Thursday, March 10, 2011

My 5 Favorite Games For The Apple iPad

It is hard to believe the Apple iPad is almost a year old.  I personally didn't run out and buy mine on day one, but I did buy it very soon after release.  At the time, I was using an ASUS Eee PC 1000HE netbook for my personal mobile computing and it was alright for doing basic web browsing and checking emails.  I purchased the iPad to replace the netbook, but I never realized how much I would use my iPad for gaming!  Like other gaming platform such as Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360, not every game is good or makes best use of the specific platform's strengths.  The iPad is a very unique gaming platform.  The large 9.7 inch touch-screen makes for an excellent game board or immersive first-person shooter (FPS). You can even interact with some games just by tilting and moving the iPad around.  It is truly a unique and engaging platform for gaming. After almost a year gaming fun on my iPad I present to you a modest list of my top 5 games that exemplify gaming on the Apple iPad.

Allow me to offer a quick note on my criteria for selecting my top 5 games on the iPad.  I have downloaded and played many different games on the iPad.  But, there are only a few that I keep going back to over and over again.  Some games look nice or have a good concept, but fall short of truly being great for the iPad.    I selected these games because they stand the test of time and play to the strengths of the iPad.

#5 Scrabble for iPad
Scrabble for iPad is one of those games that just makes sense for a touch-based tablet.  Playing this game on the iPhone never seemed very natural.  But on the iPad's larger screen Scrabble really shines.  It makes you fall in love all over again with a game that seems to satisfy the young and old alike.  I enjoy playing the game against the computer but to get the most out of this game you need to go head to head with other real human players.  The iPad version integrates well online with Facebook but the "Pass'n Play" feature is useful when you are playing with someone on the same iPad.  Each player takes a turn and then just passes it off to the next player.  Very natural game play and is very easy to pick up and play with a friend.

#4 Mirror's Edge for iPad

Mirror's Edge is a unique action game that plays well on the iPad.  I didn't buy this game at first because I just assumed it was some sort of standard first-person shooter.  I was very wrong.  This game is really about running away from people shooting, and jumping over, under objects, climbing walls, and riding zip lines.  The main character is some sort of parkour expert or ninja courier that is tasked with delivering important messages through a labyrinth urban settings.  Usually on the top of buildings or in multi-level basement hideaways. There is a lot of action and smooth visuals.  The controls are simple enough but can take some time getting used to.  Mirror's Edge is fun and entertaining.  Easy to pick up and play.

#3 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
I am a big fan of the LEGO Video games on the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS and so is my family. The LEGO franchise has done very well on an array of different gaming systems. It seems of natural that LEGO would try things out on the Apple iPad.  Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is not just a clone of the same game on the consoles.  It is a new and unique take on the game for the iPad.  Everything you come to love about the LEGO video games is packed into this iPad version. The game follows the movies well and offers the typical LEGO humor.  Clever puzzles and logic-based game play are the hallmark of LEGO video games and Harry Potter: Years 1-4 is no different.  A note on the controls, the game now offers a virtual D-Pad in addition to touching the screen all over to move the character.  Many people expressed a strong dislike for the default controls and prefer the virtual D-Pad.  You have to enable the D-Pad in the options so be sure to check that out when you first play the game to see which controls you like best.  

#2 The Treasures of Montezuma HD

The Treasures of Montezuma HD is, for the most part on the surface, a Bejeweled clone.  The basic gameplay is the same "match-three" style.  But, in my opinion, this game is even better than Bejeweled and offers its own unique take on a classic style of gaming.  The game design and graphics are top notch.  It is very eye-catching and colorful which really helps make it a pleasure to pick up and play.  What make it unique is the progressive reward system. As you complete different levels you earn stars that you can use to enable special game abilities in the form of the totems below the virtual game board.  After completing certain combos the totems perform all kinds of helpful actions.  This is what make this game especially addicting.  Out of all the games on my iPad, I still play The Treasures of Montezuma HD the most.  The touch controls are natural and it is just so darn easy to pick up and play even if I haven't touched it weeks.

#1 Infinity Blade (**Winner**)

Infinity Blade by Chair Entertainment Group, LLC is by far that one game that just blew me away on the iPad.  I am not the only one that thinks this game is great, it has won over 20 “Game of the Year” & “Top App” awards!  The graphics, art, and visuals in this game are untouchable by any other game I have seen in the app store.  It is a breakthrough game that raises the level for all other games and developers to seek to achieve.  At the core, Infinity Blade is a 1-on-1 sword/weapon fighting game with adventure or role playing elements.  It uses the tried and true Unreal engine for providing unmatched graphics and gameplay physics.  
I dont' know how they do it, but the graphics in the game seem to be better that I can do on my PC.  It really changes my perspective on what gaming on the iPad can and should be like.  The controls are very natural and are simple enough to pick up pretty quick.  It is not an epic fantasy role playing game that requires too much time investment to enjoy.  This is a fighter that is exciting from the minute you start.  The game developers did a good job in finding ways to get you right into the action with little prep.  Chair Entertainment Group sets the bar very high and I am happy they did.  
Well, there you have it.  This is my opinion and should be taken as such.  Everyone may have a different feeling toward the games they enjoy on the iPad but these really do stand out.  Check the reviews and you will see that you can't go wrong with any of these games.  Feel free to add your own favorites in the comments on this post.  I am always look for new games to try.  Thanks for reading.


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