Pong players will get a kick out of Ponx, today’s leading Fresh Game: it’s a music-infused, extremely difficult take on the classic, in which you face an opponent with a paddle and have to bounce back a flood of balls in order to score points and win the game. We’ve also got another game that makes heavy use of music in Wave - Against Every Beat!, and Cows vs Aliens, a game about defending cows from aliens, as you might have already guessed.
Ponx (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
The difficulty modes on Ponx start at Hard and go to Extreme, so that should give you an idea of how challenging this game is. It’s also highly stylized and has a cool concept: it’s basically Pong, the old and simple rendition of video game table tennis. The difference is, Ponx constantly throws extra balls into the ping-pong game, forcing you to quickly adapt and try to knock as many past the opponent paddle on top of the screen as you can, while defending your side of the screen.
Ponx is played just by sliding your thumb back and forth along the bottom of the screen. You can depoly additional paddles and get other cool effects from power-ups to help you play defense, which is highly useful because Ponx gets extremely difficult. How fast and how intense it becomes is based on the soundtrack, which is a great twist. OpenFeint support provides leaderboards and achievements.
Cows vs Aliens (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Aliens and livestock -- they don’t mix, for some reason. UFOs always use their highly developed technology in order to kidnap animals that are often used for food on Earth, and no one’s sure why. Regardless, in Cows vs Aliens, you need to save the cows and stop the aliens from kidnapping them by herding them into an on-screen barn, while warding off the aliens so they don’t get in.
There’s really only one control to Cows vs Aliens: tap and hold on the screen to herd your cows away from your thumb and (hopefully) toward the barn. You can do the same thing to push back the aliens, so you’ll need to touch the screen in strategic locations to keep your cows abduction-free. The more cows you herd, the more time you get added to the game’s clock. When it runs out, you’re done. Your scores get sent to leaderboards using Game Center, and you’ll also get access to achievements through the service.
Wave - Against Every BEAT! (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Wave is a vertical shooter at heart, in which you control a spaceship that endlessly blasts enemies -- in this case, neon geometric shapes -- in order to rack up points. The formula gets tweaked here some, though, as Wave packs a lot of cool power-ups and can quickly change from a one-finger game to a two-finger game by activating “Fever Mode,” in which each finger controls a single ship.
The game has an intense and cool techno-type soundtrack, which helps dictate the action, as if you were playing a rhythm game. It contains three different game modes, as well as Open Feint support. Wave is $0.99 right now, an introductory rate much lower than its planned $3.99 price later on. There’s also a big update in the works, according to its developer, so snag it before the price goes up and you’ll get double the features come March 5.