Category: iPad Games

The 10 Most Epic iPad Games for 2013 (With Video Examples of Gameplay)

Casual games are a dime a dozen in the App Store, but what about huge epic games with gorgeous graphics and dozens of hours of gameplay? With actual hardware game controllers coming to the iPhone/iPad in iOS 7, you know epic games are going to be in more demand soon. Well, here are the 10 Most Epic Games for the iPad that will soon have you reaching for those game controllers.

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Be sure to check out more of our App Lists for more great app ideas.

The 5 Best iPad Pinball Apps

Zen Pinball for iOS icon

Pinball is one of the best genre of games to play on the iPad. The style fits perfectly on the iPad’s touchscreen—there are no complicated controls, just tap on either side of the screen to use the flippers. The shape of pinball tables in general (long rectangles) matches well with the iPad and iPhone’s long screens. I love playing pinball on my iPad, and below are my picks for the 5 Best Pinball Apps for the iPad.

1. Zen Pinball

Avengers Table in Zen Pinball

Epic Quest table in Zen Pinball

1. Zen Pinball (free + in-app purchases) is by far the best pinball iPad app in the App Store. It has the best tables, with the best designs, best gameplay, and best graphics. There are currently 14 tables available in the app, and it comes with 1 free table (called Sorcerer’s Lair, which is just an average table, so don’t judge the app on the free table). The in-app-purchase tables are just awesome, including what I think is the best overall on iOS, called Epic Quest, ($1.99 in-app purchase). Epic Quest is a fun (and funny) table that has really deep gameplay that guarantees dozens and dozens of hours of play. It’s classic pinball, but with RPG elements where you take on monsters, hit ramps to do damage and/or defend, and collect EQ over multiple games. The table is just amazingly designed, with funny sound effects and voice acting (but a bit complicated, table guides are in our forums here).

But the hits don’t stop there. There are several other amazing tables available as in-app purchases. For example, the tables based on Marvel Comics are incredible. My favorite is the Avengers table, but the World War Hulk and Captain America tables are awesome as well. The Tesla table is really unique. In fact, just about all the tables available in Zen Pinball are a cut above what’s available elsewhere. That’s because the pinball design studio behind the app, Zen Studios, is the best out there right now for creating digital pinball games. Their Zen Pinball tables are bestsellers on other consoles and mobile devices as well, including Xbox Live Arcade. The company keeps things grounded in classic pinball but adds just the right amount of computer/digital pinache (for example, animations like Thor throwing hammers across the table and Iron Man flying around, which couldn’t happen on a real pinball table). If you want the best-designed tables and the best pinball app, it’s Zen Pinball.

The only bad thing I can say about this app is that the tables are so detailed and intricate, you’ll need to play them on a Retina iPad first to get the best experience. But once you learn the ins and outs of the table, they’ll play on the iPhone just fine.

2. Pinball Arcade

Medieval Madness in Pinball Arcade

Theater of Magic Pinball

2. Pinball Arcade ($0.99 + in-app purchases) faithfully recreates the best real-life pinball tables of all time. This is a game for true pinball lovers looking to relive their best pinball experiences from the arcade days. Pinball Arcade is created and maintained by pinball enthusiasts, so no detail is too small. One table in the app, Medieval Madness ($2.99), is, according to pinball-enthusiast website Pinsinde, the #1 ranked pinball table of all time as voted by the site’s readers. To understand what’s so great about Medieval Madness, check out this video of the real-life table.

Pinball Arcade has 19 total tables currently available with more coming every month, the developers even use Kickstarter to finance their porting of the greatest real-life tables to digital form. Again, the developers are more like pinball historians. For the initial $0.99 price, you get 1 table, Arabian Nights.

If there is a complaint for this near-perfect app, it’s that not every “best ever” classic pinball table translates into a “best ever” iPad pinball table. Some special effects that dazzle on a real table fall a bit flat on the iPad. But deep, challenging, strategic gameplay knows no boundaries, and every table in this app has it.

