The 50 best free web browser games you can play right now
18th Jan 2013 | 11:05
Sometimes, you just don't have the time or inclination to play a full game like Skyrim or Black Ops 2. Maybe you're at work, maybe you're using the laptop because someone else is watching the TV.
Whatever - sometimes you just want five minutes of gaming fun. We understand that need. So we trawled hundreds of browser games on the net to bring you a list of the 50 best. No fuss, no download - just point your browser to the link and play.
Want more ways to fill your game time for free? Check out our 30 best free games feature. CVG accepts no responsibility if you get caught playing at work...
1. Gravity Hook
Don't be surprised if your first few lives are a disaster. But when you get into the rhythm of this addictive game, and learn the precise moment to unhook, you'll be addicted.
PLAY Gravity Hook
A simple physics-based mini golf game, but it's the imaginative transitions between holes, beautiful art, and tranquil ambient music that makes this stand out.
3. Cardboard Box Assembler
A challenging platform game where the levels are based around a rotating 3D cube. Don't be fooled by the deceptively easy starting levels.
PLAY Cardboard Box Assembler
4. Abobo's Big Adventure
This retro side-scrolling beat-'em-up features dozens of cameos from classic NES characters. A nostalgia trip, and a fun game in its own right.
PLAY Abobo's Big Adventure
5. Too Many Ninjas!
Repel invading ninjas and their throwing stars with the arrow keys in this simple, but elegantly designed, mini-game from the man behind QWOP.
PLAY Too Many Ninjas
6. Experimental Shooter
Each stage of this simple arcade shooter introduces a new gameplay element or obstacle to make things tougher, and they keep stacking up.
PLAY Experimental Shooter
7. Soul Brother
Hop between the bodies of characters with different powers to navigate the levels in this cutesy, colourful platformer.
PLAY Soul Brother
8. Burrito Bison Revenge
Launch an angry bison and try and crush as many bears as you can before you lose momentum. Simple concept, but lots of space for mastery.
PLAY Burrito Bison Revenge
A bizarre, unsettling platformer with creepy music and visuals. Play this one in the dark with headphones and soak up the weird atmosphere.
10. 10 Bullets
How many enemy ships can you take down with only ten bullets? A clever concept, and racking up massive combos is super satisfying.
PLAY 10 Bullets
11. Kingdom Rush
One of the best tower defence games on the web. Great visuals, and a small, focused selection of units keeps things tight and balanced.
PLAY Kingdom Rush
This surreal puzzle game sees you trying to create a long chain of neurons. The sound one this one is great, so turn your speakers up.
13. The I of It
The voiceover is a bit weird, but the puzzles in this game, in which you play as the letter I, are very well designed.
PLAY The I of It
14. Worm Food
Terrorise villagers as a giant, monstrous worm.
PLAY Worm Food
15. Small Worlds
As you navigate the blocky world in this pixelated platformer, the world gets smaller and smaller until your character is a tiny dot.
PLAY Small Worlds
16. Silly Sausage
Guide a stretchy sausage dog around obstacles in this arcade puzzler. Just one of many brilliant games from the prolific Nitrome.
PLAY Silly Sausage
This 3D puzzle/platformer game sees you navigating a character around a deadly environment while being watched by eerie security cameras.
18. New York Shark
It's a shark. In New York. Swim through the river and try and eat as many people, and destroy as much property, as possible. Like real sharks do.
PLAY New York Shark
19. Toss the Turtle
The name says it all. See how far you can launch a tortoise from a cannon before the little guy lands in a bloody, battered heap.
PLAY Toss the Turtle
20. Pandemic 2
Create and name your own deadly virus, then see if you can destroy all life on Earth with it. Sinister, but madly addictive.
PLAY Pandemic 2
Like famous web game QWOP, but with a unicorn. The hilarious ye olde comments when you fall over take the sting out of failure.
22. Electric Box
Solve clever physics puzzles in this head-scratching game.
PLAY Electric Box
This game was recently turned into a (not very good) DS game. But the web version is still the best, and the puzzles are excellent.
Another excellent game from Nitrome, this time seeing you splitting a level in half to solve platforming puzzles.
Yes, it's Doom. Play the whole first episode in your browser, and it's totally legal as it uses the shareware version.
26. The Settlers Online
It's The Settlers, it looks brilliant, it's deeper than a philosophy student's dissertation, and you can play it in your browser. You can spend real money of gems to auto-complete building projects, but if you're dipping in and out during lunch breaks you'll never need to spend a penny.
PLAY The Settlers Online
27. The Company of Myself
Ignore the emo-whining of the pixelly hero - this is a smart platformer where you duplicate yourself to solve simple puzzles. It's a little like Braid. Starts easy enough, but gets fiendishly tough around level 15 onwards.
PLAY The Company of Myself
28. Robot Unicorn Attack
One of the best running and jumping games ever. As your unicorn avatar gallops ever quicker across the screen, soothing Erasure-like tunes play in the background. There's a metal and retro version too.
