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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
6. Tower Building (MIT)
7. Mk.js (Minko Gechev)
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)
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.