Best of 2005: Top 20


Best of 2005: Top 20

The Best of 2005 is a celebration of the best games reviewed here at Jayisgames over the past year. It is not an exhaustive list of all the best games available since we can only review the games that we come to know about. If you have a game, or are part of a team that produces them, and would like to have your game considered for a future review here, then please use the Suggest a Game form to submit a link.

I'm doing things a little differently this year. For this year's Top 10 list there are ...20 games! Yes, that's right. There were too many great games released in 2005 to narrow the list to just 10. So, without any further ado, here are the 20 games you picked as the Best of 2005:

Twenty (20)

Web SudokuWeb Sudoku: a Web version of the game that spread throughout the world in 2005 and held captive the attention of millions of puzzle solvers. This version of the addictive logic puzzle is capable of generating billions of puzzles of four (4) difficulty levels, and all within a clean and accessible interface. The votes this game received may have been more for the general game of Sudoku than this particular version; none the less, your voice was heard. Web Sudoku is now among the best Web games of 2005. [review]

Nineteen (19)

PlanarityPlanarity: another infectious game that spread like wildfire throughout the Web when it was first introduced in the summer of 2005. Planarity is a simple game based on a simple premise: untangle the mess. The addictive quality of the game comes from the gratification the player receives when order is restored. It helps, of course, to have a mild case of OCD. The game's modest appearance is a testament to the fact that a game doesn't have to be pretty to be fun to play. [review]

Eighteen (18)

DeanimatorDeanimator: a creepy horror shooter inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Its well-balanced gameplay sends wave upon wave of zombie silhouettes at the player who at first is equipped with only a single revolver. A lengthy reload cycle demands conservation and planning of every valuable shot. This moody game was created in 2004 by Bum Lee for a studio class in experimental web animation at Carnegie Mellon University. Reviewed here in October of this year, Deanimator is one of the Best of 2005. [review]

Seventeen (17)

3wish Adventures3Wish Adventures: when these adorably cute point-and-click games first appeared last summer they were an instant favorite of many visitors here due to their manageable size. Each bite-sized puzzle game in the collection contains charming and original cartoon-style graphics and animation that are commercial-quality. Inventive puzzles and situations make them challenging and fun for most everyone, and put Mink's 3Wish.com puzzle games into the Best of 2005. [review]

Sixteen (16)

Prachka (Orbox)Prachka (Orbox): a recreation of the classic sliding block puzzle game, this version excels in its presentation and execution. Simply move the blue and yellow blinking box to the red goal in the fewest of moves. Special graphic effects bring a new excitement to the game, while a trail of bubbles charts your path along the way. These little graphic enhancements help to make a great puzzle game even better, and help launch Prachka into the Best of 2005. [review]

Fifteen (15)

SpybotSpybot: The Nightfall Incident: a single-player turn-based strategy game containing remarkably rich gameplay in a ultra-high tech game environment. Created for Lego.com by gameLab, the game features an engaging and unique storyline involving 'databattles' against rogue corporate software to gain control over the nodes of a network. The game's excellent gameplay, accessible and richly detailed interface, and atmospheric soundtrack are all of the best I've experienced in a casual Web game, clearly earning Spybot a place among the Best of 2005. [review]

Fourteen (14)

The Goat in the Grey FedoraThe Goat in the Grey Fedora: a film noir style detective adventure with personality and an excellent sense of humor. The game features a wide assortment of characters with which to converse, each possessing a fitting personality and extensive dialog options. The player is tasked with tracking down clues as to where the goat is hidden. A rich interactive narrative sets this game apart from most other Flash point-and-click games, and distinguishes The Goat in the Grey Fedora as being of the Best of 2005. [review]

Thirteen (13)

Heli Attack 3Heli Attack 3: an arcade survival shooter with over-the-top action and weaponry that rivals a console game offering. Gameplay consists of taking down wave upon wave of enemy helicopters with any available weapon, and there are many to choose from. Square-Circle Co. continues to impress with its ability to squeeze every ounce of performance from the Flash Player engine to accomplish its phenomenal feats of magic. Heli Attack 3 is a gorgeous game with addictive gameplay that commands attention as one of the Best of 2005. [review]

