The New iPad: A Gamer's Guide

Have you picked up a new iPad? Want to download the best in mobile gaming? We've got you covered.

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So here we are, a whole year after the launch of the iPad 2, and like clockwork, Apple has released the latest in lust-worthy touch-screen technology, the oddly titled "New iPad" (not iPad 3). And like all new Apple products, it brings with it a raft of improvements, including a five-megapixel camera; 1080p video recording; 1GB of RAM; a new A5X processor, which features a quad-core graphics chip; and the long fabled "Retina Display," which sports a resolution of 2048x1536 pixels. That's 3.1 million of the buggers (1 million more than on your 1080p HDTV), compressed onto a 9-inch display.

So if you've handed over your hard-earned cash for Apple's latest slate and want to download some seriously great games for it, don't waste your time trudging through the depths of the App Store--we've done it for you! From the breathtakingly beautiful to the downright bizarre, here are our picks for the best in Retina Display-compatible games and some of our all-time favorites from the App Store.

Mass Effect Infiltrator

One of the first apps to get the Retina Display treatment is also one of the newest. Mass Effect Infiltrator brings the series to the small(er) screen, stripping out the dialogue trees and leveling system in favor of nonstop cover-based action. With all the depth stripped out and some iffy touch-screen controls, it's not as great as its console counterparts, but there's still plenty to love. There are over 30 battles to play through, neat nods to the Mass Effect universe, and some of the sexiest visuals on the iOS. Mass Effect fans (that's everyone, right?) should definitely give it a go.

Real Racing 2 HD

Real Racing 2 has long been one of the best-looking racers on the iOS. And with an update that takes advantage of the New iPad Retina Display, it looks even better. That not to say it's all about the visuals, though--far from it. Real Racing 2's vast physics modeling system means cars handle in a fantastically realistic way, while a deep career mode and 16-player online modes mean there's plenty of content to enjoy. Plus, with Airplay support, you can even play split-screen with up to four iOS devices on your HDTV. Marvelous.

Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy

If racing's not your thing, how about taking to the air instead? Namco Bandai's Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy puts you in the cockpit of a fighter jet, letting you dogfight with enemies and bomb the crap out of warships, all in glorious Retina Display-o-vision. Plus, using the gyroscope, you perform all those awesome-looking twists, rolls, and the loop-the-loops you saw in Top Gun. Sadly, there's no confirmation of a sweaty beach volleyball mode. Yet.

Monsters Ate My Condo

Sometimes, you need something completely insane in your life. And when having a baby, jumping off a plane, or eating your body weight in cookie dough won't do, there's Monsters Ate My Condo. Brought to you by Adult Swim--purveyors of fine cartoon-based entertainment--Monsters Ate My Condo is a fast-paced puzzle action game. The aim is simple: feed colored blocks to the right monsters and try to match up three of the same-colored condo blocks to keep your ever-expanding tower upright. It's fantastic fun, and combined with some of the most over-the-top visuals ever seen in a puzzle game (now Retina Display ready), Monsters Ate My Condo is simply one of the most insanely addictive puzzle games on iOS.

Diamond Dash

If you prefer your puzzle games with a slightly more sedate look, check out Diamond Dash, which has also recently had a Retina Display update. The aim is to match three colored gems, much in the style of Bejewelled, except you have just 60 seconds per game to score as many points as possible. Multiplayer is a huge part of the game, with weekly tournaments and the ability to connect with players on Facebook making it easy to compete with friends. There's a whole 18 million of them according to developer Wooga.

Infinity Blade: Dungeons

OK, so this game isn't actually out yet, but you should certainly keep an eye on it. Running on Unreal Engine, Infinity Blade: Dungeons is the latest iOS game from Gears of War developer Epic. Dungeons is a dungeon crawler in the same vain as Diablo, complete with an experience system and plenty of gruesome monsters to hack and slash. It's set several thousand years before the Infinity Blade series, where you play as an apprentice weaponsmith on a quest to collect and craft minerals to create the legendary Infinity Blade. "This new device has more memory and higher screen resolution than an Xbox 360 or PS3," said Epic president Mike Capp during the game's debut. High praise, indeed.

