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The best browser games to play right now

Best browser games - Celeste Classic
(Image credit: Matt Makes Games)

If you're looking for a new game to keep you entertained, you don't always need a super-powered gaming PC—browser games are the perfect time-killers. Browser games aren't about rendering the flashiest graphics in the newest releases. There are lots of great games to play directly in your browser that are entirely free and easy to run. Bonus: this is also the best way to sneak in some gaming time at work when you should be sending emails.

Browser games require almost no effort to get going, and like locally installed games there's almost certainly something for everyone. Not only are there lots of multiplayer browser games, but many singleplayer ones are the early, free builds of games that went on to be popular full releases. If you're ready to get out there and kill some time, these are the games you should play.

Looking for something a little different? Check out our guide to the best free PC games, the best free games on Steam, the annual PC Gamer Top 100, and our frequently updated guide to the best PC games to play right now.

Fallen London

Browser games - Fallen London

(Image credit: Failbetter Games)

Fallen London is the long-running narrative browser game that preceded Failbetter Games' later Sunless Seas and Sunless Skies in the same universe. Despite the release of two paid games, Fallen London still gets new content and stories added and recently had a nice update to the look of its map as well. You play as a newcomer to underground London, a person of leisure able to take on odd side jobs while accepting quests to dig up the secrets of the subterranean city. 

Agar.io 

Best Browser Games: Agar.io

Though Agar.io looks simplistic, with graphics of colored circles on a checker-lined background, it's surprisingly challenging. Your circle starts off very small, but when you eat all of the little colored dots around you, you become bigger. As a small circle, you move quickly and are able to dodge the bigger circles trying to eat you. When you get bigger, you need larger portions of food. To grow even more than these puny dots are allowing you to, you must eat the other players.

Since smaller players move faster, you can split your circle into two different circles of equal mass. When splitting your circle, the new one will shoot out, which is useful for enveloping the smaller player running away from you. These circles grow depending on what they eat and do not stay the same size or move at the same speed. There are multiple modes, including team games. Once a bigger player gobbles you up, you have to restart as the smallest possible dot. The circle of life is brutal.

For other similar options, try Hexar.io, Lordz.io, and Lasersharks.io!

Celeste Classic

Best Browser Games - Celeste Classic

(Image credit: Matt Makes Games)

Before it was a popular platformer, Celeste was a free browser game by the same name. You can still play that early version, now dubbed "classic" for a jaunt through the game jam that became an award-winning indie game. The full release is one of the best indie games out there.

Isleward 

Best Browser Games: Isleward

Isleward doesn't look like a multiplayer game at first. It's a low-res roguelike that has you choosing what character you want to play before dumping you on your own into the city of Strathford. In Strathford you get your bearings, learn how to queue up actions and explore. There are also a few low-level monsters that you can find and kill to level up. 

Eventually you'll run into other people and hopefully convince them to adventure with you. A party of different characters is much stronger than one player alone, and significantly more fun. There's a whole world to explore, loads of islands, and lots of loot to find.

Slither.io 

Best Browser Games: Slither.io

Much like Agar.io, Slither.io has you hungry for small dots (this time ones that glow) to grow bigger. The twist: you're a snake. Your body gets longer as well as slightly wider as you eat the various dots that are littered around. You aren’t able to eat your enemies, but if you time it well, you can force another snake to run into your body.

This will cause them to vanish, leaving behind loads of body dots to collect. Slither.io does also allow you to customize the skin of your snake, and there are some awesome options. Consider pimping out your snake with a necklace that dangles as they slither. 

For something similar with a twist, try powerline.io!

Kingdom of Loathing

Best Browser Games: Kingdom of Loathing

You're probably familiar with the style of Kingdom of Loathing, which has been going strong for years. It's that sort of pseudo-mmo kind of thing, firmly embedded in the web interface, with drop down menus letting you select your attacks, and page refreshes for every new area. It's a little ugly, but Kingdom of Loathing isn't trying to be pretty. It's succeeding at being funny. Really, really funny.

Take, for instance, the classes. They make absolutely no sense, but they're funny because they're pun based. So I'm a Sauceror. I fling hot sauce in people's faces, and they get damaged, because hot sauce really hurts when it gets in your face. Making even less sense, they're Disco Bandits, who dance at their enemies, fuelled by moxie. And this is all before you end up in the Haiku Dungeon, where not only are all the descriptions of your enemies in Haiku, but so are your attacks.

The whole game is consistently absurd and amusing, from the enemy types, to the genre conventions it apes so cleverly. And while you can't directly play with other people, you can steal their stuff, join guilds and interact with them. So that's something.

Sort The Court

Browser games - Sort The Court

(Image credit: Graeme Borland)

Sort The Court is a bit like a lite version of Yes, Your Grace. As the ruler, your many subjects (be they princesses, wizards, or cats) come to you asking for favors. Some want money, some food, others may be looking to strike a bargain. You'll decide who gets a piece of the royal pie with a simple Yes or No answer to each petition. Good luck keeping all those peasants happy and fed without emptying your treasury!

Treasure Arena 

Best Browser Games: Treasure Arena

This 16-bit adventure game has you battling in a dungeon over valuable treasure. There are three other players looking to get a piece of the pie, too. You can respawn as long as the time is ticking away, but once you die you lose some of your gold. The aim of the game is to have the most gold when the time is up.

