Best of the iPad • Page 2

10 essential launch titles for Apple's slab.

Angry Birds HD

  • 2.99 (iPhone version 0.59)

Another game that feels the need to be five times the price on the iPad for the sake of a sharper resolution, but given how cheap it is I'm inclined to let Rovio rake in a bit more cash for making a stupendously addictive bird-flinging tale of revenge. As before, your sole purpose is to catapult a handful of malevolent birds in order to take out the pesky green pigs that have allegedly stolen their eggs, and it's a formula that's as addictive as it is annoying. WHY WON'T THEY JUST DIE?

Is it better on the iPad? Unlike some of the other ports doing the rounds, there isn't any specific advantage to playing Angry Birds on a bigger screen other than the woolly notion of it being 'nicer'. You don't gain greater precision, and the visuals are basically exactly the same. To compound matters, publisher Chillingo hasn't bothered to include the extra levels that were subsequently released on the iPhone version. Swizz.

Real Racing HD

  • 5.99 (iPhone version 2.99)

Despite the burly presence of Need For Speed: Shift and Asphalt 5 in the iPad launch line-up, it's actually this plucky outsider that impresses most in the racing stakes - something that won't come as any surprise to those who bought the game on iPhone last year.

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Real Racing HD: One of the few games with a playable in-car view.

As with most racing games on the platform, this is another that allows you to focus entirely on just steering the car, rather than worry too much about adjusting your speed. With the dimensions of the iPad absolutely perfect for replicating the action of turning a steering wheel, you simply hold your hands at either ends of the device and tilt left or right into the bends.

While the rather dated-looking visuals aren't exactly stretching the iPad's capabilities, an excellent in-car view and all-round more exciting driving experience puts it some margin ahead of its rather staid competitors.

Is it better on the iPad? Despite its rather jaggy appearance, Real Racing HD still has the capacity to impress by virtue of its grander scale, fooling your brain into feeling like you're playing a game on a massive telly as opposed to a 10" handheld.

Pinball HD

  • 1.79 (no iPhone version)
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Pinball HD: Insert 'wicky wicky wa wa' joke here.

There are maybe as many as 5000 pinball games on the iPhone (not much of an exaggeration), so it's hardly surprising that the iPad launch line-up already contains five of the bloody things. Top of the heap is easily Gameprom's offering, which pulls together four of its iPhone offerings into one excellent-value compilation that is unexpectedly entertaining.

Is it better on the iPad? As you might imagine, the iPad is near enough the perfect platform for pinball simulators, with its pin-sharp, beautifully detailed backdrops and simple controls making it easy to provide an authentic approximation of the real thing. Needless to say, the dimensions of the device lend themselves extremely well to pinball, though you can actually play the game in any orientation you choose should you wish to forego the more logical vertical option. You'll be playing by sense of smell before you know it.

Vector Runner HD

  • 1.79 (iPhone version: 0.59)

My, how it's grown. The famous Flash game from 2007 escaped my attention when it came out for iPhone a couple of months back, but its HD arrival on the iPad is very welcome indeed.

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Vector Runner HD: The Impossible Game in a head-on collision with 3D Death Chase.

In true early-eighties tradition, its single-minded premise tasks you with nothing more than left/right avoidance of oncoming obstacles at frenetic speed, and comes across as a blistering retro-futurist fusion of The Impossible Game with 3D Death Chase. If you can stop playing it, you're a better man than I.

Is it better on the iPad? There's not much in it, but its upscaled vector glory is truly beautiful to behold. Sometimes it's the simple pleasures that really click on the iPad, and this is definitely one of them.

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