Darren Franich and Marc Snetiker
March 30, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

1. Draw Something
Similar to Words With Friends
Available for iPhone, iPad, Android
Price Free with ads, $.99 otherwise
The setup is deceptively simple: Draw something, and challenge your friends to guess what it is. But by combining the connectivity of social networking with a surprisingly detailed ”drawing” system, Draw Something is like a fiendishly addictive Pictionary party. Barely two months old, the game already feels like the next big zeitgeist mobile hit: It’s been downloaded 25 million times, and its developer was just purchased by social-games giant Zynga. In short, this is your new anti-boredom medication. —Darren Franich

2. Incoboto
Similar to Super Mario Bros.
Available for iPad
Price $3.99
Inco is a little astronaut boy who lives all alone on a tiny planet. One day, he meets a happy sun named Helios, and the pair set off on a planet-hopping quest to bring light back to the universe. Incoboto mixes a dream-logic fairy-tale plotline with a sharp satirical sense of humor: As you travel through the ruined planetscapes of Inco’s universe, you regularly find missives from an Orwellian organization known as ”The Corporation.” The game itself can be cartoon-cute or bleakly disturbing — Philip K. Dick rewriting Teletubbies as a postapocalyptic space opera. But the real joy comes from how effectively it combines the minimalism of an early NES platformer with a soulful emotional journey. A remarkably chirpy vision of existential devastation, Incoboto teases your brain and tugs at your heart in equal measure. It’s got all the epic sweep and mind-expanding innovation of the best console games, but for a fraction of the price. —DF

3. Angry Birds Space
Similar to Angry Birds
Available for iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac
Price Free with ads, $.99 without, $2.99 for HD
The third sequel to the massively successful (and woefully engrossing) franchise sends the feathered heroes into space, where zero gravity and birds with new abilities (like the frost-making Ice Bird and the target-honing Lazer Bird) make for a wholly original Angry Birds experience. It’ll take some time to get used to the new cosmic method of pig demolition — planetary gravitational pulls and asteroids can be used to your advantage, if you can figure out how — but once you’ve mastered the learning curve, the 60 levels of galactic mayhem are a wildly good time, and a refreshing revitalization of the world’s most popular mobile game. These astrophysics avians are well worth the price for franchise fans, new and old. —Marc Snetiker

4. Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy
Similar to Ace Combat
Available for iPhone, iPad
Price $4.99
One of the most visually lavish games released on Apple’s mobile devices, Sky Gamblers lets you fly a glorious fighter jet through a glorious world and fire missiles that cause glorious explosions. The gameplay is endearingly overcomplicated, with enough 360-degree dogfights to literally make your head spin. But the thrill-junkie appeal is obvious: You fly. You shoot. Everything blows up. —DF

5. Ms. Particle-Man
Similar to Pac-Man
Available for iPhone, iPad
Price $.99
A witty homage to Pac-Man that doubles as a primer on particle physics, Ms. Particle-Man sets your character — a tiny abstract atom ball with an adorable red bow — on a search for the Higgs boson, the semi-mythical science concept more commonly referred to as the God particle. But don’t worry if you slept through physics class. The game is a snappy delight. Word of warning, though: Like Pac-Man and the other primordial games it references, it’s flat-out difficult, and there are no saves. By taking you back to a bygone era, Ms. Particle-Man reminds you of a time when games weren’t trying to be literary or cinematic. You’ll want to pat yourself on the back after you finish the game…if you ever do. —DF

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