A blog about casual gaming

New Game Round-up

New Game Round-up

The latest and greatest new games reviewed, including an epic rpg bursting with adolescent humour, perhaps the best free online tower defence game ever made, and a game starring an angry gnome who hates Christmas.

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Published by Tasha on 5th October 2010

Ooooh, we have some treats for you in this, our latest round-up of new online casual games. But of course, you don't want to read about them yet, do you. You would much rather read my utterly pointless preamble to the games. In particular, I bet you would like to read about the vacuum cleaning technique that I invented. You see, when I vacuum my home, I don't do it the usual way. Instead, I like to split the rooms up into 1m by 1m grids. I then vacuum clean each grid using a rotational manoeuvre that… Oh, so this isn't interesting you. You want to go straight to the games and you don't care about my stupid vacuum cleaning. Oh, very nice.

How about I share my theory on why UK plug sockets are better designed than American ones? I see, you're not interested in that either. What about I tell you about the book I am reading - it's called the History of Curtain Making from Medieval Times to… Okay, I get it. You are only interested in playing games and want me to shut up right this moment. Okay, okay, I promise, straight to the games now. Oh, whoops, where have they all gone. It's all dark all of a sudden. There must have been a power cut. Sorry folks, it looks like you're going to have to come back next week… Only teasing! There hasn't really been a power cut. I just accidentally-on-purpose leant against the switch. See, look down below, look at all those shiny games. Play them.

1Epic Battle Fantasy 3

If we ordered this list by the sheer size of a game, then there would have been absolutely no doubt that Epic Battle Fantasy 3 - a turn-based RPG with a tongue-in-cheek humour - would have come out on top. After all, the game boasts more than 70 varieties of monsters for you to fight, no less than 80 types of equipment for you to find and use, and that's before we even get to the 80-plus skills and spells at your disposal. This game really does deserve to have 'epic' in its title.

But of course size is just one of many things we consider when rating a game. There's also graphics, game-play, innovation, the quality of story-line... and so on. Epic Battle Fantasy 3 performs brilliantly in these areas too, although the somewhat childish humour might not be to everyone's taste. You take charge of three young heroes out to defeat an evil demon that they foolishly woke up. During your quest, you will explore a Zelda-style world, buying and selling gear, gleaning useful information from friendly NPCs and - of course - battling a huge number of nasty critters. You can play Epic Battle Fantasy 3 here.

2Cursed Treasure

There are now so many tower defence games available on the web (as testified by our list of The 30 best tower defence games) that you might think that there is little new that can be brought to the genre. You'd be wrong, as this brilliant game from Russian developer Iriy Soft proves. Cursed Treasure is - in our opinion - the best free tower defence game that has been made. Protect your gems from the enemy hordes by building and upgrading three types of towers. Great graphics and some of the most addictive game-play on the web should keep you happily occupied for hours. Play Cursed Treasure here.

3Vertical Drop Heroes

Vertical Drop Heroes does not only nail the basics of what an action platform game should be about - a load of treasure to collect, tons of baddies to avoid or kill and a never-ending supply of jumps that need to be made - it also offers a lot on top. For a start, the game levels are randomly created. So no two plays of the game are the same. There is also a two player mode for those who like to curl up with their partner on the sofa and play the game together.

The game also has something of a story, giving the game-play a bit of context. You are not collecting the treasures and killing baddies simply for the sake of it, but as part of a quest to rescue a princess. The game also features a fair bit of strategy. You need take care choosing your path down through the levels (as its name suggests, the game really in very vertical) to maximise the treasure you find. Take the wrong route, and you find that much of the treasure is beyond your reach. Vertical Drop Heroes is also blessed with some fun RPG-style features but we'll leave you to find out about them. The game can be played here.

4Shattered Colony: The Survivors

It seems we can't get enough of zombies. They are a popular subject of books and films. And, as we're sure you are aware, they're not too difficult to find in games, as can be seen from our list of the Top 20 zombie games. Indeed, it is not so much an attack of the zombies, as an attack of the zombie games. Yet another addition to the zombie game genre is Shattered Colony: The Survivors. But this game should not be idly despatched without a thought. For Shattered Colony: The Survivors is one of the best real-time-strategy (RTS) Flash games we have come across.

The game features slick graphics, a variety of game modes (campaign or random map, for example) and even user-generated content. But it is in its core game-play - an interesting mix of tower-defence style tower building and Civilisation-like resource management - where the game really excels. Many RTSs have an incredibly steep learning curve, bombarding the user from the outset with a mind-boggling array of things to do. But Shattered Colony: The Survivors is a breeze to play, thanks to the simple, intuitive controls and thoughtful tutorial system. In short, the epitome of what a casual RTS should be. The game can be played here.

5Heart of Ice

The Heart of Ice might not bring any wildly new game-play mechanics or fancy new interactivity to the platform genre but it is brilliantly produced, features an intriguing storyline and is blessed with some of the best graphics and physics we have seen in a flash platformer. The way the hero is reflected against the shiny rocks is particularly impressive. Kudos to the developer, Eddy Larkin.

You play a little guy in what appears to be a diving suit who has taken on a mission to hunt down an evildoer hiding out in the forest. His quest to find the bad guy takes him far beneath the surface, into caves where razor-sharp crystals, miasmic fumes and vicious creatures eat up his life-force. But there are even great threats to come... Play The Heart of Ice here.


