5 iOS games that’ll make you leap to the App Store [Reviews]

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Best new iOS games February 2016
Which new iOS games made the cut this month?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Today is February 29, which is always a little confusing. It’s cool that we get an extra day in the year (kinda), but we aren’t ever sure what to do with it. Do we keep acting like it’s crappy February, or should we get even more anxious for halfway-decent March? And why haven’t we filed our taxes yet?

We don’t know, but if you’re looking for a way to spend your Leap Day, here are some of the best iOS games from the past month.

The Walking Dead: Michonne

We played the first chapter of developer Telltale Games’ latest undead adventure on Mac, but if you prefer to order your zombie killing to go, it’s also available on iOS.

The Walking Dead: Michonne is a “miniseries” that will take place over three chapters instead of Telltale’s usual five. More interestingly, it fills in a narrative gap from the comic series: The story’s katana-wielding, human cure for zombies, Michonne, struck out on her own for a dozen issues or so, and this series will let us know what she was up to during that time.

So far, she’s hanging out on a boat and running afoul of some murderers, so it’s basically the same stuff she was doing with her main group but with more water. But this series is looking pretty good already because it puts you in control of a character with a fragmented, tortured mind, and watching Michonne’s heartbreaking flashbacks weave in and out of reality adds a new level of tension and dread to the already pretty harrowing zombie apocalypse. —Evan Killham

Download The Walking Dead: Michonne from the App Store for $4.99.

Cinemoji

Cinemoji-header best ios games
It’s not quite as easy as it sounds.
Photo: Man Up Time

Cinemoji is one of those dead-simple ideas that I wish I’d thought of: Can you successfully convey complex concepts like movie plots entirely through little pictures of yellow heads and seemingly random objects?

That’s it. That’s seriously it. It’s like Draw Something for people who don’t feel like drawing anything. And just like that other title, Cinemoji isn’t at all competitive, as far as I know. I haven’t seen a failure yet because I’m super good at both writing and guessing, and also the in-game hint system is really good. And other apps have surely used this same concept because it is so simple, but this is my first time with it, and it’s been fun.

It’s also really satisfying once you come up with a series of pictures that (you think) is really effective. One of the lines in my representation of director David Fincher’s dead-serious murder movie Seven was so amazing that I forgot how horrifying the thing I’d just described actually was. —Evan Killham

Download Cinemoji from the App Store for free.

Robicide

Robocide is one of those games that just captured my attention from the first level.

To progress, you send your tiny automated robots out across the battlefield, tapping on the screen to move them around and pointing them at the nearest base to destroy it. You’ll do this in direct opposition to the enemy army, which has its own tiny robots to use.

You create new robots from the cores of destroyed ones, and you can pick up and use various upgrade materials along the way. It’s a delicate balancing act that will keep your brain and your fingers engaged whether you’re playing for a short burst or a longer session. It’s lovely on iPad but perhaps best on iPhone; you can bust out a level or two with one finger while waiting in line at the bank. Robocide is a ton of fun and won’t bug you too hard for in-app purchases — but consider dropping the developers some cash if you like the game. —Rob LeFebvre

Download Robocide from the App Store for free.

Blackbox

Blackbox-header best ios games
What do you want from me, game???
Photo: Ryan McLeod

I know we say these are the best iOS games of the month, but I have a complicated relationship with this one.

I recently managed to tear myself away from The Witness. It’s an often-vague puzzle game for PlayStation 4 and PC that offers you very little assistance in figuring out the “language” of its puzzles and pretty much leaves you to fend for yourself.

After that, I moved on to Blackbox, which is an often-vague puzzle game for iOS that offers you very little assistance in figuring out the “language” of its puzzles and pretty much leaves you to fend for yourself. So it’s kind of like I spent a month digging myself out of one prison cell only to break through and discover that my tunnel opened into another, nearly identical one.

I’m being dramatic there, but Blackbox is actually worse than The Witness (in a good way) because it uses just about every feature your iPhone has in its puzzles. One used the camera, and one used the accelerometer. And then I found one that used the damned headphone jack, and I had to walk away for a minute. —Evan Killham

Download Blackbox from the App Store for free.

Medal Masters

I’ve mentioned my penchant for auto-battlers and role-playing games before, so it should come as no surprise that this free-to-play, anime-flavored slugfest has caught my attention.

Medal Masters contains a ton of different systems, including a basic combat setup that has little warriors you throw against three-part dungeons to earn medals and currency. You can trade that loot in for new, better heroes (called Gacha) and gear. It’s a ton of fun to watch your little battlers level up and improve themselves via fighting as well as training in the “barracks,” an interesting mechanic that will up boost both your experience points and crucial stats. As you get further into the game, new systems appear like a hierarchy of elemental affiliation that will force you to strategize a bit before each dungeon. Medal Masters is fun, if gaudy, and it will give you plenty of joy without having to spend a dime. —Rob LeFebvre

Download Medal Masters on the App Store for free.

Publishers and developers occasionally provide Cult of Mac with free review copies or codes. They do not affect our coverage or editorial decisions.