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My top games of 2011

By on January 4, 2012

Four games have kept me coming back to them in 2011. Three of them were free-to-play, two were on iOS, one on Facebook and one a client MMO on the web. Not one of them was on the PS3 or the Wii that I still keep under my television.

There were lots of good console games in 2011 though. I hope I get a chance to play more console games in 2012.

Tiny Tower

Tiny Tower screenshot

Tiny Tower is my top game of 2011. I’ve been playing it constantly for months. It now takes about 3 million coins and three days to build a new floor. I have 141 floors. Of my 260 Bitizens, 251 of them are in their dream jobs. By my definition, I have only 4 floors to go until I’ve finished the game (every shop in the original, un-updated game; every Bitizen in their dream job).

Kudos to Ian and David Marsh of Nimblebit.

  • Cash spent: $2.99
  • Biggest achievement: 96.5% of Bitizens in dream jobs

Triple Town


Triple Town is a cute, Facebook puzzler. It’s a bit like a match-3 but like any great social game, it is easy to pick up but has continuing depth that means you are always discovering something new or feeling proud of your current game. It’s not a quick game – a single match can take hours – but you can stop playing at any moment and pick it up again, which can sometimes be the best strategy. A marvellous job by Dan Cook and the rest of the team at Spry Fox.

  • Cash spent: £27.27.
  • Biggest achievement: Joining the million-points club


I played Car Wars as a kid. I played it a lot. I’ve got a Car Wars website and have written some post-apocalyptic fiction.

It’s no wonder I love Darkwind.


Darkwind is a core MMO. Ancient tech. Turn-based driving. Cars with guns. You need a spreadsheet to design cars. You get attached to your characters and they take a rifle round to the head. Splat! Gone! 

I keep trying to leave. I keep coming back for more. It’s all the work of one man (Sam Redfern) and the community of grownups who play the game. Brilliant.

(If it sounds like your cup of tea, use reference, use 6571 as a referral code and I’ll get a free month’s subscription)

  • Cash spent: it’s complicated, but a 12 month sub costs $58.56
  • Biggest achievement: Hmm. Keeping most of my characters alive for most of a year

Greedy Bankers


Greedy Bankers is not my natural game at all. A block-sliding puzzle game that is coded, designed and drawn by one man (Alistair Aitcheson), it’s old school and quick to learn. It’s also tactical, has just the right amount of randomness and has a number of cute touches.

Above all, the look and feel is just so darn likeable that you keep coming back for more. Well I do, and so does my three year old son.

  • Cash spent: 69p
  • Biggest achievement: Getting to level 16

Other games

I’ve played other games in 2011. I’ve worked on games like Stronghold Kingdoms (PC RTS MMO), Misfits Community Service 4 (iOS), Aurora (PlayStation Home) and others.

But these four are the ones that I came back to for fun, not just for research. You should play them.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: