The best gaming apps for your iOS device this month
Below, we run through the ten best new iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch games released within the past month. (Since we skipped January, we actually went back an extra few weeks to include a few good titles released toward the end of that month.) All titles are playable on all iOS devices unless otherwise indicated.
Buy from Apple1. Beat Sneak Bandit 94
Rhythm/Puzzle, $2.99, ages 4+, from Simogo
"A true work of art, in so many ways. It's smart. It's challenging. It's gorgeous. But most importantly, it's fun - dizzying, dreamy, and delightful fun."
You and your pall Herbie must recover all of the world's clocks that have been stolen by Duke Clockface—but you can only move in time to the music—in this fun rhythm/puzzle hybrid that is drawing praise for its sound and graphic design.
From the Publisher: When all the clocks in the world are stolen by Duke Clockface and the world is in chaos, it'll be up to the Beat Sneak Bandit to steal them back! - Rhythmadelic controls: Everything in this game moves rhythmically, just like the simple controls: Tap to the beat to sneak! - Stealthalicious gameplay: Sneak past patrolling guards, security lights, trapdoors and all the other freaky stuff and contraptions the creepy Duke's got in store for you! - Puzzletastic levels: Watch, listen and learn the rhythm patterns to figure out how to solve all of the sneaky puzzles!
Buy from Apple2. Reckless Racing 2 93
Driving, $4.99, ages 4+, from Polarbit
"The comprehensive career mode, wealth of maps, and tweaks to the arcade racing formula has made this game more enjoyable in the long term. Add in the amazing visuals and music, and there's not much to dislike here."
A much improved sequel to 2010's top-down arcade-style racer Reckless Racing ditches the country theme and adds new career and challenge modes.
From the Publisher: Strap down and prepare for the ride of your life... Reckless Racing is back with more! Including a selection of 18 highly detailed cars, ranging from small dirt buggies to fast supercars, and 24 routes in a variety of flavors make this a racer for all tastes - both dirt and tarmac. Compete in the Career mode to earn money for new cars and car upgrades. Have a quick race in the Arcade mode with 40 pre-defined challenges. Compete against your friends on the leaderboards in Single Event mode - including Race, Hot Lap and Elimination events. Tune your car in the garage to match your driving style with a vast selection of parts and upgrades. Whether you are a reckless power slider or a slick race driver, make your car the way YOU want it. * Probably the best power slides in the world * Tune and tweak the performance, handling, tires, rims and colors of your cars * Shader based game engine with normal maps, reflections, specularity, shadows, particles and more * Improved and optimized shaders for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S * Online leaderboards with downloadable ghost cars * Online multiplayer over the Internet * 17 characters, including your favorites from Reckless Racing 1 * 5 control layouts with customizable button positions * Optional assists, such as race lines, mini map, chase camera and more.
Buy from Apple3. Beat Hazard Ultra 92
Rhythm/Shooter, $0.99, ages 4+, from Cold Beam Games
"Music lovers and arcade junkies will all find something to love about it."
Pilot a spaceship and shoot the bad guys. Seems straightforward, but Beat Hazard Ultra tweaks the formula by dynamically generating each level based on the music you are listening to (yes, it can be anything on your iTunes), with the enemies moving and firing in sync to the rhythm. The more intense the song, the harder the game gets.
From the Publisher: Gameplay Powered by YOUR Music! Experience YOUR music collection like never before with this intense music driven arcade shooter. * Levels created from YOUR iTunes collection * Play to internet radio stations * Simple 1 stick mode for beginners * Twin stick mode for the pros * Rank up and unlock 23 perks
Buy from Apple4. Pizza vs. Skeletons 89
Adventure, $2.99, ages 9+, from Riverman Media
iOS 5 REQUIRED
"It's really hard to convey just how strange and wonderful a game Pizza vs. Skeletons truly is."
How do you stop a group of marauding skeletons? With pizza, of course. But the precise way you do so changes in each of 100 short, quirky levels. A free version (available as a separate download) includes just the first 10 levels.
From the Publisher: You are BIG. You are TASTY. You are kicking some brittle undead @*$! Pizza Vs. Skeletons is an epic, ridiculous, 2D platform game designed from the ground up for iOS. You control a 25-foot-tall pizza as it smashes through a horde of undead rivals on land, sea, and in outer space. OUR PROMISE TO YOU: No ads. No getting suckered into buying more stuff later. The whole game, for one price, for all updates, forever. WARNING: This is not a casual game! Each level has three tiers of challenges and things can get pretty tough by the end! (Don't worry, we'll ease you in gently!) It requires iOS 5.0+ running on an iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S), iPod Touch (3rd, 4th generation), or iPad (1, 2). This is a big download and will require a Wi-Fi connection. What can a 25-foot-tall pizza do? Well, pretty much EVERYTHING* * Crush fossilized ostriches * Rescue Schnauzer puppies * Stomp obnoxious cupids * Learn Karate * Sumo wrestle an alien * Ski with comrades * Demolish a haunted skyscraper * Eat fugu * Bounce on space marshmallows * Smash the great pyramids * Celebrate Dia de los Muertos * Grow a mohawk * Visit the moon * Protect civilians * Raid a meat factory * Thwart a UFO abduction * Teach baseball players a lesson they will never forget * Plunder cash * Be a pirate * Don't be a pirate * Be a pirate with an ant's mouth * Destroy a perfectly good log cabin * Get pummeled by teddy bears * Go nuclear * Yes, you can actually do all this and far more!
