The Best iPad Games of All Time

The Absolutely Best, Coolest, Most Fun iPad Games... EVER!

The iPad is a fantastic tablet.  It can be used for productivity.  It can be used to browse the web.  You can connect it to your TV.  You can use it as a radio.  Heck, it comes with its own personal assistant, so it is no wonder it can easily replace your laptop.   Oh, and did I mention it makes an awesome portable game console?  

It would be impossible to actually rank the best games on the iPad.  Even if we could ignore the idea that a 'best game' is a matter of opinion, different players love different genres, so who is to say that the best role-playing game on the iPad is any better than the most tactical strategy game or the adventure game with the toughest puzzles?   So while I've taken some time on deciding the order of this list, it shouldn't be taken as a definitive list of the best to the almost-best so much as a list of really, really fun games from a variety of different genres.  

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Four horsemen

Hearthstone takes much of the strategy of Magic: The Gathering and adds the polish and sense of humor of a Blizzard game to make one of the best card battle games on the iPad. Normally, creating any type of 'best of' list is difficult, especially choosing what to put first. And even though this list isn't put in any specific order, starting with Hearthstone makes a lot of sense because it embodies everything good with iPad gaming.

First, it is a free-to-play game that doesn't push you into paying. You can have a fine time playing the game while using gold earned to unlock new cards or expansion packs. It may take you a little longer to build the deck of your dreams, but you'll have loads of fun on the way.

But mostly, it is one of those rare games that is both easy to pick up and learn and yet has enough depth that you are constantly refining your strategy and game play. 

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Infinity Blade III

The Infinity Blade series defines high-end gaming on the iPad. From the start, Infinity Blade has proven that you don't have to sacrifice as much in the graphics department to have a lot of fun on your tablet. It may not have Xbox One or PS4 quality graphics, but the Infinity Blade series looks fantastic. 

The game also uses touch-style elements to control the gameplay, which may be more common now but was quite unique when the first Infinity Blade debuted. 

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XCOM: Enemy Within

Speaking of consoles, XCOM: Enemy Unknown may have been the first high-end console game that was ported in full to the iPad around the same time as its console release. Sure, it's easy to port a game from a decade ago, but making a great game that is almost exactly the same on the iPad, the Xbox 360 and the PS3 is pretty cool.

XCOM: Enemy Within is also one of the best strategy games on the iPad. The game underwent a name change from Enemy Unknown to Enemy Within with the sequel, which actually includes all of the content from the original, so there's no reason to buy two separate games. 

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The Room

Difficult games have become a real hit in the last few years. On consoles and the PC, the Dark Souls series is known for bringing high difficulty back into gaming. Adventure-Puzzle games have always put an emphasis on not being easy to solve, and The Room really takes this to the max.  

As the name suggests, you spend most of your time in "The Room", unraveling its mysteries by solving various puzzles. The first few many not give you too much challenge, but soon enough, you'll be looking at your web browser and thinking of Google searches that may help you get past a particularly difficult puzzle. 

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Lords of Waterdeep


Lords of Waterdeep packs a 2-for-1 punch for this list. First, the board game itself is fantastic. Taking place over eight rounds, you acquire resources like fighters and mages and gold in order to complete quests to score victory points. You also compete against other players by giving them mandatory quests or using Intrigue cards to steal their resources. And because you get a random Lord card at the beginning of each game giving you bonuses for completing certain types of quests, each game plays out a little different. 

Second, the game has been adapted to the iPad brilliantly. It looks and plays just like the actual board game, so you can switch from one to the other rather seamlessly. The AI opponents can be pushovers, but when you dial in the hardest settings, they can actually be rather smart at times. 

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Temple Run 2


Is it possible to create a list of best games for the iPad and not mention a Temple Run game? The original Temple Run put the endless runner genre on the map, and the sequel kept the same addicting gameplay while adding small elements and better graphics to add to the fun. Best of all, it is a free game that doesn't push you into buying a lot of stuff. 

