iPad games of the week: Smurfs' Edge edition

It's Thanksgiving week in America (suck it Canada), which typically means gorging yourself on delicious foods, risking life and limb to save a few bucks during Black Friday sales, and ultimately regretting both of those aforementioned activities. But with family encounters likely on the horizon, it's also a great time to show off your iPad to your loved ones %26ndash; or seclude yourself in the darkest corner of the house and play on your own. Here are some fresh iPad game picks to help you accomplish either task.

Game: Spider-Man: Total Mayhem HD
Price: $6.99 / %26pound;3.99
Size: 407MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/UK

Spider-Man: Total Mayhem made a big splash when it hit iPhone earlier this fall, and the HD version deserves similar attention on iPad, delivering a solid action experience that pops with the stellar production values we typically see from Gameloft.

Granted, being a Gameloft action game, it looks and feels a bit similar to some of the publisher's other recent licensed action hits (Avatar and Iron Man 2, notably), but the bright comic style pops from the screen, and the ability to use webs to wrangle opponents and spider-sense to dodge attacks gives it some unique flair. The combo-heavy, beat-em-up action is supplemented by web-swinging platform sequences, as well as the occasional finger-swiping scripted event.

With a story inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comic series and appearances by familiar foes like Venom and Rhino, Total Mayhem does a great job of capturing the feel of the hero %26ndash; and $6.99 is a fairly reasonable price for a game of this caliber on the platform.

Game: Smurfs' Village
Price: FREE
Size: 67.5MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/UK

In a matter of days, Smurfs' Village has reportedly become the highest grossing title in the App Store, despite being free (and 2010). What led to this out-of-nowhere resurgence in advance of next year's unanticipated live-action/CG Smurfs film? We've got two words for you: FarmVille and microtransactions.

Smurfs' Village is essentially a FarmVille clone starring the kooky blue creatures, letting you plant and harvest all sorts of crops while building up the titular town. While this universal app is free and lets you connect to friends' villages via your Facebook account, your progress moves at a glacial pace %26ndash; that is, unless you spend real money on Smurfberries to speed things up. And how much is the "Wheelbarrow of Smurfberries?" Why, just $59.99!

The game has kicked up some controversy for these purchases and kids' ability to unwittingly spend their parents money, but it's clearly working in the favor of Capcom. If the thought of FarmVille and its menial tasks sends you into a fit of extreme apathy, Smurfs' Village is unlikely to rouse you from that state. But if you're on the opposite end of the spectrum and have a thing for popular 80's cartoon characters... well, you'd best get your credit card prepped and ready.

Andrew Hayward
Freelance writer for GamesRadar and several other gaming and tech publications, including Official Xbox Magazine, Nintendo Power, Mac|Life, @Gamer, and PlayStation: The Official Magazine. Visit my work blog at http://andrewhayward.org.