Pixelated Plus ($2.99)
It’s a bit like Minesweeper on acid: Turn a grid full of different colored blocks the same color by strategically switching the color of the square in the upper left. Every color swap will allow it to absorb more adjacent blocks, like using the “fill” tool in Paint. As with the aforementioned Windows classic, you’ll need to do it in the fewest number of moves to win, but you’ll probably keep coming back again and again after getting a knack for it.
The Oregon Trail ($4.99)
We love Oregon Trail. Maybe it’s because we’re based in Portland, or maybe it’s just because we grew up shooting 6,305 pounds of virtual buffalo that we couldn’t carry back to the wagon, like every other red-blooded American under age 30. Nostalgia trip aside, you’re still looking at a great role-playing game that will let you manage your family’s resources, meet challenges on the road west, and yes, hunt. Just watch the speed of that wagon on the trail or you’re on the fast track to dysentery.
Ka-Glom (Free for limited time, usually $4.99)
You might mistake it for Tetris at first glance, but a simple twist sets Ka-Glom ever-so-slightly apart from its classic Russian counterpart: only half the pieces falling can actually be combined. You’ll need to connect four dots of “Ka-Glom jelly” to detonate the bricks of the same color, making this title a little more challenging, strategic and ultimately more addicting than merely filling up spaces. It also offers normal, time attack and puzzle modes, plus hidden modes which can be unlocked.
Blocked Traffic, (Free)
Much like Unblock Me for the iPhone, and the classic Rush Hour before it, Blocked Traffic presents players with a simple goal: Get a blocked car out of a square packed with other vehicles. The challenge, of course, is that none of them can move any way but forward and back, making it a puzzle game for the ages. The graphics on this implantation are crude, but probably won’t notice after you set to work shifting vehicles around and snap out of it two hours later.
Bubble Defense 2, ($4.99)
After dipping its toe in the waters of the tower defense genre with the simplistic Bubble Defense, Second Gear Games is back to perfect it with Bubble Defense 2. Like the original, you’ll use armed towers – including flame thrower and six-barrel towers – to protect your turf. But two new types of towers help liven up the mix, you’ll now need energy to make them shoot, and new maps extend gameplay even further.
Bubble Army ($2.99)
Bubble Army is a fantastically simple real-time strategy (RTS) game that puts you in command of a swarm of bubbles, each of which contains a varying number of ‘troops’. Your goal is to take over the entire playing field, but here’s the catch: every time you attack an enemy bubble, the attacking bubble loses a portion of its troops. With varying levels of difficulty and enemy AI, this game is easy to pick up, but challenging enough to keep you coming back.
Next Dual Pack ($0.99)
This update of the award-winning game Next was re-developed from scratch, making it playable on both touchscreen and trackball devices — and they’ve also added 128 new levels. The object of this puzzle game is to eliminate all colored blocks on the screen. This is accomplished by moving blocks of the same color next to each other, at which point they will disappear. Don’t let the game’s simplicity fool you though, some levels will leave you stumped for days.