Emerging Free iOS Apps: Temple Run, Forest Defense HD and Skitch for iPad

The free iOS charts saw quite a bit of changeover this week as millions of new users activated their iPhone, iPod Touches and iPads. Utilities got a big push on both the iPhone and the iPad charts, but Imangi Studios was the biggest gainer, with its hit game Temple Run climbing all the way to the #2 position on the iPhone charts. New releases from Pocket Gems and Animoca also performed well.

This Week’s Top Free iPhone Apps

[Update] Temple Run – The husband and wife team behind Imangi Studios, makers of Temple Run have had a good holiday season, as their game Temple Run rose to the #2 position on the free charts this week. A free-to-play action/adventure game inspired by a famous scene in Indiana Jones, the game challenges players to escape from a dangerous temple filled with booby traps.

Magic Guitar – This week’s #4 free app is Smule’s Magic Guitar, the shake-to-play music game. No doubt pushed up the charts after the holiday activation influx, the music app turns a user’s phones into a simplified guitar. Smule recently made the news for their acquisition of Kush, a move that gave the combined company a 30 million download user base.

Where’s My Water? Free – Disney’s breakout hit Where’s My Water goes free in this mini version. Currently the #9 free app, the game comes with 10 free levels and is doing a 10 day promotion in a lead-up to January 1st, where players will receive another five free levels to bring the game’s total to 25. The paid version of the game comes with 140 levels and free updates with extra content.

Zombie Takeover – Pocket Gems branches out from the animal care genre with its newest game, Zombie Takeover, a tap-to-fight brawler that switches the zombies vs. humans trope up and challenges players to lead the undead invasion. The game monetizes through in-app purchases and is currently the #12 free iPhone app.

Pig Rockets – Last but not least, we have Shanghai-based Camigo Media’s #19 ranked game, Pig Rockets. A combination between puzzle and tower defense, the game challenges players to defend their houses from wave after wave of pig rockets using a variety of cartoonish items like bombs and giant hammers. The game monetizes through the purchase of bacon – the game’s premium currency – which can be used to unlock more power-ups and upgrades.

This Week’s Top Free iPad Apps

Forest Defense HD – Animoca leads the iPad charts this week in the #5 position with its new game Forest Defense HD. The title is a strategy game that challenges players to put together an army of magical woodland creatures to save the forest from the evil forces of the Automata. The game monetizes through the purchase of its premium currency, Sun Power, and was released on December 21st.

Facebook – Facebook’s official iPad app also performed well this week, finishing in the #6 position. The utility was updated on December 18th to add support for Mobile Timeline (although the feature isn’t supported on the iPad yet) and to improve access to friends lists, subscribers, subscriptions and photos.

Kindle – Amazon’s strategy of getting its content onto multiple devices paid off this Christmas, as the both the Kindle Fire and the Kindle App proved to be popular. This week’s #10 free app, the Kindle utility gives readers access to Amazon’s Kindle Store, allowing them to access Amazon’s library of more than a million eBooks and 400 magazines.

Skitch for iPad – After a successful debut on Android, Evernote brings its photo and graphics based note taking tool, Skitch, to the iPad. A free utility that works in conjunction with Evernote, it allows users to mark up and share screenshots, photos, maps and even webpages. Skitch for iPad was released on December 21st and is currently the #20 free iPad app.

Allrecipes – Your Kitchen Inspiration – Finally moving all the way down to the #38 position, we find popular cooking website Allrecipes.com’s app, Allrecipes – Your Kitchen Inspiration. Last updated back in September, the free version of the app comes with thousands of member submitted and tested recipes. For a $4.99 in-app purchase, users can upgrade to the pro version and get access to advanced tools and remove ads from the app.