40 Handpicked Free and Free-to-play Multiplayer Games

A list of the 40 best free and free-to-play multiplayer games with short reviews, screenshots and youtube gameplay videos. Includes the best arcade, racing, real-time strategy games and first-person shooters. Enjoy!

(See also the excellent marcofolio.net for more FPS reviews.)


Soldat

2D side scrolling shooter
Freeware
Played – Absolutely awesome, if rather tiring when played for a long time. Simple multiplayer action at its best

Soldat is an amazing game that went straight into the thick of bloody combat. Your have the choice between several weapons including machine guns, grenade launchers, sniper rifles, shotguns, chainsaws, and various other implements of destruction in order to blow the crap put of your friends.
The game play is very fast paced and an average game lasts around 10-20 minutes. The short time makes this a great game to play when you’re tired of games that require you to invest several hours.
homepage



Tee Worlds

2D side scrolling shooter
Open Source
Played – Not as fast-paced or slick as Soldat, but a great alternative if you insist on free software

A bit like Soldat. A 2D Side Scrolling Multiplayer Shooter. Server is a separate batch file
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Kong

Top view 2D/3D shooter
Kong is a freeware top-down shooter game featuring monkeys with a thirst for blood in a full 3D environment. The rules are simple, pick up as many health/armor packs and weapons as you can before blowing your enemies into smithereens. The game currently features three game modes including deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag with plans to introduce a number of new game modes.

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BloodMasters

Top view 2D/3D shooter
You can’t actually master it, but you can sure spill a lot of it in this top-down multiplayer shooter with deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture-the-flag modes.

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BaboViolent 2

Top view 2D/3D action shooter
BV2 is a top down shooter where you control a “Babo,” a red or blue orb that rolls around the screen with one of six weapons attached to it. You are immediately tossed into the action and start tossing grenades and molotov cocktails at the enemy babos.
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Counter Strike 2D

Top view action shooter
Play Counter Strike from the birds eye perspective on the original maps and experience the rush in this well-made adaptation!
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Ground Control

RTS
Free Commercial
Ground Control is an outstanding game with occasional problems that affect its longevity and its tactical depth. And while the game’s multiplayer mode lacks the breadth of features you’d wish for in a game of such high quality as Ground Control, you’ll still find it highly enjoyable thanks to the team tactics that are introduced when the game’s two factions join forces. Ultimately, Ground Control is a fast-paced game of skill that’s highly accessible and often very impressive.
homepage



Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War

RTS
Free commercial
Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War is a detailed real-time strategy game that lets players completely command one of the four mightiest empires of the ancient world: Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Persia. Rise & Fall allows players to fight alongside their troops as one of history’s eight greatest heroes, and bring victory to their nation on the battlefield.



Glest

RTS
Open source
Started to play – Does not feel quite ready for full-fledged lan game sessions.

Think Rise of Legends, but free. Magic squares off against tech in this 3D RTS. The backstory is about a billionty pages long, but the essentials: There’re wizards and dragons and guys with swords and you can make them kill each other. All around excellence.

Glest is an RTS with very good 3D graphics. You can be in one of two teams, mage or human. The graphical details look real for each team. With detailed shadows and effects, the units look great. But because there are not a lot of maps, it gets boring fast. The game is not completely developed, and it doesn’t look like that many people are working on it either.
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S.W.I.N.E.

RTS
Free commercial
Though it isn’t great in every respect, S.W.I.N.E. is a pleasant surprise for anyone who likes real-time strategy games. Many of its competitors are cookie-cutter games that either have sci-fi units or fantasy warriors and wizards. S.W.I.N.E. never attempts to take itself seriously, so it can be more enjoyable fighting its pigs or its rabbits rather than having to defend against invading aliens or the undead as per usual. S.W.I.N.E. is tailored for both RTS newcomers as well as experienced players looking for something different. The famous saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply here–in this case, you can do just that. S.W.I.N.E. is ultimately a fun and challenging game and can be recommended to anyone who enjoys the RTS genre but doesn’t take it too seriously.
download



Spring

RTS
Open Source
Played – Rather complex tech tree and game logic which requires a lot of lead time and dedication to invest some getting started time. After that this game is the bomb with its thousands of units and fabulous graphics

Total Annihilation type game with different mods (Balanced Annihilation, Complete Annihilation, NOTA)
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Warzone 2100

