These are the Super Mario 64s and Final Fantasy 7s of iPad gaming—the true classics.
After putting it off for ages, waiting for the right version or the right price—or maybe you finally saved up the scratch—you finally have an iPad. Now you need a good spread of games to see what the tablet can do. Click through the slideshow below for our list of games to install right away.
Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Sword & Sworcery might not be new, but it’s still one of the coolest games on the iPad. Superbrothers and Capybara games got together with composer Jim Guthrie to make a game that calls back to memories of old adventure games while feeling new and fresh. The game’s pixel art is a style decision rather than a nostalgic callback, and the music fits the tone perfectly for this carefully paced, bittersweet game.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
XCOM is all the proof you need that a game can make the jump from consoles to tablets without losing its essence. Fight against the extra terrestrial incursion in turn-based strategy battles and build up your base to protect the world. This isn’t a cheap port, it’s the whole game as you saw it on PC and consoles. The only thing missing is a set of map variants for each stage. This is a great port of a great game.
- Download iPad/iOS [$19.99]
Step into the The Room and fill the shoes of the Lovecraftian main character trapped inside. At the center of the room lies a complex puzzle box with switches, hidden compartments, and a seemingly unlimited amount of space inside. The Room and its sequel, The Room Two, are two of the best-looking games on iPad, right up there with the Infinity Blade series, and are a great way to show off how powerful your tablet is.
Ridiculous Fishing – A Tale of Redemption
Few games are as effortlessly funny or fun as Ridiculous Fishing. Developer Vlambeer’s fishing game topped iPad and iPhone game of the year charts in 2013, and it’s easy to see why. The game is made up of two simple minigames. First you drop your hook, dodging fish for as long as you can – power-ups will help you get deeper as you go along – and then hook as many fish as you can on the way back up. A net, you say? Oh no, you shoot them with a pistol, a shotgun, a machine gun. The more you shoot, the more money you make, and the closer you get to finding redemption for fisherman Billy’s uncertain past.
Super Monsters Ate My Condo
Adult Swim’s first few games seemed like jokes meant to pull you over to their website, but under dark of night, the studio behind those games quickly went from publishing cheapie web games to being a full fledged game publisher, putting out seriously legitimate games like Super House of Dead Ninjas and Jazzpunk. The games always have a comedic flavor, but the mechanics are solid. Better yet, you can start checking out the games for free with Super Monsters Ate My Condo. This riff on Japanese monster movies has you feeding different colored levels of a modular apartment building to four matching monsters. Same colored levels combine up and up into more and more valuable floors – silver, gold, eventually diamond and neon flashing cat floors. See how long you can keep the monsters happy before they tear your building to pieces.
One plus one equals three, three plus three equals six, six plus six equals twelve, and this game gets really hard really fast. Each time you move tiles, you’re combining together two multiples of three – aside from the ones and twos that get you started – and each time you move, more tiles appear from the side. Keep a couple spots open, and you can keep going. You’ll have the mechanics down in a couple rounds, but mastering them takes a lot longer and you’ll lose hours doing simple addition.
Tiny Wings HD
I’m not going to try to imagine how many hours I’ve spent playing Tiny Wings, but it’s some insane amount. In Tiny Wings, you get to help a stumpy-winged bird achieve its dream of flying high above the hills. The controls are simple: touch to dive. Using the tiny bird’s momentum and the hills and valleys of its island world, get as much air as you can and keep the combo going. The relaxing, happy music, the colorful art, and the noises the little bird makes when it makes the jump between islands have helped me out of more than one bad mood.
- Download iPad/iOS [$2.99]
It doesn’t get more social than Spaceteam. Get your friends over with their tablets or phones and take on the role of a crew of space explorers in this free title. As long as you’re all on the same platform, four people can connect and start playing this game. Each player gets a control panel of various switches used in flying the spaceship, and you must work with your crew mates, calling out the necessary instructions so that the person with the right switch or dial can execute the command. You’ll drive yourself hoarse yelling, but you’ll have a great time doing it.
In this stylish puzzle game, your task is to get as many aircraft on the ground as you can. Unlike a real Air Traffic Control employee, though, you get direct control over the planes and you can get plenty of sleep before you get started. The planes start off slowly, and drawing the line that will lead the plane to its strip is easy. Helicopters and planes start rolling in faster and faster, and keeping planes in the air without crashing them gets tough fast.
- Download iPad/iOS [$4.99]
10000000 is a matching game with a twist. Along the top, you can see your avatar running down a long, seemingly endless dungeon hallway. As you match tiles, you need to match the right ones to keep moving, fight monsters, and break through doors and into treasure chests. The thumping chiptunes drive the fast-paced matching, and when you finally hit that goal of 10,000,000 points, you’ll still be reluctant to put the game down.