We already know that there are a variety of great sports-oriented apps available for your iPad, including sites that update their stats in real-time (like "ESPN ScoreCenter XL") and some specifically built for a specific league or sport (such as "MLB At Bat.") But what about games ? Well, not to worry. The iPad has plenty of games to choose from , both from the classic iPhone library and made entirely with the iPad in mind. Here are seven favorites you shouldn't pass up.
"TouchGrind HD for iPad" ($7.99, Illusion Labs AB)
While "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" is better suited for traditional skateboarding gamers, "TouchGrind HD" brings real innovation to the iPad. You interact with an on-screen board as if your fingers were your legs, kicking it around and performing tricks including grinds, flips and stances. Illusion Labs has graciously included some tutorial videos to teach you what you need to do. Once you master the techniques, you can check out the other modes, including Practice, Jam Session and Competition. The game also supports two-player wireless connection, allowing you to join up with a fellow shredder should the mood strike you. The price is a little more expensive than the original "TouchGrind" but the improved HD visuals and accessibility to modes and multiplayer functions make this a ride you shouldn't miss. Dude!
"NFL 2010 HD" (Gameloft, $4.99)
EA Sports is working on a new "Madden NFL" game for the iPad, but hasn't announced any kind of release date for it yet. If you need your pro football fix in the meantime, we definitely suggest trying out Gameloft's touchdown-scorer. "NFL 2010 HD" features everything a fan of the sport could want, including intuitive controls (complete with multiple functions on the lower right corner of the screen) and a beautiful presentation, fueled by powerhouse graphics and a running commentary. The playbook is also wide open with choices, as you can choose from over 200 running and passing plays to plan the best course of action with. This is definitely the best way to fulfill your gridiron fix right now, and hopefully we'll see Gameloft take the field sometime later this year for a follow-up. It's imperative, we think.
"Need For Speed Shift" (Electronic Arts, $12.99)
Although this is one of the higher-priced Apps available for the iPad, there's no question it's worth the price tag -- especially if you're a true racing enthusiast. "Need For Speed Shift" is one of our favorite portable racers, a game that carefully balances between simulation and arcade as you speed towards a first place victory. A variety of vehicles are available, along with three viewpoints, including a stellar inside-the-cockpit view that really makes you feel like you're in these things. The controls are very user-friendly, as you can use tilt steering, pedal-work and nitrous boosting to keep ahead of your opponents. The game also fully supports multiplayer across both local Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you'll never run out of competition. If EA continues to pump out racing titles as good as "Need For Speed Shift" we may never let go of the steering wheel.
"NCAA Football" (Electronic Arts, $6.99)
If you're not really in the mood to play pro ball, there's always the option to stick with college. EA Sports recently released "NCAA Football" for iPhone, bringing most of the excitement of the console versions to the iPhone and iPad. While the game is condensed when it comes to team selection (only 55 of the 110 teams are present here) the excitement remains the same. You'll draw out your plays on the touch screen and then execute them like a true player would, passing balls to your open receivers and executing running plays to score in the end zone. The game features great Season Play, along with the option to create your own team and school. Playing against friends via Bluetooth is fun, too. Just a word of warning, however -- skip the HD iPhone 4 edition. It's so slow and sloppy that it just isn't worth your time.
"Real Soccer 2010 HD" (Gameloft, $4.99)
The thrill of the World Cup may be over, but Gameloft's soccer game will leave you kicking and screaming -- in a good way. "Real Soccer 2010 HD" is one of the better soccer games we've seen for the iPad, with its simplified control scheme (you can pass, shoot and slide-tackle with very few problems) and rich, highly-detailed visuals. You'll feel as if you're right there on the soccer field, fighting amongst a flurry of players as you try to make a rush for the goal. You can even choose how your team plays offensively and defensively on-the-fly, while also keeping an eye on your stamina level so you don't overwork yourself. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-supported multiplayer keep the fun coming as you team up with (and against) friends. Until the next round of "Real Soccer" arrives, this one is worth kicking around with.
"NBA Hotshot HD" (Freeverse, $2.99)
We've spoken about "NBA Hotshot HD" before, and for good reason. This game emulates all the fun you've had shooting real hoops in those skill cages at Dave and Buster's (or any other given entertainment center) as you shoot for two's and three's in a small amount of time. If you're up for an additional challenge, you can also check out Three Strikes mode, where you keep shooting balls until you miss three shots. There are ample rewards included in "Hotshot" including officially branded team basketballs (from the NBA and WNBA) and other goodies, including popcorn. And we have yet to run into anyone that doesn't like popcorn.
"Tiger Woods PGA Tour" (Electronic Arts, $4.99)
Finally, we have "Tiger Woods PGA Tour," a game that manages to overcome the golfer's personal issues and delivers just what you need for your iPad -- a fun, solid round of golf. The interface is terrific, enabling you to swing like a pro using a simple down-up swipe on the screen. You can also choose from various courses and golfers, including Vijay Singh and Tiger himself. (A Hazeltine National Golf Club is also available for an additional dollar.) The ability to buy extra clubs and outfits adds to the longevity of the game. Plus, it looks great, so you'll never have to worry about losing sight of the ball. Even though "Tiger Woods" hasn't been released specifically for iPad (yet, anyway) this is definitely one to add to your collection. Who doesn't want to swing like Tiger? (And, please, don't take that the wrong way.)