4 under-the-radar games to spice up your iPhone

Sentinel 3: Homeworld, is available in the iTunes store for the iPhone and iPad.

Tiny Wings.” “Angry Birds.” “Bejeweled Blitz.”

Yawn.

If you own an iPad or iPhone and don’t list “under a rock” as your home address, then you’ve already passed many a subway commute, morning meeting, or lecture from the girlfriend playing these games. And after months and months of bird abuse and cloud-touching, you just may be ready for something different.

Thankfully, there’s a whole world of untapped gaming content on iTunes, as long as you know what you’re looking for. We’ve been searching for new and interesting gaming fun the past few weeks, and that quest unearthed these lesser-known titles. (And for the record, we’re barely skimming the surface here…)

SENTINEL 3: HOMEWORLD
Your mind won’t stay on autopilot through this game. But if you’re up for a challenge, you will have plenty of fun. Origin 8’s year-old offering is a space-age tower defense game, tasking you and a robotic captain with guarding a series of gates against wave after wave of enemy. You’ll spend hours building lasers here and fire-breathing guns on “Sentinel 3’s” robust maps, and when all else fails, you can always upgrade your captain’s powers. That’s light RPG depth in a game that still fits the iPad’s accessible motif – and all for only $2.99.

SAQQARAH HD
Bejeweled” fans, here’s another puzzler to mix things up. Think of Codeminion’s “Saqqarah” as a “Zuma Blitz”-type game. Like “Bejeweled,” your object is to match three of a kind. But the moment you learn one style of puzzling, “Saqqarah” throws you off-balance; you’ll stop sliding pieces and start teleporting them. It’s all fun – even if it is a bit easy – making for a perfect subway commute game.


Brick Basher Pro (iTunes)

BRICK BASHER PRO
Ok, ok, so it’s about as original as Real Housewives of Fill-in-any-location, but “Brick Basher Pro” does manage to make a few tweaks to the classic Brickbreaker formula. Controlling the speed of the ball is far more useless than it sounds, but SixHourSoft does do one impressively creative thing. Touching certain blocks changes the property of the ball, transforming it into an acid-based projectile here or a flame-based bomb there. Best part? It’ll only run you $0.99 to start, although you’ll need to pay extra to download additional level packs.

SHAPE SHIFT HD
Cross once-upon-a-time “Tetris” clone with Xbox Arcade’s “Hexic,” and you get Backflip Studios’ free “Shape Shift HD,” in which you match clusters of colors until you score enough points to move onto the next level. More advanced levels add turn-based time bombs to the mix, although that’s as far as this game gets when it comes to depth. You don’t get any online leaderboards or Facebook integration either, a gross missed opportunity that could have easily elevated this game passed simple diversion, and there’s some serious in-game advertising going on. But if you can look past all that, this is a relaxing puzzler with a calming soundtrack that can provide you hours and hours of play time. And did we mention it was free?

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