Joe Hindy / Android Authority
Chrome OS isn’t the most popular gaming platform. It competes with PC, console, and mobile gaming platforms like Android, iOS, and Switch. It’s a tough market but Chrome OS found a way. Google put the Google Play Store on Chromebooks and now these devices have access to a library of great games. Let’s take a look at the best Chromebook games from the Google Play Store.
For the purposes of this list, we tried to only include games with good keyboard support since not all Chromebooks have a touchscreen and not everyone owns a controller. Luckily, you have plenty of options. Google Play has a Chromebook section for some easy picks. Luckily, Google makes it pretty easy even if it’s slim pickings in this genre.
We also recommend checking out the Chromebook Perks page here to redeem free stuff in some games. You can even score a free game there if you get lucky. Of course, most controller-enabled games work on Chromebooks as well if you have one. We have a list of the best games with controller support here for even more options.
Finally, we intentionally omitted Minecraft from the list. It actually works perfectly fine if you side-load the latest version (unless your Chromebook is old or low spec), but Microsoft doesn’t let you download it from the Play Store without an Office 365 Education account for some stupid reason. Finally, you can install Steam on Chromebooks, but it’s only worth it if your Chromebook has top-end specs.
The best Chromebook games
Price: Free to play
Asphalt 8 is one of the most popular racing games on the Play Store. It’s the last Asphalt game with true hardware controller support and it works quite well on Chromebooks too. The game has 290 officially licensed vehicles, 75 tracks, offline and online play, single and multiplayer modes, and tons of stuff to do. It still gets regular updates from Gameloft as well. The microtransactions are a little on the heavier side than we would like, but it’s a great racer otherwise. It’s definitely one of the better online games for Chromebooks.
See also: The best racing games for Android
Bridge Constructor Portal
Bridge Constructor Portal is a puzzle game. It blends Bridge Constructor elements with Portal elements for a unique experience. Players basically build a bridge to get from one end of the level to the other without falling. The game contains 60 levels, entertaining dialog, and various obstacles. There are Google Play Games achievements, as well as hardware controller support if you want to use one. Plus, the game is $4.99 with no in-app purchases or ads. Better yet, it’s free on Google Play Pass.
See also: The best simulation games for Android
Dead Cells was actually free via Chromebook perks a while back so we know this one works well on the platform. It’s a roguelike Metroidvania-style game. That means it’s a platformer in which the entire game world is interconnected. Additionally, the game has perma-death so be careful when you play. Dead Cells also features nonlinear progression, super fun 2D combat, and boss fights. It’s a few versions behind the PC release but that only makes it harder. It’s definitely one of the best games for Chromebook. It’s also free if you use Google Play Pass.
See also: The best retro games for Android
Doom & Destiny Advanced
Doom & Destiny Advanced is a JRPG title similar to the old Final Fantasy games of the 1990s. You gather a party, take down the main bad guys, explore dungeons, walk around the world map, and buy stuff in towns. That’s just the basic gameplay loop and there is plenty more to do. The game boasts 20 characters, tons of gear, over 1,000 locations, online battles, and more. The endgame gets a little difficult but otherwise, this is about as good as JRPGs get for Chromebooks right now.
Doom and Doom II
Price: $4.99 each
Doom and Doom II are probably your best bet for premium FPS games on Chromebooks for now. The games are faithful ports of the originals and also include some extra content. For instance, Doom II includes 20 additional levels to the base version. Believe it or not, the keyboard support is actually quite good too. You can game with the keyboard and trackpad or with a mouse if you have one. The games run at $4.99 each and should play smoothly on most Chromebooks.
Game Dev Tycoon
Game Dev Tycoon is a popular recommendation for Chromebook games. It’s a simulation game in which players build a whole game studio from scratch. You start in your bedroom with single a computer and build the business out from there. It features simple controls, a fair bit of depth, and an optional pirate mode. The pirate mode makes you deal with people stealing your games and cutting into your profits. The game runs for $4.99 with no in-app purchases. It’s also free via Google Play Pass. Game Dev Tycoon is easily one of the best games for Chromebooks.
Price: Free / $2.99
PinOut is an infinite runner arcade game mixed with a pinball game. It’s actually pretty simple. Players use two pinball flippers to shoot the ball through the game. As it makes its way through a checkpoint, a new set of flappers appear to keep the ball rolling, so to speak. Chromebook players use the left and right shift keys to control the flippers. It’s an entertaining game. We highly recommend the premium version since it enables continues. The free version only has the infinite runner mode where you start over if you fail. Mars: Mars (Google Play link) also works with keyboards and has similar controls (left and right booster). You can play that one if you want something a bit slower. It’s certainly a fun Chromebook game for kids as well.
Riptide GP: Renegade
Riptide GP: Renegade is a criminally underrated game. Players race jet skis instead of cars and the wave mechanics add nuance to the racing part. You start as a disgraced racer trying to make a comeback. There are various vehicles to unlock and upgrade, a split-screen multiplayer mode, online multiplayer, and a good career mode. The keyboard arrows help you direct the jet ski and you don’t actually need a touch screen for any of it. It’s also free on Google Play Pass if you use it.
