Flash is dead, long live Flash. Well it may not be dead yet, but the writing’s on the wall, and the replacement has started to stretch its wings. HTML5 is an interactive global web standard which aims to deliver Flash type functionality in the browser without installing plugins, and the first games based around the technology are already appearing on the Web.
One of the key advantages of moving to HTML5 for game development is the fact that each game should be playable on computer, tablet or smartphone, a truly cross platform solution. Right now some games are more cross platform compatible than others, but over time this will improve as the technology matures.
Here’s our selection of some of the best at the moment. We’ve classed this as freeware since you can download some of them to phone or computer for offline play. If you know of any others shout out in the comments.
[PS: If you like this, do check out our 70 Best Free Open Source Games list]
Pirates Love Daisies. Magically innovative tower defence game substituting cute pirates for the typical mechanical tech towers, and creatures like giant crabs and rats as the attackers. It features awesome graphics, a huge amount of sub-text (a pirate called Inigo?) and bags of character. Superb!
Agent 8 Ball. A gorgeous spin on the traditional pool game (geddit?). Race against the clock and a hidden time bomb and clear the table to win. Stunning graphics and a great game make this a real winner.
Cut The Rope. Another beautifully rendered game, with gameplay that’s so addictive I rushed out and bought the Android version for my phone. Basically it’s a puzzler, but with intriguing tasks instead of just boring repetition. Excellent game all round.
Bejeweled. The classic time-waster gets a refreshed format as an HTML5 game, and it’s lovely. All the traditionally fun gameplay, done up in a gorgeous high definition skin, and running silkily smooth in the browser. Don’t start playing this at work unless you want to end up wasting half your day. You have been warned.
WordSquared. A full blown multiplayer word game not unlike Scrabble (shhh), decked out in a delicious graphical gravy and a fabulous interface. The rules are simple, you can only play off your own words after the first go, which sounds easy, but isn’t. If you’re a Scrabble fan you’ll love this to bits.
DollarIsle. A lovely looking city building game along the lines of CityVille. It features pretty conventional gameplay, become rich and powerful by building stuff and collecting rent. You get the picture. What’s neat though is you can switch playing between your phone and laptop instantly. Oh the joys of no Flash.
Angry Birds. Aw c’mon, what kind of a games review would this be without an HTML5 version of this monster hit to throw into the mix? The same gameplay, identically awesome graphics, just as addictively ridiculous. This franchise is just going from strength to strength.
Dead Earth. In complete contrast, why not explore new worlds, trade with neighbouring planets or fight them with this retro styled space themed online multiplayer game. The gameplay will be familiar to veterans of the old era of Elite, but the new HTML5 browser environment is bang up to date. Strictly for geekier Sci-Fi lovers.
AirScape. We’re talking one wacky octopus in a strange alien environment platformer here, but with a twist. Is it underwater? Is it upside down? Why can the fish talk and why does the world revolve so much? To say this is quirky is an understatement, but original is also a good word to use. Great fun.
Emberwind. So it’s adventure you want? Well join this merry crew of Lucky, Kindle the Owl and a host of naughty gremlins on a search for acorns and more. At its heart just a traditional platformer, but with enough of a difference to become engrossing. Perfect for the goblin chasers among us.
Sumon. Oh good grief, it’s Sudoku with a timer. As if it wasn’t hard enough beating the conventional game if you’re mathematically challenged, now they’ve thrown in a ‘beat the clock’ element which makes it even worse. Good job the graphics are great and the controls easy to master.
Canvas Rider. An awesome game that comes with simple graphics but fabulous physics. It takes an age to master but the satisfaction quota is 11/10 once you get the hang of it. What’s more you can create your own tracks and play other users’ versions. Superb. Oh and did I mention there are checkpoints just to make things more interesting? Esc for full screen mode.
Asteroids. You want retro, we’ve got retro. This is the classic arcade game re-done with some realistic eye candy, but retaining all the glorious old gameplay. Shoot down asteroids as they approach your ship, fail and be destroyed. Succeed and claim a high score. Oh and the original graphics are available at the touch of a button. Nice touch! Check this Asteroids out too.
Sketchout. Awesome little game which turns brick breakout on its head and combines it with some clever missile command fun. Your task is to stop the little light beams from hitting your planet. You have a paddle, and you can draw lines to repel the little blighters. It’s extremely addictive, great to look at and a heap of fun.
Puttopia. Ever played one of those really annoying pitch and putt games at a fair? Well this is that. The basic but serviceable graphics mask a great little puzzler, and what’s more you can make your own fiendishly clever courses to make things even worse. Lovely little game.
PicnicDefender. Quick, whatever you do, save the picnic from those pesky ants. This is a cute little tower defence game which simplifies everything to make it extra easy to play. Great for smaller kids and yet still tricky enough on the harder settings to make it a little bit addictive for grown-ups. Love the graphics.
Playbiolab. A beautifully crafted little (and I mean little) retro platform game. Very reminiscent of Commander Keen. Responsive, engrossing and lots of fun as you blast your way around a space station type environment filled with hostile little aliens. Everything about this game is cute, and the music and SFX are great too.
Bomb Expert. Quite simple really. This is Minesweeper redone for HTML5. No frills, no fancy stuff. Just a load of squares (with optional different designs) and hidden bombs. It’s the same old puzzler, done well. And did I mention it’s still as much of a brain teaser as the original?
White Rabbit. Strange little game which for some reason grabs the attention. Your little white bunny is actually a secret Ninja in disguise. Despatch all sorts of Ninja type moves on your enemies (including Dim Sum buns by the looks of it) in this platformer. It’s got some interesting features and is definitely worth a look.
RPG JS. If you want to see where the state of HTML5 gaming is at the moment, take a look at this sweet little role playing demo game. The gameplay is straight up traditional swords and challenges, with puzzles, interactive characters and everything. Beautiful graphics and SFX round off the whole experience.
Torus. Tetrix gets an HTML5 makeover with some added 3D love. It’s slickly produced, and comes with varying degrees of difficulty which should be enough to humble the loftiest brainiac. Great graphics and a timeless gameplay structure make this a definite hit with the puzzler lovers.