Best iPad Games

We pick the best iPad games available now in the iTunes store so you can experience mobile gaming bliss.

Others may be clucking on about the tablet revolution and how Apple’s iPad will change the world of computing forever, but we know why you really bought an iPad: games. Racing games, strategy games, MMORPGs, they’re all there lining the virtual shelves of the App Store, waiting to be downloaded in a matter of seconds. How do you choose from a virtual marketplace brimming with so many choices – and more than a few duds? With a little assistance. Check out some of our own favorites!

Also check out our picks for The Best iPad AppsThe Best iPhone Games, and The Best iPhone Apps,


Harbor MasterFree

Although we’ve also seen this title on the iPod and iPhone, it’s yet another example of a game that really comes to life on the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. Yes, it’s Flight Control with boats, but unlike Flight Control HD, this one is free. Players must use finger swipes to control a never-ending stream of boats dropping off cargo in a crowded port. While the old version offered a tiny patch of water, the iPad version gives players control over a massive expanse of open sea, making it even more compelling.

Real Racing HD$4.99

Need to justify your $800 iPad purchase to a group of skeptical friends who claim it’s just an oversized iPod Touch? Download Real Racing HD. Awkward turn-to-steer controls aside, it’s one of the best-looking games available on the system, and discards the flashy arcade-style action of Need for Speed: Shift in favor of realistic, simulator-style driving.

Fruit Ninja HD$3.99

Much like Angry Birds before it, Fruit Ninja is a game that is inexplicably addictive despite being incredibly simple. Who knew that a game essentially allowing users to slice and dice a dramatic fruit salad would be such a hit, but here you have it. Pick your blade and drag your finger across the iPad screen to chop through pieces of fruit being flung across the screen. The more fruit you slice, the better your score. And beware of the occasional bomb, of course. You can play the game with friends or waste hours of valuable time on your own.

Plants vs. Zombies HD$6.99

PopCap’s infamously addictive tower defense game takes root on the iPad just as happily as it has on the computer and the iPod before it, with the same ridiculous premise: Seed a lawn full of anthropomorphic plants to defend against wave after wave of invading zombies. If that’s not good clean fun, we don’t know what is.


Angry Birds HD$4.99

What’s fun on the smaller screen is fun(ner) on the big screen. The iPad version of Angry Birds makes the controls feel less cramped, so it’s even easier to strategically send birds barreling into blocks with the swipe of a finger. As long as you don’t mind coughing up $4.99 for a bigger version of the iPhone game, anyway.


Labyrinth 2 HD$7.99

No, it’s not a sequel to the 1986 David Bowie movie shot in HD. Instead, Labyrinth 2 HD emulates the ball-in-a-maze toys you probably had as a kid, with the same object: Get the ball from point A to point B. But those wooden toys never had the same barriers you’ll find here, which include not just holes but cannons, magnets, carousels and lasers. The game responds realistically to the iPad’s internal accelerometers, and even subtly shifts the viewpoint to create the illusion you’re really looking into a 3D box. Try the “Lite” version for a taste of the game before springing for the real thing.


Dungeon Hunter 2 HD$6.99

If ever there were an iPhone app bumping shoulders with its 3.5-inch screen, yearning to make its way over to a bigger platform, this is it. Dunger Hunter may be a shameless Diablo clone, making Dungeon Hunter 2 HD a shameless port of a clone, but we’ll excuse the lack of originality for the outstanding experience. Both graphics and gameplay only get better on a bigger screen, and it becomes so immersive you may find yourself transported back to 1997, hacking and slashing your way through hell to save Tristam.


Mondo Solitaire$5.99

The same game that helped you survive mind-numbing shifts at your first cubicle job and hours stuck in school computer labs can now keep you sane on the train to work, plane to New York, or just occupied during commercials on the couch. Mondo Solitaire turns your iPad into a portable card table with the familiar Solitaire layout you know and love from Windows 3.0 and up, but with updated graphics and slick animated card flipping. The app offers “100 games and over 200 different combinations of gameplay” and is sure to contain the classics like FreeCell and Klondike along with many new games that you’ve likely never seen before.


GodFinger All-StarsFree

Take Black & White, cuten it up for the iPad, add simplified multitouch controls and you have GodFinger: a classic god game for people who have never heard of god games. You’ll play the role of a higher power overseeing your own planet and villagers. The barren chunk of rock and sole worshipper you start with can slow grow to a lush utopian village with the right measure of rain, sun, and other divine intervention on your behalf. Although its free to play, GodFinger offers the option of purchasing “Awe Points” for your planet to help jumpstart your civilization with farms, fountains, and other frivolities.


Civilization Revolution$12.99

Having played Civilization Revolution on the iPhone prior to its iPad appearance, we can say with certainty that this is yet another title that needed to breathe. And breathe it does. The sheer number of options involved with conquering the world make Sid Meier’s legendary turn-based strategy game a better fit on the iPad than other mobile platforms.


Checkers HD$1.99

It’s checkers, plain and simple. We wouldn’t venture that this reincarnation of a 12th-century board game brings anything terribly original to the iPad, but it’s a clean, well animated, and free. The computer opponents can be challenging, and if you would prefer to match wits with a human, the two player mode lets you easily play at opposite ends of the screen.


Fieldrunners for iPad$7.99

Another tower defense game along the lines of Plants vs. Zombies challenges you to build a virtual gauntlet for wave after wave of enemies to run through. Let them reach the other side, and you’re done for. The first waves will prove to be a breeze, but by the time you’re trying to stop a monsoon of planes, trucks and speedy goons on motorcycles, even the sturdiest creations start to crack apart at the seams.


Command & Conquer Red Alert$4.99

You just can’t play a real-time-strategy game on a tiny display. Despite the developer’s best attempt to make Command & Conquer playable on the iPhone, we much prefer the high-resolution iPad version, which lets you build, command and conquer with ease on all 9.7 inches of screen. Just beware that widespread user reports of crashing may make this one to wait on until it gets just a little more polish from EA.



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