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Tordah's top 10 (indie) games of 2011

Being a budget gamer and owner of a massive backlog of games means that I rarely play the big budget games on their release year. 2011 was no difference in this aspect. However, I did play a bunch of 2011 indie games thanks to the Humble Indie bundles and the expected cool Steam sales. This is a list of the 2011 games I played that I found most enjoyable.

1. The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac is the perfect example of how an incredibly simple game idea can have incredible depth and replay value. The random nature of the game makes it so that every new playthrough is unique and you never quite know what to expect. My goal is now to one eventually find and unlock everything.

2. Anomaly: Warzone Earth

Ever wondered what it would be like to play as the creeps in a tower defense game? Anomaly: Warzone Earth is pretty much that - a reverse tower defense game. It's a deceptively fun and challenging game with surprisingly good production values. Don't let the somewhat generic name fool you.

3. Outland

Take one part Castlevania and one part Ikaruga and blend them together and you have a pretty good idea what Outland is all about. Visually, Outland is by far the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing game I played all year. An overlooked gem.

4. Puzzle Agent 2

I loved the first Puzzle Agent and was looking forward to continuing the story of Nelson Tethers. Puzzle Agent 2 is exactly more of what I expected and wanted. The only negative thing I have to say about the game is that most of the puzzles were way too easy.

5. Sanctum

2011 seems to have been the year of really cool and interesting tower defense games. Sanctum takes the genre conventions into the first person perspective, which makes it a much more active and skill-based game that I found really rewarding.

6. Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages wins my award for the most deliciously absurd indie game of 2011. I still don't quite know what to make of it, but it's pretty awesome. I don't think I'll ever get tired of that silly scream the enemies make when you break down their gate.

7. Frozen Synapse

I'll be the first to admit I suck at Frozen Synapse and have not put as much time into it as I should have. However, I do feel that it's a very high quality product and probably deserves to be somewhere on this list.

8. Jamestown

I may not be the biggest fan of "bullet hell shooters", but I had a good time with Jamestown. Content-wise, I think it's lacking a bit, but everything else about the game is rock solid. I'm also a sucker for old-school pixelated graphics.

9. Terraria

I'm not sure if this is actually a real game or not, but I guess you could call it that. Everybody knows Terraria is pretty much the 2D equivalent of Minecraft, so I don't know what else needs to be said. Either you like the concept of that or you don't.

10. Atom Zombie Smasher

Atom Zombie Smasher may not have much to show for in the audiovisual department, but it has some unique and solid gameplay concepts that makes it interesting and deserving of the number 10 spot. Very challenging game, also.