Daily iPhone App: Gizmonauts is DragonVale, but with robots

Backflip Studios' biggest hit is still Paper Toss, an early app that has you throwing a paper ball into a wastebasket, and has been downloaded over 24 million times. But the company has grown a lot since that initial game was released, and these days works almost more like a major gaming studio than a smaller development house. Founder Julian Farrior hired some big-league art talent (from Insomniac Games) to create the company's first freemium hit DragonVale, and Backflip is back at the cute farming-style genre with its latest release, Gizmonauts.

As you can see in the video below, there's not a lot of new action in this one -- it's DragonVale, except instead of raising dragons, you're raising robots. But these games are pretty clear as it is: You build habitats (here called zones), buy robots to live in them, collect money from the robots, use that money to build more, buy "snax" for your robots to eat and level up. If, like me, you played a lot of DragonVale, you'll probably play just as much of Gizmonauts.

The game is free, and of course there are in-app purchases available, though Backflip does a great job of making them really unnecessary for all but the most impatient of players. Next time, it'd be nice to see a little more innovation on a game like this -- maybe a little more gameplay, or just something besides the standard build/profit/build cycle. But Gizmonauts is well worth the price, so grab it if you're into farming up pets for fun and profit.