iPhone/iPad Games Guide: What to Buy This Month

  • Publish Date: November 30, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 0 user comments

Great games on a dollar a day

What are the best new iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch games available for a total budget of $30 -- or about a dollar per day? Below are the best-reviewed titles released over the past month. All games are available for all Apple portable devices unless otherwise indicated.

Best-Reviewed New iPhone/iPod Games, $30 Total Budget - November 2011
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image Blueprint 3D * Puzzle 4+ 88 $2.99
Image Junk Jack Adventure 12+ 87 $2.99
Image Aquaria Adventure 9+ 87 $4.99
Image RAVENMARK: Scourge of Estellion Turn-Based Strategy 9+ 86 $2.99
Image SpellTower Word Puzzle 4+ 86 $1.99
Image Chocohero Action 4+ 84 $0.99
Image Epoch Action 9+ 80 $5.99
Image Zombieville USA 2 Action 9+ 80 $0.99
Image Poker Pals Board Games 4+ 79 $0.99
Image Extraction: Project Outbreak Action 9+ 78 $0.99
Image Corpse Granny Action/Puzzle 9+ 78 $0.99
Image INC Action 9+ 78 $1.99
      TOTAL COST: $26.88

iPad owners have a slightly different list this month, thanks to the inclusion of a few HD (iPad-only) titles. (We also went a hair above $30, but these things happen.)

Best-Reviewed New iPad Games, $30 Total Budget - November 2011
  Game Genre Rating Metascore Price
Image Blueprint 3D * Puzzle 4+ 88 $2.99
Image Junk Jack Adventure 12+ 87 $2.99
Image Aquaria Adventure 9+ 87 $4.99
Image RAVENMARK: Scourge of Estellion Turn-Based Strategy 9+ 86 $2.99
Image SpellTower Word Puzzle 4+ 86 $1.99
Image Monster Burner Action/Puzzle 9+ 86 $2.99
Image Chocohero Action 4+ 84 $0.99
Image Greed Corp HD Turn-Based Strategy 9+ 82 $4.99
Image Epoch Action 9+ 80 $5.99
      TOTAL COST: $30.91

* Price is for HD version; score is for regular version.
The Metascore for iPhone and iPad games is an unweighted average of individual scores given by professional game publications on a scale of 0 (bad) to 100 (good). A Metascore of 75 or higher denotes generally positive reviews, while 90 or higher indicates universal acclaim. Scores are not calculated for games with fewer than four reviews.

Below, we take a closer look at each of the past month's best new games. (Note that all game summaries are from the publishers' official descriptions.) Don't forget that you can now get updated critic and user reviews for these and all iOS games in Metacritic's iPhone/iPad section.

Blueprint 3D  iPhone iPod Touch iPad
Separate HD version available for iPads for $2.99

Metascore (out of 100):
88
from FDG Entertainment
Puzzle, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

This addictive casual 3D puzzler offers over 240 quick but clever puzzles.

From the Publisher: Magical 3D motion puzzle game Never before seen gameplay Exclusively available on iOS • OVER 240 LEVELS OF PURE AMAZEMENT! Each level begins with a mysterious clutter of seemingly chaotic dots and lines. Underneath all the chaos, however, lies a beautiful blueprint image waiting to be uncovered. It's right there in front of you: Just drag your finger across the screen to rotate the figure, and all of a sudden you'll notice that the lines start to make sense! Solve the puzzle by rotating the figure in all directions and on all planes until you hit the sweet spot. Once you're there, the secret picture will reveal itself. Wait till you see this in action!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100AppSpy
Blueprint 3D isn't a hardcore game in the 'gamer' sense of the term, nor is it particularly taxing as a puzzler, but it still manages to sit alongside casual titles like Cut The Rope as it combines elegant simplicity in controls, gameplay and design to make it a truly engaging distraction for iOS gamers.
100Modojo
One of the most creative and thoroughly entertaining apps we've had the pleasure of experiencing. It's smartly designed, attractive and fun, as well as a showpiece for anyone on the fence about purchasing an "i" device. Bravo.
90AppSmile
Offering tons of puzzles, simple touch controls, and a cerebral challenge, Blueprint 3D is puzzling personified.
90Pocket Gamer UK
Blueprint 3D is a magical marvel: more than just a bold experiment, it's also ridiculous good fun.
90TouchGen
A fresh and unique take on 3D puzzles executed perfectly for iOS.
80148Apps
With more than 240 different puzzles that generally last all of 15 seconds, it's incredibly easy to get caught up playing Blueprint 3D. It's another one of those "Just one more..." games that's bound to please.
80TouchArcade
If you're down with small and charming experiences, though, Blueprint 3D deserves a look.
75Slide to Play
Blueprint 3D is a fun, quick, casual puzzler with wide appeal.

