Gaming technology may have come on in leaps and bounds since its inception, but there are still few simple pleasures more satisfying than playing a game in your browser.
Thanks to cloud gaming, it’s easier than ever to load up the latest triple-A experience within Chrome, Firefox, or any number of other browsers, and still have a stable experience while gaming.
Even without cloud gaming, though, there are tons of great browser games you can play out there. Without further ado, here, in no particular order, are the 35 best browser games to check out right now!
If you’ve enjoyed Sunless Sea or Sunless Skies, you’ll love this atmospheric horror tale, which regularly gets new content updates. It’s free to play, too, so you won’t have to pay anything to experience it.
It’s set in the same universe as the above games and sees you exploring an alternate version of Victorian London, complete with cosmic and gothic horror atmospherics.
Gameplay-wise, Fallen London isn’t much to write home about, but its incredible writing makes it well worth the time investment. Settle in like you would with a good book.
This simple yet relentlessly addictive word game caused quite the stir when it was first released. It may not be at the apex of its popularity anymore, but Wordle is still great fun.
The idea behind it is pretty simple: you’ve got six guesses to figure out a five-letter word. Each guess will show you whether a letter is in the right place, in the word but in the wrong place, or simply not in the word.
The fact that you can only play Wordle once per day is a big part of its appeal, too; this is very much a mindful word game that respects your time.
While we’re on the subject of great browser-based word games, be sure to sidle over to Spelling Bee on the New York Times’ website and give this pangram-guessing game a go.
It’s an easy game to play. You’re given a selection of letters, and there’s at least one word which uses all of those letters at least once.
You can also play words that use the middle letter at least once, but you can’t make any words that don’t use this letter. If you want to tax your brain a little, try this one out.
If modern Minecraft has too many bells and whistles for you, this retro throwback to the old days of the world-conquering sandbox game should be worth a look.
It takes Minecraft back to the days of simply roaming a voxel world, gathering resources, and building structures, without any of the additions that Minecraft has received since its inception.
What follows is a surprisingly meditative and relaxing experience, and one that will appeal to anyone who thinks the world is moving just a little too quickly right now.
It really doesn’t get much more basic than Agar.io. The premise is simple: eat blobs smaller than you, avoid blobs bigger than you. Somehow, though, this translates to hours of fun.
Perhaps that’s because of the many ways in which Agar.io players can embellish their creations; we’ve seen national flags, meme pictures, and more on Agar.io blobs.
Perhaps, though, it’s the same principle that makes battle royale games fun. Simplicity equals enjoyment a lot of the time, and nowhere is that more true than in Agar.io.
Unfortunately, you can’t play browser-based RuneScape in Chrome or Firefox due to a lack of Java support, but if you’re still using a Java browser, this MMO is a hoot.
RuneScape’s janky, clunky charm is what makes it so compelling. You won’t find the same kind of high production values that you might in World of Warcraft, but RuneScape is scrappy and fun.
There’s also a highly active community around the game, so you should never be short of players to team up with.
You can get paid versions of Spelunky on most modern platforms, but this old-school HTML5 version of the game is just as addictive as its bigger counterparts.
A roguelike platformer, Spelunky tasks you with delving into a mine full of enemies and traps and trying to make it out with as much loot as you can.
Imagine Indiana Jones but in 2D and with a pixel art aesthetic, and you’re most of the way there.
If you went to school during the 90s and 2000s, you’ll probably remember kids playing this addictive line-drawing “platformer”, in which the goal is to make a line the rider can traverse.
Drawing a simple line from left to right will usually result in a good time for your rider, but the real challenge is in drawing something as elaborately as possible and seeing if it still works.
Many a great Line Rider creation has made it into the viral stratosphere online. Could you add to that pantheon?
Kingdom of Loathing is a sort of parody MMORPG that will appeal to you if you’re looking for something more irreverent and iconoclastic than traditional MMOs.
It’s largely text-based, so it doesn’t quite have the sky-high production values of its peers, but it does have a lot of funny writing and an enjoyably anarchic world to “explore”.
Weirdly enough, it’s also actually a fairly accomplished MMORPG with plenty of players to keep you company.
Well, it’s pretty much Pictionary, but Skribbl is still great fun, especially if you get a group of friends together. You might even discover some hidden artistic talent!
The goal in Skribbl is to guess the word that’s being drawn before anyone else can. Once everyone involved in the game has successfully guessed or time has elapsed, the round is over.
If this one doesn’t lead to some serious arguments among you and your peer group, you may want to re-examine their priorities.
If you think Flappy Bird is too monstrously difficult, try this one on for size. Copter is simplicity itself, but it’s deceptively challenging and fun.
All you can do is click your mouse in order to inject fuel into your copter, causing it to fly a little higher. The longer you click, the higher the copter flies.
As you fly, you must avoid obstacles. That’s it; that’s all there is to it. Despite that, we still remember losing hours of our lives to this back in school when we should have been working.
This one challenges you to draw to a prompt as quickly as you can while an AI tries to guess what you’re drawing. Again, it’s surprisingly addictive.
