Sunday, January 02, 2011

Best iPad Games of 2010

It's amazing to think the iPad is only 9 months old, during which time it's really started to mature as a credible gaming platform. Admittedly many of its strongest games are ports from other platforms, although compelling iPad originals are starting to emerge.

Below are the top ten iPad games which most rocked my accelerometer in 2010. I've tried to only include games which really take advantage of the iPad's form factor (hence no Drop7, Plants vs. Zombies or Cut the Rope which play just as well on the iPhone imho).

Let me know which gems I'm currently missing out on.

#1 Angry Birds HD (£2.99)

Yes, it's available on the iPhone, but the additional space afforded by the iPad's larger screen makes it that much more enjoyable to play. If you haven't played it yet, be prepared to be addicted; Angry Birds is the iPad equivalent of crack. Its surreal battle between bird and pig has even inspired a live action YouTube tribute.

Like This? Try Plants vs. Zombies HD

#2 Monkey Island Tales 1 HD (£3.99)

Telltale Games' update to the classic LucasArts adventure game franchise really comes to life on the iPad, with sumptuous visuals, great voice acting, intuitive controls and the witty dialogue and fiendish puzzling you come to expect from the series.

Like This? Try Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge

#3 World of Goo (£5.99)

World of Goo was born to be played on the iPad. A beautifully crafted game, which enchanted on the PC and Mac and on the Wii, its even more intuitive and enjoyable to play when you can manipulate the balls of goo with your fingertips. Pure class.

Like This? Try Moonlights

#4 Dominion HD (£2.99)

Superior to EA's official iPad version of Risk (which itself is excellent), this world domination board game captures all the magic of the original, but ratchets up the pace and tension and throws in some small but welcome additional features, including an online multiplayer mode.

Like This? Try RISK: The Official Game for iPad

#5 Let’s Golf! 2 (£0.59)

A playful and addictive golf sim which employs the trusty three-click swing action rather than attempting to more closely mimic a real golf swing (which almost always ends badly). Works best as a social experience, whether pass and play or via one of the multiplayer options (Online, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are all supported).

Like This? Try Real Golf 2011 HD

#6 Ragdoll Blaster 2 HD (£2.99)

A similar game mechanic to Angry Birds, with a canon rather than a catapult and a ragdoll rather than assorted birds. What sets RB2 apart, however, is its endlessly inventive level design introducing an Incredible Machine style physics dimension to the gameplay with predictably addictive consequences.

Like This? Try Angry Birds HD

#7 Puzzle Agent HD (£0.59)

Another Telltale Games production, Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent (to give it it's full title) is a puzzle / adventure game hybrid with a distinctive visual style provided by cartoonist Graham Annable. Whilst the fidelity of the illustrations is quite variable, the overall effect is charming and the puzzles and narrative progression dovetail much more seamlessly than I expected.

Like This? Try Babylonion Twins HD Premium

#8 Broken Sword: Director's Cut HD (Free)

Another elegant port of a classic adventure game. Fourteen years on since it's original release and Charles Cecil's narrative stands up well, aided by gorgeous visuals, cinematic sound and an intuitive interface. Makes me wonder whether the iPad might stimulate a wider renaissance in the point and click (tap?) adventure game genre.

Like This? Try Sam & Max Episode 1: The Penal Zone for iPad

#9 Osmos for iPad (£2.99)

A simple but surprisingly difficult game in which you must propel a single-celled organism towards other, smaller motes in order to absorb them. Hit a bigger one and you get absorbed. It has a nice aesthetic / calming ambient soundtrack and would be very relaxing were it not so damn stressful...

Like This? Try Cut the Rope HD

#10 Mirror's Edge for iPad (£2.99)

A successful re-imagining of the first-person console title of the same name as a side-scroller, making smart use of the limited inputs of swiping and tapping to produce one of the most nerve-wracking games currently available for the iPad.

Like This? Try Canabalt

Prices correct at time of writing.

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