iPhone vs. iPad: Do Games Really Scale That Well?

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Like many of you, I’m addicted to Plants vs Zombies. When an “HD” version for the iPad was announced, I gladly ponied up the $9.99. Maybe not totally gladly as I already owned the iPhone game, but then I thought that it would be a great comparison of iPhone versus iPad games.

First, let’s stick with the original iPhone App compatible with the iPad. On my iPhone 3GS, it boots on average in about 12 to 14 seconds. On the iPad, it averaged 6 to 7 seconds. Wow. I can either play it in 1x “original” size on the screen or play it magnified via the 2x icon in the lower right hand corner. Playing a game in the 1x version is difficult. The screen seems tiny and it’s awkward to hold the iPad and click inside the virtual iPhone screen.

When in 2x mode, the game is more naturally played, but of course everything is more pixellated because of the doubling effect. Playing the game was perfectly acceptable in my opinion in 2x mode. That is until I tried … Plants vs Zombies HD

Pictures speak louder than words and here are the pictures from the game at roughly the same level (be sure to click on them to see the full-size).  You can actually see the arms falling of the zombies and other details. Play is slightly different as seed packets and other items are moved to the top of the screen to allow more detail in the house on the side. Interesting that the app loads in about the same time as the original app: 6 to 7 seconds.

Market conditions and the whim of developers will determine which apps will be worth shelling out the money for the iPad version and which will be updated at no cost. Plants vs Zombies sucked my brain and my wallet in order to get me to pay again for the same game, and it was well worth it! What about you?

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