Flash games may be the epitome of wasting time, but there’s no denying their appeal when you have five minutes to spare and a thirst for something more than a cursory glance at Twitter or Facebook. They’ve come a long way from their humble, vector-based beginnings, finding a home at websites like Newgrounds, Kongregate, and Addicting Games among other popular sites, while becoming increasingly more complex and fully-featured. Whereas many early flash games were browser-based recreations of classic titles like Pac-Man and Frogger, the market new heights with the introduction of high-speed Internet and hit titles like Bowman, The Impossible Quiz, and Max Dirt Bike. It’ll be years before they could offer the in-depth storyline, cutting-edge graphics, or sheer scope of today’s blockbuster console titles, but there’s no reason browser-based alternatives can’t hold you over between meetings or during those drab hours of the day. No one wants to spend $60, anyway.
If you’re looking for cheap thrills, here are our top picks for the best Flash games available directly within your favorite browser.
First impressions can be deceiving — just take affable Jacksmith as a prime example. The game’s initial premise seems fairly run-of-the-mill — requiring players to don the role of a small-town blacksmith hellbent on arming his band of pig warriors with the finest weapons ever assembled. Once crafted via a simple process encompassing a slew of click-reliant minigames (i.e. pouring bronze, hammering edges, constructing hilts), players then oversee several combatants in the field, collecting blueprints, gems, and other resources enemies drop in order to build more refined weapons. Although battles automatically play out, weapon duration and battle success depends on how well you perform in the minigames, which becomes increasingly harder as you receive larger weapon orders and less time. The title does become rather repetitive at times, but you’ll begin to find a certain satisfaction in constructing well-built instruments of war designed to mow down legions of bats, slugs, and otherworldly miscreants on your path toward defeating the diabolical, Great Wizard Dudley.