I will admit to having a love/hate relationship with browser games. On the one hand, there are any number of fun, quirky little games out there ready to amuse and titillate. But then there are the browser games that are simply the computer equivalent of playing the slots; do the task, press the button, look at the shiny lights and oh! a prize! Yes, I know, browser games are meant to be little time wasters, something to occupy a few idle moments. But my current and ongoing addiction to Bejewelled Blitz notwithstanding, when I get right down to it I prefer a browser game with a bit of meat to it. If it can amuse me beyond basic “action+reward=pleasure” models, that is the game I stick with over the long haul.
With that in mind, here are three browser games that have wowed me enough that I either don’t stop playing them, or they keep me coming back even when there might be more sparkly alternatives. By all means check them out, and friend me on them if you dare!
Kingdom of Loathing – Not your typical browser adventure game, players take on the role of heroes in the Kingdom, fighting evil monsters and stealing their stuff. Sounds like a typical adventure game, right? Well, with character classes like “Pastamancer” and “Disco Bandit” don’t expect the same old tired adventures. Okay, no, expect them, but expect that they’ll be presented with that very special KoL twist. The writing for this game is superbly ridiculous, and it actually turns the stickmen art-style into a strength. I haven’t played it constantly, but I keep coming back to it whenever I need a taste of silliness. Be you a Sauceror or Accordion Thief, a great way to waste some time.
Echo Bazaar – Welcome to the dystopian pseudo-Victorian world of Fallen London! You play a newly escaped prisoner (wrongly or rightly imprisoned, doesn’t much matter) trying to make your way through the oft-times dangerous and thrilling streets of this post-apocalyptic city. I love everything about this game, from the steampunkish sensibilities of the world creation, to the writing and NPC interaction. What I love most is that social interactions such charming or tricking someone are just as viable an option as strong-arming them; you can literally live by your wits down in the Echo Bazaar. Trust me, if you start playing you’ll count the minutes until your candle returns (you’ll see what I mean)! And if you like Echo Bazaar, check out the same company’s latest offering, The Night Circus.
Bejewelled Blitz – Okay, I wanted to maintain some of my geek cred, and I was going to round out this list with some other browser game oddity. But you know what? For sheer time-wasting potential nothing can beat Bejewelled, and given how much of it I’ve been playing lately it would be hypocrisy not to include it. The bright colours, the countdown clock, the little “plink” every time I complete a row…PopCap knows their craft, and they definitely crafted a winner. And let’s face it, sometimes you just want to shut your brain off for a bit and connect sparkly gems. Curse you to hell, Bejewelled, you give me what I want…
That’s it for today, gentle readers! Give these games a shot, and foe the love of gawd set an alarm or something before you start Bejewelled! And if you can stop playing long enough, share your favourite browser game below. Until tomorrow!