Infinity Blade 2

While Infinity Blade: Dungeons isn't out just yet, you can check out its rather excellent predecessor Infinity Blade II right now. Also running on Unreal Engine, Infinity Blade II is one of the finest games on the App Store, mixing Punch-Out!!-style hack-and-slash combat with sharp touch-screen swipe controls. It's a game that plays to the platform's strengths; there's no battle so long that you can't finish it on a bus and no unwieldy touch-screen analog sticks to get in the way of the action. No iPad owner should be without it. For more, check out our full review.

Incoboto

One the latest additions to the iOS library is Incoboto, which is developed by Fluttermind, a studio headed up by former Fable creative director Dene Carter. A unique mix of Mario Galaxy, Braid, and Portal, Incoboto tells the story of Inco, a small boy who's alone in a vast universe. He soon meets Helios, a smiling, childlike sun. It's Inco's ticket to freedom and his way to uncover the truth about humankind. It's also the beginning of a journey that takes him to the very edge of the universe and you through one of the most utterly charming, thought-provoking, and clever puzzle games on the iOS. It's simply awesome. For more, check out our full review.

Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP

Just how good is Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP? Well, it's so good it won GameSpot's Mobile Game of the Year! Part 8-bit adventure game, part musical Odyssey, Swords & Sworcery is not only a brave experiment in music and art, but it's also a damn fine game to boot, with nods to the likes of Zelda, Castlevania, and Ico. What makes the game so appealing is how it taps into your childlike curiosity, encouraging you to poke, stroke, and rotate the screen to battle demons and solve the clever puzzles that unlock the secrets of the 8-bit realm. Intelligent, engrossing, and rich--yet somehow minimal--Superbrothers Swords & Sworcery EP is a poster child for iOS indie development, creating an experience that ambitiously blends the old and the new with great success. It is not just an outstanding mobile game; it's a great game on its own right.

Machinarium

The iPad's touch screen is perfectly suited to point-and-click adventure games, and there are few on the iOS as great as Machinarium. Its hand-drawn visuals are hauntingly beautiful, and they are bolstered by charming character designs and a wonderfully discordant soundtrack. Also great are its puzzles, which are suitably taxing without being completely implausible. Don't waste your time with other adventure games on the iOS; this is as good as it gets. For more, check out our full review of the PC version.

Jetpack Joyride

No iOS library would be complete without a one-touch cave flyer game, and Jetpack Joyride is one of the most brilliant. Solid controls let you effortlessly guide character Barry Steakfries through the air with ease, avoiding obstacles and collecting coins scattered throughout each of the procedurally generated levels. Though its formula is tried and tested, developer Halfbrick Studios has honed it to near perfection, adding detailed pixel-art visuals and a host of exciting power-ups to the mix. It may be the simplest game on this list, but it's also the most addictive. Just one. More. Go…

What do you think of our suggestions? Have we missed anything out? What's your favourite iPad game? Let us know in the comments below.

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Discussion

118 comments
blackace
blackace

@supertom221

@blackace Cool story, bro. Want a medal? Too bad. We JUST ran out of them.

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I like achievements better. lol!!

TheJamin
TheJamin

@poopinpat You are quite right. But i was refering to the now. but the future. enjoy your Vita while you can. for now it's not in a direct fireing line. But i was just putting my two cents down now, as i reckon it will be soon. The specs are getting better and better. for example, that tablet Razer put out as a concept. - granted the razer concept would be useless right now for real world but it is a sign that times are changing. Sony and Nintento will need to either change with them or lose out to someone else. Nvidia already power a large segment of the tablet/phone industry with Tegra. give it a few years and hopefully we'll have software worth purchasing on a mobile device for a reasonable price.

willhelliwell
willhelliwell

@Victorious_Fize Of course iOS is a serious gaming outlet. I have an iPad 2, Xbox 360, Android phone and a gaming PC. I use the 360 for "proper" gaming, PC for interesting mods, android phone for bugger all, and the iPad for interesting and fun games that can really utilise the touch screen. I think the iPad and android tablets are great platforms for indie developers too. Saying iOS isn't a serious gaming outlet is just plain silly.

jason-bauer
jason-bauer

Here's my guide: Buy a VITA and spend the remaining money on games.

