The Chrome Web Store offers a lot more than just a healthy dose of extensions, themes, and other nifty apps. It also houses an impressive collection of games that can be directly played on the browser hassle-free for a small fee, or nothing at all. While Flash-based games are nothing new — think Addictinggames.com — playing them in your browser adds an entirely new level of social interaction and save functionality that we could only dream about 10 years ago.
The same great titles that are available on your smartphone, tablet, and high-end gaming console are also available on Chrome. Now all you need to know is which games are worth your precious time. Below are our choices for the best Google Chrome games ready for the taking. Be sure to check out our picks for the best Chrome extensions and best Chrome themes if you want to truly immerse yourself in the Chrome experience.
This post was updated by Emily Schiola on May 20, 2014. Games added include: Happy Friday, Fruit Ninja, Spelunky HTML5, Game of Thrones Ascent, The Godfather: Five Families, Cut the Rope, Pathuku, 2048, Voodoo Friends, Angry Granny, Uno, Yahtzee, Build with Chrome, and Spider Solitaire.
Arcade & Action
Chrome’s version of Angry Birds is the same old Angry Birds people seem to know and love, but this time in full-screen browser mode. As usual, players shoot the warm-blooded, egg-laying vertebrates via slingshot at a horde of greedy pigs hellbent on eradicating the birds. The physics-based game can prove challenging at times — not to mention frustrating — but it’s worth a gander given the Chrome-exclusive levels and the ability to save your progress in the cloud.
Happy Friday follows an orange monster creature as it escapes red monster creatures and eats donuts. It is a free, fast-paced game but the controls are easy so people of any age can play. Though there isn’t much to this game in the way of strategy, you do have to avoid obstacles and figure out how to use the environment around you to get through levels and fight the red monsters. You can turn into a ball to go faster and get through tubes and pipes or stay standing up to be able to jump.
Monster Dash is genuine throwback to the 2D side-scrolling phenomenon that took the world by storm back in the day. You play as Barry Steakfries, the renowned businessman from Half Brick’s Jetpack Joyride, as he travels to different dimensions an blasts his way through hordes of enemies. There are only two buttons to master, jump and shoot, so it’s pretty straightforward. Collect awards, snag weapon pickups and upload your high scores to the online leaderboards for a little social involvement. The game may start out rather easy, but it gets progressively more difficult the further you manage to survive. It’s the dash. The Monster Dash.
Created in merely five days for the Experimental Gameplay Project, Canabalt is an endless side-scrolling game that breathes new life into the ever-so-popular Flash game industry. Although it doesn’t represent a landmark departure from many side-scrolling games that pit the player against a never-ending landscape, it does capitalize on the genre well and features a pretty sweet soundtrack. Simply use your parkour skills to hurdle crates and gaps between buildings as you flee a grim city that is falling apart beneath your feet. Be sure to throw on some headphones and turn on that strobe light if you truly want to immerse yourself in the experience.
As one of the best defense games of recent years, Fieldrunners has been at the forefront of iOS gaming since its 2008 debut. Like almost all tower defense games, you must build a maze of defensive structures to survive waves upon waves of enemies looking to infiltrate your stronghold. The graphics and gameplay directly reflect that of the mobile version, but the HD mode and ability to save your in-game progress give it the upper hand when it comes to marathon gaming sessions. It did also make the cut as one of Time Magazine’s best games of the year — that counts for something right?
Like the classic version Fruit Ninja involves slicing through various fruits and vegetables with a samurai sword. Different kinds of fruit prove harder to cut all while you make sure to avoid bombs. The biggest difference between the mobile version and this version is that unless you are playing on a touch screen computer, you have to hold down the mouse while swiping, which can prove difficult.
The cult favorite Spelunky HTML5 is like an 8-bit Indiana Jones adventure complete with bullwhips, snakes and all. Essentially, you help a cave diver, Spelunky, search for gold and his lost girlfriend while avoiding booby traps and deadly animals. Controls are incredibly easy only utilizing the arrow keys. If you die in the game, you aren’t sent back to the beginning again, instead the game generates a new set of random levels so you don’t feel like you’re backtracking.
The Fancy Pants Adventure: World 2
The Fancy Pants Adventure: World 2, the 2D, side-scrolling platformer has been around for some time, but that doesn’t take away from adorable animation, bad humor, and addictive gameplay. Join Fancy Pants on his quest to reclaim his stolen ice cream cone (a worthy cause no doubt) and dash, slide and barrel roll your way through lush forests, barren wastelands and pitch-black caves. Sometimes it feels like a Sonic-Mario hybrid, but the originality is still there either way.
