Skip to main content

iPad reviews of the week: Food Processing, Back to the Future, Big Boss, NinJump Deluxe, Carnivores: Ice Age

It's out! The iPad 2 is available now! Were you lured into waiting into taking a half-day and waiting in line outside an Apple Store, or did you wake up in the middle of the night to stumble around and place an online order? Or was the allure of the refreshed tablet not yet enough to convince you to shell out $500+ for a lightly evolved iPad? Let us know in the comments! We hope to be covering some iPad 2-optimized games as soon as next week (assuming they're available), but until then, here's a look at five more games you can play today on either iPad.

Game: Food Processing HD
Price: $1.99/£1.19
Size: 27.8MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/UK

Between Cooking Mama and Fruit Ninja, we figured that we'd had plenty enough food slicing action to last us well into next year, so we didn't pay the blandly titled Food Processing HD much mind when it dropped a couple weeks back. But when we finally gave it a spin, this fast-paced veggie-dicing app easily won us over with its fevered action, varying touch techniques, and colorful aesthetics.

Food Processing HD starts simply enough with a sluggish crawl of vegetables moving down the line. When you begin, it's all a matter of popping peas out of a pod, slicing corn into equal portions, and tapping walnuts to crack them open. But within moments, you're slicing the tops off of eggplants, cutting pumpkins into quarters, and poking through pomegranates to get to the delicious innards. By the time you've unlocked all the myriad vegetables, Food Processing is moving at such a speedy clip that you'll struggle to keep up with all the different moves, all the while avoiding the rotten veggies that occasionally scroll down the line.

It's a simple, straightforward affair, but Food Processing HD offers up the kind of addictive, well-considered gameplay that's made Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope such enduring iOS favorites. And should you notch a high enough score in the standard mode, you'll unlock Hell's Kitchen, a notably more intense offering that challenges you not only with varying vegetables, but also locks that punish you for touching forbidden foods and modifier pick-ups that can affect your ability to keep up with the rush. And though it's a separate app, Food Processing is also available on iPhone at half the cost, should you prefer to keep it in your pocket.

NinJump Deluxe HD
Price: $1.99/£1.19
Size: 16.8MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/UK

NinJump Deluxe HD isn't the first iPad game starring a vertically running ninja to capture our attention – that'd be the colorful Ninjatown: Trees of Doom! HD! – but this expanded release of a previous ad-supported title makes an enjoyable riff on a similar concept, tasking you with avoiding numerous hazards as you scale towers and pirate ship masts. The little ninja's ascent can be dizzying at times, but you'll need nimble fingers to stay upright in the face of cannonballs and sea monsters.

Your ninja begins running immediately from the outset, with your only necessary input a tap anywhere to jump to the other side of the screen. In the Classic stage, you'll quickly encounter the likes of running squirrels, flying birds, and rival ninjas launching throwing stars, as well as downward-running enemies and outward-jutting obstacles. Projectiles and animals can be avoided outright, or you can knock them out of commission by jumping into their path. If you can do so for three of a kind without breaking the streak, you'll trigger a special move – for example, swatting three squirrels will send you skittering up the walls, impervious to enemy attack.

Naturally, the goal is to notch the highest distance from the ground, and we found ourselves jumping back in for additional attempts after each ill-timed jump or run-in with a dastardly enemy. But the game offers much more than just the Classic course, with Castle, Pirates, and Jungle courses offering alternate hazards and challenges, such as a recurring sea beast that appears on either side of the Pirates stage. NinJump Deluxe HD isn't the most processor-taxing iPad app around, but it's simple and engaging fun that holds up through numerous plays.