Five and four
The 9.7in, LED-backlit, multi-touch display of the
iPad means that it's not just great for social networking, watching
videos and browsing the web, but it's also an excellent device for playing
Being the relatively hardcore gamers that we are, far more used to playing MMOs on PC or frenetic shooters on console than Angry Birds on iPhone or Greedy Spiders on Android, we usually delve into the App Store looking for hardcore game experiences rather than its multitude of casual offerings.
Given the nascent rise of tablets, 2011 has been the best year yet for games on Apple's two-pronged assault on the market, with some developers proving that console-quality games can be ported to iOS effectively, with intuitive touchscreen controls adding to the experience rather than ruining it.
The following five games are our top picks for 2011.
Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery
Developer: Capybara Games, Inc
Costing just $1,000 to make, Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery EP has also made an appearance in this year's App Store Rewind 2011 lists, which showcases Apple's favorite games of 2011.
Billed as a 'brave experiment in I/O cinema,' due to its heavy focus on sound, music and imagery, Capybara Games' role-playing title reminds us of the 8-bit era with its blocky, pixelated design.
Playing as a wandering monk, Superbrothers offers a mixture of laid-back exploration, careful investigation, mysterious musical problem-solving and hard-hitting combat encounters.
Making good use of the iPad's touchscreen and gyroscope function, gameplay has a dream-like pace to it enhanced by the brilliant audio work that complements the old-school graphics.
Though it can be incredibly slow paced, and its attempts to be rather too artistic almost all of the time occasionally distracts from the gameplay, Superbrothers is a hypnotic game that has the ability to absorb you with the immense audiovisual experience.
Buy Superbrothers Sword & Sworcery from the App store.
Developer: Amanita Design
Exclusive to the iPad 2, the goal of Machinarium is to solve a series of puzzles and brain teasers. The puzzles are linked together by an overworld consisting of a traditional "point-and-click" adventure story.
Machinarium is notable in that it contains no dialogue, spoken or written, and apart from a few tutorial prompts on the first screen, is entirely devoid of understandable language. The game instead uses a system of animated thought bubbles to convey emotion and humour and it does a great job at telling the story without the need for cut-scenes or dialogue.
The hand-drawn graphics are beautiful, the level design exquisite and the puzzles challenging and fun to solve. Machinarium is a true point-and-click adventure with items to pick up, logic puzzles to overcome, item-based conundrums to solve and a huge inventory of objects to carry around with you.
Machinarium blends great artwork with an award-winning soundtrack and dozens of challenging puzzles to deliver an engrossing point-and-click adventure.
Buy Machinarium from the App Store.