Joey Betz of Armor Games has pretty much had a stranglehold over the castle destroying physics game market over the past few years, thanks to his hugely popular Crush the Castle game and its sequel Crush the Castle 2. But any hopes Joey might have that he could sit back and enjoy his dominance in this niche have been ruined, for the Crush the Castle games now have a serious competitor in Sieger, a beautifully made castle smashing physics game. I may end up upsetting Crush the Castle fans, but I think Sieger - with its stunning graphics, beautiful interface and smooth physics - is right up there with Joey's games. Let's hope this sparks a furious battle between Joey and the interloper, each trying to outdo the other with their next games. In the meantime, don't forget to play Sieger here. It really is great fun.

7Garden Gnome Carnage

I am not one hundred per cent sure that this game is any good but it is certainly different - and sometimes different is what you want. How best to describe it? Garden Gnome Carnage is an odd marriage between a defend-your-castle-style game and a physics game with a very unusual plot. You are an angry gnome house-owner who hates Christmas. Unfortunately for you, Father Christmas has been dabbling with genetic engineering and has managed to clone himself. Literally thousands of Father Christmas clones are congregating on your house, each dead set on dropping down your chimney and delivering you some presents. You must stop them, either by launching bricks at them, swinging Tarzan-like from your chimney and whacking them or by calling in an air-strike (it seems that the anti-Xmas lobby have become pretty powerful in this game). Eventually, you will be overwhelmed but before then the game is - perhaps surprisingly - amazingly fun. Play Garden Gnome Carnage here.

8Robot Wants Ice Cream

Game developers love creating sequels. It is so much easier than developing a new game from scratch, and if you have built up a loyal fan-base for your first game, you'll have a ready-made audience waiting when you release the sequel. But how far can you take this process? How many remakes of a game can you make? For most games, a single sequel is about all you can get away with. Casual gamers are fickle creatures and they grow restless if they are not fed a constant diet of something new. But some games are so good that their developers' can successfully undertake numerous remakes without losing the interest of their fans.

One such dynasty is the Robot loves… series by Hamumu Software. The company has just release the fifth game in the series. Robot Wants Ice Cream - like its predecessors Robot Wants Kitty, Robot Wants Puppy and Robot Wants Fishy - is a fun 8-bit-style platform game where you take control of a cute robot and help him find something. In the previous iterations, you were after a friendly animal (a puppy, kitty and fish - hence the game names) but in the latest game you are in search of an ice cream cone. The game is also different from its predecessor in that you have a companion from the start: the cute puppy that you found in the second game. Together, you partake in all the fun platforming fare that made the previous games such hits. Robot Wants Ice Cream can be played here.

9The Day

Gregory Weir has carved himself out a niche as a developer of eery, disturbing games that make one think. Perhaps his most famous game is the The Majesty of Colors, where you play out an ugly deep sea monster's first interactions with humanity. His latest game - The Day - is another eery masterpiece. On one level, The Day is a kind of Top Trump exploration game, where you guide Birthday girl Tia around a village in search of people to play Top Trumps with. But on another level, the game is something far darker and more profound. As you wander around the village, you start to notice things that are out of place, like the surveillance cameras that follow you everywhere. People also warn you not to go into the woods that surround the village because the guards will kill you. Do you heed that advice and stay in the village playing cards or do you decide to risk being killed and explore the game world a little further. Like many of Gregory's games, there are multiple ways of completing The Day. The game can be played here.

10The Illusionists Dream

We finish off our list with a game that made me smile. The Illusionists Dream is a pretty platform game full of cute forest animals. As a master magician, you can transform yourself into any animal that is nearby. Become a butterfly to flutter over chasms, take the shape of a fox to run fast or assume the guise of a frog to leap to high, otherwise unreachable platforms. Combine this fun game mechanic with evocative graphics, mellow music and well-thought-out level design and you have one of the most enjoyable - not to mention cute - platform games around. The Illusionists Dream can be played here.

Special mention

Fellow games blogger Igor Hardy and his pals Alex van der Wijst and Thomas Regin have just launched a new downloadable game. Now, we don't usually give much editorial coverage to downloadable games (why bother when there are so many cool games that you can play in your browser) but this game - Snakes of Avalon - is worth mentioning.

For a start, it is completely free. It is also a point-and-click game and we know from the response we have to articles like this and this that many of our readers are point-and-click crazy. Be warned however. The game has quite an adult theme. Igor describes it as "an adventure game about alcoholic incapacitation and people obsessed with murdering their other half". He goes on to say: "It mixes the style and atmosphere of Hitchcock suspense films with a surreal game world inspired by your favourite trippy movies."

We have tried the game out and can confirm that it is definitely worth playing. Well done to Igor and his crew for trying something different. You can download a copy of the game for free here.

Best of the rest

There have been so many great games coming out recently that there is no way we can include them all in our main list. But we do not want to give all those we missed out no credit, so read on for our quick round-up of the best of the rest. Firstly, Big Tree Top Gun, a slick cross between tower defence and asteroids. Then there is Trader of Stories, a neat little point-and-clicker from Mateusz and his team at Pastel Games. Wake up the Box 2 - the sequel to the hit sadistic physics game - is also certainly worth a play.

You also might want to take a look at Pixel Purge (a highly polished arcade shooter) and Oozy, an interesting puzzle game for those who need a mental challenge. If you're into guns, then GunBot (a frantic side-scroller with a lot of shooting) and Madness Premeditation (a hitman puzzle game) should be in your sights.

Fans of Terry Cavanagh - creator of hit indie platformer VVVVVV - should check out their hero's dark take on the rhythm genre in Graveyard Graveyard Revolution. And finally a retro platformer with spiders and gold: Jungle Treasures 2 - Tomb of Ghosts.

Have you been playing any fun new casual games of late. If so, please tell us all about them in the comments section below.

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