Under The Radar: December 15, 2011

We’re halfway through the App Store’s busiest month of the year, and it’s not just the big games that are demanding our attention. Scores of indie games have launched as well, and we dug through them to find five of the best. Here are our picks for some of the best new indie games.

TightWire Adventures

TightWire Adventures cracked us up with one look at the screenshots, but the game itself is a lot of fun, too. You play as a balloon-shaped man who must walk or unicycle across a tightrope. You’ll travel to exotic locations, like the Pyramids in Egypt or the Grand Canyon, to amaze spectators with your mastery of the game’s tilt controls. An added challenge: You have to deflect garbage thrown at you by hecklers, or fall with a splat onto the pavement.

Price: $.99

Buy from iTunes

Oranges & Lemurs

In this physics-based puzzler, you have to feed a gang of adorable lemurs by directing fruit their way. Lemurs of a particular color (say, purple) will prefer particular fruits (for example, plums). If you enjoy physics games like Cover Orange or Isaac Newton’s Gravity, you’ll also enjoy the charming style and excellent production values in Oranges & Lemurs.

Price: $.99

Buy from iTunes

Sophia Masquerade

Sophia Masquerade is designed in the tradition of time management games like Sally’s Salon, but with a slightly more elegant twist. You have to prepare customers for a night out at a masked ball, but whether it’s for a classy dinner party or sordid Eyes Wide Shut perversion, we’ll never know. Each customer has a specific look they’re going for, so you’ll have to match each customer up with the perfect outrageous outfit.

Price: $1.99

Buy from iTunes

Grabatron

50s sci-fi movies meet arcade claw machines in this goofy, wild game. In Grabatron, you control (using tilt) a clunky flying saucer with a grappling hook. You can pick up livestock, cars, and humans, and you’ll be given a few goals like abducting eight pigs or killing five farmers with their own tractors. You’ll also be able to explore as you destroy– for example, taking out a nearby power plant let us fly by a row of surface-to-air missiles unharmed.

Price: $.99

Buy from iTunes

MinoMonsters

Nintendo’s not likely to bring Pokemon to iOS anytime soon, so if you love collecting aggressive critters, check out MinoMonsters instead. You start off the game by landing on a beach filled with vicious creatures, but all you have to do is tap on your opponent or special abilities to fight back. Eventually, you’ll be able to tame them with candy, and have them fight on your side. MinoMonsters has a lot of professional polish, so try it out if you’re looking for something cute and cuddly.

Price: $.99

Buy from iTunes