Twelve (12)

Mystery of Time and SpaceMystery of Time and Space (MOTAS): the granddaddy of all Flash escape-the-room adventure games. This classic point-and-click Web game first appeared back in 2001 and it remains a favorite to this day. What sets this game apart from others is the quality of the puzzles contained within each its 13 rooms; as well as its integrated Java chat client for adventurers looking for a little help along the way. A point-and-click aficionado's dream, and one that's still kicking it after all these years. [review]

Eleven (11)

The Dark ComplexThe Dark Complex: a gorgeous and original Flash puzzle game presented in 3D(!) Not satisfied with last year's Dark Room game, author Jonathan May set out to realize his vision for a 27-room improvement over his first effort. The result is an equally stunning and yet enormous and very challenging game that will provide many hours of puzzle-solving enjoyment. Its captivating puzzles, LED-like graphics and moody soundtrack create an excellent and immersive interactive experience, and one of the Best of 2005. [review]

Ten (10)

Death in SakkaraDeath in Sakkara: a richly detailed interactive narrative and detective drama composed of four (4) chapters. Each gorgeous episode is presented as a 1930's detective comic and contains information and clues to unearth regarding the mysterious disappearance and murder of a museum curator's granddaughter. The game successfully combines elements of point-and-click adventures with arcade mini-games to create a unique game playing experience. Created by the omni-talented folks at Preloaded, there is no mystery why Death in Sakkara is one of the Best of 2005. [review]

Nine (9)

Nanaca CrashNanaca Crash: an action game remake of the Yetisports penguin tossing games of 2004 in which the player tries to make a projectile travel the farthest. Its deceptively simple click-to-play interface makes this game accessible to casual gamers of all ages, and yet its brilliant combo system is what keeps them coming back for more. It's a simple game with great reward. Nanaca Crash became an instant classic with its immediate gratification browser-based fun, and truly one of the Best of 2005. [review]

Eight (8)

NN: an action platformer game of speed, dexterity and physics created in Flash and yet available as a free download only for PC, Mac, and Linux. The game features an advanced collision detection and physics engine that draws the player in with its qualities of immersion. A plethora of 90-second levels keeps the pace quick and the scenery fresh at all times, and a level editor is even included for creative individuals. The game saves high scores as well as a complete 'run' of a level to watch at any time. Winner of the Audience Choice award at the 2005 Game Developers Conference and for good reason: N is one of the Best of 2005. [review]

Seven (7)

The AsylumThe Asylum: a simple and yet surprisingly rich interactive narrative involving psychotherapy on cute cuddly toys. The game is played by selecting from a list of possible therapies and then watching the results unfold. The player is at times rewarded with elaborate cut scenes that reveal information about the patients and their distressing past. Originally reviewed back in 2004, this delightful game was expanded over the summer to include an additional patient, Sly, thus making it eligible for this year's awards. Packed with emotional stories that create a sense of immersion in the player, this interactive narrative is diagnosed as one the Best of 2005. [review]

Six (6)

Kingdom of LoathingKingdom of Loathing: a turn-based, text adventure RPG with a self-mocking twist. The ultimate goal in this DHTML adventure is to help in the fight against the Naughty Sorceress and save the kingdom. The real fun is in its "stunning hand-drawn images" and unusual items and monsters, such as the Can of Asparagus with a knife. The game features a very unique class system, and hundreds of offbeat weapons and armor to collect: titanium assault umbrella, bloody clown pants, a pasta spoon, etc. Familiars, or pets, are also available that will aid you in battle. With its many quests, player vs player battles, cooking and cocktail making, there is something for everyone to do, and very little reason to exclude the Kingdom of Loathing from the Best of 2005. [review]

Five (5)

Hapland 2Hapland 2: a point-and-click puzzle game with a unique and original style all its own. The second in a series of games by the genre defining author, Hapland 2 gave credence to those drawn to the original Hapland game's charm. This game includes more interactivity and more puzzles in a longer and more complex sequence of events the player must perform to open the stone portal and unleash the power within. It is every bit a sequel to a creative and innovative and phenomenally successful game that captured the hearts and minds of millions. Was there ever any doubt that this would be one of the Best of 2005? [review]

