Fantastic Free Browser Games
Hardcore gamers have long dismissed browser games as inferior to console and PC games, but a new generation of these games is showing that browsers are capable gaming platforms in their own right.
We’ve rounded up 21 great games ranging from 2D fighters to role-playing games that you can play for hours from right inside your browser.
Oh, how quickly the world of video gaming progresses! It was just a little over ten years ago that Quake 3 Arena was one of the slickest and most processor-intensive games on the market, and now you can play it for free in your browser (after you grab a quick add-on) as Quake Live.
As far as control schemes go, it’s hard to get simpler than Canabalt: “press space to jump.” But you’ll jump a lot as your character hurtles along at increasingly unmanageable speeds across collapsing rooftops to escape some sort of nebulous apocalypse.
The Wiki Game
The Wiki Game is a bit different from other browser games on our list since it’s not just played over the Internet but using the Internet (especially Wikipedia articles). When you start the Wiki game, you’re given two topics, and your task is to connect the two as fast as possible or in as few steps as possible. A cool interface and lively competition against other Wiki Game players round out a game that’s not only fun but borderline educational.
Every Day the Same Dream
Every Day the Same Dream is pretty experimental for a Flash game, as it’s more about the story than the gameplay. If I try to explain the plot, I might ruin the fun of the experience by going into too much detail; but, briefly, you assume the role of a typical working stiff who attempts to escape his mundane existence any way he can.
Desktop Tower Defense
Tower defense games, where you upgrade stationary defensive structures to defeat wave after wave of enemies before they can run past, are a dime a dozen online. Every week seems to bring a new contender to the genre, but Desktop Tower Defense still manages to be the best by sticking to the basics of the genre and doing them perfectly.
Cat God vs. Sun King
For a game with such a weird name, Cat God Vs. Sun King actually stays pretty true to its title. You play the Cat God, and you must use your many miraculous powers to destroy the followers of the Sun King as they try to build a tower that rises into the sky.
It may not have the advanced graphics of World of Warcraft, but RuneScape has still managed to take a pretty big piece of the pie as the world’s most popular free MMO. Since the game is both free and available on your browser, the only reason you might want to avoid it is that it can be just as addictive as the best of other MMO games.
Part platformer, part tile-switching brain-teaser, Continuity adds a new twist to puzzle games. It lets you rearrange the level as you play to get to areas and items that would normally be impossible to reach.
Portal: The Flash Version
Few PC Games have been able to match Valve’s first-person puzzle/shooter Portal or its sequel. However, it’s a chore to get the original downloaded and running on every computer you own (especially your work computer); so for those circumstances, you might want to try Portal: The Flash Version, which offers the same mind-bending physics puzzles in 2D on your browser.
Few titles fit a game better than Upgrade Complete. For a shooter, the game starts out decidedly subpar--until you realize that the game lets you upgrade literally everything. So you can upgrade not just your ship’s weapons and its appearance, but also menu options and even the graphics as you progress through the game.
Kingdom of Loathing
Kingdom of Loathing is a parody of online MMOs that also manages to be a totally addictive MMO in and of itself. The only difference is that, instead of playing a wizard out to slay a black dragon, you’ll play a more…well, let’s say exotic class of character, like Accordion Thief, and you have to face the vicious Sabre-Toothed Lime.
Intruded has painfully simple goals for a platformer. It tasks you with ultrasimple goals like “walk down a hallway.” The challenge comes from the fact that your point of view is locked into a series of jarring camera angles. Without a consistent point of view, it can be difficult to do something as simple as walking in a straight line.
Legend of Kalevala
In Legend of Kalevala--a fun little Flash game that plays a little like Metroid--you wake up in a lush, mysterious land with no memory of who or what you are, and you regain your memories and abilities as you explore the landscape.
The simple graphics of Impasse hide a surprisingly difficult puzzle game. Part of its fun comes from figuring out how the game operates. All you know at first is that you want to try to get your circle across the map to the goal and past a series of maddening enemy tiles with weird behaviors that you have to work out.
Superfighters blends the player-versus-player action of a game like Team Fortress 2 with the old-school look of River City Ransom, creating a Flash game that’s addictive and more difficult to master than you’d expect.
In OVNI, you play an alien come to Earth to harvest meat from the planet’s various lifeforms for your corporate overlords in an interstellar meatpacking company. The high-concept premise doesn’t make the gameplay any less fun as you rampage your way around the world and harvest the meat off of animals and people alike.
Ball on a Wall
Another game that stays true to its title, Ball on a Wall is a game about a ball that you’ve got to keep bouncing and moving toward its destination--by pulling bricks out of the wall for it to bounce off of.
Realm of the Mad God
A graphically bare-bones MMO that has you team up with other players to take on the titular Mad Gods, Realm of the Mad God describes itself as “the co-op fantasty MMO shooter.” The game’s genre may be complex, but the gameplay itself is simple and addictive. You click on enemies to fire at them, defeat them, and then collect their loot.
A Flash game about creating the deadliest disease you can, Pandemic 2 can absorb hours of your life as you try to create the perfect pathogen to infect that one last country.
With the collectible nature of a card game and the battle system of an RPG, Kongai has become one of the most popular options on Flash game portal Kongregate, and with good reason. If the complexities of the battle system don’t get you hooked, then unlocking the game’s many cards will.
Sonny 2 is the second in a series of RPGs set after zombies have taken over the Earth. The twist with games in the Sonny series is that you actually play as one of the zombies--but you're trying to survive and uncover your past.