Chillingo’s Cut the Rope has become an absolute App Store sensation in recent months, due to engaging touchscreen gameplay, fantastic visuals, and a steady stream of free added levels. The primary goal in each stage is to get the candy to the Om Nom creature by slashing ropes and popping bubbles (among other actions, but to truly master the game, you’ll need to collect the three stars scattered around each level. With dozens of levels currently found in the ever-expanding game, it’ll take some time to dominate them all!
Who would’ve guessed that a game about catching falling sushi would be so powerfully fun and exciting? Sushi Boy’s simple approach makes it a perfect fit on both iPhone and iPad, letting you tilt your device to make the titular boy run around the screen, snatching each delicious bit of sushi before it smacks the ground. Along the way, you’ll have to avoid hazards like boots and metal hooks, and as you play more, you’ll be able to unlock higher difficulty levels and numerous customization aspects, like hats and backgrounds.
Looking and feeling like real pinball, Pinball HD is perfectly suited for the iPhone and iPad, with pitch-perfect touch controls that let you tap the left or right side of the screen to activate each respective set of flippers. Pinball wizards can also shake their iDevices for that essential ball-saving nudge. The game includes three tables to choose from: a table modeled after the Wild West, a jungle table with a gorilla named “Big Kong,” and an impressive underwater table. At a rock-bottom price, Pinball HD is a must-have for enthusiasts of the silver ball.
Though a simple, arcade-style gallery shooter at heart, Gun Range uses the iPhone 4’s gyroscope to satisfying effect, letting you quickly and accurately aim your firearm just by moving the device. It’s an impressive effect—and the game looks sharp on the Retina Display—though you’ll need to tap the bottom of the screen to re-center the “G-Scope” with some regularity. Still, with 12 gun types and 144 stages for a buck, it’s a darn good deal, or you can download the free ad-supported version.
Chaos Rings comes from the vaunted publisher behind console role-playing greats Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, and this iPhone and iPad exclusive crams the same animation, engrossing storyline, and game mechanics of Square Enix’s hits into a smaller form factor. In Chaos Rings, you’ll choose a two-person team and guide them around the perilous dungeons with the intuitive touch-anywhere joystick controls, and the game is fairly easy for newcomers to the RPG genre, though be sure to save often so you don’t lose your progress after a tough battle!
Hero of Sparta II revisits the world of the early iPhone action hit, once more putting you in command of warrior Argos as you decimate scads of demonic foes. The hack-and-slash action offers several notable upgrades over the original, such as new weapons and environmental interactions, plus crisp visuals that shine on the iPhone 4 Retina display. The new multi-directional attack nub is an appreciated addition, making Hero of Sparta II a lengthy, improved, and more immersive sequel that inches closer to the home console games it emulates.
Your goal in Solipskier is to guide the little skier through yellow gates by drawing the snow beneath his skis by touching and holding the screen, as well as changing his altitude by shifting your finger. Solipskier seems very simple and even sleepy at first, but by the time you’ve sped through several gates and tunnels, you’ll be moving so quickly that hazards like cliffs and barriers will pop up in the blink of an eye. It’s fast and frenetic fun, and does a simple idea right with stylish and smart execution.
In a world studded with Photoshop-style image editors and Painter-like natural-media tools, it’s really tough to find a new kind of artistic software that brings something truly unique and innovative to the table. But the little-known Studio Artist 4 totally pulls it off, delivering a one-of-a-kind creative application that can craft visuals like nothing else—if you’re prepared to spend some time mastering its intricacies.
Quentin Tarantino meets Bruce Lee meets a bunny in Lugaru HD, an updated version of Wolfire Games’ 2005 shareware cult hit. Like the original, you take control of a warrior rabbit named Turner, who vows revenge after finding his family and friends slaughtered by a raiding party. A fascinating and highly political plot evolves from there as the game pushes you to fight other animals equipped with knives, swords, bo staffs, feet, and fists while working to uncover the underlying conspiracy and bring justice back to the island of Lugaru.
For close to two decades, Sid Meier has fed the monkey on many a strategy gamer’s back. His prolific Civilization series has set the bar for turn-based strategy games for a long, long time. The series puts you into the shoes of the leader of one of a number of civilizations—each with their own advantages and shortcomings—as you guide your people from the dawn of time to the space age. The latest iteration, Civilization V, is easily the most addictive and accessible so far. Since it was released last fall for Windows, Mac gamers have been champing at the bit to get their hands on an OS X version, and at last they can.