A long wait but Electronic Arts has finally released the iPad-native version of Battleship. Though similar to the longstanding iPhone and iPod touch version, Battleship for iPad is more than a simple graphics enhancement and spreading user interface elements out to best utilize the larger screen.

Indeed, Battleship for iPad has better graphics with additional animations and cutscenes, however, it seems EA used this opportunity to provide at least a couple big improvements to make the game easier to play. While it may not seem like much to some, the iPad version’s more realistic and vibrant player boards help to make items and actions that much easier to see, which should reduce mistakes and speed up gameplay.

Battleship (iPad) - Super Weapons Single Player

Super weapons in single player mode

Even though the former could be implemented in the iPhone version, there are certain features that just aren’t feasible on the smaller screen. As you may have guessed, Battleship for iPad has side-by-side game boards. In single player modes, it’s your game board on the left and the AI’s board on the right, both showing hits and misses with the AI opponent’s vessels hidden.

For those who haven’t played Battleship on the iPhone and iPod touch, I’ll quickly go over the single player modes. Classic mode involves the standard single shot turn-based strategy of attempting to sink your opponent’s entire naval fleet. Salvo begins with each player being allowed five shots in a single turn, one for each ship in your fleet, then having the amount of simultaneous shots decrease as your opponent sinks your ships.

Battleship (iPad) - Chain Gun

Chain gun super weapon animation

Super Weapons mode is the most intriguing of the bunch, I think. A “power-up” style gameplay where players are allowed to add weapons beyond that of simple battleship cannons. These special weapons include first-hit shields, decoy vessels, sea mines that randomly float around until finally striking a target, air strike fragmentation bombs that hit multiple target areas (squares), total ship destroying Supernova, and more.

In this highly aggressive mode, players are allowed to choose three of the super weapons from any of those unlocked. Unlocking weapons can involve a particular number of career ship sinks or something a bit tougher like sinking your opponent’s entire fleet in 10 moves or less. It’s important to note that most of these weapons have a recharge time between uses, calculated by the number of moves.

Battleship (iPad) - Side By Side

Classic mode Side By Side multiplayer

Multiplayer either involves two iDevices that connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, or a single iPad using a tabletop-style Pass N’ Play approach. Both multiplayer modes can be played in Classic, Salvo, or super weapons mode in one, three, or five round sets. In case some of you were wondering; multiplayer works across the entire iOS platform: iPad vs. iPad, iPad vs. iPhone, iPhone vs. iPod touch, and so on.

I do have a tiny observation and opinion regarding Side-By-Side multiplayer. After the initial setup — which is done in a nifty discrete manner — both player’s boards no longer show the vessels, only the hits and misses. This does seem to be the most efficient approach to the tabletop scenario, although, it seems to take away some of the anxiety and taunting that is created by those near miss situations.

Battleship for iPad is compatible with iPad and iPad 2 running iOS 3.2 or later, and available in the App Store now for the introductory price of $2.99.