The 100 best free online games on PC

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PUZZLE: PART TWO

Puzzle Script

Play it online here.

Puzzle Script isn't a game so much as an “open-source HTML5 puzzle game engine”, but it's already been used to make a bunch of interesting games, including a Closure demake, a couple of Sokoban titles, a more cerebral version of Pac-Man and loads more. My favourite so far is Dungeon Janitor, which sees you desperately trying (and most likely desperately failing) to mop up a particularly troublesome puddle of slime.

Companion

Play it online here.

You’re a square floating in a black void, and there are three types of objects in the environment: stars, which stick to you; cuboid objects which do nothing, and jellyfish-like creatures which move towards you and electrocute you on contact. Then, very quickly, you meet another square like you, only smaller. It’s sleeping. You poke at it, and it wakes up—and hoots at you. Hello! He then follows you around, tooting curiously at the objects you find, and experimentally butting at them. Companion is a five-minute experiment—and a successful demonstration—of how to build a relationship between a player and an NPC.

Neptune's Pride

Play it online here.

More of a strategy game than a puzzle game, really, but the excellent Neptune's Pride doesn't quite slot into the other sections but still definitely deserves a mention. Essentially, it's How To End A Friendship In One Easy Strategy Game. The action is simple: move ships to conquer planets, then build an economy on those planets. The glacial pace ensures that as you set nefarious plans in motion against your best friend, they have hours to marvel at your cruelty.

Reprisal

Play it online here.

Reprisal is an RTS god-game. You hover around a square island, indirectly controlling your subjects by placing waypoints and using totems to control the elements with earth-changing powers. If your immediate reaction is “so, it’s Populous then...” well, yes. It’s called Reprisal for a reason. It’s a stylish pixel art tribute, with a great chiptune soundtrack underneath.

No-one Has To Die

Play it online here.

You play as a courier, making an innocent delivery to an almost certainly evil corporation when a fire breaks out. As automated systems lock you alone in the reception, the building's IM chat fills with staff members stuck on the floors above.

Being the only person with direct access to the building's safety controls, it's your job to seal off doors, activate sprinklers, and direct the members of staff away from their certain death.

Here's the thing: despite the title, in every level someone has to die. The crux of the game revolves around that choice—and the narrative-heavy chat logs that precede each mission help you to decide what you want to do.

Ir/Rational Redux

Play it online here.

Ir/rational was originally released by Tom Jubert, writer for the Penumbra series and the upcoming FTL, back in 2009. It's now back in reduxed form, which seems to mean it's been given a coat of graphics and sound, and has found its way onto Newgrounds.

What haven't changed are the puzzles. You're presented with a series of statements and must pick logical arguments to fill in the blanks. The trick isn't whether the answer is true (in one early puzzle you prove the existence of god), but to work out why that answer is true, through the twisted circular logic you're given.

You Must Escape

Play it online here.

You Must Escape’s graphics are representations of sound. When you're not moving, the screen is black. Take a step and lines emanate from your position, bouncing off the otherwise invisible walls. Early on, the puzzle is simple: make noise to map out the level and find the exit—recognisable by its thicker white lines. Hold and release space and you'll send out a louder wave, necessary for tracing a route through more complex levels.

Before long, You Must Escape pulls its most effective trick. Red lines denote danger, either in the form of a static trap to avoid, or a creature that will hunt you. Your problem is that, if you can 'see' a creature, it's because you've sent out lines of noise that let it hear your location.

Naya’s Quest

Play it online here.

Naya's Quest was made by VVVVVV and Super Hexagon creator Terry Cavanagh. In case you were wondering: yes, it is bastard hard, just less stressful on your reflexes. It's an isometric puzzle-platformer about a girl and her pilgrimage to the edge of the world. As you're walking through the harmless opening screens, you pick up a scanning device. When activated the world vanishes, leaving only a cross section of the tiles directly horizontal and vertical to your position. At first the purpose of the scanner isn't clear. That is, until you reach the dungeon leading to the edge and start walking across an apparently solid bridge. Halfway across, and Naya falls into the void. Damn you Cavanagh!

Lamp and Vamp

Play it online here.

Lamp and Vamp was created for the Procedural Death Jam - a competition designed to promote the "Procedural Death Labyrinth", a slightly less hideous term for "roguelike-likes". True to form, it's both randomly generated and contains death, or at least, undeath. You play a vampire trying to reach the safety of his coffin by moving one hex-tile at a time. In your way are patrolling villagers, and holy-water-hurling priests. You’ll need to carefully use your abilities to safely make it home.

Nothing To Hide

Play it online here.

If you're tired of scurrying into dark corners, away from human contact, Nothing To Hide might be for you. It's an anti-stealth game in which your job is to be seen at all times. Currently a demo, the developers plan to expand it into a full and open source game. You play as Poppy Gardner, daughter to the sinister head of a dystopian surveillance state. Trapped in a state of constant paranoid nervousness, you decide to help your father's social media popularity by running away to Canada. The only problem is that you must stay in state of the autonomous security eyes, or risk being taken down by anti-criminal sleeping darts.

The Very Organized Thief

Play it online here.

The Very Organized Thief spawns you in a house that's not your own, carrying nothing but a torch and a list of items. If you hadn't guessed from the title, your job is to rob things. Both the larcenous list and the location of its items are randomly generated each time you play, meaning you'll need to carefully explore the house to find what you're after.

In most cases, it's easy to intuit where the items will be. A blender, for instance, will reliably live in the kitchen. Others are more cryptic, like the gold bar that you're always asked to find. To aid you in your search, you can pick up items, open draws and lift lids. You may be organised, but nothing says you have to be tidy.