There are hundreds of free social games available on the internet, and they span a multitude of genres, which makes finding a place to start a bit intimidating. The second half of our guide to the best social games will help you get a handle on games for Facebook and other social networks by listing the best available entries in the Racing/Sports genre, the Simulation genre, and the Family/Kids genre.
TOP 5 CAR/RACING/SPORTS SOCIAL GAMES
Car Town — If you like machines on four wheels (or even more), you need to become a citizen of Car Town. In Car Town, you run your own garage and muck around with all kinds of vehicles. You can hire on your friends to help you, and in time, you’ll be able to boast a hefty collection of cars in every make and model.
Heat Online — Heat Online is an online racing massive multiplayer online game (MMO) that boasts realistic 3D graphics. You can race with other players online, but be warned: you start at the bottom of the barrel with a real clunker for a car. If you want grace, power, and style, you have to work for it.
Drift City — Another racing MMO, Drift City is sponsored by major automotive companies including Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and U1 Technology. Interestingly, the plot for Drift City is set up around a worldwide oil shortage, the hunt for an alternative fuel source, and an epidemic of driverless cars terrorizing innocent pedestrians. Stephen King had no hand in the game’s story, though you can be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
MLB Dugout Heroes — MLB Dugout Heroes is an online baseball MMO. It’s easy to pick up, but it boasts a lot of depth, including teams, divisions, and almost the whole of the official MLB player roster.
Freestyle Free Basketball — An excellent basketball MMO with well-paced matches and lots of customization options. There’s also an online shop that’s well-stocked with exclusive items and skills. If only the ability to leap seven feet off the ground and slam a dramatic dunk was purchasable in real life.
TOP FIVE SIMULATION GAMES
The Sims Social — The Sims franchise has remained one of the most consistently popular game series of all time. When EA formulated an online version of the game, an immediate and grand explosion in popularity seemed inevitable–and that’s pretty much what happened with The Sims Social. After you create a Sim, you guide him or her through life to learn new skills, make friends (and enemies), and earn money. Your Facebook friends send you items to help your Sim grow and level up.
Empires and Allies — A game of war and conquest, as played out by adorable cartoon characters. Empire and Allies by Zynga combines strategy and combat with Facebook’s social elements. You can cooperate with your friends to better yourself and the world, but you know deep in your heart you just want to pit your army against theirs. You can do that, too.
Civilization World — Civilization World is a social, free-to-play take on Sid Meyer’s classic Civilization franchise. Create worlds, build your own personal history, forget the world around you as you’re completely absorbed into the game.
CityVille — CityVille, another heavy-hitter by Zynga, and it’s not surprising. Any game that combines the city-building elements of Sim City and adds social interaction is bound to be a time-sucking hit. With CityVille, you build your own burg a little help from your friends. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it assembled with a single pair of hands.
FarmVille — Zynga’s classic farming sim is often looked upon as the title that caused the popularity of Facebook gaming to rocket into the stratosphere–and the game still commands a huge player base. The game’s premise remains unchanged: build up a farm, grow crops, raise animals, and recruit your Facebook friends to help you out. It’s a simple game, but there’s no denying it works.
TOP 5 KIDS/FAMILY SOCIAL GAMES
Moshi Monsters — Moshi Monsters is a highly engaging world formulated especially for younger players. Kids choose and raise their own virtual monster, which accompanies them as they solve puzzles, decorate their own house, and take on educational quizzes.
Restaurant City — In Playfish’s Restaurant City, you run your own eatery, create your own unique dishes, and pit your house of pancakes against the restaurants that are owned by your friends. You also need to decorate your own joint and add furniture, because customers generally don’t like sitting on turned-over milk crates.
Gardens of Time — In Gardens of Time, you work as a member of the mysterious Time Society and use a time machine to locate objects that have been hidden throughout different time periods in history. The more items you rescue and the more money you spend to decorate your garden, the more your “Reputation” will increase, which takes you further into the game. Tip: Drop-kicking historical artifacts will not improve your Reputation.
MapleStory/MapleStory Adventures — Maple Story is another long-running MMO/social game that’s enjoyed a consistent streak of popularity for years. It’s a busy side-scrolling role-playing game with a huge community and adorable cartoon graphics. Defeat monsters, build up experience, chat with friends, play minigames, and have a good time.
Pet Society —Pet Society lets you take charge of a virtual pet, which you feed, groom, and teach tricks. You can visit friends and show off your furry buddy, and earn in-game rewards.