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The best iPad games in 2024

Key Takeaways

  • iPad gaming evolved from forgettable distractions to powerful portable gaming computers.
  • The best iPad games optimize the hardware, focus on storytelling, and offer unique experiences.
  • With a curated list of iPad games, you can avoid sifting through mediocre titles and enjoy top-quality gaming.

Before the iPhone introduced us to the App Store, mobile games were forgettable little distractions that you only resorted to playing if you had no other options. Fast forward to the release of the iPad, and suddenly we had a device that could run all the best mobile games on a bigger screen with better controls. Considering how far mobile games have come, and how powerful the newest iPads can be, you essentially have a portable gaming computer in your bag.

Related

Best iPad: Expert reviewed and ranked

With an array of iPad models on the market, we break down which version is best for you, based on our testing.

The only downside to gaming on the iPad is also its greatest strength: the number of games. Opening the App Store will overwhelm you with games claiming to be the best, but they can’t all be worth your time and money. In fact, most of them aren’t even worth considering. While you could spend hours, days, or even weeks sifting through the game section to find the greatest titles, why not let us curate a nice, tidy list of the best iPad games for you?

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1 Hindsight

It’s always 20/20

Hindsight
Hindsight

The best iPad games are those that leverage the actual hardware of your device, rather than attempting to cram a game made for a console into it. Hindsight is a perfect fit for your tablet, as it is heavily focused on narrative and relies on intuitive touch controls for gameplay.

The story centers on a woman named Mary, who is attempting to reconcile her feelings after an abusive parent passes away. You delve into her memories to try and untangle the complex relationship they shared, providing some closure so she can move forward with her life in a positive manner.

2 Night in the Woods

A cozy existential crisis

Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods

If you’ve ever returned to your hometown after years away only to find it a mere shadow of its former self, Night in the Woods will stir up all those familiar emotions. This game is another adventure title with some light platforming, primarily focused on developing an entire town’s worth of characters. Oh, and this town just happens to be populated by anthropomorphic animals. Just go with it.

After dropping out of college, Mae comes back home only to discover it’s vastly different from how she remembered. She reunites with old friends, connects with the townspeople, and catches hints of something sinister lurking in the shadows. While there’s a bit of mystery, Night in the Woods is more about the journey than the destination.

3 Journey

Where will it take you?

journey image 1

Speaking of games that are all about the journey, I must highly recommend Journey. This highly artistic work is open to a wide range of interpretations. You could take it at face value or draw any number of parallels or metaphors from it. There are no spoken words or explicit directions given, yet you will always know what to do.

Aside from the visuals, score, and emotional highs this game reaches, it was also praised for its unique multiplayer feature. At any point while playing, as long as you’re online, you may encounter another robed figure. This isn’t an NPC but a randomly selected player who will accompany you for a short while. Only when the game is over can you see who, and how many, people helped you along the way.

4 Minit

You only have a minute!

Minit
Minit

If you don’t have a substantial amount of time to dedicate to playing a game on your iPad but still want something quick to pick up and play, Minit is designed for brief bursts of gameplay. It features a delightfully retro aesthetic and gameplay that echoes classic Zelda games, but with one major twist: your character is cursed to die after just 60 seconds.

This time pressure forces you to be efficient with your actions in each life before restarting at your checkpoint. It’s cute, charming, humorous, and compact in a way that makes progression feel earned and rewarding. No pixel feels wasted here.

5 Genshin Impact

Gatcha!

Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact made a major splash when it launched in 2020 and has managed to sustain its incredible momentum since then. This stylish and massive RPG is built on its vast world, an endless number of quests and activities, and, most of all, its characters. If you have even a slight interest in collecting or anime characters in general, you’ll be in heaven here.

While Genshin Impact is entirely free to play, there is an option to spend real money if you want to expedite progress. However, given the breadth and amount of content available, you might as well just play the game naturally and earn enough currency along the way.

6 Among Us

Something seems sus

Among Us is coming to Xbox Game Pass in December, also launching on PlayStation photo 2
Innersloth

I’m calling an emergency meeting if you don’t have Among Us installed on your iPad at all times. It’s a game with a simple concept, yet it feels fresh and exciting every time you play. This event is as much social as it is a game where what you do and say in real life matters almost more.

If you somehow missed the Among Us craze when it started, you play as a team of crewmates in a contained facility, with a series of tasks to complete. The twist is that some of you are impostors, attempting to eliminate the others when no one else is watching. If a body is discovered, a meeting can be called to vote out whoever the majority suspects is the traitor. This leads to plenty of social deduction, misdirection, betrayals, and fun.

7 Civilization VI

The world in the palm of your hand

Sid Meier's Civilization VI 1

What could be better than building an entire civilization from scratch and conquering the world from the comfort of your iPad? I personally have already lost days of my life to this game on a PC alone, but being able to take it with me has made me addicted all over again.

The store page lists Civilization VI as free, but it isn’t in the same way other free games are. You only get the first 60 turns before you need to pay, but it’s more than worth it. You can also add plenty of expansions on top, plus it features full cross-platform support and cloud saves, so you can manage your empire on the go when you’re away from your PC.

8 Hearthstone

Pick a card

Hearthstone
Hearthstone

Card games are just such a natural fit for an iPad that I had to go with one of the best. Hearthstone stands out for being a simple game to understand and start playing, yet it’s deep enough that you can fine-tune your deck for the most intense matches. The Blizzard coat of paint also doesn’t hurt.

The simplicity of the systems is what makes this work so well on your iPad. You don’t have to worry about mana or a multitude of cards with dozens of effects that you need to read or play at the right time. Matches tend to fall right into that ten to fifteen-minute sweet spot as well.

9 Call of Duty Mobile

No scope on the go

Call of Duty Mobile image 1

Trust me, I didn’t think Call of Duty could work on an iPad until I tried it for myself. Yes, pairing a controller is the best way to play, but the touch controls on the bigger screen actually hold up well. If you haven’t given it a try, you’ll be shocked at how high-quality this mobile version is.

You have all the classic modes, dozens of maps, unlocks, perks, and all the Call of Duty goodness you expect from a full release. In fact, Mobile may even be better than its console counterparts now, considering it’s totally free.

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