Junk Jack  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
87
from Jack
Adventure, $2.99, ages 12+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Superior to the iOS version of Minecraft—to which this game is drawing comparisons—Junk Jack offers a similar sandbox experience.

From the Publisher: Junk Jack is a 2D sandbox game where you can explore, build your home and survive in random procedurally generated worlds full of treasures and hidden secrets. This is just the beginning! We have many planned updates (quests, cooking, and a fully working farming system!) and many others will come! Join our forum (http://forum.pixbits.com) and help us to improve our game, and share your creations! Features: * retro style pixel art! * beautiful sound tracks from Bright Primate * intuitive controls: swipe to move and tap to interact with everything! * dynamic day/night cycle * a fully featured lighting system together with many different sources of light and global lighting * 3 slots for infinite worlds that you can generate and explore, every world is different from any other! * procedural generation which creates beautiful worlds with plants, caves, different biomes all around the world * a double layered world which allows to customize background and foreground of your creations * critters and enemies to fight * many ores and shiny gems to help your adventure * many hidden containers full of strange treasures * more than 400 treasures * more than 130 crafts * more than 90 different materials for your buildings * many elements to decorate your houses (like sofas, tables, wardrobes, paintings, statues and many others) * an in-game discoverable book to teach you how to play and the recipes available * shelfs to place items around just to make your buildings shine * minimap (with a really zoomed out feature to allow you to share your creations).

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100AppSpy
Junk Jack isn't Minecraft, nor does it feel like it needs to be as its 2D world provides the same level of novel exploration fun while presenting challenges of its own to overcome; a tightly balanced free form experience that's only going to get better with time.
90148Apps
Suffice it to say, Junk Jack is a hands-down, no questions asked must-own for any and all iOS users who love sandbox crafting games.
90AppSafari
This iPhone app is definitely worth checking out if you're interested in building your own world in the way that you want and defending it.
90TouchArcade
If you can adapt to the controls, you're left with a game of great potential.
80AppSmile
Less of a game and more of an adventure in existence, Junk Jack offers a rich environment to farm and craft to your heart's content.
70Pocket Gamer UK
Junk Jack owes a significant debt to Minecraft but has a personality of its own. A worthy companion to the real thing.

Aquaria  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
87
from Semi Secret Software
Adventure, $4.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Explore an underwater world in this iOS port of the acclaimed indie PC adventure game.

From the Publisher: Explore a massive underwater world, teeming with life and filled with secrets. Join Naija, a lonely and mysterious aquatic girl, as she explores the depths of Aquaria. As her story unravels, she'll travel from hidden caves shrouded in darkness, to beautiful sunlit oases. Control Naija with an intuitive touch screen interface. Use her singing ability to create your own music, affect nearby creatures, move pieces of the environment and even transform Naija into different beings. Combine ingredients harvested from the environment in the "cooking system" to create tasty items. Catch a ride on a seahorse or a giant turtle. Discover new costumes, treasures and hidden secrets. Challenge the ancient gods who lurk beneath the waves.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100Slide to Play
Aquaria is a great 2D adventure in the mold of Metroid, perfect for any gamer who loves a hefty dose of exploration with their action.
90148Apps
I am amazed at the amount of detail that has gone into developing this game.
90TouchArcade
Overwhelmingly refreshing.
80AppSmile
The graphics are really beautiful, employing a cool color palette to replicate the coolness of the water.
80Edge Magazine
While this elegant underwater world may be a little too twee for some players, then, there are still plenty of reasons to dip into Bit Blot's inventive genre piece. Aquaria's as personable on the iPad as it was on the PC and Mac, and now you can cross the oceans on your morning commute.
80Pocket Gamer UK
A beautiful underwater adventure - the four-year wait was worth it.

