Under The Radar: Novermber 30, 2012

New iOS games are launching at a faster pace as we approach Christmas, so it’s even more important that we take a moment this week to identify our favorite new hidden gems. Everyone already knows about Baldur’s Gate and GTA Vice City, but what about SiliBili HD, 4NR, and From Cheese? Check out our picks below for the best new indie iOS games.

SiliBili HD

There’s only one way to properly explore a brand-new planet– with a warhammer and shield. We’re not sure why these two cosmic explorers, Sili and Bili, don’t come equipped with laser cannons and plasma shields, but the low-tech approach seems to work well enough. In each level, you have to capture five magical stones and return them to a central location, all while fending off hostile aliens and crossing environmental obstacles. The graphics in SiliBili HD are lush and cartoon-like, but we also enjoyed the frantic button-mashing combat.

Price: $1.99

Download from iTunes

4NR

One night, your pixelated figure receives a vision. An angel appears, urging you to climb a ladder upward to escape the wrath of Sheol, an all-consuming being of darkness. If you choose to listen to him, you’ll have to climb ladders and make precise jumps to stay ahead of the encroaching evil. But you can also choose to tunnel downward, facing a different series of obstacles. 4NR has clever retro graphics, two gameplay modes (where you can earn either a high or low score), and surreal gameplay twists that mimic Pac-Man’s screen-warping skills. This one’s definitely too weird to pass up.

Price: $.99

Download from iTunes

Arranger

Most RPGs star a warrior, wizard, or thief, but this is the first one we’ve played featuring a musical arranger. Like 4NR, Arranger uses painfully low-res graphics, but to a brilliant effect. As you roam the land, meeting strange townsfolk, you’ll have to perform minigames like combing fleas out of a cow’s hide. These tasks will earn you new musical instruments, which you’ll have to use to “attack” other characters’ brains in a timing-based battle. Arranger looks bizarre, but it has a great sense of humor, and a surprising amount of gameplay variety.

Price: $.99

Download from iTunes

Freeze!

Freeze! looks a lot like Contre Jour, a silhouetted physics puzzler from Chillingo. However, the gameplay is quite a departure. You have to rotate a platform (often lined with spikes) in order to drop your sentient eyeball towards the exit. The twist is that you can freeze him in mid-air, move the level, and then unfreeze him with an immediate change in gravity. The puzzles are challenging, but it’s the artsy atmosphere that impressed us the most. Even better: The first set of levels is free.

Price: Free

Download from iTunes

From Cheese

In this adorable 3D maze game, you control the cheese fumes wafting from a hunk of Swiss. By tracing a line for the cheese smell, you can attract a Ratatouille-like mouse gourmet past a labyrinth of walls, traps, and predators. The more direct your path, and the faster your mouse finds the cheese, the better your score on each level. Not only are the gameplay mechanics solid, but we love the look of this game. Check it out if you enjoy cat-and-mouse games like Spy Mouse.

Price: $.99

Download from iTunes