Four (4)

HaplandHapland: the point-and-click game that started a revolution. It didn't? Well, it should have. Hapland appeared as a strange and unusual interactive painting when it was first released back in early 2005 by its author Robin Allen. The notion that it could be a game captured the curiosity and attention of many casual gamers until they had it figured out and solved. Hapland is amazing and gratifying, and it is a game the likes of which had never been seen before. Similar to a point-and-click puzzle game, and yet different since some sequences of actions lead to no-win scenarios thus making a reset button necessary. The original Hapland game launched a genre of Flash point-and-click games, and lands itself squarely in the heart of the Best of 2005. [review]

Three (3)

Samorost 2Samorost 2: the point-and-click sequel to last year's Best of 2004 number one (1) game, a game that was instrumental in raising awareness of the Flash platform as a viable one for games and other creative interactive experiences. The sequel to one of the best loved Flash games of all-time lives up to the hype and lofty expectations of its predecessor and offers another glimpse into, as well as a trip through, the Samorost world and universe. Samorost 2 features many more highly detailed and stunningly beautiful interactive environments with many more puzzles to solve. An even more extensive soundtrack accompanies this iteration of the series and does well in capturing the essence of this gorgeous game. Remarkable and enjoyable, Samorost 2 is out of this world and one of the Best of 2005. [review]

Two (2)

Grow RPGGrow RPG: yet another amazingly creative and original point-and-click puzzle game in the top ranks of this year's Best of 2005. This second game in the Grow series adds RPG-like elements to the mix and gives the game a greater sense of purpose and story than the original game had. The experience of playing Grow RPG is like building a magical storybook world and helping the tiny inhabitants fight the evil menance that lurks in the sky above. Simple and accessible gameplay packaged in a unique and original puzzle game. Grow RPG follows the success of the original and earns an even higher spot this year as one of the best of 2005. [review]

One (1)

Grow CubeGrow Cube: a simple and delightful game in which the player clicks on the materials icons in sequence to add them to the cube. As the player gets closer to the correct sequence the resulting animations become more involved, elaborate, and complete. This is the third game in On's wildly popular and successful Grow games, and the third in the series to earn a spot in the top 5 games featured here. On of Eyezmaze packages wonder and excitement into every one of his games, especially the Grow games, and his games continue to delight casual gamers of all ages and from all corners of the world; this year's Best of 2005 proves that beyond a shadow of doubt. This represents the Best of 2005. [review]

Congratulations to all of this year's winners. And after going through all of the games again I realize that the real winners are you and me, the casual game players, as we have seen and played some truly remarkable titles this year.

Considering the wealth of excellent and free entertainment being made available on the Web today, let's give thanks with our hearts by making a donation or purchase that download of one of our favorite games. It will help to ensure that you will soon be playing the next game in the series.

Thanks also to all of the game developers out there eager to create and build wonderful magical environments for us to explore and play in. Your efforts will be justly rewarded.

And if you missed them, be sure to play all of last year's winners in the Best of 2004.

I'm looking forward to another great year of games and doing this all over again next year! =)

45 Comments

Whenever someone says 'Sudoku', I think of another, not very related, japanese game instead. I can't remember the actual name of it, but it consists of a grid, with some of the squares having numbers. The goal is to blacken in squares so that each 'island' has only one number, which is the number of squares in that island. Somewhere, once, I found a website full of them, but I can't find it again. Anyone out there know what I'm talking about?

How many people voted? just curious

Riff, I believe you're thinking of Picross, which I believe goes by other names as well.

It's not entirely dissimilar to Picross, but not exactly the same. For one, the numbers are inside the grid squares, rather than listed outside of the board. Also, it's not concerned with making a picture, but just to figure out which squares to fill in in order to meet the requirements.

