This a public service announcement. The headquarters of Casual Girl Gamer have suffered a deadly outbreak of the cuteness virus. You are advised to evacuate the area immediately. Whatever you, do not in any circumstance touch any of the games scattered around the site, no matter how enticing they might appear.
These games are dangerous. They are contaminated with the deadly streptocuteus strain. Anyone who comes into contact with the games will instantly be infected with this highly contagious virus. Symptoms of infection include a dumb wide-eyed expression and an inability to say anything other than 'awwww'. You have been warned.
1 Anika's Odyssey
If I were to ever publish a list of my favourite Flash games of all time, this point-and-click game by New Zealand-based developer Tricky Sheep would undoubtedly appear near the top. Anika's Odyssey is simply brilliant, featuring lush graphics, a wonderful storyline and - in my view - one of the sweetest characters in any game.
You play Anika, a young girl living in the country, and you have to help her rescue her teddy bear after he is stolen by a giant eagle. Many obstacles stand in her way but through wit and cunning (and a lot of help from you) Anika overcomes them. Play Anika's Odyssey here. If you enjoy this game - and we would be shocked if you didn't - you might want to check out our lists of top point-and-click games here and here.
2 Drifting Afternoon
Ferry Halim is one of the most inventive game developers around at the moment. He makes beautiful, quirky games that blur the distinction between gaming and art. I love all his games but if I had to choose one as my favourite it would have to be Drifting Afternoon. You are a cute kitty cat frolicking in a sunny meadow. Coloured balloons drift lazily by in the warm breeze. Jump between the balloons to earn points. Relaxing, fun game-play and inspired pastel graphics will soon have you in a pleasurable trance. You can play Drifting Afternoon here.
3 Home Sheep Home
Possibly the cutest physics game ever made, Home Sheep Home puts you in charge of three sheep: Shirley, Shaun and Timmy. You have to guide them home through a series of different levels. Each sheep has different abilities and you have to get them to work together to ensure that they all safely reach their destination. The game's graphics and animations are absolutely sublime, which should not come as a surprise as the game was developed by Aardman, the film company behind such animated classics as Wallace and Gromit. Play Home Sheep Home here. Read our full review of it here.
4 Little Wheel
An accident has caused a power cut in robot world. Deprived of the vital electricity that nourishes them, all the robots have fallen asleep. Years come and go and still the robots slumber. More time passes and still no change and then, 10,000 years after the power cut, something miraculous happens. A bolt of lightning brings one of the robots (a particularly cute robot, it has to be said) back to life. The fate of the robot kingdom rests on this one robot's shoulders. Can he restore the power before his meagre energy supply runs out? Thus begins Little Wheel, a beautifully designed point and click game by One Click Dog Games.
We cannot praise this game enough. Aesthetically, it is an absolute delight. It looks more like a short film than a game, so incredibly slick are the animations. The story-line is also one of the best we have come across in a free online game. The puzzles themselves are perhaps a little simple but that doesn't matter because it is the story that matters most. You can play Little Wheel here. A prequel to the game, called Mogo-Mogo, can be played here.
5 The Crossing
If you thought the classic Disney film Bambi was cute, then you will probably overdose from cuteness with this game. For The Crossing - another delightful game by Ferry Halim - includes not just one cute baby deer but an almost unlimited supply of them. Your task in this beautifully designed game is to help the deer cross a dangerous river. The deer are so painfully cute that when inevitably one does not make it across and plummets to its death, it weighs heavily on your heart. Play The Crossing here.
6 Fishing Girl
In real life, fishing is one of the most relaxing pursuits you can find. But most fishing games I've played have been more frustrating than enjoyable, thanks to complicated and unpredictable controls. Not Fishing Girl, however. This cute game could not be easier to play. A quick click of your mouse extends your line. And then you can dwell on the meaning of life - in typical angler style - while the fish think about taking the bait. If you like to play games at your own pace, Fishing Girl may be perfect for you. You can play the game here.
7 Flock Together
Flock Together ticks all the boxes of what we like in games. Graphically, it is impressive, featuring a quirky paper cutout style aesthetic. The serene music works well with the graphics. And the storyline is nothing if not charming. How can you not be drawn in by the tale of lonely little girl who has lost her best friend through her own carelessness.
The best friend in this case is a sheep, which just goes to show how lonely this little girl is. Somehow, her sheep chum has become tethered to a balloon, and has drifted off into the sky. This could almost be comedic if it wasn't for the sadness of the little girl. She really loved her woolly friend, and desperately wants him back. Flock Together can be played here.
8 Carrot Track
Ferry Halim has created so many beautiful and brilliant games already that even if he were never to release another game, his place in the pantheon of great casual game creators would still be secure. Thankfully, Ferry is not about to retire from game making just yet. He may not be as prolific as in the past but he is still producing fantastic games, as his latest creation - Carrot Track - proves. Help the bunny find the carrots while avoiding the nasty dogs. Carrot Track might not be Ferry's greatest ever game but, boy, is it cute. You can play it here.
9 Tales of Crevan
There's yet another ridiculously cute animal in this pretty game by Evil Rat Studios. This time it is a little fox cub. The game is not actually primarily about the fox but rather an artist who has had the colour in her paintings stolen by evil monsters (which is a rather neat idea for a game, wethinks). The fox is helping to return the colour to the paintings by capturing colourful creatures and jars of concentrated colour scattered around the game world. Featuring beautiful, watercolour style graphics, Tales of Crevan is a visual delight. Play the game here.
Game designer Edmund McMillen has an imagination to die for. He is responsible for some of the most weird and wonderful games ever created, including such masterpieces as Meat Boy - an action platformer about a chunk of meat in search of its girlfriend (recently ported to the X-Box) - and Spewer, a game in which you solve puzzles by expelling and ingesting vomit. For this list, we have chosen arguably his most thought-provoking and personal game, Aether, on which he collaborated with programmer Tyler Glaiel.
Edmund describes Aether as an "art game about personal childhood feelings and experiences". You take control of a lonely young boy and his pet monster and set out to explore the galaxy. Aether features beautiful graphics and a great story-line. It also has a unique and challenging method of moving around the game world. Play the game here.
We hope you enjoyed this list. If you know of any other cute games, please tell us all about them in the comments section below.