Google's popped games into the "doodle" slot of its homepage before, but the new Halloween-themed treat you can play right now (opens in new tab) is easily the most fun diversion devised by the search/tech/ads/everything giant yet. That's right, I said it: I don't think Pac-Man is all that fun even if you're playing on the streets of your hometown (opens in new tab). But I digress.
The new Google Doodle game is called The Great Ghoul Duel, and it's an online multiplayer game about a bunch of ghosts floating around and stealing souls from each other. You can play on a desktop or mobile device by heading to Google.com and clicking or tapping the colorful icon near the top of the page. It's quite fully featured, with automatic matchmaking, private lobbies so you can play with friends, bots to fill in empty player slots, and multiple maps.
Also, the ghosts are cute as haunted buttons.
Team Purple or Team Green? 🙀 We have to admit, this lineup's pretty grape. #Halloween #GoogleDoodle → https://t.co/SHbC3tPVv3 pic.twitter.com/ZnkXqlBOHPOctober 30, 2018
Playing the Great Ghoul Duel feels like a cross between slither.io and Capture the Flag: your ghostly duty is to roam around the map and collect little glowing Spirit Flames. Collected flames follow along behind you in a glowing trail, and if you pass through a member of the opposing team's trail you'll steal flames from behind the point you touched. You also get a few for passing through a teammate. Whichever team banks the most flames by depositing them back at their base after two minutes wins; bank enough at once and you'll even get handy power-ups like magnetism or wall-clipping.
Let me tell you, if you ever want to feel good about your ability to play video games, just compete against a bunch of people who probably don't play many video games. Sorry not sorry for taking all your spirits, green team. I needed that "Polter-Heist" award.
Keep the good times rolling with our list of the best free games (opens in new tab) you can play right now.