Number 3 - Frozen Synapse
We've gushed plenty about Frozen Synapse ever since we first got out hands on the beta last year, immediately revelling in the heavily stylised and incredibly tense matches it created. The game has improved immeasurably since then, with a lengthy singleplayer campaign and a variety of new multiplayer modes and community features added in for the full release.
A simultaneous-turn based multiplayer tactical game with an emphasis on random elements, it's all too easy for discussion about Frozen Synapse to get bogged down in jargon. However, the core conceit of this UK-developed indie title is its simplicity - two players enter an arena and take control of identical squads, plotting their moves in five-second instalments that only play out when both parties commit to their choices.
Crucially though, you can't see what your opponent is doing, which makes matches between close friends the most interesting to watch - how well can you predict your pals? Is Harry the sort to hang back with snipers, or will he sweep randomly through the map like Joe?
If you've not played Frozen Synapse before you could anticipate this structure soon becoming tedious, especially as players can take as long to plot their moves as they need; days, if they want. In practice, though, Frozen Synapse's community features enable it to overcome this flaw by letting you juggle as many matches as you want at once. If Jamie is taking ages to get his grenadiers into pixel-perfect position, play a quick-fire match with a stranger.
'I love the asynchronous aspects of the gameplay,
' said bit-tech
-appointed judge David Hing. 'I want more games like this, though I'd like it more if I felt my strategy had anything to do with winning a match as opposed to just my opponent screwing up!