Best of 2011!
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A Day in the WoodsA Day in the Woods is a sliding puzzle adventure from Retro Epic that stars none other than Little Red Riding Hood. It's a simple game built around simple, classic puzzle ideas, but it's lengthy and challenging enough to provide an afternoon of brilliant entertainment. Also, one look at the game and you'll absolutely fall in love with the visual style!

Blocks That MatterBlocks That Matter, an indie game from Swing Swing Submarine, likes to do things a little bit differently. It likes to break the rules, mix up genres, tear down that fourth wall, and borrow the best from some of the most popular games ever released and turn it into something new. Blocks That Matter is part Tetris, part Minecraft, part Dig Dug, part platformer all wrapped into one, with a cute main character leading the whole thing up that serves as the perfect gateway to a game you won't be able to get enough of.

English Country TuneIf you've spent any time around the indie gaming scene, you're familiar with the name increpare, also known as Stephen Lavelle. Known for creating short, small, creative and artistic-type games, increpare has jumped from the realm of experimental games to the world of full-fledged releases, unleashing the fantastic English Country Tune for the world to scratch their collective heads over. The game looks fantastic and plays like several of your favorite logic puzzle games rolled into one superb, pseudo-3D package.

FireplaceCold where you live? Hot? Doesn't matter! Fires are always cozy, as they help keep predators from sneaking up and eating you. This full-screen fireplace "game" is only interactive in the most rudimentary way, filling your monitor with a pixellated image of a fire and your speakers with the crackling warmth of gently burning logs. You can type in a few commands to interact with the fire, as well as do a few things just for fun. Sit down with it and try roasting a hotdog, then crank up the volume and walk away, letting it be the hearth of your desk!

Hanano PuzzleThis game is not kidding around. A block sliding puzzle that isn't like most puzzle games you've played, Hanano challenges you to move different colored pieces around each level in order to land them next to like-colored flowers to sprout more blossoms. Odd-sounding, yes, but insanely challenging, and one of those games you'll start playing and never be able to stop. (Note: By default, Hanano Puzzle is in Japanese. Click on the download link just below the screenshots, and when you first run the game, choose the English option at the top.)

John CubeA very good block pushing puzzle game along the lines of Sokoban. It may not reinvent the genre, but it does a darn good job polishing it to a brilliant shine. Your job is to push blocks around the level and set them on the red switches located across the screen. Place the boxes, activate the exit, and head to the next world, it's that simple. Except, getting the boxes where they need to go requires a lot of thinking and planning. Seriously, the level design in this game is superb, and there isn't really a set of tutorial levels to warm you up, either, you just hop right in. A great little game with plenty of content.

LumeLume is a new puzzle adventure game from State of Play, creators of a few browser games you might know, such as A Short History of the World and A Break in the Road. The visual style is by far the game's most standout feature, as everything you see was created out of paper and cardboard before getting filmed in high definition. The awesomeness doesn't end with the graphics, though. Lume features some solidly challenging point-and-click puzzles that will cause even seasoned room escape veterans to stop and think on more than one occasion.

One and LightA short, unpolished 3D platform game created in three days for a contest themed "shrinking". This curious little game gives you the ability to grow and shrink with the press of a button (er, two buttons, but you get the picture). Size yourself down to make tiny areas appropriately explorable, then get big again to traverse difficult landscapes. Quite a confusing experience at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll see how interesting on-the-fly size changing can be!

PathFind ManiaA stark-looking casual strategy game with a simple premise and a surprising amount of fun. Each level in PathFind Mania features a number of houses, apartments, and shops scattered throughout the landscape. Your job is to connect buildings to paths so that people can come out. Each section of path costs money to build, so in order to get more cash, you must connect paths to shops. Drain water in your way and construct your roads to pick up cash and time bonuses, then try to beat each level before the timer hits zero! If your favorite part of Sim City was laying roads, this game is so your thing.

