Best Recent iPad games for two different types of users?
April 29, 2011 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Well it happened. I'm officially bored with all my ipad/iphone games. The App store has exploded recently and I'm pretty binary on the things I like, plus I've got to share the device with another game-lover with different tastes . What are the best, new iPad/iPhone games?

I have liked:

Plants Vs. Zombies




Cut The Rope

World Of Goo

Other Person has not liked any of those (aside from P z Z) and has liked Godfinger and the more Farmville like "Tap" games - is there anything like that that doesn't feel as icky and gouging as Farmville? Something that doesn't ask you to buy more crap?
posted by The Whelk to Computers & Internet (49 answers total) 103 users marked this as a favorite
Your list of "I love this" is the same as mine. I recommend: Sword and Sworcery, Angry Birds (duh), Risk, Catan, The Settlers, Carcassone.
posted by jbickers at 6:04 PM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not really new, but I like:

Reiner Knizia's Samurai
posted by backwards guitar at 6:05 PM on April 29, 2011

Response by poster: Oh yes and OF COURSE Angry Birds, for both. It's so obvious it slipped my mind.
posted by The Whelk at 6:06 PM on April 29, 2011

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 PM on April 29, 2011

Tiny Wings is supraddictive. You are a flightless bird in a hilly side-scrolling world, see, and using just one finger press-hold, you tuck your wings to gain speed on the downslope of a hill then release to launch off the upslope, then time your wing-tuck to land just right on another hill's downslope to launch higher/farther. Repeat until 2am.
posted by prinado at 6:11 PM on April 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

My family members are currently addicted to Harbor Master.
posted by jay dee bee at 6:18 PM on April 29, 2011

Dungeon Raid is pretty hot right now. It's like Bejeweled with roleplaying classes and leveling up. I really like Small World too.

But my favorite iPad game is a kludgy combination of uPad (a PDF editor) and issues of P&A magazine. The iPad is a perfect tool for doing puzzles, and P&A has much better puzzles than pretty much any puzzle game. uPad is a great editor, P&A is amazing, and the two together are like butter. (Good butter.)
posted by painquale at 6:21 PM on April 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Drop7 is amazingly fun and super addictive. I highly recommend it.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 6:25 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

tiny wings is the latest I've installed on my phone. It's good.
posted by kjell at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2011

Stoopid Sandwich. The object of which is to make the tallest sandwich possible. It is free and doesn't exist as a conduit for getting you to buy endless 99 cent add-ons.
posted by contessa at 6:36 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Game Dev Story/Hot Springs Story (Farmville-ish?)
Glow Hockey HD (2 players)
Marble Mixer (4 players)
Helsing's Fire
Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor
Infinity Blade is actually lots of fun.
posted by lemuring at 6:47 PM on April 29, 2011

Sparkle is the big game in my home right now. Basic color-matching, clear the board type game, but it gets rather devilish.... The Boyfriend is addicted to it.
posted by MShades at 6:47 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Battleheart is fun.
posted by SueDenim at 6:55 PM on April 29, 2011

I like Tilt to Live HD.
posted by ambulatorybird at 7:14 PM on April 29, 2011

If you liked bejeweled, get puzzle quest -- either the original or puzzle quest 2. I prefer the iPad version of PQ2, but they're all good. It's bejeweled crossed with an RPG, and I'm totally hooked.
posted by cgg at 7:23 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you like Bejeweled you'd probably like Babo Crash.
posted by Rob Rockets at 7:28 PM on April 29, 2011

So you like quick casual games with just-one-more-try gameplay?

Seconding Helsing's Fire and Tiny Wings. Both have original game concepts and tons of polish. I was playing HF's new update just last night, and it's still super fun.

There's literally hundreds of match-3 games on the App Store, but if you want something with a bit of RPG on top, try Dungeon Raid or Puzzle Quest.

Since you liked Cut the Rope, you might also like Land-a Panda, which has a similar mechanic. Also consider Burn the Rope.

Peggle but even more adorable? Sushi Cat.

As somebody who doesn't enjoy tower defence games generally, but did like P vs Z, the only thing I've found that comes close is The Creeps. I still got bored with it, though.

World of Goo is unique but if you like that sort of open-world puzzle solving, you could try Trainyard, a fun track-laying game that gets crazy hard towards the end.

