Sometimes minor iterations in the Apple world don’t add much despite making a device a little thinner or lighter. Along with those changes, the iPad Air 2 was given a much faster processor that supported Apple’s new Metal graphics system that enhances games to look beautiful. It is similar to what NVidia is trying to do with Android games where if you have an Nvidia processor, you get more water particles and light blooming. The iPad Air 2’s processor and new GPU are the most powerful that Apple have ever produced in an iOS device. There’s no doubt that the iPad Air 2 is now one of, if not the best, gaming mobile device on the market right now. With it’s incredible support for games and these new features.
We wanted to highlight 5 games that make use of Metal in your new iPad Air 2. These are games highlighted by Apple to have graphical enhancements you’ll only see in the latest iPhones and the new iPad Air 2. Having played these games, we can assure you that they are truly stunning to play on a retina resolution at 60fps with some beautiful graphical details. So here they are…
Modern Combat 5 (Free)
There’s bo doubt that the Modern Combat series has always set the bar when it comes to pushing mobile devices as far as they can go when it comes to graphical performances. Modern Combat 5 initially was already one of the better looking games on the iPad, but with the enhancements on Metal it’s without a doubt one of the best-looking shooters to ever grace a tablet.
Modern Combat 5 uses the usual 3d figures and attempts to keep its action to a minimum of 30 frames per second on the iPad, often higher depending on what’s going on on the screen. But when it comes to the big action moments, you can’t help but marvel at what this 6.1 mm device is capable of doing. The light blooms in your eye as you turn a corner, each individual bullet leaves its own mark on enemies, grenades leave smoke clouds, bullet shells rifle from your gun as you fire and so much more. In fact you often forget to shoot because you’re too busy marvelling at the new beautiful scene you’ve been presented with.
Defenders is a great tower defence game, it is by no means the best out there with the likes of Bloons TD 5 or FieldRunners 2 and other great tower defence games, but it is without a doubt the best looking title on the list. At its heart, Defenders is a Tower Defence/Card collecting game in which you can then fuse cards to create more powerful towers. There’s a storyline of sorts, but honestly no one cares much when it comes to Tower Defence games, we just want as many towers killing as many enemies as possible and that’s what Defenders gives you… towards the end anyway.
Defenders first off runs at full retina resolution meaning everything will look pin sharp on your screen and will be well optimised. You can see Metal working straight away with Defenders as the first battleground opens up and power-ups have glowing borders and the whole battlefield has incredible shadows and lighting effects to give off different looks depending on which part of the world you’re on. But Metal is really pushed when it comes to the latter missions when you’re firing around 30 towers at hundreds of enemies and your new iPad Air 2 is not only managing to keep the incredible lighting but keep it at a 60 fps rate to ensure it is a simple stunning experience.
Epic Zen Garden (Free)
Epic Zen Garden was a bit of a given on this list as there’s no doubt that it offers the most realistic looking thing you can get on your iPad Air 2 before going into your Photos album and looking at real life images. The Zen Garden was the example application/game that Apple used in their keynote to advertise not only the power of the new iPad Air 2 but also the new Metal graphics enhancement.
What makes Epic Zen Garden so stunning is its consistency when it comes to rendering many particles on the screen without lowering from 60fps. It’s less a game and more a simulation and demo if different situations to show off the iPad’s power. You can make leaves grow on trees and then brush them all off and watch them fall; you can drag your finger through a pond and watch as around 20 fish follow your finger and the life-like water follows your trail; you can scare hundreds of little butterflies into scurrying into the sky and other little demonstrations.
There’s no doubt the battleground/MOBA genre is one of the biggest in the world with League of Legends dominating the eSports world and Blizzard, one of the biggest gaming companies in the world has recently been working on Heroes of the Storm which is looking to be a great competitor for the more casual MOBA player. Vainglory looks to bring the MOBA genre to the touchscreen with its iOS app. In fact the game works incredibly well on a mobile device with great touch controls and, on the iPad Air 2, simply stunning graphics.
Vainglory looks like a MOBA that was built for next generation consoles or high-end computers, not a mobile tablet device. It offers some incredible lighting, promises to keep your gameplay at 60fps and is rendered in the full retina resolution. Vainglory is so impressive due to it’s stunning look, consistency to stay at 60fps and the fact that it actually works as a MOBA on a mobile device. This game, similar to Modern Combat 5 often had me making faults due to having to stop and admire a piece of lighting or detail in scenery and also similarly when in high-action combat, admiring the consistent frame rate and the incredible lighting and graphical detail going.
Asphalt 8: Airborne (Free)
The Asphalt series is one of the most well-known mobile racing series on mobile devices having been there since the very first iPhone came about. The Asphalt series has always set the bar when it comes to arcade racers with incredible graphics, high intense action and plenty of the latest exotic cars to race in. Asphalt Airborne 8 offers up not only another great racing game with high thrills and a wide selection of modern exotic cars to race in but with Metal integration, it now takes racing game graphics to a new level.
Asphalt 8’s Metal upgrade brings in some beautiful light-blooming effects, a consistent 60 frames per second and higher detail on cars to give you one of the most immersive arcade racing experiences in the App Store. Just seeing the way light shines off certain cars and wet roads glimmer in the street lights takes an already beautiful game to the next level. With Need for Speed and Fast and Furious games recently coming out, Asphalt have raised the bar with this upgrade, telling people that they are the go-to racing game for unrealistic physics, beautiful graphics, high-octane races and some great reasons to keep playing.