The end of a year is a great time to celebrate the best games we’ve played, but what about the ones we haven’t? What about the games that were expected to come out in 2011, but never materialized?

There were plenty of games on our radar for this past year, but some of those potential gems were pushed into the next calendar, and are now (hopefully) primed for a 2012 release. And as excited as we still are for them, that doesn’t mean we weren’t bummed to not play them in 2011. Here are the top 5 games we were hoping to play in the last year, but that the stars didn’t quite align for.

#5 – RoboHero


When we first previewed RoboHero back in May, it was going by the name RoboArena and soliciting funds on KickStarter for a release in late summer/early fall. Taking cues from the cult classic board game RoboRally and PC games like RoboSport and X-Com, RoboHero seemed to be shaping up to be one of the surprise hits of the year. Heck – they even had a board game in the works to go with it.

But while RoboHero has been delayed, at least we know it’ll be coming soon. Bravado Waffle Studios are now aiming to release their iOS debut on the App Store this January.

#4 – Star Command


Trek nerds around the world simultaneously felt their heads prime for explosion when Star Command was first spotted making its way around the net back in April. A sizable space crew simulation, the game promised to be a blend of Kairosoft-style gameplay, X-Com, and The Sims that would take players on a trip across the galaxy – and it was aiming for release this past summer.

But as it turns out, space is an awfully big place. And if you’re going to make a game about it, you’d better be prepared to spend all the time you need. Back in September the team posted an update of sorts – a plea for additional financing on Kickstarter. They got even more than they were asking for, and at that time, were hoping to have the game out before the end of the year. And while that hasn’t happened, the team at War Balloon Games have confirmed that the alpha phase should be wrapping up this month, meaning the game could be showing up sooner rather than later.

#3 – The Shadow Sun


The word “epic” gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but when the developers behind this upcoming RPG had previously worked on official content for the massive D&D series Neverwinter Nights, it’s hard to not stand up and take notice.

When we first caught wind of The Shadow Sun, the game was aiming for a late 2010 release. Since that time, though, the game has been delayed twice – the most recent delay to Fall of 2011 because the game “is a monster in terms of art asset requirements,” according to the developer’s official blog. Let’s just hope those art assets get wrapped up sometime early in 2012.

#2 – Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 2


Episodic gaming has been an interesting phenomenon over the last few years, but it’s one that’s come with certain expectations, not the least of which is frequency. Waiting a few months between episodes is one thing, but the first part of Sonic 4 came out in October 2010. It’s now been well over a year without a second episode. So what happened? The sublime port of Sonic CD.

1993’s Sonic CD is a tremendous game (just check out our recent review), but it’s never really been tied too tightly into the overall Sonic saga. SEGA’s Ken Balough claims that “Sonic 4 is going to change that, and bridge these adventures together in a meaningful way.” So while we don’t have episode 2 quite yet, Sonic CD – a nearly 20 year old game – is essentially episode 1.5. Expect episode 2 to hopefully arrive sometime next year.

#1 – Galactic Keep: Dice Battles


Announced all the way back in the first half of 2009, I’m starting to feel pretty confident that we can classify this as vaporware. It’s a shame too, because Galactic Keep: Dice Battles looks like it could be the ultimate true-to-life RPG experience. Instead of going for the glitz and glamour of video game RPG’s, Galactic Keep wants to stick to the genre’s pen-and-paper origins. Hand-drawn maps, dice, and stat tracking set the stage for a classic tabletop experience.

The developers at Gilded Skull Games (who were also responsible for the sublime SpongeBob Marbles & Slides) have said as recently as this past September that the game is still in the works, and their website still lists the game as coming in 2011, but alas, sweet Baby New Year is almost at our doorstep and there is no sign of Galactic Keep. We’re going to really keep our fingers crossed for a 2012 release.