See also: The best new Chromebooks you can find
Price: Free to play
Unlike Minecraft, Roblox actually works pretty well on Chromebooks. The game’s creative modes let you play a wide variety of game types. There are FPS games, adventure games, hack and slash, multiplayer, and tons of other options. It’s honestly one of the most varied games on any platform. It works quite well with Chromebook keyboards so you shouldn’t need your touchpad for much. It’s definitely one of the best free games for Chromebook.
See also: The best games like Minecraft on Android
Rollercoaster Tycoon is a classic PC title. It launched on Google Play a few years ago, and it works pretty well with most Chromebooks. There are no keyboard controls but the game relies heavily on menu clicking instead, so it’s fine either way. Rollercoaster Tycoon had some issues with zooming a few years ago, but pinch to zoom on the trackpad should work on all modern Chromebooks. The game contains Rollercoaster Tycoon 1 and 2. There also are some DLC packs you can buy for even more content.
See also: The best sandbox games for Android
Rusted Warfare is a traditional real-time strategy game. It boasts both online and offline play, simple RTS mechanics, and over 40 units to build and attack with. It comes with native keyboard and mouse support out of the box so your Chromebook should play wonderfully with it. The graphics won’t win any awards, but this is honestly one of the better RTS games in the Play Store, whether you play it on a phone or on a laptop. The $1.99 price tag is also dirt cheap for how much content you get.
SimplePlanes is an aviation simulator. Players can build their own planes, fly them around, and just enjoy the act of designing and flying planes. The game also includes real-time damage for things like over-stressing the plane or hitting obstacles. There is a sandbox mode, various challenges to complete, and plenty of customization tools. It doesn’t have the best graphics, but the gameplay mechanics are solid. SimplePlanes uses both the mouse and touchpad so there is a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not a big deal. Additionally, the game is free via Google Play Pass if you have it.
See also: The best VR games for most VR headsets
Price: $2.99 with in-app purchases
Slawaway Camp is a horror-puzzle game with tons of gore. It’s not really that scary, but as part of the horror genre, it’s not kid-friendly. The game contains 140 levels, various obstacles to overcome, and even a metal soundtrack to keep things interesting. The game works almost entirely with just a keyboard, and it’s fairly entertaining overall.
See also: The best puzzle games for Android
Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, and CD
Price: Free / $1.99 each
The SEGA Forever series isn’t the most popular set of games on the Play Store, but there are some good things for Chromebook players. Sonic the Hedgehog Classic, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and Sonic CD Classic all function with basically just the keyboard. You use the arrow keys to move Sonic and the J button to jump. Since those are the only two controls, you’re ready to go. All three games are free via Google Play Pass. You also may want to try other SEGA Forever games since many of them boast controller support and may include keyboard support as well. They’re all free to download, with the premium version available via an in-app purchase.
See also: The best Chromebooks for students
Stardew Valley is arguably the best farming simulator on the Play Store. It also works quite well with Chromebooks. The game is single-tap so most of your navigation is done with a mouse. Still, there are some keyboard shortcuts to make life a little easier. You start with a rundown farm and must build it back up. There are also little mini-games and a nearby village where you can meet and help people. It’s a premium game with no in-app purchases. You can also play it for free via Google Play Pass. Stardew Valley is one of the great mobile games and definitely one of the best games for Chromebook too.
Bonus: Google Stadia
Price: Free / Varies / $9.99 per month
Google Stadia works perfectly on Chromebooks. In fact, that’s how Google intends to introduce AAA games to the platform. You buy the controller and pay for the optional subscription. From there, simply purchase the games you like and play them. Everything takes place in the cloud. Therefore, you only need the app installed on your machine and a really good, solid Internet connection. The application is available via Google Play. Here is a list of Stadia games available right now.
Bonus: Most single tap touch games
Price: Free / Varies
Here’s the thing, Android games on Chromebooks open in a windowed emulator. You still have full access to your mouse and keyboard while playing. Most games don’t support the keyboard, but the mouse is universally available, and it works just like a finger. Thus, games like Clash of Clans, the Telltale Games franchise, Gorogoa, Super Mario Run, most gacha RPGs, and most card games like Hearthstone are easily playable on Chromebooks despite not having official support. I even tested Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, and it worked fine once I turned the graphic settings down. You can play basically any Android game that is otherwise playable with a single finger as long as the tap controls aren’t too ridiculous. The only caveat is that not every Chromebook can run every game without crashing. There’s a lot of trial and error.
Price: Free / Varies
Emulators are an easy recommendation for games to play on Chromebooks. Most of them let you custom map a game controller, but you can simply use your keyboard instead. There are emulators for SEGA Genesis, SNES, NES, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, GameCube, and several others. You have to procure your own game ROMs, but otherwise, this is a good way to play a ton of classics very easily. Here is our list of the best emulators in the Play Store to help you find the good ones. Emulators are also a great source of offline games for Chromebooks.
If we missed any great Chromebook games, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.
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