Next Page: Best Role-Playing & Strategy Games
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Role-Playing & Strategy
When Bastion burst on the scene in 2010, the hack-and-slash RPG was noteworthy for its compelling story, awesome narration, and gorgeous hand-painted environments. And it’s still equally as impressive today. In the game, you take on the role of “The Kid,” a young gun who must traverse a floating world as it crumbles and sinks into utter chaos. Your job? To explore Calamity and discover its secrets as you battle your way through savage beasts using an upgradable arsenal of destruction. Plus, the score is great and players can save the game across browsers for easy access. The downside? You may have to throw down a bit of cash to complete the storyline.
Game of Thrones Ascent
Regardless of whether or not you care who comes out on top (go Daenerys), Game of Thrones Ascent is a simple and fun game. Create your own land and army in the world of Westeros and throw your hat in the ring for king. Build up your money, power, and alliances to overtake other lands and grow your kingdom. This is a social game and you can connect with friends to get more supplies and create an even larger army. Like in the real Westeros, be on the look out for back stabbing.
No game store would be complete without your stereotypical, mythical tower defense game. The premise is rather simple—build a multitude of towers to fend of the never ending barrage of evil forces dead set on ransacking your beloved kingdom. Kingdom Rush showcases a wide variety of tower types and enemies, each with their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and features polished gameplay that appeals to newbies and veterans of the genre alike. Plus, it looks pretty darn cute.
The Godfather: Five Families
If you’ve ever made someone an offer he couldn’t refuse or decided to leave the gun and take the cannoli, The Godfather: Five Families is the game for you. Create a killer mob to make money and connections in order to be the last mob boss standing. Make alliances with friends to employ and even larger army. Be careful who you trust because you might wake up to a horse’s head.
Lord of Ultima
Electronic Arts is a household name when it comes to gaming with hit titles that include everything from Madden to Mass Effect. The newest edition to the fantasy role-playing lineup, Lord of Ultima, gives players a chance to settle a new found land, create diplomatic ties, carry out military conquests, and essentially build an empire from the ground up. Aside from the online chat functions and an extensive trading network between players, player alliances are a key in ascertaining the game’s goal given the difficult gameplay you face whilst flying solo. The game drags at times, but no one said Rome was built in a day—it took more than five centuries. So might Ultima.
Plants vs. Zombies
Though the Chrome version of Plants vs. Zombies is merely a free trial, how can you resist the urge to combat the undead with a flurry of peashooters and cabbage-pults? For those of you who surprisingly don’t know anything about the game, it’s yet another tower defense strategy game where you attempt to ward off the diverse zombie onslaught lurking outside your front door. The browser rendition brings all the mobile elements online, but it unfortunately lacks any sort of full-screen option and offline game mode.
Call of Gods
Call of Gods may be the nerdiest game on the list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good time. The goal of the game is to save your kingdom and purge the land of demons, corruption, and the like. Players must choose from a list of divine heroes — elf, undead, or human — before they can embark on quests and interact with other players. The combat system works on a turn-by-turn basis and characters can level up to gain special abilities, equipment, and various buffs to be used on the battlefield and raise troop statistics.
Next Page: Best Puzzle & Brain games
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Puzzle & Brain
Chrome’s version of little of Little Alchemy isn’t much different than the mobile version — aside from the full-screen and offline game modes. Players begin the game with four main base elements (fire, water, earth, and air) and concoct an assortment of more complex elements as the game goes on. For instance, combine earth and fire to create lava, then lava and air to create stone, then stone and air to create sand, and so on. There isn’t much to it, but you can easily spend hours trying to unlock the hundreds of available combos without the cheat guide. Believe me.
Cargo Bridge tests your physics, geometry, and construction capabilities — not to mention your patience — all at once. In the cartoony puzzle game, players must utilize limited resources and money to build bridges for their workers to cross. One faulty bridge or mistake will send your workers tumbling to their deaths, forcing you to start building bridges all over again for the level. The fewer resources you use, the higher your score. The full-screen mode and online leaderboard are a nice touch as well.
Gopherwood Studios’ Entanglement was once one of the default games added to Chrome upon installation. In an attempt to create the longest path possible, players rotate and place etched tiles into a hexagonal grid or other formation without running into a wall. The game features both single player and multiplayer game modes, online and offline functionality, and Zen-like music that makes you feel like you should be drinking a cup of tea or sitting in a Japanese garden. It’s simple and straightforward, but the level variation adds enough depth to make you stick around.
Cut the Rope
Cuddly little Om Nom has a hankering for some candy, and you’re going to Cut the Rope to give it to him. The smash-hit physics game has been around the mobile block for awhile and is now available on Chrome. Each level and puzzle gets progressively more complicated as new elements and hazards are continually introduced to the gameplay. Don’t be fooled by the cute (yet good-looking) graphics, the game can be brutally challenging and frustrating as you snag stars and follow frog-like Om Nom further down the virtual rabbit hole.
