3 Free iOS Apps to Distract You

Did you hear about the college professor who was involved in a terrible car wreck? He was grading papers on a curve.

Bad joke, I know, but it (poorly) illustrates a point I want to make; we all get distracted. There are times when we actually need a good distraction.

Example: There’s a scene in The Princess Bride where Vizzini must choose a cup he believes does not contain poison in a contest of wits against The Man in Black. After some conversation The Man In Black insists that a choice be made. Vizzini says, “I will, and I choose - What in the world can that be?“

Distracted, The Man in Black looks away and sees nothing while Vizzini switches the cups. Vizzini says, “I could have sworn I saw something. No matter. First, let’s drink. Me from my glass, and you from yours. “

They drink and The Man in Black tells Vizzini that he has guessed wrong and has swallowed the poison. Vizzini start laughing and replies, “You only think I guessed wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia’ - but only slightly less well-known is this: ‘Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!’

Then Vizzini falls over, dead. The Man in Black was immune to the poison contained in both cups.

OK, again, not a great example. I’m having a rough time at the moment, so my examples aren’t the best, but you get my drift. A good distraction can get you through life’s tough spots, or at least the next few minutes while standing in the check-out line.

One cannot depend on glimpses of Elvis or Bigfoot for needed diversions. When they do show up their appearances are only fleeting. We need distractions with a bit more hang-time. Sometimes a good game is just the ticket.

My daughter and I were Tekken fanatics. (For those of you who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about: Tekken is a fighting game where players pick from a group of characters, each with special skills, and pit them against each other in various settings and arenas. The action can be as intense as it is fun.) She was a big Xiaoyu fan whereas I favored Bryan Fury. I can’t tell you how many hours we’ve wasted enjoyed smacking each other up and talking crap. When she was on a roll there was little I could do to win. When I was hot, however, she couldn’t touch me. Ah, those were the days!

No version of Tekken has made it to any iOS device yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the thrill of Tekken characters plying their skills in a heart pounding game of …bowling?

Tekken Bowl

Yep, bowling. Tekken Bowl lets me play 10-pin with one of three of Tekken’s characters: Jin, Panda, or Xiaoyu (my daughter will be thrilled). Actually there are three games in Tekken Bowl; a regular bowling game were your score based on the pins you knock down, a pass-and-play two player bowling game, and a bowling styled puzzle game where you knock down pins in different settings. The puzzle game is interesting in that you have to knock all 10 pins down with a given number of balls. Fun!

Tekken Bowl

You know what pandas eat, don’t cha?

The graphics are spot on, something Tekken fans will appreciate. Best of all, it’s free! So download the game and grab Tekken Bowl by the balls. (you knew I had to)

Tekken Bowl

Xiaoyu lining up her ball for another spare

If bowling isn’t your thing then maybe you’ll want to try your luck at knocking enemy aircraft out of the sky. MetalStorm: Online puts you in control of advanced, but fictitious aircraft and pits you against wave after wave other advanced, but fictitious aircraft in aerial dogfights to the death.


MetalStorm:Online Pick a plain plane to inflict some pain

Your plane can take several hits before falling like a jet-fueled brick, the enemy planes aren’t so lucky. One hit from a missile and they are toast.

Your view is from above and behind your jet and you control the direction by tilting your iPad. Fire your weapons by tapping on them.


Missile away! Have a great day!

MetalStorm: Online is one of those free games where the creator makes money on in-app purchases of upgrades. You don’t have to buy to enjoy the game, but they make it enticing.

After playing for a bit I found it to be a bit repetitive, which these types of games tend to be. Still, it’s good for a momentary distraction.

If you’re into Angry Birds-like puzzles then you may get a kick out of Fragger HD, which is free for a limited time.

Fragger HD

In Fragger HD you control a grenade tossing guy who needs to take out the bad guys hiding behind various obstacles. You control the angle and strength of the grenade toss. If you do it right the bad guy becomes debris. You have a limited number of grenades, so toss wisely.

Fragger HD

That poor guy on the right is about to fall apart, violently!

As with Angry Birds, you can revisit any level at any time to better your score. What’s different is that you can buy the option to skip particularly tough levels, buy solutions, and even needed power ups (like a detonator for US$4.99)

Fragger HD

A tough egg to crack! One of several Fragger themes.

I like how Angry Birds includes all I need and just offers solutions through in-app buys. Still, Fragger is fun for a little while, and there are several versions and themes available.

Fragger HD is a nice little diversion. Grab it while it’s free.

That’s a wrap for this week. More freebie distractions below with direct links.