- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reviews of some of the latest games for Apple’s iPad.

NBA Jam (EA Sports, $4.99)  While enjoying the NBA playoffs, iPad owners are in for a real treat with a nostalgia trip back to one of the more twisted video games starring professional athletes.

The roots of NBA Jam go back to arcades in the early 1990s and feature a two-on-two, extreme version of a basketball game with sky-high dunks, turbo powers and flaming balls.

The iPad version delivers a perfect touch-screen port complete with digitized images of the heads of current NBA stars and legends from all 30 teams, crowd reactions and mascots along with arcade or gesture controls.

The action, with no referees, no fouls and no out of bounds, is frenetic. It is controlled with a thumb either manipulating the on-screen directional pad or swiping and using the other thumb to touch icons to shoot, block shots, dunk, steal, alley-oop, pump fake, rebound and shove opponents.

Also, twist or shake the iPad to perform a spin or crossover dribble to leave an opponent in your wake.

A 37-game Classic Campaign keeps the player glued to the screen and in the hunt for a championship, or he can just jump right into a solo game.

Coaches also can conquer almost 50 challenges to unlock such greats as Scottie Pippen (win five games in a row), Dennis Rodman (shove opponents 10 times in a game) and Dr. J (perform 10 successful alley-oops).

The collection of stars is impressive (watch Larry Bird and Magic Johnson work together), and the chance to easily unlock bighead versions of the NBA players is a treat that made this old gamer giggle.

The on-court action also features the enthusiastic and hilarious comments (“We have blastoff” and “He beat his man like a dirty rug”) of original NBA Jam announcer Tim Kitzrow, a real complement to the extreme action.

The best part of the experience is hooking up with a competitor locally via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Once again, EA Sports delivers an awesome, easy-to-use game loaded with replayability and fun for the family.

Burn It All: Journey to the Sun (Bulkypix, 99 cents) In about the only circumstance I would recommend playing with fire, this addictive puzzle game features controlling a trio of feisty flames on a quest to leave a volcano and meet up with their pappy, the sun.

A player works though more than 100 stages as he uses his fingertip to drag an animated fireball, strategically burning collections of rope or other flammable objects on screen as quickly as possible.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Water droplets threaten to extinguish the flames, pesky bats need to be deep-fried, gas jets can help or stymie the player, and impenetrable rock mazes must be navigated to ignite objects.

Each flame buddy performs differently and each needs to be re-energized multiple times to beat stages. The yellow flame can light rope tips easily, the blue guy can light anything flammable on any part of an object, and the green flame can ignite multiple ropes and wood pieces at the same time.

Rewards for successfully passing stages and accumulating diamonds help unlock three more worlds.

The smoldering animations look great and the outrageously low price demands that gamers take a trip to the sun. Those enamored with Chillingo’s Cut the Rope will get the idea and be more than happy to embrace this fiery puzzler.

* Visit Zadzooks at the The Washington Times’ Communities (https://communities.washingtontimes.com/) or on Twitter .

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