Maximum PC's Guide to Friday at 4:00 PM

Nathan Edwards

It’s the final hour—the last stretch in your race to freedom. Paper footballs litter your desk and paper basketballs surround the trash can. Yet even after these sporting events have ended, the little hand continues to hold a grudge against the 5. It’s high time you find a more efficient—and less obvious—way to pass the time.

Consider this your go-to guide against workplace stagnation. We’ve spent dozens of hours scouring the Internet in search of the most enjoyable and alt-tabbable browser-based games. They require no installation and, best of all, are 100 percent free. When the boss man walks by, you can easily switch to that budget report for accounts payable—he can’t fault you for grinning like a fool at a spreadsheet!

Indestructo Tank AE

Who says a 5-ton vehicle can't do flips?

If you haven’t experienced the previous versions of Indestructo Tank, then this anniversary edition is a stone-cold must play. Enemy fire drops on you from copters overhead, but rather than run from it, you want to place your rough-and-tumble tank directly in its path! Each explosion will propel your vehicle skyward, allowing you to take out the enemy units while in flight!

The longer you remain airborne, the more experience points you earn. Use the points to purchase more—yes MORE—enemies to help you catch some gnarly air. Move fast, as your limited fuel supply will dwindle and leave you stranded in enemy territory. Down for some team play? Tag team with a buddy and play the co-op mode in which the enemy has developed a missile that can destroy the Indestructo Tank! Have your friend control the Indestructo Copter and destroy these missiles before they destroy you!

Scorching Earth

Pyros, rejoice! You’re rewarded for lighting fires

Scorching Earth is sort of like tic-tac-toe blended with chess—but different! Your goal is to burn the land on a level until you reach the score limit. Moving from square to square, you gain burn points by burning land, but you must also spend these same points spreading your fire. Weighing your options, you must work around obstacles while preventing your fire from burning out.

Mr. Bounce

[Circus Arts]
Keep your eye on the ball

Imagine the simple pleasure of bouncing a ball—then multiply that by about 100. Because in this digital bouncefest, your fun won’t be hampered by space constraints, surface issues, or lost balls—except for those you fail to anticipate. Bounce your ball hither and yon to the game’s body-thumping techno beat. Slow-motion and trajectory projection help you keep the ball in play, even as you face increasingly difficult bouncing challenges.

Warlords: Call to Arms

[Strategy and Defense]
Pop on your strat hat and pull down your try face, this game’s no walk in the park

This game won’t win any awards for graphics, but its mechanics and gameplay are rock solid. In this fast-paced strategy romp, your goal is to overrun the enemy with your army. The more units you push into their base, the closer you come to capturing the level. A surprising amount of tactical planning is required to know how and when to deploy your men; thankfully, there’s an included strategy guide. The units are also well balanced, so no one character is constantly wreaking havoc.

It’s also worth noting the game’s exceptional sound. It’s fully directional left to right, based on the location of each battle, and surprisingly crisp. Each unit also has a unique spawn sound. Playing through the campaign mode is quite fun and distinct for each race. We put this tactical time-waster at the top of our list.

Skywire 2

Do you have what it takes to be a chairlift operator?

Navigate your passengers to safety as you travel through treacherous terrain in your sporty, red three-seater chairlift. Robotic camels, spinning flamingos, and antsy parrots stand in your way as you furiously attempt to smash your Up and Down arrow keys at just the right moment to avoid these menacing obstacles. A safe passage will result in happy passengers, but run-ins with baddies will eject your human cargo from the lift. Can your fingers handle the challenge?

Bowman 2

Bowman is back

The original Bowman excited fans with its two-player turn-based archery combat—now it’s back with even more features and fun. With the new Critical Hit setting and Bird Hunting mode, this just might be the perfect game for Dick Cheney. Challenge a buddy to a game of arrow-slinging or play against the computer and watch your opponent fall to your feet in bloody defeat. Calculate your shots carefully, as each turn may be your last!


Twists and turns may make me churn, but Twizzle can never hurt me

A good sense of direction is needed to succeed in this mind-boggling brainteaser of a minigame. Navigate your way out of the center of a circle while multiple concentric tracks lead you in conflicting directions. New elements are introduced as you advance through 17 levels, and exploring the outcome of these obstacles is half the fun. What may start out as a seemingly simple task can turn into a hair-ripping, keyboard-smashing, mouse-jamming escapade—in other words, jolly good fun!

Next: Six More Productivity Boosters!

Age of War

Flash-based RTS? Hell yeah!

In this 2D RTS minigame, you build up your defenses and train units to push into the enemy’s base. For every unit slaughtered you receive money and experience. After enough experience is gained, you can evolve, acquiring tougher and more powerful units. The constant need to balance between defense and offense makes this game fun for more than a few plays.


Exploring the wonderful world of wormholes

Do other dimensions exist? Will a wormhole lead us there? This game won’t exactly answer these questions, but it will make pondering the possibilities loads of fun. This flash-based mind exerciser can be seen as a parallel to the popular Valve game Portal. A portal-physics game, Epsilon thrusts you into the space-time continuum with the ability to stop and reverse time as well as manipulate gravity. Successfully arranging the wormholes will yield you tokens and entry into new and increasingly challenging levels. Think quickly, though, as one missed portal could leave your shiny orb stranded in a timeless abyss. Complex time fields, gravity tricks, and advanced mechanics will keep you on your toes. Play through the five different stages to reach the end and you just might discover something new.

The Last Stand 2

[Zombie Shooter]
Pump lead into a zombie onslaught...for survival of course

In this graphically detailed shooter, you scrounge for supplies during the day and mow down zombies at night. To search for supplies, survivors, and weaponry, you click various buildings from a sort of architectural blueprint of the town. Once the sun goes down, it’s time to set up shop and slaughter the incoming hordes of infected creatures the good old-fashioned way—with guns and chain saws.

Dino Run

Escape extinction as you run from the end of the world!

You play as a puny dinosaur who’s on the run from the end of the world. Dashing through each level, you have to gather eggs and bones that can later be used to upgrade your attributes. We love how Dino Run’s pixelated graphics give this online game a unique look and feel. Don’t be fooled though, while the old-school graphics make the game seem simple, it’s harder than it looks and can get pretty competitive in multiplayer mode.

In multiplayer, you level up as you race. In doing so, you not only improve your character’s abilities but also get to adorn Dino with new colors and hats. The game’s extremely high replay value and quirky style are rivaled only by the amusement felt while leaping through the game’s landscape. This is a flash game that can be picked up and enjoyed by even a novice online game player.


Multiplayer Mavis Bacon

It’s an unlikely premise, but in Typeracer, you race by, er, typing. Putting your fingers to the test, you’ll compete against others in a word-per-minute sprint. You’re given a notable passage from a film, book, or song.  When the light turns green, your fingers better be flying, because the first person to finish without any errors wins.

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