It's sort of like a cross between picross and minesweeper, only not exactly. :)

Ah, I found it: Nurikabe. Good ol' Google.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurikabe

Riff: Nurikabe, perhaps?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nurikabe

Hi Caleb,

I believe Jay said that close to 20,000 votes were cast. It's amazing, IMHO!

why must you torment us? can't you just post 'em all? I'm DYING of anticipation!

Sorry Quan, I don't mean to torment you.
I'm writing as fast as I can. This stuff takes time to produce. =)

Jay,
Haven't you already wrote the reviews??? Why do you need to rewrite them??? Just Curious. Love the idea of top 20. I'm shocked that cry_wolf and tennis both didn't make it. What time do you think that the games will be finished and up cause i want to see them except im tired (just came back from asia...12 hour flight..7 hour time difference)

Hi Bryan, I like to write a special entry for each game. They have been taking me between 15-30 minutes a piece. I will be up until they are all done, but in your case... you might want to check back in the morning after a good night's sleep. =)

Hey jay!
The list is lookin' good! :)

Just a interesting note for Picross (message number 1 all the way up there), the acutal Japanese name for it is ã'­ã‚¸ã''ク (Logic), but for some reason it's called Picross in North America.

Something to ponder while jay gets the rest of the top 20 up! ;)

I agree with Brian F. on the "shocked" thing, but I'm over it.

Yay for Spybot, Nanaca Crash, MOTAS, Goat in the Grey Fedora.

I think I voted for those... *happy*

Jay, do you ever sleep? I think people can wait day or two. It was 2AM in US east coast when I caught you to update the number six on the Best of 2005 list!

hahaha. oh, I do sleep, just not normally at this hour! =D

I've only a couple more to go. The top 4 should be a breeze! And besides, I've been looking forward to this! =)

Monday morning 10AM in Finland. Snowing wet mittens. First day at work after holidays... :(

Glad that I can brighten my morning by waiting the results for best 5 :)

Jay, you are too good to us! I'm sure we will all appreciate the time you've put into this entry. But seriously, man, get some sleep! :P Looking at your list, I noticed that none of the Grow games aren't on there, so I predict they must be somewhere in the top 4!

Cheers, Erika. =)

Yeah, funnily not a single Grow game mentioned so far. Imagine that. =p

The top 2 games are just minutes away. Then I sleep. =D

I've got no idea what No. 1 will be. *Waiting in anticipation*.

Hooray! I must say, my favourite thing about the GROW games is that they are all very solvable if you just persevere. Although they're by no means easy, they're also not impossible, striking a balance that most other games strive to attain.

Whew! Going to bed now. Thanks, Jay.

I agree, Wulfo. My delight is in watching it all ...grow.

I couldn't be happier with the results, and I am pleased that so many of you have such good taste in games! ;)

Cheers, LM. Me too(!) whew. That was a lot of writing.

Please, don't be expecting an update today anytime soon. lol.

Well the top 5 didn't suprise me at all.

Quality games that are easy to understand, and all were point-and-click.

The only regret I have is that I didn't vote for Znax. I only really got into it after voting... d'uh !

Hooray! I'm soooo glad that The Asylum made it! *does happy dance*

i was glad to see the asylum received the recognition it deserved; i had never played it until voting begun and was stunned! i am disappointed that 99 rooms isn't up here, but i guess i understand since it is not so much a game as an interactive art piece.

Yay! Go ON!
*does a freaky little dance*

Standing ovation for the winners and for Jay! Thanks Jay for all your hard work. I hope this encourages the developers to keep on producing awesome games.

Thanks!!

Riff - I think the game just goes by the name "Japanese Puzzles". Try a Google Image Search.

Loverly. Bring on the new year! = )

Congrats on being linked to by Joystiq! http://www.joystiq.com/2006/01/02/casual-gaming-picks-/

Congras, Jay! You made the headline into Joystiq!

Yay! Love that KoL and N made the list. Definitely two of my favorites from this year.

Oh, and thanks for the link to my blog. I've seen a bit of a traffic jump because of it.

I love N with such a passion. I've spent so many hours on it that I really daren't imagine.

There is really is nothing like the feeling of falling, landing on a launch pad, dodging a missile, collecting some gold hitting a wall, wall-kicking off it and entering the exit.