RAVENMARK: Scourge of Estellion  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
86
from Witching Hour Studios
Strategy, $2.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

A turn-based strategy title with an involving campaign.

From the Publisher: Witching Hour Studios presents RAVENMARK: Scourge of Estellion, a refreshing take on turn-based strategy set in a completely original world, driven by an epic tale of conquest and redemption. Optimized for Retina Display, the single-player battles and cutscenes of RAVENMARK are gorgeously rendered in lovingly hand-painted 2D. Feel the sound and fury of war as you dig into the most satisfying strategy experience iOS has to offer! THE SCOURGE OF ESTELLION In a land known as Eclisse, where a great sun and three moons rule the azure skies, the ruling Empire of Estellion is beset by a great scourge from their past – the sun-eating mystics from the forgotten nation of Kaysan. Follow the mark of the raven and the heroes who march under its dark wings, as they struggle to survive under the weight of ruthless ambition and political intrigue! DYNAMIC TURN-BASED COMBAT In RAVENMARK, nothing matters more than strategic troop placement! Command an army to fight in campaign battles, where a round of combat begins with the Command Phase to issue instructions, but no action is taken until the Battle Phase, where friend and foe can act and attack simultaneously… Plan your moves carefully to emerge victorious against the challenging A.I. in each mission. DOMINATE BATTLES THROUGH THE TOUCH INTERFACE Explore a myriad of tactics at your fingertips with intuitive touch controls and unique management systems, like the Formation system: Group up to three units of a kind into a single formation, which enables special abilities and buffs to crush enemies quicker. The Standing Order system offers A.I. assisted commands that address the headaches of micro-managing the entire army every round. Use these tools to develop your own novel strategies and overcome the odds! THE SYMPHONY OF WAR A rousing cinematic soundtrack underscores the tension and drama that unfolds in the battlefields of RAVENMARK. Composed by lauded game composer Josh Whelchel, who has composed scores for other outstanding titles such as Wind-Up Knight and Mojang AB's Scrolls, the music will immerse you ever deeper into the world of Eclisse! A VAST LORE TO EXPLORE Venture into the Codex, an in-game encyclopedia which actively documents the richly storied history and cultures of Eclisse. Unlock new entries as you progress through the campaigns and encounter new nations, characters, locales and more!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90148Apps
The involved narrative of Ravenmark is the icing on this multilayered strategy cake. The campaign story of political intrigue involving several different nations and subtle plays for power is the extra little push that will keep players hopelessly engaged with this game.
90Gamezebo
Just about perfect as a tactical game on the iPhone. It's beautiful, it's engaging, and it's a lot of fun to play. The only problem that it has -aside from the somewhat steep learning curve- is this title isn't universal for iOS devices, so folks trying to enjoy this on the iPad won't get a great-looking game if they play it in its full-screen mode. Other than that? It's rare to find something as excellent (and epic) as this.
90TouchArcade
I seriously couldn't be happier. Witching Hour's maiden project Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion is almost everything this iPhone-touting strategy game aficionado could ask for, and as long as you're a fan of its somewhat hardcore nature, I will eat my fuzzy hat if you don't find yourself thinking the same.
75Slide to Play
Ravenmark is a solid by-the-books turn-based strategy game.

SpellTower  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
86
from Zach Gage
Word Puzzle, $1.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

This word puzzle game offers four different gameplay modes.

