Best of 2011 (Top 5):
It's more than an action game meeting a role playing game. It's more than an amazing co-op experience. It's more than a collection of hilarious dialogue and geek culture references. It's Magicka, and it's the next game that will claim hours of your life. From Arrowhead Game Studios comes a hybrid title that emphasizes teamwork, alchemy-like spellcasting, and gaining an invincible knowledge of how elements work in relation to each other and the environment. Oh, and there are moose. Lots of moose.
Roguelike, The Legend of Zelda, a dual stick shooter, and the twisted mind of Edmund McMillen, part of the team behind Super Meat Boy. Put them all together and you've got The Binding of Isaac, a game that is as unhinged as it is entertaining, as good-looking as it is, well, disgusting. Even still, it's the kind of game you'll play through again and again, just to collect every item and explore every corner of the game's randomly-generated world.
Can't decide if you want to play a rhythm game or a good old fashioned dungeon crawling RPG? Now you can have both, with Iridium Studios' hybrid gem, Sequence. Originally released on the Xbox Live Arcade platform, Sequence takes a little bit of music, adds in combat, spells, weapons and items, shuffles them around in a sort of time management kind of manner, and sets it before you with a side of humor and a dose of "what the heck was that I just fought and why did it insult my mother?".
From Locomalito, creator of Hydorah, L'Abbaye des Morts, and 8-bit Killer, comes a great little shooter with loads of retro charm. Take part of the viriax infection as you try to take over a human's body one organ system at a time. Work your way upwards, collecting cells to keep your health full and dispatching enemies with a downward thrust move. Your health is decreased each time you move, encouraging you to actually take it slow and strike when strategically sound. Reach the organ to infect it and gain access to the next level! A fantastically built game that keeps a healthy balance between action and planning, and the retro look/sound is to die for!
From Daniel Remar, the force behind the much-loved free metroidvania game Iji, comes a Christmas title that's all about shooting, revenge, and lots more shooting. Mecha Santa spreads cheer and presents all over the world, but Princess Pitch gets nothing. She's not about to let everyone else have stuff if she can't have any, so she sets out to put an end to all of that "giving". Blaze through the game with your three main weapons: brick, ice, and rainbow, destroying elves, toy trains, and everything else Mecha Santa throws your way. It's an intense and fast-moving shooting game with cheesy characters and so much action your face will bleed. The chip tune soundtrack by Niklas Strˆm (who has done music for some of Spelgrim's browser games) is available for download, and it's totally worth checking out. Also, Hyper Princess Pitch is a remake of the old DOS game Operation: Carnage, so old school gamers should perk their ears up now!