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The top 10 JavaScript games you can play right now

Hack Reactor

The top 10 JavaScript games you can play right now

By Kevin Juhasz for Hack Reactor

Video games have made great leaps since their introduction almost 70 years ago. Graphics and gameplay have moved from simple blocks to experiences that are as close to real as you can get. There’s still a lot of appreciation for simpler games, including many in 2D, that are easy to play and available on the Internet. 

Many of these popular games are created using JavaScript, currently the most popular programming language in the world.

Some games are scaled-down versions of other games, some are original. There are games that are very basic but remain challenging. There are also games that offer excellent 2D graphics with multiple challenges for the user. One of the great things about many of these games is the developers make their source code available for other creators. Many are free, but there are also paid versions for some.


1. HexGL (BKCore)

1. HexGL (BKCore)

HexGL is a free futuristic racing game that is popular for its fast-paced play that is similar to Wipeout and F-Zero developed using Three.js. Gameplay is pretty simple — it’s racing. It’s very basic racing. There’s no sound, no opponents, and no multiplayer. The only goal is to try to beat the previous time you had before. It’s well-liked for being a time-killer game or even stress relief.

“This superb fast-paced racing game is my favorite, and I love to play it during my free time on my desktop,” said Harriet Chan, Co-Founder and Marketing Director at CocoFinder. “It’s a game I’d recommend people play in their leisure time to relieve pressure from work.”


2. Gods Will Be Watching (Deconstructeam)

2. Gods Will Be Watching (Deconstructeam)

Released in July 2014, the point-and-click game Gods Will Be Watching has received praise for its minimalist approach. Taking place in 2257 CFD (Constellar Federation Date), players guide Sgt. Burden and his crew through puzzles and moral decisions, such as killing one of the crew to help save food rations. The game has proven to be popular, albeit frustrating for many players.

Originally created as part of a code challenge, Gods Will Be Watching is now a full retail game for Windows and macOS. that has expanded from the original creation. It’s available on Steam, typically for $9.99, but it is on sale for $2.49 right now. The game is currently being developed for iOS and Android.


3. CrossCode (Radical Fish Games)

3. CrossCode (Radical Fish Games)

The graphics-rich CrossCode was introduced in 2012 and has since evolved to include an expansion and made playable on PC, Mac, and consoles. The game follows Lea, who must make her way through the CrossWorlds in a quest to regain her memories. This 2-D game, which was made with the help of JavaScript, is made more complex by including quests, puzzles, skill trees, and more. It has been well-received since its introduction.

The game has a free demo that is available on the Internet, but a variety of paid versions are available for $19.99-$39.99 on Steam. If you have a console, then you can search for the game there.


4. OpHog

4. OpHog

OpHog is a tower defense game that started development in 2012 and was released one and a half years later. One of the creators explained on his GitHub page that this was because the creators worked full-time jobs and needed to learn JavaScript. Players of the game need to defeat bosses in other worlds while defending the portals in their world. The game also offers the ability to collect diamonds to buy items that will help with their goals.


5. PixelDefense (Oregon State University)

5. PixelDefense (Oregon State University)

Developed by Jesse Thoren, Michael Tarantino, and Morgan Howard for an Oregon State University capstone project, PixelDefense is also popular for its amazing 2D graphics. Gameplay is pretty simple, requiring the player to place defensive towers throughout the town to prevent monsters from attacking the homes.

“If you are familiar with the fundamentals of HTML5 and JavaScript, this will be an excellent opportunity for you to learn about the mechanics of online game production,” said Veronica Miller, Cybersecurity Expert at VPNoverview.


6. Tower Building (MIT)

6. Tower Building (MIT)

Introduced a few years ago, the object of Tower Building is to build a tower with different floors that are attached to a swinging crane. Think of a scaled-down version of Tower Bloxx Deluxe. Still, as a JavaScript game, it offers some good graphics and is challenging, making it one of the favorites among players.


7. Mk.js (Minko Gechev)

7. Mk.js (Minko Gechev)

For anyone looking for a fighting game, mk.js is a JavaScript version of Mortal Kombat that offers some excellent graphics and gameplay. One of the good things about it is that it offers single-player, two-player, and network modes. 


8. Pocket Island (Wooga/Liq Corp.)

8. Pocket Island (Wooga/Liq Corp.)

Introduced in 2012, Pocket Island is a worldbuilding game where the characters are elves starting a new civilization. The island is ruled by a king who doles out tasks. The game was originally developed by Wooga, but is now under Liq. 

“I love this game as an escape from reality,” said Steve Johnson, owner of BootMoodFoot. “It's very addictive. It has been keeping me happily entertained during the Covid-19 pandemic.”


9. Astray (wwwtyro)

9. Astray (wwwtyro)

A simple but challenging JavaScript game where the player has to guide a ball through a maze with levels becoming more complex as the game advances.

“Astray is one of the best open-source HTML5 and JavaScript games available,” said Thilo Huellmann, Chief Technology Officer at Levity.ai. “This game stands out from the others since it demonstrates the capabilities of WebGL in a web browser. It creates a powerful 3D user interface using the Three.js and Box2dWeb frameworks. The developer is unconcerned about licenses and lets you use them whatever you like.”


10. “Tetris” Games

10. “Tetris” Games

This listing is a category rather than a game because this genre remains hugely popular among game players even 37 years after the release of the original.

“Tetris is part of Gen X, but the fun is in its simplicity,” said Julia Bobak, Content Creator at Home Grounds. “It's visually and intellectually stimulating whether you're 5 or 92, which is probably how it's still going strong.”

Hextris is an interesting and challenging take on Tetris, where a player has to rotate a hexagon to try and match colors that continually fall from six different places, sometimes from all sides at the same time. There are also Mimstris and Canvas Tetris, which are pretty much like the classic Tetris.