The Third Device

A blog about the iPad.

Plays well with others

Gaming on the iPad is fun, and I don’t think anyone will now deny that it has taken its rightful place as a viable gaming platform.

What takes it a notch further for me is the surprising number of apps that enable you to play online against other people, whether they be friends or strangers. Here are a few of my recent finds.

The number one game on my iPad right now would have to be Words With Friends HD ($2.99). I never used to be much of a board game player because, face it, I have a short attention span. But WwF neatly circumvents my ADD with a nifty gameplay method – you and your challenger take turns placing words on the board at your own pace, whether that be in the space of a few minutes or over hours or even days. Some opponents may take longer than others to respond – we do have lives to lead, after all – so the game lets you fire up more than just one game. I’ve got about ten games or twelve different games going on simultaneously. In fact my wife and I have developed a new routine lately: in the morning, we wake up, turn off our alarms, and then automatically check the game queue to see what words have been played while we were asleep!

Side note: my wife is an absolute beast at this game. Seriously. The other day she scored 171 points on a single word, appropriately enough, “CONQUER”. Some people don’t even reach 171 in a single game.

A nice extra is the inclusion of an iChat style IM window in the corner, for the inevitable trash talk. (“Are you kidding me?! That’s not a word. Damn you!”) Another positive point is that the game is not limited to iPad owners – the game is also available as a free download for iPhone and iPod Touch, and you can play against other users regardless of device.

One of my other current favorites is a billiards / pool sim from venerable gaming company Namco, called Pool Pro Online 3. I was fortunate enough to grab it for free on launch day but it’s now $6.99, which seems quite steep. This is also disappointing because it will probably limit the amount of people that will sign up to play; most games of this type seem to have a sweet spot of only $2 or $3. Nevertheless, the physics are moderately realistic, the graphics are okay and the tension of playing against a live opponent always makes things exciting. There’s a chat window but not much seems to happen. Bizarrely, my last opponent capped off his victory by typing “I love Oxycontin!”

A game I’ve just recently installed is We Rule for iPad (free). I assume this is similar to all the farm / cafe / restaurant style Flash games I’ve seen people play on Facebook. I’ve played it a bit and it amazed me that you have to plant crops that slowly grow in real time and that you then have to harvest at a specific time later on. How do people get addicted to these things? Just like its Facebook brethren, We Rule goes beyond just a simple resource management game since you can also visit the kingdoms of your friends and trade things with them and generally feel insecure about how much more stuff they’ve built.

To be honest I don’t anticipate this game will be on my iPad for much longer – not only does is the game useless without an internet connection, but even connecting to their server has been awfully hit-or-miss. Plus I actually woke up at 6am today to harvest beans, and there’s nothing stupider than saying you got up at 6am to harvest beans when you’re doing it on an iPad.

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May 1, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Oh, and if anyone’s up for a game, I’m “vicicasas” on WwF, and “piranha23” on Pool Pro and We Rule.

    Comment by Vic | May 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. and I’m cokeycyn 😀

    Comment by Cyn | May 2, 2010 | Reply


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