While your favorite iPad is an amazing tool for productivity, it wouldn’t reach its full potential without at least a few of the best iPad games. It’s small enough to take with you everywhere, but with a big enough screen to allow for more precision with your taps — it’s that deadly combination that makes me reach for my iPad to play my favorite mobile games over and over.
Whether you’re new to iPad gaming or are just looking for your next game to download here are the places where you can find games for iPad as well as the best iPad games out there right now.
Where to find games for iPad
While thousands of games are found on the App Store, there are plenty of other services that allow you to get games for your iPad. Additionally, more laid-back games are usually good with just touch controls, but you’ll want to consider getting a game controller for iPad with more intensive titles.
Apple Arcade: Apple’s subscription service on the App Store is just $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year. With it, you can access a library of hundreds of ad-free games like Jetpack Joyride 2, Shovel Knight Dig, and more.
Xbox Game Pass (xCloud) for iOS: Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription starts at $1 a month and then goes up to $14.99 a month. It costs more than Apple Arcade, but gives you access to hundreds of more intensive games like A Plague Tale: Innocence, Fallout 4, and much more.
Steam Mobile: Downloading the Steam Mobile app allows you to access Valve’s game distribution service. You’ll need to purchase each game individually, but there are tons of games available here.
Moonlight Game Streaming: This is basically an open-source Nvidia GameStream made to work for iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. Download the app and you can stream games from your PC remotely to play them on your mobile Apple device.
Nvidia GeForce NOW: Unlike Nvidia’s Moonlight app that we just mentioned, this is a paid service that gives you access to tons of iPad games like Fortnite, which is no longer available on the App Store.
I would be remiss to forget to include one of the biggest games out there. A stunning open-world RPG, Genshin Impact gives you the role of an interstellar traveler who, alongside their twin, has been trapped on the planet of Teyvat. This is a world full of gods and monsters. Players build teams of four elementally aligned heroes to explore the world, defeat monsters, and uncover the mysteries of Teyvat’s history.
The best thing about Genshin Impact is the sheer scale of the game. Not only does it have a sprawling and expansive open-world to explore, but the devs have also been supporting it heavily with frequent updates.
It already has over 150 hours of gameplay and there will be more to unlock in the future. It’s also available on Android, PC, and PlayStation, and it supports cross-platform play with fantastic multiplayer options, including frequent events that provide even more gameplay for those who’ve completed the available quests.
Minecraft is a force that just won’t quit, the game’s original release on PC back in 2011 has spawned versions on every single console and platform you can think of, and the iPad is no exception.
Endless exploring, mining, and crafting await you in the 3D pixelated world, which offers almost limitless possibilities for what you can create. It’s this reason that makes Minecraft amazingly fun to play for hours and hours. Just don’t forget to eat, drink water, or — y’know — breathe.
Call of Duty Mobile
Few gaming franchises have been as successful as Call of Duty. This mobile version acts much like the console editions, offering multiplayer modes like 100-player battle royale, team deathmatch, domination, and kill-confirmed. You’ll even recognize some familiar battlegrounds from past games.
Drop in onto a realistic-looking location and then work with your team to take out your opponents. There are plenty of different weapons and gear to take advantage of as you strategize to come out on top. The players with the most points by the end of a countdown win the match.
It’s free-to-play and you do not have to pay anything in order to enjoy the game. However, certain skins and weapons can only be unlocked with real-world purchases.
Clash Royale is a player-versus-player strategy game where you duke it out against an opponent to prove you’re the better leader. You can join a clan alongside your friends and then fight with opposing clans. Work on leveling up, unlocking rewards, and competing during special events. If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because it comes from the creators of Clash of Clans.
Clash Royale is free to download but does offer in-store purchases. You do not have to pay anything to enjoy the game, though.