From the Publisher: Find and swipe words in 4 challenging modes. Make long words or use bonus tiles to clear extra letters from the screen! * WORDS + STRATEGY = AWESOME * Pick your words wisely! As you work, more tiles rise from the bottom of the screen, and it'll take all of your lexicological wits and tactical know-how to keep them down. If any of the letters make it to the top row, it's game over. * FOUR AMAZING MODES * - TOWER MODE : No pressure here. Try and get the highest score possible out of 150 letters, eliminating small words to set up 7- and 8-letter blockbusters! - PUZZLE MODE : Every word you make adds a new row of letters! Strategic word finding at its best. - EXTREME PUZZLE MODE : Puzzle mode with the minimum word length cranked up. Experts only! - RUSH MODE : Rows of letters build up over time. Find words as fast as you can, but be careful you don't back yourself into a corner!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90148Apps
An extremely addictive title. I've played many word puzzle games but this is by far one of the best in recent years. Its simplicity is precisely what makes it so beguiling.
90Pocket Gamer UK
A must-buy for word fiends, SpellTower is an uncommonly attractive and thoughtfully designed puzzler.
90TouchArcade
A complete package, brought together by Gage's trademark use of cheerful colors, simple patterns and elegant typography.
75Slide to Play
There's not much to SpellTower, but what's there is pretty good.

Monster Burner  iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
86
from Ubisoft
Action/Puzzle, $2.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

This arcade-style puzzler for the iPad is a hybrid of game styles designed to appeal to gamers of all ages.

From the Publisher: A full-blown uprising is under way and only you and your fingers can stop it. The keepers of the secret fires will teach you handy spells to blast away the hordes of invading monsters. In this fast-paced adventure, you'll cast fire spells as you face ever-more dangerous monsters in hazardous snow storms, ghost-infested cemeteries and more. Challenge your friends or the community with this action puzzle and earn the right to blast them in return! • INTUITIVE GAMEPLAY: Monster Burner is easy to pick-up-and-play, so you'll be burning monsters in no time! Wield the power of fire at your fingertips. • FAST & FURIOUS: These monsters are not as dumb as they look. You'll need to strategize quickly and use your spells wisely as you advance to succeed. • BUY MORE FEROCIOUS SPELLS: Pick up coins and buy new spells. Draw up a whole wall of fire or create uber-powerful fireballs, capable of destroying monsters en masse! • BLAST YOUR FRIENDS! Follow your progress on the leaderboards, comparing scores with friends and the Monster Burner community-at-large. You'll be notified when you beat a friend's score, and as their avatar makes its way among the invading monsters – inviting you to blast them away in a blaze of fire! Celebrate your victory by bragging about it on Facebook or Twitter! • KID MODE: We've included a special mode for kids, offering up simpler challenges – but with the same intuitive gameplay and high-paced action. Just make sure you can wrestle back your iPad afterwards!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100Slide to Play
Monster Burner may seem simple, but it's use of a large touch screen and Internet connection will make you appreciate the device you're playing it on.
90148Apps
Monster Burner is a fantastic mix of different game types ensuring that it will appeal to almost everyone. There's even a special mode, alongside the numerous other levels, aimed at children. It's a true must have for all iPad gamers.
90Gamezebo
A blast. Literally. The gameplay is fun and challenging, the graphics and sound are totally charming, and the overall experience is utterly addictive. Pick this one up— you won't be sorry you did.
80Modojo
A fun iPad title that's a sweet cross between tower defense and billiards, making it a smart pickup for gamers interested in destroying enemies with acute angles.
70Pocket Gamer UK
Don't let the cuteness fool you: Monster Burner is a tough arcade puzzler.

Chocohero  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
84
from Com2uS
Action, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

This cute, casual action title takes place in the sweets-filled land of Smoresdom.

