Digital Crave

Five great games for the iPad

Digital Crave

The vast majority of games in the Apple store are aimed at the iPhone user. The bigger display and improved graphics of the iPad, however, obviously make for a better gaming experience with certain types of games. Here are five great titles that are appreciably improved on the larger iPad screen, for various reasons. Most games listed are designed for use on the iPhone as well, with one iPad exclusive title. Be sure to check the apps page for more details on requirements and optimizations.

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Blast-A-Way iPad Game

Blast-A-Way (Price: $4.99/rated 4+)

In Blast-A-Way, a beautifully designed puzzler with a cool and minimalist style, you control three robot heroes on a mission to rescue adorable little creatures called Boxies.

Due to some sort of industrial catastrophe in the Boxies' abstract world, they've become trapped among piles of random 3-D objects — cubes, cones, cylinders, what-have-you. The idea is to think your way around various spatial dilemmas by tossing bombs in strategic places, knocking stuff down, and generally relying on realistic approximations of gravity and Newtonian motion.

The result is a 3-D puzzler that creates infinite scenarios out of a handful of simple components, and looks simply gorgeous on the bigger iPad screen.

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Osmos for the iPad

Osmos for iPad (Price: $4.99/rated 4+)

Designed for the iPad exclusively, Osmos has already won several shelves full of awards, and its forward-thinking approach will appeal to game design geeks.

You play as a "galactic mote," a kind of cosmic single-cell organism in a Darwinian world of eat-or-be-eaten simplicity. As the hypnotic ambient score plays (headphones are recommended), you float through an existentially ambiguous plane — outer space, the primordial soup, who knows?

Try to survive by absorbing smaller motes, and avoiding bigger ones. Subtle sound and color cues guide your strategy as new challenges are introduced, like orbital complications and AI creatures.

Highly recommended.

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Call of Cthulhu for iPad

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (Price: $4.99/ rated 12+)

Based on the horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft, The Wasted Land is a nice example of an old-school, turn-based tactical game optimized for the iPad.

You lead a squad of soldiers and occult investigators during a secret campaign in the trenches of World War One. As the levels progress, you'll battle German shock troops, nefarious cultists and (eventually) tentacled horrors from beyond the stars.

The developers have even folded in a sanity system for tracking your characters' slow descent into madness. Navigating the battlefield is much easier on the iPad screen, and the game finds that tricky Lovecraft tone of mannered humor and mind-rending cosmic horror.

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Catapult King for iPad

Catapult King (Price: $0.99, rated 9+)

A 3-D variant on the popular Angry Birds style of tower-toppling, Catapult King puts you behind the winch of a medieval siege engine loaded with various projectiles.

Your job is to smash castle walls, knock down enemy knights and eventually rescue the princess from the dragon. "Catapult" switches out the flat horizontal plane of Angry Birds for a bright and colorful 3-D 'toon world.

The camera can be panned up, down and around the castle walls, which lets you spot structural weaknesses or hidden objective around back.

The bright, sharp graphics come to life on the iPad screen, and the additional display real estate makes aiming and scanning much easier.

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Scribblenauts for iPad

Scribblenauts Remix (Price: $0.99, rated 9+)

The iOS version of the popular Nintendo DS series employs a unique style of gameplay suggested by its slogan: "Write Anything, Solve Everything."

You engage the various levels and puzzles by simply typing in words, which then spawn as objects in the side-scrolling game world.

Let's say you need to get to the other side of a chasm. You can summon a bridge, or a grappling hook — or maybe a jetpack, or a trampoline, or a giant eagle. The game encourages lateral thinking, and has a database of tens of thousands of words.

Since you'll be typing in ideas much of the time, you'll appreciate the iPad's larger touch keyboard.

Note: This was written by Glenn McDonald, a Digital Crave contributor.

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