Apple’s new iPad is just days away (you know, probably), so if you’ve been saving up the hefty £400+ to splash on iPad launch day, you’ll be glad to know that games are an area where, with a bit of nous, you needn’t be passing Apple money hand over fist. We’ve scoured the App Store for the very best iPad 3 games that should be gracing your new ‘pad come launch day. Dig in.
A testosternone-fuelled romp through every action movie setting of the last ten years, Overkill is a virtual shooting gallery that is proud to say it loves guns. Launch into the single player and you’re a lone wolf facing off against increasingly difficult waves of masked goons with nowt for protection but your hard-won selection of modern day assault weapons. As you progress (read: kill), the game rewards you with points and medals which you can spend in the gun shop loading up on new hardware and purchasing scopes, grips and other mil-spec accoutrements to up your lethality. Looks, sounds and handles well – even if enemy numbers can sometimes get a little overwhelming.
Flick and fling your virtual frisbee through dozens of colourful, cartoony levels. As the frisbee flies, tilt or tap the screen to steer around obstacles, pick up stars for bonus points and whizz through topsy-turvy tunnels and loop-the-loops. As you earn more stars and level up you unlock different settings for your frisbee frolicks, soaring over theme parks, western ghost towns, pirate coves and and snow-capped mountains. Unlocking new areas requires you to spend ‘star coins’, which you collect reasonably quickly through playing. Alternatively, £69.99 will buy you 275,000 of the things, if you really, really like frisbee.
Journey of Hope HD
While there’s nominally a story about a woman searching for clues about her missing father, Journey HD is really not a lot more than a picture puzzle that asks you to find hidden items is successive rooms of junk. But wait, we meant that in a good way! In fact, it’s more like an iPad children’s game, scanning each room full of eccentric clutter (globes, spiders, chinese theatre masks among dozens of others), looking for the one key or bird statue or tobacco pipe that for some tenuous reason you need to move on. It’s a peaceful, simple experience – a perfect counterpoint to all the shooty-shooty exploding iPad games that inundate the App Store.
Best free iPad games
Who new the life of a frog could be so perilous? Slipping into the, er, shoes of one of the green, rubbery pond-dwellers, your goal in Dizzypad is to jump from one lilypad to another without dropping in the water (which kills you for some reason, despite, you know, your being a frog). However, there are some twists that up the ante in Dizzypad: first, the lilypads spin, meaning you’ll have to time your jumps just right to avoid falling in the soup. Second, if you pull off a long jump that skips an interconnecting lilypad, you’ll be rewarded with an extra life. And… nope, that’s it. Good, though.
A pseudo-horror defence game that isn’t a world away from Plants vs. Zombies. In Monster, you play a beleaguered graveyard attendant who earns his keep making sure the cemetery’s undead residents don’t make it past the well-defended gate. Waves of monsters bent on freedom will charge you down, leaving you to re-dead them with your knife, grenades and a selection of zombie-slaying boomsticks. As you progress, new monsters appear – some stronger, some faster, all fair game for you to put back six feet under. If the game didn’t seem to crash after each level, we’d call it excellent.
Age of Pinballs
Oh, how far we’ve come since the golden days of Microsoft Pinball Arcade. Age of Pinballs is a must-have for any children of the eighties. The levels, each comprising a different brightly-coloured table, are beautifully drawn and rendered in 3D, while the camera has four settings that track the ball in different ways or pull out to show the whole table at once. The sound is also spot on – the obstacles clink, the paddles clunk, and everything else whoops and beeps and chimes if the ball so much as looks at it. A beautiful, beautiful game we’d happily have paid money for.
A cartoon fantasy world that’s taken some obvious pointers from American McGee’s Alice, Requiem is the story of a young boy whose sleep is haunted by nightmares of being chased about by a giant bull. There’s no combat in Requiem – you run, or the bull eats you. Simples. You control our understandably jittery protagonist as he pegs it down dark cobbled streets that routinely fall away, twist upside down or break up into floating blocks, running, jumping and ducking past obstacles to reach safety. Repetitive, but the music, surreal level design and that panting, grunting bull make it worth the free download.
Another clever use for the iPad’s touchscreen; Alex is a baby panda who gets dropped out of an plane when it explodes mid-air. Now stuck in a hostile jungle, you have to help him collect stars and avoid spiky and carnivorous plants. This you do by picking him up and dropping him (or flinging him) towards the level’s end. The catch? Alex doesn’t like being picked up (ungrateful wretch), and will struggle free if you hold him too long, dropping onto whatever nasty flora he was hovering above beforehand. There’s only a few levels in the free version, but fans of Cut The Rope owe it to themselves to give Alex a chance to dislodge Om Nom as cutest App Store character.
An awesomely addictive tower defence game. As a cadet in an interplanetary piratical raiding party (that’s fond of tasty spices) you’re placed in charge of an invasion of Earth. Thing is, those pesky humans aren’t to keen on the idea of having their planet blown up to feed your cravings for spice, so it’s down to you to defend the pirates’ various global strongholds until the strip mining can begin. With each wave, humanity strikes at you with tanks, robot walkers and spaceships, and the goal is keep them away from your base(s) with upgradeable minigun turrets, rocket launchers and Tesla coils. We spent way too much time on this.
Plonking you uneasily in the boots of an Indiana Jones/Nathan Drake tomb-raiding sort, Temple run is a tense and painfully unforgiving running sim that sees you making a hasty getaway from an ancient tomb you’ve just plundered for its golden idol. Hot on your tail are a pack of screeching monkeys, but what will actually do you in over and over again is the shoddy quality of ancient Mayan masonry work. As you sprint along the temple walls, you’ll have to duck under low branches, leap over collapsed wall sections and generally try to avoid plowing into anything solid while scooping up coins for points. Sound easy? It isn’t. As you progress, your character picks up speed, and the game isn’t afraid to let you run round a corner smack into something hard with only a millisecond’s warning. Fun, but you’ll be cursing the game’s often dodgy touch-interpretations before you can say ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.