The 12 Best Games for Chromebook in 2019

Discover these great games from the Google Chrome Store

Screenshot of Chrome Web Store games window (left) and Online-go.com site (right)

A Chromebook offers several different ways to play games. The options include browser-based games, as well as games built for Android, Flash, and Linux, along with subscription options. But not all of those options are available to every person and every Chromebook.

People who own a relatively recent Chrome device with access to the Google Play Store should explore Android games. Most major mobile games are available for Android, so that expands your options considerably. However, not all Chromebooks support Android apps, and Chrome devices from school or work might not allow app installation, so we’ve omitted them from our list.

Google has announced that support for Adobe Flash in Chrome will end in 2020. So games built with Flash have been omitted from this list.

Alternative Options for Games That Work on Chromebook

People who are determined and technically adventurous might consider getting Linux on a Chromebook. This could let you install Steam (a gaming service) or games that run on Linux. This process can be complicated and won’t work on every Chrome OS device, so, again, we’ve left Linux games off the list.

Serious gamers might consider a subscription. Google Play Pass ($4.99 per month) gives you access to more than 350 Android games and apps without ads or in-app purchases. Google’s Stadia subscription service streams games to your device over a fast internet connection. (See Google’s Stadia site for available games, controller costs, and pricing details.) Since not everyone will want to subscribe to a gaming service, these subscriptions aren’t detailed here.

01
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Explore Dungeons, Fight Monsters: Web Quake

Screenshot of initial area of Quake on a Chromebook

What We Like

  • Dungeons and monsters!

  • Ability to play offline.

What We Don't Like

  • By 2019 standards, graphics are blocky.

  • Multiplayer options may not work for everyone.

Quake, the first-person shooter video game, offers both single and multi-player modes. It also installs on your Chromebook so you can play offline. Explore maze-like levels to discover secrets as you fend off monsters.

02
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Physics Platformer: Cut the Rope

Screenshot of Cut the Rope in portion of screen, with Chrome Web Store page for the game in background

What We Like

  • Engaging platform play.

  • Option to change setting from “drag to cut” to “click to cut”.

What We Don't Like

  • Default window size not full-screen.

  • On a non-touchscreen device, play may be challenging.

The award-winning multi-level physics game that works offline, Cut the Rope is all about getting candy to the creature (named Om Nom). You swipe to cut the rope, which works well on a touchpad, although it really works best on a touchscreen where you can swipe directly with your finger or stylus.

03
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Rotate Dropping Shapes: Tetris

Screenshot of Tetris in Chromebook browser

What We Like

  • Gradual increase in pace of play.

  • Keyboard controls work well.

What We Don't Like

  • Music options limited.

  • Fixed size of game screen.

Rotate shapes as they descend to create fully filled rows of blocks, which then disappear. Repeat until the pace becomes too fast and the blocks accumulate to the top of the screen. That’s classic Tetris.

04
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Make the Longest Line: Entanglement

Screenshot of Entanglement in Chromebook browser

What We Like

  • Tantalizing to try to get the path just a bit longer.

  • Variety of boards with optional expansion pack ($4.99).

What We Don't Like

  • No additional board beyond expansion pack.

  • May feel repetitive after many plays.

The goal of Entanglement is to create the longest path you can. The game offers various layouts on which to play, and also offers multiplayer options. However, the one expansion is all that's available, so after playing this game through, it may begin to feel repetitive.

05
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Swipe to Sum Tiles: 2048

Screenshot of 2048 grid (4 x 4 tiles), with tiles with values of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, and 512 displayed

What We Like

  • Simple control mechanics.

  • Easy to understand.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited amount of strategy.

  • Fixed app display size.

With each move, a tile with a value of either 2 or 4 displays on a 4x4 grid. Swipe up, down, left, or right to slide tiles together. Adjacent tiles with the same value, say, 2 and 2, or 4 and 4, will combine to create a new tile with the total (i.e., 4 or 8). Repeat the process as the grid fills, with the goal of reaching the 2048 tile. (Want a variant? Try Threes.)

