Since the iPad's arrival last month, we've joined readers in keeping our ear to the ground in order to get our hands on any great new or retooled games offering specific iPad support that land in the App Store. Such titles that take advantage of the iPad's more powerful processor and feature high resolution graphics befitting the iPad's large display have the potential to deliver a game experience beyond that of the iPhone. Of course, the iPad is quite capable of running all your iPhone games (at standard res or 2x scaled), but generally those titles are better played on their original target device.

Of course, there are exceptions. Certain iPhone shooters are more enjoyable on the iPad -- Espgaluda II, for one. And, I find that iPhone Arkanoid clones play a little better on the iPad -- Bricks of Camelot, Krypton Egg, and ... Arkanoid, for example. But, of all the iPhone games I've played on Apple's multitouch tablet, Steph Thirion's Eliss [App Store] is by far the best fit for the device.

Eliss, IGF Mobile 2009 finalist for Innovation in Mobile Game Design, superbly demonstrates all that multitouch gaming can be.

The universe that Eliss presents is a place of entropy. The game challenges the player–in mind and body–to apply order to this universe. Into this dark void spring planets of varying size and color. Like colored planets can be combined to make a larger planet (pinch) or pulled apart to create smaller planets (spread). The goal of the game is to eliminate the planets by dragging them into the "squeezars" (think black…err…multicolored holes) of matching size and color that blink in and out of the universe. After a set number of planets have been eliminated it's on to the next level. And the most important thing to remember? Don't let planets of different colors touch! Failure to heed that warning will result in a rapid drain of energy levels and a chance to see the Game Over screen. Making the task harder are the space vortexes that draw planets towards them (and one another) as well as a red giant star that meanders its way in and out of the playfield, draining energy on contact with any planet.

As I said in last year's review of the game, I've found myself laying my iPhone flat on a table and struggling to keep the planets away from each other and that cursed, wandering red giant with as many as five fingers on the screen at once. With so much extra space to work with on the iPad, the Twister experience -- for fingers as well as for the mind -- that is Eliss is even more engaging than on the original target device. What's more, the game's spartan geometric, almost retro visuals actually look better at 2x scale on the iPad's display, in my opinion. This is a game that's not begging for an iPad-specific release.

Anyone that has yet to experience Eliss, on iPhone or iPad, should at least spend some time with the free, lite version [App Store].

App Store Link: Eliss, $4.99, Eliss Lite, Free

  • crablin

    Eliss is HARD.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Steph eased up the difficulty in the game's first update last year, in case you hadn't played it since.

  • crablin

    Eliss is HARD.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Steph eased up the difficulty in the game's first update last year, in case you hadn't played it since.

  • weipeng

    I bought Eliss at the first day I got my iPad (I didn't have iPhone/iPod touch). I can't wait to try it. But the result was somewhat frustrating. When you run iPhone game on iPad, any pinch or squeeze gesture will turn pixel doubling on or off. And Eliss on my iPad had jumped between 1x and 2x pixel doubling. It's very annoying.

    Did anyone have the same problem? Or how could I lock pixel doubling?

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Hmm. I played it for a couple of hours yesterday on the iPad, doubled. That never happened to me. Dunno...

  • weipeng

    I bought Eliss at the first day I got my iPad (I didn't have iPhone/iPod touch). I can't wait to try it. But the result was somewhat frustrating. When you run iPhone game on iPad, any pinch or squeeze gesture will turn pixel doubling on or off. And Eliss on my iPad had jumped between 1x and 2x pixel doubling. It's very annoying.

    Did anyone have the same problem? Or how could I lock pixel doubling?

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Hmm. I played it for a couple of hours yesterday on the iPad, doubled. That never happened to me. Dunno...

  • Deewin

    Space Invaders Infinity Gene also looks great on the iPad :-D

    • weipeng

      Oh yeah, Space Invaders Infinity Gene is really good. The double pixel was so good for this game's retro style. And control is not hard on iPad (cause it didn't use D-pad style control, you needn't hold the iPad).

  • Deewin

    Space Invaders Infinity Gene also looks great on the iPad :-D

    • weipeng

      Oh yeah, Space Invaders Infinity Gene is really good. The double pixel was so good for this game's retro style. And control is not hard on iPad (cause it didn't use D-pad style control, you needn't hold the iPad).

  • Christian

    I bought Eliss on the iphone based on the review here but I found I put it away after a few frustrating plays. The basic mechanic was innovative but not a lot of fun to me.

