Video games are expensive, especially if you don’t have that much time to play them. You can invest in a high-end gaming PC or one of the big, next generation consoles, but if you’re someone who wants to play casually, you risk spending more than you’re going to end up actually using. Luckily for you, the internet is vast and seemingly endless when it comes to offering unique and completely free games you can play right in your web browser.
There’s something out there for everyone, too, so whether you’re a casual gamer, a fan looking for something new, or just particularly bored at the office, here are the top 10 browser games you can play for free, today! Have an interest in making your own games? Start small by learning how to construct 2D Unity games.
What Are Browser Games?
For the non-gamers or tech savvy out there, a browser game is just a game that you can play right in your web browser. That is, if you’re reading this article on a computer running Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox, then you’re good to go! No fancy game controllers, consoles, or peripherals necessary, except of course a mouse and keyboard. Some of these games may require certain plug-ins, such as Flash, Unity, or Java to run.
While these are all safe and easy to install, remember to exercise caution when any website asks you to download a file. Learn more about how to prevent and remove internet viruses in this course. You can also consult this step-by-step guide to removing viruses, or learn more about trojans and other types of malware here. That said, the sites linked to in this guide are known to be safe, secure, and used by thousands of gamers on a daily basis.
Top 10 Browser Games
Without further ado, let’s get to the list. Please note that the following games will be in no particular order. If you enjoy the games on this list and want to get into the world of gaming, check out this guide on how to build your own computer and begin planning the gaming rig of your dreams.
What is it: If you’re somewhere where you can blast the audio, you might want to turn it up for this one. Released on Adult Swim Games in February 2010, Robot Unicorn Attack was an instant hit, racking up a million plays just a week after it launched. It’s a garishly colorful and bright side-scrolling platformer that puts you in control of a robotic unicorn. As an infinite runner, the game only “ends” when you lose, which happens when you fall over an edge or run into an obstacle and use up the last of your lives.
It’s high score based, so the challenge is to get as far as you can by dashing and jumping your way through its humorously “magical” landscape, all while the song “Always” by Erasure loops in the background. Due to this game’s massive popularity, Adult Swim actually released several spin-offs, including Heavy Metal and Christmas editions, and a sequel released for mobile devices.
Who should play it: People who like a simple, reflex based game with uncomplicated controls. Someone who wants more action than narrative in their game, and doesn’t need to play something straight faced to have a good time.
What is it: A less intense game similar to Robot Unicorn Attack in gameplay, Orisinal’s Winterbells is one of the most well-known browser games on the internet. It’s easy on the eyes and ears, it’s low key, and it’s simple to play. You control a small white rabbit with the mouse cursor (just move it around and it will follow), whose goal is to jump from bell to bell and ascend as high into the sky as possible. Each bell you come into contact with grants you points, and propels you further upward. The point is to get a high score, but it’s a fun way to relax and pass some time even if competition isn’t your thing.
Who should play it: People looking for a fun and simple way to pass the time, who prefer a peaceful, low-key game over an action-packed violent one. People who want a game that’s easy enough to get into, but also challenging enough to keep them coming back.
What is it: For people who do want a little action in their games, here’s a unique one. SUPERHOT, made in one week as part of a game design challenge, is a first-person shooter where time in the game only passes when you move. As you travel through a stylistically white-washed environment, giving a dream-like feel to the whole experience, you’ll be dodging bullets and firing off some of your own in a mix of slow motion and real-time.
The version out right now is just a prototype. Due to its popularity, the developers launched a Kickstarter campaign back in May, which was recently funded to the tune of $250,000. The money will go towards expanding the game into a full-length, time-bending shooter, but for now fans can enjoy this free, browser-based demo.
Who should play it: People who don’t mind a little cartoony violence in their games, and who are looking for something more action-packed, thrilling, and unique. SUPERHOT was made in Unity. Check out this course on Unity 3D game development to learn how to make your own Unity games.
