Emerging Free iOS Apps: Old Apps go Free and New Apps Show Modest Debuts

By Kathleen De Vere Comment

This week’s free iOS charts were dominated by games. However, unlike last week, where a number of new games put in strong performances right out of the gate, this week’s new offerings didn’t fare so well. High profile releases from Konami, Namco Bandai and BackFlip only managed to traction in the lower end of the charts, beaten by older games from Codefreeze, EA and Outfit7 who re-popularized their old games with updates and limited time sales.

New Titles on the iPhone Free Apps List

(Update) Jet Ball – Independent developer Codefreeze returns to the free app charts again with their game Jet Ball. Currently the #8 free app, Jet Ball is an update on brick breaker formula. The game supports multi-touch input and gives players a huge amount of variety: 145 levels, 60 different kinds of blocks and 25 types of power-up and power-down. Updated on September 22nd to add Open Feint leaderboard support, Jet Ball monetizes through in-app purchases of extra levels.

High Caliber Hunting – EA’s older game High Caliber Hunting has gone from $0.99 to free for a limited time, and the sale has pushed it up to the #10 spot on this week’s charts. Touting itself as the most authentic hunting simulation game on the App store, High Caliber Hunting lets players stalk and shoot more than 20 types of animals using 40 different weapons. While players are limited to the shooting North American animals, there are also $1.99 in-app purchases that allow players to blast animals in Africa and Australia too. EA released High Caliber Hunting on November 25th, 2010 and hasn’t updated the app since.

Stupidness 3 – Next up is the latest edition of Taipei based developer Orangenose Studios’ logic game, Stupidness 3. Currently the #15 free app, Stupidness 3 is a collection of 35 brain teasers designed to test the user’s lateral thinking and problem solving skills. Users can post their results to Facebook (if they’re not too embarrassed) or purchase the full version (which comes with over 100 brainteasers) for $0.99.

PES 2012 – FIFA Soccer 12 may be doing very well on the charts, but it’s not the only high profile soccer game that’s come out in the past week. This week’s #16 app is Konami Digital’s PES 2012 – Pro Evolution Soccer. While the game is technically free, an in app purchase is needed to unlock any features other than a half-length trial game. After a $5.99 in app purchase, players get the real game and a host of features centered around social gameplay and social network integration. PES 2012 also offers in-app purchases, so players can buy better players for their teams and boost their league rankings.

(Update) Prize Claw Halloween - Just in time for fall, Game Circus has refreshed their popular Prize Claw game, with a Halloween theme. Like the prize machines found in arcades all over the world, Prize Claw Halloween is about grabbing goodies, but spices up the gameplay with collectibles, holiday themed machines and missions to complete.  Developed by Texas-based studio Game Circus, the app is free but monetizes through in-app purchases of extra grabs and coins. Prize Claw Halloween was released on September 23rd and is currently the #30 free app.

New Titles on the iPad Free Apps List

Talking Rex the Dinosaur - Last month Outfit7 reinvigorated the popularity of its older talking animal app Larry the Bird by making it free for a limited time, and this month Talking Rex the Dinosaur gets the game treatment. Currently the #9 free app on iPad (and #26 on iPhone), Rex is a talking, interactive virtual pet that will repeat what you say, respond to touch input, and even fight with other dinosaurs. Slovenian developer Outfit7, were mostly recently in the news after their CEO Andrej Nabergoj stepped down. The team is said to have been at odds over whether to take a big slug of funding to step up their game or keep it a bootstrapped lifestyle business.

Toppling Towers HD – Big Fish Games shows up on the iOS charts again, but this time it’s with arcade-style castle smasher Toppling Towers. Released on September 28th, Toppling Towers features Angry Birds-esque gameplay and a sideways medieval story. Players must use a variety of siege weaponry in their quest to defeat an evil princess. Toppling Towers is currently the #14 game on the free charts, and the full game is is unlocked with at $4.99 in-app purchase.

KATAMARI Amore – After a disappointing debut in 2008, Namco Bandai is trying surreal puzzle game series Katamari again on iOS, with the #31 ranked KATAMARI Amore. As with all the previous Katamari games, the player controls the Prince as he attempts to pick up objects as many objects as he can and create a series of giant katamaris for his father, The King of All Cosmos. The game comes with one free time trial stage, and players can purchase additional packs of levels for $3.99 each. KATAMARI Amore was released on September 30th.

PBS for iPad – TV continues to be one of the most popular things to watch on an iPad, and this week’s #35 ranked app is PBS for iPad, one of five TV apps currently within the top 50 on the free charts. Updated on October 3rd with enhancements, bug fixes, and cross-device support, PBS for iPad is the grown-up companion to the popular PBS KIDS app. The app gives users access a growing library of more than 300 videos, including the network’s most popular shows like Antiques Roadshow, Nova and Frontline.

Boss Battles HD - Fresh off their DrgaonVale success, Colorado based BackFlip Studios is back with another arcade style game, #39 ranked Boss Battles HD.  A top-down shooter that promises everything from Game Center achievements to Space Bees, Boss Battles HD puts players in the role of an adorable, but deadly Raccoon bounty hunter who’s been tasked with bringing peace to the galaxy. As they progress through the game, players collect space gems which must be strategically used to upgrade their ship’s weapons, as each boss is weak against some types, but strong against others. Boss Battle HD was released on September 30th and monetizes through in-app gem purchases.