When you don't have the time or resources to commit to a full-fledged FPS, strategy game, or RPG adventure, a fun, fast, browser-based game is sure to satisfy. We reveal our favorites—both current and classic.

Five minutes here, a lunch break there, the urge to procrastinate. The free browser-based Flash game has evolved with the technology, producing some high-quality time-killers that can interrupt the most productive of days. With volume comes choices.

But you don’t want to waste time browsing—you need the definitive go-to guide to the best of what’s out there.

We did the leg (hand and mouse) work for you.

Here's our list of all-time favorites:


1. Wake Up the Box

Fun with physics

What else are you going to do when you find a box napping on a ledge? Prod him awake using the weight and shape of various pieces of wood in a physics-based puzzle, naturally.

Mixing spatial challenges, occasional speed tests, and creative thinking, each of the 20 levels provides a unique test.

If you get stuck, watch the handy video walkthrough of the optimal solutions. (http://armorgames.com/play/4839/wake-up-the-box)


2. Kongai

Whip 'em good

This collectible card game is blended with Street Fighter-like beat-’em-up mechanics and painted with a classic high-fantasy cartoon-art style (i.e., uber-buff dudes and improbably proportioned ladies).

You start with three cards, which you’re likely to pick for the artwork since the mechanics take some learning.

After a few practice bouts, you earn new cards and compete in ranked matches against other folks.

Very, very compelling for Magic: The Gathering types who want a free option. (http://www.kongregate.com/games/Kongregate/kongai)


3. Hedgehog Launch

Not a bird or a plane, but a hedgehog

One hedgehog. One elastic launch contraption. Strap-on rocket packs. It all adds up to an obvious recipe for throwaway fun chasing your high score.

Launch the hedgehog skyward then hope you hit the floating coinage. The loot is then used to buy upgrades to the rockets, better launch velocity, a radar device (largely ineffective, as it turns out), and more.

Then you launch again. And again. And upgrade. And launch.

And you’ll still be launching 10 minutes after you decided to stop. (http://www.kongregate.com/games/ArmorGames/hedgehog-launch)


4. Flakboy

Happy to be the gun, spike, mine test subject

Figuring out the most effective method of delivering extreme damage to poor Flakboy proves incredibly engaging.

Poor guy is scared of a yellow duck, which sets him in motion within a confined room outfitted by whatever spikes, mines, guns, and trampolines your cash allotment affords you to buy.

The eight levels each require you to inflict more damage, which forces you to try new weapons as they unlock.

Then set the duck loose and watch Flakboy smear the walls with his own blood! (http://www.a10.com/game/flakboy.html)


5. Dark Base III

Alien slaughter-fest

This top-down shooter franchise has been successful enough to spawn sequels, which says plenty about its quality.

RPG-style level-up mechanics let you improve your abilities and arsenal, which is vital given the rampaging indigenous life forms intent on eating you and your hired-mercenary help.

Mission progression lets you take on optional tasks that flesh out the story and provide further opportunities to earn experience and level up. (http://www.crazymonkeygames.com/Darkbase-3.html)


6. Desktop TD Pro

Stop the critters scurrying across your desk

Tower defense has become the defining casual-game genre for its classic simple-but-deep mechanics, puzzling challenges, and characteristic “just one more go” play sessions that last into the wee hours.

And this is one of the best. Inviting in its simple premise and early level setup, and then excruciating in the grip of vast strategic options as you place tower types, upgrade as you earn cash, and try to stop the enemies from exiting the arena.

Give it five minutes; it’ll repay you in hours. (http://www.casualcollective.com/#games/Desktop_TD_Pro)


7. Fantastic Contraption

What a head scratcher. The simple premise of building machines is actually a deceptively addicting physics puzzler.

You place the pieces of the contraption and hope your choices make it, well, fantastic.

It's easy to spend hours figuring out some of the later-level conundrums. (http://www.fantasticcontraption.com)

8. Red Fluxion

Remember to blink

Your tiny ship has plenty of firepower. Lasers blasting vertically; shots dispersing horizontally; homing missiles navigating towards targets. So many targets.

Within moments, space is jam-packed with colorful shapes dispatching swarms, streams, and swirls of damaging objects not necessarily directed at you, but in such sufficient quantities to fill the blackness of space with their color.

And that’s before you get to the monstrous boss battles that often require fine mouse control amid the manic shooting gallery action. (http://www.kongregate.com/games/zestygames/red-fluxion)


9. Crush the Castle

Flinging rocks for fun and profit

Armed with a powerful trebuchet, it’s your mission to launch projectiles at a castle until you bring the structure crashing down around the heads of the inhabitants. Kill ’em all, then move on to the next castle.

The game’s 24 castles test your skill at timing the launch for the right speed and trajectory and mixing up ammunition options, which upgrade as you progress.

Complete them all, then have a go at designing and testing out your own castle conundrums. (http://armorgames.com/play/3614/crush-the-castle)


10. Icycle

Is this for total aerodynamics?

Riding along deadly ice caps, across crumbling mountains, through volcanic tunnels, and amid collapsing buildings is dangerous enough. Doing it in the buff? Weird.

But “naked guy riding a bike” captures the attention quicker than “random dude on BMX adventure to collect frozen soap bubbles.”

And it’s totally compelling as the scale shifts for each level—shrinking the character to a few pixels in some cases—as he overcomes the obstacles to make the exit.

