Simple (free) games that are really easy to pick up & play for a few minutes at a stretch, and yet, still manage to pack in loads of fun and good gameplay. Often referred to as Casual Games despite the fact that the experience, in some cases, may be anything but casual. In keeping with the spirit of a true ‘Coffee Break’ no games in this collection should require installation. Either they run independently off a thumb drive as a single (self-contained) executable, or they’re playable via web browser.
80 Seconds Cave – Navigate the hero through four randomly generated levels, collecting power-ups and avoiding traps. Then sit back and enjoy reading a detailed account of the adventure.
And Everything Started to Fall – This game will test you. At times it will feel overwhelming and insurmountable, like you just won’t make it. But keep at it, don’t give up. At the end of it you’ll realize how brief and fleeting it all was…just like life.
avoid! (the game) – A collection of avoidance mini-games using mouse & arrow keys. Set to a pleasantly relaxing soundtrack this one makes for a nice little coffee break game.
Boomshine – Practice the art of carefully timed chain reactions in this creatively relaxing Flash game.
Boxes – Arcade action with loads of unlockables, achievements and blocks. There’s more to this one than the screenshots reveal.
Castle wars – A creative turn-based card game. The castle left standing will be determined by whoever plays the right cards at the right moment, with each turn a chance to attack or defend.
Cavenaut – An Action Adventure tribute to the Atari 2600. Tackle it a few screens at a time as progress will be saved.
Chompston – Pac-Man plus Bomberman with a musical vibe. The result? An outstanding pick-up-and-play mini arcade game.
Co-Op – One keyboard, two players. Grab a friend and take out those nasty space aliens in wave upon wave, with a super strong rubber band connecting the two ships. Great co-op fun.
CUBIC SPACE – Minimalistic space-themed roguelike about skillfully matching up dice. Can you survive all six levels?
Dolphin Olympics 2 – Swim, leap and twist your way to the highest score in the ocean (and the stars).
Ending – Minimalist puzzle game about learning movement patterns and then executing them within a limited number of moves. No instruction needed. Just pick up and play.
Evacuation – Manipulate a system of color-coded air locks to evacuate alien interlopers, but not your crew. Remember the flag.
Globetrotter XL – A tough geography game, for masters only.
Graviroids – As the designer says, “Asteroids with gravity.” In my opinion, one of the best Asteroid reboots this side of 1980.
Gravity Hook – Only the quick and dexterous will survive.
Javel-ein – Work your way through each atmospheric level with a single weapon that must be retrieved each time it’s used, leaving your character vulnerable to the many dangers lurking about.
Jovian – Very rarely do I feature something that is mostly interactive art. This one is worth the few minutes of immersion… with headphones if you’ve got em.
Launchball – A wonderful kid-friendly physics oriented puzzle game, that’s sure to offer a worthy challenge for players of all ages.
Leaf Me Alone – A short, pleasant atmospheric exploration game about unlocking a giant stone door. Playable in 30 minutes.
Little Rocket – Explore, solve puzzles and collect wayward stars in a tiny galaxy. The real trick is learning how to control the little rocket (and conserve fuel) in a world of gravitational forces.
Majesty of Colors – The key to appreciating a game like this is to just follow your instinct and see what happens…
Maximus Cerebrum – An atmospheric platforming adventure. You are a rogue AI that has just gained sentience. Explore the facility and escape, if you can. Keyboard only. Progress can be saved at checkpoints allowing for multi-play sessions.
MicroLand – A Mario-esque platformer…in miniature.
The Missile Game 3D – Test your reflexes (and depth perception) in this cleverly executed browser game.
Ninja Torappu – Game Boy. Ninja. Escape the tower of death. Actually, you won’t escape. Your only real hope is to master the art of falling and beat the previous high score.
Plort – A cheeky graphical rogue-like by Niall Moody and, to my knowledge, the first to introduce dancing with a Bikini Whale. Nevermind the version number; this game is fully playable.
POPGunner – The tiniest shooter you ever saw, with a little ship that has but one bullet, for both attack and defense.
Powder Game – Have you ever wondered what would happen if you combined water, seeds, oil, gunpowder, lava and ants?
Probe Team – This short form Unity game explores the brotherhood of probes, and what may well be their greatest desire.
Refuge – There’s something special about the way this tiny game evokes such a strong sense of atmosphere.
Ribbonoid – Keep the ball in play while breaking musical bricks and avoiding the little bombs bent on destroying the ribbon. Wonderful musical atmosphere.
Samegame Fighter – A puzzle matching game of epic…battles? Don’t let the Japanese webpage throw you off; this browser based Flash game (the actual game) is entirely in English.
Small Worlds – An enchanting little gem that’s purely about exploration. Love the musical score and pixelated graphics.
Spacecrap – Your ship’s engines have been damaged and navigation skewed off course. Can you scavenge enough fuel & parts to reach the target destination?
Stackopolis – A block stacking puzzle game with a Sim City flair.
Take a Walk – It’s somewhat about moving to the pace of the music without missing any jumps. Collect the musical notes for a higher score. But most of all, simply enjoy the experience.
They came from Verminest – Retro remix of arcade classic Galaga, with new features and a neat 1950s aesthetic. Bring a gamepad…and a pair of old fashioned 3D glasses if you have em.
Time Squid – A Quick-form game about timing, reflexes and trial & error. I recommend using a gamepad with this one. Direct download as no official homepage exists, that I know of.
You may also enjoy:
- One Switch Games – Designed with single input in mind
- Fessic’s Favorite Free Video Games
- Honorable Mentions – More free games
- Most Memorable Video Games – An Historical Timeline