The Best Action Games for the iPad

Ipad2 Comparison

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With the addition of the Retina display, gaming on the iPad has come a long way in the last few years. In fact, some games are starting to rival what you might see on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 4. And the games are getting more depth as well, leading to an even better experience. The best action games are those that require some hand-eye coordination and some brains as well, but most of all, they have to be packed with fun.  

There's a little bit of something for everyone on this list, including those wanting to survive a zombie apocalypse, those who love a good adventure, and those who love retro games. 

Walking Dead: The Game

Walking Dead

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What We Like
  • Adventure game focuses on decisions, not intense action.

  • Realistic characters.

  • Game adapts to user choices.

  • Thrilling and funny storyline.

What We Don't Like
  • Characters die.

  • Choices don't affect the end of the game.

  • In-app purchase necessary to advance beyond the first episode.

Like the popular AMC television series, there's only one word to describe Walking Dead: The Game. Awesome. The game brings the survival horror and psychological thriller theme of the series into the game in an all-new story told in five separate episodes. If you love the TV series (or just love zombie games) you'll love this one.

Punch Quest

Punch Quest

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What We Like
  • Fun, arcade-style game.

  • Plenty of unlockables that add to the gameplay.

  • Lots of jabbing, jumping, and dashing.

What We Don't Like
  • No way to turn off ads.

  • Buggy in-app purchases.

  • Endless play eventually becomes boring.

What do you get when you combine a side-scrolling game like Golden Axe with an endless runner like Temple Run? Punch Quest. It takes the endless running action and flips it on its side as you run and punch your way through the game, collecting currency and buying new abilities along the way. A great buy for anyone who loves the endless runner genre but thinks the last few games have just repeated the same old same old.

LEGO Batman

LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes
LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes.

Warner Bros. 

What We Like
  • Ageless LEGO fun for everyone.

  • Spot-on voice acting.

  • Terrific music score.

  • Lots of levels and great graphics.

What We Don't Like
  • Needs checkpoints.

  • No cooperative multiplayer mode.

  • Recurring problems with in-app purchases locking up.

This one could really be LEGO Whatever. All of the Lego games are worth having, so it is really up to you to choose which one matches your interest. You can go with the LEGO Star Wars saga or go fantasy with the LEGO Lord of the Rings. You can even be a superhero in LEGO Batman: DC Super Heroes. No matter your choice, it's hard to go wrong with one of these games. 

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Grand Theft Auto Vice City

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What We Like
  • Cool, 80s pastel vibes

  • Lots of entertaining missions.

  • Cloud saves.

  • Custom soundtrack.

What We Don't Like
  • Shows its age.

  • Touch-screen controls require a learning curve.

The Grand Theft Auto series breathed new life into the sandbox game. While the game isn't without a story, the beauty of the Grand Theft Auto series is how much freedom you have to go out and do whatever you want in the game. Vice City is one of the better ports for the iPad, which has recently seen a lot of big name games like Baldur's Gate and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic ported to the platform. Unfortunately, this can have a negative impact as well, such as when you have a long drive back when failing a mission. If you like some freedom in your games, or you just want to take a trip down memory lane, Grand Theft Auto is a good choice.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

Injustice

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What We Like
  • DC heroes and villains.

  • Excellent graphics.

  • Each character has unique moves.

What We Don't Like
  • Menu options are sloppy.

  • Card elements.

  • Unhelpful support.

Injustice: Gods Among Us isn't going to win strategy game of the decade. It would require some thinking to even be considered for that honor. And it won't win the fighting game of the decade, though that's mainly what you do: fight. But it will provide a lot of fun, and as a free-to-play game, you can try it out for free before deciding if you want to spend some money on it. A beautifully rendered game, if you love the superhero theme or find yourself nuts for DC comics, you'll definitely want to check it out.

Temple Run

Temple Run

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What We Like
  • Fun flesh-eating monkeys and booby-trapped temples.

  • Addictive gameplay.

  • Intuitive user interface.

What We Don't Like
  • Much of the scenery looks the same.

  • Annoying ads.

Temple Run is the perfect throwback to old-fashioned arcade games. As a 3D platformer, it is simple to pick up and play, and yet it has an addictive factor that keeps you coming back for more. It's easy to learn, difficult to master, and it really pushes you to beat your highest score each time you play. Best of all, you can unlock power-ups in the store and they stay unlocked for future games. It's no wonder the game has been downloaded so many times since it's release in mid-2011.

Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Pizza Vs. Skeletons

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What We Like
  • Full of irreverent humor and loads of fun to play.

  • Mini-games.

  • Lots of customization options.

What We Don't Like
  • Some gory graphics.

  • Ad-supported.

  • Inadequate instructions.

Easily one of the funniest (and most unique) ideas on the App Store, Pizza vs Skeletons puts you in the shoes (if it had any shoes) of (you guessed it) a pizza. You'll go up against all kinds of skeletons as you battle through multiple mini-games, customizing your pizza along the way with different types of toppings.

Pinball HD

Pinball HD for iPad

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What We Like
  • Three tables with three viewing options.

  • Colorful graphics.

  • Local and global high scores.

What We Don't Like
  • Flying Table view makes some players dizzy.

  • Complicated table instructions are difficult to follow.

Pinball HD has just the right mix of cool tables, smooth design and nice controls to make you think you are playing a real pinball game. Sure, you can't pick up your iPad and shake it a little to get the ball to do what you want -- maybe they'll add that as a feature in the future -- but you can rack up a cool score on a very pinball-like scoreboard and then post it to online leaderboards for all your friends to see. The game comes with three different pinball tables with a Slayer-branded (yes, Slayer the heavy metal band) table available as downloadable content.

Rayman Jungle Run

Rayman Jungle Run

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What We Like
  • Easy to control with a touch screen.

  • Colorful graphics and cheerful music.

  • Challenging without being frustrating.

What We Don't Like
  • 40 short levels.

  • No big ending to the game.

  • Hover movement is difficult to master.

Do you love platformers? While not quite as famous as Mario, the Rayman series is one of the most iconic series in gaming history. And Ubisoft has done a great job making the transition to the touchscreen. Rayman Jungle Run features smaller levels strung together in a way that allows you to consume the content at a brisk pace, but for those who love to post perfect scores for each level, there is a ton of challenge hiding under the surface.

Stupid Zombies

Stupid Zombies for iPad

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What We Like
  • Shooter and puzzle game combination.

  • Crisp graphics, ominous background music, undead groans.

  • 60 levels of zombie fun.

What We Don't Like
  • Player is stuck in the bottom left corner.

  • Random pop-up ads with no removal option.

For the casual game fan, there are Stupid Zombies. A puzzle game passed out in bite-sized chunks, you'll be facing off against the zombie apocalypse by gunning down the undead hordes. Unfortunately, there are a lot of obstacles that want to get in your way, so you'll need to use that noggin on the top of your head to ricochet those bullets into undead flesh. Let's just hope you are smarter than the zombies coming after you.

BlocksClassic 2

BlocksClassic 2
BlocksClassic 2.

Bootant LLC 

What We Like
  • Colorful 3D graphics.

  • Addictive play.

  • Cool sound effects.

What We Don't Like
  • Slow game pace.

  • Multiple in-app purchases.

If your early '80s were spent playing Breakout on your Atari 2600, you'll get a real kick out of BlocksClassic 2. A reimagining of the Breakout style of play, BlocksClassic 2 lets you smash through blocks and unlock multiple balls and bonuses. The game includes a lot of variety in level design. The game is a free download with in-app purchases.