From the Publisher: Your mission: Help Chipster save his friends, save the world... Stop, drop, and roll right into an action-packed world of luscious sweets in this cute, free-falling thrillride: Chocohero! Smoresdom, the land of treats and chocolate, is in danger! Cakems, guards of this sweet kingdom, hold the adorable, innocent Chocobits as prisoners. Enter Chipster, the wobbly chocolate hero! He rolls right in to help his Chocobit friends escape. Simply tilt your device left and right to guide Chipster as he rolls down to save his friends. Bump the Cakems to crumble them and free the Chocobits! Help Chipster's friends escape before it's too late. Boosts and tornado skills will help to crush your enemies and freeze time to stop the game-ending quickmilk pouring in from above. Free all his friends and save Smoresdom!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100AppSafari
Once you get started, it is nearly impossible to put it down. Even after you beat all the objectives, there's always more items and power ups to go back and collect.
90TouchArcade
Chocohero is certainly not the only game of its type out there, but it's definitely one of the best designed. In addition to tight controls and well-designed levels, the art style and music are perfectly complementary (and, of course, super-adorable).
80148Apps
Ultimately, Chocohero is just a little crazy. Throwing so many zany and fantastical ideas all at once makes for an experience that's ideal for casual gamers as well as family gamers.
80Multiplayer.it
Chocohero is fun to play and it's got very cute graphics. It also offers new missions to complete each time you beat the game, so the gameplay feels different from the several other "survival games" available on the App Store.
70Pocket Gamer UK
A well made blast of quick dodging fun, Chocohero lacks the balancing needed to make it a classic, but it's still worth picking up.

Greed Corp HD  iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
82
from Invictus
Strategy, $4.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

The steampunk-style console/PC turn-based strategy title comes to the iPad.

From the Publisher: Greed Corp HD, the turn-based strategy, at its finest! The award winning console and PC strategy hit is now available to your iPad! Greed Corp is a fresh and fun strategy game situated in a rich Steam-Punk world, offering a long-lasting single player campaign and a variety of multiplayer options for up to four players. Find the delicate balance between harvesting the land for resources to fund your war machines and preserving it to stay alive. Choose one of four different factions: the industrious Cartel, the militaristic Empire, the Freemen preservationists, and the Pirate traders. Destroy your enemies, or destroy the very land they stand on, before they do it to you. The iPad version boasts the same features as the Console and PC versions, offering: • An innovative land collapsing mechanic, creating intense strategic battles. • Earn Trophies and titles, and climb the online leader-boards playing as one of four factions in bite-sized matches of around 20 minutes. • Campaign mode with 4 chapters spread over 24 unique maps including an extensive tutorial. • 2, 3, and 4-player battles spread across 36 maps. • Customize multi-player matches with any combination of local, online, and computer players (with three difficulty levels).

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90148Apps
When a game looks this beautiful, there is an impulse to just purchase it immediately, but when there is solid gameplay to back it up, the purchase is all the more appealing.
90TouchArcade
I'd recommend Greed Corp -- flaws and all. It's a strategy board game that feels right at home on iPad, and it outdoes much of its competition on the platform.
80AppSmile
Featuring last man standing mechanics, Greed Corp. HD brings out the inner Machiavelli in all of us.
80Pocket Gamer UK
Attractive and slick strategy game with a huge single-player campaign and competitive gameplay.
70TouchGen
Greed Corp is a great multiplayer experience that allows for quite quick matches. The single player campaign is good as well with an AI that at times shreds me to pieces. What isn't that good is the lack of graphical polish, and the quite clumsy controls. Still it is a highly recommendable game that allows for some cool strategies.

Epoch  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
80
from Uppercut Games
Action, $5.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

A post-apocalyptic shooter that boasts stunning graphics, courtesy of the Unreal Engine.