PragmaticaDon't be replaced by a robot! Just learn to program robots! Then send them on tasks involving crates, bombs, explosions and junk food in this free logic/programming puzzle game. Pragmatica is a smart game in the vein of SpaceChem and The Codex of Alchemical Engineering.

Q.U.B.E.Q.U.B.E.: Quick Understanding of Block Extrusion is one of those special games you don't get to see as often as you would like. It's a first person puzzle game, which is rare enough in its own right, but then you combine that with a stark method of storytelling, creative use of environmental puzzles, and an interface that's as smooth as the shiny blocks that make up the levels. What you're left with is a thoroughly satisfying game with masterfully designed puzzles from beginning to end.

Robot UnlockIn each level of Robot Unlock, your goal is to program a path for your Executor robot to travel around a series of command tiles that alter the robot's stored memory. It's very much like SpaceChem and similar logic/programming puzzle games, only in this little game, you'll be using math more than you'd expect!

SpaceChemThe creator of The Codex of Alchemical Engineering and Bureau of Steam Engineering (not to mention the grandaddy of Minecraft, Infiniminer) is back with a full-fledged indie game ready to provide a serious logic puzzle challenge. SpaceChem is anything but simple, anything but easy, and one of the most satisfying puzzle games released. If you can solve its challenges, that is. SpaceChem is a game you'll spend a few minutes learning but weeks trying to master, and its 50+ levels are more than enough to strain your poor brain matter more than it's been strained in quite some time.

StratusPoint and click room escape game, meet the world of 3D! This curious text-less game places you on a flying vehicle and challenges you to figure out a series of puzzles using only icons at the bottom of the screen. Move around, check out the interior of the ship, and try to determine what you need to do given the sparse set of clues. It's a very short game that ends as soon as it starts getting exciting, but it's a nice accomplishment in such a short amount of time and a concept we would love to see expanded! Created by RichMakeGame, author of PlasmaPig.

The Powder ToyFollowing in the tradition of the classic sandbox games (Sand Sand Sand and Powder Game), The Powder Toy by HardWIRED is a small download which stretches the boundaries of what is possible with a few simple elements. In fact, you can do almost anything with it, the only limit is your imagination.

TottenhamUpgrading subway lines is rough work. Especially when the walls you explode tend to fly back and destroy you! This minimalist game gives you the power to blow up any wall you can see. The goal is to clear a path from the entrance to the exit. The challenge is giving yourself the room you need to blow a hole in the wall and hide from the flak. Later, new challenges arise, like pests you have to get rid of, but the puzzle-meets-arcade feel never really changes. You'll never look at the subway the same way again!

VoidA short but phenomenal first person puzzle game created by students at DigiPen, Singapore. Void takes place in a library ruined in a recent disaster. You're trying to find a way out, but that doesn't really seem possible given the state of things. Fortunately, time is on your site. More specifically, the past, and your ability to both see it and open pockets of the past using limited portals. For example, a platform may be out of reach because the ground beneath it has crumbled. Open a portal to the past, though, and the floor is intact, giving you a few seconds to walk across. It's a great game mechanic, and the team used it in some very creative ways, including a stint in the sewers that were once filled with water. It's a short, experimental sort of game, but one you'll be glad to have tried!

You Don't Know JackYou Don't Know Jack, the "irreverent party trivia game", features hundreds of hilarious questions in a fast-paced game show format, complete with cash and prizes, a wise-cracking host, and ample carpentry hardware. While released on multiple platforms last week, we're taking a look at the Steam release.

You Led Me HereA short point and click game that will remind you of all the best bits of Myst, only set in a very different sort of environment. You are in a control room filled with buttons, levers, and information screens. One monitor shows security camera feeds you can switch back and forth between. In a room, a woman sits alone, a prisoner in the dark compound. You can help her escape, though, by manipulating the buttons and changing the landscape on each of the rooms shown on the security feed. It's very much a "figure it out as you go" sort of game, but it presents its puzzles in a very intriguing manner and offers up more questions than answers, which is good!

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