The Best of 2005 is a celebration of the best games reviewed here at Jayisgames.com over the past year. It is not an exhaustive list of all the best games available since we can only review the games that we come to know about. If you have a game, or are part of a team that produces them, and would like to have your game considered for a future review here, then please use my email address in the sidebar to submit a link.
With that out of the way, and before I begin counting down the top games of 2005, there are several games that deserve special recognition for one reason or another. Although these games did not receive enough votes to make it into the top ranks, each of them deserves a spot among the best...
(In semi-alphabetical order)
Bugs: an action game of sending bugs flying in all directions by jumping up and down. Bugs is the latest, and arguably the greatest, in a long string of excellent games designed by the very talented Ferry Halim. He continues to delight casual gamers of all ages each year by releasing new games to his exceptionally beautiful Orisinal collection. Composed of stunning visuals and soothing soundtracks, every Orisinal game excels in elegant simplicity: a quality highly revered by the quintessential "casual gamer." And while none of the Orisinal games won a top spot this year, if the entire collection were allowed to be put up for vote then it would likely win best-of-show each and every year. [review]
Cave Story (Doukutsu Monogatari): an action platform game released at the end of 2004. The game is different than most browser-based games featured here as it is available in a downloadable format only for both Mac and PC, but don't let that stop you from playing this truly magnificent adventure. The game features an engaging and immersive story that unfolds inside an enormous cave on a floating island and has three (3) different endings. Packed with approximately 10 hours of game play that includes an upgradable weapons system, a rich cast of characters, and lots of boss fights, Cave Story is one of the best freeware downloadable games of 2005. [review]
Cry Wolf: an online multiplayer game for up to 16 players. Similar to Mafia, Werewolf and Witchhunt, Cry Wolf is a communication game that was created to promote a movie of the same name. Wolves are secretly selected at random and the sheep must identify them through cycles of sleep and debate. The wolves decide who to eliminate from the flock each cycle when the sheep are all sleeping. The game ends when either all the wolves are identified, or when the number of wolves outnumber the sheep. The chatroom-style Flash implementation works exceptionally well for this classic game, successfully preserving its very important social element. Definitely one of the best multiplayer Web game experiences of 2005. [review]
Def-Logic DHTML games: classic retro style arcade action games—Replicator, Swarm and DNA—created by Brent Silby of Def-Logic.com. These amazingly good original arcade games were all originally composed using DHTML only, a characteristic that would be enough by itself to put these games in a classification with the best of the year. But the DHTML is not these games' most redeeming quality: the gameplay is truly exceptional. Infectious and addictive, fast-action browser fun. Not satisfied with DHTML alone, Brent now offers Flash versions of all his games. [review]
The Doors: a classic browser-based point-and-click adventure and one of the finest examples of its kind. It begins inside a room with many doors through which the player must find a way to escape. The game's high production values show through its excellent graphics, well-designed puzzles, atmospheric soundtrack, and surprise ending, thus elevating it to one of the best point-and-click adventures of 2005. [review]
ShoOot: an action arcade shooter and quite possibly the first Flash game released to take advantage of the new bipmap filters of Flash. Veteran game developer, Tonypa, proves yet again his ability to create compelling and fun casual Web game experiences that are accessible to everyone. Although the game was inspired by the freeware game DUO (Windows only), Tonypa recreates the experience and serves up its addictive gameplay using Web-efficient graphics in a browser for all to play. [review]
The Seven Noble Kinsmen: a point-and-click Shakespearean murder mystery comprised of six (6) episodic 'acts' that proved the BBC has taken Web games very seriously. The game features an immersive interactive narrative with several different endings that puts the player in the shoes a detective attempting to unearth the identity of a killer. The story incorporates details from many of Shakespeare's greatest works and weaves them into a compelling detective drama that unfolds to the delight of an unassuming player. The Seven Noble Kinsmen, and the BBC in particular for creating such a fine interactive experience, deserve this special recognition along with the best of 2005. [review]
GameDesign Tennis: an action arcade sports game of Tennis delivered in a browser through Flash. That in itself is an impressive feat, and yet the gameplay that lurks just beneath this game's simple exterior is its grand slam. The game features exhibition and tournament modes of play, both of which allow tactics such as: serve-volley, rally from the baseline, dominate with the serve, chip and charge. The computer AI is so convincing that it even appears to respond to the player's tactics. Overall one of the finest sports implementations in Flash I've seen, and it deserves a mention along with the best of 2005. [review]
Twin Spin: an action arcade game in which the player 'walks' a baton around the play field exploding balloons. Its simple and accessible one-button gameplay creates a compelling and addictive casual game experience that is difficult to put down. The game was so good that it received two sequels, II and III, with all three being released in 2005. Released as mini-games on Globz.com, the Twin Spin series are among the finest casual games of 2005. [review]
I also want to take this opportunity to give an honorable mention and thanks to the guest reviewers who so generously provided their support throughout 2005 by contributing reviews (in no particular order):
Derek, Wulfo, Preston, Jarod, Garrett, grant0, hiram archibald, Capuchin, Labyrinth, Xiao, and Zengief. Cheers!
I will be back in a bit with the countdown of the top games of 2005. =)