[qi:012] The growth of casual gaming has spawned an unprecedented variety, and quality, of free web-based games. And as the development quality gets ever higher, it attracts more talent, bigger budgets, and more ambitious scopes. Here are five terrific games from independent developers you might have missed the first time around. All of these can be played in your browser, with Flash. Go on, it’s Sunday — waste a little time! [digg=http://digg.com/playable_web_games/5_Great_And_Free_Games_You_re_Not_Playing_Now]
GrowCube: This and the other equally gorgeous puzzles on EyezMaze require imagination, trial and error, and maybe even some note-taking. Patience will be rewarded by lovely animations and transformations in the game world. The unique gameplay requires you to think several steps ahead.
Tanks: It’s simple, and addictive — shoot various types of missiles at the enemy tank, judging angles and mass to score direct hits. The best part is that it can be played multiplayer, for up to five players, or just play the AI alone.
Warbears: Another puzzle game, with an utterly charming design and engaging sense of humor. Aid the bears in their mission by choosing the order of their actions — or watch as they hilariously meet failure.
Dai Pai Dong: Cooking Mama meets the classic Diner Dash — in Hong Kong! Try to keep up with the picky customers’ demands by cooking to order and serving up beers. Warning: playing before lunch may make you hungry for sauteed crab.
Sprout: The hand-drawn art sets this puzzle game apart, as does the creatively told story of one lonely seedling far from where it sprouted. By planting the seed and growing a new plant, with new properties, guide the seedling home.
And one extra, Scrabulous on Facebook: It’s simply Scrabble, online, with friends, through Facebook, and that’s simply it. And it is indeed fabulous — as well as a great way to stay in noncommittal contact with friends. And of course you already know about Desktop Tower Defense, right? Good.