Only the Best
Featuring everything from intense horror shooter titles like Dead Space for iPad to casual classics like Angry Birds Rio, we've compiled a comprehensive updated list of 20 of the greatest video games available for the Apple iPad.
You can check out the origional article on GamePro's website.
Angry Birds Rio HD - $2.99
Although it's not technically the full-fledged sequel to Rovio's monstrously popular piggie-maulting simulator, Angry Birds Rio is just enough of an improvement over the original game to warrant stealing a slot on this list from its predecessor. The game, which is a tie-in with Fox's recently-released animated feature film Rio, follows the Angry Birds across several of the locales from the movie. A few nifty improvements like the introduction of parallax scrolling backgrounds makes this entry in the Angry Birds series feel particularly polished, but it's ultimately the same great tower-toppling gameplay you've known and loved for over a year.
Carcassonne - $9.99
Carcassonne is an award-winning German board game that has begun to gain popularity around the world in recent years thanks in no small part to the release of numerous digital versions of the game. The game is a combination cooperative-competitive title in which you and up to up to four other players take turns laying down tiles which make up pieces of structures like roads or cities. Winning requires a blend of luck and strategy. It's a really enjoyable multiplayer experience, and this beautifully-crafted iPad version of the game is easily the best and quickest way to set up a game with a few friends.
Cut the Rope HD - $1.99
In Cut the Rope, your goal is to do whatever it takes to get a lone piece of candy into the gaping maw of an adorable green dinosaur-looking bugger named "Om Nom." The game is broken up into short, single-screen puzzles in which you'll use your fingers to pop bubbles, control cannons, slide around platforms, and (of course) cut some ropes, all with the ultimate goal of flinging the candy from the level's starting point to the awaiting Om Nom. The game's biggest strength is that it sports an intuitive three-star scoring system that encourages players to take on extra challenges within levels, which really adds some replay value to what's already a content-rich game.
Dead Space for iPad - $9.99
This iOS-exclusive entry in the Dead Space saga takes place three years after the events of the original console game. Despite maintaining all the complexity of the series' console entries, the game controls beautifully without resulting to the use of clunky virtual analogue sticks. Simply swiping up and down on your character controls movement, and other actions like aiming and shooting is as simple as swiping and tapping. It's an incredibly beautiful game even by console standards, and fans of 3D action games could not do better than this on the iPad.
Forget-Me-Not - $1.99
Take Pac-Man, hand him a machine gun, and toss him into a faux-retro rouge-like, and what you'll end up with is something pretty similar to Forget-Me-Not. The swipe-controlled game has you zipping through randomly generated mazes collecting flowers and keys that allow you to delve ever deeper into a high-score chase from another era. There are a bunch of little mechanics like the ability to grind against walls and build up speed or the fact that you can also build up massive point multipliers by collecting flowers in an unbroken chain. It all makes for a game that's deceptively deep and ultimately really addicting. Don't be put off by the ‘80s arcade art style; it's one of the best new things on the App Store.
Fruit Ninja HD - $2.99
Fruit Ninja has undeniable mass appeal; We've seen people from age 2 to 52 play and love this messy game on the iPhone, so the iPad's two-player modes are going to make a lot of families happy. Support for eight-finger multitouch dicing and pretty HD graphics easily make this the best way to take out your anger on nature's juiciest denizens, but the best thing about this release is the continued support from Halfbrick, who always do an excellent job updating the game with free added content. Just admit it: going all kung-fu on some fruit is fun, so if you own an iPad, don't skip out on this HD re-release.
Halcyon - $1.99
Although it might not be the prettiest game on the App Store, Halcyon is one of my favorite go-to examples of a game that could only work on an iPad. Dozens of musical little arrows zoom towards each other on set paths, and your goal is to get rid of them by drawing lines that connect like-colored arrows to one another. It’s an incredibly simple concept, so it’s more about fast reflexes than strategy, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. If you’re into simple games that exploit the line-drawing mechanic from Flight Control in a really interesting way, be sure to add Halcyon to your home screen.
Infinity Blade - $5.99
As the poster child for Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 technology on iOS devices, Infinity Blade will blow you away with its unbelievable, near-console-quality graphics. The game has since been matched in the graphics department like EA’s Dead Space and Firemint’s Real Racing 2, but it’s worth mentioning that it’s also an incredible, Punch-Out style RPG experience worth playing for its merits as a game. The game doesn’t offer much in the way in exploration; rather it’s more of a series of fights in which your goal is to dodge attacks and quickly strike back using well-aimed swipes with your sword. There are plenty of items and upgrades to be unlocked, and the game has been updated several times since launch with extra content. If you want a game to show off what your iPad is really capable of, this is a great choice.
Land-a Panda HD - $1.99
Remember those barrel levels in the old Donkey Kong Country games? Well, Land-a Panda is essentially that concept fleshed out into an entire game. You’re trying to reunite a boy and girl panda, and each stage introduces new barrel types like spinning barrels, sliding barrels, automatically-launching barrels, etc. Like the collectable stars in Cut the Rope, each level of Land-a Panda has three optional coins which you can get if you’re brave enough to take extra-difficult secondary routes to the level exit. It’s consistently inventive, ridiculously adorable, and a heck of a lot of fun.
Osmos for iPad - $4.99
The multi-platform indie hit Osmos has received a myriad of awards for its calm, zen-like gameplay, and the new iPad edition matches its PC counterpart in quality. The game's concept is simple: you control a "mote," a planet-like orb with the ability to absorb other motes to gradually increase in size. Touching the screen will cause your mote to eject a bit of its mass in any given direction, giving it the slightest bit of momentum in the opposite direction. Your goal is to absorb as many smaller motes as possible while avoiding ones bigger than yourself, as they'll end your planetary romp in an instant. A fantastic ambient soundtrack makes the game an inherently relaxing experience, and it's one we had trouble putting down.
