These exciting titles may appear on other platforms, but they thrive on the iPad's large touchscreen interface. From puzzlers to action titles, we detail the best and brightest games that truly take advantage of the iPad's abilities.
Battle for Wesnoth HD - $0.99
Battle for Wesnoth is the strategy darling of the open-source community, and is available to download for free on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. The game pulls elements from numerous sources of inspiration--there's RPG-style leveling ala Fire Emblem, terrain bonuses and city/village capturing (Advance Wars, anyone?), and even more complex sets of rules like a "zone of control" surrounding each unit, a concept that has roots in older strategy titles like Hudson's Military Madness.
Broken Sword: Director’s Cut HD - $5.99
The original Broken Sword is widely recognized as one of the most influential games in the point-and-click genre, making the game's re-release on the iPhone and iPad worth noting. The iPad version is something of a remastering of the original--Watchmen creator Dave Gibbons returned to create new art and animation for the iOS release, and multiple new story segments have been added for this version. The re-release also features a revised hint system, which should make the game far more accessible for those who usually get stumped by similar titles.
Labyrinth 2 HD - $7.99
With its level creation/sharing system, multiplayer options, and surprisingly accurate tilt controls, Labyrinth 2 employs a revolutionary range of the iPhone's technology. The ball-rolling gameplay introduced in the original Labyrinth was taken to a new level in the sequel, thanks largely in part to a massive selection of new game elements like magnets and multiple balls. Users have access to all of these tools when crafting their own mazes, and downloading user-generated masterpieces is a gloriously simple process.
Spider: Bryce Manor HD - $4.99
Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor for iPhone won numerous game of the year awards in 2009, with reviewers praising it for its original design which could have only been possible on the iPhone. The game follows you as a spider as you explore an abandoned mansion. You'll leap from platform to platform, spinning webs and trapping insects as you go. The 2D artwork is beautiful, and hidden areas to discover give the game a sense of mystery that makes it all the more engaging. There's a subtle story that unravels as you progress--you'll learn bits and pieces about the people who once lived in the mansion.
Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP - $4.99
When you first boot up Sword and Sworcery EP, you'll know that you're not just in for any run-of-the-mill game. From the purchase-worthy soundtrack to the gorgeous visual style that alludes to high-res Atari 2600 games, Sword and Sworcery EP is a game made for fans. Sure, Sword and Sworcery EP is ultimately a slow-paced point-and-click adventure game with particularly good art, but its method of mysterious storytelling grabs players by the shoulders and quietly lets them know that this is a game they'll want to see through to the end.
Toki Tori HD - $4.99
Indie developer Two Tribes has ported a version of Toki Tori to nearly every platform imaginable, so it was no surprise when an iPhone version of the game appeared back in 2009. 2011 brought the release of Toki Tori HD, a much-improved iPad version with significantly better graphics, a cleaner interface that makes use of the iPad's larger screen, and a more zoomed-out view of the levels that allow for less strenuous camera navigation.
World of Goo HD - $4.99
World of Goo is one of those rare physics puzzlers that is based on a truly original idea. The main mechanic of the game involves connecting little gobs of goo together to make bouncy, web-like structures. Some puzzles demand that you create simple structures--like bridges or towers, but later challenges require you to think a bit more abstractly, such as one that asks you to connect the goo in such a way that it can be sucked up out of a watery pit and into a small tunnel.
Osmos for iPad - $4.99
In Osmos, you control a "mote," a planet-like orb with the ability to absorb other motes to gradually increase in size. Each level puts you in a top-down, outer-space area filled with differently-sized motes. Larger ones will absorb you, so they must be avoided until you can build up your own size by vacuuming up smaller "feeder" motes. Touching the screen will cause your mote to eject a bit of its mass in the given direction, giving it the slightest bit of momentum.
Puzzle Quest 2 - $6.99
Puzzle Quest 2 is the long-awaited sequel to Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. The original sucked in so many gamers back in 2007 with its combination of RPG elements and a compelling battle system ripped (strangely enough) from Bejeweled. This sequel adds more ways to customize your character as you level up, and even includes an overworld exploration system that allows for more storytelling and gameplay that isn't all about the battles.
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