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Faster than Light

A rogue-like satirical look at the sub-genre of Star Trek games, Faster than Light is perfect for any Sci-Fi nut. The rogue-like elements ensure the game plays out a little differently each time, and while the atmosphere is light, the game has a nice level of strategy to it. You'll soon find that managing a starship isn't all it's cracked up to be, but at least it is better than being one of the red shirts.

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic


There are a number of great ports on the iPad, including a few that have made this list. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad ports too, with wonky controls that just don't translate to the iPad. The good news for all of the Star Wars fans is that Knights of the Old Republic isn't one of the bad ports. The original game is faithfully translated, so if you want to go on one more romp around the galaxy, you are sure to have some fun. And if you have never played KotOR, you are in for a real treat.

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Despicable Me: Minion Rush


Temple Run may be the definitive endless runner, but Despicable Me: Minion Rush is no doubt the cutest. But Minion Rush isn't just a game that relies on the lovable minions to cash in on their fame. The game itself adds some nice elements to the endless runner genre, with little mini games that you must complete while competing for your new high score. 

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LEGO Anything

I used to have a saying about movies translated into a game: just don't do it.  The only thing that tends to work out worse than a good movie getting the video game treatment is a video game getting the movie treatment.  

But the LEGO games are a definite exception to this rule. There are few that don't do an exceptional job of combining the elements of the movie with the sense of humor that exists in the LEGO universe, and none of them that do an outright bad job of it.  

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Wayward Souls

The rogue-like genre of games are defined by two basic concepts: (1) procedurally generated content, usually in the form of random dungeons or areas, and (2), difficulty. The idea with these games is that challenge not only brings out the fun and excitement while playing but translates into a sense of accomplishment. Wayward Souls definitely fits the bill here. If you are a fan of games like Dark Souls and Diablo, this is your game on the iPad.

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Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition

Baldur's Gate arrived at a time when the role-playing game genre was thought to be mostly dead. If it weren't for the release of Diablo two years prior, RPGs may have been given their own casket. And while a great game in its own right, Diablo wasn't exactly the based-on-tabletop story-based role-playing experience many people craved. Baldur's Gate not only hit the mark, it blew the mark into thousands of pieces as it delivered a gaming experience that helped bring RPGs into the modern era.

Both Baldur's Gate and its sequel have been ported to the iPad and they are just as good as they were when they made their debut. If you like to sit around playing Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder with your friends, this is a must-have download.

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Plants vs Zombies 2

Tower defense games have a long history, and as Plants vs. Zombies suggests, a sometimes wacky history as well. The basic concept of enemies moving in a line toward a target they intend on destroying while the player fends them off has branched even as far as MOBA games like League of Legends, but the essence of fun, the quick-thinking game play remains the same.

Plants vs Zombies is easily one of the best defense games on the iPad. A fun idea that capitalizes on the ever-popularity of zombies, you take on the role of planting fungi in order to fend off the advancing hordes.

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Monument Valley

There's really only one bad thing to say about Monument Valley: It's a short game. In fact, many people solve it within a few hours. But it is a really, really fun few hours, which is why Monument Valley remains so popular. A beautiful game that sucks you in with casual game style, it's well worth the price of admission.

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World of Tanks Blitz

It would have been very easy for World of Tanks to get it wrong with the move to mobile gaming. An extremely popular and complex multiplayer game, even a powerful tablet like the iPad would have difficulty replicating the gameplay found on PCs. And oftentimes, when you trim down a game, you trim out a lot of the fun, but Blitz threads that middle ground between simplicity and over-simplicity, delivering the same engaging blow-em-up mutliplayer fun on the iPad as is found in its bigger brother on PCs.

