Free to Play: Game Recommendations for January 8

Just in case you haven’t received an official greeting: Welcome to 2013. The App Store is all set to shine through the year, and charming freemium games are on-hand to set up the stage. This week’s recommendations include unique block puzzles, a kitty cat rescue mission, and less helpless cats that can sail through time and space. Oh, and do you know what a pangolin is? Prepare for an education.

Pangolin

A pangolin is a small, scaly mammal that’s native to Africa and Asia. In the real world, it waddles along and chows down on insects, anteater-style. In the considerably more exciting world of iOS apps, pangolins bounce around in airborne mini-golf courses with the help of trampolines you set down. Pangolin for iOS is a unique puzzle/physics game with a unique protagonist. You need to maneuver cleverly to avoid traps and reach the end of each stage in as few moves as possible. The initial download grants you a sizeable number of free levels, though subsequent level packs need to be bought for $.99.

Download from iTunes

Block You

Hey, buddy! Block You, too! Block You is a cube-building game that works from the ground-up. Pieces spring up in columns of two, and you must move and flip them carefully to make as many four-by-four structures as possible (or eight-by-eight, if you’re especially lucky/talented). If your blocky mess hits the top of the screen, it’s all over. An interesting take on the Tetris formula.

Download from iTunes

Quantum Cat

The very idea of a cat whipping through space and time at the speed of light isn’t surprising; after all, cats have a talent for simply vanishing when trouble’s afoot. Where do you think they go? Nevertheless, Quantum Cat is a fun, neon-stepped blast through the void thanks to its high speeds and the constant challenge to keep up your momentum.

Download from iTunes

Catch the Cubies

Catch the Cubies is a fairly typical Match-3 game. Simply match up three (or more) “Cubies” and make them disappear along with their dopey but loveable grins. You can grab power-ups to help you clear the board, but Catch the Cubies isn’t terribly unique. That said, it’s hard to go wrong with the Match-3 formula, so if you collect entries in the genre, here’s one more solid addition for you.

Download from iTunes

Mom vs Bad

Moms are literally super heroines. It’s true. Once the rest of the family is packed off to school, mom races over to the nearest warehouse to rescue dogs, cats, and raccoons in distress. Mom vs Bad is a simple game– you simply need to throw parachutes at falling critters to grant them a soft landing– but it’s tremendously cute. Oh, and don’t worry if you screw up while trying to equip every animal. Cats always land on their feet, but don’t be surprised if you find kitty pee on your pillow the next day.

Download from iTunes