Monument Valley 2
If you’d like to challenge your brain without straining too much than the beautiful Monument Valley 2 is perfect for you. The levels are gorgeous and employ puzzles that work with optical illusions. You’ll need to guide the protagonists, a mother and her child, through various levels to help them reach the goal.
There are dozens of levels to experience and the visual delight of each stage goes a long way into creating that calming feeling the game is known for.
Much like Minecraft, Roblox is a sandbox game that has not only been around for a long time now, but also continues to thrive. The basic idea behind it is that players can create their own games and then share them with others online. That also means that there is an endless number of other players’ creations to discover.
Spend time allowing your imagination and creativity to expand and see what other crazy ideas other players have come up with.
The easiest way to describe Innersloth’s multiplayer hit is by comparing it to party games like Mafia or Werewolf. Up to 15 players can join a game and are tasked with fixing their spaceship. However, there is at least one imposter on board the ship who is out to kill everyone and sabotage the shuttle.
Players need to keep an eye out and vote on who they think the imposter(s) are. If enough votes are cast condemning one person, they are launched out of the airlock. If it was the imposter, the crew wins. But if it was an innocent person, the game continues.
Rounds don’t last long and the game is super simple to learn making this a great pick up party game for people of all ages. All you need is an iPad or phone of any make.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
Few horror games master the simplistic beauty of jump scares like the original Five Nights at Freddy’s does. Players stay in a security room the entire time, but can use cameras to monitor sounds and recordings from various rooms of the pizza party place. The animal animatronics meant to entertain children by day become autonomous killers at night.
You must protect yourself from these roaming robots, but you only have a limited amount of power each night. If you run out, you won’t be able to protect yourself. Checking the cameras and shutting the doors to your room require power, so you need to only do so when absolutely necessary to survive. What’s more, each night gets more difficult.
Will you make it through all five nights and beat the game? Or will you get killed by moving animatronics that suddenly appear in your doorway?
Hearthstone is an extremely popular strategy card game from Blizzard Entertainment that incorporates characters, elements, and relics from World of Warcraft. What’s more, the game regularly receives updates with new seasons and card expansions to keep things interesting.
There are multiple modes to dive into like PvE rounds, PvP challenges, and even eight-person duels. Strategize and use your cards carefully to prove your tactical thinking skills and come out on top.
Monster Hunter Stories
Monster Hunter has long been a franchise that focuses on taking down enormous beasts, using their resources to craft better gear, and then going out and taking on more monsters. However, Monster Hunter Stories is more like a Pokémon game, in that it’s a creature-collecting RPG.
You raise creatures from eggs and level them up. However, instead of having them fight for you, they fight alongside you. The game has a Rock, Paper, Scissors-like battle system. Each monster has its own focused fighting style that is stronger than one of the other fighting styles and weaker than the other one. You need to strategize and determine which monster will be the most useful at any point.
This was originally a full-blown RPG on the Nintendo 3DS handheld system, so it’s awesome to see such an intensive game on iPad. You really ought to check it out. It’s one of my favorites.
Oxenfree is like a narrative driven horror game. Players take on the role of a young woman who travels to a deserted military island with her teenage friends at night. While partying, they accidentally disturb a malevolent supernatural force and get trapped. Now it’s up to you to travel around the island and unravel the mystery surrounding it while trying to get everyone safely back home.
One thing that makes the game so compelling is that your choices have major consequences. You might make it to the end and not like how things played out. But you can always play again and see where other choices lead you.
What’s more exciting than soccer? Playing soccer using fancy cars, of course! This popular multiplayer game has been around for several years now, but the community is strong and the game still receives regular updates to keep things fresh.
As you play, you’ll unlock rewards to help you stand out by customizing your car. Fly across the field, steal the ball from your opponents, and use the walls to help you ricochet into the goal. More competitive players can also compete in scoreboards to prove who the best players are.
These days, when someone says life simulator your mind probably automatically goes to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Nintendo’s hit game isn’t on the App Store, however, there is another game that many consider to be even better: Stardew Valley.