RTS
Open Source, formerly commercial
Played – Also a very tall and wide tech tree. The game runs amazingly stable and is tremendous (if a little long) fun!
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Command & Conquer: Red Alert

RTS
Free commercial


0 a.d. (alpha)

RTS
Open source, alpha
0 A.D. is a free, cross-platform, under-development, 3D, historically-based, real-time strategy game. It has been under development for over 8 years, so let’s hope it’s not going to be another vaporware.
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Star Wars: Imperial Winter (awaited)

RTS
Open source (closed beta)
Star Wars: Imperial Winter is a free, multi-platform, real time strategy game using the open-source Spring RTS engine. Featuring over a hundred different units for the Galactic Empire and Rebel Alliance, spanning from The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi, SW:IW aims to not only contain the best gameplay of any Star Wars RTS, but the most diverse cast of units, including: Stormtroopers, TIE Fighters, X-Wings, stealthy Rebel Commandos, Bothan spies, Royal Guards, Wookiees, “reactivated” Battle Droids, repulsorlift tanks, walkers, and more!

Gameplay features include asymmetrical balance, with the two factions playing very differently from each other; territory-based constant-income resource system allowing a fluid economy rather than paying upfront; realistic weapon physics, with every single projectile’s path is realistically calculated, meaning your men can hide behind a hill from enemy laser fire but not from an artillery cannon, and many other features.
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Savage 1/2

RPS/RTS
Free commercial, local play possible
Savage 2 is one of those types of games that dares to be different in the very tight-laced and at times multiplayer community. Savage is a game that attempts to combine various genres (RTS, FPS and Third-person) all into one multiplayer game. Does it succeed in doing so? You’re darn right it does! Savage 2: A Tortured Soul is a very entertaining and highly underrated multiplayer game that no one should pass up.
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TrackMania Nations/Nations Forever

Racing/Stunt Simulation
Free commercial
Nations Forever, the sequel to TrackMania Nations, offers a new “Forever” version of the Stadium environment, a solid solo mode and 65 brand new, progressively difficult tracks. TrackMania Nations Forever will unite an even larger number of players thanks to its engaging multiplayer modes, innovative online functions and revolutionary interactivity between players.
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GTA 2

GTA style
Free commercial



Starsiege Tribes

Mecha
Free commercial
StarSiege: Tribes is a first-person, 3D shooter set in the Starsiege Universe which pits different warring tribes against each other. This action shooter focuses on cooperative multiplayer gaming. You can use the single-player training missions to develop the skills required to become a full-fledged warrior, but the real heat of TRIBES radiates from multiplayer combat between 2 to 32 players connected over the Internet or LAN. Instead of trying to save the galaxy in a single-player quest, you are part of a tribe whose members must work together to survive battles with competing tribes. These battles can be as simple as destroy the enemy otribeo or as complex as detailed missions with multi-task objectives. Each tribe has its own battlefield leader with a satellite view of the entire battlefield. Depending on the status of the tribels radar and sensor systems, the Commander can monitor both enemy and friendly troop positions. Additional multiplayer features include Personal Voice Commands for sending pre-recorded messages in your own voice to your comrades, all the while blasting away at the enemy. Other general features in TRIBES include customizable oskinso and logos for each tribe, weather systems, vast worlds and endless terrain, motion-capture animation, and seamless integration between interiors and exteriors.
download



Gore

FPS
Online?
With over 20 some exciting levels, Gore features awesome multiplayer games as well including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the flag, and Tactical. What’s so different about that? Well in Gore the developers added stamina to add realism to the game. Now jumping and running around with heavy weapons can take a toll on the player. I did not find this feature to be a big hindrance in the single player games too much, but loved it in the multiplayer games. I hate watching online players jumping around fragging me left and right and never get tired. The stamina feature kept these players at bay a bit with just enough time to line them up in my sights!
homepage



Nexuiz

FPS
Open source
Nexuiz is a fast-paced, chaotic, and intense multiplayer first person shooter, focused on providing basic, old style deathmatch. Any online deathmatch fan will instantly feel at home with Nexuiz’ weapons and movement style. The fast server browser and quick loading time allows you to jump right into a game at a moments notice and play a quick game.
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Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

FPS
Free commercial
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory is an online multiplayer game, where the players interact with each other over a network in two teams (axis and allies) to defend or destroy mission objectives. The game is playable over the Internet or a Local Area Network. Players may earn experience points in several skill categories. All character classes may earn points in Battle Sense and Light Weapons. Class skills are generally restricted to the current class, the exception being Heavy Weapons (the Soldier class skill).



