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An iPad Christmas Gift Guide

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Let’s finish up with a brief look at some of the many games available for the iPad:

SimCity Deluxe ($0.99) 

No, that’s not a typo. Electronic Arts is selling its iPad version of SimCity (and similar titles such as Civilization) for less than a dollar. The iPad version is fully featured, though the small screen is a bit of a drawback. Still, for 99 cents you get one of the best simulation games around, and the iPad’s crisp vibrant graphics make your city really come alive.

Frogger Decades ($0.99) 

Also selling for 99 cents is this re-invention of a 30-year-old classic, Frogger. The graphics are radically different from the original, and there’s even a storyline to explain why the frog is trying to cross the swamp. It’s an okay game, but once you get your initial nostalgia fix, it’s not compelling. But the price is right, especially if your gift recipient grew up in the 1980s.

Sword & Sworcery ($4.99)

Sword & Sworcery is another iPad game that tries to induce a sense of nostalgia -- this time by using retro-style graphics for a brand-new game. Sword & Sworcery is a platform-type game where you, the hero (male, of course) go on a quest that involves various musical puzzles. The gameplay is interesting, as is the storyline.

Jules Verne’s Return to Mysterious Island ($9.99) 

Unlike Sword & Sworcery -- and 99 per cent of computer games -- Return to Mysterious Island features a female hero. It also has stunning graphics, a great storyline and compelling gameplay. It’s definitely worth the extra price, especially if you’re buying for a teenage girl (or boy, for that matter) who’s looking for great games for her iPad.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 ($2.99)

There are many sports games for the iPad, but as far as I’m concerned this is the best value. The graphics are very realistic, the pace is exhilarating, the controls intuitive and you have a variety of game options (tournament, exhibition, multiplayer, training, and more). A great gift for a sports fan.

Finally, a plug for a B.C.-grown iPad app, Osmos.

Osmos ($4.99) was released last year by Nelson-based Hemisphere Games. It's an ambient game, the objective of which is to grow your one-celled creature by absorbing smaller creatures and avoiding larger ones. The trick of the game is patience -- if you're aggressive, you'll shrink and be killed; but if you're patient and mindful, you'll be successful. Boasting beautiful graphics and sensuous ambient music by the likes of Brian Eno, it's an absorbing experience. Osmos is also available for the iPhone, and for Mac and Windows-based desktop computers.

Happy Christmas, everyone!

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