At the end of this year, most Flash games will be unplayable in their original form. Adobe are going to stop distributing Flash, and so most browsers plan on dropping Flash support. While this may be an internet security victory - Flash has a history of being vulnerable to certain kinds of malware - it does make it harder to experience the thousands of online Flash games. There are ways to download and run Flash games offline, but many of those games have processes that are meant to lock the game to its original site.
Thankfully there are preservation projects working to keep Flash games playable in their original form. The only question remaining is which you should play. We'll answer that question, and explain the best ways to play them, below.
How to play Flash games in 2020
The Flash preservation project Flashpoint allows players to play thousands of Flash games offline by emulating both the game and a local server to mimic the original site. This allows Flashpoint to bypass the site locks and online features without hacking the game. You can select from two versions of Flashpoint for general use, Flashpoint Ultimate and Flashpoint Infinity. Flashpoint Ultimate is the full offline package, containing every game and requiring 530GB of storage. It also requires additional software to download and extract. Flashpoint Infinity only downloads the Launcher, with each game being downloaded when you choose to play it. Additionally, Flashpoint Infinity initially only supports Adobe Flash and HTML5 games, but can download other software through its Launcher. For both versions, you may need to make changes to your antivirus settings to get them to run properly. Avast and AVG antivirus in particular are known to mistake Flashpoint as a threat.
Once Flashpoint is installed, you can play games through the Launcher. Players can search for games directly or choose what to play via pre-selected playlists. With such a large library, finding the best games can be a challenge even with the recommended playlists. Games can range from barely-functional to polished classics.
Best Flash games
Luckily, we've done part of the hard work for you by whittling down the thousands available to just our picks of the ten best Flash games. All of these can still be played online for now, and we've linked to where you can do so. When Flash finally meets its demise, Flashpoint will have you covered.
There are many more Flash classics than we've listed here, of course, and if your favourite isn't included then tell us why you love it in the comments below.
Bennett Foddy’s games emphasize mastering inputs. While Foddy’s Getting Over It took a player on a larger journey, QWOP focuses solely on difficult controls by having the player try to run across a track. While it can be frustrating, the uncompromising nature of QWOP makes every improvement satisfying.
9. Crimson Room
One of the oldest escape-the-room games, Crimson Room is a fantastic introduction to the genre. While it may not have the flourishes that its successors bring, it best shows the appeal of the genre. Like many escape-the-room games, there are times where the way forward is unclear, with the player wildly clicking in hopes of finding the next object, but the simplicity of Crimson Room makes these moments rare. It’s short and simple, but well made.
8. Strike Force Heroes
While there are many online side scrolling shooters, Strike Force Heroes provides an enjoyable campaign that sends the player through a series of Team Deathmatches. A decent progression system and multiple classes gives more depth and longevity than its other Flash competitors. Strike Force Heroes is still relatively simplistic, but the introduction of new weapons and maps keeps the game enjoyable.
7. Radioactive Teddy Bear Zombies
Adult Swim released a fair amount of Flash games for its website. While many of them focused on crass shock humor and have aged poorly because of it, Radioactive Zombie Teddy Bears contains enough ridiculousness to be entertaining. While it is not as over-the-top as full-fledged run-and-gun shooters, its enemy variety and silly premise makes it an enjoyable journey.
6. Age Of War
Age Of War is a compelling strategy game due to how it limits player options. There are only a few types of units and only one type of resource. Battles are 2D and automated, with units constantly marching towards the enemy base. The challenge becomes how to maximize production to overwhelm enemy forces. By limiting options, Age of War makes the player’s choices more meaningful.
5. Adobo’s Big Adventure
Like many Flash games, Adobo’s Big Adventure’s overly violent humor has aged poorly. Luckily, it is still an enjoyable tribute to the NES classics, with Adobo fighting through levels and enemies ripped from some of the best the NES has to offer. Fighting Bubble Man in a Mario-style water level or facing off against the old man from the original Zelda is entertaining, even if it does not match the highs of the games it references. Adobo’s Big Adventure is an enjoyable tribute and shows that Flash games can be complete adventures.
4. Super House Of Dead Ninjas
Another Adult Swim title, Super House Of Dead Ninjas feels like the Flash evolution of coin-op arcade games. With brief runs of frantic action, each game over encourages just one more try. Its combat and platforming are fluid, with the player jumping and slicing through a variety of intense monsters. Like a few games on this list, Super House Of Dead Ninjas has a more developed version on Steam.
3. Bloons TD5
Bloons TD5 is not just one of the best Flash tower defense games, but one of the best tower defense games out there. While the microtransactions and account progression services do not work on Flashpoint, the base game is amazing regardless. The variety of towers, cutesy art style and drip feed of new upgrades keeps players continuously playing. Bloons TD5 is also on multiple platforms including Steam.
2. Meat Boy
Edmund McMillen’s original platforming meat grinder, Meat Boy is a fantastic challenge. While it may not have the variety of Super Meat Boy, Meat Boy’s levels and controls are top notch. Meat Boy has a speedy and slippery feel that turns each level into a frantic test of reflexes. It is simply a joy to play.
1. Alien Hominid
When users open up Flashpoint for the first time, this is the game they must play first. Alien Hominid not only outclasses the rest of what Flash has to offer, but can go toe-to-toe with some of the best run-and-gun shooters out there. Its cartoony art style is fantastic and the tough-as-nails gameplay keeps players begging for more. Flash may be dying, but games like Alien Hominid show why these games are worth preserving.