True Combat Elite

FPS (Counter Strike)
Open source
Played – Great Counter-Strike-ish gameplay, nice graphics, fast paced action

TC:E, Truecombat Elite, TCElite is a modern world total conversion modification of the free, popular, stand-alone FPS (first-person shooter) Wolfenstein Enemy Territory. Meaning, Truecombat Elite is an entirely free game, made by gamers, for gamers. TCE is a tactical-team shooter, set up in a modern-world environment. TC:E puts you into the role of elite mercenary soldier in the conflicts of two internationally operating forces.
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Prism: Guard Shield

FPS
Free commercial
Highly configurable Co-op multiplayer modes
The Army National Guard sponsored this game that contains a unique blend of stealth operations and fast action game play. The game focuses on the unconventional application of new and emerging weapons and surveillance technologies in the war against terrorism.
homepage



Tremulous

Role-based FPS
Open Source
Tremulous is a free, open source game that blends a team based FPS with elements of an RTS. Players can choose from 2 unique races, aliens and humans. Players on both teams are able to build working structures in-game like an RTS. These structures provide many functions, the most important being spawning. The designated builders must ensure there are spawn structures or other players will not be able to rejoin the game after death. Other structures provide automated base defense (to some degree), healing functions and much more.
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Alien Arena

FPS
Open Source
Do you like fast paced deathmatch? How about rich, colorful, arcadelike atmospheres? How about…retro Sci Fi? Then you’re going to love what Alien Arena 2007 has in store for you! This game combines some of the very best aspects of such games as Quake III and Unreal Tournament and wraps them up with a retro alien theme, while adding tons of original ideas to make the game quite unique.
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Warsow

FPS
Open source
The base gameplay is focussed around the art of movement, meaning moving, speed and tricks play a big part in the gameplay. Besides this, mapcontrol, aim, teamplay and fragging skills play their role too. For the movement we’ve basicly looked at four games: Quakeworld (legendary for it’s speed), Quake3 CPMA, Jet Set Radio and Speedball. Another twist in gameplay is Warsow’s weapon system. Warsow has two firing modes for each weapon; by picking up a weapon, you will be equipped with the standard (weak) ammo for the weapon, but when you pick up an ammo pack, you will equip your weapon with special (strong) ammo.
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World of Padman

FPS
Open source
Played – Fast paced fun in this extremely colorful cartoon setting

World of Padman is a free first-person shooter computer game available in both English and German. It is commonly abbreviated as WoP. Originally it was a modification for the game Quake 3 Arena titled PadMod created in the year 2004. After the source code for Quake 3 Arena was released the game became standalone. Besides widespread gametypes like Tournament, Free For All, and Team Deathmatch, WoP features three uncommon gametypes: Spray Your Color (spray a logo on the walls in the sprayroom), Big Balloon (sort of like Domination), and Last Pad Standing. In the mod for Quake 3 Arena unlike the current standalone version, World of Padman also offered Capture the Flag for the PadCrash map.
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Super Heroes Arena

Role based FPS
Open Source?
Played – A (for us) rather new concept of having different roles and capabilities in an FPS. Especially with random capabilities a great, chaotic deathmatch diversion from the “standard” shooters
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Urban Terror

FPS (Counter Strike)
Open Source
Played – A little dated look and standard Counter Strike gameplay. An OK clone but nothing all too special.

Urban Terror combined the speed of Quake III and a realism based theme to create the mod we have been developing since 1999. The mod has met with great success over the years, featured in magazines across the world, debuted and demoed at Quakecon in 2000-2002, featured on television and supported by gaming leagues worldwide. The most important aspect of Urban Terror is the community and the fact the developers take a very hands on approach, interacting with the gamers who play the game. Many of the current features included today have been a result of community input and testing. In Urban Terror you select from a list of weapons that allows you a primary, secondary and a sidearm as your firepower. With limited ‘slots’ to carry support items you must decide how you will load out your character before the battle begins.
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Control Monger

Mecha warfare/CTF?
(online?)
In an age of death and destruction. Where love, life and happiness have no meaning. There is a world where mankind has been pushed to its limits and the only thing that matters is total control. The quest for riches has lift the universe a shatered and battle torn arena of combat. Sociaty has been deminished to nothing more then combat units blasting across the plant sides distorying everything that stands in there path.
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Blood Frontier

