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The best browser games you can enjoy instead of checking social media

Best browser games - Catan Universe
(Image credit: Exozet Game)

The best browser games are here to help you through your day. If you're need of a distraction that's readily available online and free-of-charge, browser games are just the ticket. So if you find yourself needing to get off social media for a spell, or have some time to pass for one reason or another, we've gathered together a list of browser games that you jump straight into. 

As you may already know, Abode Flash Player shuttered back in 2021. Many browser games of times past went along with it, but there are still plenty of great little games out there. Join us as we take you through the best browser games you can play right now with a click of a button on your laptop or desktop, or a tap on your mobile device. 

The best browser games are...

8. Worlde

Wordle

(Image credit: Wordle)

Web-based word game Wordle took the world by storm in late 2021, when Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle first sent it out into the world. In theory it's simple - guess random words every 24 hours with six guesses, with correct letter and world placement identified by orange and green highlights respectively. But in practice, this is as much a game against yourself and your brain, as it is against the AI. Second-guessing is par for the course here, but the joy of getting any given conundrum correct is oh-so wonderful. Earlier this year, the New York Times claimed ownership of Wordle, but, luckily for its millions of players, it still can be played free-of-charge. 

Play Wordle (opens in new tab)

7. Quick, Draw

Best browser games - Quick, Draw

(Image credit: Google)

Could we teach Skynet how to doodle? That’s the aim of Quick, Draw, a sort of online Pictionary where every sketch made by players is stowed away and analyzed by a neural network to help with machine learning. You have 20 seconds to draw a randomized set of everyday objects - think frying pans, benches, shoes, and the like - while an AI voice tries to guess what you’re scribbling. Once you’ve done six drawings you can scroll through what other people around the world drew, and feel either smug or ashamed depending on how good you are at drawing, say, a potato. 

Play Quick, Draw now (opens in new tab) 

6. Pandemic 2

Best browser games - Pandemic 2

(Image credit: Ndemic Creations)

Some games just want to watch the world burn. Or, in the case of Pandemic 2, eradicate its population with a Pandora’s Box of deadly diseases. You sit at the control panel of a global illness monitor, tweaking the spread of your disease and government responses to it. News headlines will help you track how quickly your creation is ripping through communities - all you need to do is set the parameters and nature will take its course. Design a disease that’s as efficient as possible, and you’ll win by eradicating all life on earth. All that’s left to do is stick your pinky in your mouth and giggle maniacally. 

Play Pandemic 2 now (opens in new tab)

5. Kingdom Rush

Best browser games - Kingdom Rush

(Image credit: Ironhide Game Studio)

The tower defense genre was starting to get stale until Kingdom Rush came along and shined it up with some good ol’ spit and polish. Four base tower types are perfectly balanced and give you the option to take out enemies with archers, soldiers, mages, and artillery. The levels are dusted with pre-determined empty slots called “Strategy Points” that it’s your choice what to do with. Towers can be upgraded on these points with money earned by felling foes - so far, so simple. But it’s this uncomplicated design that makes Kingdom Rush so brilliant. There are no bells or whistles to hide behind, just perfectly executed levels that look stunning, with delightfully cartoony graphics and stylish enemies. This is a must-play for tower defence aficionados.

Play Kingdom Rush now (opens in new tab)

4. Candy Box 2

Best browser games - Candy Box 2

(Image credit: Dragon Studio)

Things rapidly take an unexpected turn in Candy Box 2. What starts as a simple text-button clicker game about eating candies quickly turns into a minimalist RPG about venturing into a huge world and undertaking varied quests. Your currency here is sweets, which are dished out by the second and can be used to buy weapons and gear on your adventures. That’s perfect for a browser title since you can leave the tab idle for a few minutes while you check your email and you’ll have a nice stash of candy currency on hand when you return to dive into this sugary adventure and its distant lands.

Play Candy Box 2 now (opens in new tab)

3. Threes!

Best browser games - Threes!

(Image credit: Sirvo LLC)

There’s a golden rule for browser puzzle games: They should be easy to pick up and play, but challenging enough that they’re difficult to put down. Threes and its seemingly simple goal is one of the best examples of this. Here you must make the highest number possible by combining numbered tiles before the board fills and you can no longer move anything on it. Progressing simply requires smooshing numbers together, but that’s made trickier by specific rules like the fact any tile numbered 3 or higher will only combine with an identical tile. Like Tetris, Threes is a game that’s easy to learn but requires careful patience and practice to master.

Play Threes! now (opens in new tab)

2. There is No Game

Best browser games - There Is No Game

(Image credit: KaMiZoTo)

Over the years, game jam competitions have seeded some truly brilliant ideas and There Is No Game is one such a breath of fresh air. It came first in a game jam themed around "Deception," play it for two minutes you’ll see why. Here, your job is to find the game in a browser window where a disembodied voice would rather you go away, leave him be, and read a book. Or something. It’s not clear why, but this voice really doesn’t want the player to stick around. Poke around the title screen and an increasingly ludicrous puzzle starts to unravel in this point-and-click brain teaser. 

Play There is no Game now (opens in new tab)

1. Catan Universe

Best browser games - Catan Universe

(Image credit: Exozet Game)

Catan is one of the most popular board games in the world, and now you can play it for free, and without needing to clear any space on your coffee table, thanks to Catan Universe. You can choose to play against other players or AI, and if you've never played before there's a newbie-friendly tutorial in the "Arrival in Catan" quest. The aim of the game is to build and expand settlements on the board's hexagonal tiles, trading and collecting resources, creating armies, and using a mix of common sense and cunning to continue growing their settlements and cities. The base game is totally free to play but if you get hooked you can play a little extra to add expansions. 

Play Catan Universe now (opens in new tab)


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