Best free web browser games: 10 games you have to play

best free web browser games: a graphic art with a controller, a tablet and a browser
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The best free web browser games provide heaps of entertainment in the simplest way possible – you just need yourself, the internet, and your favorite web browser. 

There are many great games to play that need neither a large rig nor an expensive console, and the best free web browser games really showcase what can be done with the bare minimum. 

Being focussed on games you can play download-free, these differ from our list of the best PC games. Free browser games are meant for quick sessions, and they don’t take the commitment or price tag of their triple-A rivals.

These are games that you can start playing within minutes. You don’t need to have a particularly powerful PC either; a laptop with basic RAM will likely be sufficient to satisfy the minimum requirements of these games. Many thought the end of Flash Player meant the end of browser gaming, but this simply is not the case – as long as you know where to look.

For more options on mobile and portable gaming, head over to our list of the best free Android games.

Ready to check out your latest free-to-play obsession? Here are the best browser games still kicking in 2022.

Best free web browser games

(Image credit: id Software)

Doom (1993)

Can your browser run Doom?

Reasons to buy

+
A classic FPS, completely free
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Great soundtrack
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Works for speedrunners and those looking for longer sessions

Reasons to avoid

-
Repetitive arenas

Step into the boots of the Doom Slayer and mow down countless deadly demons in one of the most influential first-person shooters of all time. Make your way through rooms full of snarling enemies, find explosive new weapons to even the odds, and restore order to the space station on Mars. 

Released several decades ago, Doom’s gratifying gameplay still holds up today, making the hell-raising hit from 1993 an instant recommendation. 

Play here: Doom (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Foddy.net)

QWOP

The classic herp derp champion

Reasons to buy

+
Fun gaming idea
+
Easy to pick up, challenging to actually execute
+
Failing is actually a lot of fun

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be frustrating

QWOP isn’t your typical sports game. You control the calves and thighs (yes, you read that right) of a hapless track runner, a little like in physics-based comedy games such as Octodad or Manual Samuel. The goal is to move forward without falling over, but it’s almost impossible to do so. 

With all the grace of Bambi on ice, QWOP is a purposefully difficult game that will leave you utterly exasperated at one man’s inability to run. Being good at it isn't the point, so you'll come back to QWOP simply because you're convinced that this time you'll run. Something as delightfully weird as this could only have been one of the best free web browser games.

Play here: QWOP (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Sirvo)

Threes

Three-sy peasy

Reasons to buy

+
Simple game you want to keep playing
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Clean user interface
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Makes you feel smart

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best choice if you hate maths

Threes! is a numerical puzzle game that’s easy to grasp yet difficult to master. You can either move left, right, up or down, and the goal is to get adjacent and identically-numbered cards to stack on top of one another. The concept has the staying power of the likes of Tetris, unless you hate numbers. It took people years until someone finally beat Threes, and to this days a lot of people are hunting for the highscore.

New tiles are introduced with every turn, so you need to keep stacking tiles or risk running out of room. If the board fills up, it’s game over and you’ll be presented with a final score. 

Play here: Threes! (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Derek Yu)

Spelunky

No need to plumb the depths of your bank balance for this gem

Reasons to buy

+
Early version of a game that rightfully became a hit
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Nice to compare to the full version
+
Very good for short sessions

Reasons to avoid

-
Rather short

Widely regarded as one of gaming’s greats, Spelunky is just as engrossing as ever when played in a web browser. Discover the treasures buried beneath the surface as you battle menacing monsters, cross numerous pitfalls and hoard precious loot. 

This version is exactly right if you want to see what Spelunky is all about before paying for the published version, or if you simply want to fill some time spelunking

Levels are randomized, promising a new experience with each playthrough, making it ideal for speedrunners and those who love beating their highscores alike. A bona fide classic, you definitely need to deep dive into Spelunky.

(Image credit: Exozet Game)

Catan Universe

Hail Catan

Reasons to buy

+
Official modernised version of Catan Classic
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Three different modes to play
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Includes card game Catan – The Duel

Reasons to avoid

-
Full base game and expansions need to be purchased
-
Dice RNG has balancing issues

Settlers of Catan has established itself as a classic board game ever since its release in 1995. And like most classic board games, it’s made its way to the digital realm. The digital version of Settlers of Catan is called Catan Universe. This free-to-play game sticks close to the original game, letting you expand your settlements and collect resources to win. 

