After months (years?) of rumors, Apple finally released the iPad in 2010. iPad gaming hasn't quite taken off as quickly as on the iPhone/iPod, but here's a cross section of some of the best iPad games of 2010. If you just opened an iPad for Christmas, here are some games to look at.
World of Goo HD, $4.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - World of Goo is a game about creating towers and bridges with stretchy pieces of goo. It becomes much more than that though as you progress, which is one of the most fascinating and rewarding things about this natural-feeling, and beautifully directed puzzler. It's truly one of the best games ever released on the iPad.
Plants vs. Zombies HD, $0.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Developer PopCap Games manages to splice in whimsy on top of a satisfying mix of careful tower selection and defense. In Plants vs. Zombies HD, you are the lone protector of a backyard who must put up seed spitting plants and other abominations in order to beat back an advancing zombie hord. The towers are diverse, the amount of options are incredible, and the hours of entertainment provided are incalculable.
Osmos for iPad, $4.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Osmos for iPad is a beautiful and relaxing game in which you, essentially, take a big bubble and make it steadily grow bigger and bigger. A great soundtrack eases tension and the simple play lends itself to a good, calm time.
Corpse Craft, Free - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Corpse Craft is a fun and rewarding match-3 title with an interesting tower defense twist that has you using turning matched blocks into building materials for your reanimated soldiers. The game's greatest accomplishment though is its balance between character and mechanics. The brilliantly grim art direction and narrative doesn't detract from the gameplay, nor was development time seemingly sacrificed for the inclusion of the brilliant universe Corpse Craft is based in.
Monkey Island Tales 1 HD, $2.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - The Tales of Monkey Island series was fantastic on the PC and Mac and developer Telltale Games successfully ported over that experience to the iPad. Rich in humour, character, puzzles, and reverence to its forerunners, this is the ultimate adventure game for Monkey Island fans. It's also pretty good as a standalone point-and-click adventure game.
Puzzle Agent HD, $2.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Puzzle Agent HD is a non-traditional point-and-click adventure title featuring the grim art of Graham Annable. It has a few technical problems, but the puzzles and the narrative are deeply involving and worth your time.
Yoot Tower, $7.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - A lazy bit of shorthand that we use to describe Yoot Tower is "SimCity in the sky." In the game, you construct a tower out of the living spaces like offices, condos, hotel rooms, and even restaurants. As you progress, you'll need to start paying attention to the stress levels of the people who have a financial stake in your tower, while also attempting to keep the tower growing to floor 100. It's fun, complex, and most all, pretty rewarding. Talk about a time sucker for the ages.
Cut the Rope HD, $4.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Cut the Rope HD is a straight port of its other iPhone brethren, but it just feels so right on the iPad, which boasts a larger screen area to cut the rope holding the precious candy so it can sail into the adorable Om Nom's mouth.
Across Age ™ HD, $4.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Across Age HD is the closest you'll get to a Zelda on the iPad. And, really, that's selling it short. On top of the traditional dungeon-based play, Across Age HD offers rewarding hack-and-slash combat, a neat time travel mechanic, and decent controls.
Fruit Ninja HD, $2.99 - [Lite- [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Fruit Ninja HD is essentially just a bigger version of its iPhone cousin wherein you chop up fruit for points. It's a simple game that requires simple gestures, but there's just something about it that has kept us playing for hours and hours.
CHAOS RINGS for iPad, $9.99 - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - Chaos Rings for iPad is a creative take on the traditional JRPG. Developer Square Enix forgoes the usual narrative in favor of a shorter, much more focused journey that has teams of gender-confused people taking on monsters and then each other in a contest to win immortality. A deep battle system, a great hi-def look, and fun, bite-sized adventures make this a must-have.
Cubed Rally Racer, $0.99 - [Lite / iPad] - [Review] - [Forum Thread] - A wonderful homage to isometric racing games, Cubed Rally Racer is completely randomized, so you'll never play the same track twice. Similarly, if a particular track is too difficult, you can simply generate a new one to play. The iPad version features split screen single-device multiplayer which is a ton of fun.