Aliens: Dark Descent on Steam Deck Settings and Performance

Aliens: Dark Descent Steam Deck Performance

Screenshot from Aliens: Dark Descent showing a bird's eye view of a room in a blue hue.

Mixed bag? Mixed bag. For a game that isn’t supported on the Steam Deck, Aliens: Dark Descent does run well. But if you’re expecting a smooth 60 frames per second, you’re going to want to think again. 

The opening tutorial section almost collapses inward under the weight of its own ambition. Framerates here go as low as 19 frames per second, with the majority of the time spent between 25 and 40, with the occasional boost above that. 

Once you’re out of the tutorial level, though, that’s where things get interesting. It’s possible to run Aliens: Dark Descent at a locked 30 frames per second with minimal drops. It is possible to get an unstable 40 frames per second, but the frequent dips – in part due to how busy the on-screen action is – aren’t enjoyable. 

This is sounding pretty bad thus far, so let’s throw in a twist – Aliens: Dark Descent is great on the Steam Deck. Sure, you can’t get it to 60 frames, but given the isometric viewpoint, 30 frames feels fluid and is very enjoyable. By limiting the framerate and leaving enough space for the game to handle the on-screen action, Aliens: Dark Descent can be enjoyed to its fullest without feeling massively stunted. 

Aliens: Dark Descent Best Settings

Screenshot from Aliens: Dark Descent showing a bird's eye view of a room in a blue-green hue.

Whack everything to low and lock your framerate to 30. This stabilizes the framerate so it’s consistent and results in fluid gameplay for the most part. 

One thing I do strongly recommend, switch the anti-aliasing to high. By default, jagged edges are plentiful, but the anti-aliasing tech smooths out most edges. 

Also make sure you’ve got FSR turned on in the quick-access menu. This keeps the visuals looking crisp on low while leaving a solid amount of processing power for when things are hectic. 

Aliens: Dark Descent (In-game Settings)
Preset Low
Anti-Aliasing High
Texture Low
Effects Low
Post Process Low
Geometry Low
Shadow Low
Foliage Low
Shading Low
AMD Fidelity FX Super Resolution Performance
Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)
TDP: 10 Estimated Battery Life: 2 Hours 24 Minutes
Docked Mode Resolution: 1280×720 FSR: On (Docked Mode)
GPU Usage: 80% Temperature: 70 degrees
Battery Drain: 16.2w FPS: 30
Extra Info
Fills the Entire Steam Deck Screen Yes
Valve Grading Unsupported
Performance Rating: 3/5


Screenshot from Aliens: Dark Descent showing a futuristic corridor from above.

The tutorial section sets off alarm bells, but once you’ve got Aliens: Dark Descent configured correctly, it runs brilliantly. A smooth 60 frames per second would be nice, but for an unsupported game, running the game at 30 is very playable. I never felt like I was missing anything, which as a 60 frames snob surprised me.

I gotta say, I’ve had a blast testing Aliens: Dark Descent. The X-COM style of real-time strategy works really well with the Aliens IP, and having the fear come from the team management rather than the Xenomorph is a smart choice. 

If you’re a fan of the Alien franchise and want a completely new take on the perfect organism, Aliens: Dark Descent gets an easy Recommended from me. 

Recommended Badge

All screenshots captured on Steam Deck. | Review code provided by the publisher.

Wesley Copeland
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.