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iPad reviews of the week: Riptide GP, Bike Baron, Worms Crazy Golf, Frogger Pinball

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Game: Worms Crazy Golf HD
Price: $4.99/£3.49
Size: 436MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK

When it comes to 2D side-scrolling golf games, the iPad already has a gold standard in the form of Super Stickman Golf, this past spring's bulging multiplayer smash. Despite that game's enduring appeal, Team17 decided to give it a go with Worms Crazy Golf HD, a game that blends that same kind of platform-esque golf approach with the colorful visuals and silly humor of the classic turn-based artillery franchise. It's an odd premise, but luckily, it works – and with same-device hot seat multiplayer, it offers something that Stickman cannot. Sadly, it's also a dreadfully slow experience at times, making it an odd fit for portable devices.

Worms Crazy Golf HD serves up four 18-hole courses – one exclusive to this iPad version – each packed with all sorts of hazards and helpful mechanisms, as well as skyward shots and winding pathways through solid ground. An average hole might take you past a ball-swatting granny worm, a cannon that can launch your ball across the map, and powerfully repulsive magnets which can be shut off by rolling the ball past a switch. As such, reaching the goal below par is rarely an easy venture, but occasional power-ups help even the odds. Beyond the 18 holes on each course, you'll also encounter quick challenges, such as clearing all sheep from the screen or knocking the ball within a target.

Taking on those optional challenges adds a bit more heft to a lengthy 18-hole round, but the bigger concern is just how sluggish many game aspects are. From using the shot meter to watching the ball roll and seeing your Worm teleport to the new spot, most actions take a few extra beats longer than expected. Sadly, these moments really add up over several holes, and waiting for your next shot may prove tedious at times. We'd recommend playing a few holes at a time and taking a breather, as attempting an entire course in one sitting could set you back 90 minutes. But if you love Team17's style and don't mind a slower-paced affair, Worms Crazy Golf HD offers an amusing blend of disparate elements.

Game: Frogger Pinball
Price: $2.99/£1.99
Size: 167MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK

With Frogger Pinball, we have to assume that Konami ran out of fresh ways to invigorate the familiar "crossing the road" gameplay, and instead decided to fish new genre options out of a hat. Seeing Frogger roll into a ball and be repeatedly thwacked by paddles (and slammed into wasps and bulldozers) seems ludicrous on paper, but it can't be wackier than some of the character designs they've spawned for him over the years. Frogger Pinball is undoubtedly a throwaway trifle, but solid production values and gameplay make this universal iOS app a decent pinball pick.

The three-stage story mode kicks off with an all-too-familiar conceit: Frogger's girlfriend is abducted, so naturally, it's his job to save her. However, the enemy here is a UFO housing a robotic lizard and walking aerosol cans, so Frogger's decision to turn into a pinball to fight the threat doesn't seem so strange in context. Beyond the thematic silliness, the tables themselves are pretty simple, but the attractive presentation really pops on the iPad display, with colorful enemies that must be knocked out to face a boss and progress onwards. Tapping either side of the screen controls the paddle(s) on that side, and while the tables hold few surprises, the game plays out well on the touch screen.

Frogger Pinball's story mode is where the primary action is, and it gives you a few lives to push through the three current tables (more are coming via updates) – which can be tough, and despite the kid-friendly design, it doesn't let you continue on if you fall in the first or second round. Luckily, all three tables are unlocked from the start in the standalone Challenge mode, which also lets you spend real money to unlock power-ups – though we can't imagine anyone actually considering that option. The regular price of $2.99 seems a little steep (it's on sale for $1.99 as of this writing), especially with amazing options like Pinball HD and War Pinball HD on the iPad, but Frogger Pinball proves a surprisingly fun diversion for franchise fans.

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