Phew! It's been a busy week. We've had two good sequels to two amazing games, as well as quite a few peculiar titles that piqued my interests. To top things off, we even have an iPhone app that's meant to work alongside its new iPad brother! Here's a quick sampling from this week's new releases. As always, our Friday Five doesn't represent all of the fantastic new apps that have hit the App Store in the past few days, so feel free to chime in with your own suggestions.
Bounce On 2
The sequel to one of the App Store's first great platformers, Bounce On 2 is another fun romp through a 2D land populated by enemies, obstacles, platforms, and power-ups. Taking on the role of a red rubber ball, you have to roll and jump through the levels, many of which contain creative twists. You'll find tons of new features: Plus+ integration, gravity switches, brand-new power-ups, and even the option to use touch controls. If you're a fan of old-school platformers, be sure to check out Bounce On 2.
Zenonia, Zenonia...I think it's safe to say that Zenonia was also a "first-of" title, though this time I'd call it the first good RPG in the App Store. Zenonia 2 improves upon the original in almost every way, and features a similarly epic storyline, fun real-time battles, and tons of quests and abilities. Plus, it now features four different characters, each with their own storyline and character class, and the new Hard and Hell modes are also slated to come in a future update. The resulting game is fast-paced and deeply satisfying. Zenonia 2 is a great RPG, and once again raises the bar in the App Store.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor (pbs.org/poetry) is bringing its free poetry performances back to TV, the Internet, and now the iPhone. On TV, the project airs short poetry performances during unexpected moments in public television—personally, I think it's a really cool idea. Now, you can download the free app and have access to numerous poetry readings. Poetry probably isn't something that most of us think about every day, which makes the opportunity to carry around a bit of poetry in your pocket all the more valuable.
We've all seen match-3 games before—you know, Bejeweled and its ilk—but Babo Crash brings some fresh new twists to the table. It's fast-paced, frantic, and features tons of crazy power-ups, which in turn create ridiculous chains of multipliers. It doesn't hurt that graphics are awesome, either. If you think you're tired of match-3's, don't let that deter you. Babo Crash is incredibly high-tempo, which makes it a great departure from the ordinary lethargy of Bejeweled.
Scrabble Tile Rack
I had to include this one, even though it won't be of use for most of us, just because it's a fantastic idea. Meant to work alongside the iPad's Scrabble app, the tile rack app allows you to play a true multiplayer game on the iPad without revealing your letters to your opponent. You use the iPad as your game board, and then your letters appear on your iPhone, safe from others' prying eyes. You can then "flick" them onto the board to have them appear on the iPad's screen. I know, I know—hardly anyone has an iPad yet, right? Still, it's a really cool idea, and I'm dying to see how close to the "real game" this will bring Scrabble's app. Can you tell that I'm a Scrabble fanatic?