Best of 2012 Nominations...
You know what are always enjoyable? RC Tanks, especially ones that you can use to fire things at your least-favorite sibling. It took Emitter Critter to realize how this universal archetype of fun might translate well to flash form, and the result is the new top-down shooter, Awesome Tanks. It's nothing too complicated: Shoot stuff. Get coins. Buy upgrades. But when so many arena games are drenched with gore or zombie blood (not that there's anything wrong with that!), it's always cool to see polished genre works that are "kid-friendly" without feeling too "kiddy". Awesome Tanks' fifteen levels have the combination of frenetic action and colorful explosions that all ages should enjoy.
In Sergio Alonso's shiny new bullet hell shooter, Boss Slayer, Ten alien starships have entered the solar system and you have 12 days to destroy these bad boys before they make their final approach to Earth. The game features an array of upgrades, of which each has a clear, immediate effect and it can be a lot of fun to watch your weak little ship transform so quickly into a beefy alien antagonizer. Boss Slayer isn't an innovative game by any means, but it understands the genre perfectly and serves up a smooth, streamlined gameplay experience.
Decision is a polished zombie action-defense hybrid from Fly Anvil, and it's a bloody good time. A cool, if slightly repetitive, mixture of serious horror, logistical strategy, frenetic action, and low-key parody, Decision shows that the undead can still pack serious punch.
It's time to clean up a new place in this sequel to FlyAnvil's original zombie shooter. Move through the city establishing secure locations and going on missions to bring each area under control, earning cash to spend on your substantial arsenal and upgrade tree. Adding just enough new elements to the original to spice things up, Decision 2 is still a bit repetitive, but keeps the tried-and-tested zombie shooter formula from feeling too brainless, and looks good doing it.
A good story is great, but sometimes you just want to blow stuff up. In DN8: Pulse, a new shooter game from Squize, you are the commander of a puny little fighter who has to fight off swarms of enemy vessels if you want to survive. If you make it past the initial waves, you'll have the chance to upgrade your ship with extra shields, weapons, and even support pods and there are two upgrade paths, defensive and offensive. The clear selling point of DN8: Pulse are the graphics, done in Stage3D, which are unlike most anything you've seen in a flash game. The visuals are in a word, stunning. And it's a lot of fun to play a shoot-em-up that leaves the conventional retro pixelated setting and dares to take it to the farthest reaches of the universe for a truly immersive experience.
Step inside the world of Fracuum, a top-down maze shooter where every inward move zooms you in to the next layer of the game. Made in just 48 hours for a Ludum Dare competition themed around Tiny Worlds, Tyler Glaiel may have given you a bigger challenge than you think. Can you finangle your way through the fiery funnel and fight the foes to find freedom?
On a planet that seems straight out of a Disney digital world, there is a war going on that can only be won with some mech fighting expertise. Sortie in ten missions of varying objectives from simple reconnaissance to an all-out fire fight for survival.The war seems to be a losing struggle, but you can turn it around with a little cash and a lot upgraded parts. Can you handle the strain of an entire war on the metal shoulders of your robot piloting skills?
Is your trigger-finger ready for a challenge? Then load up the beautiful but deadly Ludum Dare competition entry Kumiho. Pilot a ship with the ability to teleport against hordes of semi-organic monstrosities transformed by a vengeful Goddess. With striking visuals and simple but high-difficulty gameplay, it's a lovely little diversion if your reflexes are up to the task.
Attention all doodlers! Drop your pen and strap yourself to the keyboard, because Francisco Ferreres is here with another in the series of hand drawn, top-down, vertical scrolling shoot-em-ups, Notebook Wars 3. Be prepared for the margins to run red, green, and blue with pencil shavings once more! Generally a refinement and extension of its predecessors, the addition of Keyboard controls and Frenetic Mode, which speeds up the pace of the game considerably, makes this a release that all shooter fans will find noteworthy.
BUGS. Who needs 'em? Especially face-eating, acid-spitting, lurking-in-dimly-lit-corridor-ing bugs! Those are the worst! Blast you way through hordes of enemies in this atmospheric horror shooter that contains a lot of familiar elements, but also one very well done presentation. Upgrade weapons, complete challenges, and maybe even find out the secret of the cryptic "Owl Men"... they're so very hungry...
Ever wanted to run rampant through hordes of squishy spider bots, monsters, and malevolent steampunk beasties? This simple but chaotic top-down shooter provides some truly frantic action that, while repetitive, delivers a nice dose of KAPOW KAPOW KAPOW to your day.
Strike Force Heroes, by Sky9 Games, is a frenetic action arena shooter that proves that the best way to unravel a shadowy conspiracy is blasting everything in sight. Shares a developer with Raze 2, and many similarities with that game. Still, Strike Force Heroes offers a lot of variety and customization, and even if online multiplayer is a sad omission, pwning CPU newbs has never been so satisfying.
Jonas Kyratzes has brought us many enjoyable, thoughtful games in bizarre, surreal settings. Well, now he's developed a top-down space shooter, Traitor. Don't get scared, he's still able to cast his powers of storytelling, it's just in a different yummy, gooey, science fiction package. Take on missions to earn credits for upgrades as well as the trust of the rebels. Your ultimate goal: to take down the Augustan Hegemony. Viva la People's Council!
The classic first-person shooter credited with jump-starting the genre on PC gets a re-release in HTML5! As Captain B.J., blast your way through three different missions and all the original levels of over-the-top retro action. It's cheesy, it's violent, and back in its day it was more than a little controversial, but Id Software's iconic title is responsible for siring many of the games you play today and is still as fun as ever.
What rotten luck to have your ship crash land on a zombie-ridden planet that you now need to fight across to escape. With a more vocal protagonist than you had before, shoot and calculate your way through this Metroidvania style physics shooter where zombies are just as plentiful as your headshot count. With sixteen levels to survive through and plenty of side missions to keep you occupied, your time with the undead hordes will be engrossing and quite challenging. Polish off the old boomstick and get ready to bust some heads if you hope to survive.