Need more fun in your life? Check out these great iPad games.
Gaming on your iPad couldn’t be sweeter. It’s small enough to take with you everywhere, but with a big enough screen to allow for more precision with your taps, and it’s that deadly combination that makes me reach for my iPad to play my favorite mobile games over and over.
Whether you’re new to iPad gaming or are just looking for your next game to download, here are my top picks for iPad games broken down into several genres.
Endless Runner games
Endless runners are wildly popular due to their simple controls and the ability to replay them over and over again without being the same. Plus, most endless runners don’t progress forward in any sort of story, making them easier to pick up and play for a brief amount of time.
Beautiful art design mixed with a rich, calming soundtrack makes Alto’s Adventure stand out in the ocean of endless runner games on the App Store.
You’ll join Alto, a llama herder, on his snowboard as he slides downward on the Alps rounding up the wooly creatures. The game includes a challenge system and a plethora of unlockable characters, making it entertaining every time you load it up. Plus, the announced sequel, Alto’s Odyssey, will hit the App Store sometime this year. Wax up your board and hit the slopes so you can continue Alto’s story later in 2017!
While not technically an endless runner (since there is a level progression), Geometry Dash is a massively popular auto-runner game that is near impossible to beat. With over 26,000 gamers who have left ratings on the App Store, the game still holds a 5-star rating.
The game is designed to be frustrating, fast-paced, and high-energy. The soundtrack is bumping, and your thumbs will be thumping the screen to make that little Square jump and avoid obstacles.
What makes Geometry Dash so successful is its robust level editor, which allows players to design their levels and play levels created by others. It’s this unique level editor that makes the game so fun to play, mainly so you can see all the ways people make it impossible for you to win.
Pro Tip: Before you buy the full game, try downloading the preview, Geometry Dash Lite, for free to see if you like it!
One of my favorite things about mobile gaming is being able to bring my favorite board games everywhere I go. Leave the boxes, the game pieces, and the cards at home, and enjoy classic board games on your iPad!
Ticket To Ride
Ticket to Ride is a personal favorite of mine. I have the board game to play with my family and friends, and I love the iOS version to take on the road.
The object of the game is for players to build sprawling railways by gathering colored cars to connect cities across the map. Every turn, a player gets to either pick two cars, claim a line by spending cars, or take on a new ticket (this challenges players to connect two cities before the first player runs out of cars). The longer the railway between two cities is, the more victory points they’re worth.
Ticket to Ride is a great balance between competition, strategy, and construction, making it a great party game.
D&D: Lords of Waterdeep
Wizards of the Coast brings its wonderful D&D: Lords of Waterdeep board game to your iPad screen. This game pleasantly mixes RPG elements into a classic board game layout.
Players employ agents across a city in an attempt to recruit heroes to complete a variety of quests. Each player takes on the role of a Lord, which offers victory point bonuses based on the kinds of quests they complete. The player with the most victory points by the end of eight turns wins. Between recruiting adventurers, hoarding gold, and engaging in political intrigue, things can get kind of interesting.
D&D: Lords of Waterdeep has a deep and complex gameplay that truly feels like a fantasy game.
Role-playing games are so wide in variety that it’s hard to pick only a couple to feature, but when it comes to RPGs, I tend to look for two main components: great story telling and interesting gameplay; both of my picks have these in spades.
Infinity Blade II
Recommending a game that came out almost six years ago may seem a little weird, but trust me when I say Infinity Blade II is still relevant. It holds a solid 5-star rating on the App Store, and the graphics (although older) have aged incredibly well.
This RPG does a great job of offering a robust and huge world to explore, with an equally deep combat system that makes the game an interesting challenge as you try to master it.
It layers on different elements of gameplay as you progress, allowing the experience to stay fresh. Fair warning, the game will take some space as it is 1.34GB in size.
Final Fantasy Tactics: War of Lions
From the legendary developers Square Enix, comes this iPad port of the classic PlayStation game Final Fantasy Tactics: War of Lions. Full disclosure, I am absolutely in love with this game, I played the original countless times, and the iPad version is a perfect copy.
Everything to love about Final Fantasy Tactics is included, the wonderful story full of drama and plot twists, the robust job system with dozens of unique characters, and the classic graphics are all mixed together to make this the perfect blend of nostalgia and entertainment come to life.
When I rave about how good of a port this game is, I mean it. There were no sacrifices in bringing this classic console game to your fingertips. In fact, the touch controls are incredibly intuitive and make me wonder how I ever played this game with a gamepad tethered to a tv.
If you loved the original game this is an absolute must-have on your iPad.
Jumping from platform to platform, hanging from ledge to ledge, and running from side to side is what platformers are all about. Once again, this a genre that is packed full of titles (especially ports of classic games). However, two newer games have made my top picks.
Star Knight is a beautiful looking game and has a soothing soundscape behind all of its levels, making it pretty relaxing to play … even though you’re frequently hacking and slashing through enemies.
