Kotaku's 2010 iPad Gift GuideS

The holidays are coming, and that means it's time for you to start thinking about what sorts of gifts you want to give and get this year.

Yesterday I walked you through a mix of some of the best games to hit the iPhone this year. Today it's all about the iPad.

Here's our take on the ten best iPad games to give and get for 2010. Hope you enjoy the list. Feel free to add your own recommendations in comments.


Angry Birds


Rating: 4+
Genre: Puzzle
Ideal Player: Angry Birds HD is great for people who hate smirking pigs, and love birds. The game's a time-killing puzzler that manages to entice the most stalwart of non-gamers.
What's It About?
Players slingshot birds of different abilities across the screen and into the make-shift fortifications of smirking green pigs. The object of the game is to take out all of the pigs with your collection of birds. As the levels go by the complexity of the fortifications and difficulty of the levels increases. Fortunately, the game continues to unlock new types of birds as you work your way through the game, adding the ability to drop explosive eggs, zoom through stone and break into three smaller birds, for example.
Bang For Your Buck:
This game includes 195 levels, leaderboards, achievements and tons of different birds to master.


Battle for Wesnoth HD


Rating: 9+
Genre: Strategy
Ideal Player: People who don't mind a bit of fantasy in their turn-based strategy gaming.
What's It About?
Battle for Wesnoth is the port of an free-to-play PC and Mac strategy game. The game has you building up armies, exploring territories for villages to capture and taking out your enemies, all with tiny, perfectly animated troops. It's a little bit Advance Wars, a little bit Fire Emblem all rolled into a game that let's you play against gamers on the iPhone, PC, Mac or Linux... yes, Linux.
Bang For Your Buck: This game comes with about 200 levels spread across 15 campaigns and includes more than 200 unit types in six playable factions. The best part, the game also comes with lifetime free upgrades, and since the computer version owners of the game can make their own campaigns, I expect that means a constant stream of new battles to wage.


Defense of the Oasis


Rating: 9+
Genre: Defense Strategy
Ideal Player: People who like to take their time with strategy games. Fans of tower defense titles.
What's It About?
Defense of the Oasis combines elements of typical defense games with some basic strategy to make an oddly addictive title that's fairly easy to understand. Players explore the fog-shrouded screen with their pharaoh looking for villages, mines, weapons, special characters, glyphs and the kick-off point for the incoming barbarian invasion. As you explore you'll have to build roads between villages to help defend against the oncoming attack. You also need to decide how to use your constantly dwindling turns, choosing to explore, to build, to research. Once your turns run out, you sit back and watch to see if you made the right choices as the barbarians invade.
Bang For Your Buck: The game comes with nine campaigns and four difficulty settings and because the locations of each map change every time you play, it's infinitely replayble.


Journey of Fate: Dragon's Fire


Rating: 9+
Genre: Role-playing board game
Ideal Player: People who like the classic 80s board games like Dark Tower and Merlin.
What's It About?
The game mimics an 80s electronic board game, complete with hoakie flashing lights and a spinner. The object of the game is to save the princess. You play the game by flicking the digital spinner in the center of the board and making your way past rats, Cyclops and wizards. Despite its very straight forward design, the game still manages to track your character's building stats and abilities, which is neat.
Bang For Your Buck: The game is playable along or with up to three others. It only takes maybe 15 to 20 minutes to play through, but as with most board games, it's really about the journey.


Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge for the iPad


Rating: 12+
Genre: Adventure
Ideal Player: Anyone who wants a good laugh and fans of the old point and click adventure games.
What's It About?
This remake of the classic Monkey Island 2: Le Chuck's Revenge includes completely overhauled graphics, voice over for the entire game and a refined hint system. As with the original, players hunt and tap their way through the humorous adventure game as wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood.
Bang For Your Buck: The game includes the ability to swap back and forth between the original and the remake on the fly, behind the scenes art and the ability to listen to commentary from the game's original creators during select scenes.


Osmos HD


Rating: 4+
Genre: Puzzle
Ideal Player: Gamers looking for a bit of relaxation to go with their Asteroids gameplay.
What's It About?
Players assume control of a mote floating in a sea of smaller and larger motes. The object of the game is to absorb the smaller and avoid the larger, until you're big enough to absorb them as well. The trick is that you move by ejecting matter behind you, causing you to slowly shrink. It's a neat give-and-take backed up by soothing sounds and fantastic imagery.
Bang For Your Buck:
The game includes two modes: Odyssey and Arcade. Odyssey has 27 levels, while arcade has 72. It's a deep, long, relaxing game of asteroids in fluid.


Plants Vs. Zombies


Rating: 9+
Genre: Defense
Ideal Player: Anyone who owns an iPad.
What's It About?
Tower defense games may be a bit overplayed on the iPad, but Plants Vs. Zombies is a wonderful twist on the genre that makes every moment with it a pure delight. Players defend their home from an increasingly bizarre collection of zombies with an equally strange collection of pea-shooting, zombie eating plants. The premise may sound odd, but this is one of the best games to ever hit the iPad. And it really makes use of all of the gorgeous real estate on the iPad's screen.
Bang For Your Buck: The $10 game includes 50 levels, and the ability to earn 25 achievements on your iPad. This version, unlike the iPhone one, also includes a buttered popcorn mini-game that has you buttering the heads of offending zombies.


Reckless Racing HD


Rating: 4+
Genre: Racing
Ideal Player: Someone looking for a down and dirty, top-down racer that's almost more arcade game than racing title.
What's It About?
Players touch virtual directional buttons on the bottom corner of the iPad's screen to speed their way around tracks viewed from directly above. Different track textures and wonderful visuals make this game a must have.
Bang For Your Buck: The iPad version comes with eight tracks, all of which can also be raced in both directions, as well as three modes and the ability to play online against others.


Small World for iPad


Rating: 9+
Genre: Board Game
Ideal Player: Anyone into board games or the phenomenally successful table top version of Small World.
What's It About?
Players take turns trying to seize and hold as much land as possible in this turn-based, digital version of the fantasy board game that sold more than 65,000 copies. The variety of races and the ability to purchase add-on packs makes this a great addition to gaming fans of the iPad and table top alike. This shows just how powerful a platform for board games the iPad can be.
Bang For Your Buck: This wonderful port of the original table top title is endlessly replayable. It also includes the ability to purchase add-on packs that can have a major impact on the way the game plays.


Word With Friends HD


Rating: 4+
Genre: Word Game
Ideal Player: Lexicon nuts who love crossword puzzles and Scrabble.
What's It About?
If you love Scrabble you're not going to be able to stop playing this game. Even if you're not much of a fan of the spelling game, it's hard to put this one down. Words with Friends lets you play up to 20 games simultaneously either online or locally, with pass and play. The game also includes in-game, online chat, push notification and makes wonderful use of the iPad's huge screen.
Bang For Your Buck: You can pick this game up for free if you don't mind intrusive ads, but paying $3 to have the experience unsullied by advertising is well worth the price. I find myself playing this game more than any other I've purchased on the iPad.


Check out the rest of our platform-centric gift guides. We'll be running these daily, through till Black Friday.

Don't have the money to buy a gift or a game? Check out our list of fantastic free iPad games.