To say there are a lot of free multiplayer games on the market is an understatement. And while there’s plenty of mud, some games do manage to shine as diamonds in the rough. Some may be towering titans of their genre, others understated gems, but they can be unearthed if one sorts through the flood.
A staple of the best free games is uniqueness, whether it’s in the form of creative mechanics or just doing a really solid job at what they’ve set out to do. Some have stood the test of time, some are just getting their momentum, but they all are worth a look amid the sea of free games.
10 Touhou Big Big Battle Is A Great Fangame (PC)
Touhou Big Big Battle is a creative fangame combining elements of MOBAs with more traditional RTS concepts, all played out in short but engaging matches on a side-scrolling battlefield. The player can choose from a wide variety of minions, ranging from cheap fairies to mermaids to size-changing oni.
Between dozens of classic Touhou characters and references and some adorable art, any fan of the series will have some fun even just looking through the unit and hero lists in Big Big Battle. As a note, it may help to read through a new player guide as the English translation can be rough in some places.
9 Board Game Online Is A Parody Of Party Games (Browser)
The name may sound ordinary, but Board Game Online is anything but. With tongue-in-cheek humor and a penchant for oddness, it turns the simple premise of a dice rolling race to a finish line into a strange journey through time and space with more than a few bears along the way.
With a boatload of events to encounter and items to find, there’s a ton of replayability. With space for up to 16 players, there’s plenty of room to bring along some friends for a goofy and chaotic race to the finish line, even if the winner only manages to cross it via a malfunctioning catapult.
8 Runescape Is The Classic Free MMO (PC, Mobile)
Launching in 2001, Runescape began as a small indie project run out of the developers’ house. It swiftly grew in popularity as more and more players discovered the world of Gielinor, becoming one of the most popular games of its era as well as one of the first free-to-play MMOs.
Over twenty years later, Runescape is still going strong with new content and quests being routinely added all the time. The player base too has remained passionate, with over a million subscribers as of 2019 and plenty more free players enjoying their adventure and leveling everything from dungeoneering to fishing.
7 Heroes of the Storm Is A Unique MOBA (PC)
Unlike most MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm eschews hard character roles in favor of variety. A character like The Lost Vikings can turn the game into an RTS, or a player might choose to team up with a friend to pilot the two-headed ogre Cho’Gal or even strike it alone as the arrogant dragon Deathwing.
The variety of experiences doesn’t stop at just the heroes though, as the game has over a dozen battlegrounds, all with unique goals and resources to make use of. The fact that any map can be played versus AI certainly doesn’t hurt either, especially with a wide range of difficulty options at hand.
6 Among Us Took The World By Storm (Free On Mobile, $5 Elsewhere)
Quietly released into the world in 2018, it wouldn’t be until 2020 that Among Us finally hit its stride, swiftly becoming a mainstay of the gaming zeitgeist. With roots in party games like Mafia, Among Us sees a space crew attempting to discern who is really an “imposter” before it’s too late.
The gameplay itself is simple but engaging, with the crewmates running about the map to perform various tasks while the imposter hunts them down one by one, using trickery and stealth to avoid revealing themselves and being kicked from the ship.
5 Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel Is A Faithful Adaptation (Mobile, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, XBO, XBSX)
While far from the first Yu-gi-oh! video game, Master Duel manages to capture the feel of the card game better than most previous iterations. Featuring almost every card ever printed and gaining more all the time, players will rarely find themselves lacking their favorite monster or archetype.
As if the ranked duels and the ability to challenge friends weren’t enough, Yu-gi-oh! Master Duel also contains an extensive and ever-growing set of solo campaigns featuring themed decks, a wide variety of challenges, and a dive into the lore behind many archetypes from throughout the game’s long history.
4 Pokémon Go Remains Robust (Mobile)
The halcyon days of 2016 when everyone seemed to be playing Pokémon Go may have passed, but the game is still alive and thriving. With frequent updates and events, Pokémon Go has evolved from a focus on “gotta catch ’em all” nostalgia to a strong stand-alone game.
Nowadays sitting at 700+ Pokémon and growing, anyone seeking to complete their collection will have quite the journey ahead. Catching ‘mons isn’t the only thing Pokémon Go offers though; from teamwork-based raids to PvP battle leagues to just some nice motivation to take a scenic jog, there’s a lot to do and a ton to see.
3 Super Animal Royale Gives The Genre A New Perspective (PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, XBO, XBSX)
There are many battle royale shooters out there, but Super Animal Royale takes the concept in a unique and adorable direction. Featuring top-down 2D shooter action with a cast of cute animals and some delightfully weird weapons, Super Animal Royale has a charm that many battle royales lack.
With a bevy of animals to unlock, the player is sure to find a favorite, whether it be a “mundane” labrador or a ferret made of candy corn. A variety of game modes are also available, ranging from the classic free-for-all common to the genre to options like capture the flag or even zombie survival.
2 Team Fortress 2 Is Still A Mainstay (PC)
After over a dozen years of development, Team Fortress 2 has managed to rise into an icon of gaming culture. While the glory days may have faded and its updates have grown more infrequent, a vibrant and active community still surrounds the game and keeps it alive as ever.
With a unique flair and a hearty dose of comedy, Team Fortress 2 mixes those factors with a number of game modes that have something for just about everybody. Whether it be pushing a payload, fighting off endless waves of killer robots, or just a casual game of explosive “soccer-hockey-basketball,” Team Fortress 2 has it all.
1 Final Fantasy XIV Got A Second Wind And Kept On Running (PC, PS4, PS5)
With the original 2010 launch having crashed and burned, few fans expected Final Fantasy XIV to rise from the ashes. But rise it did, with the launch of A Realm Reborn turning around the game’s fate and setting it on the path to where it is today as one of the most popular fantasy MMOs around.
While FFXIV’s free trial “only” covers A Realm Reborn and Heavensward, those still provide many dozens of hours of content to any prospective player, ranging from a robust main story to the hundreds of side quests. Fan favorites include the tale of Inspector Hildibrand as well as the “Assistant Postmoogle” storyline.