3. Pinball HD Collection

AC DC pinball

Arcade Pinball Table

3. Pinball HD Collection (free) comes with 1 free table, Wild West, with 10 other tables available for in-app purchase. The developer, Gameprom, created one of the first pinball games for the iPhone, so they’ve had time to perfect the art of pinball on iOS. Their experience shows in the pinball physics and how great the tables look on the iPad/iPhone’s screen. Some of my favorite tables are the Navy Seals, Slayer, AC/DC, and Arcade tables. Snow Pinball, a winter-themed table, is fun to play during Christmas time. My only complaint is that the tables lack some of the depth and challenge of our top two picks—the tables dont’t feel quite as epic. The developers also confuse their customers by offering several different apps, some are standalone single-table apps, others offer multiple tables already included in this one. But what really matters is the pinball, and there is some good pinball inside this app.

4. Pinball Crystal Caliburn II

Crystal Caliburn II iPad pinball

4. Pinball Crystal Caliburn II ($3.99) is a single-table app that was a classic pinball game for the Mac. The best thing about the table is that it feels like real pinball. Add to that deep strategic gameplay where you’ll love to reach the table’s various goals, like activating Merlin’s spells, achieving accolades for your knights, and ultimately possessing the Holy Grail. The graphics are beautiful and Retina-sharp, and the table has nice lighting effects and subtle details like reflections. This is one of those tables where you can spend dozens and dozens of hours unraveling the various goals and achievements of the table and enjoy every second of it.

5. Real Pinball HD – Vampire

Real Pinball HD Vampire

5. Real Pinball HD – Vampire ($1.99) is a single-table app with a great pinball physics engine. It’s another app that nails the feel of a real pinball table. I also love how the pinball has a graphic on it so that the actual spin of the ball is visible as it moves around the table–a detail I wish other pinball apps would copy. Vampire has a goth/vampire theme and features some deep and challenging gameplay. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect—the frame rate feels a bit stuttery, and the sound effects aren’t that great. But overall, the table is a joy to play with a sweet realistic feel.

Honorable Mentions

Our number 1 & 2 picks in the list above are clear winners, and after that, the competition gets really close. Here are a few more noteworthy pinball apps that I enjoyed playing.

Pinball Maniacs: Cartoon Pinball Adventure (free) is a pinball with freemium gameplay, meaning its free to play, but includes in-app purchases to help you progress. Like its name implies, the pinball has a whimsical cartoony feel, this is not the game for realistic pinball, even though the game mechanics are based on classic pinball. Here you collect coins, destroy moving monsters by hitting them with your ball, and achieve various goals to progress the game and switch up the table environment. Overall, it’s fun because there is a feeling of progression that most pinball lacks.

Art of Pinball – Table Pack ($2.99) features old-school pinball that you might have found at a truck stop in the ’50s. The tables may be simple by today’s standards, but the action is fast and fun. And the tables won’t take you days to unravel like some other tables in our list. The Table Pack version comes with 6 pinball tables, but the individual tables are available as seperate apps in the App Store.

Monster Pinball HD ($1.99) is a strange (strange in a good way) twist on pinball with deep gameplay and a monster/alien theme. There are over 500 goals to achieve in the game, so you’ll get your money’s worth out of this one. And although it’s a single game (without in-app purchases), there are actually multiple tables you’ll visit as your pinball hits different spots in the game. There are also beautiful Retina graphics and bizarre sound effects that keeps things interesting. My only complaint is that the table lacks a narrative (a clear story) to follow, or at least, it’s not easily unraveled from early gameplay.

The 25 Best iPad Games So Far

The number of great games for the iPad has grown quickly since the iPad was introduced. The quality of the graphics likewise has increased to rival that of recent home gaming consoles. To celebrate how far the iPad has come as a gaming device, we’ve gathered together the 25 best-reviewed iPad games of all-time.