FPS
Open Source
Blood Frontier is an exciting and progressive Free First person Shooter and features a Multi-Player Online mode “MMO”. The graphics are crisp and clean and the game uses the cube engine and that makes for exciting and intelligent game play. The game, built as a total conversion of Cube Engine 2 (Sauerbraten).
Blood Frontier is an all out shoot em up and take no prisoners alive type of game. It may still be in Beta however this game packs its graphics flawlessly so flawlessly you may be in awe of how crisp the graphics actually are. The textures are clear and crisp. the effects are magnificent! You can see bullet tracers jeting back and forth as other players try to target you and more.
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Postal 2

FPS
Free commercial (multiplayer only)
Special multiplayer edition of Postal 2. Share the Pain offers four multiplayer types:

  • Snatch: featuring the Postal Babes! Snatch the enemy’s babe and score
  • Grab: 10 bags, each makes you stronger than the last
  • Deathmatch: Choose from 25 characters including the Gimp and Gary Coleman
  • Team Deathmatch: Choose from 19 outrageous teams including Team Taliban and The Rednecks

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F.E.A.R. Combat

FPS
Free commercial multiplayer (free account needed)
F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon) is a paranormal action thriller presented entirely in first-person. An unprecedented adrenaline rush of close quarters combat seamlessly melded with the spine-tingling, shocking intensity of the paranormal unknown.
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America’s Army 1/2

FPS
Propaganda ware
Played – Huge maps not well suited (if at all) for few players. Forced propaganda videos didn’t help.

In the America’s Army game, players are bound by Rules of Engagement (ROE) and grow in experience as they navigate challenges in teamwork-based, multiplayer, force versus force operations. In the game, as in the Army, accomplishing missions requires a team effort and adherence to the seven Army Core Values. Through its emphasis on team play, the game demonstrates these values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage and makes them integral to success in America’s Army.
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Open Arena

FPS (Quake 3 Arena)
Open Source
OpenArena is an open-source content package for Quake III Arena licensed under the GPL, effectively creating a free stand-alone game. You do not need Quake III Arena to play this game. Bots were added starting in 0.6.0. They will spout taunts and everything! Concepts would be loose, so don’t expect a remake of Klesk in his original Klesk form, or any direct remakes of any map/weapon/model.
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Sauerbraten

FPS
Open Source
Sauerbraten sets itself apart from other freeware shooters with its amazing, built-in map editor and custom engine. It’s a great game as well, and one that I’d recommend to any shooter fan; it’s free to play, so what do you have to lose?

Despite all the good aspects of Sauerbraten, it’s easy to imagine how new players could come into it and be completely underwhelmed. The problems it has with presentation and art, however, are easily fixable, and the game is constantly being improved upon. If you can get past the hodgepodge of art and the rough edges, you’ll find a superb engine and fun game underneath. It’s not the type of game that appeals to everyone, but those who love Quake-style games should not pass it up. The gameplay is simple to learn, hard to master, satisfying, and addictive; it’s the kind of game that keeps you saying “one more match” until four in the morning.
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Quake 2 CTF

FPS
License: Complicated – Quake 2 Demo + CTF is playable in multiplayer without issues
Played – Stronghold Opposition against bots. Oh, what old memories ;)



Hidden & Dangerous

Coop FPS
Free Commercial
Lousy graphics, but features (I think) a coop mode
homepage
Hidden and Dangerous puts you in control of an elite World War II squad that goes behind enemy lines. Wait long enough after the original game’s release and they make a deluxe version. Wait even longer and you can download the game for free.


Sources & Resources

Other sites and Open Source

8 Responses to 40 Handpicked Free and Free-to-play Multiplayer Games

  1. sako says:

    Nice site:

    Have you looked at Tribes Ascend? Awesome if you like the old tribes!!

    • Jonas says:

      Hi Sako,

      thank you so much for your suggestion. I had a look at Tribes Ascend and it seemed to me that it was an online only game. As I originally compiled this list for offline LAN parties with my friends, I will not include Tribes Ascend in the list at this moment, if only to be consistent with dozens of other online-only or online-registration games that I’ve left out for the same reason.

      Cheers,

      Jonas

  2. uoy kcuf says:

    Excuse me but Urban Terror was already released as a mod/mappack when CS came out. It is not a clone and saying so gives it great injustice. It was a mod for quake and has nothing to do with counter strike. Play it more before passing it off as a ripoff.

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