Lastly, Aqueduct, which isn't a whole lot like the games you've already mentioned but is a fun pipe/slider puzzle game.

For Other Person: Pocket Frogs, in which you breed and catalogue thousands of adorable tiny frogs. There's IAP but the developers have a philosophy of making the game totally playable without it, and in my experience, that's true.
posted by Georgina at 7:55 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Snuggle Truck (aka Smuggle Truck)
posted by carmel at 8:02 PM on April 29, 2011


If you wanna change genre's:
Monkey Island series
posted by stratastar at 9:29 PM on April 29, 2011

Combine! You can try it online first to see if you like it.
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 10:20 PM on April 29, 2011

And I second Drop7.
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 10:21 PM on April 29, 2011

Man, everyone beat me to my favourites: Tiny Wings, Tilt to Live.

Do not miss these great games:
Rolando (#1 at least, haven't tried #2)
Orbital (another personal favourite)
Eliss (great concept and aesthetics, though very challenging)
posted by TangoCharlie at 10:24 PM on April 29, 2011

Flight Control.
posted by D.Billy at 10:25 PM on April 29, 2011

Cat physics
posted by HMSSM at 10:34 PM on April 29, 2011

The iPad version of Canabalt is super simple, stylish, and addictive, just like the free version here but with extra music and an additional obstacle type.

I also like Evacuation (a resized port of this Flash game by the maker of QWOP) and Akinator (not a game, per se, but a scary accurate 20-questions game that can guess any real or fictional character).
posted by Rhaomi at 10:50 PM on April 29, 2011

Oh, and if you liked Dice Wars, Strategic Dice is an almost perfect replica.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:51 PM on April 29, 2011

Currently or recently getting a lot of play from me:

• Coin Drop. It's Peggle-like mechanics with Angry Birds-style three-star-gathering. Kind of shallow though, I don't see going back once I get through it.

• Angry Birds, natch. Currently playing through the Valentines Day levels in Seasons and dipping back into the Halloween episode to grub a few more points. Rio is also quite good.

• Mad Skills Motocross — Excitebike on steroids. Getting really tough on later levels.

• Miner Disturbance — Sort of a Dig Dug-meets-Spelunky thing (though not as cool as the latter), timed digging/exploration/gold collection.


• Space Miner: Space Ore Bust — expansive take on Asteroids and the "gathering" mechanic from Sinistar, with a rough storyline, upgrades, etc.

• Enigmo, Enigmo 2: Physics-y puzzles where you try to direct drops of fluid through a structure. I bet the second is amazing on an iPad.

• GeoDefense/GeoDefense Swarm — my favorite takes on tower defense, with a cool "Tron" vibe.

• Sword & Poker/Sword & Poker II — Mix of RPG elements where battles are fought by building poker hands. Grindy but I played them both all the way through.

• One Dot Enemies — A hypnotic pixel-squisher—literally. Your "enemies" are single pixels that wing across the screen and your job is to spot/squish them. That's all.

Seconding/Also Recommended: Trainyard, Luxor, Hook Champ, Orbital, Drop7, Strategery [sic], Mr. Driller, Helsing's Fire. I'm saving GTA:Chinatown Wars for a special occasion—I got about halfway through it on the DS before I bought my iPod Touch and never picked up the DS again.

(Sorry for no links, it's a little awkward gathering them in Mobile Safari.)
posted by Lazlo at 11:01 PM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Train conductor is kind of fun, and seems in the genre you're looking for.

If you like hidden object games, the mystery of the crystal portal 2 is not bad--it's not terriby challenging (I play it with my 6 year old), but it's pretty well done. We also liked secret of grisly manor, which is a very straightforward, old fashioned puzzle game. Again, not terribly challenging, but kind of soothing in its straightforwardness.
posted by leahwrenn at 11:03 PM on April 29, 2011

If you like card games, Euchre 3D can be fun.
posted by bonobothegreat at 12:28 AM on April 30, 2011

I love these: Death Rally on iPad - Tiny Wings and Canabalt on iPhone. They're very well made but maybe a bit too arcade-ish for your tastes.
posted by wolfr at 1:19 AM on April 30, 2011

