Board games and other games with single device local multiplayer have been a real hit around my house on the iPad. The large screen of the device really shines in any kind of local multiplayer scenario, and I've had a ton of fun playing everything from single-screen racing games like Danger Derby [$4.99] to excellent adaptations of board games like Small World [$6.99]. We were happy to see the original release of Catan for the iPhone last year, and ever since I realized how much fun board games are on the device, I've been looking for Catan on the iPad.

Unfortunately, there are two notable issues with this release. First off, Catan HD [$4.99] is yet another HD version of a game with no real noteworthy differences between the iPhone game aside from higher resolution art and a different UI. (Something several people on our forums are voicing their disappointment about.) Secondly, in the shadow of games like Small World for the iPad or Carcassonne [$4.99] for the iPhone, Catan HD feels lackluster in comparison.

The high resolution graphics don't look that great, and are made even worse by slowly animating between a few frames, giving the whole game a jerky appearance. Also, Carcassonne really set the standard for multiplayer options in a board game, and it's unfortunate to see that even the iPad version of the game launching without bluetooth or online multiplayer.

If you're looking to play Settlers of Catan without dealing with all the pieces of the physical game, Catan HD is a decent alternative, just don't expect anything more than the iPhone game running at a higher resolution.

  • EastsideStompers

    These excellent board games really come to life with online multi, Reiner Knizia's Samurai being my favorite. Just playing against AI the whole time is a very empty experience. It's like practising for the match with a real person that I will never play...

  • Bergamot

    This is absolute crap.

    There was a Catan game for Xbox Live released *years* ago that looked like this:

    http://www.luisescobarblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/the-settlers-of-catan.jpg

    Now I'm not going to argue that the iPad has anywhere close to the graphical performance of a dedicated game console, but there is nothing in that screenshot that they couldn't have done on the iPad if they weren't so lazy and complacent.

    Instead, we get something that looks like it was designed in MSPaint, and nobody can make a *better* version, or the publisher will scream.

  • Anonymous

    "Carcassonne" doesn't seem to be an iPad app in the app store. Did you mistype it? Could you add a link in the article text? Your review of this game really makes me want to try "Carcassonne" instead, but I can't find it. You're not talking about the iPhone app are yo?

    • Jweaver911

      It's not been updated for iPad yet. It's out on iPhone... and once they finish the update it will be universal. But it's the perfect example of HOW to do a board game right. Rich graphics(HD retina) and awesome multiplayer!

    • Anonymous

      Worth noting that Carcassonne for the iPhone already looks great on the iPad (seems like the assets were already high res anyway or something, so even at 2x they are very crisp and detailed).

  • http://twitter.com/dasoctopus Collin Burkhart

    If you look at the iphone version of carcassonne you will see that buying it gets you a free update to the ipad app coming soon

  • DavidLam2289

    Carcassonne has set the bar for me on how board games should look. Catan devs are really slacking and they haven't even updated the iphone version in a long time. There are so many problems with the game they just decide to ignore.

  • Anonymous

    In addition to lack of polish and multiplayer, the AI is terrible. I can win almost every game.

    I'd sell one of my kidneys for a Carcassonified Settlers.

    • Jweaver911

      Haha... How about if they Carcassonified the Catan... I'd actually buy it :) I love me a game of Settlers! But can't bring myself to buy a stupid version like that...

  • Jillval

    Hm, I loved the Xbox360 version of Catan but I like the graphics more in the iPhone/iPad versions. Next month the story mode / seafarers expansion will be out so I couldn't be happier with this product.

  • http://dealzon.com Dealzon

    Love this game, too bad for whatever reason the Catan app has no sound on the first gen iPad.