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Punch Quest

Punch Quest. Even its name sounds fun. One part endless runner. One part side-scrolling platformer. One part punching everything that gets in your way. Punch Quest is one of the delights of the retro-style genre, which concentrates on breathing new life into older game ideas. Did I mention there is punching? Yeah. It's fun. But beyond punching, you get to do a lot of other things, like jumping while punching or dashing forward while punching. You get the idea. A simple idea turned massively addicting, so proceed with caution. 

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Minecraft: Pocket Edition

Have we gotten to the point where Minecraft no longer needs to be described? Possibly. It does seem to be everywhere these days. At its very essence, Minecraft is a crafting game. You build things. You find material to build new things. You build living things. You fight those living things. Or you let other living things fight those living things. But mostly, you create, you have fun, you destroy. All in a block-like fashion.  

If you don't know Minecraft yet, you simply need to experience it. 

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Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery

The best description of Sword & Sworcery I've ever read comes from Destructoid's Sean Carey who said, "Trying to describe the experience of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP is a lot like the experience of playing the game itself. Depending on what angle you're looking at it from, you'll get an entirely different perspective."

Despite the name, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery falls more on the adventure side than the role-playing side. It also has a very retro look, but somehow manage to blend that with a modern perspective. As with any good adventure game, there are plenty of challenging puzzles but expect a lot of new twists to be thrown at you.  

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If you loved The Room, Machinarium is your game. In fact, it may be the only game able to trump The Room for the puzzle-loving crowd. Let's make no mistake, the puzzles in Machinarium are beyond tough in that addictive fashion that keeps you thinking about possible solutions late into the night, but it is the packaging the puzzles are wrapped in that pushes the game over the top. A beautifully silent game, it's almost like playing inside of a painting with its own ethereal soundtrack.

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Traps n' Gemstones

If you've watched every Indiana Jones movie, it might be time for your to live the adventure. A "Metroidvania" game, so named for being a cross between Metroid and Castlevania, Traps n' Gemstones is a platformer with a distinctly archaeological theme. And I mean that in a very whip-wielding sense of the word. 

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Order and Chaos Online

World of Warcraft meets the iPad. That about sums up Order and Chaos Online. One of the first MMORPGs to go mobile, and still one of the best, Order and Chaos is on the verge of getting its own sequel. If you loved Ultima Online. If you loved Everquest. If you go nuts for World of Warcraft, Order and Chaos is one of the best online experiences you can get on the iPad. 

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Following in the footsteps of Defense of the Ancients (DotA) and League of Legends, Vainglory brings the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre to the touch-based world in style. A difficult task mainly because of how complex and chaotic these games can become, Vainglory accomplishes this in a beautiful package that looks like it belongs on a PC monitor or an Xbox screen rather than on a mobile device. 

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Angry Birds: Star Wars

Is it legal to get this far down a list of best games without mentioning Angry Birds? Pick your flavor, the Angry Birds series is filled with quality physics-based puzzles done with a comical mindset that never takes itself too seriously. This one is great for both casual gamers and puzzle-lovers, but don't take that "casual gamer" title too seriously. Angry Birds is just as addicting as World of Warcraft.

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Asphalt 8: Airborne

Play Asphalt 8: Airborne and you'll quickly realize that the iPad is made for racing games. And this one takes the concept to 11. If 11 means up in the air. Defy gravity, the description reads, and defy it you will as you perform various air stunts to gain nitro boosts. 

Asphalt 8 is also a long game. You aren't going to solve this one in a few hours. You'll be playing it for weeks or months. With some of the best graphics the iPad has to offer, you'll also dream of hooking your iPad up to your HDTV so you can go console all over the game. 

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Monopoly? Is that really on the list? It might seem odd to list the Parker Brothers classic alongside so many modern games, but Monopoly remains one of the best-selling games on the iPad. And with good reason. Monopoly is synonymous with board games, and the iPad rendition is superb. The quaint graphics are smile-inducing without getting in the way of the actual gameplay, and you can experience Monopoly as both a single player game going against AI opponents or replace your physical Monopoly board game by passing the iPad around as each player takes turns.