The Best Adventure Games on the iPad

A good adventure game usually involves an interesting character, an engrossing story and a combination of action, role-playing, combat and puzzles that present enough of a challenge to keep pulling you along.   Some are more heavy on the story side, others go story-light and action-strong, but all of them transport you in some way.   This list brings in a variety of different adventures, some that offer challenging puzzles, others that are breathtakingly beautiful, some that are action packed, and some that are just truly unique.

LEGO Anything

What We Like

  • Age-appropriate games for juniors and older kids.

  • Brightly colored graphics and easy navigation.

  • Familiar concept to most new users.

What We Don't Like

  • Not every game is suitable for youngest players.

The LEGO series of games are among the best adventure games across any number of platforms, so while this list is not intended to be in any particular order, it seems appropriate to start with them. The LEGO franchise has stuck to the tried and true formula of adding a bit of action, a bit of bashing and a large dose of humor to their games. And the great part is you can pick your poison with titles ranging from Star Wars to Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter.

Broken Sword: Director's Cut

What We Like

  • Challenging puzzles, funny jokes, rich story line.

  • Intricate narrative with classic story.

What We Don't Like

  • Could use more puzzles.

  • Graphics are a little soft.

One of the best games from the '90s comes to the iPad in style with Broken Sword: Director's Cut. And Broken Sword does retro gaming right, redesigning the interface for the touch screen in a way that actually adds to the game. In addition to the classic story, the iPad gets some exclusive content, so even if you are just hoping to relieve the good old days, you'll find something new. And for those that didn't play the original, this is a must-have download.

Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery

What We Like

  • Beautiful feel to the game.

  • Original soundtrack.

  • Former Apple Editors' Choice and Game of the Day.

What We Don't Like

  • No instructions.

  • Not much sword action.

Sword and Sworcery successfully blends 8-bit styled graphics with 21st century game play, creating a point-and-click adventure that is unlike any other game on the iPad. There's a mix of everything in the game, from puzzles to combat, and a very interesting interface that will have you holding your iPad and turning around to get a fix on your environment. The game even makes neat use of time, and while it may not have puzzles as difficult as The Room or action as exciting as Wild Blood, it is truly a unique experience.

Republique

What We Like

  • Impressive, detailed visuals of a futuristic world.

  • First episode (of five) is free.

  • Almost entirely one-touch play.

What We Don't Like

  • In-app purchase for episodes 2 through 5.

  • Huge download for first episode.

  • Game only saves when you enter a detainment cell.

Republique is easily the best adventure game you can play with one hand. The game's "one touch" control scheme allows you to do almost anything in the game -- combat, sneaking, interacting with the environment, etc. -- with just a single touch. But don't think this makes the game easy. You'll need to pay attention to almost every note, email, hint or tip you come across in what amounts to one of the most polished and fleshed out games on the tablet. Originally funded by Kickstarter, Republique is definitely one of that website's success stories. 

The Silent Age

What We Like

  • Intriguing time-travel premise.

  • Surreal soundtrack.

  • First episode is free.

What We Don't Like

  • Second episode is overpriced for short game.

  • Puzzles are difficult to solve.

  • Ending is anticlimactic.

1972. Richard Nixon was president, Dirty Harry was at the movie theater and the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl. It was also the year Joe the average plumber came into contact with a time-traveling stranger, setting off the adventure in The Silent Age. A unique story lines takes you between different times, with certain actions in one time needed to help solve puzzles in the other time.

The Walking Dead

What We Like

  • Storyline adapts to your choices.

  • First episode is free.

  • Strong characterizations.

What We Don't Like

  • Some players may find the ending disturbing.

  • Episodes after the first are in-app purchases.

We might wish the AMC series could go back in time and recapture the pure awesomeness of season one and season two, but while the series may be going downhill, the game is still pretty fun. The Walking Dead puts you into the role of Lee Everett, a convicted criminal who has -- guess what? -- been given a new chance at life with zombie apocalypse. (Don't we all wish we could get a new chance at life because of a zombie apocalypse?). But don't think this second life will be full of easy decisions. One neat part about the game is how your actions really do matter. The Walking Dead consists of five separate episodes to play though, and when you are done with those, you can move on to Season Two.

Swordigo

What We Like

  • Gamers who like Zelda and Mario will love this.

  • Almost perfect side-scrolling action.

  • Great mix of gameplay and adventure.

What We Don't Like

  • The game quickly becomes difficult to play.

  • Controls can be annoying at times.

On the more hack-and-slash side of things, there is Swordigo. This platformed adventure has fun puzzles, nice action and epic boss battles. You'll start out with a sword, but you'll soon add spells to your bag of tricks, which are used both for fighting and interacting with your environment. Swordigo is one of those games that gets the interface right, so you spend your time fighting enemies in the game rather than the control you have over it. If you love games like Zelda, you'll love this one. Perhaps a bit too light on the story side of things, but it is a fun romp.

Like a Little More Puzzle in Your Adventure?

If you prefer to work out your brain as well as your reflexes, check out the top puzzle-adventure games for the iPad.