Picture Summary
1. Plants vs Zombies ($2.99) is one of the most popular and bestselling games ever for the iPad. It’s a tower-defense game where the object is to defend your home from endless waves of Zombies using special plants and their powers. A whimsical cartoony style belies the serious strategy it will take to successfully defend your home. Beautiful graphics and deep gameplay make this one a winner.
2. Angry Birds Rio HD ($0.99) is the sequel to the famous physics puzzler and a tie-in with the recently released movie Rio. The object is to launch birds and crash into structures to destroy your enemies and free your friends. Features the same great gameplay from the original as well as some unique twists from the movie.
3. Dead Space HD ($9.99) is a horror survival game based on the popular console titles of the same name. Provides a cinematic experience in a FPS structure, with professional voice acting, a movie-esque score, and sound effects. Cutting-edge graphics for the iPad.
4. Flight Control HD ($4.99) is the popular iPhone game given its own iPad version. Land planes by drawing their paths to the runway with your finger. Make sure planes don’t collide, else it’s game over. Sound simple, but when the skies get hectic, it’s harder than you think. One of the first truly classic mobile games that showed off the potential of the touchscreen for a unique gaming experience.
5. Infinity Blade ($5.99) features some of the most cutting-edge graphics available for the iPad (and iPad 2). Battle one-on-one through a castle full of warriors looking to test your skill. Collect gold and upgrade your weapons, armor, and spells. Learn gestures to perform various attacks and defensive moves.
6. Sword and Sorcery EP ($4.99) is a cutting-edge, beautifully crafted adventure game designed especially for the iPad. Filled with humor and clever puzzle-solving, it’s a unique experience with an incredible soundtrack thrown in. Come for the gaming, stay for the artistry.
7. Cut the Rope HD ($1.99) is a beautifully designed puzzle game for the iPad. Strategically cut pieces of hanging rope so that candy falls into the monster’s mouth. Sounds easy, but multiple strands of rope, moving obstacles, and all sorts of other clever twists complicate the task. One of the most well-balanced puzzle games I’ve played—not too easy, not too heard. A visual treat.
8. Fruit Ninja HD ($2.99) is a fun fruit-slicing game that offers a unique fast-finger-swiping touchscreen experience. Slice up fruit when it flies onto the screen. Avoid slicing the flying bombs. Create special combos by slicing up the same fruit into multiple pieces during flight. A whimsical game that will have your fingers, hands, and arms flying and your mouth smiling.
9. World of Goo ($4.99) is a classic puzzle-solving game that has been a hit on just about every platform it’s come to, and the iPad is no different. Stretch, sling, and build the various types of goo in order to solve the various puzzles. Unique whimsical gameplay that is only enhanced by the iPad’s touchscreen.
10. Osmos for iPad ($4.99) is a beautifully unique puzzle/physics game. Swallow smaller orbs to grow your own, carefully navigating around bigger orbs that consume yours. Avoid the stronger gravitational pull of larger orbs. Propel your orb by spewing out its own mass, only don’t spew too much, less you make your orb too small. Unique strategy and gameplay. Simply a beautiful game.
11. Real Racing 2 HD ($1.99) is a realistic racing game featuring over 30 real cars to race in 15 different locations. Play in a career mode or race others via online multiplayer. Supports up to 16 racers! Keep your progress synched across multiple devices. Sharp, detailed, realistic graphics.
12. Little Things ($2.99) is a hidden-object game with beautiful, colorful graphics. Search among the hundreds of items that make up a picture of a much larger item. Zoom in and out and the graphics stay sharp. Find all the requested items to move on to the next level. A casual, stress-free game with relaxing background music. Great for kids and adults alike.
13. Dungeon Hunter 2 HD ($6.99) is a hack-n-slash RPG game that is a sequel to the popular original. Choose among 3 character classes with 2 specializations. Improve your skills and spells, collect hundreds of unique items, change your characters look with new armor and weapons. Quest through a world 5 times bigger than the original. Spectacular graphics with nice animations.