PS. Loving the new site design.

Just a very quick note to thank everyone who voted for Death in Sakkara.
We're all very proud of it, and we're pleased you guys enjoyed it.

Bigger and better things to come from team preloaded in 2006 :)

Hello from Italy.
Keep on going, Jay.
Your web-page is fantastic.

I just received this and wanted to share it:

Nice to meet you Mr. Jay Bibby.

Thank you very much that you chose GROW as the best game.

And what is more, you chose two of my games.

I'm very glad to be internationally appreciated, and scored a victory
over [Samorost 2] which I respected.

I'd like to create the new one to be chosen as the best games this year again.

Best regards.

arigatoo gozaimasu!

ON || EYEZMAZE

I think it's safe to say that we have more to look forward to this year from On of Eyezmaze. =D

Jay,

It never ceases to amaze me just how much love you manage to pour into this site. More impressive even, is the network of feedback you have created between the the authors of the games and those who play them.

I've been a loyal fan of your site for over a year now, and I look forward to watching you grow with the future!

Speaking of "grow", I'm glad the Grow games took top notch. I was a little sorry to see my favorite, "Kreta", get passed over, but perhaps I have obscure tastes.

At any rate, thanks for a great year of games... the site (complete with new banner) looks terrific!

Cheers, Karmen! =D

No panda fruit bounce? Awwww, man!

Despite that, a great list and a great site. Thanks Jay!

Hello jay and all,

Seeing as this is the comments, I just thought I'd comment on some of the games on the list. This may turn out to be more of a loving admiration than a comment, so read if you are bored. I'll do it in reverse order, as in the post.

Web Sudoku: whenever I'm on my computer and find, for any reason, I have nothing to do, it's off to Web Sudoku I go. One of the few games I have not just bookmarked, but bookmarkletted in Firefox.

Planarity always inspires my OCD and urge to untangle things.

Deanimator is one of the few shoot-em-ups that requires careful thought and planning over random acts of shooting things.

Prachka is proof that the little things matter. The graphics make a simple and otherwise soon-to-become-boring game worth playing.

Heli Attack is most certainly my favourite shooter for dozens of reasons, most notable the graphics and the amazing use of Flash.

Death in Sakkara: I look forward to each beautifully crafted episode for its ability to tell a well-written story in Flash, and yet be thoroughly interactive.

N is certainly my personal top pick of 2005. I have spent dozens of hours on this game, and I think it can claim the honour of being the game I have spent the most time trying to beat. Even if I ever reach the end, there are plenty of user-made levels to keep me satisfied. The physics engine is truly astounding, and the graphics are impressively smooth. Even the smoke is sylized!

The Asylum wins my prize for game-which-I-thought-I-would-hate-the-most-and-then-didn't. After reading the description (you're helping stuffed animals get over psychological problems?!) I decided that this game would be good for a laugh. It certainly surpassed expectations by a long shot.

Haplands 1 and 2: two of the most unique games this year, in my opinion.

Samorost 2: what can I say? Beautiful, stunning, gorgeous and well thought out. The creators of Samorost have won my eternal gratitude for providing such a great experience.

Grow RPG and Cube: Jay says it best: simple and delightful.

Overall, these games are all wonderful. The readers of jayisgames have all made great choices. I look forward to another year of great games and great reviews.

Very nice, grant0.

You're hereby recruited to help out with this year's Best of 2006 feature! =)

Certainly, Jay. It means I get to know what they are early!

Anyway, I was surprised not to see more "foreign" games. I count around 7 games from non-English speaking countries. Less than half? Looking at the reviews, I would have thought at least half of the games reviewed here were "foreign." Did anyone else notice this? Am I wrong here?

While I immensively enjoyed playing the three GROW games (as well as the other eyemaze games) I wouldn't necessarily put them into the top 5. The reason for that would be that there is a very limited replay value in them. Once you got the combination it is done and there is no reason to play it again.

Very good list. I was searching for good flash games and reviews for some time until I found this page. The detailed reviews and constructive comments set this site apart.

This list provides very nice and fun games. Thank you for compiling it and putting everything in 1 place.

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