With roughly 6,000 apps in Microsoft’s app store, and dozens more pouring in each day, there’s a lot to choose from. Scanning chart topping apps with Zune or Bing helps. For, Windows Phone owners, Microsoft started a new column “Pinworthy,” revealing the newest gems and stinkers to land in Windows Marketplace.
Here’s this week’s top:
- Quadra with a bunch of malicious circles and squares (malsquares?), the goal: stop them from taking out your base–that big circle in the center of the screen. You’ve two ways to defend yourself. Your base unleashes a constant spray of missiles, aimed by sliding your finger around the screen. You also have a limited arsenal of bombs, which can nuke everything in sight with a quick tap.
Released: Jan. 6. Price: free.
- OpenMic comes with hits from Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks, and Ke$ha. You can opt to perform a duet with the divas, or show off your American Idol skills solo. If you’re a fan of Rock Band, you already know the drill. As you sing into your phone’s mic, you’ll be graded on your performance using the app’s built-in pitch detection technology.
Released: Jan. 7. Price: $2.99.
- Wordrix: Like Scrabble, different letters in Wordrix have different point values. So the longer the word, the more points you score. Some tiles can double or triple your score if you include them (actually, the point system is even more complex than that). Once you’ve spelled out a valid word (note to self: words generally require a vowel) the tiles are removed from the board and replaced with new ones. The game’s three difficulty levels and dictionary of 170,000 possible words should keep you busy–or frustrated–for hours.
Released: Jan. 7. Price: $0.99.
- Ice Ball: If you’re old enough to remember the quirky “80s arcade hit Qix, or its desktop successor JezzBall (part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack for MS-DOS in 1992), then you’ll immediately take to Ice Ball.
The object of this deceptively simple game is to block off more than 75% of the screen by drawing boundary lines with your finger. The trick is completing your boundary before a bouncing ball smashes into it. If that happens too many times, you lose. Each time you win, a new ball is tossed into the arena. Ice Ball proves yet again that many of the best games are also the simplest.
Released Jan. 8. Price: free.