This gives the game a fighting chance against a raft of inferior Threes! clones (most of which have 1024 or 2048 in their names) that litter the App Store, and sucked life out of the paid version of Threes!. Our advice: stick with the original; you've no excuse now you can play for free.
4. Skiing Yeti Mountain
Slalom games are as old as the hills -- snowy or otherwise. They existed on the earliest home computer systems, and so Skiing Yeti Mountain is hardly a rolling snowball of innovation. Nonetheless, through some great design and humour, developer Featherweight Games has managed to craft an essential mobile freebie.
The basics of the game are much as you'd expect: zig-zag your way down wintry slopes, passing on the correct side of gates (left of red and right of blue), and try very hard not to embed yourself in a tree. The controls only require a single finger, which you move horizontally to adjust how far to weave. Initial ham-fisted attempts at progress gradually give way to elegant swooshing about, along with heart-in-stomach moments as you zoom, inch-perfect, between a couple of trees.
Throughout, a cast of misfits adds some personality to proceedings, telling tall tales, getting surprise-eaten by Yetis, and in one case providing the only example on iOS of an in-app ad sting we've ever laughed at. (Thanks, Larry the 'guerrilla marketing expert', and your little jab that you're 'on commission'!)
Vainglory offers some of the best visuals seen on the App Store. It was used as a showcase for the iPhone 6 handsets' power - not to mention the power of iOS 8's Metal graphics tech - when they were first unveiled, and you should bear this in mind when considering what hardware to run it on: it's compatible with iPhone 5s and up on the smartphone side, although it goes back as far as iPad 2 on the tablet.
The game spotlights three-on-three team-based action with (and against) fellow online players, and each squad must work together to take down enemy turrets and destroy the crystal at their opponents' base.
The free-to-play design thankfully puts no limits on gameplay: you can play as much as you want, but only with the certain free characters offered at any given time. If you want to use a non-free warrior, you'll have to pay a one-time fee with in-game currency. It's a remarkably fair and fun free game that doesn't penalise players who opt not to shell out.
6. Run Sackboy! Run!
Run, Sackboy! Run! (free) is a mobile spinoff from the Sony game LittleBigPlanet, a four-player side-scrolling affair that builds upon the approachable Super Mario run-and-jump formula while also allowing players to build their own levels. It's certainly streamlined by comparison: it's a strictly single-player affair, lacks in-depth character customisation and level creation, and does away with manual player movement. In other words, it's an endless runner on a platform that has loads of them.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.