As a casual gamer, you have certainly come across titles that fall into the defend-your-castle category. BowMaster Prelude fits that description as well, but certain aspects elevate it above other candidates, such as earning experience points and gold to recruit an army, the ability to upgrade and buy different arrows, and a unique feature that lets the hero leave the castle.
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.
Great news for those who enjoyed GameDesign's Dice Wars game and thought that it would be even better if it were multiplayer. After building a successful and compelling online multiplayer Texas Hold'em game, Ryan Dewsbury has been hard at work to bring multiplayer action to this beloved dice-based strategy game. And I am very pleased to announce that kdice has just launched!!
Things don't feel right out here... despite the optimism. Ayiti: the Cost of Life is one of the best political web games released this year, right up there with The McGame and the comic genius of Airport Security. Unlike most games with a political message, such as September 12th or 3rd World Farmer, Cost of Living actually has a strategy that works, but it's buried in a heap of faulty (and revealingly so) tactical blunders.
It isn't often that I come across an addictive browser-based Flash game with which you can play against a friend over the Web. I was pleasantly surprised to find the latest game from Gamesheep is just that kind of game. Crystal Clear is a simple casual game with gameplay similar to the classic game of Lines, and yet with some subtle differences that turn the classic into a compelling two-player battle.
Empires and Dungeons has been receiving a lot of praise for its stripped-down mechanics and surprisingly captivating gameplay. Taking on the role of a medieval emperor, you must gather resources to help build an army, both to attack your rivals and to defend your castle. Along the way you'll venture into deep dungeons, meet mysterious traders, pillage in the name of the empire and much, much more.
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!
With almost 10 years in the making, Sanctum from Nioga is a very unique game. The best way to describe it would be to say it's like combining chess with Magic the Gathering in a miniature game board setting. It could be one of those classic board games we played as a child, except this game is all digital and played only online.
Dice Wars is a unique new turn-based strategy game from Japan. Using nothing but dice and a randomly generated territory map made of hexagons, the game is similar in gameplay to that of the board game, Risk, though much simpler and quicker to play. The objective is to conquer all territories and eliminate all your opponents by attacking them with dice.
ZWoK! is a charming and addictive, multiplayer, turn-based strategy Flash game in which players engage in battles using projectile firing weapons. It's a fight to the finish where the team with the last Zwok standing wins. The game is essentially a simple version of multiplayer Worms, and yet its simplicity is one of the games most redeeming qualities. It easily surpasses most Flash multiplayer turn-based strategy games I have played.
Apple Collector is a unique puzzle/physics game written in Java by Matt Hopkins. The goal of each level is to collect a certain number of apples within the specified time period. The delicious fruits pour out of containers and you must draw girders to bounce them into the right basket. The game begins simply enough but introduces multiple colors of apples and other complications that will make your apple picking days much more challenging.
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.
Betty's Beer Bar is a great arcade-style indie game by Mystery Studios. The game features a very simple mouse interface where you control Betty, the small town bartender with aspirations of running her own bar on the beach. Help her raise the money to fulfill her dreams by serving beer to customers as fast as you can. This online version serves as a quick taster of the downloadable version for Windows and MacOS.
Travian is a browser-based, massively multiplayer, quasi-real-time strategy game, developed and maintained by a German team dedicated to its upkeep. The goal is to build up economic and military power through the development of land and construction of buildings and armies.
RoboRunner is a DHTML, turn-based strategy, online board game in which you play as a Fixer class bot trying to repair and inspect Inspection Points (IPs) on the hull of a ship. Games can be played single player or multiplayer, and with up to seven other bots. Registration required.
American History Lux is a downloadable war strategy game that takes a remarkably boring subject and turns it into a simple but epic game. It's a whittled-down version of Sillysoft's more Lux Delux title, making it perfect for casual world-conquerors. The game plays a lot like Risk with a few extras and is available for Windows, MacOS X and Linux.
Based on the anime of the same name, Inuyasha: Demon Tournament is a one on one tactical fighter, somewhat similar to a stripped down Tactics Arena Online or Shining Force mixed with Street Fighter. Though the combat tends to degenerate into random guesswork, it is fast and fun guesswork, with graphics and animation that rival commercial products.
At first glance, Linez immediately pulls you in to its attractive, minimalist display as well as its simple and accessible gameplay. A perfect combination for a casual game, and just the kind of thing I find great enjoyment in playing as well as highlighting here.
Oasis is an excellent turn-based strategy game drawing inspiration from the likes of Civilization and Age of Empires. Instead of playing one campaign for weeks on end, Oasis condenses all of the same strategy goodness into short, three-minute levels. The steep learning curve has been removed to allow anyone to get hooked on a strong dose of casual gaming fun.
The latest in a string of movie-licensed, multiplayer, turn-based strategy Flash games from BigSpaceship is here, and it's very pretty. In fact, the company's co-founder and CEO, Michael Lebowitz, claims it could well be the first major Flash game release to use the impressive new features of Flash 8. But do the impressive new features make this game fun to play?
Pixel Field is an action strategy game that shines from its intuitive gameplay, immersive physics, soothing soundtrack, and excellent replay value. The red base that dangles and stretches as it is moved around each level creates an immersing sensation in which you can almost feel the physics in the game. Another brilliant game from Tonypa.