From the Publisher: UNRAVEL THE MYSTERY Follow the echoes of a lost civilization in a visually-stunning post-apocalyptic world where only robots survive to fight a never-ending war. Fight towards your goal and piece together the fragments to reveal exactly what happened when the old world ended. Is this the dawn of a new Epoch? And how can you find the one person you were originally assigned to protect? CHOREOGRAPH THE ACTION Control your character with intuitive finger swipes. Make split-second tactical decisions, take cover, select targets, dodge incoming fire, utilize special abilities, and launch countermeasures! DESTROY, SALVAGE AND UPGRADE Battle escalating waves of robots in arena-style combat, and upgrade yourself with pieces torn from your fallen enemies! Configure your robot with dozens of weapons, armors, boosters and counters. IMMERSIVE SINGLE-PLAYER CAMPAIGN Fight in multiple locations across a vast and ravaged city, and gather fragments of the past with logs from a cast of characters, each with their own perspective on the apocalyptic events that destroyed a once-proud civilization. STUNNING AAA VISUALS Utilize the enhanced visual capabilities of the iPhone4S and iPad 2 with high-resolution graphics powered by the UnrealEngine, the same engine used to create the visuals of the award winning Infinity Blade.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100Slide to Play
A terrific and amazing-looking action game with perfect slide-based controls and exceptional action.
85Multiplayer.it
EPOCH is no doubt one of the most interesting shooters available on the App Store. You can use a lot of different weapons and fight a lot of different enemies through a nice single player campaign that you have to complete three times, at different difficulty levels, to find out what happened to the person your robot was supposed to protect. The graphics are gorgeous thanks to the Unreal Engine, the touch controls work fine.
80AppSafari
EPOCH has a short campaign, but a large replay value. A great iPod Touch , iPad , or iPhone app that is well worth the money.
80AppSpy
EPOCH stands alongside a rare handful of games that combine not only beautiful graphics for a handheld device, but gameplay perfectly suited to the iOS platform while also invoking shades of far more complex titles like Infinity Blade; an easy must have for action gamers with minutes to kill each day.
80IGN
Epoch is a very impressive debut effort from indie developer Uppercut. Gamers turned off by more traditional iOS shooters might have just found the game they have been waiting for.
80Modojo
A wonderfully addictive and gorgeous shooter that serves as a powerful showpiece for iPhone and iPad graphics. We just want more, which at the end of the day is a true testament to this game's greatness.
80Pocket Gamer UK
A unique take on the third-person action genre with satisfyingly different touchscreen controls.
80TouchArcade
And check out the game's story. It's a delight and delivered just right.
80TouchGen
Epoch's visuals and gameplay mechanics are it's shining force, easily making it one of the most desirable games on the app store at this moment in time for all you graphic lovers. If story doesn't interest you and you're a fan of cover based gameplay, although repetitive, Epoch is indeed the reigning champion.
70148Apps
I may be guilty of not judging Epoch on its own merits, but the similarities to Infinity Blade are all there, and almost everything is inferior.
70Gamezebo
EPOCH isn't a game changer in the way that Infinity Blade was (the comparison is perhaps a bit unfair, but they seem like spiritual brothers in a sense). It is, however, more than the sum of its parts, and much more entertaining than you might expect a shooting gallery game to be.

Zombieville USA 2  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
80
from Mika Mobile, Inc.
Action, $0.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
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This sequel to the 2009 side-scrolling zombie shooter offers more of everything.

From the Publisher: The definitive zombie shooter returns, reborn with stunning new graphics, gameplay and more! Brought to you by the creators of Battleheart, OMG Pirates!, and the original Zombieville USA - this sequel is jam packed with content and features. Take command of your favorite character, customize them with a spectrum of weapons and skills, and do battle with the living dead - either alone, or with your friends! - Features - • Simple, pick-up-and-play arcade action. Fight hordes of enemies, make the most of your ammo, and go for your high score! • Tons of unlockable content, including dozens of weapons, skills, playable characters and upgrades. • Incredibly fluid, stylish animation optimized for retina displays. • Full Game Center integration, including achievements and leader boards. • Wireless Co-op multiplayer via bluetooth or wifi! (requires iPhone 3GS+, iPod Touch 3rd Gen+, or any iPad) • iCloud support, allowing your zombie slaying progress to sync automatically to all of your devices!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100TouchArcade
This is a stupid-fun game with some sharp features and systems that'll keep you invested and having a good time.
90Gamezebo
The controls are simple and anyone can pick up and play the game without getting frustrated. Moreover, it is gratifying without requiring a significant time investment. With its slew of weaponry to unlock, along with co-op play, it's an app that offers several hours of potential play time.
80148Apps
Zombies as a cultural phenomenon may run the risk of being passe' and overdone very soon (My prediction? The zombie bubble collapses when a broadcast TV network decides to make their own ripoff of The Walking Dead), but thankfully Zombieville USA 2 does a great job at interpreting a classical genre in the modern era.
80AppSpy
Zombieville USA 2 takes the next step forward for the original side-scrolling beat'em-up by giving you real character customization options, making zombie-slaying all the more satisfying; sadly the game presents no other motivation to continue outside continually feeding cash in to the upgrade machine.
50Slide to Play
Zombieville USA 2 lets you attack zombies with a wide variety of weapons, but its repetitive nature will probably turn off most people.

