We're less than a week from the launch of the iPad 2 in the United States, with the revised tablet set to offer a much-faster processor, enhanced graphics, front and back-facing cameras, and a gyroscope for added motion gameplay possibilities. And we'll be jumping on the second iPad bandwagon right away to make sure we're still covering the latest and greatest games available for the platform. But for now, here's a look at five more games you can download now for the iPad – or in the near future for the iPad 2.
With just over a month left until the end of the regular season, now's a prime time for the less devoted hockey fans among us (this writer included) to start following the standings in case their favorite team seems ready to make a deep playoff run. It might not be the most ideal time to release a new hockey game, considering the season kicked off way back in October, but it's better late than never for iPad ice junkies, as 2K Sports recently saw fit to deliver NHL 2K11 to the App Store.
Currently the only officially licensed National Hockey League game in the App Store, NHL 2K11 isn't quite as polished or fully featured as the larger console iterations, but for a $5 portable app, it's pretty playable and has a handful of play options. In addition to standard exhibition matches, you can play through a full season, jump into free skate or shootout modes, or hit the Winter Classic mode to recreate the most recent annual outdoor showdown (Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins) or swap in your own favorite teams.
NHL 2K11 can be played with a simplified one-finger mode – in which you'll hold in any direction to move, tap teammates to pass, and hold and release your player with the puck to shoot – or with a virtual stick and buttons. We prefer the latter option, though we hope 2K Sports kicks out an update with larger, better-differentiated buttons, or at least the option to customize their locations on the screen. NHL 2K11 isn't much of a looker, with blurry player models during cut-scenes and cardboard cut-out fans on the other side of the glass, plus it currently lacks any sort of multiplayer support; but it's a solid first attempt that hockey fans of all skill and interest levels can pick up and play. Also: Go Blackhawks.
We'll assume the answer is no, but did any of you out there happen to play the should-be-infamous Rig Racer 2 for Wii? It dropped in early 2008 along with a handful of other sloppily ported shovelware PC racers, but in addition to being a barely playable and ugly as sin slapdash conversion, it also showed us why flatbed and semi trucks just aren't a great fit for traditional racers: they're incredibly large, impossibly sluggish, and pretty difficult to control.
Though we're sure a game will someday prove that massive trucks have been criminally underused in common racing games, Truck Jam HD really isn't it. Despite appearing on the App Store's "New and Noteworthy" listing upon release, we struggled to find anything about Truck Jam HD that would fit the latter description. The App Store page describes it as "the most real all-terrain off-road racing game you could ever see on iPad," but after playing through several races, we're quite sure that's an exaggeration of epic proportions.
Truck Jam HD bounces between standard lap races and freeform dashes towards randomly placed gates, but once the action starts, it's clear that Truck Jam HD has little ambition to be anything more than a placeholder game for kids and indiscriminate players who love large vehicles. Competing trucks – which from what we played always seemed to be the same rig – barely react when nudged, which often leads to sluggish pileups on the track, and the visual pop-in is consistently distracting regardless of location. Truck Jam HD's career mode is a slow, dull grind between bland, repetitive events, and the lack of multiplayer competition essentially seals this app's fate as a completely forgettable iPad racer.