It’s cross-platform so you can jump in on different devices and you can play against other players, even if they’re on a different platform than you. While there are in-game purchases available for expansions and the like, this is a great way to scratch that board game itch, even if you only have your phone available.

(Image credit: Lowtech Studios)

Slither.io

Draco Malfoy would slither in, and so should you

Reasons to buy

+
Simple fun for all ages
+
Fun multiplayer game for quick sessions
+
Becoming bigger and bigger feels amazing

Reasons to avoid

-
Skilled players can beat out the competition quickly

We love Slither.io so much that its fun concept even made it onto our list of the best battle royale games. Slither.io is a fun and relaxing game that harkens back to the classic mobile game, Snake. 

You collect colorful dots in the quest to become the longest worm, but the introduction of other players brings a more competitive, multiplayer experience to the classic formula. 

If you collide with another player, you’ll lose your ever-growing companion and will have to start the process of consuming dots all over again. Other players will gobble up the dots you leave behind, increasing in size and becoming an even greater threat than before.

(Image credit: Doublespeak Games, Scratchwork Development LLC)

A Dark Room

Maybe it's a good thing to be afraid of the dark

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect for text adventure fans and beginners
+
Well-written
+
Good sound effects

Reasons to avoid

-
Not for a quick session

A Dark Room is an intriguing minimalist text adventure. You begin in a cold, dark room, tending a fire. As you stoke the fire, more options become available and the story slowly begins to unravel. A list of the best free web browser games shouldn't go without this type of text adventure, because if you catch the bug, websites like itch.io have plenty more such games for you to try, often free.

The game draws inspiration from classic text-based computer games, popularized in the 1970s. The difference is that you can’t just rush through the game right away; each action takes time, so you’re best left leaving the game open in another tab, and checking in every so often.

best free web browser games: the logo of Wonderput, featuring several minigold courses intricately combined into one scenery

(Image credit: Reece Millidge)

Wonderputt

Hole-y moley!

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful to look at
+
Great soundtrack
+
Fun spin on the minigolf genre

Reasons to avoid

-
Very short
-
Could do with more variation

Wonderputt, a game originally devised as a flash game in 2011, has survived the great flash exodus and is still one of the best free web browser games going. Crucially, the web version is preferable to the app versions of the game, which unfortunately handle terribly.

Unlike its real-life counterpart, Wonderputt is super-easy to play. Just position your cursor to determine the angle and power of your shot, and that’s all there is to it. Wonderputt is the perfect time sink when you’re sipping a cup of coffee and a truly great mini-golf game. 

(Image credit: Emergent Studios)

Line Rider

If you can draw it, you can ride it

Reasons to buy

+
 Great playground for your imagination
+
Easy to get started
+
Draw tracks for up to two simultaneous riders

Reasons to avoid

-
Physics engine can take a while to get used to

If you’ve ever wanted to see a small man on a sled ride around a loop-the-loop, then Linerider might be the game you’re looking for. The premise is wonderfully straightforward: draw a crazy track for your rider to slide around, make as many edits or additions as you like, then watch the action unfold.

In the beginning, figuring out what makes the perfect track can be a bit frustrating, but there are plenty of examples on the internet to take inspiration from. People have used the likes of musical scores and coloring book pages for their tracks, so there's a lot that can be done once you get the hang of it.

You can create all sorts of marvelous routes in Linerider – the only limits are your imagination, and a convincing physics engine that keeps things 'realistic'. 

(Image credit: Google)

The Chrome Dino game

Dino-thing to worry about

Reasons to buy

+
Works offline
+
Charming idea
+
Perfect for highscore chasers

Reasons to avoid

-
Visually simple

You can still have fun using Google Chrome even when you’re offline. The Chrome Dino game (as it tends to be called) is a surprisingly charming endless runner, which tasks you with jumping over cacti and dodging low-flying pterodactyls by tapping on the screen. You can play it both on- and offline, simply by typing chrome://dino into Chrome's URL bar.

It’s roaring good fun, and one of the few web browser games that works without an Internet connection. Oh, and it also switches between light and dark mode the further you progress, which is a cool little effect. Can you beat your high score before the next train stop?


Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.

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