A blog about casual gaming

New Game Round Up

New Game Round Up

The New Year brings loads of great new games for you to play. We pick out the cream of the crop.

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Published by Tasha on 20th January 2011

There is usually a lull in new game releases in the first few months of the New Year. Game developers, having worked liked madmen to get their titles out in time for the vital pre-Christmas buying frenzy, take time out to do research, brainstorm new ideas and begin work on the next batch of big releases. At least, that is the case in the console and PC game market.

Creators of free online games on the other hand do things very differently. They simply cannot afford to take a break… ever. Think of all those game-plays they would miss out on. Moreover, in the fickle world of online gaming, where consumers have a huge number of games to choose from, a developer that fails to release a game for a few months risks being forgotten.

And if there is one thing that casual game developers really hate it is being forgotten. All of which is good news for you and me: ever more new games for us to play. Check out our pick of the best new games to come out thus far this year.

1 I Am An Insane Rogue AI

Ever since he released Demons took My Daughter mid last year, Malaysian game developer Nerdook has been an absolute revelation. Over the past few months, he has been launching new games at such a frantic pace that one can't help but wonder if he ever sleeps.

The numbers are impressive - five new games in less than six months. But it is not the quantity that wows as much as the quality and invention. Pretty much every game Nerdook has made has been a major hit, thanks to his focus on cute graphics, inventive fusions of different genres, and devilishly imaginative game-play. We were so impressed by one of his games - Monster Slayers - that we included it in our Games of the Year for 2010.

And Nerdook's impressive run of hit games has continued in 2011 with the release of I Am An Insane Rogue AI, a quirky but brilliant strategy game where you play an egomaniacal artificial intelligence bent on world domination. You can play the game here.

2 Rebuild

To be honest, I am bored stupid of zombies. If one came up to me now and slavered in my face, I would probably not even blink - so inured have I become to these ubiquitous living dead creatures. The problem is that they are everywhere: on telly, in books and, of course, splattered all over games - see this list of 20 we made for starters.

So the thought of playing yet another zombie game hardly had my heart fibrillating with excitement. But, to my surprise, Rebuild - a zombie survival game by Sarah Northway - has proved my expectations wrong. It is quite the most fun zombie or defence game I have played for a while, featuring funky graphics and a interesting game-play mechanic where you strengthen your base by clearing zombies from nearby buildings. Even the music is great.

In short, not all zombie games are shamelessly trying to cash in on the popularity of this cliched monster. Some - like Rebuild - also bring inventive and fun game-play to the party, and as a result deserve to be played. Do your duty here.

3 Armor Mayhem

The plot for this game could have come straight out of eco-miserablist Paul Ehrlich's book of gloomy predictions. A profligate humanity has squandered all of earth's energy resources and is now fighting amongst itself to gain control of a nearby planet, on which so-called infinite energy crystals have been found.

No doubt - if you are a believer in Ehrlich's dismal view of humanity - once he has got his grubby hands on these crystals, mankind will cause yet greater damage to himself and the galactic environment. But I do not concur with Ehrlich - pretty much every prediction he has ever made has proved incorrect - and have faith that humanity will flourish once, erm, it has mastered the power of the infinite energy crystals.

Either way, Armor Mayhem is an incredibly slick side-scrolling platform shooter that should not be missed by anyone who enjoys a good old fire fight. Play the game here.

4 Society: The Game

What would you do if you were in charge of society? Apart from making ice cream free for everyone, of course (which we would all do), and banning boring jobs (ditto). Well, this game will help you find out, sort of. I say 'sort of' because it does not really offer that much in options. Indeed, as the leader of a fragile new civilisation, Society: The Game pretty much limits you to running around, attacking enemy territories and recruiting followers.

It is undoubtably fun but budding social engineers might clammer for more options and greater complexity in the game-play. Having said that, the simplicity is half the game's charm. Would you really want want to be running a real-life society with all the hassle and sleepless night's that would involved. It is not just handing out ice-cream and making the workplace fun, you know. Get your fix of very basic social engineering here.

