Emerging Free iOS Apps: MinoMonsters, Jetpack Joyride and Trade Mania

Once again, this week’s free charts showed the most variety and changeover in the iOS app rankings. Both MinoMonsters and Halfbrick took games down the free-to-play route, which gave the games traction they hadn’t seen when they were paid. On the iPad front,  Game Insight’s new hidden object game also made a strong debut.

This Week’s Top Free iPhone Apps

Yeti Town – Sixwaves Lolappsfirst foray into mobile apps seems to be going well, with its brand-new title Yeti Town making a strong debut in the #2 position on the free game charts. The game is essentially Spry Fox’s Facebook and Google+ hit Triple Town, but with a different theme, replacing bears with yetis and castles with skyscrapers. The game also monetizes the same way Triple Town does, though the purchase of special items and extra moves in exchange for coins.

Jetpack Joyride – Halfbrick’s Jetpack Joyride zooms to the top of the charts after going free. The game follows the adventures of over-the-top hero Barry Steakfries as he “liberates” experimental jetpacks from the clutches of evil. The game is currently the #6 free iPhone app and was updated on December 14th with Christmas themed content.

Christmas Story – While there are lots of business sims that have updated to have a Christmas theme, this week’s #10 free iPhone app, Outblaze VenturesChristmas Story jumps straight to the holidays, tasking players with managing a busy toy shop right before Christmas. The game monetizes through the purchase of the game’s premium currency, Santa Points and through advertising. Players can also choose to watch ads to earn Santa Points.

Mobster Wars 3D – Independent developer FireMocha grabs enters the charts in the #15 spot with its new game Mobster Wars 3D. Released on December 16th, the game is a MMO that features more than 200 missions. As with is typical with mafia-themed MMOs, players can recruit other players into their mobs, run money laundering rackets and collect more than 140 weapons and vehicles. The game monetizes via in-app purchases.

MinoMonsters – Andreessen Horowitz backed MinoMonsters’ eponymous iOS game MinoMonsters closes out our list in the #38 spot on the free iPhone charts after going free for Christmas. Featuring gameplay similar to Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise, players must collect, train and battle a variety of adorable monsters called Minos. The game monetizes through in-app purchases of the game’s premium currency, MinoCredits.

This Week’s Top Free iPad Apps

Pinball HD Collection – This week’s #1 free iPad app is OOO Gramprom’s new pinball game, Pinball HD Collection. Shooting to the top of the charts almost immediately after its release on December 15th, the game collects many of the tables previously available in Gameprom’s other Pinball titles into one app. Players can buy extra tables via $0.99 in-app purchases, and the game uses Game Center to track global high scores.

Trade Mania HD Lite – Dekovir’s take on Monopoly, Trade Mania HD Lite rises to the #2 spot this week. A turn-based single-player board game (or multiplayer if friends share a single iPad) challenges players to become the biggest property owner in the world. Players can buy properties in actual cities all around the world, trade products and complete tasks to win extra rewards. The game is free, but the full version of the game is a separate paid app, currently on sale for $0.99.

Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure – Russian developer Game Insight takes a stab at the hidden object genre with its game Mystery Manor: Hidden Adventure. Already at the #3 spot since its release on December 14th, Mystery Manor focuses on adventure, exploration and social elements to set it apart from other hidden object games. The game is free-to-play and monetizes through in-app purchases.

The Sims Freeplay – EA’s shift to the free-to-play model intensifies with The Sims FreePlay. This week’s #6 most popular free iPad app, The Sims FreePlay lets users create up to 16 sims, give them homes, care for their pets, guide them into careers, and interact with them in real time. The game monetizes through in-app purchases of Simoleans and Life Points.

Breakout: Boost – We move all the way down to the #37 spot to find out last free app of the week, Atari’s Breakout: Boost. A free-to-play version of the classic arcade game, the game comes with 5 free levels, but players can add additional textures and level packs for $0.99 each. Breakout: Boost also supports OpenFeint and GameCenter achievements. Atari released Breakout: Boost on December 15th.