Some would argue that Facebook is a dying platform for gaming, and they may be right. Regardless of which side you fall on in that debate, there’s one thing we can all agree on: there are still plenty of great Facebook games to pass the time with.
When new gems come out, we’ll be sure to update this list as needed. As of this writing, though, these are our picks for the 10 best Facebook games.
Marvel Avengers Alliance
Who it’s For: Superheroes in training. Those who love turn-based RPG combat, but hate everything else about the genre.
Why We Like It: Avengers Alliance offers all the fun of writing your own fan-fiction without any of the embarrassment. If you’ve ever wanted to see Ghost Rider, Mr. Fantastic and She-Hulk team up to fight Dormammu, it’s just a few clicks away. But fanboy nonsense aside, Avengers Alliance offers a surprisingly deep combat system that can’t help but satisfy. Five classes of hero deliver a great rock/paper/scissors/Thing/Hulk element to battles, while different equipment and upgrades mean you can fine-tune your play style even more. Face it tiger: You just hit the jackpot.
Who it’s For: Folks who need a Torchlight to see their way to clear El Diablo.
Why We Like It: Forget for a moment that we’re talking about a game that manages to look and play exactly like a Diablo-inspired loot hunt on Facebook, and be ready to be wowed by this: they figured out how to do this while still making it a perfect fit for the quick bursts of gameplay that most Facebook gamers are looking for. Quests rarely take more than a few minutes, and jumping into multiplayer is a cinch. It would be easy to sum this up as free-to-play Diablo, but while the comparison is fair, KingsRoad is a game that’s deserving of attention in its own right.
Pepper Panic Saga
Who it’s For: Candy Crush players whose teeth are rotting away on the 400th level. Cooks in need of a good salsa recipe.
Why We Like It: Some might be quick to call games like Pepper Panic Saga and Farm Heroes Saga more of the same from match-3 maker King, but in actuality, these later games offer a fair bit more bite than their candy-crushing progenitor. The developer’s current match-3 strategy could best be summed up as “they learned the basics with Candy Crush Saga, so let’s kick it up a notch.” Pepper Panic Saga absolutely nails that spirit, tasking players with not only matching peppers, but creating explosive combos and avoiding the paws of a dastardly cat. Muy caliente.
Who it’s For: Spies like us.
Why We Like It: Multiplayer games are great, but sometimes it can be hard to find a friend who’s willing to join in the fun. Chat Fu is a game that drags your friends into your playtime without them ever knowing. Using the magic of Facebook chat, you need to try and get your friends to say a word – but there are certain words you’re forbidden from using in the conversation to nudge them in the right direction. Sounds sneaky? It is. It’s also plenty of fun.
Plants vs. Zombies Adventures
Who it’s For: Plants. Zombies. Crazy Dave.
Why We Like It: Have you ever wondered what Plants vs. Zombies would play like if it were more of a traditional tower defense game? PvZ Adventures answers that question, and as it turns out, the answer is pretty damned good. It’s also a rare chance for series fans to catch a glimpse of their favorite zombies and plants in a different art style, as developers opted for a 3D-modeled presentation this time around.
Papa Pear Saga
Who it’s For: Peggle players who just want more Peggle, dammit!
Why We Like: Is it a Peggle-clone? Absolutely. But it’s a damned fine one, with plenty of variety and incredibly well-designed levels. It also does a great job of throwing different objectives your way, just as King does with all their games. In this case you may be tasked with landing Papa Pear in the buckets below, knocking fruit from its protective perch, or clearly all of a certain peg. A whimsical presentation and plenty of challenge is bound to keep you on your pachinko-loving toes.
Words of Wonder
Who it’s For: Gamers who value verbosity. Those who jive on mixed genres.
Why We Like: Word games are fantastic, but they’re all too often uninspired. Words of Wonder doesn’t have this problem. Instead it combines the “build the best word you can” mechanics of the genre with the challenges you’ll find in modern match-3 games. You’ll need to free specific trapped letters, lower in quills to the bottom of the board, and more. It’s unique, it’s simple, and it’s brilliant in the “why didn’t I think of that?” way that only the best genre mashups can make you ask.
Game of Thrones Ascent
Who it’s For: Those who know what season is coming.
Why We Like: Like any good fantasy saga, a strong narrative is what makes Game of Thrones the cultural phenomenon that it is. All too often, video game adaptations forget that when drawing from literary works. Game of Thrones Ascent bucks that trend, offering a story-driven game of decisions and nobility. Ascent sets players on their own quest for the Iron Throne, and it is journey plagued with the burdens of leadership. Fans of the series would be hard pressed to find a better life-in-Westeros simulator than this.
Who it’s For: FarmVille players who want to put their crops to good use.
Why We Like: Zynga has had some better games – Adventure World, CityVille 2 – but they’ve long since gone to that social platform in the sky. As for what’s left, FarmVille 2 is definitely the big Z’s top dog on Facebook. An evolution of the FarmVille formula that made Zynga a household name in the first place, FV2 puts the focus not on grinding crops for in-game cash, but on grinding crops to make a variety of goods (for in-game cash). It gives the game a sense of purpose that the original lacked, and the 3D visuals prove that Zynga can really pull out the stops when they want to make a shiny game.
Avengers Alliance Tactics
Who it’s For: XCOM players who like wearing tights.
Why We Like: My first impression of Avengers Alliance Tactics was “oh look, XCOM with superheroes!” As it turns out, though, the game is just as rooted in the Avengers Alliance game as it is in its XCOM inspiration. Players will still have class strengths and weaknesses, recruit different heroes, and have to play around with the series’ suspiciously convenient ISO-8. The style of combat, though? It’s pure XCOM, through and through.
Our only complaint as of this writing is that there’s so little of it. But hey, if wanting more is our only problem, it’s a pretty good problem to have.