The 10 Best Casual Games of the Decade (2000-2009)

Games Lists
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5. Braid

Jonathan Blow’s indie masterpiece would deserve a spot on this list for its gorgeous hand-painted visual style alone, but the game’s wistful story elements and creative puzzles requiring players to alter the flow of time are every bit as inspired.

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4. Bejeweled

Pop Cap’s monumentally famous puzzle game is stupidly simple—shift the gems on the board to line up three of a kind—but the execution and concept is so finely tuned that it nearly takes a computer hard-disk failure to pry yourself away from it. Curse the temptation of that high-score leaderboard.

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3. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2

Get ready for a heart-racing survival dash, swooping and looping and dipping and swerving around an endless crushing assault of different neon-colored geometric shapes trying to crash into your ship. If only high-school geometry had offered a fraction of the fun to be found in this gorgeously rendered neon fever dream.

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2. Machinarium

The quality of the illustration in Amanita Design’s latest point-and-click adventure will blow your mind. Every second is a new, desktop-gracing screen capture waiting to happen. Not surprisingly game critics have referred to the title as “a playable work of art.” You control a cute, sullen little robot (perhap's Wall-E's ancestor) who’s been exiled from his city and must make his way through the mechanical slums, solving puzzles as he goes. If you don’t find yourself marveling slack-jawed at the soulful creativity invested in this game, you may have machine parts in your chest where a human heart would normally go.

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1. Passage

We’d never gotten choked up while playing a videogame before, nevermind one this short—a scant five minutes from start to finish—with such blocky, retro-looking pixels. But Jason Rohrer’s game about how quickly life gets away from us offers players a deeply affecting reminder of our own mortality and the pain of taking a spouse that you may quite possibly outlive. This is the emotional sucker-punching, videogame equivalent of The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?” Play it, now.