New iPad for Christmas? Download these games first

by Kristen Nicole

So you just opened up a fresh, sleek iPad that was sitting under the tree.  This state-of-the-art device includes HD display, massive screen and attention to detail.  What better way to take advantage of these amazing features than with a few games?  Here are the best iPad games for new owners that you should download right away.

On the big screen

Angry Birds HD is the surprise hit of 2010, and as a new iPad user, you’ll love checking it out on the big screen.  Use your team of birds to trap greedy pigs as they try to steal your food.  The nearly 100 levels of these animal wars will keep you occupied for quite a while.  A bit of strategy and tons of fun, this $4.99 title is the first place to start.

To really get a feel for gaming on your iPad, try GT Racing: Motor Academy HD.  This Gameloft title brings rich graphics and optimized control, so you can steer your way to victory.  From the cockpit to the courses, the detail of this game will keep you in the driver’s seat. Pick a track, watch replays of shining moments and buy extras for your custom car.  This iPad game costs $6.99.

Another great way to familiarize yourself with the iPad game play is with Flight Control HD, a mobile favorite.  This $4.99 game is much like the groundbreaking iPhone version, where you act as an air traffic controller in an increasingly busy airport. Use your smarts to navigate planes as they land and take off. Play with others online, earn achievements and more.

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Adventures on the go

Fieldrunners for iPad is a great tower defense game, with colorful HD graphics that make it easy to get into this game.  The iPad’s large screen gives Fieldrunners far more detail than the iPhones version, so you can build up your forts, battle enemy armies and claim land from online players. Barter and battle your way to total domination in this $7.99 game.

Minigore HD is an enjoyable arcade shooter, dropping you in the middle of a zombie wilderness.  With dual-stick shooter controls, the iPad version feels more like arcade play, adding precision to your style. Available for $3.99, Minigore HD has multiple game modes and levels of difficulty, online leaderboards and achievements.

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition is a point-and-play game that takes you through a pirated adventure. Easy to navigate your way through forests and pirate ships, you must gather objects along the way in order to solve this puzzler.  With two game modes in this 99-cent game, you can play with old-school graphics as well.  LucasArts did a great job with this re-release, introducing the game to a new generation of players.

Another throwback is Geometry Wars: Touch, with nostalgic graphics for galactic battles. Shoot your way through enemy formations, fighting your way to the mother ship.  Optimized for the iPad, this 99-cent game plays well on the touch screen.  Fashioned after a retro arcade shooter, Geometry Wars features global leaderboards as well.

For brainiacs

The Broken Sword series for the iPad delivers multiple adventures for George and Nico, taking them across foreign lands on the hunt for some ancient artifact.  Facing enemies along the way, it’s up to you to solve the mystery, which plays well as a digital comic on the tablet screen.  At $6.99, it’s easy to get sucked into this story. You’ll want to play them all.

Game Table is a collection of board games, complete with checkers, chess, backgammon, Reversi and poker. And just like real life, you’ll need opponents to play any of these games.  Play online with friends or in dual mode, making this 99-cent iPad app a very social one.

Care for a round or two of your favorite word game? Words with Friends HD delivers on the iPad. Play up to 20 games at once, switching between tables to take your turn. Play with friends online, or pass and play with real friends nearby.  With online chat and social leaderboards, this 99-cent game is quite addictive.

Also see:

New iPad for Christmas? Download these apps first

New iPhone for Christmas? Download these apps first

New iPhone for Christmas? Download these games first