Barjavel
Barjavel

The retina display undoubtedly looks very nice. However they've quadrupled the pixels, but only doubled the gpu. Surely this is a bit of a step 'back' for processing power per pixel?

graveyardfire
graveyardfire

The new device has more memory and higher resolution than an xbox 360 or ps3? HAhahahahahahahahah

poopinpat
poopinpat

@TheJamin if apple started releasing console quality games for dirt cheap then I would say you are right. one $40 vita game is a far more complete gaming experience than 40 $1 games on ios. I'll be playing wipeout 2048 and ultimate MvC3 until the next games (years away), which ios games can you say the same about. I can only think of a couple that have hit the market in the past few years, like infinity blade but even that gets boring fairly quick. If tablet gaming is the future then the future of the mobile games industry is looking grim for hardcore gamers. And who wants to carry around extra peripherals to game on the go when the selling point for smartphones is the consolidation of multiple devices... "ninty" and sony will be worried when ios starts getting quality games regularly. cant recall the name of it but the new rpg by square is $17 on ios and it does nothing to innovate the genre instead relying on providing a solid experience for mobiles. does that sound like a fun market to you?

666NightsInHell
666NightsInHell

macs is 19 centuy, advertised CRAP! android is cheap flexible FUTURE for everyone! fpr those who dont have brains search the web, cheap 3 x cheaper more functional stuff beat any macs. craps

KBLShadow
KBLShadow

I prefer the Asus Transformer Prime

TheJamin
TheJamin

think about it.. it wouldn't take them much to create a controller would it? if it wasn't so locked down you could do it. I sync my six axis and wii mote to my android phone all the time for snes games/ gameboy games. it's a very small hurdle. I would be worried if i were ninty and sony. fanboys can keep hoping, but tablets will be the future of gaming. Sony asking 40 quid for a game on the vita is a joke.

tidusjeff
tidusjeff

@GamingForLives Pippin rings a bell? ipads are generally marketed the same way apple computers are viewed as. Quite a few of their computers are viewed as for anything but interactive 3D experiences, and yet those computers before x86 CPU based had support of open GL API and a few ports of windows games. Except with ipads theirs more of a demand of casual games and the GPU in the ipad3 isn't bad. While I wouldn't subtract the usage of apple operating systems or ios devices for playing games, it would be realistic to point out that apple is relying more on a compromise to stay in the market then to push for a platform that delivers amazing games.

Kiigora_LoP
Kiigora_LoP

'2048x1536' Because we all know how well games of any complexity run at such resolutions. At Victorious Fize: It really boggles the mind.

GamingForLives
GamingForLives

Why people are looking at this as a serious Gaming Device and why Apple is looking forward to bring the Gaming quotient in the iPad to a whole new level is a mystery....Apple should consider making Mac Game-friendly and not the iPad.....iPad is a Great Device but seriously, people play games on it casually or just for Timepass not for Hardcore action...... Just cause it's "much more powerful than a 360 or a PS3 " doesn't mean it Redefining the Gaming Industry...... In the End...I Prefer a Controller than a Touchscreen when playing my favourite Games....:D

ministerkataoka
ministerkataoka

I have an iPhone 4, it still works just fine. Never needed tablets nor asked why they exist.

Victorious_Fize
Victorious_Fize

GameSpot still considers iOS as a serious gaming outlet I see...

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

Machinarium does Machinarium work on the NEW IPAD 3 HD, or what ever you want to call it. No seriously I am asking. if anyone has bought on the new Ipad 3 HD please let me know. I bought this game for my netbook when it came out, but kept crashing. I just got the new ipad3 HD and I want this game, but is says IPAD 2 only!!! and even the dev website has no info if it will work on the new ipad 3 hd. I dont want buy this version and it not work, or they come out with NEWER new HD retina version.

