We've gathered up the bestest, freshest iPhone and iPad games and apps to hit the App Store in May for you guys. We've got five games, five apps, and a handful of honorable mentions, not to mention the great suggestions that are bound to come in in the comment section. As usual, we have a full range of puzzles, action games, utilities, photgraphy apps, and just about everything else you could be using your iOS device for. There's also a healthy mix of both free and paid apps to check out here.
Are you ready to get downloading? Dig in!
Best iPhone and iPad games for May 2014
In Intake, players have to tap on pills as they fall to burst them before they hit the ground. The trick is that you need to tap a target area along the bottom to switch between one of two colors; tap a pill that's mismatched with your current color and you lose your combo bonus. To make life a little easier, any pills of your current active color will be shielded from dropping off the screen, so long as they match. Between levels, you gather white pills which you can spend on upgradeable power-ups, or you can stock up through in-app purchases. The frantic action of the game is matched (and maybe even exceeded) by the game's stellar soundtrack. Cipher Prime is well-known for polished, original music, but Intake's decidedly more upbeat dubstep soundtrack ensures your adrenaline level's never dipping.
Intake is a fast-paced shooter with a truly original premise and a ton of humor. Be sure to read our Intake review for a full run-down.
The original Battleheart set a new standard for party-based combat games on mobile with its intuitive drag-and-release control scheme, earning many imitators. Battleheart Legacy continues the evolution of iOS role-playing games with delightful 3D graphics, a classic class-based progression structure, and cute, meaningful, well-written dialog. The controls are still very touch-friendly without being oversimplified. Players embark on quests, roam the countryside, and (of course) revel in experience points and phat loot. Welcome among gaming purists is the absolute lack of in-app purchases.
Battleheart Legacy is a fine continuation of a high-class RPGs on iOS.
ctOS Mobile breaks walls between mobile and console gamers by pitting them against each other in the action-packed console game Watch Dogs. Anyone on an Xbox, PlayStation, or PC plays as a vigilante bringing justice to a futuristic Chicago by hacking the world with their phone. Meanwhile, players on iOS act as the police force, viewing the pursuit of the criminal from a bird's eye view. To slow him down, those officers use the creepily omniscient ctOS operating system to control traffic lights, blow open steam pipes, buzz the area with a chopper and mounted sniper, and dispatch ground forces to bring the other player down.
Even if you don't own Watch Dogs or have any friends that do, ctOS is a free, high-quality multiplayer title with its own rich progression system. Pick it up.
Thomas Was Alone is a critically acclaimed minimalist platforming game. Despite the game's simple graphics, Thomas Was Alone has rich narrative whereby all of the shapes you play as have their own insecurities and personalities. Seeing that much emotion in a little rectangle is pretty interesting. Though there's a lack of any real textures, the game's shadow and lighting effects are quite well done. Even if you're not that big on platforming games, Thomas Was Alone is worth it for the story alone.
Kiwanuka is an imaginative puzzle game where one staff-toting wizard is guiding a large troupe to the end of a treacherous path in order to free one of their brothers or sisters. The core mechanic to accomplishing this is creating tall towers of followers standing on one-anothers' shoulders, and tipping them over to cross gaps, and allowing the others to cross. Don't try to find the logic there, you won't find any, but it's pretty fun to watch, especially since the art style adopts this super-flat, polygonal look.
If you're looking for an extremely fresh puzzle game, try Kiwanuka.
Foursquare's new app, Swarm, is taking the reins of the location-based check-in, leaving the original core app for venue recommendations and reviews. The biggest addition Swarm has to offer to the Foursquare experience is planning. Now you can indicate which spots you're going to in the near future, and ping your nearby buddies to see if they're interested in doing the same. Mayorships are now only relative to your group of friends, but stuff like badges and check-ins are still very much the same. It's great to see a veteran in mobile apps take a chance at redefining itself, and we suspect the change will be for the better. Currently, Swarm is built for iPhone.
Noisli is a great ambient noise app that lets you turn up, down, and mix different types of ambient noise. Whether you just need something to stay concentrated on work, or you're trying to get to sleep, you can get some fine audio help. To get an idea of what's available, you can check out the website here, but the bonus of the app is that the sounds are available offline, can be set on a timer with a fade out. The interface is elegant and easy to use, and keeps running when the screen is locked. I'd love to see an alarm option here, but it's great as is. Snatch this useful, simple app while it still has its half-off launch promotion.
Adobe Voice is a great new way of building presentations. Users record small snippets of them speaking, and the app dynamically suggests graphics to go with it. These graphics include a ton of icons and photos bundled with the app, or you can import your own. A soundtrack can be included, along with plenty of animated transitions. The main goal of Adobe Voice is to be able to create these personal, polished presentations in as little time as possible. If you regularly tell stories, either for business or pleasure, try out Adobe Voice.
Notifyr is getting a lot of attention this week as a simple, streamlined way of getting notifications from your iPhone on your Mac. Third party notifications pop up in the native area by pairing up an OS X app and an iPhone app over Bluetooth Low Energy. Mavericks supports notifications for many native apps (and websites), so Notifyr lets you mute certain notification types on an app-by-app basis. Android users already enjoy this kind of functionality through Pushbullet and a Chrome extension, but it's good to see something tailor built for iOS and OS X. If you're annoyed by checking your iPhone every five minutes to see what's new, Notifyr will save you a ton of time.
Mobile photography aficionados will be happy to hear about SKRWT, a new app which corrects the natural lens distortion of iPhone cameras. Tools are built in to easily straighten out lines while keeping your original shot in pristine condition. SKRWT also offers high-precision image cropping, vignette correction, and a handful of solid borders to work with. These might seem like subtle things to require a dedicated app for, but anybody that takes their Instagram shots seriously will appreciate the fine degree of control SKRWT has to offer.
Honorable mentions for iOS app launches this month go out to Daily, Elevate, and djay for their big 2.5 update.
Your favorite iPhone and iPad game and app launches of May?
Those are all of the best iPhone and iPad releases over the last 30 days that we've been able to find, but what about you? Have you already downloaded some of these? Have you spotted any great releases that we've missed? Let us know in the comments!