Test Chamber

Test Chamber

THE PITCH
"Test Chamber is a stylish, difficult, and not-quite-euclidean puzzle game. The world-wrapping mechanics of the world of Test Chamber create unique and devious puzzles that will challenge even the most skilled players. Guide our cube-headed hero through a mind-bending world, with levels designed to challenge your ideas of space."

THE BOTTOM LINE
Test Chamber is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Soothing music and sneakily bewildering puzzles! An adorable protagonist and his cryptic, not-at-all-helpful girlfriend! While the gameplay feels immediately familiar, the tiled level trick is a subtle stroke of genius that sets it apart from the majority of physics-based puzzlers. Get on this, it's a keeper.

Fanny Pack

Fanny Pack

THE PITCH
"Fanny Pack is the FASTEST and most convenient way to LOOKUP a venue across ANY of your apps. No more switching out of your messaging apps to get addresses or websites - Fanny Pack lets you do it with ONE TAP."

THE BOTTOM LINE
It's great to see developers coming up with more and more clever uses for third-party keyboards. Fanny Pack puts a funky name on a pretty practical tool – quick on the fly Foursquare location info lookups. Multitasking on iOS is still mostly non-existent and maybe even ill-advised, but this is one use case that shows it can be done in an elegant and lightweight way.

Cymbal

Cymbal

THE PITCH
"Cymbal is the app that allows you to share your favorite song of the moment, the song that is soundtracking your life right now — your cymbal. Cymbal is the app that lets great music do what great music does: Connect us."

THE BOTTOM LINE
I've been waiting for something like Cymbal for a while now. Calmly, patiently fantasizing about an app that would let me and my friends easily share (and listen to) our current jams-of-the-moment. Thanks to an intuitive Instagram-esque UI and seamless Spotify/Soundcloud integration, Cymbal delivers on that dream. Add me (@chrilson, duh) and let's do this, fam.

dEXTRIS for iOS

From full-on ports of console shooters to completely stripped down "tap to jump" endless runners, we never really seem to escape the discussion of what kind of games work best on a small touchscreen device. Which makes sense, because it's really hard to get this stuff right — especially when it comes to the controls themselves.

Having said that, dEXTRIS is especially interesting because it's one of the few games that feels like it was designed around the control scheme — an approach famously used by Flappy Bird creator/developer Dong Nguyen, who wanted people to be able to play on the go, with "one hand holding the train strap." 

Whereas Flappy Bird optimized the single-handed control system, Chaotic Box's Frank Condello has focused on another familiar grip — the same one we all use when thumb-typing in portrait orientation. Take a look at AppSpy's gameplay video above to see it in action.

Condello already has a few iOS cult classics under his belt, and one thing they have in common that the competition often lacks is finely-tuned responsiveness. But now that the "twitch" genre popularized by Super Hexagon and Pivvot (and of course the aforementioned Flappy Bird) has blown up, Condello's penchant for creating fast-paced and, frankly, really difficult, games will hopefully gain him a broader following. He's often tweeted in the past about the monumental challenge of making a living as an iOS game dev, but since dEXTRIS is free and ad-supported, all it would take is the right combination of circumstances for him to be making some serious daily bank à la Dong Nguyen.

Of course, dEXTRIS doesn't feature a cute bug-eyed bird and nostalgic Marioesque pipes.

The bottom line is that dEXTRIS is pure, in almost the same way that Flappy Birds was. Do one simple yet super tough thing for as long as you can. And then do it again. And again. Until you want to throw your phone at the wall.

If that sort of thing appeals to you, I promise you: dEXTRIS is gonna totally be your jam, as it is mine.

dEXTRIS is free on the App Store.