As an avid iPad gamer, I’ve played my share of line drawing and tower defense games. That’s why I was excited to hear that the developers at Chillingo blended the two into the creamy neon goodness that is A.I.R. Defense HD. Add in another shooter sporting a wild neon theme, a fresh take on Breakout and Arkanoid, and wrap things up with a wholly original puzzle-action game set in mystic ruins, and you’ve got our top iPad Games of the Week.
A.I.R. Defense HD ($0.99)
This iPad exclusive is more Flight Control or Harbor Master than Fieldrunners or Guns N’ Glory, but you won’t hear any complaints from this reviewer. Defend your base by wiping out wave after wave of attackers by drawing a line from your defending aircraft (helicopters and jets) to the oncoming hordes. After attacking, your craft return to base, where you can upgrade their armor or weapons, then send them back out to shock and awe the enemy. The secret sauce? Your base (think of it as a central tower with many turrets atop in the form of your aircraft landing pads) has a crazy-powerful energy field you can trigger when the baddies are about to overrun the ramparts. Everything that touches it explodes instantly. As you work your way through the levels, you’ll unlock fighters that can clear the fog of war to spot tanks in the distance, while others spray groups of mines to litter the playfield. While the levels don’t exactly ramp-up from easy to hard (the toughness of each isn’t apparently until your neck-deep in tanks), you’ll spend many hours working your way through the campaign and endless challenge mode. Worth far more than its dollar menu price.
PewPew 2 ($2.99)
Forget the silly name, PewPew 2 is a seriously great dual stick shooter that wraps itself in lovely, classic, neon vector graphics and never once stops being crazy-fun. This new release offers a full set of seven game modes, 18 levels packed into campaign mode, six unlockable ships, and full Game Center integration. With shades of Tempest and Geometry Wars fully in play, PewPew 2 takes things to a whole new level. Unlike its predecessor, the new version offers a pitch-perfect campaign mode, sporting two full chapters of gameplay. Each new level unlocks as you beat the previous offering, changing the gameplay from wide open shoot-to-kill spaces to confining hallways featuring challenging chokepoints. With multicolored baddies to tackle, you’ll need to figure your way through quickly or risk being destroyed in a hurry. Once you blast through the campaign, you’ll open up two hardcore modes of play: Amalgam (waves of enemies) and Symbiosis (pairs up two ships linked by an antimatter stream that snags enemies). Yes, it’s worth the wait.
Brick Breaker Escape! Lite (Free)
Back in my teen years, my parents routinely kicked us kids out from in front of our Atari 2600 so they could play marathon sessions of Breakout. Now you can relive Breakout and Arkanoid in high-resolution goodness on your Apple tablet, for nary a cent. Brick Breaker Escape! gives players both traditional brick layouts to destroy, but adds in entirely new configurations and special attacks, lovingly arranged across more than 30 levels of goodness. Some bricks cause coins to fall, while others chain destruction across the level. Multicolored laser gates sometimes block your way, requiring just the right angle to trip a control to open the way to the exit. Of course, power-ups will pop aplenty, and you’ll want to take full advantage of each and every opportunity to expand your paddle, enlarge or multiply the ball, and more.
Jungle Games HD ($0.99)
This wholly original puzzle-action game is set in mystic ruins, sporting three tall posts. Can you toss colored stone rings onto each pole, and stack them high to clear them, before either time or your own mistakes do you in? This cartoony-classic has what it takes to beat your drums, offering a full set of difficulty levels, along with crazy-fun Panic and Ultra-Panic modes. If you’re up for some soothing, calm fun, stick to Easy. If you want a challenge, stay sharp and see how quickly you can stack your stones in the Panic modes. There’s 14 achievements to unlock, and many hours of fun to be had under the hood. Jungle Games doesn’t try to be anything but a fun puzzle-action app, and for a mere 100 pennies, it satisfies.