4. Candy Box
What is it: And now for something completely different. Candy Box is a text-based game that uses ASCII art and narration to tell a story involving, you guessed it… candy. It’s a bizarre game that you really have to play to understand. It starts out as a blank screen, with a counter adding up the number of candies you have going up every second. The more candy you accumulate, the more options you have. You can eat the candy, and then a new counter will appear to keep track of how much candy you’ve eaten. You can save up your candy to buy a lollipop, or a wooden sword, and so on. This game is expansive and relies a lot on the imagination, but it’s definitely an interesting and easy way to pass the time.
Who should play it: People who enjoy old-school, text-based adventure games and don’t mind being a bit open-minded about experimental games.
What is it: Another mostly text-based game, with some visual aid to make the experience more rewarding, Cookie Clicker is a game where you click on a cookie. A lot. Eventually, once you have enough cookies, you can spend those cookies to generate more cookies, faster. Create automated cursors to click the cookie for you, hire grandmas to bake cookies, or open farms and factories to mass-produce them. Watch it literally rain cookies as you spend and generate thousands of baked goods, just for the love of watching numbers go up really fast. Humans love systems, and this game satisfies that very basic fascination. It might not look like it, but it’s a huge time waster and can be a little addictive if you let it. You’ve been warned!
Who should play it: People who enjoy watching numbers go up, tracking scores, and creating a self-sustaining, efficient system. Someone who wants a good, leisurely way to make time fly fast.
What is it: QWOP is a physics-based sports game where you play Qwop, the sole representative of a small, fictional nation, prepped and ready for a solo marathon. Players control Qwop with the QWOP keys on the keyboard. That is: Q and W to control his thighs, and O and P to control his calves. The only problem is, it’s kind of impossible. Moving Qwop even a few meters forward is extremely difficult, and sure to induce a few laughs at just how absurd it looks in the process.
QWOP gained notoriety for exactly this brand of absurdity, something its developer Bennett Foddy has become known for. Foddy also made another browser-based game called GIRP, an even more difficult physics game about attempting to climb a rock wall using various keys on the keyboard.
Who should play it: People who want to play a uniquely humorous and challenging game.
What is it: simian.interface is an abstract puzzle game about discovering the spatial relations between various shapes, and manipulating them accordingly so that they overlap. The general rule sounds more complicated than it is, but as the game progresses you can expect to encounter some increasingly complex puzzles, including aligning elaborate patterns and combining colors. The game has a couple levels, and even an interesting meta story occurring in the background, but it’s up to you how important that is.
Who should play it: People who want a relatively simple to play, engaging puzzle game.
What is it: Typing games are fun and educational! Z-Type is a shooter similar to old-school arcade games, where you control a space ship firing at incoming enemies that descend from the top of the screen. If the enemy ships crash into yours, or you’re hit by one of their missiles, you lose.
Except, Z-Type is a typing game, and so instead of controlling your ship to dodge enemies, you have to type to survive. Each enemy ship has a different word attached to it. Typing each word from start to finish will destroy that ship. Eventually, “boss” ships appear, which have long, complicated words attached to them and fire missiles with single letters attached. The goal is to defeat as many waves as possible.
Who should play it: People who are good at typing, or want to learn how to be better at typing.
What is it: Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing is another typing game, disguised as a children’s edutainment game but more of a meta comedy than anything. It’s a narrative game, meaning the story is the most important part. If you’re looking for something to actually teach you typing, you should steer clear of this game despite its name. Much of its gameplay and humor actually relies on the player having a relatively good grasp on typing, and of internet and computer culture in general. The humor in the game is also of the silly, crude type, a trademark of the developers. If you enjoy this game, you can also check out a sequel series they did called Icarus Proudbottom’s World of Typing Weekly.
Who should play it: People who want a humorous, story-based game that is accessible and relatively simple to play.
What is it: Soundodger is what is commonly classified as a “bullet hell,” a game where the player controls a small ship (in this case, a circle) and must dodge incoming projectiles. What makes Soundodger unique is its rhythm-based gameplay, where the projectiles are driven by music and fired from the borders of the game space. Left clicking causes the game to play in slow motion, in case the player is in a particularly tough spot and needs extra help surviving.
Who should play it: People who want a reflex-based game that provides a fun, but not too difficult challenge, and something they can listen to.
Interested in landing a job in the game industry? Check out this course and learn how.