Casual sim/strategy fans (and anyone who enjoyed Virtual Villagers or My Tribe) take note: Westward III: Gold Rush has arrived! Following last spring's release of Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier, the third installment in the series continues the new 3D visual style and basic premise introduced in the second game. Take control of three new heroes as you collect resources, construct farms, saloons, granaries and more to keep your settlers happy and healthy.
Viking Defense is a close cousin to Canyon Defense, a re-think of the tower defense genre that was released earlier this year. Game elements are introduced incrementally through a quest system. Once you build certain temples to the Norse gods, you get to use rechargeable powers, like the nuclear super-strike of the hammer Mjolnir. Fans of Canyon Defense will be happy that everything has been improved--the artwork, the map layouts, the weapon variety, and the overall game balance.
In Cortex Command, you assume the role of a disembodied brain (floating in a jar, actually) that's able to network with—and telepathically control—a variety of machines and soldiers. The basic premise is that you're setting up shop on hostile alien worlds to mine for resources, while your enemy is doing the same. Superficially, it sounds more like a real-time strategy game than a turn-based warfare game, which is one of the main reasons Cortex Command has so much potential; it's both.
Casual games built around sets of mini-games are gaining popularity, as are pared-down strategy titles that keep the spirit of the genre intact while trimming the bloat. Then something like Floating Kingdoms comes along and somehow manages to combine both: a simplified strategy game that's one part resource management, two parts mini-games. And it does it in a light-hearted, fun kind of way that just about any age group can enjoy.
Warfare 1917 is a rather excellent World War I strategy title from Armor Games that concentrates on the use of trenches as strategic choke points. The gung-ho cries of your troops make it hard to lose them, and if you waste too many lives, you run the risk of losing the battle to low morale. It's a real gem of a wargame that works on more levels than just pew pew pew KABOOM. Though certainly it provides that as well.
In My Tribe, you play as sort of a guardian angel for a tribe of island-dwellers, telling them what to do, dragging them from place to place, and occasionally sprinkling them with a (hopefully) beneficial potion. Harvest food, wood, and stone to build with. Your tribe continues to work even when your computer is off. It's remarkably similar to Virtual Villagers but better in a number of ways.
A blend of Virtual Villagers, Westward, and strategy games such as Warcraft and Tribal Trouble, Forgotten Lands: First Colony is a casual RTS game that hits the sweet spot between challenge, complexity, and captivating casual gameplay. The game puts you at the helm of a young civilization looking to strike out and settle new lands. Everything about Forgotten Lands is geared towards easing you into the experience, yet there's no shortage of depth or intrigue.
A clever world domination simulator, in the form of a humble real-time strategy game, in which you can test your schemes and stratagems without the nagging twinge of guilt that comes with executing legions of henchmen. The game has some of the highest production values you're likely to find in a Flash game, with some decent animation, a healthy dose of humor and a startling amount of high-quality voice acting.
Breaking the Tower is a slow-paced strategy game where you build a village, raise an army, and eventually topple a tower on the other side of the island. Think Settlers or the original Warcraft, but simpler and with more automation. All you have to do is decide what to build, plunk down a building and your pixelated little peons take care of the rest.
Outpost Kaloki is a city-building game in space. In each level, you are given the hub of a space station, some cash, and perhaps a module or two, and it's your job to build more and better modules to improve your station and reach your goal before time runs out.
Play as a row in a database where your objective is to fight the other rows to decrease their numbers and increase your own. It's a numbers game, pure and simple, and by not pretending to be anything else, mySQLgame has managed to take the ubiquitous browser-based MMO and distill it down to the very essence of the genre.
Developed by Soldak Entertainment, Depths of Peril is an action-RPG with a huge emphasis on political/diplomatic strategy. The end result is something new and fresh; an independent, isometric action-RPG unlike anything you've played before, which also won the "RPG Game of the Year" award from GameTunnel.
When the head of the Weardd Academy's School for Responsible Reanimation mysteriously dies in a fire, the students blame each other and take up sides. They summon up the undead and dispatch them into battle. Welcome to Corpse Craft: Incident at Weardd Academy, a new zombie game from the makers of Whirled that mixes real time strategy with block clearing to create a unique new game experience.
Developed by Dark Realm Studios, Pandemic 2 is the sequel to the morbidly fun original Pandemic, a game in which your goal is to eradicate the human race with the perfect disease. While the original game didn't go on to become hugely popular, Pandemic II is more an improvement upon its predecessor than a sequel, with an improved interface and more features.
