What It’s Like Playing on the 10th Generation iPad When You’re New to Gaming

What It’s Like Playing on the 10th Generation iPad When You’re New to Gaming

When it comes to gaming, I am about as fresh as people come. Sure, I’ve played my fair share of Mario Party with my hugely-competitive siblings, and yes, I spent a solid amount of hours getting to know my Nintendo Switch during lockdown, but my background in gaming is limited (don’t tell my pals at Kotaku), and my skills are well… average. So, when I heard that the new generation of iPads boast a particularly good gaming experience, I thought I’d check it out – from the perspective of a gaming noob.

The 10th generation iPad doesn’t have the most powerful of Apple’s chips (A14 Bionic chip), the screen isn’t the largest in the line-up – 10.9 inches compared to the 6th generation iPad Pro’s 12.9 inches, and the two speaker stereo audio is also not the top of Apple’s iPad offering.

In saying all that, my sweet, pink 2022 iPad offers such a smooth experience that I barely noticed any of the aforementioned details.

Forgive me, but I’m going to move away from our classic review structure here to walk you through my experience of learning about gaming on the 2022 iPad.

First thoughts on gaming with the 10th gen iPad

iPad games gaming
Credit: Lifehacker Australia

When I first decided to play on the 2022 iPad, I chose to start out on the device only – no controllers. I set up Monument Valley 2 – a beautiful puzzle-based game that follows a mother and daughter as they travel through a colourful, maze-filled world – and settled in for the journey.

The first thing I noticed was how stunning the visuals were. This game is based around magical architectural pieces, so you’d hope the design is impressive, but with every scene that I stepped into, I found myself wowed by how striking the art was.

This, combined with how seamlessly the iPad took me through the journey of the game, made for a pretty immersive experience. It almost felt meditative… but I think that’s an experience for another story.

The music also added to the game’s ability to pull you into this little world, and the iPad’s sound was crisp enough to draw you right on in. But obviously, the sound doesn’t take over an entire room, which is useful if you’re playing when others are nearby. Introduce AirPods into the picture, and the experience becomes even more immersive because the sound feels like it’s surrounding you.

Playing with Nintendo Switch controllers

If you focus, you can see the small black circular button. Credit: Lifehacker Australia

Moving over to controllers. Now, being the fresh baby gamer I am, I only have access to Nintendo Switch controllers – which is actually kind of great because being able to connect Nintendo Joy-Cons to your iPad (and iPhones) is a relatively new thing.

If you’ve never done it before – I hadn’t – here’s how.

How to connect your Nintendo Switch controllers to your 2022 iPad

  • Open ‘Settings’ on your iPad
  • Tap on the ‘Bluetooth’ menu item
  • On your Nintendo controllers, press and hold the pairing button. This is the small, circular black button on the inside of your controller
  • When the green lights start to flash on your Nintendo controller, you should see the Joy-Con’s name pop up in your iPad’s Bluetooth pairing options
  • Click on the controller’s name (or names if you’re using both), Joy-Con (L) or Joy-Con (R), on your iPad to pair with it

Note that if you’re using the left and right controllers together as one, you’ll still need to pair each side individually. Once you do this, they’ll work as one controller. 

Okay. So, once I worked my way through those steps (it took me a couple of goes to figure out), I was ready to play with my Nintendo Switch controllers.

For this, I decided to play Gibbon: Beyond the Trees on Apple Arcade (mostly because Ruby Innes of Kotaku wrote a beautiful piece about this game).

In this game, you’re a lost gibbon travelling through the trees, and while I definitely sucked at playing this, the controllers paired instantly and navigating my way through felt incredibly natural. The game guides you through the movements of this little gibbon and highlights which controls do what, and there was no lag or confusion when it came to me using my Switch controllers to play along.

Again, the visuals were beautiful (this game is hand-drawn which was a treat to see on the iPad screen), and the sound came through seamlessly.

The verdict

I may still be in the early stages of my gaming journey – especially when it comes to gaming on the iPad – but this learning experience has shown me just how easy, and how fun it is to use this quick and versatile device for play.

It’s light enough to carry with you anywhere, which means you can play games whenever you like. That might be quietly in your room, so no one knows how many times you failed to get your gibbon from tree to tree, or it could be the back of a car with pals. Whatever suits you.

The screen does a wonderful job of displaying detailed game art, and the sound is rich and clear. Add to this that you can use the Magic Keyboard Folio or Smart Folio as an iPad stand (nifty when using controllers), and you can see how the 2022 iPad offers a pretty attractive package for gamers of all experience levels.

You can grab the 10th generation 2022 iPad (in four different colours) from $749 now.

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