Browser games are awesome for killing spare time, and, above all, they don’t require you to have a fancy gaming PC or console.
While they might not always be the best-looking in terms of graphics, browser games are typically free and reward you with hours of entertainment.
Here, we’ll be highlighting the best browser games to check out in 2021.
Included is a mix of both single-player and multiplayer browser games, including some free builds of games that went on to be extremely successful.
Make sure to check back as we continue to update this list with new games and while you’re here, consider reading through our other curated lists:
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Released in 2016, Slither.io is still one of the most popular MMO browser games around, with players signing on more than 67 million times to play. At the start of the game, you’re able to select a name and color for your worm before heading onto a battlefield filled with other players. Each player’s worm starts off small and can only grow by consuming pellets that are found throughout the battlefield or left behind whenever a player is killed.
The game gives you plenty of freedom in deciding how you want to approach each round. Play aggressively, and you may find yourself rising up the leaderboards quickly. However, the larger your worm gets, the slower they move, setting you at a disadvantage against your opponents. Rounds in Slither.io can last anywhere from a few minutes to upwards of an hour, and the game does a great job of getting you right back in action should you lose.
During the mid-1990s, workplace productivity reached an all-time low when office employees became obsessed with playing Doom on their work computers. Up until this point, there hadn’t really been any innovation in the way of first-person shooters. Understandably, PC players had fallen in love with the game’s addictive gameplay and immersive 2.5D graphics.
In it, you take on the role of “Doomguy,” a space marine who finds himself fighting hordes of demons sent from Hell. Now in 2021, you can still experience the original id Software title in all its glory from the comfort of a web browser. In addition to kick-starting the Doom franchise, which is still around today, the original Doom is widely regarded as one of the most significant and influential games of all time.
Pokémon fans typically fall into two categories: casual players who are in it for the story and adventures, and competitive players who enjoy obsessing over the more technical aspects, such as stats and battling. Pokémon Showdown was created with the latter in mind, offering players a PC-alternative to Pokémon battling, which has traditionally always been limited to Nintendo’s suite of handhelds and consoles.
The game lets you build a team of Pokémon from scratch and battle opponents online without ever having to throw a single Pokeball. Backed by a massive and active community, the battle sim continues to receive regular updates along with new monsters and battle mechanics introduced in the most recent entries: Pokémon Sword and Shield. While Pokémon Showdown can be downloaded and ran separately on your computer, a web-based version allows you to battle other players within a web browser.
Spelunky HTML 5
Spelunky is a unique 2D platformer that’s typically attributed with popularizing the roguelike genre of games. The game is remarkable for being one of the first platformers to feature procedurally-generated environments that are also fully destructible. However, Spelunky is best known for its hidden secrets rewards, which encourage players to experiment with different weapons and explore every area.
Although the original game, now known as “Spelunky Classic,” is available for purchase along with an updated “Spelunky HD” with improved graphics, an unofficial HTML 5 port lets players experience the game via a web browser. While it includes a handful of bugs that have been patched in later versions, it’s just as addictive as the original and is completely free.
QWOP is one of those classic browser games from a much simpler time that never seems to lose its charm or lack thereof if you’re one of the many who have cursed the game’s cumbersome controls, which restrict movement to only four keys on your keyboard. In it, you play as an athlete named “Qwop,” who’s participating in a 100-meter event at the Olympic Games.
Limited to only using the Q, W, O, and P keys, you’re goal is to get Qwop from one end of the track to the other without falling. Each key controls a different part of Qwop’s legs, and are affected by ragdoll-physics and resistance as a result of the game’s simulated gravity. As a result, it’s quite difficult to get Qwop to the other side of the track, and a majority of players are going to find themselves switching back and forth between frustration and amusement as they try to reach the finish line.
Celeste is an award-winning indie platformer that managed to take the gaming world by storm in 2018. However, before releasing the official game, Canadian developer Matt Makes Games had been working on a prototype now referred to as Celeste Classic. This early version was originally written for the Pico-8 virtual console and can still be found on its site.
