$1.99

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on $1.99:

Gesture Alarm Clock does f***ing everything

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Gesture Alarm Clock

With Gesture Alarm Clock, you set wakeup alerts by drawing numbers on the screen. It has a sleep timer that plays a variety of soothing music and sounds to lull you off. Plus, it has three different vibration strengths, several gesture-based snoozes, and if you think you’d wake up easier if your iPhone’s flashlight turned on, it’ll do that for you, too.

It will also automatically wake you up earlier if it detects traffic delays, and it displays the current weather.

But it won’t cook my breakfast, so I can’t really recommend it.

Source:Gesture Alarm Clock – Free ($1.99 upgrade for full features) | RV AppStudios LLC

BetterFit tracks your exercise and protein for maximum mass

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BetterFit

Here’s a fitness app with an interesting extra feature.

BetterFit lets you keep track of when and how you exercise. You can design custom routines from a giant list of activities or make your own. But it also includes a second tracker that lets you measure how much protein you consume during the day. It has a list of preset food items, or you can input it manually and set daily goals to make sure that you’re feeding your muscles properly.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stock up on lentils because they’re as delicious and full of protein as they are fun to say.

Source:BetterFit – $1.99 | David Price

Wingsuit Cute elicits more awws than wows

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Wingsuit Cute

Wingsuit Cute is a game about a bunch of adorable animals forced to glide through the air and collect snacks while under the constant threat of smashing their widdle snoots on rocks and trees.

Wingsuit Cute by Iron Foot Studios
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $1.99

It really downplays the animals graphically smashing their faces open, but that’s basically what’s happening. The game takes a sunnier approach, choosing to focus on the part where tiny mammals don wingsuits in search of thrills and noms. And it’s really cute. And kinda fun, with a fair amount of challenge to keep perfect-run seekers coming back.

But it’s mostly cute.

Lumena beats you senseless with rhythm

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Lumena

Once again, I’m here to tell you about a little minimalist game that has completely kicked my ass.

Lumena by Elevate Entertainment
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $1.99 (promotional price, reg. $2.99)

It’s called Lumena, and it doesn’t look like much until you play it and fail in like two seconds. And then you try again, and again you fail because the game is, in fact, so minimal that it doesn’t even bother to tell you how to play it. But after a while, you figure it out (it’s not really that complicated), and with newly found confidence, you give it another shot. And you lose in five seconds.

But stick with it because it’s way better than I’m making it sound.

Instantion: It’s Up To The Five Of You To Solve These Tricky Puzzles [Review]

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Instantion

Anyone — even a fat plumber — can run around and jump on things. But what if progress depends on being in two places simultaneously? Or three? Or five? Mario can’t even handle that. Unless we’re talking about the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games with all the mini-Marios.

Instantion by Finjitzu
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Price: $1.99

Which we’re not.

Anyway, the hero of Instantion can be all those places. Let’s focus on that. Because it’s a fun game.

This Week In Weird: 5 Games You Won’t Believe Exist

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Weird games header
Photo courtesy of Meghan Stratman

Hundreds of new games come out every week in the App Store. A select few are the next must-play title that everyone will be talking about (and ripping off) for the foreseeable future. Most of them are perfectly decent but may not receive the attention they deserve. And then you have the third group: games so odd, bizarre, and head-scratching that you’re not sure what to make of or do with them.

They aren’t necessarily bad; they’re just confusing and weird. And worst of all, people may never know that they exist. But that’s why we’re here.

Here are some of the strangest games to drop into the App Store this week. What you do with this information is between you and your iPhone.

SideSwype Is So Fun, You Forget It’s Basically A Match-Three Game [Review]

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SideSwype

If you like Threes but wish it was less numbery and more Tetris-like, SideSwype might be for you.

SideSwype by Radiangames
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

It’s a puzzler in which you, you know, swipe. To the side. And when you do that, you move every block on the board as far as it can go in that direction. So you might want to plan ahead a little.

Your goal is to line up three or more blocks of the same color to clear them, and it throws in some complications and special pieces too because otherwise it would be boring. But luckily, it has those things, and it is not boring.

Everything About Taijitu Is Relaxing — Even The Difficulty [Review]

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Taijitu

Taijitu is a game about balance and serenity. It will level you out, calm you down, and relax you … up, I guess.

Taijitu by Particlemade
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

I’m not sure which direction relaxation goes.

Anyway, the game. It’s laid-back, and you’ll like it. It has all the colors, and the music just made me nod off for like 20 minutes. But that’s good, really. Kinda the point.

