Badminton may not be a superpopular sport in the U.S., but it's got its fans around the globe and actually makes for an intriguing sports game on the iPad.
First launched on the iPhone, Super Badminton 2010 has made its way over to the iPad in an "HD" version that was developed by start-up Rolocule Games, which is based in India. In many ways, badminton is well-suited to the iPad because the shuttlecock or "birdie" spends some time up in the air (unless you're smashing it) and gives you time to maneuver your player into position to hit it. We've never been a fan of virtual joysticks, but the one here works OK, and the game plays fairly smoothly with decent graphics. Our main complaint is that the player movements just don't look terribly fluid and you basically race to a position, come to a stop, and tap a virtual button to hit the "birdie."
You choose between three strokes--a standard looping clear, a short dink, and a smash, which is difficult to pull off. You can choose to play as one of 8 players, play in 3 different tournaments, and win trophies. You can also control the direction of your shot by tilting you iPad, essentially nudging the shuttlecock to the left or right.
In all, there's a solid base here, and we enjoyed the game, though we hope Rolocule updates the app to improve it further with better player physics and more game options. In the meantime, Rolocule would be smart to lower the price from $4.99 to $2.99 (or less) to attract an audience. At $4.99, it's worth a look. At $1.99, it's worth a download.