Best of 2012 Nominations...
Mooooo! Do you hear that? It's the sound of cows being abducted! In this tower defense game from Lightmare Studio, you and your pal Barney must use your wits and whatever you can find lying around the barn to protect the cows from the aliens who crave them. Be it an explosive grill or poisonous gasses, you'll find plenty of ways to keep the invaders out of the cow field.
The time has come for adventure!... well, a little one, anyway! This simplified roguelike from Ido Yeheili offers three different heroes ready to delve into a dangerous dungeon in search of an evil Minotaur what needs slayin'. While definitely not quite as complex as other titles in the genre, Cardinal Quest offers an ease of use and engaging gameplay that's hard to beat and harder to put down.
Cook, Serve, Delicious! is a simulation and time management game from Vertigo Games, creator of the similarly spectacular The Oil Blue. If you see a restaurant game and immediately think "casual diversion", let Cook, Serve, Delicious! change your mind. This isn't a light and simple easy to win time management game. It's a full-on simulation that makes you work for your money, pushes you to play faster than you thought possible, and teaches you to strategically plan menus to maximize income without turning the ever-picky customer base away. It's not an easy game to excel at, but it's an easy game to get hooked on, and the challenge of building and running your own restaurant from front to back is going to captivate you for weeks on end.
Fhtagn! Cthulhu's powers have been locked away, and he needs to save the world to get them back... so he can destroy the world of course. This turn-based RPG from Zeboyd Games affectionately sends-up both Lovecraftian horror and RPGs themselves, but it's also a game with more than ten hours of solid play for an amazing price.
It's rough getting thrown in the Pit. Mainly because everyone there has the Plague, and nobody ever comes out... at least, not until you. Instead of dying, you, a mild castle librarian, unlock a hidden power within yourself that lets you and your friends battle monsters on another plane... and grants you the chance to save the world. A fantastic and engaging indie game from Level Up Labs that blends strategy, tower defense, fantasy, comedy, and even RPG elements for one wildly addictive game.
Described as a "spaceship simulation roguelike-like" by its developers, Subset Games, you won't be doing a whole lot of boldly going where no one has gone before in FTL: Faster Than Light. In fact, most of your time will be spent directing crew members and putting out engine room fires. But scifi strategy fans will love every minute of it, even with the hardcore difficulty.
Legend of Grimrock is a retro-styled first person dungeon crawling RPG that borrows liberally from the classic genre and updates everything for modern gamers to enjoy. From the visual overhaul to the lax but somehow intriguing storyline to the stripping of complex menu screens and stats, Legend of Grimrock will easily capture your attention and hold it for hours on end, whether you're an old school RPG master or a casual gamer looking for a little diversion.
Winter Wolves serves up a huge visual novel adventure RPG with deep tactical combat. As a slave to the Amazon empire, you're sent out with your princess, Loren, in search of a missing queen. In short order, you discover Loren's problems are only a tiny symptom of a greater evil plaguing the world... but will she be able to overcome her own shallow world view and limited life experience to become the hero everyone needs her to be? And does she even want to?
One of the most surreal RPGs you'll ever encounter has finally been translated into English. Play as the mysterious companion to the even more enigmatic Batter, who has arrived to rid the world of spectres through violent purification. Packed with memorable characters, strange locations, and a seriously engrossing storyline that at times manages to be a bit unsettling too, it's one of the strangest, swankiest free titles around that won't be for everyone, but is definitely worth a look.
Penny Arcade and Zeboyd Games combine to deliver this turn-based RPG with a distinctly retro feel that both fits with and stands apart from the previous two installments. Join Tycho and Gabe of the Startling Developments Detective Agency as they attempt to learn the secrets of the mysterious Necrowombicon... while dodging time-traveling dinosaur spies, murderous caterpillars, ancient cults and more in the process. Exceptionally heavy on combat but more than a little funny, it's a surprisingly engrossing little title with a lot to offer in the way of humour and charm if you don't mind a lot of strategy with your gameplay.
You know what the worst part of dealing with ghosts is? It's the ectoplasm. That stuff gets all over everything. If you don't want all your worldly possessions covered in ghost slime, you might just want to ghostbust by proxy in Phantasmaburbia, an RPG adventure by Greg Lobanov, creator of Dubloon, Assassin Blue and a variety of other titles. It mixes in the best elements of classic RPGs, adds in a bit of spookiness and shakes vigorously to produce a tasty ghost cocktail!
ScrumbleShip is an in-progress sandbox-style game of ship construction and combat simulation, all accomplished using a massive list of building materials and a surprisingly smart heat simulation model. Built around simple block placements, you have complete freedom of movement in this game, allowing you to jet yourself in any direction so you can construct the most accurate (or most hilariously inaccurate) piece of space-faring machinery you've ever seen. Want a tiny escape pod all your own? Done. How about a massive star base? Orbital station? Or maybe even a Death Sta— er, moon?!
Strap on your pistols and saddle up, pardner, there's a new card-based strategy game in town! From Cryptic Comet, the maker of Solium Infernum, comes Six Gun Saga, a game that combines cards, heavy strategies, and all the fierceness of the wild, wild west. Choose your boss then go at it with guns-a-blazing! Build up your town (or sell your cards) to make money, and form posses, then use them to collect victory points by defending story cards or just blow your opponent's men away! Turn by turn, you will either play as, or match wits with some famous characters like Wyatt Earp, Dirty Dave Rudabaugh, and others.
Here's a tip. When it comes to ancient demons, send the most qualified person for the job to do it right. Not the person nearest at hand to slap a bandaid on the problem. Jordan, a powerful but lazy and opportunistic warrior, manages to mess up his quest to put an ancient evil back into slumber in the worst way, and suddenly finds himself facing the unwelcome task of saving the world through actual hard work and adventure in this enormous, vibrant, and frequently funny indie RPG.
Bigger, badder, and altogether better than the original, Runic Games' brings their action RPG back to life in this fantastically fun sequel. When old heroes fall and turn against the land as a sickness spreads across it, it falls to one lone wanderer to take up the mantle of hero. With multiplayer support, huge boss battles, sprawling environments, and new classes unrestricted by gender, Torchlight 2 is a sequel that delivers everything it promised and more.
Auria Edith died, but for her it was just the beginning. When she finds herself resurrected and stranded on the other side of the world following a bargain she may regret making, things go from bad to worse. In this short but polished first installment of the free modern fantasy RPG by Project BC, Auria sets out to find her way home, but she might not be prepared for what comes looking for her instead.