Gaming these days doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You’ve probably got a reasonable PC, you might pay for and play games already. But sometimes you want something new, something fun and more importantly something free! So here’s a list of the best totally free to play multiplayer games. Whether you’ve got friends who play already or you want to find some gaming buddies. Why not give these a try.
I’ve picked these to try and give a mix of genres and styles, some you can just pick up and play, some of them are a little trickier to get the hang of, but they will all give you hours of free gaming pleasure.
So what’s the catch?
Well they’re all free to play, but the developers have to make their money somewhere right? most of these are ad supported or offer in game features for real world cash. So you’re given the choice, if you get really into a game you might think it’s worth spending a little cash, otherwise resist the temptation and your in free gaming heaven.
1. Alien Swarm
4 players battle their way through a space hulk to escape seemingly endless hordes of bug aliens. There are 4 different classes of character to choose from each with their own specialities and a whole host of different weapons. Control is simple, move with the keyboard and your gun will aim towards the mouse cursor. Best played with 3 friends (really difficult if you don’t have a full squad), plus to get the most out of it you’ll need to have all of the classes. Beware of friendly fire! When it hits the fan and you’re spraying bullets like a garden sprinkler with ADHD you’re just as likely to cut your team mates to ribbons as you are to survive the carnage yourself. The co-operative gameplay is well thought out too, allowing players to ‘draw’ on the map to show paths to objectives or give advice on the locations of problems/objects.
Fancy a change of view, you can now try it in first person mode check out the guide here
- Info – co-operative, top down, shooter
- Best Bits – Pick up and play, multiple skill levels, co-operative
- Catches – You’ll need Steam to play it, it’s a little short so it’s got a limited lifespan
You play a ‘Summoner’ in control of a ‘Champion’ and have to defend a base from an opposing team. There are currently 72 Champions to choose from and new ones are added monthly. You earn in game ‘IP’ which can be used to buy Champions, or if you’re impatient you can fork over real world cash and purchase them with that. Each week a selection of 10 Champions are free to play so you can try out a few, then once you have some in game currency, you can ‘buy’ one you like which unlocks them for you from then on. Champions differ by their abilities, some are long ranged, some are melee, and there are plenty of combinations in between. Whether you like flinging spells from the sidelines or smashing baddies with a massive sword, there is a Champion for everyone.
- Info – co-operative, top down, DOTA style, team VS team
- Best Bits – Easy to get started, beautiful to look at, good community
- Catches – System requirements a little high, steep learning curve to get good
Remember worms? Well Gunbound is based on a similar idea. Your character sits atop a ‘Mobile’ which has a 3 different attacks or weapons with which to despatch other players sitting on top of their own mobiles. It’s basically a turn based worms clone with quite a few twists. Instead of a bunch of weapons to deal with all of the different situations you may find yourself in you are limited to the attacks that your mobile can do. Mobiles are chosen at the beginning of each match so your not stuck to one. Gaining experience points will allow you to buy items for your character that can boost his/her performance by increasing attack power, speed and many more. Gunbound has been around for ages and the servers are full of players ready to smash you into oblivion.
- Info – team, solo, turn-based physics shooter
- Best Bits – Cute graphics, very addictive, easy to pick up, difficult to master
- Catches – Some of the items in the shop are cash only, terrible language and childish behaviour prevails
4. Quake Live
You can now play Quake online, in a browser, for free… not sure what else you really need to know on this one. It’s based on the Quake III Area game and has a massive user base. The fact that such a hugely successful game can now be run in a browser window speaks volumes for how far the net and computers have come in general.
- Info – classic Quake III style gameplay, frag you way through competitors
- Best Bits – Pick up and play in a browser window, great graphics and very playable
- Catches – You are out of practice, not a lot new here
Ok so it’s a cutsey browser based virtual pet market, but you know what? It’s got so much more than that. Once you’ve jumped in and made your pet you’d be suprised how many games will engage you. Not really a single game, this is a massive collection of very simple flash games to pit you pet against. Some are skill based, while others are puzzle games that would put an A-Level Mathematics student into a cold sweat. Great to jump in and pit your wits, with so many games to choose from there is something for everyone.
- Info – mostly single player, massive collection of simple flash games
- Best Bits – No install required, simple and additive
- Catches – A little too cute for some, the adverts can get a little nagging.
So, all work and no play… what’s your excuse now?