Can You Collect 15 Coins? No, Probably Not [Review]

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15 Coins

15 Coins is hard. Alright, that was the shortest review I’ve ever written. I’ll be back Monday.

15 Coins by Engaging Games
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99 (promotional price; reg. $1.99)

Apparently, my editor refuses to pay me for three sentences, so I guess I’ll elaborate.

15 Coins is an arcade avoidance game where you’re trying to collect the eponymous pick-ups before you run into a past version of yourself and explode. Probably because of a paradox or whatever happened to Ron Silver at the end of Timecop. Actually, I think the game calls your pursuers “drones,” but they look like you and follow the same path you did, so I’m just going to go ahead and call time travel on this one. The point is that it’s difficult.

Sometimes You Die Is The Latest ‘Brilliant, Minimalist Platformer You Must Play’ [Review]

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Sometimes You Die
Sometimes You Die attempted to strip all the fun out of 2-D platformers. The result was amazingly good fun.

What are you doing?

Sometimes You Die by Philipp Stollenmayer
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

You would tell yourself, “I am reading a review for Sometimes You Die.” You take it for granted that I am going somewhere with this. My opinion is just a shadow. A number.

Alright, I can’t keep that up, but before you leap into the Internet and punch me in the face, know two things: First, that was a taste of the narration for the oddball minimalist platformer Sometimes You Die. And second, I’m still recovering from my last face punch, so don’t be a jerk.

As for the game, it’s brilliant. You don’t even need to read the rest of this. Just go buy it and get it in your brain-hole.

Dark Guardians Delivers Beautiful Production Values And Endless Ass-Kickery [Review]

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Dark Guardians

I like endless runners as much as the next person (which works out well considering how many I review), but I’m not opposed to a developer trying something new with them.

Dark Guardians by Studio Baikin
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

Dark Guardians is one such attempt, adding rhythm-game elements and arcade twitch play to the well-trod genre. And it’s an experiment that pays off big, resulting in an exciting and all-around fun title.

It’s also smart and good-looking. And the music is excellent. Basically, I’m a fan.

Microtrip Sends You Sailing Down An Infinite, Repetitive Colon [Review]

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Microtrip

Alright, so I don’t know for sure that it’s a colon, but you’re definitely inside something’s guts.

Microtrip by Arthur Guibert
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $0.99 (promotional; reg. $1.99)

And you’ll never get out because Microtrip is an endless faller in which you guide a blob down into the bowels of the bowels of a creature. It’s more pleasant than you think, though, because everything’s all cute-ified and cartoonish.

It’s also a lot of fun, provided you don’t crave variety

Puzzling Rush Expects You To Figure This Sh*t Out Yourself [Review]

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Puzzling Rush

I really like it when a game doesn’t treat me like an idiot. It makes me feel smart and respected not to have to sit through a tutorial that explains the most basic tenets of the game like one character on CSI explaining to another what DNA is.

Puzzling Rush by Right Fusion
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

But this appreciation has limits, especially when the developer doesn’t even bother telling me what the backstory is and why I’m fighting these people.

Puzzling Rush is one such game, and while I know that I don’t need much of a refresher on how match-threes work, it’s still mostly up to you to figure out how the hell to play it.

Faif Combines A Lot Of Disparate Things Into Something Good(-ish) [Review]

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Faif

Faif is a weird game.

Faif by Beavl
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

It’s kind of like Bejeweled, only you’re not trying to match anything. And it’s kind of like a role-playing game, except you’re not really on a quest (or are you?). It’s sort of like gambling, but you don’t win anything, and it’s a smidge like a free-to-play game, but you don’t have to pay real money for the in-game currency.

All of these kindas and sortas add up to a unique experience that I think I enjoy, but I’m honestly not sure.

Top iOS Apps Of The Week

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Orient

Browsing the App Store can be a bit overwhelming. Which apps are new? Which ones are good? Are the paid ones worth paying for, or do they have a free, lite version that will work well enough?

Well, if you stop interrogating me for a second, hypothetical App Store shopper, I can tell you about this thing we do here.

Every week, we highlight some of the most interesting new apps and collect them here for your consideration. This time, our picks include a comparison shopper for books, a route-maker that factors in current traffic, and a couple things to keep your pictures nice and pretty.

Here you go:

It’s not likely that anyone consistently takes pictures that look like one of the supervillains’ hideouts in the old Batman TV show, but even a slight tilt can make a photo look strange. Orient is an app that will eliminate your photography’s chronic case of the skews by using your iPhone’s gyroscope to ensure that every shot you take is level and straight.