There are a ton of levels (even more are on the way), and the gameplay is simple, but the difficulty curve is steep. A combination of tricky obstacles, enemies with lots of health, and the relatively low damage your character does all contribute to Star Knight’s overall challenge level.
You can see my complete thoughts on Star Knight by reading my review.
Leo’s Fortune is a cute platforming game for the iPad that features finely crafted stages with beautiful graphics and clever puzzles. The story is whimsical, but the little-mustachioed fluff ball takes it in stride.
What stands out to me about Leo’s Fortune is the gameplay physics. Making Leo float or sink to reach the precious gold coins is a nice break from the old side to side movement in a lot of platformers.
Games that require you to think critically and always be two steps ahead of your opponent are the best strategy games. While some gamers find strategy games too difficult to get going, people who love them are looking for a challenge, and my picks will certainly satisfy in that respect.
Invisible Inc. was a game that took me by complete surprise. Considering this game relies on being sneaky, I suppose that means the jokes on me.
This turn-based stealth game randomly generates levels that you need to make your way through to complete objectives and avoid enemies. You can control ten unique characters through the perilous missions, and each of them have loads of customization options, making sure characters never get stale.
The gameplay is complex, and it does take awhile to get used to the in-and-outs, but once you do I promise you hours of fun await.
What do you get when you mix Tinder with the King of the fictional kingdom? The wonderfully sadistic choose-your-own-adventure game Reigns.
Reigns will crown you a king and then force you to make decisions by swiping left or right (thus my Tinder quip), that almost always lead to your untimely death in increasingly interesting ways. Doomed to repeat his life over and over while attempting to find a way to lift a curse, you’ll have to balance the needs of your kingdom with those of the church, military, and your greed.
Your first playthrough will probably leave you a little dejected, but there is good news: You can do it all over again times infinity!
Open world games
Massive games that allow you to explore brand new worlds, open world games are typically games that people can spend hours upon hours of time playing. Sometimes they are even designed to never really have an ending; it’s all about interacting with the virtual world around you.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition
Minecraft is a force that just won’t quit, the game’s original release on PC back in 2011 has spawned versions on every single console and platform you can think of, and the iPad was no exception.
Endless exploring, mining, and crafting await you in the 3D pixelated world, which offers almost limitless possibilities for what you can create. It’s this reason that makes Minecraft: Pocket Edition amazingly fun to play for hours and hours. Just don’t forget to eat, drink water, or — y’know — breathe.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Although Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is ancient in video game years, this 2003 PC game hit the App Store in 2013, and still continues to be updated by the developers.
It’s not hard to see why this game is so well-liked. You can create your own Jedi or Sith and lead them through a story that takes place a long, long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Between the numerous Force abilities and deep character customization, it’s easy to see why this Star Wars game remains a fan favorite.
Pro tip: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic has highly active online communities on sites like Reddit, which is a great place to go for tips and tricks.
Games created by indie studios will always have a special place in my heart, because the games are typically unique and I like to think they’re crafted with love. Indie games are sometimes overlooked, but plenty of great indie games have made it to the forefront of the App Store based on word of mouth. Check out our full list of the Best Indie game for iPhone and iPad.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery is an adventure game with a spooky story and a unique, rather intoxicating soundtrack.
It’s hard to go into too much detail without spoiling the experience, but here’s what I can tell you: Its 140-character story snippets are easy to toss on Twitter for co-op play. You can ask for help and lead your friends into the mystery of the Megatome and the Trigon Trifecta.
The pixel-art and stick figure sprites work well to add to the atmosphere the game creates, because everything is supposed to be unclear.
FTL: Faster Than Light
If you have ever wanted to command a spaceship FTL: Faster Than Light may be the game for you.
This procedurally-generated space simulation game will allow you to pilot ten different ships to travel across the galaxy and deliver valuable information to defeat the rebels. Of course, surviving the trip is a whole other story.
FTL is quite challenging — not to the point of pulling your hair out, but certain points get close. If you manage to get through the entire game, it could only take you two hours. Each playthrough, however, brings a differents set of challenges, making FTL easy to replay time and time again.
Puzzle games are some of the simplest games out there, but that doesn’t mean they’re too easy. Puzzle games usually aren’t too adrenaline inducing and make great games for kids and adults alike.
Ultra Flow 2
Ultra Flow 2’s simplicity is probably its greatest strength. The game has a fun and engaging soundtrack and focuses more on hand-eye coordination than serious brain power.
That being said, it’s still not easy. It’s in the sweet spot: challenging enough that your mind gets a workout, but easy enough that you’re never stuck on the same level for longer than a handful of cracks at it.
Do you ever look at you city’s public transportation and think you could design it better? Well, Mini Metro will let you try to create your own subway system.
Minimalist in design but complex in its mind-boggling puzzles, Mini Metro provides hours of fun — even if for some of those hours you will be scratching your head.
What do you think are the best iPad games?
Games are subjective, and I want to know what you think! Leave a comment below or shoot me a Tweet and tell me what iPad games you think are the best of the best.