Kill your productivity: Stuff's top 22 free browser games

It's January. Your bank balance hasn't recovered and everything's just... bleh. Cheer yourself up with this selection of totally awesome (and totally free) browser games

That important piece of work you have to finish off? That dodgy garage door you were meant to fix? That costume you were going to make for the school play?

Yeah, none of that's going to happen, because we've rounded up the finest browser games floating around in the digital ether, and best of all, they're all free. Sort of.

Some of the games under consideration here are truly gratis, with maybe an ad banner on the page or, in some cases, a pre-roll advertisement every few levels. 

Some are free but require an email address so that news about interesting and useful products can be delivered direct to your inbox. And by interesting I mean Viagra and by useful I mean please God make it stop. 

Some are freemium - they’re free to try out but all the really sweet add-ons (weapons, cars, whatever) require some sort of payment. 

I’ve included games from most of these categories but drawn the line at anything that requires a credit card impression before you start playing. 

Most run in your browser using Java or HTML 5. A few require an initial download of game content before playing. I’ve included one or two of those: but in general anything requiring a substantial install has been ruled out. Instant action, and a small hard disk footprint are our watchwords here.

Oh and fun. Above all, fun.

22: FPS Man

Atmospheric Horror. Two words you wouldn't normally associate with PAC-MAN. But one round of this 3D first-person remake of the classic arcade title could leave a puddle of shame beneath your chair. Don't believe me? Plug in your headphones and see if you're braver than I am. 

Play it now

More after the break...

21: Cube Slam

You liked Pong? Cube Slam is Pong on meth. It's a beautifully 3D rendered version of the classic (which you'll see more of below) with power-ups and satisfyingly meaty sound effects. You can play against real people online, and because the egame supports webcams you can even see those annoying people that keep beating you .

Or if you prefer to embrace artificially intelligent nature, go up against Bob the Bear. He's an AI bot who's always there for you when your friends aren't. Try it now, but be prepared to lose at least half an hour.

Play it now

20: Poppit

There is really no reason why this simple balloon-popping game should be so addictive. Bubble popping games have been a standard on smartphones for over a decade. Snood was probably the first big hit of the genre. Poppit is only a minor variation on that venerable theme. But if it ain’t broke…

Pop balloons, the larger the group the better. As the groups disappear the next row floats up to take their place. Plan ahead to build the biggest group. Realise that a whole hour has gone by. Classic.

Play it now

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