PLAY Robot Unicorn Attack
29. Tanki Online
If you don't want to go balls-deep into World of Tanks, this vehicle battler is a cheap and cheerful alternative. You don't even need to sign in - just turn up, grab a tank, and start firing shells at people across the Internet.
PLAY Tanki Online
30. Fallen London
Part text adventure, part Cthulhu-inspired RPG - Fallen London spins an engaging story with your character at the centre. You can even level up, buy new items, and take part in one-off story-lines.
PLAY Fallen London
A turn-based battler with a hilarious corporate twist, HRmageddon lets you pit office workers against each other in surprisingly deep strategic combat. Fights last about 15 minutes each - perfect for a cheeky break from work.
32. Sushi Cat
Played Peggle? This is very similar, although instead of firing boring ball-bearings down the level, you're dropping a fat, wobbly cat that loves to eat sushi. The cute art style and mad themes make it well worth a play.
PLAY Sushi Cat
Come on, surely you've played Alchemy? In this classic puzzle game you drop coloured symbols onto a board; the challenging coming from working out where and how you place them. Seems simple, but you'll play it for hours.
34. Tofu Hunter
Another simple game that - instead of breaking new ground, or being polished to perfection - just makes you laugh. It's a simple 'click to shoot' hunting game, but instead of animals you hunt vegan-safe Tofu beasts.
PLAY Tofu Hunter
35. Plants vs Zombies
The free version of this classic tower defence game doesn't come with all the added modes of the downloadable version (and annoyingly, you can't save), but it's still a great way to burn an hour or five online.
PLAY Plants vs Zombies
36. Words With Friends
A little like Scrabble, this is all about competing against real opponents, trying to make the best, most unusual word possible. Be warned - opponents don't like to be continually crushed by your mad language skills.
PLAY Words with Friends
37. Forge of Empires
If it sounds like Age of Empires, well... that isn't a coincidence. This is a strategy / resource management game that places more emphasis on fighting and conquest than the superior, deeper, Settlers Online.
PLAY Forge of Empires
The original running game is still worth a play. Your low-res man continually runs across a scrolling screen, and all you need to do is make him jump to avoid obstacles and gaps. Sounds horrendously basic; is brilliant.
Not really a game, but there is a competitive element to QWOP. Here the Q, W, O and P keys control the legs of an athlete - you manipulate them to make him run. Or rather, flop into an amusing heap, inches from the start line...
40. Bejeweled 2
The king of 'match 3' games is free online. For those who don't know (who are you?), you match three or more gems of the same kind to remove them from the board. More gems drop in, and you rinse and repeat.
PLAY Bejeweled 2
Thematically, Coma is a little like Limbo. You play as a boy called Pete, who wanders through a surreal dreamscape solving puzzles to find out why he's in the titular coma. It's a charming little game, without Limbo's macabre deaths.
Very, very basic version of the classic card game - you can't even personalize your avatar. However, we actually prefer that naked simplicity, and surprisingly the AI opponents rarely feel as if they're cheating.
43. Victorian BMX
Plays a little like Trials, but actually manages to be a little sillier. Here you play as the Grim Reaper, peddling a bicycle through Victorian landscapes, and pulling off some gnarly tricks. Excellent presentation and plenty of laughs.
PLAY Victorian BMX
It's Pong. And although there are several variants on the classic theme, you're still just playing Pong. Either play this to relive a slice of video game history, or challenge a friend to the two player mode.
45. Desktop Tower Defense
Probably the best Tower Defense game ever. There, we said it. Here you build a maze full of towers to stop 'creeps' from getting from one side of a desk to the other. Tactically deep, fiendishly addictive.
PLAY Desktop Tower Defense
46. One Chance
What would you do if the world was about to end? This charming flash adventure puts you in the role of a brilliant scientist who can either try to save humanity, or just spend his last living days with his loved ones. You decide.
PLAY One Chance
47. Corporation Inc
This is a tower-building game, a little like Tiny Tower. You build offices, hire workers, maintain your equipment and expand - the aim being to make a fat profit from your corporate empire. More fun than actual work.
PLAY Corporation Inc
48. Basketball Championship
There are loads of basketball 'free throw' games out there, many of which are just awful. This one features cats, and uses loads of irritating 'LOLcats' words, but - surprisingly - the actual free-throw gameplay is rock solid.
PLAY Basketball Championship
49. Treadmillasaurus Rex
Bizarre concept, but fun nonetheless. Here you take control of a T-Rex, who is on a treadmill, constantly jumping to avoid spikey mines. Odd. Every couple of seconds the conditions change (the treadmill may speed up, the mines be more frequent etc) keeping you on your toes.
PLAY Treadmillasaurus Rex
50. Endless Migration
The serene look of this game hides a violent streak. You play as a bird, migrating through the busiest airspace on earth. Flying into other avians 'recruits' them to your flock - and the aim is to dodge mid-air objects and keep your flock alive as long as possible.
PLAY Endless Migration