The Trawler Report: The best free iPhone games on the App Store (March 23 2009)

23rd March 2009

The Trawler Report: The best free iPhone games on the App Store (March 23 2009)

Has Mother's Day left you out of pocket? Have you spent all your cash on chocolates? Your last fiver on flowers?

Don't worry if you have, as we're here to show you all the great games you can get on the App Store for free. Yep, everything we're looking at here will cost you a grand sum of zero pence.

A lot of the games on show will be demo or Lite versions, but that doesn't mean you can't get a good gaming session's worth of fun out of them.

We do pride ourselves on trying to come up with some bonafide 100 per cent full game freebies whenever possible too. Sure, there are quite a few of them about, but lots of them aren't worth bothering with.

We've got a pair for you today. One's a loony 200MB+ sci-fi adventure, while the other is a pirate-themed shooter.

Buried treasure ahead!

The best free iPhone games on the App Store

Zero Chance: Pilot's License
Philipp Luftensteiner
What is it? It's a 3D space shooter
Type Demo

Zero Chance is an arcade-style space shooter, except that you get to control all three dimensions of the craft's movement without the game ever becoming a game that's not largely on rails.

Okay, that may sound confusing, but if you give Zero Chance a chance to explain itself it may well convince you.

You have to collect cargo using a tractor beam while blasting other obstacles and avoiding getting yourself squished into space paste. The visuals are accomplished and although the controls take a little getting used to, using the accelerometer and touchscreen simultaneously, it's an involving game.

You get to play through an introductory mission in this 'Pilot's License' prologue to the main game.

Virtual Villagers 2 Lite
Last Day of Work
What is it? It's a casual island sim
Type Demo

Ah, for an island in the sun. The cast of Virtual Villagers 2 may not feel the same way though, since they're stuck there.

As their god of sorts, you have to help them out, giving them a prod in the right direction so they learn how to feed themselves, house themselves, and even make babies. Don't worry though - it's a definite U-certificate game.

The Lite version is actually pretty generous. It gives you access to all of the island's various discoveries, but limits the number of villagers you can have.

If you're going to go for playing the game extensively, we'd still recommend buying the full version, as otherwise it'll be a tough and laboured process, but it's good to see a substantial Lite version bobbing around the shallows nevertheless.

WordJong Lite
What is it? It's mahjong with letters, obviously!
Type Demo

WordJong is a game in which you're trying to get rid of letter tiles by using them to make up words. However, you've only got a limited selection to use as you can only use those at the top of the WordJong pile. It's a challenging proposition that's sparked the imagination of wordsmith gamers across the globe.

WordJong's unique(ish) selling point is that in the full version you can download a new puzzle each day, giving the game a social edge as you compare scores on the daily puzzle with friends.

This Lite version doesn't let you download these daily puzzles, but you do get to play a week's worth of them. WordJong is a fun and well thought-out game, so if this Lite version isn't enough to convince you into buying, then nothing will.

The Odyssey: Trail of Tears
Josh Cuppett
What is it? It's an intriguiging view into the mind of (the possibly insane) Josh Cuppett
Type Full (although it's a work in progress project)

One of the oddest games the Trawler Report has exposed, The Odyssey is a little like a 'Choose Your Own Adventure' book, except that it comes in video form. You play as a scientist from four years into the future trying to convey some sort of bizarre theory to a younger scientist, the 'star' of this video adventure. Presumably that's developer Josh Cuppett then.

It's full of quasi-scientific mumbo jumbo and strange ideas about the past which don't really make much sense in the context they're conveyed, but it's certainly something a little out of the ordinary.

If it was a paid title, we'd probably be recommending you stayed away, but for a freebie this curious project is worth a poke of the touchscreen. It's a large 200+ MB download, but the amount of video included soon solves that mystery.

Letter Bug Lite
Portable Zoo
Type Demo

We love word games here at Pocket Gamer, and there's already a mound of great ones available on the iPhone. Letter Bug is actually quite simliar to another of this week's trawler picks, WordJong. In this game, you've got a pile of letters, but can only use those fully exposed to make words. You've simply got to make as many words as you can with the letters.

You get to play a full round of Letter Bug in the Lite version, which will give you a good feel for the game's dynamics. The full version features more modes, themes and, well, just a load more piles of letters really.

Supermarket Mania FREE
G5 Entertainment
What is it? It's a shelf-stacking game. Woo!
Type Demo

Have you ever dreamt of being a shelf stacker? No? Oh well, never mind, but you should still give Supermarket Mania a bash. You play as an unfortunate aisle lurker who has to keep the supermarket stocked-up while pesky customers walk about ruining all your good work. I expect those of you who have paid your dues working in a supermarket may well remember that feeling.

This free version features a handful of levels designed to give you a few snapshots of what the gameplay's like at various stages throughout the game. More revealing than just shoving the first few introductory levels your way, it'll get your fingers working to get that re-stocking trolley around the shop floor.

Pick of the Week

The Corsair
What is it? It's a swashbuckling gallery shooter
Type Full

The Corsair may not be the best game on show this week, but it is a full game for free, and therefore wins this week's pick of the week. Before its recent price drop, it was selling for a not insubstantial £1.79. The game's actually been around in some form for a couple of years now, after making its debut on Pocket PCs.

Its roots do show through in its slightly dated visuals. This is no Wild West Guns - although the game's clearly been made by a professional crew, there's more spit than polish. But, avast me hearties, it still has comparable screen-jabbing gameplay, several different level environments and some challenging boss battles. Other than those, the game is fairly easy to play through, so we recommend you do.

Crap Apps Box of Shame Award

Tap Mania Free
Danijel Lasic
What is it? It's Tap Mania, man. What rock have you been living under?
Type Demo

We have discovered a new revolution in multiplayer gaming. It extends horizons. It breaks borders. You can use it to make friends and influence people. It is Tap Mania.

Ok, so all you actually do in Tap Mania is try to tap the screen more times than your opponent, who has a tap button on the other end of the screen from you.

We probably shouldn't even bring this app to your attention, as it's only likely to end up with a smashed screen and a fistfight as you play it half-drunk in a pub with a slightly drunker friend.

That's the problem with crap apps. They take on a new life of their own once alcohol comes into the equation. Tap Mania, something you'd never consider playing on an idle afternoon, becomes a killer app once your fifth pint has been sunk.

Oh well, don't say we didn't warn you.