In it, you play as a girl named Madeline as she makes her way up a mountain by completing platforming stages filled with various obstacles. Madeline can jump and climb walls as well as perform a mid-air dash that allows her to travel farther. While it can feel really challenging at times, the game features some of the best 2D platforming gameplay of the last decade and does a brilliant job of drawing inspiration from both retro and modern game design.
Kingdom of Loathing
Before releasing the hilarious stick-figure RPG West of Loathing, game developer Zack “Jick” Johnson and the Asymmetric Team designed a browser-based prototype called Kingdom of Loathing. In it, you play as a fantasy adventurer belonging to one of six possible classes on a quest to rescue your nation’s king from the “Naughty Sorceress.”
Each day you’re given a set number of action points called “adventures,” which can be used for different tasks such as crafting potions or exploring new areas. Adventures reset or “rollover” each day, and you can increase the total amount by consuming food and booze. Kingdom of Loathing has received a lot of praise over the years for its comedic tone, which pokes fun at a lot of the stereotypes associated with story-telling in RPGs.
DarkOrbit Reloaded is a browser-based space-combat MMO that lets you explore different galactic territories and battle fleets of aliens as you gather resources for your ship. The game was initially called just DarkOrbit but received a rebranding a couple of years back, which coincided with the release of an update that introduced 3D graphics and a new PvP mode called the Ultimate Battle Arena.
While DarkOrbit has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years, namely a massive wave of bot-banning carried out by developer Bigpoint, the community is still alive and well. You can find an array of servers and clans to join for massive team-based raids along with competitive eSports tournaments taking place online.
The Wiki Game
Also known as the Wikipedia race, The Wiki Game sees you attempting to reach a specific Wikipedia entry by clicking through articles connected to a random starting wiki page. The goal is to navigate through each page and find related topics until you arrive at the desired article. The game can also be improved using numerous modifiers, such as restricting the amount of time or clicks players are allowed.
While you are able to play The Wiki Game completely solo, it’s a lot more fun if you have a second player whose job is to select your starting and target articles. You can also take turns playing and see who can finish the fastest or in the least number of clicks. If you’re a fan of puzzle games or simply like learning about new things, this is a great browser game to do just that.
Despite its minimalist art style, Linerider is a surprisingly robust browser game where players can draw lines using their mouse that then gets converted into paths for a sledder. What really sets it apart from other games is the presence of simulated physics, which allows you to create one of a kind levels that take into account the sled’s speed and positioning.
Over the years, Linerider has received numerous features, namely the ability to share creations with other players online and load them into your browser. Additionally, the game’s tools have been expanded to now include the option to use two sledders at a time as well as place trapdoors and deceleration lines throughout levels.
Games like GeoGuessr seem to never go out of fashion, evident by the hundreds of players who still visit the site each day. The game’s appeal mostly stems from its location diversity, which utilizes programs like Google Street View and Mapillary to find semi-random destinations. Once players arrive at their destination, their job is to figure out where in the world they are using only a compass and the clues present in their environment.
There’s nothing more immersive than watching yourself be transported to the pyramids of Egypt or a bustling shopping district in Paris, all the while feeling like you’re really there in person. Once you think you’ve figured out where you are using clues like landmarks, vegetation, and climate, the game will let you place a marker and submit a guess. GeoGuessr then tallies up a score depending on how far your guess was from the actual location.
War Brokers is an action-packed multiplayer shooter optimized to run within a web browser. The game includes an arsenal of 17 different weapons, which you can try for yourself in modes like Battle Royale, Team Deathmatch, Missile Launch, Package Retrieval, and many more. There are nine unique maps, each of which offers exciting vantage points that will help you get the drop on the enemy team.
War Brokers also includes drivable vehicles, allowing you to mow down your opponents from the comfort of fortified tanks, helicopters, and jets. You’re free to pilot these vehicles yourself or let a friend take over while you rain death from below as a gunner. If you’re looking for a browser game that will bring out your competitive side, War Brokers may be the perfect game for you.
