An Apple iPad is only as fun as you make it, and these arcade hits from the 1970s, 80s, and 90s turn your tablet into an arcade cabinet. All are available in the Apple App Store, and all offer serious nostalgia and fun. TabletPCReview already looked at some of the best iOS arcade games. Now, here is the best of the rest.
Atari’s Greatest Hits
The folks over at Atari compiled 100 virtual classics from both the arcade and home console to give players a blast from the past. Atari’s Greatest Hits lets users play classic games such as Pong, Centipede, Asteroids, and Missile Command, as well as obscure titles like Major Havoc and Red Baron, all in one app. Unfortunately, playability mars an otherwise nostalgic trip.
The controls for most of the games featured in this app are not very responsive at all. They’re clunky, they’re slow, and they’re all over the place. In addition, many of the games require precise movement. In fact, most of games need an actual joystick like the Atari Arcade Duo in order to enjoy them properly.
It’s not all lost, however. The app also includes the original arcade cabinet artwork, as well as promotional materials and game manuals from the 70s and 80s. For videogame buffs, that’s almost worth the total cost alone. At the time of this writing, the game comes with Missile Command for free, and the remaining games must be bought either for a one-time $10 in-app purchase, through tokens for one-time plays, or through 25 separate game packs priced $1 a pop.
The four-player quarter muncher returns with the X-Men arcade game for iOS. Play as Cyclops, Colossus, Wolverine, Storm, Night Crawler, or Dazzler as you as battle through eight levels each with their own super-villian bosses like Pyro, Blob, Wendigo, Nimrod, The White Queen, Juggernaut, Mystique, and of course Magneto. And yes, he still infamously bellows “Welcome to die” at his X-adversaries.
The game’s control is simple, much like any of the other similar beat ’em ups. Players have a joystick, for movement, an attack button, a jump button, and a mutant power button. Each character has his or her own moveset along with a unique mutant power.
Let’s get this out of the way first: this game is hard. Yes, even on the easiest difficult, this game is hard. It was designed to eat quarters, after all. The iPad version of the game is almost identical to the arcade version and they did not change anything about the difficulty. Don’t let that discourage you from enjoying the game though, it’s still a gem, and it gives you unlimited continues. Unfortunately, it also locks you into whichever character you chose at the beginning, so if you want to swap from Colossus to Wolverine, you have to start over. There is a local multi-player option however, which adds greatly to the fun.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 HD
Finish Him! Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is arguably the best iteration of all the early 2D Mortal Kombat games, thanks in part to its expansive roster of 23 playable characters. The iOS version is fully featured, offering three difficulty settings and five game modes: Arcade, Local Multiplayer, Survival, Shao Karnage, and 2 Player.
Achievements make this game very replayable, as do the controls. To get around the fact that inputting intricate combos for special moves and fatalities is near impossible on a touchscreen, the developers added special-move buttons. With them, Scorpion can hurl his spear at the touch of a button, and Sub Zero can fire off an ice ball.
Thanks to the variety of characters and finishing Fatalities (and Animalities!) coupled with the shortcut buttons, it’s tempting to fight as all the Kombatants, just to see what Karnage they can dish out in the Kombat arena.
BOOM SHAKALAKA! The arcade b-ball classic NBA Jam has been completely remade for the Apple iPad. Pick from one of the 30 NBA teams as you can play an exhibition game, go through a campaign mode, or compete against others through a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection.
The fast-paced gameplay remains the same with crisp graphics and smooth animations, but this NBA Jam has been updated with new player models, arena designs, animations, and commentary. This NBA Jam still includes those secret characters and mascots that made the original so much fun, and it also throws in NBA legends. In keeping with NBA Jam tradition, hit three baskets in a row without your opponent scoring, and watch out… HE’S ON FIRE!
Once again, touchscreen controls make for an awkward experience, but the gameplay is so tight it does not hinder NBA Jam to the point of frustration. This game is one of the greatest arcade titles of all time, and it is as fun today as it was in the 1990s.