Buy from Apple5. Elf Defense 89
Strategy, $2.99, ages 4+, from Jellyoasis
"If you're looking for a hefty tower defense title and you've got an appetite for darling designs, you ought to check this out."
The best tower defense title of the month, Elf Defense impresses with tons of customization options and strong graphics.
From the Publisher: Tower defense like you've never seen it before: crisp, beautiful, addictive, unmatched magic. Elf Defense sets a new standard for the tower defense genre, with gorgeous HD graphics, over 100 enemies to defeat, a sophisticated system of unit recruitment and upgrade, all packaged within an absorbing narrative. Defend the elven homeland against the intrusion of human oppressors. Despite the historical generosity the elves have shown toward their human brethren, the human kingdom has chosen to relentlessly exploit their peaceful friends. Even these peace-loving elves have a breaking point, and it's been reached as human forces attempt to overrun their very homes. Retina display optimization and unmatched art direction make Elf Defense a pleasure to play; superior game design makes it irresistibly addictive.
Buy from Apple6. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective 87
Adventure, free-$9.99, ages 9+, from Capcom
"Ghost Trick was one of the best games on the DS, and now it's one of the best on iOS as well. You must play this game."
Based on the Nintendo DS title, this adventure game from the creator of Ace Attorney features a storyline reminiscent of the film Source Code. The first two chapters are free; after that, it's $9.99 to play through to the end (or buy additional chapters in blocks of 5-6 for $4.99 each.)
From the Publisher: This Story Starts with Your Death: In an obscure corner of the city, a single bullet takes your life, but that's not all it takes. When you awaken as a spirit, you realize you have no recollection of who you are. Thus begins your search for the answers to these questions: "Who am I?", "Who killed me?", and "Why was I killed?" One night is all you have to answer these questions before your soul vanishes at dawn's first light, and your only lead is the female detective who witnessed your death... * "Possess" and "Manipulate" Your Way to the Truth! As the main character, you can possess and manipulate objects, such as a guitar or an umbrella, using your "Powers of the Dead". A variety of actions will be available to you depending on what you possess. Strive to possess the truth itself! * Rewind Time "4 Minutes Before Death" to Change Fate! Death seems to follow you wherever you go, but you can do something about that! Using one of your ghostly powers, go back to a point 4 minutes before a person's death and change their fate! * Chapters 1 and 2 are Free! Should this touching tale "possess" you, the rest of the story is available for purchase under "Buy More Chapters" on the title screen.
Buy from Apple7. Puzzlejuice 86
Puzzle, $1.99, ages 4+, from Colaboratory
"Kudos to the developers for merging different puzzle types into one new and exciting concept. Puzzlejuice lacks flash and playing on the iPhone is a challenge (small letters), but it more than makes up for that with engaging play."
Imagine having to play Tetris and Words with Friends simultaneously. That pretty much captures the fast-paced and addictive puzzle action in Puzzlejuice.
From the Publisher: Puzzlejuice takes all of the elements of your favorite puzzle games and puts it into one convenient brightly colored package! This game was designed to challenge both your spatial and verbal abilities and if you don't feel overwhelmed then you might not be human. It's a puzzle that will keep you hooked. Multicolored BLOCKS constantly fall from the top of the screen and it’s up to you to arrange them. Once you complete a row with these blocks they will turn into LETTERS! The only way to clear out these blocks is to spell WORDS. Oh and also you can MATCH COLORS—that will make letters too. Core mode: Test your endurance by seeing how long you can withstand the downpour. Complete objectives to unlock POWERUPS that will make you life easier as the game gets harder! Zen mode extreme: Don't have a lot of time? Great! This mode is Zen because the blocks don't fall, so you don't have to worry about them piling to the top. This mode is EXTREME because you ONLY HAVE 90 SECONDS.
Buy from Apple8. Baseball Superstars 2012 85
RPG/Sports, free, ages 4+, from GAMEVIL
"It's a very nicely executed freemium title that offers a ton of gameplay without having to purchase in-app upgrades. Baseball fans will love it."
This freemium title is the latest annual installment in the Baseball Superstars franchise, which uniquely turns the sport of baseball into a JRPG, borrowing elements from both genres.