Virtual Villagers is back, and we're so excited we couldn't wait until the weekend to tell you! With Virtual Villagers 3: The Secret City, the surprisingly addictive real-time simulation game sticks with its proven formula and makes a few minor tweaks to freshen up gameplay. With new secrets to uncover, new technologies, real-time weather effects and a whole new island to explore, Virtual Villagers 3 has all the ingredients that made the first games so compelling, plus more.
Super Energy Apocalypse, 2nd place prize winner in our 5th game design competition, plays a bit like a tower defense game, in that most of the time is spent getting ready for the next wave, and the player is offered no control over the targeting of the enemies. Planning for the battle is the critical strategic element, rather than the battle itself. The zombies come out only at night, so use the daylight wisely!
Harvest: Massive Encounter is a survival-based real-time strategy game with several modes of play that lend a free-form tower defense feel to the experience. You play the humans defending an expanding plot of land against swarms (and I do mean swarms) of alien UFOs, mechanized bots and other baddies. It's an extremely frantic game that's usually more nerve-wrecking than brain-stretching.
The sequel to Sandlot's Virtual Villagers-esque hit sim Westward has finally arrived! Westward II: Heroes of the Frontier continues the old west drama with a whole new batch of improvements, including 3D visuals, new buildings to construct, more scenarios to complete, and a brand new sandbox mode. Keep your townspeople happy, fed, and busy gathering resources as you expand across the uncharted territory in search of the elusive Copperhead Gang.
As odd as it may sound, Skyrates is a game about human-like animals flying biplanes between floating continents. Think Star Fox meets The Kingdom of Zeal from Chrono Trigger. You're a young pilot out to make an impact by trading, performing missions, and fighting pirates. Here's the catch: flying between islands takes at least an hour of real-time. The game was designed by a group of then-CMU grad-students to explore sporadic play, something you check like e-mail a few times a day. The result is not only interesting, its good enough to thread its way into your life.
Tarnation is a clever real-time strategy game by Brad Merritt that bears some resemblance to a tower defense title. You control a garden with rows of seeds ready to sprout into flowers that will dash off and dispatch incoming bugs. The bugs are made of Tar, you see, and if they reach the stream in front of your flower bed, they start to gunk up the water. Merely defeating all the bugs is enough to pass, but real excellence comes by releasing only as many flowers as you need.
Harvest is an upcoming game by Oxeye Game Studio currently in open beta. It is survival-based game that combines elements from tower defense and other real time strategy games. Those familiar with either of these types of games should feel right at home.
Playing with blocks is a universal experience, being not only fun for all ages but also an essential tool in development. Students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology have taken that basic structure and created a marvelous strategy game that involves not only stacking blocks but, in a stroke that some would call brilliant but I call mandatory, knocking your opponent's structures down.
Taking a page out of the popular village management book, the downloadable Westward (Windows) drops casual strategy elements into the mix for a game that's both interesting and a bit different. Westward pushes you across the unexplored old west setting up towns and hunting for riches. There's a surprising amount of depth in this game, yet very little was sacrificed to keep it user-friendly.
Steam Brigade is an exciting side-scrolling, real-time strategy game that uses a steampunk style and theme. The game is gorgeous and the production values are superb; and not just the graphics. The music is well-done, the story is well-written (cut scenes are in verse, no less), and the game as a whole has the polished feel of a retail offering. The designers' dedication to their work is present in every element of the game.
Tribal Trouble is a downloadable real-time strategy game for Windows or Mac. Compared to most RTS games, Tribal Trouble is easy to learn and to pick-up and play, yet it still offers a deep strategy that takes time to master. The game has earned many words of praise, including being a finalist for an IGF award, a spot on Game Tunnel's Indie Games of the Year list, and some impressive sales and downloads statistics.
Virtual Villagers is a downloadable real-time simulation game developed by Last Day of Work, the creators of Fish Tycoon and a number of other casual sim games. Take charge of a village of crash survivors and help them carve out a living on a jungle island. Teach them to farm, help them research scientific advancements and expand their population. It's a remarkably addictive game that's easy to play but impossible to stay away from!
Master of Defense is a simple strategy game about defending your townspeople from the dangerous monsters that lurk just beyond the town gates, and these monsters wish to do them harm. The game is a simplified real-time strategy (RTS) game, and it is downloadable for Windows only.
Mudcraft is a real-time strategy game playable in any browser with the Shockwave plug-in. Mudpeople gather dirt and water to make more Mudpeople, and they build huts to protect themselves from the rain. If caught in the rain, they melt and must be revived with more dirt. Gather resources to complete the objectives for each level. Delightfully dirty.