Furiousxr
Furiousxr

one thing no physical controls , touch screen is okay for puzzle games and short games but it will never work for first or third person games or platformers etc , the controls are not acurate , your finger and hands take up viewing area etc . The motion gyro is a joke only for quick kids games etc . I will stick to consoles and proper hand helds for proper gaming experience leave the ipad for causal gamer who likes to play angry birds 1000 times over

mike_on_mic
mike_on_mic

I was exptecting them to do a review of the gaming hardware that is inside. Seeing how it might stack up to the previous iPad2 or the Vita.

cleafus2
cleafus2

You guys are just not getting it. The IPad is not a dedicated game machine, it is another category of computer. It does a multitude of things, only one of which is play games. The fact that it is as powerful as the Vita and can play games on par with the Vita is just killing you guys. "How many people need a new IPad?" Apparently a lot of people, and what is it to you what everybody else does? Apple makes a product and puts a price tag on it. Buy it or don't, but don't whine about it. Sounds like jealousy to me.

angelstorm112
angelstorm112

Have an Ipad Gen1 and a Vita. When Apple or a third party get a controller add-on that works well and is supported as a standard then I will buy into the gen 3' 4' 5's or whatever. Otherwise they can boast screen resolution and cpu specs all they want. It's still and iPad and that's fine but for hardcore games? Well this other system from Sony just is in another league.

rob046
rob046

Not an iPad fan, not into their trickery & gimmicks & business model. Its a nice device, but how many ppl really need "New iPad"? In this economy, I'm all about buying something both affordable & useful. I also need more than 16gb space for what I use tablets for, & Apple charging $100 & $200 for additional 16gb or 48gb storage is insane. It costs Apple next to nothing to add that storage, & this is where they make much of their fortune. & they don't even seem to hide it. I mean, so getting an extra 16gb costs $100. But an extra 48gb only costs $200. The math doesn't work out on that. But aside from that, I'm just not buying it that it even costs them $10 to add 16gb of storage, yet they charge $100. For this new iPad, I was really assuming that they would not only make the cheapest model 32gb, but also start making the step up (32gb to 64gb) cheaper. But they didn't, its all the same. & they know damn well what they are doing. With the retina display, people are gonna watch more HD video & now 1080p, which use a ton of space. Then the 1080p camcorder, that is also gonna fill up 16gb real fast, as are the above games that use that much higher resolution graphics... yet they don't upgrade storage. hmm. Apple = $$$. I got a Sony Tablet S that comes with PSX & PSP games & PS store for more games if you want, plus other real nice features. Got mine in 32gb, only paid about $335 or so with a nice sale I found. I'm not missing out on anything not having an iPad.

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

The ipad is a great all around device for movies, surfing, music, and various game genres. For board games, puzzles, point and click adventures the PC has nothing on the iPad. for action games many games just don't play all that well. particularly compared to a console or pc. Infinity Blade is actually very good but part of that is because they have narrowed the gameplay down so it plays well on a tablet. My BIG frustration with Apple however is that they will not approve Onlive because they fear it will destroy their app store game model. If you can download Onlive for free and just buy your games through Onlive and stream them... you don't need to pay Apple for games on Ipad. They won't allow this so we ipad owners are locked out of onlive even though it is already developed and just awaiting approval. While onlive does not even come close to competing with a gaming PC I use it all the time to demo games in seconds rather than large downloads and installs. For an iPad Onlive would really be great for demoing games and having PC games playable on the iPad. My friend has Onlive on his android tablet and loves it. Yet Apple is keeping this software from ipad out of greed. Not my favorite aspect of buying from Apple.

fredwv
fredwv

faster cpu in the new Ipad, bro. And CPU speed is the most important thing.

Kitsune340
Kitsune340

No mention of Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation? It's the closest you can get to having a Modern Warfare game on your iPad. It deserves a mention.

MidNightStrikes
MidNightStrikes

So... What's the difference between "The New ipad" and ipad 2? Screen upgrade and... thats all... -_- Seriously? Well... let me wait till Vita price drops, then i'll get a vita, ipad... nah

badiie05
badiie05

Dungeons looks awesome, definitely keep an eye on it

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

@megakick better life expectancy? which would be next summer when the new ipad comes out

megakick
megakick

well vita is cheaper then this but Apple ipad has a better life expectancy.

megakick
megakick

step one trade in for a good laptop.