5 Pipedreamz

I love the quirky games sponsored by entertainment portal Adult Swim. They include some of the most memorable online games ever created, including the legendary Unicorn Robot Attack, a heavy metal version of which was recently released online (see here) and on the iPhone (see here).

Pipedreamz - the game we are featuring here - is typical of the dark, edgy style of games in which Adult Swim specialises with aplomb. In this surreal game, you play an employee at a burger outlet who is encouraged to eat a wad of raw meat by his boss (we said it was surreal).

The meat has an odd effect on you. You start hallucinating. Your job - rather than being made up of deadly dull repetitive chores - suddenly turns into a series of fun mini-games, interspersed with dream sequences and odd conversations with your boss. If gonzo author Hunter S Thompson had ever made a game, this would have been it. See for yourself here.

6 Goblin War Machine

I tend to avoid side-scrolling physics racing games. They're all much of a likeness - and that likeness is not much fun. I invariably end up with my bike, truck or whatever lying prone on the road in a state of frustrating upsidedownness and immobility. Goblin War Machine by Big Block Games is a rarity, a side scrolling physics racer that actually has the odd moment of fun (actually, it's a lot of fun).

What makes the game so appealing is not just that its physics are more forgiving than most (righting your vehicle when it has gone upside down is relatively easy). The game's Limbo-inspired monochromatic graphics and heart-pumping music also impress. In addition, the game-play has been spiced up with a few features that you don't find in the standard side-scrolling physics racer: you get to crush puny humans beneath your vehicle's wheels (you play a goblin, by the way) and smash up their homes.

What more could you want. Play Goblin War Machine here.

7 Man in Gap

Sometimes the simplest ideas make for the greatest fun. Just witness the phenomenal success of Boomshine and Flabby Physics - two of the simplest games ever made. To this list of paragons of simplicity, we can now add Man in Gap, a brilliant new time waster by Kevin Resol.

You play a little stick guy stuck in a cave. Every few seconds the roof of the cave comes crashing down against the floor. You must survive as long as possible by finding gaps between the roof and floor to hide in. That's all there is to it. But don't let this simplicity put you off; Man in Gap is just brilliant, as you can find out by playing it here.

8 Sierra 7

The market for first person shooter Flash games has been dominated for the past few years by Canadian game portal Games Free. The company is responsible for the hugely popular series of Sift Heads games featuring sharp shooter Vinnie and his pals - you can play some of these games here, here and here.

But Games Free could soon have a rival in the FPS niche in the form of Canadian developer Simon Hason. Simon has just released an amazing new first person shooting game called Sierra 7. Mark my words, this is one of the slickest Flash shooters you are likely to play this year. Hone your shooting skills here.

9 Vector Rush

Award for the trippiest game of the month goes to, wait for it… a giant pink spotted bunny with Ringo Starr playing flower drums on its head. Wait a second, that was me tripping. Let's try again. Award for… trippiest game… goes to Vector Rush, a colourful reaction game that while lacking in colourful bunnies and ancient drumming legends still manages to cram in a helluva lot of trippyness.

Fly your craft through a pulsating world of colourful vector shapes to a beating techno sound track. Try to avoid crashing into the shapes while at the same time aim to fly through glowing Technicolor loops. Vector Rush is a reaction game with a similar feel to Flyde, just with the music and visuals dialled up several notches. Play it here. You may also want to check out our list of Top 10 Reaction Games.

10 Insidia

We finish off with a cute little platform puzzler. Insidia might not be particularly innovative but it more than makes up for that with its arty graphics, appealing protagonist and fun puzzles. You play as a little orange extraterrestrial forced to crash land on an alien planet after his space ship ran into trouble.

You need to collect ten repair kits that are scattered around the world to make your craft space worthy again. No easy task this, as some of the kits are in very tricky to access areas. But if you keep your eyes peeled for power-ups, you should soon find yourself in possession of all the repair gear you need.

Don't forget to look out for hidden areas - find all ten hidden areas and you will be presented with an alternative ending. Insidia can be played here.

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Published by Dave on 26th May 2011
Nice list! Rebuild is amazing amazing amazing, I can play it over and over again.

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