Browser-based games are perfect for a quick casual game. You can play without worrying about payments, downloads, or hardware requirements. And a quick puzzle game is the best way to make your distractions and breaks more productive.
I took it upon myself to sacrifice hours of my life in playing online Flash games. For this list, I’m sticking to puzzle games specifically—not puzzle games that also require some skills. This is all about the brain. There are other Flash games to improve your reflexes, if that’s what you want.
Crush The Castle (CTC) isn’t just a game like Angry Birds, it actually predates Angry Birds and several people online claim Rovio’s classic was ripping off CTC. Set in medieval times, you have to fling rocks at castles to kill the king inside, going on an epic conquest of the kingdom. The rocks vary in size, you have multiple rocks, and even bombs. Use them wisely to huff and puff and blow those castles down. Crush The Castle has a couple of sequels and expansion packs for more levels, all of which you can find at Armor Games.
Portal is one of the smartest video games of all time, and a few of the 3D first-person shooter’s fans recreated its basic gameplay in a two-dimensional flash game. You’ll need to use the mouse and keyboard, creating portals to teleport from one area to another. The laws of physics play a big role here, so keep thinking and be quick!
We love Huebrix! It’s an ad-free, smooth game in which you have to fill a grid with colors. Each color has a limited number of moves, and you cannot cross two colors in their path. The video above explains the gameplay well. Past level 15, things get really tough!
Threes is the most addictive math-based puzzle game I’ve played, and a fan has ported this mobile giant to the web. Use the arrow keys to move all tiles on screen in one direction, adding up similar-numbered tiles to make larger numbers. Keep going till you can’t make any more moves. It’s probably an unofficial port, so it might be taken down in the future. In case of that, you can play the Threes clone 2048 and its several variations.
It’s time to be the villain and help a virus spread. It’s a game of colors set in a large grid of tiny hexagonal cells. Choose a color, and your virus turns into that color. It will also spread to any similar-colored cell it can touch. Keep changing colors to infect more cells. But be careful, there are limited moves! You have 15 levels to get through, and the last five are super challenging.
Usually, you have to take your hero to the exit. In Mirror Runners, you have two heroes and two exits—but your keyboard controls both of them at the same time! So when you tap the right arrow key, both heroes run right; and while it might be a clear path for one, there might be a spiked trap for the other. You’ll have to figure out how to get them both to the exit. Again, Mirror Runners is a single person game; if you and a friend want to play together, we have a great list of fun and free two-player browser games.
With Bejeweled and Candy Crush, everyone now knows the three-similar-shapes-in-a-row formula. However, Jewelanche is a fun variation of it. The jewels are dropped in a haphazard manner, and the laws of physics take over. You still need to make chains of three or more, and the bigger the better. Chain combos will give you gems, with which you can buy power-ups between levels. But if you don’t manage to clear it all, the jewels will keep piling till the screen is filled, and it’s game over. And just when you think you’ve mastered Jewelanche, Jewelanche 2 will bring you back to earth.
Ready to tear your hair out in frustration? Cube Mayhem just has a simple cube who wants to get from the start to the finish. All you need to do is place the right tiles to move it along, whether it’s arrows to change direction, moving walkways, or teleportation tiles. Figuring out where and which direction to place them in is the puzzle. And it’s far more difficult than it looks!
In a world where people are balls, some balls can turn into boxes. These are called Wereboxes. Use your werebox skills to drive out all the bad red wereboxes off the level, but make sure you are still safe. Once you’re done with Werebox, try the hilarious Werebox 2, playing as “Max Ball”, out for vengeance against the evil wereboxes who stole his cherry ice cream.
Pathologic is deceptively tricky. You’re the white glowing ball. You need to collect all the white rings in each level. The catch is that you can’t go on white squares, or any square you have already gone over. Use the arrow keys to move around, and when you’re finished, hit Enter to start a new level. And just keep playing and playing till you’re done with the 50 levels.
Blue characters—squares, circles or rectangles—grow in size when you click on them. In each level, there is a demarcated line you have to reach. However, you can’t just indiscriminately grow your blue characters, because if they touch a red object, it’s game over. You’ll need to figure out your strategy and play wisely. Between Expand It and the sequel Expanded It, you have enough levels to keep you busy for a long time. It’s probably a good idea to download these flash games for offline play, so your progress is saved.
The original Red Remover was one of the most popular logic puzzle games, and creator Gaz Thomas has made a sequel. Click anywhere on the screen to trigger an explosion. The explosion’s blast has to be used to remove all the red figures from the screen, while keeping the green ones intact. And yes, gravity is subjective here, playing according to the orientation of the red figure’s face. It’s not as simple as it looks!
Cut The Rope is huge on mobile and has several sequels, but it’s also one of those smartphone games you can play in your browser for free. Head to Cut The Rope, scroll down and click “Give It a Try” to load the game. Use your mouse to cut ropes in a strategic manner, so the cute little monster Om Nom can get his candy!
Puzzle games can still be relaxing, as Waterfalls 3 proves. The lovely soundtrack is half the reason to keep playing this game, especially when coupled with the lovely visuals of fluid colors. The graphics can be a bit heavy, so you might want to optimize your settings for better performance of Flash games. In the game, you need to move the flowing colors into containers, using redirecting arrows. It’s actually quite soothing, while still keeping your mind working.
Another Gaz Thomas classic, Super Stacker has you stacking shapes on top of each other, and making sure your structure is sound enough to stand for 10 seconds. You’ll have to use all the shapes you are given in each level, and it gets trickier the shapes move from squares to triangles to circles. Once you’re done with Super Stacker, start up Super Stacker 2 for 40 more levels of brain-teasing.
Super Stacker already made it to our ultimate list of challenging puzzle games, and I wanted to avoid games featured there, but Super Stacker deserves a mention once again. In fact, that list has several other fantastic games that you should check out!
What Did We Miss?
Name that one puzzle game you keep going back to, which we forgot to list here. Come on, we know you have one!