Various power-ups also appear around the dungeon and can be used to keep yourself alive. You and other online players aren’t the only people hanging out in this dungeon—NPCs also guard the treasure and will attack on sight if you go near them. You have to locate more powerful weapons to even have a chance against them.

It's now evolved into Super Treasure Arena as a full release as well. 

War Brokers 

Best Browser Games: War Brokers

War Brokers is a first-person voxel team shooter. There are sometimes missions that theme combat rounds beyond straight deathmatch, like stopping the enemy launching their missiles. It's now expanded to include a battle royale mode as well.

War Brokers has plenty of different guns and machines for you to unlock and use. Guns unlock over time, but you do start off with a pistol and a rifle to defend yourself with. Vehicles such as helicopters and tanks can be found around the map, which you can of course get into and control. If you log into an account, there are tons of little missions and rewards you can claim for playing. And the competition can be brutal—it's especially good if you want a challenging experience.

For more deathmatches, there's also Raid.land!

Town of Salem

Best Browser Games: Town of Salem

If you've ever played the party game Mafia or Werewolf, Town of Salem should feel familiar. This roleplaying game challenges you to be a conniving liar and mislead other players. Depending on who you are randomly cast as, you might be a townsperson (good), the mafia (bad) or neutrals.

If you're a townsperson, you need to track down mafia members and stop them before they kill everyone in your town. There are many different roles for each category of player. Each of these different roles will give you a unique ability that you can use in the night phase of the game. At night, players plan out their moves and make notes in their will. If they die in the night, the remaining players can use their wills to, hopefully, achieve the goals you were meant to do! Town of Salem is quite complex to explain, but you'll get the hang of it soon enough.

Wilds.io 

Best Browser Games: Wilds.io

This hack and slash follows the core principle of killing people you don’t like the look of, and finding loot spread around the map. There are a bunch of different game modes but the most popular is Ruins, the default when you run the game.

Ruins gives you the chance to explore an area as a member of one of three teams. You can kill other players on different teams, break boxes, and find loot. Let’s be honest—who doesn’t like more loot? Armor, potions, and new weapons will help you survive longer in this desert wasteland. Your main objective is to gain bones which appear when people die. If you get enough bones you become the king of the ruins. There are a bunch of other modes, some with shorter times and easier objectives, including soccer. Yes, soccer.

Pokemon Showdown 

Best Browser Games: Pokemon Showdown

If battling trainers is the part of Pokemon games you enjoy, Pokemon Showdown is for you. You can jump straight into matches against other players without having to level up or care for your pokemon beforehand. If you die, you don’t need to go back to the pokemon center and rest up either—you can jump straight into a new battle. 

Pokemon Showdown lets you to battle using either a random team, or a custom team if you want to define which pokemon you’d like to work with. You can then quickly go through a match, selecting moves and countering the other trainer. This fast-paced game takes all of the work out of raising pokemon, leaving just gratuitous pokemon takedowns.

Squadd.io 

Best Browser Games: Squadd.io

An isometric shooter in which you can battle with your friends against an opposing team, or fight in a free-for-all with everyone. Power-up stations placed in the arena grant different weapons. There are a couple characters to choose from off the bat, and plenty more to unlock as you bump off your enemies.

The main goal of the game is simply to stay alive and earn enough points to reach the top of the scoreboard. The more points you earn the more you level up and the more weapons you can unlock. It's very quick to get into, perfect if you are looking for fast-paced matches.

Neptune's Pride

Best Browser Games: Neptune's Pride

Neptune's Pride is the epitome of backstabbing, two-faced, genuine human nastiness. It's a real time strategy game in the same way that glaciers move in  real time, set in space and all about galactic expansion. Up to eight players start with a few star systems, and then expand outwards, until they meet someone else, and either decide to not kill each other  immediately, or have at it.

Because the fleets take hours, and  sometimes days, to get from star to star, that leaves you with a good  deal of time to play the diplomacy game, trying to cement alliances and  crumble the foundations of those of your enemies. You try to get them  alone, when you know one party is out, and just start to gently wear  away at their trust, until they're a human shaped receptacle for  suspicion, and before you know it you've got galactic civil war on your  hands, and you can mop up the pieces.

Or, I suppose, you could play it like an honourable, decent human being. But where's the fun in that?

Catan Universe

Catan Online

(Image credit: Kosmos)

A classic boardgame brought into your browser. Catan helped usher in the golden age of boardgames as it grew more and more popular outside of Europe. If you've never played Catan, here's a free opportunity to hate your friends because they won't give you any fucking grain.

Final Fantasy Tactics Battleground

Best browser games - Final Fantasy Tactics Battleground

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Okay so it's not exactly a browser game in the way everything else on this list is, but it does run in your browser. You've already heard about TwitchPlaysPokemon but FFT Battlegrounds is a totally different concept. Instead of fighting for control of the on-screen characters against the rest of chat, an AI controls all of the tactical battles. As a chatter, you place bets on which side you think will win and can spend your channel Gil to name a character after yourself with a chosen class and skill. It may sound hands-off but it's every bit as engaging as watching Marbles on Steam