  • Christian

    I bought Eliss on the iphone based on the review here but I found I put it away after a few frustrating plays. The basic mechanic was innovative but not a lot of fun to me.

  • Josh

    When I got to the levels with the sun the game became extremely annoying fast. The iPhone just does not have the screen space to play. I think the iPad version will be better but I will never buy an iPad unless someone dualboots OSX on it.

  • Josh

    When I got to the levels with the sun the game became extremely annoying fast. The iPhone just does not have the screen space to play. I think the iPad version will be better but I will never buy an iPad unless someone dualboots OSX on it.

  • Mr. Reeee

    Eliss is MUCH easier to play on the iPad than my iPod touch.
    That's not saying that it's an east game. ;^)

    I've discovered quite a few games that look surprisingly good on the iPad. I'd love to see EDGE get a graphics update, though.

  • Mr. Reeee

    Eliss is MUCH easier to play on the iPad than my iPod touch.
    That's not saying that it's an east game. ;^)

    I've discovered quite a few games that look surprisingly good on the iPad. I'd love to see EDGE get a graphics update, though.

  • weipeng

    Hey guys, how you solve the pixel doubling accidentally problem?

  • weipeng

    Hey guys, how you solve the pixel doubling accidentally problem?

  • http://www.little--eyes.com Steph Thirion

    Thanks for highlighting this Blake! I'm really happy about how Eliss looks and feels on the iPad. When apple announced iPads would run iPhone apps, I got scared, because many things were out of my control - how will it play, how will it look? But I got lucky. While most other games look dirty and blurry with the iPad zoom, I didn't have to change anything in the code: Eliss looks pixel sharp. And the pixel doubling looks great on Eliss. And I was also worried about usability and comfort, but it plays and feels great. It felt like a rebirth.

    That doesn't mean there won't be something iPad specific down the road, but it's great that the original Eliss already feels so natural on the new tablet.

    Weipeng, that's a weird behavior, I never heard of it. On my iPad the only way to switch between 1x and 2x is by touching the little round button on the corner. If pinching would switch the zoom, most iPhone apps would be broken on the iPad... You should probably get in touch with Apple, see if they can help you fix your problem.

  • http://www.little--eyes.com Steph Thirion

    Thanks for highlighting this Blake! I'm really happy about how Eliss looks and feels on the iPad. When apple announced iPads would run iPhone apps, I got scared, because many things were out of my control - how will it play, how will it look? But I got lucky. While most other games look dirty and blurry with the iPad zoom, I didn't have to change anything in the code: Eliss looks pixel sharp. And the pixel doubling looks great on Eliss. And I was also worried about usability and comfort, but it plays and feels great. It felt like a rebirth.

    That doesn't mean there won't be something iPad specific down the road, but it's great that the original Eliss already feels so natural on the new tablet.

    Weipeng, that's a weird behavior, I never heard of it. On my iPad the only way to switch between 1x and 2x is by touching the little round button on the corner. If pinching would switch the zoom, most iPhone apps would be broken on the iPad... You should probably get in touch with Apple, see if they can help you fix your problem.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cargoplex Aaron

    I find that the Q*Bert iPhone game actually plays and looks pretty good at 2x on the iPad.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cargoplex Aaron

    I find that the Q*Bert iPhone game actually plays and looks pretty good at 2x on the iPad.

  • weipeng

    Wow, Steve (not Jobs) Himself! Thank you Steve, I'll study it later. BTW, I liked your interview in "The Setup", so humble and funny. I knew Eliss at first time from that interview. (yeah, at that time, I lived in rock cave and didn't read newspaper, so I didn't know such amazing little game).

  • weipeng

    Wow, Steve (not Jobs) Himself! Thank you Steve, I'll study it later. BTW, I liked your interview in "The Setup", so humble and funny. I knew Eliss at first time from that interview. (yeah, at that time, I lived in rock cave and didn't read newspaper, so I didn't know such amazing little game).

  • Yoshi1080

    Same goes for Jimney Chimney in in my opinion. Its multitouch controls really flourish on the iPad!

  • Yoshi1080

    Same goes for Jimney Chimney in in my opinion. Its multitouch controls really flourish on the iPad!

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Beat-Maker-App Jerilyn Mevers

    Nice philosophy. I like it. Thanks for posting

  • http://hubpages.com/hub/Beat-Maker-App Jerilyn Mevers

    Nice philosophy. I like it. Thanks for posting