Monkey Island 2 - $9.99
This classic sequel is widely considered to be an all-time greats in the point-n-click adventure genre. This special edition remake comes packed with extras including high-definition graphics that can be switched on or off at any point, a remastered soundtrack, and audio commentary from creators Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer, and Dave Grossman. Fans of the original will appreciate not having to switch between 11 floppy disks, and newcomers will find a funny, endearing tale that could seriously turn them onto adventure games as a whole.
Puzzle Quest 2 - $4.99
The delightful "Bejeweled-meets-RPG" formula that made the original Puzzle Quest incredibly popular is back with an almost Diablo-esque overworld exploration system, a more complex and interesting battle system, and far more ways to customize your constantly-developing character. Although we weren't very happy with the iPhone version of Puzzle Quest 2 in our review, the iPad version is beautifully crafted, with an interface that was clearly designed with the device in mind. We'd argue that this is the definitive version of Puzzle Quest 2, so if you haven't picked the game up on one of the numerous platforms on which it's readily available, now's your chance.
Rage HD - $1.99
Although Id’s highly-anticipated FPS has yet to be released on consoles, Rage HD has been shaking things up on the iPad for quite some time now. This gorgeous-looking on-rails shooter sees you participating in a brutal game show/shooting gallery in which you’re trying to survive a gauntlet of mutants while also shooting randomly placed targets that earn you extra points. The game is all about ammo management, well-timed dodges, and well-placed headshots. It relies a little too heavily on virtual buttons to be called elegant in its design, but offers a lot of fun nonetheless.
Real Racing 2 HD
Racing on iOS devices just got a heck of a lot better with Real Racing 2, the console-quality sequel to the first truly great racing simulator on the App Store. The game takes cues from heavy hitters like Forza and Gran Turismo, offering a realistic racing experience complete with 16-car races, fantastic online multiplayer integration, and a career mode that takes you through beautifully-rendered versions of some of the biggest racetracks in the world. The game controls like a dream, and even people who are new to racing sims will have an easy time getting into the action thanks to user-friendly options like auto-braking. If you’re after a solid racing title for your favorite super-sized touchscreen device, there is no substitute for Real Racing 2.
Soosiz HD - $1.99
Soosiz for iPhone set a precendent for platformers on iOS devices that has still not yet been surpassed, and this HD edition delivers that exact experience to the iPad's bigger screen. The simple three button controls (left and right directional movement buttons and a jump button) and Mario Galaxy-inspired gameplay makes this the best side-scroller on the App Store. Whether you're blazing through blue coin levels or fighting enormous bosses on tiny worlds, Soosiz delivers all the charm and level of quality you've come to expect from a Nintendo title.
Superbrother: Sword and Sworcery EP - $4.99
This Zelda-inspired point-and-click adventure is one of the most impressive iPad-only games available now. As a female warrior known only as “the Scythian,” you and your dog companion are tasked with restoring peace to a small but lush village and its few inhabitants. Dialogue is cleverly-written, and despite the somewhat cliched nature of the story, something about the game sucks you in––perhaps because of the soundtrack, which almost makes the game worth the price by itself. The action is a little slow-paced (like the classic adventure games it’s modeled after), but the incredible audio-visual experience the game is packaged in makes it an experience you’ll want to savor.
Super Stickman Golf - $0.99
Originally called Super Stick Golf, this game's developer had to change the name after a controversial trademark claim on the word "stick." Super Stickman Golf is technically a golf game, although it's in no way targeted to fans of realistic golfing simulators. Instead, this is more like a fantastic 2D platformer which happens to use golf as a backdrop. You'll use power-ups like the sticky ball, air brake, and ice ball as you compete either in one of several single player campaigns or the online multiplayer mode, which was recently added in an update. It's goofy and surprisingly challenging, and we wouldn't hesitate to call it the best puzzle-platforming game on the iPad.
Toki Tori HD - $4.99
If there’s one thing that Netherlands-based developers Two Tribes know how to do, it’s make Toki Tori games. Ever since the release of the first Toki Tori game for Game Boy Color, these indie devs have been pumping out ports and remakes for just about every game platform known to man. That’s not to say that this is a bad thing; no, Toki Tori is an absolutely fantastic 2D puzzle game, and it’s recently-released iPad port may be the best version yet. For the uninitiated, Toki Tori sees you as an adorable yellow penguin waddling around colorful 2D maps in search of eggs. You have tools like bridges and an ice gun to neutralize enemies at your disposal, and often you’ll have to do lots of pre-game planning to successfully make it through a map. If you haven’t already bought this game for four other platforms, this is your chance.
Words With Friends HD - $2.99
Ah, Words With Friends. The asynchronous online Scrabble clone has become more ubiquitous than ever since its release on Android devices earlier this year, and the inclusion of cross-platform play in every version (that includes iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and every Android device known to man) means that there’s a great chance that you can get a good game of WWF going with a friend. It’s an incredibly engaging way to stay in touch with friends and family, even if you use it as a chance to lay down a lexical smackdown on loved ones.
World of Goo HD - $4.99
2D Boy’s oft-pirated physics puzzler impressed critics and delighted gamers when it debuted on the PC and WiiWare in 2008, so its release on the oh-so-suitable iPad made many an Apple fan squeal with joy. The game revolves around the concept of building web-like constructions out of little blots of “goo,” living creatures who stretch and squirm to form bridges, towers, and gigantic balls at your command. Half the fun lies in discovery the limits of the game’s unique physics system, and you’ll constantly be introduced to new types of goo and other mechanics that keep you thinking. World of Goo plays like it was always meant for the iPad, easily earning it a spot on this list.
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