Apple’s iPad as a Mobile Gaming Platform

With any new device, folks gravitate to certain tasks first. Some want to get their Internet connection up and running, setup their various e-mail accounts and start browsing their favorite sites on the web. Others want to import all of their pictures, videos and music to get a feel for how the new platform can manage, organize and display their media collections.

Perhaps it’s the avid gamer in me, but the first thing I want to do is check what games are available and how well they run on the new platform. If that last category sounds like you, one look at the iPad’s large and bright screen, it’s 10-hour-plus battery life and it’s easy portability, and your first thought was how well this new device might deliver that on-the-go gaming fix you crave.

If you succumbed to Apple’s new tablet for precisely this reason, let’s see just what sort of gaming goodness is in store. For the purposes of this article, we will take a typical console gamer’s budget and see how much mobile-gaming awesomeness we can put together for $50. Ready? Let’s go!

Plants vs. Zombies HD – $9.99
by PopCap Games
Every gamer needs a good zombie-based game and Plants vs Zombies fits the bill perfectly. Defend your back yard from the approaching zombie horde by placing 49 different species of zombie-destroying plants in their path. 5 different game modes will keep your interest for a good, long time.

Real Racing HDReal Racing HD – $9.99
by Firemint
Another staple of the gamer is the racing game. Who doesn’t enjoy driving fast and trading paint with other vehicles? Firemint’s Real Racing HD offers 5 game modes, 48 cars in 4 different classes, and a dozen unique tracks so it should hold your interest for a good long time. Upload your best laps straight to YouTube.

Modern Combat: Sandstorm HD – $6.99
by Gameloft
Sometimes you just need to pickup a virtual assault weapon and blast your enemies to bits. I get it, I really do. Gameloft’s new action-thriller will plunge you into the heart of modern war. Assigned to Mission Sandstorm, your duty is to locate and annihilate a new terrorist cell setting up shop and recruiting foreign insurgents in a remote desert hot spot.

Dungeon Hunter HD – $6.99
by Gameloft
Sometimes you need to slash apart horrifying beasts with a sword instead. Totally understandable. An important piece of any gamer’s arsenal is a RPG game and Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter HD delivers on the hack and slash goodness. In the game you play as a prince who was recently resurrected to vanquish evil from your once glorious kingdom. Don’t expect any intensive plot or background, this is hack and slash at its finest. Think Diablo or Dungeon Siege. Until Blizzard releases WoW for the iPad, this is probably your best bet in RPG’s.

MiniGore HD – $4.99
by Chillingo
I’m a little on the fence when it comes to lego-esque top-down isometric games, but Chillingo has managed to put together an addictive little game regardless. Easy to pick-up, you’ll find yourself fleeing a horde of creatures in a gorgeously rendered environment. Shoot, run, shoot while running, somehow it never gets old. Chillingo ratches up the difficulty as you go, while offering unlockable new characters to play, so that definitely ups the re-playability of this title.

Flight Control HD – $4.99
by Firemint
Don’t forget a great Sim-style game to round out your initial collection of iPad games. Flight Control’s addictive game play casts players in the role of an air traffic controller in charge of an increasingly busy airport. Players must touch aircraft and drag a path to the correct landing zone while avoiding collisions. With split-screen versus mode and cooperative mode on a single iPad, you can definitely enjoy this game with a friend.

Words with Friends HD – $4.99
by Newtoy
Sometimes you just need to ratchet down the frenetic action a bit and use your brain rather than your twitch response. This extremely popular game on the iPhone receives the iPad “HD” treatment, while still offering the addictive fun of a nimble Scrabble clone complete with Push notifications and blazing-fast speeds. And best of all, you’ll never be lacking an opponent with the game’s built in random opponent matching system, or play with a known friend, your choice.

So there you have it! A well-rounded gaming iPad and we’ve even managed to come in under budget. Our total purchases? $48.93. You even have some pocket change left over. Obviously, not everyone will choose the same games that I did. Sound off in the comments as to which games you’ve chosen to try on your shiny new iPad.

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