06
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Classic Strategy: Spark Chess

Screenshot of Spark Chess (chess board, with play vs. Cody computer opponent)

What We Like

  • Solid chess game for learners.

  • Options to view board as a diagram or with simple perspective.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited number of board and piece display options.

  • Three computer opponents available for free.

Play chess in your browser against either another person online, or choose from a few computer opponents. Spark Chess is free, although you may choose to upgrade ($14.99 for the browser based version) for access to additional computer opponents, enhanced views, and priority online access, among other features. 

07
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Surround Territory: Online-Go.com

Screenshot of Online-Go.com, with 8 games visible (19x19, 13x13, and 9x9 boards)

What We Like

  • Displays several games in progress.

  • Learn the basics of play for free.

What We Don't Like

  • Beginners may be a bit overwhelmed at the number of options.

  • Watching amateur games may not be the best way to learn effective strategies.

Online-go.com offers one of the most accessible places to learn, watch, or play go (also called baduk, weiqi, or igo). The site includes tutorials along with many go puzzles. With an account, you can play games against a computer opponent or other people.

08
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Move Through Each Screen: Contre Jour

Screenshot of Contre Jour game, with hero on a “blob” on the right

What We Like

  • Gameplay works well with a touchpad or touchscreen.

  • Puzzles require experimentation.

What We Don't Like

  • This is a limited version of the game.

  • Can be frustrating if you get stuck on a particular level.

Originally developed for a tablet, this browser-based version requires you to manipulate the environment to move the game’s character through successively challenging levels. Select-and-drag on the ground to raise it up, or select a blob to “pick up” the character. It’s a bit easier if you have a touchscreen Chromebook, but you can play it with a touchpad or mouse, too.

09
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Explore With Text: Zork

Screenshot of Zork, with “read leaflet” command displayed, shows text that explains the game history and objectives

What We Like

  • Text-based games remain engaging.

  • Variety of other text-based games available.

What We Don't Like

  • Being eaten by a grue.

  • Vocabulary options may sometimes seem limited.

“You are standing in an open field,” this text-based adventure game begins, “west of a white house, with a boarded front door.” You type simple commands, such as “open mailbox”, to move and engage with the game. No graphics. Just use your imagination along with some mapping and puzzle-solving skills. The site offers many other text-based games, too.

10
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Select Text and Wait: A Dark Room

Screenshot of A Dark Room, with “A Firelit Room” and “A Tiny Village” displayed, with countdown timers for “gather wood” and “check traps” in progress

What We Like

  • Gradual increase in complexity.

  • Mystery of progressing without quite knowing the goal.

What We Don't Like

  • A few mundane tasks can get repetitive.

  • Random events not necessarily positive.

A Dark Room, from Doublespeak games, is a bit of a twist on a text-based adventure game. Text displays. But you don’t type words. Instead, you select actions. In some cases, you have to wait between certain actions, such as gathering wood or checking traps. Over time, you have to tweak settings, make choices, and explore a bit. 

11
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Explore Independent Games: Itch.io

Screenshot of Itch.io, with “Web” platform games selected, and Genre options listed (e.g., Action, Adventure, Card Game, etc.)

What We Like

  • Huge selection of HTML5 games.

  • Lots of styles of games available.

What We Don't Like

  • Quality of games varies significantly.

  • Some games not fully built-out.

Itch.io offers access to thousands of games from independent developers. Choose “browse games” and select “Web” as the platform, and choose “HTML” as the type to narrow the options to games that will work in your Chromebook browser. You can also filter by game genre, accessibility options, multi-player, price, and more. 

12
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Early Computer Games: Archive.org

Screenshot of Archive.org Software Library page with MS-DOS and several other collections displayed

What We Like

  • Large number of arcade-style games work well in the browser.

  • Older gamers might enjoy playing games from their youth.

What We Don't Like

  • Controls and keys can sometimes be tricky to figure out.

  • You can still die of dysentery when you play Oregon Trail.

Archive.org maintains a treasure trove of classic games made for Atari, Apple II, Commodore 64, and MS-DOS computers, all of which you may play in a browser. The Internet Archive preserves these games here for archival purposes thanks to a special exemption from the Library of Congress.