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

@RPG_Fan_I_Am It's one of the best games I've played due to how addicting it is. It's free, and I've poured in dozens of hours. Jetpack Joyride is not the best game I've played, that honor likely goes to either Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Halo: Combat Evolved, Diablo II, Metroid Prime, Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy 2, but as far as iOS games go Jetpack Joyride is dope!

mishary85
mishary85

i have afeeling that sony paid some off you to say good things about the vita

cortez1004
cortez1004

I don't understand why people blame apple for bringing out a new version every year. Isn't this what all tech companies did/do? When you bought a pc in the nineties it was aged the minute you plugged it in the first time. My current pc is 3 years old, but I can still play all the games on the market with a decent framerate on a resolution of 1920x1080. The same will happen with tablets, which is atm a market in an infant state. I agree that you better don't buy an ipad just for gaming. I own an ipad1 and it's a great device for browsing the web, listening to music, reading a book, watching a movie, emailing and lots of other stuff. And all this while confortably sitting on my couch. I still use it every day. My girlfriend loves it too (proof of the great usability of the OS ;). But I don't often play games on it. For serious gaming I prefer my pc.

zerkenhan
zerkenhan

I use my iPad for watching netflix, surfing web while my PC is searching for a match online, read books/manga, order pizza... Oh yeah and I play games on my Vita.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@hanif77 Look at it like this, Justin Bieber sells millions yet is that representative of the quality of his music? Nowhere near. Furthermore, not every iPad purchaser buy's it for games, it's not marketed primarily as a game system, it's marketed as a tablet PC. Gaming is a secondary function. Much like many iPhone users, it's consumers didn't purchase the iPhone to play games, the principles identical. Anyone who purchasers a Vita or a 3DS bought it for games. From a gaming standpoint, a mediocre Vita game is a superb iPad game.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

"Want to download the best in mobile gaming?", yeah I did, that's why I bought a Vita.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

@hanif77 ipad are multitasking devices similar to computers, laptops sell a lot more than consoles because not every laptop buyer will play a game even if the are tons of games for pc, the same here with vita and ipad, I have a ipad and I never had in mind getting it for games

hanif77
hanif77

Its funny how almost everyone in these comments hates ipad and praises ps vita, while ipad sells 100 times more than ps vita.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

besides the controller issue, gamers are use to have consoles for 4 years at least not receive a slap in the face every year with new realeases trying to making spend from \\$500 to \\$800 a year, because the first ipad released in 2010 is obsolete and my xbox360/PS3 that I got on 2006 is still kicking

Noformation
Noformation

Sorry but I need analog sticks to play games.

ecurl143
ecurl143

Yeah, the PS Vita is just awesome at giving you that portable console experience - nothing comes close atm.

ecurl143
ecurl143

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

RPG_Fan_I_Am
RPG_Fan_I_Am

@NeonNinja Because you said jetpack jump was the greatest game you have ever played... which lead me to think you might have been sarcastic about your entire post...

tirreg
tirreg

I reluctantly picked up a vita as a trade-up from my old PSP. A bit pricey when you factor in data storage options - HOWEVER, after playing the somwhat mediocre shooter, Unit 13, I have to say I will not be gaming on anything other than my PS Vita, out-of-the-house. even Unit 13 is light years more fun and "console-like" than anything ever made for an iPad. If you like console gaming and like the idea of having one with you on the go - forego iPad and grab a Vita. That said, I'd love an iPad too. :-)

Salgo53
Salgo53

@Chronosknight you arent missing anything here. Its just another reason why buying an iPad is justified. It really isnt meant to be a gaming device yet it is, and that also goes for the iPhone and Android devices. I love my Vita and do not regret spending lots of money for games and hardware.

deth420
deth420

....I know, I leave the same comment for every apple product, But "they still make this? andriod FTW!" I just dont see the draw to these tablets, for gaming. or anything for that matter. between the pc and my(andriod) phone, I just dont necessitate them. on the go its just to big, i cant see lugging it around for 5-10 mins of games, and i can get everything web related on the phone. at home I have a super computer. Also I would be way to worried about carrying around that expensive of hardware. yes they are innovative(tablets), and some day they will probably replace the laptop. but as of right now, they are incrementally better, with expansive prices....