You can choose from a bunch of aspect ratios, and then Orient works almost exactly like your regular Camera app, complete with Instagram-style filters.

Just, you know. Straighter.

Orient: The Self Aligning Camera – Free | Ajit Katti

ETA

ETA is all about telling you how far you are from your favorite places. It’ll also point out which direction they’re in, in case you have to know that at all times.

But Maps will do that, too, so to distinguish itself, ETA lets you build up a list of your most-traveled spots, and it’ll tell you at a glance how long it will take to get there in current traffic. And with a couple taps, you can get directions from either your built-in navigator or Google Maps. And that’s really handy because I always like to know how far I am from sandwiches.

ETA – $1.99 | Eastwood

Shot and Find

I love living in the future, but sometimes I feel a little spoiled. This app wants you to find useful things, but it thinks that your iPhone or iPad keyboards are just too hard to use.

Shot & Find is a visual-search app that lets you quickly search YouTube, Amazon, Google, Wikipedia, or Spotify just by snapping a picture of a movie, video game, or CD cover. It works really well, too. I did a YouTube search from a DVD, and it pulled up the trailer. A Wikipedia search from a 12-year-old video game also worked just fine.

The app’s effectiveness is almost as ridiculous as its premise, but you can’t argue with results.

Shot & Find – Free | Arctic Toucans

Librarist

Now that you know where to find all those DVDs, video games, and CDs with Shot & Find, you might want something to read. All Librarist needs is an ISBN, a keyword, or a quick scan of a barcode, and it’ll let you compare prices from stores all over the world.

The scanning works really well, and it includes an impressive selection of stores to choose from. Now if only it actually had some way to give me more time to read, it would pretty much be the perfect app.

Librarist – Free | Droid Ltd

Photo Copy Level

Admit it: You have trouble keeping your camera level when you’re taking a picture of an important document. And then the text looks all weird, and it’s embarrassing.

Alright, maybe it’s not super embarrassing, but it’s nice to avoid skewing anything if you can help it. With Photo Copy Level, you just place your iOS device against the thing you’re shooting and set the level, and then a handy circle tells you when you’re shooting straight. The upgrade unlocks features like an automatic shutter.

Photo Copy Level – Free ($0.99 feature upgrade)| Yaroslav Mironov

‘ETA’ Will Give You Your … Well, You Know. It’s Right There In The Name

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ETA

ETA is all about telling you how far you are from your favorite places. It’ll also point out which direction they’re in, in case you have to know that at all times.

But Maps will do that, too, so to distinguish itself, ETA lets you build up a list of your most-traveled spots, and it’ll tell you at a glance how long it will take to get there in current traffic. And with a couple taps, you can get directions from either your built-in navigator or Google Maps. And that’s really handy because I always like to know how far I am from sandwiches.

Source:ETA – $1.99 | Eastwood

If Breaking It Isn’t The Answer, Smash Hit Doesn’t Even Want To Hear The Question [Review]

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Smash Hit

Sometimes, you just gotta break something.

Smash Hit by Mediocre Game Studio
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free ($1.99 unlock for full features)

But you probably don’t want to break your own stuff, and people get mad when you smash up their things. This is where gaming often enters the picture: It’s an environment in which you can demolish the crap out of things with no consequences. And it’s even more satisfying when the things break realistically.

Smash Hit is a game about literally that, and it’s incredibly satisfying.

Midnight Bite: A Cute Vampire-Stealth Title With Sucky Controls [Review]

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Midnight Bite

You know how it goes: You’re up late, feeling a little peckish, and you don’t have anything in the fridge. What do you do?

Midnight Bite by Milkstone Studios
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

I mean, I’d go to the store down the street and get some sour bears. And if you’re Draku, the star of Midnight Bite, you do the same thing. Except substitute “store down the street” with “village at the base of the mountain,” and substitute “sour bears” with “blood of the sleeping townsfolk.”

But he’s a little guy, and the humans are prejudiced against vampire children who stalk up in the night and murder them, so he has to be careful. And as the one controlling him, you also have to be careful because the controls are apparently also racist against the undead.

God of Light Presents An Elegant Metaphor For Puzzle Games [Review]

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God of Light

God of Light has a simple, fun concept. It has pretty graphics and some cool music by British electronica outfit Unkle. And it has realistic light physics. And all of these are great, but a lot of games look and sound good.

God of Light by Playmous
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

But God of Light is special because in addition to all of these good qualities, it also offers something else: a meditation on what puzzle games are, what they do, and how and why we play them.

And the best part is that the developer accomplishes this not by telling us, but by building all of these qualities into the gameplay and mechanics.

