The best games for the Chromebook

Want to game on your Chromebook? Here's where to start

If you own a Chromebook, then you have likely discovered that there’s not as diverse a selection of games as on other PCs. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to play.

To begin with, most modern Chromebooks now have access to the Google Play Store, making the millions of Android games readily available. But even if you’re rocking an older Chrome OS device that doesn’t support Android apps, you’ll still find a good selection of games, from RPGs to enchanting puzzlers. We’ve collected the best Chromebook games to help you get your gaming fix fast, and as an added bonus, most of them are completely free!

A note on compatibility: Chromebooks don’t play nice with many games because of driver issues or insufficient hardware. We had to ditch some seriously great games because they would not work, even though they technically launch in Chrome. The games below are ones we found to work.

Agar.io‘ (free)

Agario

Agar.io is a sleeper hit, a web-based game that has swiftly grown in popularity due to its easy handling (being featured on House of Cards helped too). All you need is the right site and login information.

The game itself is surprisingly mesmerizing. You begin life as a simple blob on a world made from graph paper, then go around snacking on other players until you grow and become more powerful. As you grow, you learn how to use the few tricks your blob comes with, where to hide, and so on. It’s pretty addictive, and always lots of fun to see other players around the world running from you — or gobbling you up.

There’s an Agar.io extension for Chrome and a ton of mod downloads (some of them dubious) if you want to go the more complex route, but simply visiting the site is enough to get started.

Polycraft‘ (free)

Polycraft

If you’ve been longing for some Minecraft but have no other devices handy but your Chromebook, we suggest trying Polycraft.

The game starts with your character being stranded on an island and forced to build protection against (surprisingly cute) warring tribes. It’s somewhere between Minecraft, tower defense, and an RPG, so it’s no surprise that so many people find it entertaining.

The only downside is that after you’ve spent several hours exploring the island and building your fortress, you may find that you’ve done all the exciting stuff — so it’s time to move on to our next suggestion.

Arcane Legends‘ (free)

Arcane Legends

There are a lot of great free-to-play, RPG-focused Chromebook games out there, and most can be handled by any computer. But Arcane Legends is one of the most dependable – and fun to play. The game allows you to create a character, do some hacking or slashing, cast some magic, tame some cute pets — the usual RPG fare.

This WoW-lite approach is particularly balanced in Arcane Legends, which is why it’s hard to find a bad word said against it. One thing worth noting is that diving into the deeper elements of the game, like guilds, will take a time commitment. It’s not exactly for casual players.

Tagpro‘ (free)

HTML 5 Tag Pro

Though its graphics are inspired by the ancient Minesweeper, Tagpro is actually a surprisingly complex game of capture the flag, which is great if you want a short, competitive experience that’s all about strategy and great teamwork.

The super-simple graphics mean that you don’t have to worry about popping open a quick window to play, and can instead focus on the combination of bombs, blocks, and power-ups that you have access to, essentially building your own little video game levels to thwart flag stealers. Get a couple teams together, with everyone trying to steal each others’ flags, and chaos quickly ensues.

DarkOrbit‘ (free)

Darkorbit

DarkOrbit is a contentious sci-fi MMO video game, and several years ago (the game’s been around since 2009) it probably wouldn’t have made it on this list. But over time, more features have been added, more wrinkles have been smoothed out, and more gameplay has been made absolutely free.

If you love to micromanage spaceships, hunt other players, and compete to be the best pilot in the universe — plus have a lot of free time — this is your kind of game. A warning, though: There’s lots of theory-crafting for DarkOrbit, some of it out of date, and a fan base that remains large and experienced after years of playing. You may feel out of your depth when first starting.

Crimson: Steam Pirates‘ (free)

Crimson: Steam Pirates

Crimson: Steam Pirates is an incredibly creative and very highly rated game, but it’s also a little difficult to describe. Part Battleship, part strategy, part defense, and part action, the game gives you control over your own ship, then lets you set traps, prepare for battles, and fight enemies while exploring the high seas for treasure. There are both single-player and multiplayer modes to experience — however, you may have to pay for later missions to unlock the full game.

Monster Force 5‘ (free)

Monster Force 5

If you are more of a stack-and-match player, try out the Denki-produced Monster Force 5. Here, you collect cards, explore dungeons, and fight by matching symbols to link attacks from your own party of controlled monsters. It’s simple to understand, a blast to play, and the sessions are short enough to let you pop in and out whenever you want to.

Pandemic 2‘ (free)

Pandemic 2

Have you ever felt like destroying humankind? Pandemic 2 is perfect for those particular Mondays when your morbid streak is wider than usual. Simply choose a terrifying disease and then work to eradicate all human life on the planet.

The game prides itself on its absence of sexy graphics, instead giving you ultrasimple menus and maps where you carefully track your disease around the world and try to get as many countries infected as possible.

Sure, it is a little stat-heavy at first, but it’s also relatively painless to play and easy to pull up during a boring class or slow workday.

Entanglement‘ ($5)

HTML 5 Games Entanglement

Entanglement is one of the most lauded Chromebook games in recent times, receiving accolades for both its beautiful, organic design and bewitching gameplay (well, bewitching as long as you like thoughtful puzzlers). The goal for any given map is to create a path by moving tiles around. The longer and more labyrinthine your path, the better your score. It’s easy to learn and surprisingly soothing to play.

Save the Day‘ (free)

Save the Day

If you love old-school arcade games with a lot of challenge to them, try out this new take on the formula. Instead of shooting aliens or thugs, you’re zipping around the screen in a helicopter to avoid the fire while rescuing survivors caught between the flames. The “save ’em up” approach is pretty cool, the game’s cartoony graphics are easy on the eyes, and the challenge level is just right.

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