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The first games that show off iOS 8's graphics are available for download

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Metal is so metal

With iOS 8, Apple introduced a new tool for game developers which gives them better ways to take advantage of the A7 and A8 processors. It's called "Metal," a play on the common way of describing coding that's "close to the metal" of the processor instead of abstracted through layers of programming. Now that iOS 8 is available, Apple has put together a special section of the iTunes App Store to showcase the half-dozen or so games that take advantage of Metal.

The most impressive of the group is probably also the least game-like of them. It's Epic Zen Garden, the chill-out-and-watch-butterflies app that was demoed at WWDC earlier this year. There are cherry blossoms to send floating about, koi to hassle in a pond, and sand to rake — it's all very relaxing and impressive, but it's definitely not much more than a tech demo. Macrumors reminds us that if you want to know more about how it works, you should check out Unreal's video from last June.

If you want a closer look at how these games compare with and without Metal, Pocket Gamer has you covered. The site has put together a nice comparison post of the current slate of Metal games, complete with GIFs and Vines. The verdict: it's still early days, but the first results are impressive enough to be hopeful.

Metal vs non-Metal comparison, by PocketGamer.