From the Publisher: Step up to the plate for the best baseball experience on the App Store, now looking better than ever before in crisp HD! The sky's the limit with level restrictions unlocked, upgraded batting and pitching moves, endless customization, new super players and more play modes. Whether managing a team to the championship or training a rookie to the Hall of Fame, you're in control of it all. Join the series that's been downloaded over 30 million times by players worldwide with Baseball Superstars® 2012! BASEBALL IN CRYSTAL-CLEAR HD See more, play better – Enhanced details and clarity make an eye-opening ballgame optimized for Retina displays. SMART CONTROLS & INTELLIGENT AI New gesture and tilt controls allow intuitive pitching and batting. Smart AI teammates make exciting baseball plays, split-second catches and laser-precision throws. TOTAL TEAM MANAGEMENT & CUSTOMIZATION Customize your team logo, stadium, uniform and equipment. Recruit, combine and level up players to assemble the best team. EXPANDED MY BATTER & MY PITCHER MODE Train to earn skill points, new special moves and stat-boosting nicknames as you rise from rookie to Superstar. NETWORK MATCHES Go up against other users' teams around the world in PVP matches. COLLECT SUPER PLAYERS, ACHIEVEMENTS AND MORE Meet the challenges of new super players to have them join your team. Go after the multiple story endings and over 30 Game Center achievements.
Buy from Apple9. Ziggurat 85
Action, $0.99, ages 9+, from Freshuu
"ZiGGURAT succeeds where past action-based iPhone games have failed because the developer put the proper attention on balance and controls instead of unlockables and multiple backdrops. "
Stand alone atop a pyramid to fend off an alien attack in this shooter that incorporates strategic elements thanks to its innovative controls.
From the Publisher: ZiGGURAT is the end of a much longer story -- a story which ends with The Last Human On Earth standing atop a stratosphere-high stone pyramid, wielding a laser rifle against an endless wave of relentless alien freaks. Where did the alien freaks come from? How did our hero get to the top of this pyramid? We have no time to think about such things: there is only time to shoot. The situation is hopeless: this is the end. Your only goal is to enjoy taking out as many of those alien freaks as you can. As the aliens jump up and down in their approach to our hero, their eyeballs grow and shrink. As you hold your finger on the screen to steady your aim, your gun's blast grows and shrinks. Hit larger enemy eyeballs with larger bullets to initiate larger explosions and chain reactions. Shoot as much as you want -- you'll probably never get enough, and that's okay, because the enemies will literally never stop coming. With controls that bring together the best of modern shooting nuances and classic gaming challenge, Action Button Entertainment's ZiGGURAT is a new kind of addiction for iOS.
Buy from Apple10. SpongeBob's Super Bouncy Fun Time 84
Action/Puzzle, $1.99, ages 4+, from Nickelodeon
"SSBFT isn't an especially original game, but it's fun, it's cute, and it's full of jelly."
Everyone's favorite undersea sponge is the star of this physics-based puzzler that will likely appeal more to younger players.
From the Publisher: They're baaack! It's jellyfish migration time and jellies are everywhere! Help SpongeBob catch them and get them all to safety. Are you ready?!?OH NO! The jellyfish are in trouble! SpongeBob must catch and move them all to safety… are you up to the task?!? Bikini Bottom is swarming with jellyfish! Help SpongeBob SquarePants and his best friend, Patrick Star, collect them all using a super special ball blaster in this super exciting new physics-puzzler-type adventure for iOS! Get ready, 'cause it's… SupeBouncy FunTime! EXPLORE THE SUPER SWELL UNDERSEA WORLD OF BIKINI BOTTOM (and you don't even have to hold your breath!): travel to exotic locales like Jellyfish Fields, Kelp Forest, Rock Bottom, and more! TAKE ON A RAINBOW OF JELLIES: catch multicolored jellies, bubble-enhanced jellies, jellies with zany flight paths, and even boss jellies! Wow! UTILIZE SUPER-DUPER POWER-UPS: customize your ball bl aster with all sorts of awesome effects and ball types that change the ways you can snare jellies!
|League of Evil 2||Action||App store||$2.99||9+||83|
|Triple Town||Puzzle/Strategy||App store||Free||4+||83|
|Diggin' Dogs||Action||App store||$0.99||4+||82|
|The Lost City||Adventure||App store||$0.99||4+||81|
|Pinball Arcade||Pinball||App store||$0.99||9+||80|
|100 Trials||Action/Puzzle||App store||$1.99||9+||80|
|Off The Leash||Action||App store||Free||4+||80|
|Ragdoll Blaster 3||Action/Puzzle||App store||$0.99||4+||80|
|DoDonPachi Blissful Death||Shooter||App store||$4.99||9+||80|
A few to avoid
What are you playing?
Have you tried any of the games above? If so, what did you think of them? Are there any other new iPhone or iPad games that deserve a download? Let us know in the comments section below.