Remember the story about the parents who were suing Apple because of charges they incurred when their kids started downloading a bunch of freemium content onto their iDevices? I had actually forgotten about it, myself. Apple won’t be so lucky, as their attempt to have the case dismissed was recently rejected by California courts.
But ever Since Apple began taking extra security measures to protect parents from their free-spending children a year ago, it seems like we rarely hear about the perils of addictive freemium games anymore. That doesn’t mean these dangerous and weirdly fun games stopped existing. They still need your micropayments as much as they ever did. Here are a few of the best the App Store has to offer.
Smurfs’ Village (Free)
I remember Papa Smurf, certainly. And I think there was a Girl Smurf. But I do not recall a Trick Your Kids Smurf. Aside from the previously mentioned legal snafu, Smurf Village is a charming app game featuring our tiny blue cartoon friends in a series of kid-friendly mini-games that allow players to build a Smurf village from scratch. They start with a single Smurf house and can quickly expand that into a whole Smurf town. It might take a village to raise a kid, but it just takes one kid (and a credit card) to create a Smurf village.
Tap Zoo 2: World Tour (Free)
Tap Zoo caused trouble for an English family (among many others, probably) who wound up spending hundreds of dollars to subsidize their child’s zoo dreams. But who could blame the kid? It would be pretty awesome to own a zoo. Just ask Matt Damon. Tap Zoo 2: World Tour lets players build a zoo from scratch, and even create weird cross-breed animals that truly made their zoo unique. Once the zoo is built, users can travel to their friends’ zoos and see how they compare.
Theme Park (Free)
When I was a kid, Rollercoaster Tycoon was my jam. Luckily, there was no such thing as in-game purchases at the time because that would definitely have caused some trouble. Theme Park follows in the Tycoon tradition by giving users the power to create their own theme park. You can place the attractions wherever you want them. Theme Park even has sponsored rides from Dr. Pepper. Some may find that crass, but I have to tip my hat at EA for including the sort of sponsorship that is so common in a theme park experience in 2012.
Restaurant Story (Free)
Restaurant Story is similar to Theme Park in that it lets you create a business from the ground up, except this time your business is ground-up beef that has been fashioned into burgers. Users can customize their menu and build a restaurant all their own. They can even invite Facebook friends to be their restaurant neighbors. While there is a ton of paid content to be had in Restaurant Story, there are also free items released each week to keep the title fresh.
Gun Bros. (Free)
Not all freemium games make you work a second job when you play them. Gun Bros. is focused on violence first and foremost, as it lets players engage in multiplayer gun battles with each other over Wi-Fi. It also gives players the option to buy some serious firepower via in-app purchases. You can probably get away with shooting the day away without it, but if your best buddy has the expensive guns on his side, it’ll be hard to say no when the credit card is so close by.