Sword and Sworcery. It's awesome. Sort of an RPG. Carcassone is dope too.
posted by chunking express at 5:45 AM on April 30, 2011

You dont know jack. If your old enough to remember the game from the 90's it is now on the iphone. This game ROCKS!!!!!
posted by majortom1981 at 6:30 AM on April 30, 2011

Fruit ninja!
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 6:58 AM on April 30, 2011

I've tried a lot of the ones listed above, some of which I come back to more regularly than others (Bejeweled, Osmos, Trainyard, Orbital). I've lost patience with Angry Birds because the performance on my 3G is horrific and laggy - but it was definitely up there with the best at one point.
Tiny Wings and Flick Golf tend to take up most of my iPhone gaming time now, although friends and family seemed to struggle to grasp the former (which is weird; it's literally just touch/not touch - not exactly difficult)

The only others that get any of my time (apart from the once-in-a-blue moon "Ooh, I haven't played Civ/Pinball Fantasies/Speedball/Fargoal/etc. for ages" moment) are:

Traffic Rush (more-ish, particularly because when you mess up you know it was your own fault)
Sneezies (cute, simple, fun)
Shopping Cart Hero (silly, but quick and easy as a pick-up-put-down kinda thing)
posted by Chunder at 7:15 AM on April 30, 2011

Love Osmos (on iPhone) and World of Goo (on Mac).

My list of iPhone favourites - with those already mentioned:
- Eliss (original, tricky)
- Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor (original concept and gameplay)
- Orbital (GimmeFriction-alike)
- Edge (nice aesthetic)
- Zen Bound (unique gameplay)
- Strategery (pretty elementary, yet I keep coming back to this...)
- Canabalt
- Tiny Wings

others in no particular order:
- Solipskier (think Canabalt on skis)
- Tipoli (graphically rather crude but somehow very compelling)
- Monospace (pretty original 3D maze/puzzler)
- Chromixa (simple graphics, but nice concept and gaming structure)
- Mystic Colours (Chromatron-alike)
- Flood-It (straightforward, yet addictive)
- Ancient Frog (quite zen)

iPad faves (though I've had very limited time with the thing so far):
- Voxel (unique spatial Lego-alike)
- Trundle (nicely gloomy)
- Slice It! (simple idea, tough to perfect)
posted by progosk at 7:31 AM on April 30, 2011

Puzzle Quest 2 is very good - a fun combo of bejeweled and traditional RPG elements.
posted by redondo77 at 8:03 AM on April 30, 2011

First few suggestions: longer narrative-driven games, but not requiring twitch reactions; think of them as more defined, story-driven puzzles than the algorithmic puzzles of your list of games.

Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent is a beautifully presented game tied together with puzzles.
Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney is a straight DS port, but is brilliantly over the top and camply hilarious. Lots of fun.

Then, for more arcade-y games you can just pick up and drop:

Minisquadron is a fun 2d shooting game, with in-app purchases for extra levels. The main app is free and the TCO is low - I think they have a completely free special edition version too.
Minotron is a deranged, lightweight and easy version of robotron by UK games industry genius Jeff Minter.

Finally, some games with algorithmic or AI driven puzzles, slightly longer form than a round of Bejewelled.

Civilization Revolutions (flash site FYI) is a pretty good conversion of Civ for iPhone. A little confusing if you're not used to Civ. otherwise.
Chu Chu Rocket is pretty good fun, and one of Sega's better ( or at least, less bad ) Dreamcast ports.
You Don't Know Jack is a fun little quiz game back from the dead, but reactions to the announcer are pretty divisive. Works well on the phone.
Fargoal and 100 Rogues (by MeFi's Keith Burgun, previously, previously) are both fun dungeon crawling games, though 100 Rogues has temporarily disappeared pending a bugfix.
posted by davemee at 8:46 AM on April 30, 2011

Oh - Apple produce a really anomalous poker game, beautifully presented, LAN multiplayer, and with a really subtle yet rich interface. It's the only game they publish, but it's not been updated for a few years (and ironically lacks game center support).

Also agreeing with recommendations of Carcassone, Zen Bound, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Flight Control, GTA:Chinatown Wars. Scrabble, Shredder lite are also fun, if you're into boring people games.
posted by davemee at 8:53 AM on April 30, 2011

- Mystic Colours (Chromatron-alike)
correct spelling is MysticalColors for the iPhone, and iMysticalColors for the iPad.

posted by progosk at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2011

This thread just wasted my day.

