It's fair to say that the original Robot Unicorn Attack was built on a gag concept. Its hard-edged riff on the hearts-and-rainbows style of artist Lisa Frank offered an amusing visual contrast, while the looping synth-pop classic "Always" by Erasure only cemented its absurdist intentions. But the game itself was no joke, as the rousing endless runner became a genre favorite that even spawned a couple of spin-offs. Robot Unicorn Attack 2 is an all-new entry, though, and while maintaining the fundamental elements of the debut, it makes the previous titles seem downright prehistoric by comparison. And it also offers one of the friendliest free-to-play models we've seen in any iOS game to date.
Shoehorning an expansive online space combat sim experience onto the iPad isn't without its challenges, but the tablet version of Vendetta Online delivers a faithful and surprisingly functional port of the long-running massively multiplayer online game. For players used to the more casual thrills offered on the App Store, Vendetta Online's exhaustive depth and complexity poses a steep learning curve to master upfront, though carving out your niche in the galaxy is undeniably absorbing once you open up the throttle.
In a marketplace chock full of free-to-play word games, Bookworm Heroes plays like a clear attempt to take back the mantle. PopCap didn’t invent casual word puzzles, but its Bookworm franchise certainly had a hand in its popularity. This asynchronous multiplayer entry boasts spritely animations and well-balanced word fighting mechanics, and serves as a nicely modernized successor to the franchise's name.
Little about the act of slicing strands seems terribly appealing in our everyday lives, but that simple premise is responsible for one of the App Store's biggest sensations. Cut the Rope's diverse and colorful physics-based puzzles have made green alien creature Om Nom a household name across two entries – the original smash and the even-more-whimsical Cut the Rope: Experiments – and now Cut the Rope: Time Travel aims to push the formula further ahead by looking to the past for thematic inspiration.
We love Dashboard on our Macs. It feels like a bit of iOS on OS X, with tiny apps that look pretty and perform simple functions amazingly well. With a beautiful interface and a dynamic set of customizable widgets, Panic's ambitious Status Board attempts to bring that experience to our iPads, with at-a-glance access to your most important data and a fantastic new playground for coders.
Something about the great American pastime brings out the best in app designers. MLB.com At Bat's breathtaking ballparks and pitch trackers are the gold standard for professional sports apps, Topps Pennant turns lifeless box scores into beautiful works of art, and iScore reimagines the dull, antiquated scorecard with lush textures and vivid charts. Race to the Pennant makes a strong case for joining that list. With a simple, colorful interface, the app offers a slick visual interpretation of baseball standings that makes following your favorite team a lot more fun – whether they're headed to the playoffs or stuck in the cellar.
Handily poking fun at classic spell-flinging RPGs, Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet delivers a very silly iPad fantasy adventure full of tongue-in-cheek antics and self-referential humor. It blends side-scrolling brawling with puzzle-like spell mixology in a fun and fresh way that's not lacking in chaos or comedy. Cobbling together all manner of elemental wizardry – to blast inventive foes swarming in from all directions – gets a bit hectic in the heat of battle, but it's a craziness that's fueled by creativity as you piece together spells on the fly.
Combining a match-three puzzler with a role-playing game isn't an entirely new idea. After all, the popular Puzzle Quest series managed to accomplish as much over five years ago. But Dungeon Hearts adds a character party dynamic, tasking you with aligning jewels on a scrolling play field to launch attacks from four unique avatars. The concept itself is great, but the entire affair falls apart only minutes after the quest begins.
Sometimes the simplest of activities can be loads of fun. That's the case with Face Party, a stylish and goofy app that lets you create wild and wooly pictures of monstrous pals to tweak and share. Charm ultimately wins out over substance here, but that shouldn't stop you from tinkering with terrifying tomatoes, fidgeting with mega mustachioed men, or drafting evil cat-pigs to your heart's content.
Truth can sometimes seem much stranger than fiction, and Lie Swatter puts that idiom to the test in an amusing, quick-hit comedic trivia game. Developed by Jellyvision, the studio behind the hit You Don't Know Jack series, Lie Swatter serves up a series of seven statements in a certain category and challenges you to pick out the fibs. Do so while leaving the factual notes intact and you'll earn a stack of points in your turn-based competition with an online foe. Actually selecting the incorrect statements from each bunch is often much tougher than it seems, however.