisive penalty, every statistic is boosted by the work you put in off the pitch during training. You can also build up your social life and public image by partying or spending big bucks on huge investments, making it a very detailed simulator of the footballer's lifestyle. It's a game that may not be as advanced as its contemporaries, but it's just as fun.

There you have it - some of the very best free sports games that you can enjoy without spending a single penny! No matter your favourite sport, there's bound to be a choice here that will have you hooked. While you're here, feel free to also browse our picks of the best free war games on the market!

If you prefer something a bit more action-packed, feel free to check out our list of the best free FPS games for some military fun. We've also got the best free horror games if you fancy a scare, or the best free multiplayer games for some cooperative relaxation.

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