As you draw, the AI will throw out guesses. Sometimes, it’s eerily accurate, guessing your word in just a few pen strokes. At other times, it’s hilariously off-base.
Both instances provide hours of entertainment, and you’ll likely find this one hugely addictive as you tear through prompts at a breakneck pace.
Along with games like Among Us, Town of Salem belongs to the social deduction genre. Players must guess which of their number are mafia agents and dispatch them.
Some players are allocated the role of townsperson, while others must sow discord and chaos within the ranks. The fun comes from bluffing, misdirection, and subterfuge.
If you suffer from social anxiety, you may want to give this one a miss, but for everyone else, it’s delightfully devilish and well worth playing for at least an afternoon or two.
If modern multiplayer shooters are a little too complex for you, then Krunker.io is where you should go. It’s a free-to-play FPS with great controls and map design.
Despite being a free-to-play browser game, Krunker.io feels like a full-fledged shooter, complete with a number of different weapon types to try out.
Couple that with maps that have plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and you’ve got a game that feels much more accomplished and professional than it has any right to.
That’s right: there’s a free browser-based version of popular indie city-builder Townscaper, and it’s just as relaxing and compelling as its paid alternative.
Townscaper has you building a town bit by bit, and all you need to do is click where you want buildings to sprout up. They’ll erupt as you do so, and you can choose what colour you want them to be.
That’s really all there is to it. There’s a meditative quality to Townscaper that feels addictive but relaxing at the same time, which is a difficult balance to achieve.
We’re not entirely sure how Pokemon Showdown hasn’t been shut down by Nintendo yet. Enjoy this battle simulator while you can, because it’s great.
If you’ve played the Nintendo 64’s Pokemon Stadium, you’ll understand the basic premise behind Pokemon Showdown; it’s a stripped-down version of the battle portion of the classic Pokemon RPGs.
That means you’re free to build whatever kind of meta-destroying team you like, complete with abilities, moves, and anything else you want to add to your arsenal.
Another indie darling that started as a free browser game, Celeste on browser might actually win you over more than the newer version due to its simplicity.
At its core, Celeste is what’s commonly referred to as a “masocore” platformer; that is, it’s relentlessly difficult, demanding pixel-perfect skill and precision at every turn.
Still, the game’s inherent simplicity, plus its beautiful pixel visuals, will keep you coming back for more long beyond what you think is your tolerance level.
This RPG may seem simple, but it won’t be long before you’re fighting for your life against untold horrors via a text interface that feels cold and impersonal in the best way.
The “action”, such as it is, begins in a dark room, which you must illuminate by lighting a fire. The scale expands from there as you discover the world around you and learn about your surroundings.
We don’t want to spoil the conclusion, but suffice it to say that if you think you know what direction this one might be headed in, you could well be wrong!
If you can imagine Flappy Bird crossed with Pong, then you’re pretty much at Almost Pong’s door. Instead of the paddles, you control the ball itself!
The physics feel similar to Flappy Bird’s; you click to give the ball a small lift, and it quickly begins dropping as soon as you do so, which means it’s all about judging distance and speed.
The paddles will move as you play, too, so you’ll need to keep up with their position on the game board if you want to fulfil your role as a good little Pong ball.
Many indie hits started out as browser games, didn’t they? Gods Will Be Watching is a bleak, evocative survival experience that’s perfect for a winter’s evening.
You “control” a group of survivors out in the cold wilderness, and you must make decisions about what they do on a day-to-day basis.
Will you, for instance, count the number of medical supplies you’ve got left? Will you light the fire? How will you respond to unexpected events that threaten your group’s survival?
QWOP is frustration incarnate, but you’ll want another try just so you can prove the game wrong when it challenges you to overcome its ridiculous controls.
Bennett Foddy’s game is named for its core controls; you use the Q and W keys to control your runner’s thighs and the O and P keys for their calves.
As you can imagine, this is an incredibly technical and difficult control scheme to master, which means that watching others try to play QWOP is often just as fun as playing it yourself.
Coming up with a suitable password can feel like an impossible task sometimes, and that’s what this wonderfully insane indie game tries to evoke.
At first, you’ll simply be asked to provide a password that comes within a certain character length or that also contains numbers or certain special characters.
Eventually, though, you’ll be playing with a ridiculously labyrinthine and convoluted set of instructions that feel like I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is asking you to create an account before you read it.
For a video series, internet personality Yahtzee Croshaw designed twelve games in twelve months. They’re all free to check out, and they’re all fascinating.
Preflight Panic, for instance, is a Papers Please-inspired jaunt that sees you checking plane passengers to make sure they’re buckled in before takeoff. If they’re not, the plane explodes.
Lest you think it’s all silly, though, Something’s In The Sea is a lurching, eldritch horror game inspired by Slender and its ilk, and The Button That Ruins Everything is a philosophical rumination on gaming itself.
Have you ever wanted to play a version of Pac-Man that feels like the labyrinths of Tartarus itself? Well, today’s your lucky day, you very strange person, you.
Created in conjunction with Bandai Namco and Microsoft, World’s Biggest Pac-Man stitches together a number of user-created mazes to create, well, the world’s biggest Pac-Man board.
