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Eric Tong’s 2079 is a clever interpretation of Geometry Wars for the iPhone. True to the two-stick shooter genre, your enemies spawn in waves, and then come after you in patterns; you have to dodge and strafe around them while hosing them down with your guns. Tilt controls move the ship, while your right thumb controls the omni-directional cannon. 2079 isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but it is definitely one of the better shooters on the App Store right now, even though we wish we could play it entirely by touch. It’ll get your blood pumping, and we appreciate the smooth graphics, power-ups, and online scoring. We give it a 3.
Daycare Nightmare is a time management game in the vein of Diner Dash and Chocolate Shop Frenzy, but it breaks from the food service convention to put you in the middle of a truly terrible situation–you play as the lone babysitter at a daycare center for infant monsters! Parenthood is never easy, but these little monsters are a real handful; it’s all you can do to keep them moving from station to station to satisfy their needs. As always in these games, you can spend your profits to upgrade your equipment and keep the babies at bay a little longer. We really like this game’s premise and sense of humor, and it can be fun at times, but it’s repetitive and the graphics and sound really suck. It earns a 2.
We know that Whack It: Frogs doesn’t sound so good, but sometimes you just want a simple 99 cent reflex game to bang away at for a couple minutes, and this game fits the bill. There’s no thinking required whatsoever. You hit the green frogs, let the red frogs go, watch carefully for the froggy princes (who give you bonus points), and groove out to the highly amphibious sound effects–what’s not to love? It’s the best whack-a-mole game we’ve encountered thus far. These croakers deserve a 3.
WordJong plays like a cross between Mah Jong and Scrabble. Each and every calendar day the game gives you a new puzzle built out of piled-up letter tiles. You score points by plucking tiles off the puzzle to spell words, but you can only select tiles that aren’t covered or blocked in by other tiles, so there’s an element of strategy, too. There are seven WordJong Masters to play against, and even though they look like animals out of a Disney cartoon, they supply plenty of challenge. WordJong has solid gameplay, as well as a beautifully meditative presentation. We give it a 3.
Mines In Space takes the old Minesweeper game that used to come for free with Windows and tricks it out with all kinds of crazy bells and whistles. Not only will this game generate enormous classic Minesweeper puzzles for you, it also supplies three Minesweeper variants that turn the classic game on its head. Finally, there’s a “Final Frontier” progressive quest mode that feeds you 100 mixed challenges in a row, which is enough to keep you busy for a while. This game has a ton of content for $1.99, as well as stellar production values, but the one thing it doesn’t seem to do is let you play an untimed game, and that’s a big oversight. Still, it absolutely merits a 3.
Table Tennis Star has really good graphics and solid basic gameplay, but the more we played it, the less we enjoyed ourselves. Only two inferior characters are unlocked at the start of the game, and you need to beat the Championship mode to unlock more capable players, which seems like a Catch-22. Also, although applying spin to the ball is pretty easy, hitting a power shot requires you to touch and hold a small button to charge a meter. It’s very clumsy, but you’ll need to do it a lot if you want to get very far. Table Tennis Star needs an update to clean up some of these problems before it’ll get our recommendation. For now, we give it a 2.