As gamers, the announcement of the Apple iPad was probably met with confused expressions. Here was a device which was, technically speaking, just a supersized and supercharged version of the iPhone. While the iPhone platform over the years has seen the release of a plethora of high quality games, they all cater specifically to a small touchscreen device. Could the extra horsepower enabled by the iPad’s 1 GHz processor and extra screen space lend itself to a different breed of video games?
While gamers could never be sure, developers seemed very enthusiastic about the device and within merely a week of its release we have seen some very impressive games for iPad showing up. Here is our top 10 list of the cream of the current crop of titles for the iPad. The list is in no specific order.
1. Real Racing HD: Real Racing was released previously on the iPhone platform by Firemint Studios. It was an impressive simulation racer that managed to raise the bar visually and surprised with the depth of its gameplay. Real Racing HD is a remake of this game with significantly upgraded visuals and improved tilt steering. The game offers a quick play mode as well as a career mode. Unfortunately, its online component doesn’t let you go head to head with other racers but let’s you upload your times and ghosts of your laps for others to race against. Despite these issues, at 10 USD there is plenty to be done in the game and real Racing HD is the definitive the racing game for the iPad.
2. Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 1: The Penal Zone: The recent Sam & Max games have been polished comedic adventures that bring back fond memories of the original Sam and Max. This new episode is a first on the iPad platform and while there have been better episodes in the previous seasons, the game has translated well to fit the iPad platform. Graphics are polished and the game controls well. However, there is slowdown at various points throughout the game. Hopefully future updates will fix the problems. As it stands however, this episode proves how well adventure games can work on this platform.
3. Plants vs Zombies HD: Plants vs Zombies by PopCap Games was a pleasant and innovative entry into the tower defense genre in the recent years. The original PC version has already been enjoyed by gamers everywhere thanks to its colour, variety and sheer charm. The updated iPad version looks as good as the original and also lets you utilize the multi touch functions of the device to full effect which allows for 11 touch points at the same time. The iPad version also includes a new minigame. Retailing for the half the price of the original, this iPad game is a good place to start for those who never stumbled across this gem before.
4. Labyrinth 2 HD: The original Labyrinth game on the iPod is one of those titles that tried to emulate a physical game using the iPhone’s motion sensing capabilities. This feat was actually achieved remarkably well and the sense of satisfaction felt while tilting the device gently to guide the ball into the final hole was as good as it could be with a physical game. This version features the requisite visual upgrade while also adding new elements like Multiple Balls, Magnets and Fans to spice up the basic gameplay. User created levels add countless hours of gameplay and existing levels created for the iPhone version are also designed to run on the iPad.
5. Mirror’s Edge: Mirror’s Edge for the iPad was actually quite a bit of a surprise. Thankfully it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. This version of the game is a 2D side scroller that somehow maintains the thrill of the original. Both the environmental navigation and combat are handled with simple swipe gestures. The iPad game looks great and retains the graphic style of the original game with animations that are smooth and appealing. The game also features a Multiplayer mode where you can race through the levels against a friend. It’s one of the iPad’s most graceful games and one that feels most at home on the device.
6. Zen Bound 2: Zen Bound 2 could be considered as one of the iPad’s most relaxing games. Its basic objective at any time is to tie a rope around objects of various shapes and sizes. When this is done paint splashes onto the object and depending on how you wrapped the rope around it, a certain area of the object gets covered. Your objective is to maximise this area. Zen Bound 2 takes this basic fundamental and wraps it in a highly attractive interface with intuitive touch controls. Zen Bound was a marvellous looking iPhone game and the iPad version is quite possibly the most beautiful thing you will see on your device for some time to come.
7. Civilization Revolution: Civilization has made an appearance before on an Apple platform in the iPhone version. It was a streamlined version of the original which worked well with the platforms’ limitations. The iPad version sports vibrant graphics suitably bumped up from its iPhone cousin. The characters are well detailed and the game mechanics work well. Battle animations are however disappointing and seem tacked on from the iPhone version. Civilization Revolution is a great strategy game for the iPad and one fans of all genres must check out for the iPad.
8. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2: The original game released back in the year 2000 was a landmark game both for the genre and gaming in general. It was a brilliant game that also sold millions of copies for Activision before they became known for the Call of Duty series. Activision aims to bring the same experience to the iPad, 10 years later. While the content from the original seems to have carried over well enough, it’s the controls where things aren’t as perfect. The tilt and touch controls are nowhere as good as a controller at letting you pull off the tricks. However the rest of the landmark game makes it through complete with full 3D graphics and smooth animations.
9. Scrabble: Scrabble for the iPad is one of the best executed versions of a physical game for the device. While the iPhone version was a decent enough app, the extended screen size really takes the intuitiveness of the game to another level. In addition to the new HD graphics the game lets you play up to 25 multiplayer games at the same time. Perhaps it’s best new feature is Party Play mode. A free app download for your iPhone and iPod Touch systems turns them into a personal tile rack. You can then take on up to 4 players in Party Play mode and virtually flick tiles from the mobile device onto the main iPad board. This makes the game one of the most unique and creative uses of multiple types of touch devices at one time.
10. Flight Control HD: Flight Control was a popular game for the original iPhone device. Players were tasked with the simple objective of trying to land various aircraft and helicopters onto runways or helipads without any of the aircraft colliding with each other. Players can determine the path that the aircraft could take to the runway by the means of simple paths traced with a finger. The larger screen size of the iPad means the game throws a large number of aircraft at you at the same time and will quickly cause you to panic as you desperately try to avoid collisions. New high definition maps and the same screen multiplayer make it a worthy and hugely addictive experience.
- – SSP