The 100 best free online games on PC

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SCORE ATTACK

Hexagon

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Hexagon is essentially Super Hexagon’s Hexagon mode, in its entirety, for free. The premise is incredibly simple: you rotate an arrow around a circle and try to thread a path through a pulsing neon hexagonal maze. As an exercise in focus, reflexes and pattern recognition, it’s every other arcade game triple-distilled: a quick, high-yield dose of flashing lights, pounding music and inevitable crushing failure.

Canabalt

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The game that invented the endless runner, and also the game that proved that it is impossible to jump through a window if you are actually trying to do it. I love Canabalt for its atmospheric, low-key sci-fi visuals and Danny Baranowski’s amazing soundtrack.

Catlateral Damage

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Cats are jerks. They're also adorable, and better at personal hygiene than dogs, so for now our two species can maintain the uneasy truce. Luckily, there's a cathartic antidote to their antics in the form of Catlateral Damage. Originally created for last August's 7 Day FPS challenge, its developer has since worked on the first-person feline simulator in preparation for turning it into a full game.

You play as a cat left alone in a room full of stuff. There's DVDs, toys, books and expensive electrical equipment, all neatly placed on shelves and tables. That simply won't do. Your job is to knock as much of it on to the floor as you can manage in two minutes.

Astrovoid

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Astrovoid is a twin-stickish shooter with a great feel to the controls, a whole lot of screen shake, and a soundtrack that does that neat dampened-sound/am-I-in-a-nightclub-bathroom thing when you die. Another neat thing that happens when you die is that your little jetpack hero drops a giant ball bearing (or something), which will bounce around killing enemies in your wake. Your score—that giant number in the centre of the screen—isn't finalised until the ball stops moving, adding an element of Breakout to the tail-end of each heart-racing run.

Maverick Bird

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Of the many Flappy Bird tribute games, Terry Cavanagh's Maverick Bird is among the best. It has the same concept, featuring an endless course of randomly generated hazards. Tap up and you'll jump in mid-air, tracing an arc that makes it difficult to neatly pass between the obstacles. The difference is in the presentation. Instead of an awkwardly flapping bird, you play as an abstractly hopping diamond. Instead of cheerful Mario pipes to avoid, it's a variety of pulsating, colour-shifting shapes. It's a brash, vibrant game, with an art style and soundtrack reminiscent of Cavanagh's Super Hexagon.

Typing Karaoke

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I'll admit that I'm not au fait with typing tests, but I'm willing to guess that the line “this is how I roll, animal print pants out of control” doesn't usually feature. Step forward Typing Karaoke, in which you type out the lyrics to various songs before the singer has finished singing them.

It parodies the look of rhythm games perfectly. Complete a line and stars erupt from the score bar, the background scene starts to build and the game spouts over the top exclamations like RAD! or WOW! But Typing Karaoke is anything but rhythm-based. The actual typing is frantic and messy, as the ridiculous speed of some of the songs renders them all but impossible to complete. Fortunately, the disconnect between the presentation and the act of playing it is hilarious.

Icarus Proudbottom’s World of Typing Weekly

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The follow up to the sublime Icarus Proudbottom Teaches Typing is a five-part episodic murder mystery. Once again, you join Proudbottom and his owl sidekick Jerry for more instructional typing fun. Tragedy interrupts your merry tapping when Icarus is bludgeoned to death with a plastic keyboard.

Joined by Mark 22, the crime solving robot, you set out to find his killer. Your chief suspects are Apollo, Icarus's easy going cousin; Lucida, a member of the Typing Council; and Jerry, who won't stop saying "naught". That's the basic setup, at least. Over the course of the five episodes, things are further complicated by improperly removed USB keys, ancient magicks, and a scuffed up letter A.

Bullet Waltz

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Bullet Waltz is a fiendish score attack game about not being shot. Playing as a small pink square, you must avoid the small green squares being fired out of a rotating cannon in the centre of the map. The difficulty in this is that, rather than disappearing off screen, bullets ricochet off the walls and central cannon. This becomes problematic after around the 20th new projectile.

Helping you out are the small flashing squares. These pick-ups temporarily transform you into a spinning giant, able to destroy any bullets that you touch. If you're lucky with the timing, you can chain these for a satisfying, screen-clearing run of destruction.

Three Body Problem

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Three Body Problem is deceptively simple. It's a game about prolonging death and building your high-score by avoiding a game-ending collision with another block. What makes it difficult—uncompromisingly, hair-tearingly difficult—is the movement of the two other blocks. Eventually you will make a mistake, and the AI will immediately punish you for it. The instant restart ensures you'll try again.

10 More Bullets

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How many ships can you destroy with ten more bullets, asks flash game 10 More Bullets. The most, you'd assume, would be ten. Except, when these ones hit a ship, they'll split into more, and more, and more again. As your multiplier increases, so do the number of bullets each ship explodes into, until you've wiped hundreds from the skies. And then you try again, using the gold from your previous attempts to buy upgrades—further increasing your potential for limited ammo destruction. It’s wonderfully compulsive.

Hotline Trail

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Despite the Hotline Miami reference, endless runner Hotline Trail features no gore, violence or cod philosophy. It doesn't even have a phone. What it does have is screen-tilting ambience, an '80s inspired soundtrack, and a difficulty curve that makes for a compelling high-score chaser.

You're riding along a top-down, and constantly unfolding road. As you progress, a smooth, mellow voice warns of upcoming hazards. You'll have to navigate through chicanes, roundabouts and hairpins, all at a fixed speed that ensures your mistakes won't go unpunished.