During the original App store gold rush (and the subsequent race to the lowest price point) many developers were having a difficult time balancing the time it took to develop a quality game with the idea that nobody would pay more than $1 for it. It’s a great sign to see developers as a whole pricing their iPad apps a little higher, but charging $8 for a previously released $3 iPhone app with better graphics is just a ripoff. Luckily, a bunch of great iPhone games that you may already own work just as well, if not better, on the iPad. Why pay $8 for an app that only works on your iPad? Here is my list of already existing iPhone apps that play great on the iPad.
Eliss -$2.99- Already one of my favorite iPhone games from 2009, Eliss plays even better on an iPad. In order to master this game, you’ll need to get good at using both hands to manage all the action on screen. Luckily the iPad’s larger screen works in your favor with this addictive app.
IsoWords -$1.99- The larger screen totally works in your favor for selecting letters in this 3 dimensional Boggle like game. I was a fan of the pass-to-play feature before, but now I can lend my iPad to a friend and play multi-player over wifi using my iPhone.
Saucelifter -$1.99- The graphics look even better on the iPad than on the iPhone in this stylish take on the classic Choplifter genre. The controls are a bit sensitive at first, but you can adjust them in the options menu.
PAC-MAN Championship Edition -$2.99- Admittedly, I’m a big fan of the paku-paku franchise, but I didn’t really grok the iPhone version till I rocked it on the iPad. It totally brings back memories of Friday night’s at the skate rink. There are several different control interfaces available, but I recommend the swipe “joystick” control.
Platypus -$4.99- All I have to say is “claymation videogame” and I know I already have your attention. Most of the games on this list look great on an iPad because they happen to use vector graphics, but for whatever reason this non-vector artwork scales wonderfully onto the iPad’s screen. Platypus also has local multi-player mode, so if you have an iPhone and an iPad you are all set to multiplay with friends with just one app purchase.
Ground Effect -$2.99- Ground Effect is like F-Zero with ekranoplans. The graphics port to the iPad well, and the rendering is nice and fast. Ground Effect also has several options for viewing the game in 3D anaglyph, so dig out those red/cyan glasses you have laying around.
Light Bike -$2.99- I honestly feel this game is virtually unplayable on the iPhone, but it’s perfect for the iPad. Now it’s way easier to navigate those split-second right-angle maneuvers.
Surfacer -Free- Surfacer is a great time-killing game about filling negative space.
Plants Versus Zombies -$2.99- You could pay $10 (!!!) for the iPad version of this game, but I felt the iPhone version didn’t look too bad on the larger screen and only costs $3. Again, why pay 3 times as much for something that isn’t iPhone compatible? Now the graphics of the iPhone version are a little blurry on the Pad, but they still look pretty good.
Racer Coaster -$0.99- This 3D racing game pits you against crazy curvy roads and obstacles. Fans of the classic Hard Drivin’ games will love this game on the iPad, but not so much on the iPhone.
Fieldrunners -$2.99- Like PvZombies, the difference between Fieldrunners and Fieldrunners HD is certainly not worth triple the price. Maybe the developers will take some time in the future to make a more unique experience for the iPad to justify the increased price, but currently the old version of Fieldrunners works just fine for me.
Galcon Labs -$0.99- Like real time Risk in space, Galcon is another classic iPhone game that benefits from the larger screen real estate without losing too much visual. I’d also like to note that while the iPad version of this game is $10, he developer has really gone out of his way to create a unique experience for the iPad rather than a straightforward copy.
Star Defense -$0.99- There are hundreds of Tower Defense games to choose from, but Star Defense seemed to shine out on the iPad.
Bike Or Die 2 -$5.99- This game really made my last overseas flight go by quickly. I was pleased to see the game looks and feels great on the iPad too. Tons of maps to keep you playing for weeks.
Bit Pilot -$0.99- Bit Pilot is a pixelized shooter in which you try to avoid getting smashed by asteroids, but what really keeps me playing is Sabrepulse‘s anthemic chiptune soundtrack… which sounds fantastic on the iPad’s speakers. Pro tip; use two fingers on the screen to control your ship at 2X speed.
Horror Racing -$0.99-
The steering wheel interface works much better on this larger screen and the graphics don’t seem to take a big hit from the higher resolution.
C64 -Free- C64 is a Commodore emulator with tons of free games from the classic system. Unfortunately C64’s UI looks extremely blurry on the iPad, the actual game screen itself looks nice and sharp. Luckily you remove most of the UI by keeping your device in horizontal view to full size the game screen. Retro heaven.
Time Loop -$0.99- This fun single player co-operative looks great on the iPad and is an easy puzzler for any age to get into.
Totemo -$0.99- Another puzzler that’s just a good way to kill time and doesn’t look too bad on your iPad.
Sentinel -$1.99- I was really impressed with how nice these graphics look on the iPad. The Sentinel games were some of my favorite iPhone games from last year, but not every graphic heavy iPhone game looks as good as this does on the iPad.