So you like turn-based strategy games, do you? Were you among the first to play Tactics Arena Online months ago, and still you can't get enough? Did you run through Spybot with nary an invalid checksum, only to crave more ever since? The wait is over.
From Digital Seed Entertainment comes Tactics Arena Online (TAO), a turn based strategy game the likes of Final Fantasy. By commanding an army of characters on a battlefield, your goal is to decimate your opponents team in a battle of weapons and abilities.
Bloomin' Gardens is a strategy puzzle game in which the object is to line-up rows, columns or diagonals of five (5) or more matching flowers to eliminate them from play. The more flowers that match, the higher the score awarded. The game is actually a clone of Lines, and it has the feel and appeal of a classic casual game: it's easy to pick-up and play and yet difficult to master.
A remarkably rich and highly detailed Shockwave game created for Lego by the folks at gameLab. This turn-based strategy game is a triple-A quality production set in a stunning high-tech universe. The developers have expertly combined story elements with engaging gameplay to create an extraordinary, satisfying and immersing experience.
Here is a unique opportunity to get started with a brand new game just entering an open beta stage. The name of the game is llor.nu, which is also its Web address, except I'm not sure if that should be pronounced "LORE-new" or "un-ROLL" as the name implies.
Rumble Ball is a strategy game of sorts. The object is to score the most points you can by hitting colored items on the play field with a large ball. I was immediately drawn to this game due to its very pretty presentation. The appealing graphics and top-down, pseudo-3D appearance make this game compelling for most anyone to pick up and play.
It's not very often that a new dice game comes along, and fewer still done in Flash. Pigalator 2K5 is a single-player only dice game, you play against three computer-controlled opponents. It's a fun little dice game, good for a quick diversion over a cup of coffee.
Flash Game Zone offers a series of Flash games designed by Uminin of Japan. Each of the games exhibit high production values with a solid design that offers compelling and rewarding gameplay. One of my favorites is Cube, an action strategy game of skill similar to a Shuffleboard game. The objective is to propel colored cubes across the play field so that they come to rest within designated rectangles.
Tanks features classic projectile gameplay in a Flash game package that ups the ante with tank, ammo and weapon upgrades, and even multiplayer action to boot.
File this under: Games as an art form. While I do not often find myself playing Chess (read: I suck at it), I do like to play when I find a game that offers something besides the mere basics. Thinking Machine 4 is just such a game. The authors state that the goal of the piece is not to make an expert chess playing program but to lay bare the complex thinking that underlies all strategic thought.
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.
Another Flash game by Neodelight, Cyber Mice Party borrows gameplay elements from the classic game of Lemmings to create an entirely different take on the survival strategy genre. Each level presents a bunch of mice, a hunk of cheese and various items such as sticks, matchboxes, and different shaped blocks. The object is to use the objects to herd ...
Gold Miner is a cute and addictive little Flash game that has you mining for gold using just a claw and reel to unearth valuable treasures in a race against the clock. Each level provides a dollar value goal that must be met within the time limit to move on to the next. It's a well produced game with cute, appealing graphics and sound effects.
Similar to games like Go and Othello, this Shockwave game is all about turning the tiles (or I suppose 'nodes' in this case) to your color. It's very simple to pick up and play, and yet the possibilities for each move become many. Frustrating and difficult, the challenge is fun if you put a little time into examining how each move affects the play.
Played just like the old plastic game of Battleship that used red and white pegs to record hits and misses, except this Flash version does all the hard work for you. First position your fleet on the board, then all you have to do is click on a square to fire torpedoes.
Roll the mouse over groups of similar bugs (2 or more) and click to remove them from the board. Try to leave as few bugs on the board when there are no more groups to click, as the number you leave is reduced from your credits before moving to the next level. You only have just 100 credits to start with.
Micro Life is a real time strategy game (RTS) that is quite easy to play, and it has a lot of charm to compensate for the relatively light challenge it presents. Accessible to all ages, this game is one part simulation, one part strategy, and one part Insaniquarium all rolled into one.
If you like board games and you like playing against others over the Internet, give Conqueror! a try. This full-featured, multiplayer, turn-based strategy game is very similar to Risk, and yet its gameplay is a lot richer. An ingenious system of simultaneous turns means that you don't have to wait for other players to make their moves.
Crimson Warfare is a real-time strategy game in... Flash! I couldn't believe it when I saw it, but it truly is an RTS in the genre's most basic form. The gameplay mechanics are quite simple: you decide which buildings you'll need—one type gathers resources (money) and another allows you to build two types of soliders and an armored vehicle. T...
From Popcap comes this cute, strange and addictive, action strategy Java game called Insaniquarium. Originally developed by Flying Bear Entertainment, Insaniquarium won the Innovation in Game Design award at the 2002 Independent Games Festival (IGF).
What may be one of the oldest games ever played, Mancala is simple to learn and yet difficult to master. This cute Flash version of the game is played using snails for stones and features both single player and multiplayer modes of play. Created by the talented folks at RocketSnail Games in British Columbia.