With the popularity surrounding mobile gaming on the iPhone and iPod Touch, many critics wondered how the iPad would fare when it came to the world of gaming. While its first year has largely been comprised of enhanced versions of iPhone games, Apple's tablet has managed to offer some wonderful game content that's a perfect fit for the unique size of the device - not the least of which is tabletop fun for 2 or more players on the one device.
While the games listed here may not all be iPad exclusives, there's no doubting that they make great use of iPad's capabilities and are therefore at their biggest and brightest best, with "(cheap) gift to friend" written all over them.Scrabble
The world's most popular competitive word game has come to the iPad, and it's not only a faithful rendition, but a shining example of what the iPad has to offer.
While the bulk of gameplay offers the same turn-based, "play by mail" style multiplayer as its iPhone counterpart, what really sets the iPad Scrabble apart is its "Party Play" mode. Up to four players can gather around the iPad, break out their iPhones and iPod Touch's, boot up the free Scrabble Tile Rack app, and begin playing a real game of Scrabble with their own personal selection of letters kept private on their own device.
The iPad has become a magnet for great multiplayer board game experiences, and while it may require you to have more devices than other digital board games, Scrabble manages to leverage the functionality of Apple's entire line of iOS devices to create a terrifically cool experience.Little Things
Hidden object games have long been amongst the most popular genres in the casual gaming world. Hunting for a set of listed objects, players would customarily click on found objects with a mouse in this previously PC only experience. Playing hidden object games on a touch screen seems like a no brainer, but due to the tiny screen on the iPhone, hidden object developers simply couldn't find a method to achieve true success in the App Store. Then came the iPad. Now you're talking.
Easily the most popular hidden object game on the iPad to date, Little Things is far from your average hidden object experience. Rather than searching one boring room after another, the objects you're searching for are part of a collage that, in turn, makes up a bigger picture. So while you may be searching for an elephant, a camel, and a treasure chest, you could be looking for them inside a giant picture of a dog or a sneaker.
With a great art style and a mellow soundtrack, Little Things lets player go on a hidden object hunt without ever having to touch a mouse and keyboard. Marble Mixer
The multiplayer possibilities of the iPad really seem limitless, and if Marble Mixer does anything, it certainly proves that they're ageless too. Offering up an experience that can be enjoyed by toddlers, youth, adults and seniors, Marble Mixer takes players back to the days of yore when shooting marbles (or "taws" as they say in the crosswords) was all the rage.
Offering up three distinct modes, Marble Mixer delivers plenty of variety for up to four players. Each player takes over a corner of the iPad from which to shoot their marbles. Depending on the mode, they'll either aim for a target, an opponent's marbles, or both.
While some modes offer up a certain level of strategy and skill that seasoned gamers will appreciate, nothing is ever so complicated that it can't be enjoyed by the wee ones or marble neophytes. After all, who wouldn't love to shoot marbles into the mouth of an adorable teddy bear-faced monster?Pinball HD
A collection of three pinball titles that were previously available on the iPhone, Pinball HD does a terrific job of recreating the sights and sounds of real world pinball tables, now at a portable size that makes more sense. Players simply hold the iPad in their hands and tap anywhere on the left or right side of the screen to activate the corresponding flipper. It even offers the satisfying feeling of pulling back the plunger to shoot a new ball into the playing field.
The physics in Pinball HD are spot on, and the table designs are out-and-out tremendous. They're so good, in fact, that you can't help but feel a tad disappointed when you realize they don't exist somewhere in the real world to play. If you've ever been a fan of pinball, virtual or otherwise, Pinball HD is money well spent.Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge
Like board games and hidden object games, the classic point and click adventure formula seems perfectly at home on the iPad. With so many objects and people to interact with and requiring only the tap of a finger, adventure games and the iPad seem like a match made in heaven. And nowhere is the love affair more apparent than in the recent remastering of the PC classic, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.
Available for seemingly every platform under the sun, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge updates the twenty year old adventure game with new voice acting and art as well as a developer commentary and new hint system for gamers who might get stuck.
Like its predecessor, it follows the continuing adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, bumbling pirate and kind-hearted do-gooder.
With a great sense of humor and challenging story-based puzzles to solve, LeChuck's Revenge not only exemplifies great adventure gaming, but how great adventure gaming can be on the iPad.
Other iPad Options
Of course, an iPad game isn't exactly something you can wrap up and stick under a tree. Consider instead a personalized skin for the thing, designed by you at www.MyTegos.com
. The site allows you to upload your own images or photos and have them placed on a form-fitting decal for just about every device known to man, including iPad. The custom "skins" are then mailed to you or the recipient of your choice.