Where would we be without online games to pass the time of day? Left twiddling our thumbs and making up “10 best” lists in our minds in all probability. But the good news is that we don’t have to because there are so many options open to us these days and each month sees more and more of the games developers’ babies being introduced to the world.

The big ones come with lots of fanfare and their fame spreads quickly but there are lots of others that pass under the radar only to be played by those in the know. It’s these niche favourites that we’re looking at here with 10 great suggestions for games that certainly come under the banner of undiscovered gems.

10 – Symboku

If you like the idea of sudoku but want to find a version that doesn’t rely on numbers, then Symboku from Freethinking games could well be the game for you. Instead of numbers it uses hieroglyphic-style symbols that make playing it feel more like cracking an ancient code. There are various levels that you can choose to move up to as you become more expert and, once you start to play, you’re sure to find it addictive.

09 – Pandemic 2

If you like your games to be a little darker and more apocalyptic then Pandemic II could well be the one for you. A development on the original version, this still has the objective of using viruses to wipe out the population of the world with global health authorities doing all they can to stop you in your tracks. There are two levels of gameplay, Relaxed and Realistic but, given the subject matter, it does all seem to be more like the latter when you play.

08 – Atomz

If you never thought you’d split the atom, here’s your chance. This is a deceptively simple but very playable game that has lots in common with vintage arcade games like Asteroids but is more concerned with inner rather than outer space. The objective is to set up a chain reaction in which you direct red molecules to destroy all the blue ones and, as you progress, it grows gradually more challenging.

07 – Avoider

Here’s a game from Japan that really does what it says on the tin. The object is to nimbly move your cursor around the screen to avoid the little man whose sole aim is to capture it. To help him he has a whole arsenal of weaponry including rockets, bombs and even a long pole so keeping out of his clutches is way more difficult than you might at first imagine. And, although the instructions are in Japanese, it’s a simple enough game to pick up as you go along.

06 – Online Bingo

If you thought that bingo was something your Nan enjoyed once a week then think again. Online bingo has brought the game fairly and squarely into the 21st century and made it fun and easy to play online. There are lots of different games to play and it’s even quite a social activity too. Plus, for relatively low stakes, it’s one online game that can even pay you to play it.

05 – Orcs Must Die! Unchained

If you like your online fun to be a little cartoonish then this is surely the game for you. The idea, you’ve guessed it, is to take on an army of orcs using a selection of different heroes each with individual strengths. In terms of imagery it’s far more “Shrek” than “Lord of the Rings” and when the orcs do die it’s often in the most satisfying ways!

04 – Good Impression

It’s the classic teen/student nightmare. Your Mum’s about to turn up and the place looks like a tip that has also seen a minor nuclear explosion. So the task in Good Impression is to clear up that mess before the doorbell rings. And you’d better make a good job of it and not just sweep stuff under the carpet because she’ll be writing out a report card for you after her inspection.

03 – 10 Bullets

Unlike some shoot em’ up games that involve a constant volley of shots to keep you alive here’s one where you only have ten to complete each round. Use them wisely and tactically and you’ll be able to destroy all the spacecraft that you need to and maybe even have a shot or two to spare. Because it’s a game where you’re firing sparingly onlookers might not even realise you’re playing!

02 – Alter Ego

This is like The Sims broken down to its most basic and linear version. It takes you through life using a script written by a psychologist that offers you multiple options at each stage. Making the right choices leads to happiness and fulfilment, making the wrong ones doesn’t. Just like life, really.

01 – Cube Slam

All those years ago the classic game of “Pong” took the world by storm and this is the latest chapter in its long history. This time you’re playing against a bear in the icy wastes and the action is accompanied by some very satisfying sound effects as you try your hardest to get the cube past his defences. It’s not pretty, it’s not clever, but it’s fun.

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