Saturday, May 21, 2011

Casey's Contraptions are built into our iPad Games of the Week

If Casey was a real boy, he'd likely be an only child, happily spending countless hours in his toy-festooned bedroom dreaming up the elaborate physics puzzles you'll find in his self-titled Casey's Contraptions iPad game. You'll need a sharp eye and lots of imagination to line up bookshelves, soccer balls, boxes, toys, balloons, and other items to get the ball from the start to finish. It's all about trying things out and having fun, which makes it the perfect lead app in this week's list of top games for your Apple tablet.

Draw Jump takes the usual "tilt and bounce your way ever-higher" genre to the next level by adding bouncy, finger-swiping platform building to the mix, while Battle Dots brings a familiar pen and ink game to our mobile devices. Last but not least is iBLOBS, a must-play for fleet-fingered iPadders looking for a quick, free gaming thrill.

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.


Casey’s Contraptions
You'll need a sharp eye and lots of child-like imagination get the ball from the start to finish in this spot-on physics puzzler.

Draw Jump
Takes the usual "tilt and bounce your way ever-higher" genre to the next level by adding bouncy, finger-swiping platform building to the mix.

Battle Dots Free
This kid-friendly pen and ink game (connect the dots into a box, score) makes its move into the mobile arena.

The blobs are coming! Thankfully, you've got a can of blob whoop... cream. Have at them!


Casey’s Contraptions ($2.99)

The App Store is littered with rushed, mediocre games. Thankfully, Casey's Contraptions reminds us what a professional-grade game title can offer. Namely, rock-solid physics game play that shines like the light in every little boy's eyes as he merrily plays with his toys in his room.

Only in this iPad exclusive, you'll take on the role of only-child Casey, happily spending countless hours in your toy-filled bedroom, lining up bookshelves, soccer balls, boxes, toys, balloons, and other items to get a ball from the start to finish. It's all about trying things out and having fun, while watching gravity and physics have their way with your setups.

With more than 30 toys and other objects to choose from available inside all 72 starter levels, you'll want to move quickly to solve each puzzle and score the maximum amount of points. That's because the built-in score sharing tools will let you post your best solutions to the Game Center cloud, enabling your friends to see your brilliant work. Plus, their successes are visible as well, adding a much-needed "call a friend" tipline for when you get stuck. (And you will, trust me!)

As you unlock new objects and tools to work with, they'll also unlock inside the game's built-in level editor. Soon you'll be creating your own devilishly clever levels and sharing them with the world, all through the child-like fun and wonder of Casey's Contraptions.

Draw Jump HD ($2.99)

I'm pretty sure I've played every "tilt and bounce an avatar ever-higher" app in both the Apple and Android marketplaces. They're fun, sure, but only to a point. Thankfully, Draw Jump HD is here to bring high-quality sound effects, fun graphics, and an entirely new game play mechanic to this saturated genre -- namely, adding bouncy, finger-swiping platform building to the mix.

Here's the basics: Take control of little Cosmo, a little red rocket that only wants to do one thing -- go higher! It's your job to finger-swipe below him, creating springy platforms for him to bounce upon and thrust him upwards. Along the way, there's items to collect, stars to slingshot-around with a satisfying gravity-boosting effect, and his smiles and frowns will quickly tell you how well you're playing the game.

The title's overall Japanimation theme is cute and emotionally over-wrought (read: perfect), with just the right amout of rewards and obstacles along the way to keep you glued to your tablet. You'll need to be thoughtful in your placement of each finger-drawn trampoline to avoid hugging the edges (yes, like I did), but it's all worth it as you soar higher and higher, watching your meter meter (yep) creep ever-higher. Just like little Cosmo. If you or your kids are ready for a break from traditional "jumping" apps, I highly recommend Draw Jump HD. Cosmo's waiting!

Battle Dots Free (FREE)

My family and I are serious road-trippers. Anything less than 8-10 hours in the ol' minivan is too short. That's why an app like Battle Dots is an absolute time-killing app that is now a permanent part of our iPad collection, never to be deleted. Ever.

If you have young kids, you've likely played this game on paper dozens of time already. Just like the real-world version, Battle Dots Free presents a field of dots to view. It's your job to connect any two dots on the game grid, all in an effort to fill a box (or two or three or more) to score points. The most boxes on the grid at the end of each round wins the round, and you'll grab a special trophy with each win.

Don't have a super-cool, iPad-owning friend (or parent) to play with? No bother. Tab the control to turn one of the four player slots into the computer, and have at 'em. If you think you're in for an easy ride, prepare yourself. Even the easy AI does a superb job of grabbing every last box with that final line aching to be finger-stroked. If you're looking for a perfect one-on-one app to play with your kids, you'd be hard pressed to beat Battle Dots Free.

iBLOBS (Free)

Download this free app and prepare to unleash some serious blob repellent on the invading horde of... blobs. Your little house in the middle of the screen is woefully unprotected from the menace of these multi-colored blob boobs.

Tap the screen with your finger to quickly spray sections of the blobs with some repellent. The blob will instantly disappear. And that's all there is to it -- a never-ending cavalcade of invading blobs (some fast, some slow) all of which need to be put down with maximum prejudice by your suspiciously Barbasol-like can of whoop... cream.

It's perfect for a quick finger-smearing session, anytime, anywhere.

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