Skip to main content

iPad reviews of the week: SteamBirds, Shot Shot Shoot, Super Mega Worm, GT Racing: Motor Academy, Monopoly

Game: GT Racing: Motor Academy HD
Price: $4.99/ £2.99
Size: 387MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/ UK

Based on the title alone, it shouldn't be a surprise that GT Racing: Motor Academy HD is an attempt to bring a Gran Turismo/Forza Motorsport-like simulation racing experience to the iPad, and looking at the screens certainly bears that out. The iPad already has a great sim racer in the form of Real Racing HD, but GT Racing's notable differences make it another worthwhile App Store option.

As you might expect, GT Racing doesn't offer the same level of depth or breadth of content as something like Gran Turismo 5, but we're talking about a $5 download – and with that in mind, GT Racing does a pretty solid job of approximating the experience within a more limited purview. More than 100 licensed cars are included, featuring brands like Ferrari, Dodge, and Toyota, and the relatively robust career mode includes license tests, numerous cups and side events, and a variety of vehicle mods. Motor Academy HD also features arcade an arcade mode for pick-up-and-play races, but perhaps most notably, it includes six-player online races. We didn't find much competition lingering online, but the matches we did play ran pretty well on the device.

Unsurprisingly, as a member of the sim-racing genre, GT Racing: Motor Academy HD can be a little dry and by-the-numbers on the course, but the cars control well with responsive tilt-based steering, and the visuals are largely on par with other top racers on the platform. If you're seeking a realistic mobile racing experience to pour a bunch of hours into, this racer definitely has the chops to compete on the iPad, though more arcade-style racing apps are certainly out there.

Game: Shot Shot Shoot
Price: $1.99/ £1.19
Size: 28MB
Buy it now from the iTunes store:US/ UK

Shot Shot Shoot doesn't exactly pop off the iPad screen in the same way as the glossy, big-budget 3D experiences that have dominated the conversation of late, nor is its appeal immediately apparent. In fact, we played around with this one here and there for a couple of months before it clicked in a meaningful way. But once it did, we quickly understood why this simple-looking game has earned raves from other indie developers.

Shot Shot Shoot focuses on the two-player experience, enabling players on either side of the iPad to launch missiles to destroy the opponent's five squares. Though ideally played in this manner, it's also a lot of fun against the skilled computer opponent, though they can be challenging. Yet we can't resist playing round after round because the simplistic core gameplay – just tap the screen to launch a missile to either topple an enemy square or destroy his/her incoming missile – belies a truly taut experience that demands smart resource management.

Like the similarly great Halcyon, which we spotlighted in a previous feature, Shot Shot Shoot has been nominated for Best Mobile Game at the Independent Games Festival 2011. But regardless of which app comes out on top, we heartily recommend this indie gem, especially at the spot-on price of just $1.99.

Feb 12, 2011

Our A-to-Z guide for filling your iPad with last year's awesomeness

Angry Birds animated series entering production
Cartoon based on Rovio’s top-selling iOS app coming soon

The Fling to bring an extra dimension to iOS arcade gaming