The best shooter games for the Apple iPad

The Apple iPad, in both the standard and mini varieties, is a highly underrated video game platform. The PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, and 3DS may command the attention of most "real gamers," but the iPad – despite lacking physical buttons and being most closely associated with Angry Birds and other casual fare – shouldn't be overlooked.

Only ten years ago, the mobile video game space was dominated by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony – no other company made a significant play, especially in hardware. Then the rapid growth of Apple's App Store combined with the wild success of the iPad created the perfect environment for the mobile video game market to truly take off. And it's done so marvellously.

The iPad and iPad mini's expansive displays give gamers a more open visual experience that isn't as restricted as the smaller displays on the iPhone, Nintendo DS, 3DS, or PlayStation Vita. The screen size alone makes it an excellent device for many sorts of games, but it especially benefits those with large footprints, excelling at porting board games from Checkers to Puerto Rico.

Initially, most iPad games fell into the casual category (think Temple Run), but an increasing number of great iPad games are aimed at the dedicated, or "core," gaming audience. Gameloft, for example, has excelled at creating "inspired by" mobile versions of hit console games. For example 9MM, which we’ll cover here, is a rather entertaining Max Payne clone.

At any rate, over the next couple of weekends we’re going to be rounding up some of the best in games which are produced specifically for the iPad (with the occasional iPhone-only game that still looks great in 2X mode).

This week, we’re looking at shooters – both first and third-person – so dive on in for our pick of the best. Think we missed a game? Let us know about it in the comments section!

Gameloft's Max Payne-inspired third-person shooter puts gamers in the shoes of John "Loose" Kannon, a hard-nosed cop who has no qualms about putting slugs into criminals. The shooter features a small arsenal of high-powered weaponry and slow-motion effects that let you accurately dodge and distribute bullets.

The mobile version of the hit Call of Duty game mode features 50 "Dead-Ops Arcade" levels, a zombie-slaying gauntlet challenge. Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies also supports solo and multiplayer action (up to four players), and a feature rarely seen in iOS games – voice chat.

Electronic Arts' sci-fi survival horror title makes the leap to the iPad losing very little in translation. Naturally, the virtual controls aren't as precise as physical ones, but the third-person alien-blasting frights are served up in abundance.

Max Payne, Rockstar Games' ground-breaking cinematic action shooter that brought Bullet Time to video games, is on the iPad as Max Payne Mobile. Like the console and PC version, this port features a noir-inspired story and plenty of slow-motion, John Woo-style gunplay.

Gameloft's first-person military shooter features 13 single player missions, 12 player multiplayer battles, numerous vehicles, and a variety of weaponry. Modern Combat 3's incredible visuals prove that tablets can approach consoles in terms of the quality of the graphics.

N.O.V.A. 3 is Gameloft's Halo-inspired first-person shooter which follows the adventures of Captain Kal Wardin and his Near Orbital Vanguard Alliance space marines as they fight to liberate Earth from the alien Volterites. N.O.V.A. 3 features 10 single player campaign levels, and 6 multiplayer modes which support up to 12 players.

Id Software's frantic first-person shooter brings console quality graphics and shooting action to the iPad. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where mutants roam, you're plopped down in the wasteland's television hit, Mutant Bash, to score big ratings. This nicely priced game gives you loads of weapons (pistols, shotguns, machine guns) that you can use to blow away those who desire to fill their guts with your flesh.