Best iPad games for gamers

So you've got an iPad, and now you want to play some games on it because your PSP and Nintendo DSi are so, well yesterday. Don't panic, we are talking gamer's games here, none of those casual iPad games like Scrabble or Air Hockey that your mum and dad would be interested in.

We've scoured the 3500 dedicated iPad apps to bring you what we think are the best iPad games available at the moment (early May) to get you started if you want to drive fast, kill people and generally challenge yourself to more than just coming up with the best triple word score.

We've tried, tested and reviewed all the iPad games below ourselves, rather than just guessing whether they are good or not. Yes these are games, and yes they will push you to the limit.

Pinball HD

Yep - it's the classic pinball machine re-jigged for the iPad. You'll get three pinball tables to begin with - Wild West, The Deep, and The Jungle, with the option to buy more tables from the app store when and if you want.

The game play is incredibly simple with two views available to suit your gaming style. You can either choose to follow the ball around the table or have the table zoomed out so it's the size of your iPad screen (either landscape or portrait). Tapping the screen flaps your paddles while two thumbs swiping upwards changes the view. Whichever view point you opt for Pinball HD is not only addictive, but also great fun too.

Scores, presuming you've done well, can be shared with the community, however we would recommend you put in some practice first. The leader board is pretty hard to crack.

If you like Pinball, but have always known that you'll go through a stack of coins faster than a bagatelle set then this might be just the thing you are looking for.

Price £1.79 / $2.99

Rating 9/10


Mirror's Edge

We loved Mirror's Edge on the Xbox 360 and PS3, but regularly got frustrated about having to line up Faith, the main character, to make that specific jump just right to continue onwards.

Here parkour is back, but in a considerably easier to master 2D variation, with you once again picking up the main female courier fighting against the Imperial State.

Controls are via a series of swipes and are easy to master, but challenging at the same time. Of course it's all about jumping and sliding your way out of trouble rather than standing to fight, but the quick pace plus shortish levels are ideal for a quick 5-minute play and the ability to save to come back where you left off make this a great game to not only show the power of the iPad, but also keep you entertained.

Like the console version, the storyline is pretty vague and pointless but if you liked Canabalt for the iPhone, you'll love this.

Price £7.49 / $12.99

Rating 9/10


Hero of Sparta HD

If you're looking for a game to impress your mates with and show them that you've now got a device that is as good as a PSP or DSi when it comes to graphics, Hero of Sparta HD is probably one of the games to do it with.

Set to a backdrop of ancient Rome and Sparta, you play King Argos (nothing to do with the shop) a Spartan hero who's unafraid of defying the gods. That means you've got goblins, monsters, scorpions and a stack lot more to hack and slash your way through.

Gameplay is a two handed affair with one hand controlling an on-screen joystick, while the other free to tap your sword, shield and special combo buttons as they appear.

Playing through the game brings new weapons and features, and while the action can get repetitive at times (can't any game) Hero of Sparta HD is good stuff if you like the 3D free-roaming levels (all eight of them).

Fans of 300 with Gerard Butler and Bravo's Spartacus: Blood and Sand, should definitely sign up.

Price £3.99 / $6.99

Rating 8/10


PadRacer

If you've got an iPhone, this is going to be the one for you. Basically the iPad is nothing more than the course, while your iPhone becomes the controller.

Connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, PadRacer is the perfect game to make the most of your Apple eco-system. Download the app, connect your devices and away you go. There is support for four players (yes that means four iPhones and one iPad) and currently there are three tracks to race on with the promise of more coming included in the price.

Once the iPhone's are connected you turn them as if you were in a car with the accelerometer doing the rest. Speed is controlled via the iPhone and the whole game has a very Micro Machines feel to it (bar the cereal boxes).

If you like racing and want a party game to play with your iPhone touting mates this is great fun. And before you panic that it means having to buy a load of versions of the game, the good news is developers Software Moderna offer the iPhone controller for additional players as a free download.

Price £2.99 / $4.99

Rating 9/10


Touchgrind HD

Finger skating is the pastime of this and if that's what you want, this is the app to give it to you.

