Emerging free iOS apps: Plumber Crack, Camera Awesome, Smithsonian Channel

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By Pete Davison Comment

The top free apps cover a diverse array of subject matter this week, ranging from the continuing popularity of Pictionary-styled draw-and-guess game Draw Something to the fruit-splattering mayhem of Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage. Games make up the bulk of the most-downloaded apps on both iPhone and iPad this week, but free photo-retouching app Camera Awesome, video library Smithsonian Channel and “read articles later” app Readability put in a strong showing, too.

This week’s top free iPhone apps

Draw Something Free — OMGPOP’s draw-and-guess game continues its strong performance in the charts this week, topping the free app leaderboard. The free version of the game is ad-supported, includes a smaller dictionary of words to guess and does not provide players with an initial batch of coins with which to unlock color packs to enhance their drawings — players must either earn the coins slowly through play or purchase them. The game is completely cross-compatible with the paid version. Check out our review here.

Plumber Crack – Office Jerk creator Fluik shoots to No. 3 in the free app charts with a game which proves sometimes players just want to throw things at a plumber’s butt. The game monetizes through in-app purchase of currency to unlock outfits for the long-suffering handyman.

Camera Awesome — The No. 4 free app this week is a new photo retouching app from SmugMugCamera Awesome allows its users to “awesomize” their photos through a variety of filters and adjustments. Users can adjust focus, exposure, color balance and apply a variety of presets to their images and share them via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Photobucket, Picasa, Flickr and SmugMug’s own service. The app monetizes through the purchase of additional filters and presets and was released on Feb. 28.

Lorax Garden — A variety of Dr. Seuss-themed apps from Oceanhouse Media are on sale this week in celebration of the late author’s Mar. 2 birthdate. 2010’s Lorax Garden, which challenges players to grow their own Truffula Trees as seen in the book, has gone free as part of this promotion, leaping to No. 6 in the free app charts in the process.

Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage Lite — The new free version of Thruster’s fruit-flinging game based on Dane Boedigheimer’s irritating giggling orange closes out our look at the free app charts this week. Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage Lite holds the No. 16 spot on the free app leaderboard. The game monetizes through in-app advertising, but players can also remove it with a one-off $0.99 purchase. There is also a $1.99 paid version available which includes additional features and Game Center support.

This week’s top free iPad apps

Smithsonian Channel for iPad — Smithsonian Networks’ new iPad app enters the charts at No. 3, offering a range of clips and full episodes from TV shows on the Smithsonian TV channel. Users can also create and save their own custom playlists. Smithsonian Channel for iPad does not feature any monetization in its own right, but instead serves as a promotional tool for the Smithsonian Channel’s offerings on various TV services in the U.S.

Readability — Popular “read later” service Readability comes to iOS with a free native Universal app, currently at No. 10 in the iPad charts. The service allows users to save articles from the Web for reading now or later in a clean, uncluttered “reading view” as well as the facility to archive and share articles.

Requiem: Unleashed — A first-person perspective “running” game reminiscent of titles such as Temple Run, Requiem: Unleashed from Skyboard shows up at No. 23 in the iPad charts this week. The game is a rerelease of an earlier game simply known as Requiem. This version was released on Feb. 25 and includes Game Center leaderboards and achievements. The game is free but monetizes through two in-app purchases: an additional level pack and a pack of special abilities, available for $0.99 each.

Truffula Shuffula — Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax Movie – Rather than being based on the original book, Truffula Shuffula from NBC Universal is a puzzle game designed to promote the currently-showing Lorax movie. The game is presently sitting at No. 26 in the iPad charts.

Mystic Diary: Haunted Island HD — Closing out our look at the free iPad charts at No. 28 this week is the latest hidden object adventure game from Big Fish Games. Like most of the publisher’s other titles, Mystic Diary: Haunted Island HD is freely downloadable but players are only able to progress through part of the story unless they pay a $4.99 “full game unlock” fee. The game has received mostly positive reviews from App Store reviewers so far, though some have criticized it for its relatively short length.

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