Enigmo: Explore: You Have 30 Seconds To Relax [Review]

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Enigmo: Explore

Developer Pangea Software’s well-regarded Enigmo series of puzzle games has been around for a while, and they’ve turned over development of the latest installment, Enigmo: Explore to a new team, but the idea is the same: See that liquid dripping from a pipe over here? Get it into that jar over there.

Enigmo: Explore by Team Chaos
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99

The game gives you a suite of tools to accomplish this, including trampoline-like items that the drops bounce off of and little cannons that can send them even farther. It’s up to you to decide which items in which combinations to use to complete levels, which offers you a decent amount of freedom when you’re playing it.

But a couple other features work just as hard against you, and it’s kind of a shame.

You Are Legend In Overlive [Review]

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Overlive

This just in: Someone has made a game about zombies.

Overlive by FireRabbit
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99 (lite version available)

You probably weren’t expecting that, huh? A zombie game? It’s crazy on the face of it.

Now, look: I hate zombies as much as the next person. Maybe a bit more, even. Stupid shambling a****les. But that doesn’t mean I want to spend all of my gaming time killing them. I have a lot of other things to pretend to kill, like Nazis and Pokémon. So I’ll admit that I wasn’t immediately sold on Overlive, a new undead-themed gamebook with role-playing-game elements, even though it’s hard to go wrong with me once you start offering choices and stats.

Once I started playing it, though, Overlive won me over.

Top iOS Apps Of The Week

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Slip

Browsing the App Store can be a bit overwhelming. Which apps are new? Which ones are good? Are the paid ones worth paying for, or do they have a free, lite version that will work well enough?

Well, if you stop interrogating me for a second, hypothetical App Store shopper, I can tell you about this thing we do here.

Every week, we highlight some of the most interesting new apps and collect them here for your consideration. This time, our picks include some interactive art, a quick way to exchange contact information, and a really rude personal trainer.

Here you go:

Slip — Utilities — Free

Slip knows that exchanging business cards can be annoying. You have to find your cards and then take theirs and then maybe jam it into the back of the thing where you keep your cards, and hopefully it fits. And then later, you find their card and can’t remember why you’d met in the first place.

So instead of that, Slip uses Bluetooth to exchange contact information wirelessly. You go in and toggle which bits of information you want to share and just flip it over to another user with a single swipe. You can also text or e-mail it to people without Slip, but that’s not as much fun.

Slip – Yodel Code

CARROT Fit

CARROT Fit — Health & Fitness — $1.99

It isn’t hard to find a fitness app that offers enthusiastic and positive encouragement to keep you motivated and working toward your goals. CARROT Fit is not one of those apps.

Following its predecessors, CARROT To-Do and CARROT Alarm, Fit brings the you-deprecating artificial intelligence program to bear on your weight-loss plan. You set your goal, and “she” gives you points and virtual medals for doing well and mocks you if you don’t. It’s basically like if GLaDOS, the comical, murderous A.I. from developer Valve’s Portal series, were sent to whip you into shape.

By which I mean that CARROT Fit is kind of amazing.

CARROT Fit – Talking Weight Tracker

Phone Price

Phone Price — Reference — Free

If you’re due for an upgrade to your iPhone, you might be wondering what to do with your current one. You could go to a bunch of different websites and search for buyback values or try to just sell it yourself, but that sounds like a lot of work, and living in the future like we do means things should be easy.

Phone Price is an app that aggregates phone trade-in values from a variety of sources so that you can get the most for your old device. So you’re basically making the phone a party to its own rejection and disposal, and that’s pretty cold.

Phone Price – K Mobile Solutions

iHud

iHud — Utilities — Free

You can pop into iTunes and find several dozen apps that will use the GPS in your iPhone to create an accurate speedometer, but most of them have a major problem: You have to look down.

iHud tries to solve that issue. You open it, and your velocity appears. It reads backwards, but if you place your phone up under your windshield, the reflection will look right, and you won’t have to look away from the road to check your speed.

I’m not sure how you keep your phone from sliding off your dash when you turn, but that’s for the engineers.

iHud – Anders Sperling

Colour by Numbers

Colour by Numbers — Lifestyle — Free

Have you heard of Colour by Numbers? It’s a light installation in Stockholm in which anyone with a mobile phone can participate.

The top 10 floors of the Telefonplan tower contain colored lights, and you can change their hues by either calling in and punching in a bunch of numbers or using this app. For five minutes at a time, you can select floors and mix red, blue, and green to create any color you want. And you can watch the live feed online to see your contribution in real time.

