Best iPad games: Sports

The best iPad games is such a big category that we thought we'd break up the top apps into as many different lists as possible, and this is the best iPad sports games that Pocket-lint would recommend for download.

So, whether you're a fan of football, golf, baseball or even horse racing; you'll find what you need right here. Oh, and if you're wondering why there's no motor sport, there's a separate best iPad list for that altogether.

Stick Cricket Super Sixes

If you're familiar with the original Stick Cricket iOS offering then you'll be well away. Well, sort of. The idea is still to smash the ball around the park as much as possible, picking up those important fours and sixes but this time there are no fast bowlers on show. Or spinners. Or slow-armers. Or....you get the point.

No, this time the bowling is taken care of by the Bowlomatic 3000, a "state of the art bowling machine with sadistic tendencies". Each over has a theme including no stumps, 6x scoring, glowing balls, golf balls and big stumps, with a semi-normal over in between these where you can score extra lives or enter a 60-second shoot-out by hitting the Super Ball for 6. Read More.

iTunes: Link

Price: 69p

Rating: 5/5

 

Super Stickman Golf

Super Stickman Golf is a bit of a giveaway from the name of the game. It’s based on the golf. You get 9 holes per course, there’s no need to switch clubs and you choose the direction and power of the strike with on-screen buttons and that age-old system of stopping a swingometer at the right point. There are more courses than we’ve got through so far, with bags in each level of difficultly from beginner to expert. They’re very much on the arcade side and each is themed with things like ice, the Moon and even a disco level.

It’s Stickman because your little avatar is a stickman and it’s Super because you can get power-ups to help you along the way. You unlock them as you go. The most useful of all has to be the Mulligan, which allows you to retake a shot without losing a stroke. Download it now. You won’t regret it. Read more

iTunes: Link

Price: Free

Rating: 4/5

 

FIFA 12

The iOS FIFA 12 app offers unique features that aren't even possible with an Xbox 360 or PS3. For starters, there's a touch screen. You don't get that with an Xbox 360 or PS3. And there's now a career mode, albeit a cut-down called "Manager Mode". It allows you to take control of any team in one of 22 different leagues around the globe, buy and sell players, set the tactics you want and generally, well, manage. There's promotion and relegation, and cups - European and domestic - are included, as are board expectations. And there's an in-game email system for alerts. It's basic, but a great addition to iOS. 

The graphic engine has also been given a lick of paint while instant replays have been introduced, bringing much more of a televisual feel to the game.The only strange aspect to this year's addition is that rather than adopt the new commentary team for the console versions - Martin Tyler and Alan Smith - you still get Clive Tyldsley and Andy Townsend. Of course, if you go back as far as us, you'd be grateful that a footy game that costs a mere £3.99 for the iPhone, £5.99 for the iPad version has commentary at all. Even without, FIFA 12 would still offer an incredible game of football. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £5.99

Rating: 5/5

 

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12

Unlike the current console version, the US Masters theme-ology has been ditched by EA for the mobile version (although the colour scheme is utilised) and instead offers up an experience that feels very much like Tiger Woods games of yore. Naturally, you can create your own golfer to play with, and take him or her through an entire PGA Season. Multiplayer is supported, with head-to-head play over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and you can even play on separate Apple devices - for example, one of you on an iPhone, the other on an iPad.

Certainly, this new version of the classic is feature-packed, on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, but its biggest facet is the gameplay, and that hasn't really changed much. A touchscreen swing-ometer handles the business end, and you can draw or fade shots with different directional flicks of your finger. In short, it's the best driving game on the market. You can have that golfing pun for free. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 5/5

 

Homerun Battle 3D

For us, Homerun Battle 3D is basically the complete game. The app has a seriously large player base and for very good reason. It’s excellent. The pitch (pun intended) is a baseball game where you’re the slugger at the plate and you’ve got 10 strikes to score as many points as possible. Tilt your device to aim the wing of the bat, tap the screen to swing. All very simple stuff. What makes this game such a winner is the wonderful detail.

We’d normally recommend the lite version of the game to check that you like it, but there’s really no need to bother. Just jump right in and get playing. It’ll be the best app money you’ve spent for quite some time. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 5/5

 

Starters Orders 4

Starters Orders is an extremely in-depth horse racing management and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Football Manager and Cricket Captain: two PC titles that have also made a successful transition to Apple's devices. Unlike those, however, the iPad version of SO4 has been split into two titles in order to suit the tablet device. Each version focuses on one of the two types of racing season, flat and jump, and are priced at £7.49 on the App Store.