Another web-based first-person shooter worth highlighting is Shell Shockers, which has you controlling literal eggs with arms capable of wielding different weapons. It’s just as random in practice as its description reads but can be a blast to play with the right group of players. Included are nine different maps along with three modes: Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Free for All.
Weapon design is where Shell Shockers truly shines, offering four unique load-outs tailored for different playstyles. Each one has its own pros and cons, allowing you to experiment and find out which one works best for you. For every kill you get during a match, the game rewards you with Golden Eggs, an in-game currency that can be spent on a wide selection of cosmetics for your egg, such as weapon skins and hats.
Squadd.io is an isometric shooter in where players can battle with friends against another team or fend for themselves in chaotic free-for-all battles set in massive arenas. The main goal of the game is to stay alive for as long as possible and rise up the leaderboard by earning points from kills. In addition to helping you level up, points can be used to unlock weapons and new characters.
Matches are fast-paced and only get crazier once you start collecting power-ups from stations located throughout the arena. Of all the games on this list, Squadd.io is the easiest to jump into fresh since its core gameplay mechanics are very straight-forward. This is further complemented by a third-person POV that gives you a clear ‘bird’s eye view’ of your surroundings.
While it may not look like it at first glance, Isleward is an open-source browser roguelike tailored for multiplayer. In it, players create their own character before finding themselves tossed into the city of Strathford, which acts as the game’s hub-world. Here, they’ll learn the ins and outs of the game’s combat and progression systems before heading off to carve out their own adventures.
What makes Isleward unique is its emphasis on multiplayer, which is something you don’t typically see in roguelikes. Players can form parties and set sail for different islands where they can go spelunking and explore dungeons in search of treasure. Characters become stronger by equipping better gear, and the game features a leveling up system that lets you build up your character how you want.
Sunset Bike Racer
Sunset Bike Racer is a physics-based motocross game that runs on Unity. Reminiscent of Ubisoft’s Trials series, the game sees you racing against the clock to clear a selection of motocross tracks littered with ramps, obstacles, secrets, and shortcuts while also managing your bike’s positioning and speed, both of which are affected by simulated physics.
Sunset Bike Racer also allows you to perform stunt tricks such as flips and wheelies to fill a nitro booster, which can come in hand when you’re running low on time. At the end of each level, you’re assigned a score from one to three stars, and getting a perfect score on each level will unlock the fastest bike in the game.
Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, Fallen London is an immersive browser-based RPG released in 2009 by Failbetter Games, who has since gone on to create the equally atmospheric Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies games. Many players still consider Fallen London to be the studio’s best work to date, due to the game’s quality writing as well as and it’s high replayability value.
In it, players take on the role of a new arrival in London and must navigate the city’s underbelly in hopes of making it to the top. The game features a robust role-playing experience centered on making thousands of decisions that will shape who your character becomes. There are various businesses to invest in (both legal and illegal) as well as professions to take up.
Sort The Court
Sort The Court is another Unity-based game that runs in a browser. Similar to games like Yes, Your Grace, Sort The Court sees you managing a kingdom of loyal subjects who will frequently come to you asking for favors. As the ruler, it’s up to you to decide who gets to use the kingdom’s resources using a simple Yes or No decision-making system.
Other than weighing out the pros and cons of each transaction, your main goal is to sustain your kingdom’s resources while keeping your people happy. The game features charming hand-drawn visuals that are further complemented by an array of interesting characters such as princesses, wizards, and even cats that will come to your throne looking to strike a bargain.
Before the release of a paid version, Treasure Arena was strictly a browser-based 2D arena shooter that supported both local and online multiplayer. And while Super Treasure Arena may have added a bunch of requested new features and playable characters, the original HTML-5 version is just as satisfying to play from the comfort of your browser and for none of the cost.
In it, you and your friends can team up or compete to find treasure while also battling enemies across six different maps. There are three classes to pick from: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage, and each comes with their own special abilities. As you explore maps, you’ll come across different weapons and power-ups that can be equipped to turn your character into an unstoppable killing machine.