Must Have Games for New iPad Owners

The presents are unwrapped, the food is eaten, now we’re all free to enjoy the lovely gifts that we got for Christmas. Yesterday morning we gave you a list of great apps to download on your new iPad, and while productivity and utilities are important, I know you’re all eager to get to the games.

As Apple enthusiasts and app lovers, we here at PadGadget play a lot of iOS games. For this list of must haves, we’ve chosen some of our absolute favorite games in a wide variety of categories, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. As with our must have apps list, we’ve avoided duplicating the games that you will find in Apple’s Games Starter Kit.

W.E.L.D.E.R ($1.99 on sale) – This word game is a simplistic letter-swapping word-forming puzzler, but it is incredibly addictive, thanks to gameplay that will make you think and plenty of word strategy. Players weld words together to score points, but must contend with tiles that can’t be moved, limited turns, and uncooperative lettering. Special abilities like group, reverse, jump, swap, and apocalypse create dynamic gameplay that will hook you after the first level. Also of note: Scrabble, Words With Friends, Crux Crosswords.


Pocket RPG ($2.99) – This dual-stick action dungeon crawler is a ton of fun. RPG lovers can choose from three classes, each with a distinct combat style. Explore trap-filled dungeons that are swarming with monsters and collect tons of treasure before defeating level bosses. There are abilities to level up and equipment to unlock. Be warned, though. This is no simple game – it’s tough, and it’s not your traditional RPG. You’ll start at level one for each mission, but don’t worry, it’s more fun than it sounds. Also of note: Battleheart.


Jelly Defense ($2.99) – There are a number of great tower and lane defense games in the App Store, but this recent release features an array of gooey attackers and graphics that are a pleasure to look at. In this classic TD, use tactical skills and strategy to defeat the invaders and save the denizens of Jelly Nation. Also of note: Creeps! HD, TowerMadnessHD, Fieldrunners, Plants vs. ZombiesAnomaly Warzone Earth HD, Sentinel 3: Homeworld, Tower Defense: Lost Earth, Ant Raid.


Haunted Manor: Lord of Mirrors ($0.99 on sale) – There are so many mystery puzzle hidden object games in the App Store that it was hard to pick just one. In this creepy game, Stan has been trapped by the Lord of Mirrors, and its your job to guide him to safety with hidden object searches, mini games, and environmental puzzles. These games are all similar, but a lot of fun if it’s what you’re into. Also of note: Drawn: Dark Flight HD, Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, PuppetShow – The Mystery of Joyville HD.


Whale Trail ($0.99) – Casual games can be some of the most fun on the iPad. In Whale Trail, players fly Willow the Whale through the sky in the magical world of Rainbow Land, collecting stars and colorful bubbles to get the highest score possible, while avoiding the angry sea monster Baron Von Barry. This game features gorgeous graphics and fun, relaxing music that will have you addicted in no time. Also of note: Jetpack Joyride, Cado HD, Monsters Ate My Condo.


Sonic CD ($2.99) – This new release from Sega brings a classic gaming experience that has been optimized for the iPad. This is a great port of a game that many of us loved as children – with solid controls, new characters, and additional soundtracks, Sonic CD does not disappoint. In this revival, Sonic finds the mysterious Little Planet imprisoned by his arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman, who wants the power to control time. Sonic uses the power of the Little Planet to travel through time, destroying Dr. Eggman’s machines and saving the future.


Machinarium ($4.99) – Machinarium is an absolutely gorgeous game that is a must have for any iPad 2 owner. It’s an independent puzzle adventure game that features an adorably endearing robot. There are a wide variety of puzzles that range from easy to difficult, and with ten hours of gameplay (give or take a couple), you’ll be playing this game for awhile. There is no dialogue or language in the game, but a series of thought bubbles will guide players through brain teasers and engrossing puzzles. Also of note: Aquaria, Osmos.


Batman Arkham City Lockdown ($5.99) – This is the iOS companion game to the console and PC version of Arkham City. Like Machinarium, the graphics are just unbelievable. The game uses the Unreal Engine, making the environments and the characters a visual treat. Gameplay is similar to Infinity Blade, moving from enemy to enemy in one-on-one combat involving attacking, dodging, and blocking. Plus, this is Batman, and Batman is awesome. Any serious gamer needs to check this out. Also of note: Infinity Blade 2.


Grand Theft Auto 3 ($2.99): GTA has never been my cup of tea, but I must say, the iOS version is well done, visually impressive, and smooth-running on the iPad 2. The game features the same massive open world, free gameplay, and wild characters that you’re used to from the original version. If you’re a fan of Rockstar Games and the Grand Theft Auto series, this iOS game is a must download. Also of note: Reckless Getaway, Real Racing 2 HD.


Carcassonne ($9.99) – This app allows you to play the original ultra popular Carcassonne with family, friends, or other board game enthusiasts through Game center. Forget dealing with tiles and game pieces, with the iOS version of Carcassonne there’s no mess and no scoring to add up yourself – the game does it all for you. Unfamiliar with the game? Build a medieval landscape and claim landmarks with followers to score more points than your opponents. Also of note: Monopoly, Ticket to Ride HD.


Royal Envoy ($6.99) – I would be remiss if I didn’t include a time management game, another popular genre that’s got several great entries in the App Store. While many TMGs are a love it or hate it type of game, Royal Envoy is great for everyone. In the game, players will save the denizens of an island chain from the merciless forces of nature, helping them to rebuild their villages while avoiding pirates, gathering treasure, and riding in hot-air balloons. Also of note: Sally’s Spa, Miriel the Magical Merchant, Diner Dash: Grilling Green, Terrafarmers.

There are hundreds of amazing games in the App Store, but these should get you started. If there’s something that interests you, get it now while the holiday prices are in effect! Tons of games are available at rock bottom prices, so load up while you can. Keep an eye on our Daily Deals to find great new sales every day, all year round. Looking for something we didn’t mention? Want to find the best Match-3, the coolest racing game, or the best casual physics game? Let us know what you’re looking for in the comments and our app experts will be happy to make suggestions.

If you liked this list of game apps, be sure to check out our list of must have iPad productivity and utility apps.

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • Oh Yabz

    Really no infinity blade????

    • Anonymous

      Personally, I found Infinity Blade to be a huge disappointment. It would not surprise me if Juli felt the same way. 

    • Juli Clover

      I tried not to duplicate the obvious games that were already in Apple’s Games Starter Kit – Angry Birds, Infinity Blade, Plants vs. Zombies, etc. are all great games, but I figured most people would see them there :)

      • Oh Yabz

        got ya… I do like GTA 3 found Batmans controls sluggish…Thanks for the reviews…

  • erik superman

    So my favorite app isn’t a game necessarily, nut the new “DISH
    Remote Access” App is still a fantastic way to bring another level of
    entertainment to my iPAd!!  I have DISH Network, recently bought a Sling
    Adapter, and with this free download I can now get TV Everywhere!!  TV
    Everywhere lets me bring ALL my live channels, AND my DVR with me on the
    go!!  DISH is the only provider to offer this kind of versatility, and it
    definitely helps manage my home TV system!!  I can catch the start of the
    game while I am headed home on the subway, and I can also set a recording to be
    ready for when I get home!!  There are a bunch of cool features to this
    app, and I definitely would have gotten it even if I didn’t work for
    DISH!!  If you’re looking for a cool app to make your iPad just a bit
    cooler, this is a great candidate.