Whenever a friend or family member asks me what games they should get for their new iPad, I have a list of tried and true that are, what I consider to be the definitive games that have either revolutionized gaming in general, or epitomizes what playing games on the iPad is all about. Not every game is for every player, but every game is significant for its contribution to the iPad in some way.
Angry Birds has defined mobile gaming. The independent company who created the puzzler game has gone on to make millions, license products, and collaborate with LucasArts to bring the Star Wars Galaxy to a bird near you. Popular titles include the OG version, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Friends, Bad Piggies, and of course, the sequel to Angry Birds Star Wars.
PopCap is another independent game company that defined the way we play mobile games. Their tower defense game made protecting your land fun and funny. Players can plant bullet-spitting flowers that knock over the slow and stupid zombies that are trying to eat your brains. The game saw its sequel launch this year and both are a must-have game for fans of the genre.
Not only does this series show off the gorgeous graphics capabilities that the iPad offers, but the swipe-to-slash gameplay also gives you a perfect example of what gesture-based controls are all about. Apple loves to show of the new versions of iOS with whatever new Infinity Blade title is in the works because the game looks so good and plays so smoothly. Fans of battle-based role-playing games will be in awe of this series.
This is yet another example of an indie game company gone wild. The simple endless runner series has been given a sequel that is just as popular as the first. Plus, the company was able to make a licensing deal for “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Brave” versions of the game.
Firemint started the Real Racing series and EA Games liked it so much that they picked it up. The racing games feature stunning realistic graphics, fantastic multiplayer racing, and dozens of great-looking cars to unlock and drive. The third installment in the series also features Time-Shift races where you can play against friends at separate times and the winner is determined by the time to the finish line.
EA Games has made a name for themselves as a mobile sports company. The soccer-based FIFA 14 was the company’s most comprehensive title so far. Players can create and train their team, follow real-life season stats, play against other teams, and much more.
It still boggles my mind that this game holds such a strong place in the top 10 paid apps. The game is back at number one at the time of writing this list. What makes it so special is that it is specifically designed for the iPad. It is not a port of the desktop game. You can’t transfer your worlds to it. Although it was created for mobile devices, it still features all of the great fun that the desktop version has to offer.
This game has redefined the way mobile users play social games with others. The popularity of this title skyrocketed it to a number one spot soon after it first launched. Traditional word game apps, like Scrabble, can’t even compete with the popularity of it. Players try to earn the most points by placing letters on a board to create words. Thanks to seamless social integration, it is very easy to pick up and play a game with your closest friends or perfect strangers.
This atmospheric puzzle game proved to the world that PC games can be played on mobile devices. Although it was first launched for desktop gaming, it has been ported to a number of mobile games. Players create new structures by connecting balls of Goo. If you place your Goo in the right place, you will be able to build your way to the exit. The game gets increasingly complex with more pipes, Goo, and obstacles to overcome.
When I got my first iPad in 2010, the first thing on my mind was how awesome it would be if I could play World of Warcraft wherever I went. Of course, Blizzard has no plans to bring the epic massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) to iOS and most people said it couldn’t be done anyway because too many people playing on the servers would crash the game. Well, Gameloft took that challenge and created an MMORPG that lets players join teams, raid in groups, complete quests, chat with others, and play the game about as good as it can be played on a desktop. Now that the iPad Air features 64-bit graphics, Maybe Blizzard will think about porting its fantasy title to iOS.