It’s kind of eerie, actually.

Colour by Numbers – Milo Lavén

Contact Alias

Contact Alias — Utilities — Free

People love their privacy, but you can’t play Phone Goalie all the time. What if there were some way to hide who your iMessages and texts are coming from, even if whichever nosy person you’re with is looking right at your screen?

Enter Contact Alias, an app that lets you set alternate names for anyone on your list and toggle them on and off with a single touch of a comically large button. I’m sure it has practical applications for sneaky sneakers, but I’m probably just going to use it to quickly change people’s contact names to “A**hole” when I’m mad at them.

Contact Alias – Ryan Siegel

Colorfully Crazy TCHOW Rainbow Is Kid APProved

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tchowrainbow

KidAPProvedbanner

There are a bunch of apps out on iOS for kids, from educational apps to sports apps and more. Sure, you can get reviews of these games by adults, sometimes even from parents of kids who use them.

We thought it’d be fun, though, to ask the kids themselves.

Welcome to Kid APProved, a series of videos in which we ask our own children what they think of apps on the App Store that they’re using.

This week, it’s a game about bringing rainbows of happiness to sad, grey creatures, TCHOW Rainbow from TCHOW. Here’s what our Kid APProved reporter “Battle” thinks.

Top iOS Apps Of The Week

By

52 Weeks

Browsing the App Store can be a bit overwhelming. Which apps are new? Which ones are good? Are the paid ones worth paying for, or do they have a free, lite version that will work well enough?

Well, if you stop interrogating me for a second, hypothetical App Store shopper, I can tell you about this thing we do here.

Every week, we highlight some of the most interesting new apps and collect them here for your consideration. This time, our picks include another cool timer, a money-saving challenge, and a thing to help you unwind.

Here you go:

52 Weeks Money Challenge — Finance — Free

If you haven’t heard of the 52 Weeks Money Challenge, you probably don’t have a Facebook account. And I envy you for that.

Anyway, the challenge is a way to help you build up a nest egg through regimented saving. You put away one dollar the first week, two dollars the second, and so on. At the end of 52 weeks, you’ve set aside a total of $1,378. This app tracks your progress and grand total, and it will even send you weekly reminders in case you’re the forgetful type.

52 Weeks Money Challenge

Relaxatron

Relaxatron — Entertainment — Free

People keep telling me I’m too highly strung, which is probably why I keep finding relaxation apps to write up. It might also be why I just yelled at my TV for 15 minutes for refusing to contain any episodes of Quantum Leap.

Anyway, Relaxatron has two things going for it: a badass name and a little more interaction than some of those other calming apps. You create a “seed shape” by placing dots into a grid, and then you just tap the screen and watch calming patterns emerge, and …

That was two hours ago.

Relaxatron

Night Sky Guide 3D

Night Sky Guide 3D+ — Reference — $1.99

Alright, this one’s really cool.

Sometimes, I’m outside at night (fewer bees then), and I’ll see something in the sky and think, “Is that a planet, or should I call NASA and tell them that we’re all probably about to die?”

Night Sky Guide 3D+ will save me a lot of embarrassing phone conversations with scientists. It uses your iOS device’s GPS and compass, so you can just hold it up and it’ll show you a notated view of the patch of sky you’re facing.

So it was just Jupiter. Sorry, NASA operator.

Night Sky Guide 3D+

Tico Timer

Tico Timer — Education — $0.99

Here’s another app from the maker of the very clever Humming Timing. Developer Ricardo Fonseca made Tico Timer for children, and it counts down using animated shapes instead of numbers. So the clock will expire when, for example, all the squares disappear from the screen. Or when the large circle shrinks down to a point and disappears. And all of this happens while some very relaxing music plays.

The goal of the app is to teach kids a sense of time, but I’ll probably use it myself because it’s the most relaxing timer I’ve ever seen.

Tico Timer

Atomic Fusion: Particle Collider Is An Entertaining Combination Of Several Elements [Review]

By

Atomic Fusion

Science is cool, and Atomic Fusion: Particle Collider wants you to know that.

Atomic Fusion: Particle Collider by ByteSized Studios
Category: iOS Games
Works With: iPhone, iPad
Price: $1.99 (free through Level 10)

It’s a tough game to describe. It’s kind of like a shooter, but you don’t shoot anything. It reminds me a bit of Tilt to Live except that nothing is really trying to kill you. You’re basically just flying around collecting stuff. So maybe it’s also a little like Katamari Damacy but not nearly so goofy.

Whatever it is, though, it’s fun.