iOS Roundup: Really, seriously free app special

July 25, 2011

The iOS platform is full of free games, but there’s usually a catch. Are there in-app purchases? Or is is just a “lite” version? We generally frown upon this stuff. Sometimes, though, you find games that are legitimately there for you to just download and enjoy. (And not for just a day, either.) We’re looking at two of those this week: Allied Star Police and Imaginary Range.

Allied Star Police (Universal): PopCap’s 4th and Battery label has released a few completely-free iOS games now, and they’re usually great fun, if a little evanescent in scope. This one’s no different, except the design was done by a Make-a-Wish child, Owain Weinert. Don’t get us wrong: kid’s got skills.

In Allied Star Police, you spawn units of various power for various money, and advance across the map to destroy the opponent’s base. (Think a simpler Swords & Soldiers, but with four separate paths for enemies to traverse.) You have anything from cheap ATVs to snipers to huge tanks, and each has a different speed it gets across the map. The whole thing’s set in a heck-yeah-space-battles, rock-infused aesthetic that’s a lot of fun. Why doesn’t it get a 5? Sorry Owain, we’re brutal. Welcome to the business. 4/5

Imaginary Range (Universal): Square Enix put out this comic/minigame collection, and it’s nice to see a free product from a team known for a high price tag. It’s not that inspired, though; the comic has a story Square Enix fans may love, but the rest of us will find incomprehensible, and the games themselves are weaker copies of iOS hits. (Yeah, we’re talking hidden-object games, Breakout-esque shooters and even a scratch-off ticket.)

Even though we weren’t impressed, there’s no reason not to check it out anyway, as it’s free and all. 2/5