In Fruit Ninja, you swipe you finger across the screen and slice fruit into little pieces, but the catch is that you can’t let any drop, nor can you ever slice bombs. Players receive combo bonuses for slicing multiple pieces of fruit in a single swing, and critical strikes add points at random. We used 10 fingers at one point in Fruit Ninja HD for iPad (it’s also available for iPhone) and it worked like a charm. It features two modes—classic and a new “Zen” mode—that provide a speed option and a marathon of slicing and dicing. Unlockables and a multiplayer mode help add a little replayability, even if it’s not likely to grab your attention for the long haul. Still, Fruit Ninja is a ton of fun while it lasts.
Fans of Choose Your Own Adventure books will love Phoenix Wright. This port of the popular Nintendo DS game is an engaging adventure, filled with courtroom shenanigans where each case involves investigating the scene of a crime and procuring important evidence. With five cases total (each with varying difficulty levels), the game delivers plenty of exciting legal drama, and because it’s filled with cheesy one-liners and dramatized Japanese animation, it maintains a light, humorous atmosphere. All in all, this game will have you shouting “Objection!” in no time.
This clever puzzle game combines the complete-the-circuit gameplay of Pipe Mania with the added difficulty of a sliding-tile puzzle. You can’t pick the pieces up, and obstacles like gates, switches, conveyor belts, and warp portals pose hazards along the way. New concepts are introduced gradually and the difficulty ramps up over time, but the puzzles themselves are one-screen affairs and great for short bursts of gaming. Plus, the app is playable on both iPhone and iPad, making this a challenging and addictive keeper.
Secret Exit’s puzzle hit returns with a visually upgraded iteration that features 100+ total stages, and is both playable and totally gorgeous on both iPhone and iPad. In Zen Bound 2, you’re tasked with wrapping a set amount of rope around a diverse series of wooden sculptures, with a certain percentage of the sculpture needing to be covered to pass the stage. Between the minimalist soundtrack and at-your-own-pace approach, it’s easy to zone out and get lost in this pleasant puzzler on your iDevice of choice.
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.
Board-game favorite, Carcassonne makes a smooth transition to the iPhone. While we'd like even more features, a clean interface and online matches show how to update a game for digital devices. Strategy fans--whether they know the original or not--will dock this one on the main home screen.