Encore of the Night takes the storyline of PlayStation classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, omits the side-scrolling action, and replaces it with puzzle gameplay. The journey through Dracula’s castle will have you fighting monsters by matching colored blocks to connect three. Making connections will attack your opponent, but you’ll have to watch out for counterattacks like “stone” blocks that can only be disengaged if a match is made around them. It’s more puzzler than platformer, but it’s a great new take on a classic game.
Ever played a video game and thought you could’ve done a better job? The quirky and feverishly addictive Game Dev Story lets you prove your mettle by fusing together varying genres and settings to create potential blockbusters, while facing hurdles like bad reviews, power outages, and the ever-shrinking lifecycles of home consoles. You’ll have a 20-year cycle to build and expand your studio, as well as hire and train talent, so what are you waiting for? The next virtual smash hit could be yours!
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.
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.
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.