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.
But for this list, we’ve decided to focus on the best games you can play natively on Chromebook in 2021. We’re now including playable Android games, too, because every Chromebook released since 2017 now has native Android functionality. We want to reflect what’s available to the majority of Chromebook users today.
1. Game Dev Tycoon (Android)
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.
2. 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.
Related: see how Stadia stacks up against rival cloud services in our Stadia vs. GeForce Now vs. Shadow comparison.
3. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Android)
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!
4. Dota Underlords (Android)
The mobile version of one of the world’s most popular MOBAs is very well done, shifting away from its parent game’s fast gameplay for something more card-based and slower. You collect characters, then pit them against rival players in battles that rely on tactics, hefty combos, and a little bit of RNG, as well as good luck, like old-fashioned cRPGs.
It’s a nice tactical breather from the PC version and not too dissimilar to Auto Chess, which has a similarly turn-based feel. Dota Underlords won’t hold your hand as you experiment and learn the ropes of its character roster, but that makes the steady mastery of the game all the more satisfying.
Dota Underlords has been tested on a number of Chromebook devices and is generally reported to work without issue.
5. Alto’s Odyssey (Android)
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.
6. PUBG Mobile (Android)
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. Over at Laptopmag, one of the writers even got it running reasonably well on an obscure low-end Teqnio Chromebook.
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).
7. Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition (Android)
The ever-increasing support of Android apps on Chrome OS means that 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.
You 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 avoiding 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.
9. Fallout Shelter (Android)
Many Chromebooks now feature support for Play Store apps and Play Store games, so we’ve decided to start introducing games to our list that are proven to be playable on Chromebooks this way. If you need help with this, you can read our guide on how to install Android apps on your Chromebook.
One of the best options on this front is Fallout Shelter, 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.
10. FTL: Faster than Light (Browser)
One of the best indie games to emerge on PC can actually be played on your Chromebook if you get the Humble Store version and play it via the Humble Web Player. (As with Super Hexagon, you can try the demo first.) FTL tasks you with keeping the crew members of a spaceship alive as they traverse the cosmos. It’s a permadeath game, so once you lose, you lose a member for good, but that won’t stop you from coming back for more.
Is it safe to assume you’ve all heard of this one? One of the first true 3D first-person shooters continues to be revered today for its simple, speedy gameplay and timeless multiplayer option. The good news is that this fan-made ChromeOS version has all of that. It’s amazing how satisfying it still is to glide around Quake’s murky corridors, decimating grunts into lumpy polygonal giblets.
One of the better-rated games on ChromeOS, this isometric hack-&-slasher does a fairly good impression of a Diablo game – loot, kill, level up, loot some more. Sure, it obviously doesn’t have the gloss of Blizzard’s classic dungeon crawler, but for a ChromeOS freebie, you really can’t complain. It has multiplayer, too!
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.
14. 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 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.
Want more games to sink your time into? Check out our list of the best new iOS and Android games you can play. Or turn your Android phone into a retro gaming station with our Retroarch for Android guide.