Touchgrind HD, is a remake of the iPhone app for the iPad, but benefiting from the considerably better screen and has got to be a paradise for skater dudes. The main concept of the app is that you have to perform tricks to your hearts content in an open skate park, honing your trick skills to open more boards that will in turn let you do better tricks (that old chestnut). With the top board requiring more than 3,000,000 trick points expect to be honing for some time.

Luckily there is a "how to" guide that walks you through the plethora of tricks at your disposal, and expect to have to invest some time in getting the most out of it. We've had a good stab and are still just trying to master the basics (more our fault than the games).

To allow you to put your mark on the game you can customise the boards - using any picture from your photos - and the app also lets you listen to your music while you play.

Two-player spilt-screen also helps make this more than just a solo event. A must if you had one of those finger boards as a kid.

Price £4.99 / $7.99

Rating 8/10


Asphalt 5 HD

You either like racing games or you don't. Still, if you do then you need to check out Asphalt 5, the alternative to EA's Need For Speed.

Here you get to dive into the action straight away with a quick race, play a single race where you can opt to choose your track, or if you are feeling confident opt for a career mode.

Career mode is where it's at (yo) and you get to pick events, customise you car, grab a girl (yep it is that sexist) and check out your stats as you build your racing prowess.

Multiplayer gives you local iPad to iPad racing via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and you can even play others online so you never run out of challenges.

In game and the controls are all done via moving around the iPad. Tilt it forward and you go faster, left to right like a steering wheel steers. Luckily you can turn this off to save you looking like a prat on the train, but gameplay is actually harder rather than easier - plus where's the fun in being boring.

Racing has never been so fun.

Price £3.99 / $6.99

Rating 8/10


Roswell Fighter HD

If I say top down shooter to you, it will either bring back memories of playing SWIV on the Amiga or those coffee table arcade machines you found in Europe when you were on your summer holidays. But now it can also mean Roswell Fighter on your iPad.

The game will deliver 11 levels to your iPad, where you can attempt to destroy as many fighter ships and gun turrets as possible without getting "dead".

There are three difficulty levels, stacks of power-ups available and a kooky soundtrack to make you believe you are in the 1930's fending off an alien invasion.

The graphics are basic, but effective and the controls incredibly responsive with your finger controlling your fighter plane away from the thousands of bullets heading your way.

The only catch? All that finger movement will hurt after the hours you know you are going to be putting in.

Price 1.19p / $1.99

Rating 9/10


Hotel Mogul HD

While we wait for Sim-based games from EA to make it over to the iPad, Hotel Mogul will suck time out of the day like a Dyson sucks dirt from the carpet.

The concept here is simple. You have to achieve certain goals by completing certain tasks. If you do what it asks and you are rewarded with the next level.

Those tasks can be anything from earning a set amount of cash to getting a certain level of guests staying in your hotel.

Hotels can be upgraded after you've bought materials to build them, and there are stacks of buildings and options just waiting to be unlocked like the ability to hold conferences.

This is fairly addictive stuff and certainly something to lure your partner into while you make a dash to the pub for a couple of hours. Trust us when we say they won't notice you've gone.

Luckily you can save where you left off, but if the likes of the Sims and SimCity are your faves, then you should snap this up or avoid if you're trying to break free.

Price £3.99 / $6.99

Rating 9/10


Brothers In Arms 2 Global Front HD

So you're a First Person Shooter kinda player, then you'll be wanting to download Brothers In Arms 2 for the iPad.

The WWII game is an impressive FPS that is played out across five locations and 13 levels: Pacific, Normandy, North Africa, Germany, Sicily.

Aside from the single player levels you can fight against other iPad owners locally or globally.

With everything controlled via the touchscreen interface - moving, seeing, crouching, shooting and grenade throwing, controls aren't easy and you should be prepared to use all your fingers in one massive multi-touch experiment to get anywhere with this game. That might put you off, but if it doesn't then you will get a game that is akin to something on the PC, albeit with AI that's not as clever.

