The Chromebook is becoming a more and more robust laptop option by the year. With increasing crossover functionality for both Linux and Android, it now has access to a plethora of apps and games that in the past would have been unthinkable.
This list is largely made up of games you can download from the Play Store, too, because every Chromebook released for a good few years now has native Android functionality. We want to reflect what’s available to the majority of Chromebook users today, and we’ve checked to see that the below games work well on most modern Chromebooks.
1. NBA Jam ( Play Store)
Sports games aren’t easy to get on mobile (and by extension, Chromebook). EA has been cranking out FIFA games for years, but they just feel stiff and awkward. NBA Jam solves many of those problems by keeping things simple. 2-vs-2, big heads, and spectacular slam dunks make this one of the best sports games on Chromebook and Android.
Those who played the excellent NBA Hangtime in the 90s will particularly enjoy NBA Jam, as it has that same gung-ho, absurd, arcade-like play where you leap 50 feet into the air before smashing the ball down through the hoop.
Local and online multiplayer, a fun campaign, and simple controls make this a must-play even if you’re not basketball buff.
2. Among Us (Play Store)
There are few games as popular as Among Us right now, and a big part of the popularity of this murder mystery party game is just how easily it runs across all platforms (cross-play too!).
The idea is that you’re one of several jellybean-looking astronauts on a spaceship, working together to keep things running smoothly. But one of you is actually the impostor trying to kill people and sabotage the ship.
This one is really best played with friends rather than strangers calling you a suspect (hence the meme ‘sus’) with no justification but works wonderfully on Chromebooks.
3. Game Dev Tycoon (Play Store)
Game Dev Tycoon is an addictive management sim about running a game development studio. It’s been around since 2012, and the fact that it’s now on PC, mobile and Nintendo Switch speaks to its popularity.
Assemble a talented team of devs, move into an office, and get on the path to becoming the greatest game studio known to humanity! There’s a nice narrative thrust, too, as you start the game in a garage in the ’80s before moving through the eras and the new technologies they bring with them.
The game works great with touchscreen controls or a mouse and is a real kickback kind of experience as you conceive game project after game project and (hopefully) watch the big bucks roll in.
4. Google Stadia
While it’s not really a game in itself, given that Google’s cloud gaming platform lets you play such games as Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and PUBG on your Chromebook, it deserves a mention.
Stadia works by streaming games from Google’s servers, then essentially beaming it to your Chromebook via a high-quality (up to 4K) video. If your Internet is fast, then the difference between playing the game via streaming or actual hardware should be negligible. Just go to the Stadia site in your Chrome browser, and you’re good to go!
Another fun fact is that you can now trial Stadia Pro for a month for free, which gives you access to a nice little catalog of included games to try.
You can also see how Stadia stacks up against rival cloud services in our Stadia vs. GeForce Now vs. Shadow comparison.
5. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Play Store)
Metroidvanias are all the rage these days, but they wouldn’t be where they are today without this seminal entry in the Castlevania series.
Introducing non-linear exploration, opulent pixel art and an unforgettable glam-rock-meets-ghoulish soundtrack, Symphony of the Night is one that you can always go back to, and it remains immortally brilliant – kind of like Big Drac himself.
The surprise release of an Android version offers a new way to revisit this classic, complete with new; perks, like a Continue feature and achievements. Playing it on Chromebook’s keyboard (or better still, a gamepad) is much more comfortable than on a touchscreen, too!
6. Alto’s Odyssey (Play Store)
The sequel to Alto’s Adventure is one of the most mesmerizing and artistically accomplished games on Android. It’s also among the Android games that are most universally compatible on Chromebook.
In Alto’s Odyssey, you glide on a board across all kinds of desert landscapes, with mysterious cities and ancient rock formations rising in the background. It has its share of challenges, but it’s also a serene experience that’s perfect to bliss out to on a lazy weekend afternoon.
7. PUBG Mobile (Play Store)
Unlike most of the other games on this list, playing the Android version of the legendary battle royale game on Chromebook comes with some caveats. First, you need to have an Intel CPU inside your Chromebook.
Secondly, how well PUBG Mobile runs on Chromebook depends heavily on your device. Users of Google Pixelbooks have reported that it runs reasonably well, as have those on higher-end Chromebooks. There’s an interesting piece over at Chrome Unboxed about how well this version of the game runs on modern Chromebooks, and the outlook is pretty good.
If you do manage to get PUBG Mobile running, you’re in for a world of tough old fun as you duke it out against 99 other players to be the last man standing. It’s stark, intense, and incredibly compelling.
Note that you can play the full version of PUBG on Chromebook if you subscribe to Google Stadia Pro (which, as we already mentioned, comes with a one-month free trial).
8. Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition (Play Store)
The ever-increasing support of Android apps on Chrome OS means we’re becoming more and more comfortable recommending Play Store games for Chromebook. Not all games work perfectly (many don’t, in fact), but one of the titles that’s been confirmed to work seamlessly across multiple Chromebook devices is this classic RPG.
Beamdog’s port of Baldur’s Gate 2 retains everything from the original games and is bolstered by HD resolutions. It’s an old-school RPG set in a beautiful pre-rendered world and has you controlling a party of heroes, taking on quests, and engaging in deep D&D-style combat. It’s one of the more seminal games of its time, with excellent, colorful writing and an immersive world that laid the path for today’s RPGs.
While we’re at it, you can also check out other Black Isle Studio games: Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment from the Play Store. All work swimmingly on most compatible Chromebooks. (If they don’t, just take advantage of the Play Store’s two-hour refund window.)
Gaming minimalism in its finest form. Agar.io doesn’t look like much – a smattering of primary-colored circles floating around on what appears to be a sheet of graph paper. Start playing, however, and it’s a viciously-compelling online battle for survival.
Control a circle, guiding it around a large plain expanse in a bid to consume circles of a smaller size (controlled by other players) while you avoid being munched by circles bigger than yourself. That’s it. You can cough up some money for in-game skins and so on, but the game can just as easily be enjoyed for free.
10. Fallout Shelter (Play Store)
This is yet another Play Store game we are featuring in this list. If you need help with adding it or the other Play Store games, you can read our guide on how to install Android apps on your Chromebook.
Fallout Shelter is one of the best options for Play Store games on Chromebook. It’s the side-on spinoff of the main Fallout series, which tasks you with building and managing a nuclear bunker in that game world. It plays great and looks wonderful using those distinctive 50s-style cartoon graphics players will recognize from the Pip-Boy.
Spelunky is, in my eyes, a necessity in everyone’s game collection. The permadeath, randomly-generated mineshaft crawler is a goldmine of unexpected events, crazy mishaps and hilarious situations as you work your way toward stealing the fabled treasure. This is based on the less-pretty 2008 version and not the more recent remake, but the systems and mechanics are all there.
12. Town of Salem (Browser)
Ever played the party game Mafia after a couple of bottles of wine at a dinner party? The browser-based Town of Salem is much along the same lines and similar to Among Us as well, and you don’t need to be inebriated to have fun with it. Play with a whole bunch of players online and try to work out who’s killing locals at night. (Or if you’re the killer, try not to get caught.) Devilishly deceitful.
If you want to use Chrome OS to get some work done, we can show you how to use Microsoft Office on Chromebook for free.