After a strong surge by utilities in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, games once again rose to dominance on this week’s free iOS charts. While there weren’t as many big new releases on the charts this week as there has been in the past, MindJolt had a high profile debut with its Humane Society approved game, Fluff Friends Rescue, and independent developer Ivan Starchenkov found success on the iPad charts with his game The Sheeps.
This week’s emerging free iOS apps
[Update] My Town 2 – Booyah’s second try at location-based gaming, My Town 2 continues to perform well after its release, leading our free iPhone charts this week in the No. 4 position. A citybuilding game with real-world integration, the game allows players to add real-life locations to their virtual town, and then check in to those places to complete in-game quests and unlock rewards. The free-to-play game received a small update on Jan. 4 to change its icon and make minor bug fixes.
[Update] Pocket Potions – Breaktime Studios’ Pocket Potions is this week’s No. 7 free app. A business sim game with a fantasy theme, Pocket Potions tasks players with running a magical potion shop and combines business and farming mechanics. Players don’t just sell magical items; they must create the ingredients for them too. The game is free-to-play and monetizes through in-app purchases.
Fluff Friends Rescue – MindJolt and SGN’s Fluff Friends Rescue claims the No. 31 spot on the free charts after a flashy debut with plenty of press coverage. A joint venture between the developer and the Humane Society of the United States, the game is an animal care game with a twist — players aren’t running a pet store but an animal rehabilitation shelter that readies strays for adoption. Users can also purchase in-game Humane Society branded items where 100 percent of the net proceeds go to the charity.
Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal – With the New Year comes the annual wave of New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. MyFitnessPal’s app Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal rides the self improvement wave all the way to the No. 35 spot on the free iPhone charts. The app features a database of more than 1.1 million foods and instructions for 350 exercises.
Dress to Impress – Hong Kong-based developer Dream Cortex (also known as Animoca) closes out the free iPhone charts in the No. 40 position with its fashion game Dress to Impress. The female-focused game allows players to re-create themselves and their friends as anime-inspired avatars that can be shared via Facebook and email. The point of the game is to go on daily fashion trips and impress people to earn Fashion Points, which are used to purchase more outfits and avatar items. Users can purchase fashion points, but they can also be earned for free by sharing updates on Facebook.
This week’s emerging free iPad apps
The Sheeps HD Free – One of the only new apps on the charts this week, independent developer Ivan Starchenkov’s new game The Sheeps HD Free rises to the No. 2 spot on the iPad charts. The puzzle game challenges players to find their way through the game’s levels by guiding three sheep, each of which has its own speciality around various obstacles. The free version of the game comes with a limited number of free levels, but to access all 30, the player must purchase the $0.99 version.
Talking Pierre the Parrot for iPad – Moving all the way down to the No. 29 spot is Outfit7’s Talking Pierre the Parrot for iPad. A teenage parrot with a penchant for noise and destruction, like all of Outfit7’s interactive characters, Pierre will repeat words that are spoken to him and has a variety of amusing reactions to being poked and touched. A $2.99 in-app purchase unlocks additional content and animations.
iMonster HD Free – Lan Han Technology’s take on Pokémon, iMonster HD, is this week’s No. 33 free iPad app. Featuring familiar combat, training, evolution and character designs to Nintendo’s blockbuster series, the online multiplay game features 393 different monsters to collect and monetizes via in-app purchases.
CNN App for iPad – CNN’s self-titled iPad app claims the No. 40 position on the free iPad charts this week. Updated on Dec. 29 with an election feature called America’s Choice 2012 Election Center, the app allows users to live stream the cable news network’s shows, read news, save stories for offline viewing and share updates with friends via Facebook, Twitter and email.
NOOK for iPad – Barnes and Noble’s e-reader app NOOK for iPad rises to No. 50 on the iPad free charts. The app was last updated on Dec. 12, returning custom themes to the reader and allowing users to set the colors for text, links, pages and even highlights. The app provides access to the full NOOK store, a library of more than 2 million books, magazines and newspapers.