April 14, 2011 at 3:51 AM ET
According to a new study, the thing iPad owners use their tablets for the most is ... playing games. No, not reading e-books, not even surfing the Web for information.
That's right, 84 percent of tablet owners say they use their device to play games, while 74 percent say they use it for doing email and a mere 46 percent use it to read e-books.
And there's a good reason gaming is leading the charge — because iPads are a really enjoyable place to play games. And it's games like "Max & the Magic Marker" that do a good job showing off the strengths tablets have to offer as gaming gadgets.
But with its recent jump to the iPad (as well as to the iPhone), players not only get the best price yet offered ($1.99 for iPhone, $4.99 for iPad), they get to enjoy this delightfully whimsical drawing game at its own scribbling best.
The basic story is this: Max is a boy with a magic marker and he needs to stop the inky monster that he accidentally created. To do this, he must dive into a hand-drawn world.
The game starts with some traditional side-scrolling platforming gameplay but adds a really neat drawing mechanic that is especially well suited to touch devices — and especially especially well suited to the large touchscreen on the iPad.
When Max comes up against obstacles and enemies, you’ll draw on the iPad's touchscreen to create solutions to his problems. That is, the things you draw become physical objects in the game world. If he needs to cross a ravine, for example, draw a line to create a bridge for him. If he needs to reach something up high, draw him a staircase.
But more than that, the game gives you plenty of room to be creative. Though you'll need to collect balls of ink and watch how much ink is stored in Max's pen, you can scribble all sorts of structures to reach your goals. Meanwhile, you can also manipulate time — pausing the action to doodle out a clever solution.
And now that the game has moved to the iPad, everything just feels so much roomier. It's easier to let you imagination guide the way in this colorful world. And the graphics, by the way, look quite nice in iPad HD.
No, the iDevice version of "Max & the Magic Marker" isn't without its blemishes. The touchscreen controls are less than ideal and you'll notice this especially during the trickier platforming moments. (Yes, this is typically where iPads and their touchscreen brethren do not shine in the gaming department.)
Still, this is far from a deal breaker. And I should add that another great thing about "Max & the Magic Marker" is that it really is the kind of game that everyone in the family can enjoy.
The 58 levels are challenging enough for adults looking for some unique and thought-provoking puzzles to attack, while younger players are sure to get a kick out of the heroic young Max and the feel of putting finger to screen and seeing their doodles follow. (To get a peek at what it's like, try a free demo of the game online here.)
This kind of tactile experience is one of the joys of touchscreen gaming. Speaking of which, if you like this kind of drawing puzzle game then be sure to check out the game "Crayon Physics Deluxe" for the iPhone and iPad. It too will help ensure that you spend most of your time using your iPad to play games.
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