Still if you like reliving the battles of the Second World War this is one to set your sights on.

Price £4.99 / $4.99

Rating 7/10


N.O.V.A - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD

If Brothers In Arms 2 is all about fighting off the evil axis then N.O.V.A is about fighting killer robots and alien hordes since, as you might of guessed, it's set in the future.

Standing for Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (of course) a marine ship that went missing has suddenly reappeared and you've been tasked with the job of boarding it and stopping it crashing into the N.O.V.A and killing thousands (actually probably only a handful) of people.

Like other games from developer Gameloft you can play multiplayer both locally and over the Internet.

While the story line might be the usual Sci-Fi stuff, the gameplay, like Brother In Arms will require you to be quick with your fingers as if you were trying to play Rachmaninov.

Easier than Brothers in Arms you should still expect to use most of your fingers (at the same time) to get the most out of this game. Still, if you believe your dexterity is good enough, then take on the evil horde at your peril.

Price £3.99 / $6.99

Rating 8/10


Zen Bound 2

While most of the games above involve some kind of Murder or Death Kill, Zen bound 2 is all about wrapping a small wooden doll with a piece of string.

Sounds riveting we know, but the idea is that in wrapping the string around the figure you've got to cover the surface as much as possible. Do well and you progress with more figures to cover, and sure enough you'll soon find that 2 hours have gone past.

It's incredibly addictive stuff as each figure has a certain percentage you've got to cover with only a certain amount of string.

Controls are incredibly easy with your finger acting as a way of moving the figure while the accelerometer in the iPad lets you move the string to your advantage.

A hypnotic soundtrack, and peaceful calming gameplay with hundreds of levels to master make this one to own if you're looking for a game to soothe rather than let off steam.

Price £4.99 / $7.99

Rating 9/10


Let's Golf HD

While your kids are probably going to be trying every excuse under the sun to take your new iPad off you, if you manage to resist, and you have a penchant to a round of golf then you'll probably want to download Let's Golf HD.

It's not real golf of course, but cute golf with crazy Japanese-styled characters that jump for joy when you get a birdie.

Rather than just offer one or two courses, you get a good handful and the courses offer you the chance to play holes 1 - 9, holes 10 - 18, all 18 holes, or a random shuffle of just 9.

Controls come in two variations: classic, which involves you tapping a power and accuracy meter at the right moment, and advanced which involves you swiping your finger with frustration.

In game and there are plenty of options: the chance to change the clubs, add spin to your ball, and make sure you position the shot where you want it.

It's no Tiger Woods, but as a bit of fun on the plane, it will keep you entertained for hours.

Price £2.99 / $4.99

Rating 9/10


Command & Conquer Red Alert for iPad

Remember the classic real time strategy game for the PC? Well it's back and this time for the iPad.

While the game struggles on the iPhone, here with the bigger screen and more space to move around it works a treat. Like any good RTS it will suck you and leave you to dry, after an evening lost building bases, but at least it's better than an evening forced to watch EastEnders. Finger swipes, multi-touch presses and pinching is the name of the game, although it can all get a bit complicated after a couple of levels trying to keep track of everything. 

No, it's not going to beat a mouse and keyboard, but at least you'll be able to play the classic base-building game on the bus or train with little effort.

Price £7.49 / $12.99

Rating 8/10


Need for Speed Shift for iPad

While Asphalt 5 is your more traditional racer, Need for Speed takes you into the world of drifting, elimination races, and much more.

Yep, you get an instant race mode, and yep you get a career mode too where you can work your way through a number of tournaments in different cities with different challenges. However, while Asphalt 5 concentrates to keeping it straight forward here Need for Speed mixes it up. 

Upgrades include the option to buy new cars and a heavy break-beat sound track completes the picture as only EA know how. 

This is the more expensive app and some elements won't appeal, but it's just as much fun to drive.

Price £7.49 / $12.99

Rating 8/10


You

What apps have you found that are really good for making the most out of your iPad and keeping you entertained? Let us know in the comments below.



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