Poker Pals  iPhone iPod Touch iPad
Separate HD version available for iPads for $1.99

Metascore (out of 100):
79
from Chillingo Ltd
Board Game, $0.99, ages 4+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

Think of it as poker meets Scrabble (or a multiplayer Sword & Poker without the RPG elements).

From the Publisher: IT'S POKER, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT The cards may look familiar but the gameplay is totally different, use the cards at your disposal to make hands and score points in this truly unique take on the classic card game. PLAY AGAINST YOUR FRIENDS Organize matches with your friends with ease using Game Center, via email, or your contact list, or simply play with a random challenger online. Manage as many simultaneous games as you like! COMBO BUILDER As the table starts to fill up with cards, the chance of stringing together some huge combos increases. Mix as many hands as you can and put the pressure on your opponent. CROSS PLATFORM CARD GAME Play against any and all iterations of Poker Pals, whether you play on iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
100Slide to Play
An awesome mash-up of two classics, and we can't recommend it enough to fans of board games.
90Gamezebo
Poker Pals is more than just a great new spin on poker — it's a great step forward for the world of freemium asynchronous play.
80Pocket Gamer UK
Poker Pals is an unusual, simple, and fun multiplayer title that hides a surprising amount of depth.
80TouchArcade
Poker Pals delivers a fun interpretation of poker, with desirable asynchronous play and random match-ups for people without many online friends. It has a high replay value and should come with a warning about time-consumtion, due to the constant, but pleasurable interruptions when it's your turn.
70AppSafari
All in all Poker Pals is a great, light iOS app that is a worthy purchase if you have plenty of friends who enjoy similar gameplay types. Just don't expect a real brain teaser.
70TouchGen
Poker Pals is a fresh entry in the asynchronous multiplayer genre that is immediately accessible to all. Easy rules, and easy to play it is a pleasurable way to play during shorter breaks.
60AppSpy
Combining poker and scrabble ends up with a fun competitive game that should appeal to board and card game fans alike.

Extraction: Project Outbreak  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
78
from Chillingo Ltd
Action, $0.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

A top-down tactical shooter with simplified, one-finger controls.

From the Publisher: Experience this explosive top-down 3D shooter inspired by retro classics and designed specifically for a touch screen. Clandestine government experiments on military personnel and POW's have gone wrong, unleashing an outbreak of infected soldiers on the area surrounding the secret facility. You play a hardened Private Military Contractor, drafted in to exterminate the infected. Featuring a unique one-finger control system, incredible visuals, a variety of weapons, four game modes, upgrades and more, Extraction will blow you away.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90148Apps
What Extraction has done is to find a way to boil down the normally complex shooter controls down to simple commands that can be issued seamlessly with one finger.
80AppSpy
Extraction: Project Outbreak lays the groundwork for what could be an exciting top-down tactical shooter campaign, but aside from the tight controls and great level designs, it's easy to find yourself in a repetitive funk.
80Pocket Gamer UK
Slick and polished action-shooter. A little repetitive, but great fun when the different elements fit together.
80TouchArcade
A great game worthy of a play through. If you have any interest in top down shooters, and you're a fan of extensive unlockables, check it out.
70AppSmile
Utilizing an interesting one-touch input method to dispatch the undead, Extraction employs a stylish presentation that's both easy to manage and fun to play.
70Edge Magazine
The framework is here for a truly great game, then, but it's the need to lengthen - and, for some players, monetise - the campaign that stops ShortRound's debut from living up to its obvious potential.

