The casual web game market is really heating up with some of the big money finally realizing that there is a huge audience for this type of content. At the same time there seems to be an explosion in the number of great games that are out there.
Here’s 5 interesting web games that I’ve run across recently. These games all share the following attributes:
- Instant game play. Fast loading, no install required.
- Intuitive controls. Web games can use the mouse, the keyboard or both. Dual mouse + keyboard controls can give a high degree of responsiveness (think Quake).
- Uniqueness. Web games need some kind of unique hook to differentiate themselves from the myriad of other games out there.
- Playability. Ultimately a game has to be fun to play. Playability is an elusive quality that often comes through a large amount of iterative tweaking and trial and error.
99 Bricks is an ‘anti-Tetris’ puzzler where the aim is to build the tallest tower possible using 99 bricks. Features real-time physics to determine whether your tower will remain upright. Made by the egg-heads at WeirdBeard.
Tasha’s Game is a very friendly and playable game with really nice mouse + keyboard controls and a unique storyline. It’s a little on the easy side and well suited to a lunchtime session. Built by DoubleFine, the game studio behind Psychonauts.
Draw-Play 3 is a unique experience that builds on the Linerider concept where you draw the play-field for your character to walk on. Built by Eggy. Level 15 was as far as I got
Robokill is a very slick and playable mouse + keyboard shoot-em-up in the vein of Smash TV that features very nice detailed graphics. Built by Rock Solid Arcade.
And just to prove that using the latest technology is not important, Vampire Boy is a 10 year old web game that’s as fun now as when it first came out. Beautifully responsive controls and attention to detail make this a joy to play. Built by Benjamin Pitt of RobotDuck.
Let me know in the comments if you know of some other cool games that deserve a link.
Here’s the finalists for the Independent Games Festival. Most of these games have a free, downloadable version. Support your independent games developers and get downloading!
Liquid War is an unusual, addictive wargame. It’s been around forever (originally coded for DOS in 1998) but is recently finding new converts.
In Liquid War you control an army of pixel fighters by moving a cursor across a 2D map. Your fighters will try to move toward your cursor via the shortest path. Fighters will attack enemy fighters that are blocking their path. If your fighter defeats an enemy fighter, that fighter becomes part of your team – the total number of fighters on the map remains constant.
It seems like the best strategy is to surround your opponent, but this can be tricky with maze like maps and up to 6 players. Each map requires a different strategy.
LW can be played against the CPU or with up to 6 players. Available for Windows/OS X /Linux. [Via Edge magazine]
Darwinia is a fast paced and unique 3D action/ god game/ real time strategy hybrid. “Darwinia is populated by a sentient evolving life form called the Darwinians… Unfortunately, the systems of Darwinia have been overrun by an evil red Viral Infection. This Virus has multiplied out of control and must be stopped.”
It was developed by a small independent game company and is getting some good buzz. It was awarded the Peopleâ€™s Choice award at the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival 05, and has been getting some seriously good reviews. It has some innovative elements like a mouse gesture interface, a creature AI system based on genetic algorithms and an intuitive camera system. Also it’s a lot of fun to play.
Download the free demo (for mac, pc or linux) here.
Check out this excellent ‘Metal Slug’ style flash shooter – Alien Hominid.
Great hand-drawn animation and very responsive controls. Warning – features extreme cartoon violence.
The game is so popular that the makers are porting it to an (as yet undisclosed) console.
My HotRod joystick finally arrived! It’s the perfect joystick for playing your favourite MAME games, as it uses the same technology used in actual arcade cabinets. I was a bit shocked by it’s enormous size when it arrived – the case seems to have been built from 2 inch thick planks of wood. After playing a couple of 2-player Street Fighter matches, I realized the bulky case is there to add stability, and avoid the joystick flying across the room in the heat of battle.