Sometimes, you just want to spend some time with the grown-ups, but your kids are all up in your business, looking for something to do. You could send them out to mow the lawn, encourage them to start a hobby, or sit them down in front of the television set with an iPad, an Apple TV, and the sweetest collection of console-quality games at a fraction of the price. We have included a few of our favorite AirPlay-enabled games for kids. Believe me, it’s easier than trying to get them to mow the lawn.
Pinball HD ($1.99) – Sit little Jimmy down in front of the TV with a good old fashioned game of Pinball. This high-resolution app looks great on the big screen and it is true AirPlay gaming. The iPad turns into a controller and the tabletop appears in all its multiple camera angle glory. Be warned. The game lags when using it with AirPlay. The flippers tend to react about a half a second after you tap the screen. With a little practice and a lot of patience, you can get used to the slow reaction. It comes with three different tables, Wild West, The Deep – which is water themed, and Jungle Style. You can buy additional table through in-app purchases. My favorite? Slayer Pinball Rocks. I’m not sure little Jimmy would appreciate “Reign in Blood,” though.
Monkey Bongo ($2.99) – This is a classic game of physics where players throw bananas to hungry toucans. While this game technically fits the AirPlay bill, most of the action takes place on both the iPad and the television screen, making it more of a mirroring app than an AirPlay app. What puts this game on our list is how smooth, beautifully rendered and fun it is. Angry Birds ain’t got nothing on Monkey Bongo. Plus, there are some parts of the game that don’t show up on the big screen, so it counts.
Party Doodle (Free) – This is a great game for groups of kids. I’d recommend preteens to teenagers (or older, of course). It is a chalkboard themed version of Pictionary. Players are tasked with drawing a word or phrase and their teammates must guess the answer. The television screen shows everything that is on the iPad except the word or phrase in question. That is reserved for the person in charge of drawing for that round. The reason this game is better suited for older kids is that some of the topics might be a bit above a youngling’s head. For example, one of the phrases was the title of a movie. Most people under the age of 20 haven’t even heard of “A Fish Called Wanda.” While the game is free, it only comes with the starter pack of words and phrases. You can add more through in-app purchases.
Kung Fu Rabbit ($2.99) – This is my personal favorite of AirPlay-enabled kids games because it is so darn cute. Players control this adorable little square bunny that hops from platform to platform, collecting carrots and avoiding tar pits. The graphics are beautifully rendered and the art style is fantastically surreal. In true AirPlay fashion, your iPad turns into a game controller and all the beautiful action takes place on the big screen.
Bit Breaker (Free) – If you’re worried about how much little Mikey sits around playing video games instead of playing outside and getting exercise, you may want to stop hoping for miracles and download this game. It is technically not an AirPlay-enabled game. It simply mirrors onto your television screen. The reason it is on our list is because players must move from side to side and jump up and down in order to play the game. It is super awesome on the big screen, and I know I get a work out when ever I play it. Like Pinball HD, there is a lot of lag when playing this game. However, the fun is in moving from side to side and jumping, so it makes up for the fact that you miss the ball regularly. Bit Breaker is a simple version of Breakout. Players earn points for breaking the bricks above with a ball that ricochets off a paddle that you control by moving the direction you want it to go. Another cool thing about this game is that it truly is free. There are no in-app purchases or ads. The developers are testing out new motion sensing technology for iOS and just want to see what people think. You won’t regret plopping the kids in front of the TV screen with this one.
Note: If you don’t know how to enable AirPlay on your iPad, follow these directions:
First, make sure your television is set to Apple TV. Then, get to the multitasking bar on your iPad by double clicking the home button. Swipe the bar from right to left until you see the iPod controls. Here, you will see the AirPlay icon (a rectangle with an arrow at the bottom). Tap that, select Apple TV and turn on mirroring. Not only will this turn your television in to a giant iPad, but it will also trigger all AirPlay games that turn your tablet into a controller. Happy Gaming!