Pathuku is frustrating and rewarding at the same time. The object of the game is to create the shape provided only using each line once. As the levels get higher, the shapes get increasingly complicated. The neon shapes are placed in background, and can be deceivingly tricky to see. Think of Pathuku as a more advanced version of trying to draw a barn without picking up your pencil. Prove to your friends and yourself that you can successfully see where lines start and end.
Possibly the nerdiest game on the list, 2048 is simply adding numbers together. That’s all there is to it. You add numbers together and try to get the ultimate number, 2048. Seems easy, but of course there’ s a catch. Numbers move like tiles so they can only go from side to side or up and down, and numbers can only be added to themselves. 2048 has a simple interface and controls, which leaves your brain power free to remember what 16 + 16 is. This isn’t your kid’s addition tables.
Voodoo Friends follows a miniature voodoo doll as he tries to find out the truth of how he was created. He is on a journey to collect yarn and get to the next area by exiting through a door. There are booby traps and spikes on the floor, like you would expect in any Voodoo based world. It acts like a puzzle game and you have to figure out how to navigate around each level without getting stabbed on a spike or falling to your death. The more yarn you gather the more stars you will get.
Mahjong Solitaire is much like the traditional solitaire, only using mahjong tiles instead of cards. Although the solo puzzle game is a bit more fine tuned than it was when it was was first developed for the computer in early 80s, it’s still essentially still the same game. Players must click matching sets of tiles to eliminate them from the stack and complete the puzzle. The Chrome version mixes it up with multiple stacking layouts, tile variations, and some relaxing music that will likely put you to sleep. It’s not too tough, but going against the clock makes adds to the challenge.
Next Page: Best Board, Card & Virtual World games
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Board, Card & Virtual Worlds
Realm of the Mad God
Realm of the Mad God is an online MMORPG that tackles elements of a traditional shooter at the same time. Players choose a character from a variety of classes and barge around an expansive map shooting troves of enemies, leveling up and collecting upgradeable loot that can be swapped out at the bazaar. Although the environments are fairly large, the game can be absolute chaos given that up to 85 players can play on the same server at once. And when you die, you die permanently. No if, ands, or buts about it. The polished, pseudo-8-bit graphics look surprising nice though.
There are plenty of MMOs out, but Dark Orbit is one of the few games Chrome offers that isn’t fantasy related. Instead of a knight, mage, or archer, players take on the role of a space pilot drifting in DarkOrbit. The game allows you to explore a massive expanse of space as you scour the universe in search of raw materials to upgrade and customize your spaceship. Should you choose to play nice, you can team up with other players to complete quests and objectives. Otherwise, you can engage in interstellar battles with your newfound enemies in a unique PvP system full of endless firepower and far too much strafing. Be forewarned though; space can get a bit lonely from time to time.
Angry Gran Grannywood Run
Imagine a world where an angry, kung-fu fighting granny has escaped from an insane asylum and is going on a rampage and of course, wackiness ensues. That is the world Angry Gran Grannywood Run has created and it is even more terrifying and awesome than you could imagine. It’s up to you to stop her before she destroys the whole town. The game most resembles a race game like Temple Run and controls are easy to master. Run, Granny, Run!
Chess as we know it has been played for more than six centuries, but the origins go back nearly 1500 years. It’s a game of wits, intellect and patience—and now browser-based convenience thanks to Chrome’s rendition of the classic game. SparkChess 6 features quick, fluid animations as well as an admirable built-in AI and multiplayer mode for those hoping to go head-to-head against another player. There’s even Facebook integration and a nice batch of hints for those of you new to the game.
Now you can make waves by breaking away from the cliche of Solitaire by playing virtual Uno at work. With the same rules and gameplay as the classic card game, you can save up your “Skip” and “Draw Two” cards. The game only allows you to play against the computer and there is a time limit, so you can’t waste your entire day matching colors and numbers. Uno can take a while to complete so the timer is practical if you’re trying to play a quick game.
Build with Chrome
Legos are fun for any age, but especially if you have nothing else to do Internet. Build with Chrome gives you a chance to go back to your childhood without risking the terrible feeling of stepping on a Lego. With this game, you can build anywhere in the world and even take over a whole continent with your creations. You have three basic colors to choose from, which simplifies things.
Yahtzee a fun-filled and family-friendly dice game where you roll five di and try to get certain combinations to fill up a scorecard. There are two schools of thought surrounding Yahtzee. Some people think it is completely based on chance and getting the right roll at the right time. Other people believe you can control your fate by being strategic about what you are rolling for. Regardless of where your beliefs land, you can still enjoy this virtual game where you can play against the computer or a friend.
Solitaire is a classic and these new-fangled computers don’t come with it built in anymore. Remember how fun the saddest card game in the world is with Spider Solitaire. In case you aren’t an office cliche and haven’t heard of Solitaire, it is a card game where you try to stack all the suits in the right order. It is famous for being impossible to complete, which makes winning even more satisfying.
What did you think of our picks for the best Google Chrome games? What are some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.