They're combined on the PC game, but that doesn't mean that you're being swizzled, as the computer version requires far more time, effort and attention than you're more than likely going to spend on an iPad. Both editions are superb, in-depth management simulations, the like of which rare on the casual gaming-heavy App Store. Excellent stuff. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: £5.99

Rating: 5/5

 

Flick Kick Football

The premise is simple. You've got to score as many goals as possible to keep in the game. Shooting at certain areas is classed as the Skill Zone and that earns you lives (up to three). Do well and you'll be on to a cracking score, crack under pressure and you'll be starting back from scratch. Sounds easy doesn't it. That is until you put moving goalies and players in the way. Then you've got the varying distances to cope with and the ability to curve the ball like your David Beckham.

Ten minutes in and like Paper Toss you'll find yourself addicted. Addicted hard. Besides the arcade shoot-out there's a Bullseye mode that gives you exact targets to hit and thankfully there is a practice mode that is useful for just that. Read More

iTunes: Link

Price: 69p

Rating: 4/5

 

Flick Football

Some games are just so bloomin' addictive that you don't know whether you actually like them, or whether you're just playing them because you're not sure that you can stop. We imagine that if someone took Flick Football away from us, we'd end up in a Mark Renton style mess, seeing weird dolls crawl across the ceiling and other such bizarre and unpleasant happenings. The game is identical on both devices and the object is simple. Score the free-kicks (or penalties if you hit the red-card targets).

The gameplay is actually pretty responsive (it's definitely easier on the iPad) - you can smash a free-kick as hard as you can, bend it like Beckham, or curve it like Carlos. There are four game modes: the big game, where you get three lives, vs the clock, target practice and sudden death. You can share your scores across Twitter and Facebook and there is also a worldwide leader-board (which we've never got near despite hours of play-time). The Alan Partridge-esque commentator is an added bonus. Read More

Market: iTunes

Price: 69p

Rating: 5/5

 

Speedball 2: Evolution

Anyone of a certain age will remember 1990's Speedball 2 and Brutal Deluxe fondly. It took the original violent future sports idea from the first game, slapped on a none-too-complicated management element and an extensive career mode, bundled in a load of power-ups and ways to earn extra points, and delivered them all like a good hard kick in the nether regions. It was, and still is, considered the Bitmap Brothers' finest game, and now it is here for the iPhone.

Unlike many rehashes of old titles, it doesn't change its core gameplay too much, rather adding new elements to make it easier to play without a joystick. You can either tilt or use the on-screen D-pad as you smash your way through the opposition. There are local multiplayer modes (through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) to add a little fun. Read more

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

We won't lie to you. It's going to wind you up something chronic that you're not playing Tony Hawk's on the Nintendo SP because of that lack of physical d-pad but, if you can accept that fact, then it is a game you'll love on the iPhone too. For those who have never played Tony Hawk's before, the deal is that you are Tony, or any other of his top skating buddies, and it's your job to master all sorts of complicated tricks.

You grind, grab, jump and manual link as many as you can in each skating area until you've crossed them all off and unlocked the next park to ride around. What really suits the iPhone well is that each round of gameplay only lasts two minutes and that's just right for those snackable bus-riding, waiting room-type moments.

iTunes: Link

Price: £1.49

Rating: 4/5

 

NBA Jam

If Speedball 2 isn't enough of a trip down arcade alley for you, then NBA Jam should do the trick. In a kind of Mortal Kombat cardboard cut-out style, this game adds genuine NBA player detail to a highly entertaining, semi-serious piece of two-on-two basketball action with the aim of the game not quite so much to score more points than the other team but  to do it in better style.

As ever, it's a little harder to control on an iPhone than it was with a proper joystick but as soon as the commentators start kicking in with "he's heating up" and "he's on fire" and the minute you bag your first killer dunk, you'll be giggling like the teenager you were.

iTunes: Link

Price: £2.99

Rating: 4/5

 

Football Manager Handheld 2012

Football Manager Handheld 2012, for the uninitiated, is not just a tablet or smartphone version of the best-selling PC game, instead it is a heavily cut down experience that has been purposely crafted to appeal to those who want to dip in and out when on a Tube train, bus or generally on the move. The layout is simplified, with fewer options and buttons, and the whole experience whizzs along fast enough to allow you to get almost an entire season's play in one day, if that's your bag.

A vast number of real-world players are in the game and accessible to you, and with an updated database. But the biggest added feature this year comes in the form of an entirely new game mode. Challenge mode offers several tricky challenges for you to manage your way out of, from scenarios like "The Saviour Cometh" - in which you have to save your favoured team from relegation in the second part of a season - to "The Invincibles" - a task to remain unbeaten throughout the entire footballing year.

Best iPad apps: Arcade

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