Some levels are cunningly challenging, others a ride in the park. Naked. (www.dampgnat.com/icycle)



Beyond the call of the mailman's duties

Delivering mail seems like such a mundane summer-vacation student job. Not in Finwick, where helping the Royal Mail (evidently set in England) can be very dangerous.

This side-scrolling platform and puzzle game is framed by a story told in quick dialogue blurbs between characters and set among beautifully drawn (if deadly) forests, factories, and construction sites.

Controlling a second character adds further puzzle challenge as you set platforms in motion and create safe routes to deliver one piece of mail. (http://www.smallgreenhill.com/games/finwick/)


12. Canabalt

Free running

Now this is extreme parkour… in black-and-white, pixel-graphics form.

You’re escaping (from what is unclear) through buildings, across construction cranes and rooftops, at blistering Usain Bolt–plus-plus speeds, hitting just one jump key to skip over obstacles or leap through windows and across gaps between buildings.

Scored purely on the distance you make before face-planting into the side of a building, you’ll keep trying for that longer run, pushed by the pounding sci-fi movie soundtrack pumping in the background. (www.adamatomic.com/canabalt)


13. This Is the Only Level

A many-trick pony

Thirty identical levels. Sounds like a hoot, right? But an incredible variety of invention makes each level a thoroughly unique or stylized challenge.

This isn’t about using different routes from entry to exit, but interpreting the word clue to fathom the trick to solving a given level.

When you have to refresh your browser to unlock a level, you know this is something a little bit different, a little bit special, and worth several do-overs to earn faster times and fewer deaths. (http://armorgames.com/play/4309/this-is-the-only-level)


14. GraveShift 2: The Sewers

Does not stink in the least

The isometric 3D puzzle-adventure game has been around for eons, and this one brings a colorful style to its Indiana Jones–wannabe character.

You have to navigate through the sewers, picking up gold along the way, fighting off the rats, skeletons, and more.

These sewers are dangerous, with spike pits and other traps adding to the challenge as you try to recover King Krump’s treasure.

The terrific art style makes it easy to spend hours exploring and figuring out how to retrieve each piece of treasure. (http://www.mochimedia.com/games/graveshift-2-the-sewers/)


15. A Dralien Day

Lose yourself in a puzzling journey

This tale of a dragon’s emergence from an egg and his travels through puzzle-infested environments is classic point-and-click adventure fare.

Those big doe-eyes implore you to help the little fella through each area.

Rather than pixel-searching for clickable objects, each interactive element in a scene is handily highlighted, so it’s easy to find the puzzles even if it’s not so easy to solve them.

A full walkthrough is available if you happen to get stuck. (http://www.pencilkids.com/the-vault/a-dralien-day-page/)


16. Worlds

From small beginnings great worlds grow

An entry in the Casual Gameplay Design Competition, this quirky exploration game packs tons of style into its simple stick-character and block-graphics presentation.

From an initial camera view zoomed in on your pixel “dude” you move around the world as the camera pans back to reveal its shape, paths, and direction to the exits.

It’s more a game of wonder at the concept than a speed, movement, or puzzle-solving challenge, but still well worth your attention. (http://jayisgames.com/cgdc6/?gameID=9)


17. Ultimate Assassin 2

Metal Gear Flash

This top-down stealth-action game recalls memories of early Metal Gear sneak, stab, hide, and escape gameplay.

It’s extremely challenging as you move your assassin after the green “boss” target through 18 levels.

Guards shine their torches and move through the environment in random directions.

Your assassin can call on a brief invisibility (so long as you don’t move) and speed-burst to elude danger.

After the hit, wait for the mission bar to fill before the exit is revealed, and hope the bad guys don’t spot the body and sound an alarm that sends them into a fast-moving frenzy. (http://www.games121.com/2009/06/ultimate-assassin-2.html)


18. Bloons

A monkey armed with darts popping balloons? Sounds like the perfect game concept.

It’s also thoroughly addictive as you work through the steadily increasing difficulty levels, aiming to pop the target number of balloons as new obstacles (and power-ups) are introduced. (http://www.ninjakiwi.com/Games/Bloons-Games/Play/Bloons.html)


19. 3D Pong

See ball, hit ball with paddle. Repeat. Now three full unforgiving dimensions. (http://www.3dponggame.com)


20. Bejeweled

Possibly the greatest detriment to office productivity since Minesweeper!

Who would have thought that matching sets of three gems would prove to be so utterly addicting?

This classic puzzler has spawned a huge number of clones and sequels, and continues to be played in offices in the world over. (http://www.popcap.com)


21. Helicopter

Maybe the sound of constant mouse-clicking will make coworkers think you're being incredibly productive (or have some kind of crazy twitch).

You keep the helicopter flying by pressing the mouse button, and release it to let it drop.

Now just see how far you can make it through the tunnels while avoiding the obstacles. (http://www.addictinggames.com/helicopter.html)


22. Mini-Putt

A quick 18 holes of mini golf can turn into hours of effort to bring your score down as low as possible. In this classic variant you judge angles and speed to putt the ball around, through, or over obstacles and into the hole. (http://www.addictinggames.com/miniputt.html)

Source: http://www.maximumpc.com

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Comments: 2

a website named is ginivg away stuff for points that are really easy to get and the just launched a section named shop so i think that they are going to earn money from there. And monrpgs earn money from peopple that want to get better stuff (armor,weapons) that of course cost money.

here is another one... not sure if it qualifies as a game, but its really fun

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