The game starts with you inheriting a run-down farm. It’s up to you to slowly rebuild, get rid of weeds, and make it a great place to live. You can raise chickens, grow crops, and tend to several other things on your property. What’s more, you can go into town and get to know the villagers. You might even find love with one of them and can start your own family.
Night in the Woods
Night in the Woods is a standout adventure game that will both make you laugh and invoke some of the most emotional feelings. It takes place in a world of animals that’s similar to our own. You follow Mae, a black cat in her early 20s who returns home just after dropping out of college. However, she soon learns that things cannot be same way they were when she was in high school.
This coming-of-age story reflects on the difficulties of being an early 20-something coming into adulthood while delivering some of the funniest dialogue and sarcastic comments you’ll ever read. Plus, some of the things you can do are ridiculously memorable.
Oh, and of course, there’s the main plot. People are going missing in town and it seems like there might be some evil group of people behind it. Mae and her friends will need to discover the truth while going about their daily lives and getting into trouble.
If you’re looking at this multiplayer obstacle course battle royal and thinking this look like a blatant rip-off of Fall Guys then you’re right! But even so, it’s very popular on the App Store and has proven to offer some really great improvements over the game it’s imitating. Plus, Fall Guys isn’t on the App Store anyway.
Players drop into a challenge that can contains up to 32 players and then they attempt to make it through various obstacles and reach the goal at the end. You can even play dirty and knock your opponents over with dashes and slides. Even if you fail, the animations are so silly and the gameplay so fun that you’ll want to play again.
If you’re a fan of the Monkey Island series than you have to play Thimbleweed Park. It was created by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick who worked on the classic point-and-click adventures back in the day.
Someone is found murdered under a bridge and two FBI agents who look suspiciously like Scully and Mulder of X Files fame, come to investigate. During the course of the story, players take on the role of five different characters and unravel a mystery surrounding the town. You’ll travel to an abandoned circus, check out a haunted hotel, discover a burned pillow factory, and much more.
What’s more, the ending is totally worth getting to. You’ll find yourself chuckling to characters dialogue as you solve puzzles and hear their tongue-in-cheek comments that often break the fourth wall.
Slay the Spire
I’m not really sure how I ever lived without Slay the Spire on my iPad. The game is incredibly fun, challenging, and full of little interesting decisions that make no two sessions of the game alike.
It’s a roguelike deck builder that tasks you with reaching the top of the spire, but of course, there are plenty of enemies and weird other encounters you’ll need to go through to get there. With each run, you’ll choose a character and start off with a deck of cards that you need to utilize to defeat enemies and ascend the spire. As you go, you’ll get more cards to add to your deck, but you’ll need to be careful which cards you choose and how many you use. You don’t want it to become bloated and ineffective.
Although it is a roguelike, which means you start at the bottom again when you die, you’ll never be bored. With different relics to find that give you special abilities, new cards, four unique characters, and a ton of interesting events that can give you a boon or a bane, no two games will ever feel the same.
Alto’s Odyssey trades in the bright, snowy, and colorful palette of the first game for a much warmer, darker environment that’s just as appealing as the original. The desert — while stunningly gorgeous — feels harsher and less forgiving than the slopes Alto’s used to, and the new landscape provides a plethora of new challenges for players to discover.
The very core mechanics of the game haven’t changed. You’re still controlling a cast of offbeat characters who explore a terrain-heavy endless runner while attempting an array of board-based tricks across a beautiful, ever-changing landscape. Collecting coins, dodging obstacles, and completing goals will allow you to level up and purchase power-ups for the in-game store.
As you may have guessed, it all flows exceptionally smoothly and is just as addictive as the first incarnation, making it a solid contender as one of the best iPad games. Alto’s Odyssey continues to build on that well-defined core and throws awesome new challenges at players in almost every run.
