This week saw three big updates for excellent apps now available on iOS. Starbase Orion is the first one I'll mention -- it's a really great take on the "space 4X" genre (similar to Civilization or Master of Orion) that's instead designed to run on a touchscreen. The 1.1.8 update is a big one, not only celebrating the app's one-year anniversary, but also adding an all-new tutorial (to make the game a little more understandable early on), as well as lots and lots of tweaks to starbases, weapons and ships. Some of the tweaks actually increase costs rather than make the game easier, but hardcore strategy players probably won't mind that much. Starbase Orion is US$7.99, which may seem high, but it is a really impressive title especially for fans of turn-based management strategy. And if you already love the game and want to support it more, developer Chimera is currently running a Kickstarter to bring the title over to Android, PC and Mac.
Foursaken's Heroes and Castles is a much newer app, but it's a just-as-exciting mix of tower defense and action. It's been updated to version 2, bringing in lots of bugfixes from the community, and adding a lot of new content: New heroes, new skins and two new modes -- one that will have you playing 1v1 against another player online, and a second that pits you on the side of evil, trying to bring down the towers you'd usually protect. Heroes and Castles is well worth the purchase if you haven't picked it up yet -- it's $1.99 right now.
And finally, old favorite Cut the Rope has picked up another update in time for the Chinese New Year. The Lantern Box offers 25 new levels to play through, and a new flaming paper lantern element to play with. Just like all of Cut the Rope's other updates, this one is free, so go and grab it right now. It seems unlikely that you haven't bought the game already (since everyone has), but just in case, it's only 99 cents.