14. MaxAdventure ($0.99) is a combination of a survival shooter and an adventure game. Aliens have invaded and locked up all the adults. Use Max to kill aliens and free friends. Collect new weapons and treasure to upgrade Max. Use the right kind of gun to destroy alien pods before they hatch. Addictive gameplay.
15. Bug Heroes ($1.99) is like a blend of tower defense, RPG, and adventure game genres. Defend your base from hordes ofbugs by fortifying your bases with supplies and killing enemies with various weapons and fighting skills. Explore new territory and collect coins and weapons. There’s a little bit of everything here. One of the best critically reviewed games on the iPad.
16. Uber Racer 3D – Sandstorm ($0.99) is a realistic racing game with plenty of jumps, shortcuts, and extras to keep this from becoming a boring racer-on-rails experience. What it lacks in ├╝ber graphics it makes up in excellent deep gameplay and a cheap price.
17. Drawn: The Painted Tower: HD ($6.99) is a beautiful point-and-click adventure game that will satisfy even hardened veterans of the genre. Make your way through the painted tower, gathering clues and solving puzzles in a quest to rescue a girl who has the power to bring her drawings to life. Features well-designed puzzles.
18. War Pinball HD ($2.99) may be the best pinball table from Gameprom, makes of other iPhone/iPad pinball classics like Wild West Pinball and Pinball HD for iPad. War Pinball offers three different tables based on three classic action movies: Platoon, Missing in Action (with Chuck Norris!), and Navy Seals. Features soundtracks and voice acting from the movies.
19. Reckless Racing HD ($4.99) is a racing game with Dukes of Hazzard-like physics and gameplay. Compete not only to win the race against competitors but also to earn medals by improving your times. Features 8 tracks to rip through, then unlock the reverse direction for 16 total tracks. Features online multiplayer as well—race against strangers from the Internets. Race several different vehicles, from an Indy car to Humvees and trucks.
20. Tapper World Tour HD ($2.99) is the classic arcade game updated for the iPad. Features Retina-Display graphics with artwork from legendary artist Don Bluth (Dragon’s Lair). Work in bars around the world. Serve patrons before they reach the end of the bar and catch their empty glasses. Use special powers like stage shows to distract the customers for a brief respite. A beautiful update to the classic version with HD graphics.
21. MiniGore HD ($2.99) is a survival shooter with a unique artistic style. How long can you survive against wave after wave of monsters from the dark? Collect more powerful weapons, retreat or advance, just don’t let the monsters get to you.
22. Rage HD ($1.99) was one of the first games with high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, so it looks great on the iPad’s larger screen too. It’s also a great first-person shooter with wicked gameplay. Make your way through a twisted game-show world, killing horrific monsters before they kill you. A well-designed game providing a console-like experience for only $1.99. It’s only drawback is that it’s a bit short.
23. LEGO Harry Potter ($4.99) brings the entire console Harry Potter game to the iPad in one huge game. Dozens of hours of gameplay that fans of the books and movies will love. A true bargain. Travel through the stories of books 1-4 and solve puzzles, cast spells, and battle enemies like Draco and Snape. A truly epic game that puts you in control of not only Harry but dozens of other characters as well. Simple gameplay perfect for kids and adults alike.
24. AirAttack HD ($0.99) is a wicked airplane shooter-on-rails that asks, what if the Nazi’s actually developed futuristic weaponry like UFOs and Zeppelins that launch ball lightning? Take them on with nothing but your trusty P-51 Mustang. Intense gameplay, fun retro-futuristic enemies, and lots of power-ups. One of the lesser known gems in the App Store.
25. Labyrinth 2 HD ($7.99) is a masterfully designed labyrinth puzzle game. The original Labyrinth was a popular iPhone game, and the sequel takes things up a notch. Navigate your pinball through the maze, avoiding the various obstacles. Cannons, magnets, bumpers, resizers, and more complicate the task. Besides the included levels, also play tens of thousands of levels designed by the community or design your own. Limitless unique gameplay.