Two recent iPad game favorites – Oct 2013

Ok, so the way I judge a good game is whether at one stage, i realise that i’ve devoted such a large amount of time to it, without ever planning to, not in one long session but cumulatively over a long time. Of course there are other factors, but like a TV series, it’s the ones that keep you coming back that you develop that warm fuzzy feeling for.

These two games are fairly commercially viable, and not as left field as some of the games I usually play, but they really stood out from the crowd for various reasons.

Too often these days games either make you “Share” on Facebook or pay to buy some kind of “internal currency” to make the game bareable. While these two games I’m going to introduce have these features built in (what iPad game doesn’t these days?) they make it still fantastically playable without using those options which impressed me.

While my next review will be a little more eclectic, these games are what you’d call traditional games in the sense that. You main goal is to either destroy or go faster than the other guy. They both excel in their field for almost opposite reasons, which make them good for me to rotate between.

So let’s get into it!

Battle Nations

This is an amazingly addictive RPG that I got about two months ago. What drew me to the game, was a promotion video I saw with a chess style grid, and its turn by turn attack system. I absolutely love these games, as they provide just the right level of adrenaline fighting but you can also take a break at any time, and so it’s good for travelling or playing at home. Another awesome factor in these games is that you can only do so much in one gameplay so it doesn’t take up your whole day (although you may be coming back a lot!).


Ok so I’ll make this easier to understand for you. You basically start with limited resources, and this is certainly a resource driven game. You are guided through they whole first part of the game. Characters keep popping up on your screen and telling you what to do and by doing so quite nicely teach you all the menus and concepts in the game. These characters are pretty hilarious and quite loveable and if nothing else their evolving story will keep you hooked.

As you progress, your tasks to complete get slowly harder and take longer. You must develop your characters and town to make sure you can continually keep up wth resource demands. Your enemies slowly get harder and harder as you also develop your skills. Like most of these games, eventually the game gets hard enough that you really, really wish you had more resources. Bing! It’s done, you can at any time in the game buy “nano pods” which either can be used to trade for resources (but it’s heavily overpriced if you do that) or speed the game up (which is the normal use of them and much more economical). These are actually in game purchases you can get, but you can also get them from watching a promotional video now and then. although this is a slow way to go. The good thing, is that, if you are patient, you can play this game totally for free.

Here you can see the battle field. The backgrounds change, but the grid is always the same. It’s quite handy as you really get to know each characters strengths and weaknesses. You do tend towards the same players each time and sometimes the battles are a tad monotonous if you have just done 3 or 4 with the same configuration but overall it’s very well designed.

The game is non-linear, up to a point. You can choose what you do but there is no point getting into battles you can’t win as that will just lose you time by having to send your characters to hospital all the time. Besides the storyline, you can battle other players in the game, which helps your players level up faster than in game battles. A great tactic to encourage real time battles between people. Interestingly, once you have battled someone, you can become their “friend” and they can visit your playing area and give you the gift of time by furthering your goals.


One major downside to this game is you must be connected to the Internet at all times. That is such a pain in the arse if you don’t have mobile Internet. In Tokyo it is pretty rare to find Internet outside your house so it’s not a great game for cities like that. Another location based disadvantage is that outside of America and Canada you cannot watch movies to get free nano pods (which is another way you can play this game, by getting them advertising credits in place of actually paying them). This is true for many games, which means these games will lose popularity in some countries.

You may see a lot of spinning circles if your wifi connection is not too great.



This is a great game which has good gameplay, witty characters and very addictive gameplay. It also has elements of time management in there as you need to do things in the right order to avoid lots of waiting around. If you get seriously into it, you will at some point buy some nano pods, even a small purchase of 2 dollars will help you quite a bit, and you can also play the game successfully without the extra credits. That takes some great game design, and at the moment, this is my number one game. This company “z2″ makes a bunch if games, but I’m too scared to look as this one has been too addictively time consuming.

Real Racing 3

This game is completely different from the last in almost every way, but it many ways just as enjoyable. The first thing that will blow you away are the graphics. It’s one of the best looking games I’ve seen on the iPad. With real time shading and realistic reflections it will make you feel like you are controlling a TV car race just by holding it. The gameplay is awesome and has never skipped (on my iPad 3 at least) a frame as far as I can tell.

As with most games like this, you are given the lowest class vehicle and have to make your way to the top, upgrading your driving skills and car at the same time. I have no idea about this style of racing car but I believe the choices are extremely accurate also. This game is made by EA, who have the reputation of being the most realistic in any sports category and this certainly doesn’t disappoint.

As you can see the graphics are irresistible. The texture mapping and actually real word geometry has very few seams and moves fast enough to make you believe you are driving.


In a race, you actually don’t need to accelerate as it happens automatically. You can manually brake but that can be made automatic also. While this sounds a bit too easy it has a realistic feel and you can concentrate on steerig your car into the “racing line” where you will save valuable secods on a course. I really like this as you get to see the whole picture on screen rather than being obscured with your hands. The steering is done with the accelerometer and is very sensitive, but not in excess. You will certainly get sore arms playing this game excessively, but actually feels quite comfortable and works fine either in front of you or angled towards the ground.

Like “Battle Nations” this game can be played non-linearly, but has a fairly distinct direction, and you would be well advised not to jump ahead or you will just lose all the races. There are also quite a few class races and if you have not earned enough to buy the next car you cannot race on those races. There are a few modes, to keep you interested. Time trials, drag races, class races, or just plain old racing. Each has a different difficulty level which you are rewarded for proportionately.

While it looks completely realistic, you can quite easily push drivers off the road, which is basically my driving tactic in this game. You still have to do it fairly graceful as if you damage your car too much it’s expensive to keep repairing it. As you level up, you do see subtle but obvious improvements to your performance which makes you always want to do just one more race.

There are some classic courses in there too which may take you back to your childhood if you ever watched racing. As someone who grew up in Adelaide, Australia; I went to the formula one races every year and got to feel the excitement of car racing. While I rarely watch it now, I still love the electricity of a racing game. It’s very “here and now” and unlike the last game , you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a second while in the middle of a race, or other event.

As with many games, it now has a “Share” function, which gives you little gold coins, which can be used in place of cash as well as speed up the game. These are quite essential as sometimes you must wait 1 hour between races to upgrade your transmission or something similar , so you can skip that by spending coins. Of curse this also means that you must be online to do that. Truthfully I would never ever share something like this on Facebook as I’m very particular what I put on there so I just need to wait sometimes. It’s not every time so doesn’t negatively affect the game, at least in the beginning , as you also receive coins for completing levels, s0, like Battle Nations you can also play this game without having to conform to their in-game monetary system.


While I find any game that encourages you to share on Facebook to be annoying (and I hope and pray that we will get sick of this trend) this game does it in a fairly non-aggressive way which I can handle it on screen now and then. The feel of driving is truly fantastic and they made a good decision to make it the way they did. Of course if you don’t like to look a bit mental in public,or get sore arms easily, you can switch the controls to more traditional. In fact there are 7 variations to the controls. How’s that for customizeable.

All in all, if you are not a racing fan, it probably won’t convert you, but will more than satisfy all racing game fans on many levels. Everyone will be amazed by the graphics no doubt. While for me this game doesn’t create the (pardon the pun) “drive” to play it every day, I’m glad it’s in my iPad for when I need to get immersed in a different world and just tear around a famous circuit from around the world.