Corpse Granny  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
78
from Bulkypix
Action/Puzzle, $0.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

A well-executed (though unoriginal) action puzzler.

From the Publisher: Corpse Granny is a highly addictive puzzle game with stunningly beautiful graphics and dozens of challenging missions spanning three worlds. In this game you control the objects in the environment to defeat cartoon zombies as quickly and as efficiently as you can. Your mind and fingers are your main weapons. Most of the levels require logic and will challenge you to put on your thinking cap to solve them. Some of the stages use arcade elements that will help you to relax by letting you enjoy the simple pleasure of wanton destruction of the undead. Travel through three different worlds to eliminate the zombie menace. Collect all the gems and strive to achieve the highest score. Use your fingers to cut the ropes and break the chains. Create passages by destroying obstacles and turn up the heat with the help of exploding boxes and by shooting cannons. Watch as your actions put the scene into motion. The best way of killing the zombies is by burning them with an arsenal of shiny bouncing fireballs. The orange fireball just kills zombies outright, the blue fireball is motion controlled; as you turn your mobile device, the purple fireball jumps and adds an element of chaos, and the green fireball magically disappears after several jumps and that makes it the trickiest one to control. Be sure to not underestimate the wooden boxes and the rolling barrels for use as offensive weapons that will come in very handy if you're out of fireballs. Make your own levels and challenge your friends. Use the simple level editor to create a background, place some zombies, stairs, ropes, fireballs, and dozens of other objects to create your own puzzles. You can solve the puzzles and create them at the same time.

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
90148Apps
Based on its unique physics-based puzzle gameplay along with its interesting combination of weapons, I'd say Corpse Granny is a must download and will surprise even the youngest of players.
80AppSpy
Fans of Cut the Rope and zombie games will get some amusement out of Corpse Granny, but this type of game has been done before and done better.
75Pocket Gamer France
Without revolutionizing its genre, Corpse Granny is a good puzzle game, with cartoonish graphics and full of humor.
75Slide to Play
A good game, but doesn't really break any new ground.
70AppSmile
With a great cartoonish presentation and nice level design, Corpse Granny's gameplay is enjoyable enough to overcome its awful scoring system.
70TouchArcade
The heart of Corpse Granny is trial and error, and it works as long as you like to play in bite -sized bits and puzzle your way through how to solve each level. This game is chock-full of personality, and it also uses OpenFeint to track scores and such so you can compete with your friends.

INC  iPhone iPod Touch iPad

Metascore (out of 100):
78
from OrangePixel
Action, $1.99, ages 9+
> iTunes App Store (Buy/Info)
Image

A retro-styled platformer set in a future robot-dominated world.

From the Publisher: The year 2135, the world is ruled by Corporations, humans are slowly being replaced by robots and machines, and the most powerful humans are now looking for ways to transfer their souls into robots, for eternal life. *** Fight your way thru four stylish worlds, surviving a large variation of different robots and machines that only have one mission, stop you from reaching your goal: save Dr Robotus! The unique graphical style, cool retro music and sound effects, and our well known hard-but-fair gameplay turn INC into an entertaining action adventure. Four worlds, 40 levels, multiple layers of gameplay for casual and core gamers, what are you waiting for!

What the Critics Said
Score Publication
80AppSpy
INC is a gorgeous platformer with a lot of content. The control may aggravate some, but if you can get passed that, you'll find an engaging game experience.
80Modojo
While not the greatest platform game to grace iOS and Android, INC is without question one the best, with spot on controls (so long as you use the on-screen arrows instead of tilting) and a slick old school vibe.
80TouchArcade
OrangePixel keep releasing platform games, as if trying to evolve the perfect platforming experience and INC is another step in the right direction.
70148Apps
INC is not perfect, but it's another solid action-platformer from OrangePixel. Fans of games with cloud-based saves and remote control support will want to check this one out.

What not to buy

Homerun Battle 2 49, Jurassic Park: The Game 1 HD 53, and Minecraft - Pocket Edition 55 (yes, the same Minecraft that is scoring big with its PC version) are the month's lowest-scoring games.

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.

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