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15 Free Games to Level Up Your Coding Skills

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When I started learning to code, the options were limited—lots of books (not even e-books), some very basic online tutorials, and a whole lot of experimentation.

Online learning has come a long way in the last few years. There are interactive courses, tons of online tutorials, and one of my personal favorite ways to practice coding: games.

While a game alone probably isn’t going to teach you everything you need to know about coding, it can be a really incredible way to practice the skills you’re learning. It makes practice fun. And if you’re anything like me, you might suddenly realize you’ve spent the last four hours reinforcing your coding skills without even realizing it.

I’ve tried out some of the most entertaining and useful games for learning to code. Check out my favorites below.

CodeMonkey

CodeMonkey teaches coding using CoffeeScript, a real programming language, to teach you to build your own games in HTML5. It’s aimed at kids, but it’s definitely fun for adults, too.

CodinGame

CodinGame offers up games to learn more than 25 programming languages, including JavaScript, Ruby, and PHP. One of the great things about CodinGame is that you can play with friends or colleagues, and also enter international coding competitions.

CSS Diner

CSS Diner is a simple but fun way to learn CSS. There are 32 levels that will teach you the basics of how CSS selectors work. Each level gets progressively more complex, building on what you’ve learned in previous lessons.

Flexbox Froggy

Want to learn how CSS flexbox works? Check out Flexbox Froggy. It has a simple interface that teaches you the basics of how things align in flexbox while you help Froggy and his friends.

Flexbox Defense

Flexbox Defense is another great way to practice your flexbox skills. This time, you’ll move gun towers into position along a path to defeat oncoming waves of enemies, using the same kinds of commands as Flexbox Froggy.

CodeCombat

CodeCombat is aimed at teachers and students, but anyone can play. Learn Python, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, or the Lua game scripting language. On the beginner Dungeon level, you’ll move your Hero through the game using some basic commands according to the tutorial alongside the game.

Ruby Warrior

If you want to learn Ruby, then Ruby Warrior is the game for you. There are beginner and intermediate tracks to suit your skill level. The lessons start out easy and go from there. You’ll need to login with Facebook to save your progress.

Untrusted

Untrusted is a meta-JavaScript adventure game that tests your JavaScript skills to solve problems. You use JavaScript to guide Dr. Eval through a machine continuum and alter his reality to move between levels. It’s a great game for practicing more complex JavaScript skills.

Code Hunt

Code Hunt teaches you coding in a unique way. To play, you identify code fragments, analyze them, modify code to match the fragments, and then capture the working code fragment. You can use it to learn Java or C#.

Robocode

If you ever watched the show BattleBots, then Robocode is for you. You’ll learn programming skills by building virtual robot battle tanks in Java or .NET. Battles are then played out onscreen in real time.

CheckIO and Empire of Code

CheckIO and Empire of Code are both strategy games that can teach you JavaScript or Python. Empire of Code uses a space setting and you learn by defending your own base and attacking others, while CheckIO lets you improve your skills by using others’ solutions.

VIM Adventures

Vim is a highly configurable text editor used by programmers. If you want to learn how to use Vim, then VIM Adventures is a great place to start! Use common VIM keyboard shortcuts to navigate your way through a Zelda-like adventure game.

Cyber Dojo

Cyber Dojo has practice exercises and challenges for dozens of coding languages including Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and more. Each exercise spells out a challenge to complete with an example showing what the end result should look like. It’s a great way to practice your code skills.

Elevator Saga

Elevator Saga tests your JavaScript knowledge with challenges related to moving an elevator and transporting people in the most efficient manner possible. It starts out with a challenge to move 15 people in less than a minute, with challenges getting progressively harder from there.

Code Wars

Code Wars helps you improve your skills by training in challenges with others. They offer a huge variety of languages, including JavaScript, Swift, PHP, Python, Ruby, and Haskell. You’ll have to prove your skills first with a basic test of your understanding of the language you want to practice.

Not quite ready to join in the games here? Check out Skillcrush’s free 10-Day Coding Bootcamp for a basic overview of what learning to code is all about!

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Cameron Chapman

Cameron is a staff writer here at Skillcrush, and spends most of her time writing and editing blog posts and Ultimate Guides. She's been a freelance writer, editor, and author for going on a decade, writing for some of the world's leading web design and tech blogs. When she's not writing about design, she spends her time writing screenplays and making films (and music videos for rock and metal bands!) in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

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3 comments

  1. Megan Charles Replied

    You should update this list to include Flexbox Zombies. At the moment it is still a game in development, but it is free and so far I’ve learned in-game some valuable information regarding this css layout technique.

  2. Kayla Replied

    I had been putting off my JavaScript practice lately and failing to get back in the swing of things… but as soon as I opened up this link I’m now super excited to get going again! What an awesome way to practice. THANK YOU!

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