Most of the best ones have been mentioned, but I'll add: Ninjump and Flick Football.
posted by stp123 at 9:05 AM on April 30, 2011

Seconding Sword and Sworcery.

You've named a lot of my favourite games as well, so we seem to have the same taste. My absolute favourite new addiction is Pix'n Love Rush -- it's a little more arcade-y than the others you've named, but it's great. It's like a cross between Super Mario Brothers and Space Invaders.
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:51 AM on April 30, 2011

Most of my faves are here, but two of my very favorites that never seem to get any love and never show up on any lists:

Monstercrush: a physics-based puzzle game in which you crush alien monsters by detonating and toppling tall buildings

Everlands: a strategy board game that is far more challenging than the extremely cute animal characters would have you believe
posted by etc. at 10:07 AM on April 30, 2011

Blokus is amazing.
posted by pluot at 2:03 PM on April 30, 2011

I can't believe no one's mentioned Cover Orange.

Also seconding (or thirding) Carcassone and Drop7.
posted by alms at 8:39 PM on April 30, 2011

Nthing Tiny Wings, which I just got this weekend because of this thread. It isn't just as addictive as any good app, but it's a gorgeous little piece of art. There's a variety of colourful, abstract hills, tiny adjustments to the look of the bird as it goes from light to heavy (including the wee crest of feathers on its wee head), and, of course, cunningly chosen and rewarding sounds.

But it's an emotional rush as well. You become the bird and want to help it fly further and further each day to escape the inevitable dark that drops it in its flight, but the sadness is short-lived as it rises again the next day to try again.

If The Venerable Bede had been a rogue Buddhist, or if he had spent a lot of time thinking about groundhogs, he would have written this app.
posted by maudlin at 2:43 PM on May 1, 2011

Nthing Pocket Frogs for Other Person, sounds perfect for his/her tastes.

Ozone HD is a puzzle game that's free today.

Marple is a terrific logic puzzle game.

iAssociate newly has an HD version for the iPad. It's a word-association game that I find extremely addictive and extremely satisfying.

If you like solitaire, my favorite iPad version is Solitaire Plus! (the ! is part of the name). I like Solebon on the iPhone better, but its long-promised HD version is still vaporware.

Ultimate Alphabet is pricey (you have to buy each of the letters separately), but it's a wonderful game that's absolutely perfect on the iPad.

Emblem is a puzzle game with a mechanic utterly unlike anything I've ever seen before. I got to a point with it where I was stuck and got frustrated enough to stop playing, but it took many, many hours to get there.

For trivia, the Scene It! games are great, but take up a lot of space (gigabytes galore). MovieCat HD is a fun movie trivia game.

Lastly, Saqqarah HD has many different types of related puzzles in it and has lots of hours of gameplay before you finish it.
posted by kostia at 7:44 PM on May 1, 2011

Important thing to note about Tiny Wings (besides that it will suck up all your time): the "levels" (islands) are generated procedurally each day. So every day the islands have similar characteristics (island 4: lots of deep valleys) but exact topography and placement of items (and colors) change.

So it keeps it interesting but also sets up this daily ritual where if you put in a couple hours of gameplay and it is 11pm you can be sure you'll be playing that last hour of the day before the boards change, because you are now invested/got the hang of the day's board and you want to get to that 9th island!

You then play until midnight and the boards change. "Well, I may as well check out the new boards..."

Joking with my wife last night as we waited for the President's speech, each of us playing Tiny Wings on our iPhones:

TV NEWSGUY: ... and all Americans will remember where they were at this historic moment

ME: Yes, we were watching TV and playing Tiny Wings, wondering, "will the President make his speech before the boards change for the night?"

posted by mikepop at 11:50 AM on May 2, 2011

Response by poster: Too many great answers to list but Pocket Frogs is like the perfect collect-grind but not evil game for the other user and Tiny Wings is a delight.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 PM on July 24, 2011

Glad to hear Other Person is enjoying Pocket Frogs. NimbleBit, the creators, recently released a new game called Tiny Tower that might also be enjoyed.
posted by Georgina at 7:32 PM on July 26, 2011

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