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iPad reviews of the week: Coin Drop!, Arkanoid, Caveman_HD, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Scream 4

For this week's roundup of iPad games, we're looking at a couple games that are sort of like other games you know: Coin Drop!, which takes some cues from casual favorite Peggle, and Caveman_HD, which is essentially Lemmings with added prehistoric grunts. Beyond those, we've got Arkanoid HD, which comes exactly as expected, as well as a pair of movie-related games – Scream 4 and LEGO: Harry Potter: Years 1-4 – that fall on very different ends of the quality spectrum. And if you're without an iPad but have an iPhone or iPod Touch, both Coin Drop! and LEGO: Harry Potter are universal apps playable on any iOS device, so you don't have to feel left out as we dig into these five iPad-ready releases.


Game: Coin Drop!
Price: $0.99/£0.59
Size: 76.7MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK

Nothing gets us more excited for an otherwise generic-looking mobile game than the phrase, "It's sort of like Peggle." Granted, the bar is set incredibly high in that regard, and nothing we've played really approaches the pitch-perfect wonder of that classic pachinko-style puzzler, but we remain suckers for anything that seems similar. Coin Drop! is the latest contender we've seen, and true enough, it's sort of like Peggle – but really, it's the other elements that make this a rather diverse and sometimes schizophrenic experience.

Playable on both iPad and iPhone, this universal app sees you dropping a bevy of coins in each stage to earn points and complete other objectives. At first, it's just a matter of hitting all the blue coins (the "Bad Pennies") and Peggle-like pins, but later stages add elements like captured lady coins to free, bricks to bust, and various portals to weave your way through. Like Chicken Balls, a game LINK [http://www.gamesradar.com/f/ipad-reviews-of-the-week-superbrothers-sword-sworcery-ep-war-pinball-chicken-balls-splitsecond-forget-me-not/a-201104038918376082] we covered a few weeks back, Coin Drop! pulls from so many distinct influences that it's a wonder that the game actually works – but remarkably, this adorable app made a pretty solid impression after the initial set of simple stages. Dropping coins into stages filled with moving objects and trying to satisfy the myriad objectives is just plain entertaining.

Coin Drop!'s eye-catching aesthetic pops from every angle, with blindingly bright menu and transition screens, plus polished, well-animated level designs. And while the game is currently sold with four worlds containing 60 total stages, at least one more world is promised in a future update – and you can unlock a variety of different coin designs by earning stars in each stage. Developer Full Fat also seems to have learned a lesson from its previous game, Flick Golf, releasing Coin Drop! as a cheap universal app playable on all iOS devices instead of dropping separate, arguably content-light versions for iPad and iPhone. We'd never claim Coin Drop! to be an even swap for Peggle, but while that series continues on its depressingly long breather, it's worth a buck to jiggle some change around a few dozen colorful stages.


Game: Arkanoid HD
Price: $4.99/£2.99
Size: 77.6MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK

Unlike recent Space Invaders entries like Extreme and Infinity Gene – each of which significantly shook up series conventions in a notable way – Arkanoid HD, much like the recent iPhone and Nintendo DS iterations, remains delightfully the same as always. Really, this Breakout offshoot hasn't changed significantly over the years, still offering the same basic gameplay, power-ups, and aesthetic, but we can't argue with this $5 HD version for iPad, which serves up a hefty stack of stages along with a new single-device multiplayer mode.

Despite a mass of brick-breaking games on the App Store, Arkanoid HD still stands out as one of the more polished and pristine offerings, even if the frills are in short supply. Arkanoid has and will likely always be Breakout with power-ups, and that's exactly what you'll find here. Learning what each power-up does is key to your success, of course; nab the laser paddle and multi-ball bonus, but skip the paddle-shrinking pill for consistent success. On the single-player side, you'll encounter more than 100 stages with a branching campaign path like in other recent entries, with boss battles and levels inspired by other Taito games (like Space Invaders and Bubble Bobble). And thankfully, a Save and Quit option is available to help you navigate through the lengthy campaign path in spurts.

The touch-interface works as expected, letting you drag your finger along the screen to move the paddle, and you can opt to play either with multiple lives or below-paddle barriers that disappear when you miss the ball. And while the Pong-like multiplayer mode – in which players man separate sides of the iPad, batting the ball back and forth while volleying for power-ups – is pretty standard fare, it's always nice to see another single-device multiplayer option. Arkanoid HD doesn't deviate much from expectations, and the sterile, straightforward approach may disappoint some seeking a modernized interpretation of this classic, but it's a meaty and worthwhile entry in the bustling iOS block-breaking genre.

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4 comments

  • mobile1up - April 24, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    >> Caveman HD great to get a mention in this list! we are doing the final play testing of the next 30 levels (also listened to a lot of comments from users); update will be submitted to apple over the next few days - we were originally thinking a $9.99 title - but i think it'll settle around $4.99. want to try it out? email us and tell us why you want this game; we have a few promo codes we can hand out :) support@mobile1up
  • DeEss - April 24, 2011 3:43 a.m.

    @lilbuddha, Exactly. I think there's a lot more android users out there than iwhatever users.
  • lilbuddha - April 24, 2011 3:07 a.m.

    Can you start doing this format with Android games ? Thanks. (and to macfags out there, YES there are plenty of android apps, they just don't run on pixie dust and magic powder like yours do)
  • Baron164 - April 23, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    Thanks, it's really nice to have some reviews for iPad games. I just ordered one and I'm sure I'll be getting some decent game time in on it.

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