Leo’s Fortune is a cute platforming game for the iPad that features finely crafted stages with beautiful graphics and clever puzzles. The story is whimsical, but the little-mustachioed fluff ball takes it in stride.
Someone has stolen Leo’s gold and it’s up to him to go on a platforming adventure to get his wealth back. What stands out to me about Leo’s Fortune is the gameplay physics. Making Leo float or sink to reach the precious gold coins is a nice break from the old side-to-side movement in a lot of platformers.
Dead Cells is a roguelike action RPG that sees you take “runs” through different levels of a gloomy island. You’ll need to collect items and upgrades along the way, but be careful, if you die, you start from the beginning.
You’re going to die — a lot — but you’ll learn something new each time you do, making your next run even more satisfying. While you start from the beginning each time you die, you do find permanent upgrades as you kill more enemies and make it further into the game, meaning there is some progress to be had.
Dead Cells is one of my favorite games in recent years, I love it so much I have it for every system I own, and having it on my iPad means I can play it anywhere! Just a heads up, it is a newer game that requires some power, so older models of iPad (like from a few years ago) may struggle a little bit.
The Room: Old Sins
The Room: Old Sins is part of the fantastic Room series of games, which all have the same basic gameplay. It’s like a giant puzzle box, with tons of challenging puzzles to discover and wrack your brain over to solve them.
The sudden disappearance of an ambitious engineer and his wife starts you off on a hunt for a precious artifact. The more puzzles you solve, the more intriguing the story gets, making it extremely satisfying every time you solve a puzzle.
The Room: Old Sins is the newest game in the series, and you certainly don’t need to play the first two to enjoy it, but if you wanted to check out The Room and The Room Two, you won’t be disappointed either.
Hidden Folks is an amazingly crafted puzzle game that strives for simplicity and succeeds with flying colors. It’s like an intense black-and-white version of Where’s Waldo for the modern age that is incredible fun.
Finding everything on each level is quite the challenge and Hidden Folks will make you flex your brain power to figure out certain hints that accompany each findable person or object.
The hand-drawn art is as charming as it is impressive and you’ll spend just as much time looking around each level enjoying the design as you will squinting your eyes trying to find Beekeeper Barry.
Ticket to Earth
Ticket to Earth is an incredible game and is a must-download for gamers everywhere, and I can’t recommend it highly enough!
The story is littered with surprising plot twists, impactful characters, and a well-written narrative that will keep you invested in the rich world of New Providence and the people who populate the planet.
An original battle system that breathes new life into the strategy RPG genre, the Movement system offers an incredibly deep and complex combat experience that never goes stale, as there are always new powers and abilities to acquire. It’s refreshing to see a strategy RPG that heavily relies on the strategy part of its genre. Ticket to Earth will kill you if you’re not careful, you must examine the map carefully and choose your actions wisely, or you’ll be doomed to repeat the same mission over and over again. It can be mildly frustrating as you’re still learning the game, but it’s wildly entertaining the whole time.
Plus, since the birth of ARKit, the developers have added a beautiful AR mode that lets you play all the story missions and a bunch of new original missions in AR.
From chill games to intensive ones
With their larger screens and beautiful displays, Apple’s iPads are an amazing way to play games. Just prop them up, whip out a controller if you have one handy, or use the game’s touch controls to dive into a digital world.
If you’re only going to play one game, I recommend Genshin Impact. The visuals are gorgeous and there’s a vast fantasy world filled with memorable characters to discover. Each character that you unlock has its own elemental powers that can help you take on enemies and challenges in different ways. Just be aware that the game does employ gacha mechanics, but you don’t have to pay any real money if you don’t want to.
Of course, Minecraft is also a great iPad game and has been for a while now. You can spend hundreds of hours doing just about anything you want in the game. Work on harvesting materials, build your dream mansion, grow a wide range of crops, or just run off in a direction and see what you can find.
Updated January 2022: Added the incredible open-world RPG Genshin Impact to the list.