Best free iPad games of all time

Mar 31, 2014

You already dropped quite a bit of money to get your slick new iPad or iPad mini, so why not enjoy something free for a change?

You already dropped quite a bit of money to get your slick new iPad, so why not enjoy something free for a change? There are plenty of great iPad games that won’t cost you a dime (or at least, won’t cost you right away). We’ve picked the very best to give you a guide to how to fill your hard drive.

Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol

Strategy title Ace Patrol gives players command of a squad of World War I dogfighters that take to the sky to defeat targets both in the air and on the ground. The turn-based title requires you to think carefully about where you want to send your planes and what maneuvers and targets they need to execute in order to avoid enemy fire and effectively defeat enemies. With plenty of levels and lots of different kinds of enemies to face down, you’ll soon have a crack squad of fighter pilots at your strategic disposal.

Real Racing 3

Gorgeous graphics mark Electronic Arts’ real racing franchise, and Real Racing 3 is a great-looking game to have on your iPad. The title brings players into races all over the world with cars taken straight out of real life, which you can unlock, customize and race against computer opponents or players matched against you from the Internet.

Walking Dead: The Game

Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead is based on the original comic series, not the hit AMC TV show, and that allows it to explore new ground based on original characters. A point-and-click adventure game, it takes players into the world of the zombie apocalypse and puts them through a series of puzzles, fights with zombies, and above all, character moments and touch choices about how to act with a group of survivors and how to survive the end of the world.

Jetpack Joyride

Probably the best endless runner title available is Jetpack Joyride, which sets players in a side-scrolling science facility and tasks them with surviving for as long as they can. You’ll also get the titular jetpack, which allows you to fly up and down to avoid incoming hazards. With tons of vehicles to use and a heap of special objectives to complete, Jetpack Joyride is a great way to kill a few minutes (or hours).

You Don’t Know Jack

Step into a hilarious game show-like trivia game with You Don’t Know Jack, a title that quizzes you on everything from pop culiture to history to science, all with a warped sense of humor. You can also challenge Facebook friends to see who can rack up the highest score, and earn power-ups that give you an edge over the competition.

Zen Pinball

Turn your iPad into a pinball table, or as close as you can get, with the gorgeous tables of Zen Pinball. The title is packed with custom tables, some of which are free and others requiring in-app purchases, but all are skillfully made and decked out with unique challenges and features. Online Game Center support means you can bring a level of competition to your pinball wizardry, as you attempt to climb each table’s leaderboards.

Hero Academy

Hero Academy is all about competition. Players take teams of fighters into turn-based battles against other players, with each member of your squad fulfilling a different role in battle. You can customize your squad to bring the fighting capabilities that match your style, but the goal is always to use your skills to exploit the weaknesses of your opponents.

Tilt to Live HD

As you might guess from the name, Tilt to Live is all about using your iPad’s accelerometer to the best of its capabilities. Players tilt to control a small ship as it fights through hordes of enemies, dodging incoming vehicles and working toward a high score. There are four game modes for players to dig into, each offering a different take on fast, frenetic tilting action.

Zynga Poker – Texas Holdem HD

Keeping things pretty simple, Poker by Zynga offers plenty of free online poker action for any Texas Hold’em addicts. The game lets you sit down at poker tables with opponents from all over the world. It’s all played for fake money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have real casino-style fun with your iPad.

Angry Birds Space HD

It’s hard to go wrong with the uber-popular arcade franchise Angry Birds — there’s something well-balanced and addictive about its physics-based gameplay of flinging birds at buildings. Things get even more challenging in Angry Birds Space, which leverages astrophysics to challenge players even further, tasking you with effectively dealing with planetoids and the vacuum of space.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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