Emerging Top Free Apps on iOS: New Games Bubble Up Amid Suspected Rankings Tweak

It’s been an incredibly volatile week for the top free apps list on iOS. On Monday, we reported that the big pay-per-install networks like Flurry were picking up what appeared to be a ranking algorithm change. Pay-per-install networks help developers break into the Top 25 by securing them enough downloads to ensure visibility, so these companies are keenly aware of how many downloads it takes to achieve a certain ranking on the charts.

Flurry suspected that Apple was starting to include more than the raw download rate in the ranking algorithm as older apps with presumably high daily active usage like Facebook, Pandora and Skype inexplicably rose over the weekend. But then new apps started to reappear at the top of the charts yesterday. Now, almost the entire top 5 for the iPhone and most of the top 5 for iPad have changed. While not all are new applications, most are still fairly young and never before seen — at least not this high — on the top free iOS apps lists.

New Titles Within Top iPhone Free Apps List

Stylish SprintStylish Sprint — There is a new top free app this week from Playus Soft. The title is Stylish Sprint, but don’t expect it to stay long. The app is only free for a limited time. That said, since the app also monetizes through in-app purchases, this special is certainly a prudent move. In the game (updated April 18th), players control the popular web culture character of “stickman” as they move through a stylish, randomly-generated, action-platforming world. As for Playus Soft, there is little information on this Korean developer. However, they do host one other title, Creatures – The First Blood on iPhone.

Stupidness 2 — Moving right along, a company by the name of Orangenose Studios hosts a title new to the list: Stupidness 2. Not completely new, this title was updated April 14th with some bug fixes. It might not seem like much, but evidently that was enough as this quiz and quasi-IQ test application is now #2 on the top free iPhone apps list. Regarding Orangenose Studios, this is yet another enigmatic developer, whose only other iOS title is a paid, “PRO,” version of Stupidness 2.

CrackleCrackle — The #3 app on the list this week is a new app (released April 18th) by the name of Crackle. It’s a television app allows users to view full movie and television episodes directly from their iPhone. Its developer is Crackle Inc., a multi-platform video entertainment network and studio based out of Los Angeles.

One Single Life — In at #4 is another young game called One Single Life. It was monetized previously through in-app purchases, but a recent update on April 12th has removed them, which likely contributes to its rise. A platforming game, players attempt to progress through the various challenges with the risk of not being able to play anymore should they die (hence the title). Absurdity aside, the app is developed by FreshTone Games, a small Austrialian developer with only one other title, iProton, under its belt.

Photosynth — Last on the iPhone list this week is Microsoft’s new title — released April 18th — Photosynth. In at #5, the application allows users to take panoramic photographs by basically sticking together multiple photos. Moreover, the panoramic images can then be shared via Facebook.

New Titles Within Top iPad Free Apps List

Crackle — Video entertainment network, Crackle Inc., is making itself known on iPad as well. It’s new title, Crackle, is also #1 on the top free iPad apps list. Allowing users to view television and movies on their iDevice, it is essentially mobile television; commercials and everything.

Beyond YnthBeyond Ynth HD — Beyond Ynth HD is an older game, having been last updated back in January. However, developer FDG Entertainment has made this puzzle game free for Easter, and thus the title has shot up the iPad charts to #2. Players control Kribl, a little bug that must bring light back to their kingdom by finding the light-giving “Dazzly Diamonds,” which were stolen. FDG Entertainment is a veteran iOS developer and publisher, having been around since 2001, based out of Munich.

MyPad 2 — MyPad is a third-party Facebook app for iPad that has been around for some time. However, as of April 19th, MyPad 2 has been released. Though the app still hosts all the Facebook integrations users have come to know, the new version has been completely overhauled and includes new features such as portraits, event calendars, and supports multiple users. It is developed by Loytr, a very small developer out of San Francisco

Men vs MachinesMen vs Machines — A futuristic top down shooter from Glu Mobile holds the #13 spot as players must battle against the robot armies of G.E.A.R. in Men vs Machines. A publicly traded, San Francisco-based mobile developer, Glu has been in business for the about a decade and holds offices within the United States, Brazil, China, Russia, and the UK. As with other recent titles, this April 14th-released app monetizes itself through the in-app purchases of virtual currency.

Bug Village — At #15 is yet another new Glu title (released April 14th as well), Bug Village. A virtual space game reminiscent of titles such as Smurfs’ Village, the game also monetizes itself through the in-app purchasing of virtual currency. The only difference between this title and its predecessors, is now players are making a home for ants and bees.