It’s clear from Apple’s press event Wednesday that, like the iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad will be an extremely capable gaming device. Judging by all the e-mails we received from developers since the announcement, they’re very interested in the possibilities. But all you have to do is watch our hands-on videos to see that some games work better than others on the big screen.
The two main problems we predict for gaming on the iPad are the device’s weight and the width of its bezel (the border around the screen). One and a half pounds doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re forced to hold the device upright and move it around, like for driving games, it gets heavy in a hurry (see our hands-on impression of Need For Speed Shift). And because most games with D-pads and touch buttons require you to use your thumbs at the corners of the screen, the inch-thick bezel will prove a challenge to anyone without go-go-gadget opposables.
So it seems like the most user-friendly games on the device will be those that won’t require tilt or a D-pad, but rely more on tapping, dragging, and swiping gestures. And even though regular iPhone games will work on the iPad and can be blown up to fit the screen, we’re not crazy about the blurry graphics caused by the stretching. Since Firement announced a new version of Flight Control with native resolution for the iPad, we got to thinking about what other games we’d like to see in full-screen, high-rez glory on the new device.
Set the iPad between you and another person, boot up Monopoly, and you have the full game ready to go in front of you. You’re freed from having to count out messy stacks of paper money and making sure the dog doesn’t eat all the hotels. The iPad will be an ideal platform for board games, and with such a solid version of Monopoly already on the device, all they need to do is upgrade it for the bigger screen.
Puzzle games are a no-brainer on the iPad, so why not upgrade one of the most addictive puzzlers of all? The Xbox 360 version looks great on our HDTVs, and we think this colorful pachinko wonderland would make for gorgeous eye candy on the big iPad screen.
This classic found a new audience when it was ported to the iPhone last year, and with all the beautiful, detailed visuals packed into the game, we’d love to see it writ large on the iPad. You could set the device in your lap or on a table and lose yourself in the strange, mysterious game world.
Here’s a game with intuitive controls: you place your finger where you want your spider to go, and it walks there. Jumping is a simple tap and swipe motion. There’s no D-pad or onscreen buttons of any kind, making this an ideal port for control reasons alone. That’s not even considering the eerie sense of isolation and excellent comic book-style graphics that would only be enhanced on the iPad.
Gameplay that’s a perfect mix of old-school simplicity and modern twitch-reaction chaos? Graphics that nod to the past while taking advantage of the power of the iDevice? The whole package up-sized and made crystal clear for the big screen? Yes, please.
iBlast Moki is like lots of games on the iPhone, in that it has levels that are too big to display on the small screen, and require the camera to constantly zoom in and scroll around. But with the extra screen space on the iPad, you could view an entire level at once. This game would benefit hugely from this, since your bomb and the goal could both be onscreen at the same time. No scrolling means less guesswork, which translates into more fun.
With all the effort that went into recreating the real-life courses in this golf game, it would be a shame to let them only be seen on the 3.5 inch iPhone screen. Pump them up for the bigger resolution, and we’ll feel even more like professional golfers on famous courses. The tap-and-swipe gameplay and excellent control input make this top-notch sports game an even better fit for the iPad.
This game freshened up the music genre in ways we had never even considered before. One slight problem with it is that the grid you have to tap on to lay down your beats is made up of microscopic squares. Put it on the iPad, and the problem is solved. Easy control input and a sprawling screen for the psycho-absurd graphics will make this game both weirder and more wonderful.
Of course, these are only a small number of the games that would translate well to the iPad. We asked our Twitter followers which games they’d like to see and got some great responses. So what games are you looking forward to playing on the big screen? Drop us a comment to let us know.