At time of writing, the game features thousands upon thousands of mazes, and in just a week after its launch, players had devoured nearly 300 million dots in World’s Biggest Pac-Man.
The best ideas are often born from real-life situations, and such is the case for Good Impression, a game in which you must tidy up before your mum arrives to judge you.
Your mother will arrive at your apartment in three minutes, and you must wash up, clean your floors, and do whatever else needs to be done to make the place presentable for her arrival.
What begins as a simplistic gameplay loop quickly becomes panic-inducing as you essentially play Overcooked! but with parental approval instead of restaurateur pride.
Spawning many imitators and influencing puzzle game design to this day, Boulder Dash is a retro classic that’s well worth experiencing in your browser.
You must carve a path through a cave environment, trying to make sure that boulders don’t fall on you as you do so. Boulder Dash requires careful planning to ensure that you don’t get squashed.
Like many retro games, this one combines simple gameplay with relentlessly addictive implementation, so you’re likely to be playing it long past the point you thought it might get boring.
Depending on your personal tastes, Cookie Clicker will either delight and enthral you or leave you completely and utterly cold. Give it a shot before you judge it!
You must do just one thing in Cookie Clicker: click. Click to bake cookies, then keep clicking to bake more and more cookies until you are in charge of a cookie empire.
Despite its absolute bare-minimum design, Cookie Clicker’s interlocking systems and progression bars mean it plays on the pleasure centre of the brain in strange ways.
While it may seem like an endearing Hypnospace Outlaw-style adventure, Mackerelmedia Fish is actually a comment on the ongoing battle regarding game preservation.
As you play, you’ll be bathed in 90s nostalgia, especially if you were the kind of person who surfed the Flash-powered web long into the night.
Even if you’re not, though, Mackerelmedia Fish will give you pause for thought as you consider what kind of artefacts are being lost from internet history due to carelessness.
No list of great browser games would be complete without everyone’s favourite genie. You’ll think you’ve flummoxed him until he asks that “one question”.
In essence, Akinator is just the classic Twenty Questions game. You think of a celebrity, fictional character, or real-life notable person, and Akinator tries to guess who you’re thinking of.
We’ve managed to beat him a handful of times, but this genie is just far too knowledgeable and clever for our tastes!
That’s right; you can play Doom within your browser now. The addictive action of this early-90s shooter is just as compelling as it’s ever been in Chrome.
We’d set up the gameplay loop and narrative here, but do we really need to? Doom is Doom; a hugely influential shooter that still feels great to play today.
While its level design and visuals can feel a little basic, the core shooting of Doom is hugely addictive and cathartic.
Combining gorgeous visuals with enjoyable minigolf gameplay, Wonderputt is a great way to waste a few minutes (or, let’s be honest, a few hours).
Each course unfolds in a delightful way, with a new visual flair introducing holes and presenting you with new minigolf-themed challenges.
This one can be a touch frustrating, but it’s still incredibly fun and compelling to play.
The premise of Slither.io is simple: it’s Snake, but multiplayer. The game is straightforward fun, but there are some surprisingly skilled players out there too.
If you like Agar.io, you’re bound to like this one as well, and it has the added bonus of inducing nostalgia for classic 90s mobile phone games!
Like many .io games, Slither.io is completely free, too, so you won’t need to pay anything to give it a go.
You don’t need us to tell you what Freeciv is inspired by, so if you love grand strategy games (and one grand strategy game in particular), give this one a look.
You can build your own civilisation, engage in diplomacy (or, indeed, warfare) with those around you, and strive for the goal of space exploration.
If more recent Civilisation games have left you somewhat cold, this simpler and more retro-style version could be where your heart lies.
If you’re a fan of puzzlers like Lemmings or Toki Tori, then you should definitely give Snail Bob a look. It’ll challenge your brain in surprising ways!
You must confront environmental puzzles, enemies, and other hazards as you guide Snail Bob to his destination across a variety of themed levels.
If you like Snail Bob, there are lots of sequels available that add new levels and puzzles!
The classic board game comes to browsers, losing pretty much nothing in the conversion. Try this out to discover the origins of a legend.
If you’re into your tabletop games, you may already have left Catan behind, but if you’re new to the world of strategy tabletop games, this is a great place to start.
Just make sure you’re playing with the right people, because Catan can quickly turn ugly.
In conclusion, the world of browser games is vast and surprisingly deep, offering a range of experiences that rival even the most sophisticated gaming platforms. The 35 titles we’ve showcased exemplify the variety and accessibility that browser games provide, from simple time-killers to complex strategy games. They prove that you don’t need an expensive console or a high-powered PC to enjoy an immersive gaming experience; a standard web browser can be your gateway to hours of entertainment. Whether you’re looking to dive into a quick game between work tasks or get lost in a more involved adventure, these browser games provide a convenient and cost-effective way to engage with interactive stories, puzzle-solving, and strategic planning. As technology continues to advance, and with the integration of cloud gaming, the line between browser games and their downloaded counterparts will likely blur even further. But one thing remains certain: browser games will continue to be a beloved staple in the gaming community for their ease of access and the joy they provide to gamers around the world.