Emerging free iOS apps: Egg Punch, Sherlock Holmes and Farmkill

The iOS free charts were once again dominated by games, but unlike previous weeks, smaller independent developers had strong showings, breaking into the top of both the iPhone and the iPad charts. Established developers also performed well, with Seattle’s Big Fish Games seeing a strong debut for its newest game Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles, which sits in the No. 1 spot after its release on Feb. 9.

This week’s top free iPhone apps

[Update] Egg Punch – This week’s No. 1 spot belongs to Copenhagen-based Pixel Juice AppsEgg Punch. A iOS take on mini-golf, the game challenges players to collect feathers, scattered about after being stolen by evil rabbits. The game features 54 levels to master, Game Center integration and is monetized through in-app currency purchases, which range from $0.99 to $49.99. Egg Punch was last updated on Dec. 16.

Ski On Neon – Independent studio Esoteric Development makes an appearance in the charts this week with its breakout game Ski On Neon. This week’s No. 3 free app, the game is an evolution of the Tiny Wings one-tap to play gameplay mechanics, but updates the formula with new gameplay modes and challenges. Read our full review of the game here.

Parking Mania Free – Parking may not seem like  a topic filled with enough excitement to warrant its own game, but Chillingo’s latest offering, Mobirate’s Parking Mania Free is disproving that theory by climbing all the way to No. 7 on the free iPhone app charts. Players can try their hand at parking over 80 different vehicles and the game offers three different control schemes to help players make careful adjustments. The app monetizes through advertisements (which can be removed) and in-app purchases.

Fish Tales – Website-less developer Everywhere Inc.’s aquarium sim Fish Tales takes the No. 10 spot on our charts this week. The game allows players to evolve, collect and trade hundreds of fish.

Shake Spears! – Alwar Entertainment’s game Shake Spears! climbs to the No. 14 position this week on the iPhone charts. A game based on the medieval sport of jousting, Shake Spears! challenges players to become the most heroic knight in all the land by winning more than 20 matches. Players can upgrade their weapons, armor and skills with gold, which is either earned or acquired via in-app purchases.

This week’s top free iPad apps

Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles – Big Fish Games has a very strong debut for its newest game, Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles, which tops the free iPad app charts in the No. 1 position this week. A point and click adventure game with hidden object elements, the full version of the game is unlocked with a $6.99 in-app purchase.

ThreeColor HD – This week’s No. 8 free iPad app is Alfa Production’s ThreeColor HD — a game that is either a more complicated take on Tetris thanks to the introduction of color matching elements, or a stripped down version of the notoriously difficult Puzzlejuice that removes the word game aspects.

Farmkill – Sydney-based Edible Entertainment has a strong debut for its new game Farm Kill, this week’s No. 9 free iPad app. A tower defense title where the player is on the defending side, Farm Kill challenges players with defending a farm from 28 straight nights of zombie attacks, armed only with guns, mines, barricades and variety of cartoonishly violent plants and animals that hate zombies.

Battlefield 3: Aftershock – EA has a hard landing in the No. 12 spot on the iPad charts with its free game Battlefield 3: Aftershock. Released on Feb. 8 as a completely free-to-play game, the game has been criticized for its limited scope (one map, four guns, multiplayer only) and its connectivity issues.

Lep’s World HD – Have you ever wanted to play Super Mario Bros. with a leprechaun theme? If so, Lep’s World HD is the game for you. A not so subtle take on Nintendo’s classic series of games by Ner Brothers, Lep’s World is the No. 45 free iPad app this week. The free version of the game comes with four levels, but fans who are looking for more mario style fun on their iPads can buy the full version to get access to 28 levels.