Physics games seem to work exceedingly well on Apple’s iOS platform – the one leading this week’s Best Games list certainly does. It’s called Magnetic Baby, and it combines the idea of tilting to roll a ball around and pick up speed with the physics of centripetal force and gravity, asking players to solve puzzles by heaving their character through space in each of its levels. Read more about it, and four other games we thought were worth your attention, on our list below.
Magnetic Baby (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
A little bit Super Mario Galaxy for the Nintendo Wii mixed with perhaps a bit of Tiny Wings creates Magnetic Baby, an iOS game that’s all about jumping from one planet to another. Like Nintendo’s Mario Galaxy title, each level consists of small, easily traversable planetoids, on which sits a small round character – you. Your job is to collect three stars from around the level and, as quickly as possible, reunite with your round character girlfriend. To do that, you have to roll around the planetoids, picking up speed and then jumping when you’re close to other planetoids, using their gravity to wing through space. It’s an inventive mixture of a number of genres to create a new physics puzzler with a very inviting art style.
Async Corp. (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Minimalism marks the look of Async Corp., but while it holds back on looks to generate a style, it doesn’t skimp on challenge. This puzzler includes four game modes that are all centered on its core mechanic of matching colored squares together to make larger, contiguous squares that are at least 2 units by 2 units. When you fire up Async Corp., you get two grids filled with squares on either side of the screen. Your job is to tap a square on one grid and then one on the other in order to flip them – but you can only flip a square if one of the two being moved will form a 2-by-2 “packet” that you can then tap to clear for points. Async Corp. challenges your brain by requiring you to create different kinds of packets, like filling one whole grid with a single packet of one color, or clearing as many as you can as fast as possible. The variety of play styles keeps the puzzler fresh, and it feels familiar while looking like something new.
Color Bandits (iPhone, iPad) $1.99
Aliens have stolen all the color in the world, and only you can get it back in Color Bandits, a shoot ‘em-up in which you control a cool-looking cat with a ray gun. You’ll spend each of the game’s levels hammering away at alien ships, snagging power-ups to do more damage while avoiding getting taken out by their return fire. Color Bandits looks very cool with its transitional black-and-white to color art style, and it’s challenging in the standard shmup way without being impossibly hard. It also packs the satisfying elements the genre is known for, like high scores tracked on leaderboards and big boss fights every once in a while.
Swords and Soldiers (iPhone, iPad) $2.99
Swords and Soldiers looks like another standard castle defense game, but it’s actually a great deal deeper than most of the titles in the App Store that hail from the same genre. It includes elements from several other genres as well, like the real-time strategy genre, in which players are required to procure resources in order to build their armies. You need to send wenches to mine gold in Swords and Soldiers in order to be able to hire soldiers at all, which is a nice change and adds more strategy to this sort of game than one would normally see. As you hire soldiers and send them off to fight battles against opposing forces, you can also upgrade your troops and research new ones in order to open up new combat options. So while Swords and Soldiers looks simple on the outside, it’s actually taking the easygoing nature of castle defense, in which you send your soldiers from your base on the left toward the enemy base on the right, and adding in lots of elements that augment it without distracting from the core concept.
Cavorite (iPhone, iPad) $1.99
An 8-bit puzzle-platformer, Cavorite is filled with puzzles that force you to think vertically. As Dr. Cavor, a stranded time traveler, you need to collect parts for your ship by solving various puzzles. You can push things like blocks around on the ground, or you can spray them with an anti-gravity foam you carry around with you, making them levitate for a short time and even letting you ride them to greater heights to find the way through each of the game’s levels. It’s an interesting mechanic and informs just about all of Cavorite’s puzzles, which helps to take them a little further down the road of challenging head-scratchers. Levitating a cube to activate a switch and then quickly riding another so you can reach a high door is a great way to make the old 2-D style of platforming game seem new again, and you’ll need to keep your wits and hone your skills in order to defeat all the puzzles Cavorite has on offer.