The iPad Pro (2021) is a handy device and one of the best tablets on the market — but it's also very expensive. Buying a few accessories along with your tablet is already an investment, but throw on the cost of a game? You might as well take out a second loan. Luckily, there's a lot of free games available on the iPad, and a lot of those game are actually pretty good. Here are the best free iPad games.
Ever since I was a child, I've always adored a good pew pew shooter. Nothing more satisfying than shooting a bunch of stuff, so when I came across PewPew Live, I had to download it. Drawing inspiration from twin-stick shooters as well as an aesthetic reminiscent of Geometry Wars. It's a difficult game, with tons of action on screen. If you like frenetic arcade shooters, this one is not to be missed.
And it's totally free. No ads or in-app purchases in sight. Just leaderboards, community-made levels, multiplayer, and lots of pewpewpew. What more can you ask for?
In Astalo, you control a tiny fighter on a small platform floating in the sky. Your tiny real estate is also packed full of monsters determined to tear you into pieces — and so begins the arcade hack and slash game. With simple one-button controls, Astalo is a simple hack and slash game, but when it starts to set its hooks into you, it's hard to put down.
Fans of old-school arcade games will enjoy the relentless nature of the game, especially in endless mode. And thanks to the size of the iPad, your hands never feel claustrophobic or in the way. Perfect for short sessions or longer high score runs.
If you've spent any time with fighting games, chances are you're familiar with The King of Fighters series, but you've definitely never experienced like this before. King of Fighters ALLSTAR is a beat-em-up game that stars over 200 characters new and old characters from the fan-favorite fighting game and experiences the classic fighters in a brand new way.
The game is visually striking, with detailed animations and graphics that look great on the iPad, and thanks to the extra space on the screen, you won't miss a beat. There's also a few multiplayer modes, including a co-op mode, as well as an arena mode. Of course, there are in-app purchases as far as you can see, but the base game can be enjoyed, free of charge.
At first, you might think that Dashy Crashy is another lane-based survival game, where you swipe to avoid traffic and earn as many points as possible, and you'd be right. But as you play it, the game starts to reveal itself as much more. The soundtrack is catchy and the visuals are colorful and charming, and there's a nice day and night cycle that gives life to the long, long, long road ahead of you.
But Dashy Crashy starts to add a surprising amount of variety that sets Dashy Crashy apart. New cars are dealt out randomly, but they're more than just skins. Each car has their own gimmick, and offer bonuses for completing those gimmicks on the road. All together, Dashy Crash is a lot more strategic than its contemporaries and is more fun to play because of it.
Videogames possess a zen-like quality, and there are lots of times after a long, hard day of existing in the world, that you just want to sink into a chill, simple game – and maybe ascend to a higher plane while you're at it. Casual Metaphysics is a spiritual puzzle game that's a simple match game on its surface, but as the difficulty starts to ramp up, so does the weird.
Casual Metaphysics has a vaporwave aesthetic that becomes more absurd as you progress. A giant hand becomes your opponent at one point, and you trade blows on increasingly higher planes of consciousness. Did I feel enlightened after playing? Sorta, but it's a weird, fun spin on the traditional puzzler.
Oco is a unique platformer that combines platforming essentials with modern art. Before I get too highfalutin, it's quite a beautiful game. Each screen is based on a circular design, and you must move your tiny polygon avatar to the goal. They move automatically, with jumps controlled by the player.
The strategy comes from figuring out how to get to the exit in the constantly rotating world. Rebound off of walls and jump mats to a procedurally generated soundtrack. It's a brain-teasing puzzle game that's both a visual and sonic treat and looks absolutely stunning on the large iPad screen.
One of the first major mobile games anyone ever played, Angry Birds proved that it had staying power, and has plopped some of the angriest birds into the third dimension with Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs. The first major change to the game's formula is that you're no longer flinging birds in 2D. This time, you're flinging the angry fowl through a first-person viewpoint.
The cool gimmick here is that it makes use of the iPad's AR capabilities, allowing you to explore levels from every angle to maximize your destructive capability. It's a welcome change to the Angry Birds formula.
Asphalt Xtreme takes the larger-than-life street racing of the Asphalt games and brings it off-road, taking you through muddy flats, sand dunes, and the great outdoors in an arcade racing game that stands out on its own.
Bouncy physics, simple controls, and tons of speed make up this arcade racer, but with a catch: The freemium is strong with this one, and you'll have to contend with timers and various currencies while playing. But beyond that, you'll find a very capable racer.
With Fortnite shelved by the long-running Apple Vs. Epic court case, gamers won't be able to get their battle royale kick from Epic games (at least not on Apple devices, anyway). So it's never been a better time to check back in with PUBG, the first battle royale.
While Fortnite may be the talk of the town, PUBG Mobile is still a capable game. Designed exclusively for mobile, PUBG Mobile is a free-to-play battle royale game that pits you against 99 other players in a fight for that coveted win, but also check out 4v4 team deathmatches and zombie modes. PUBG Mobile has more than enough content to fill that Fortnite-sized hole in your apple library.
Silly Walks is a silly adventure game staring sentient fruit and kitchen appliances. Take control of a Burger, Bowl of Noodles, a Pineapple, and other foods to save your friends the evil Blender. The gimmick is that you really don't have control over your legs (you are an animated inanimate object, after all) so you must tap the screen for one foot, and again to move the other. You'll have to silly walk over kitchens and through countless perils to save your friends.
Silly Walk is a goofy game with colorful graphics. It's an oddball platformer that is sure to put a smile on your face. And even nicer still, the IAPs are not intrusive at all. More to enjoy for the low, low price of free.
Virtua Tennis Challenge is the classic Dreamcast tennis game shrunk down onto your iPad. It's still the same classic arcade game you know and love, with all of the lobs, top spins, and super shots that made the series so damn addictive.
Unlike other games on this list, the gestural controls aren't really the way to play. If you want to appreciate what Virtua Tennis has to offer, make use of the on-screen buttons (or one of the many iPad controllers available). It's tennis, and it's good.
The Battle of Polytopia makes the grade again on our best of list for the same reasons that made it so great on the iPhone. The Battle of Polytopia is a great strategy game that can be enjoyed in bite-sized portions, capturing everything good about a Civilization game and turning it into a high score attempt. In Polytopia, you have 30 turns to explore, research, and advance your civilization. Easy, right?
The game ends up feeling more like a puzzle, as players have to figure out the best way to dominate the play space before your enemies do. It benefits greatly from the extra space of the iPad screen, and I think it's one of the best games on the iPad, especially for strategy fans.
In Fallout Shelter, you're in charge of a Vault — an underground bunker built to protect people from the nuclear war — and the future of the community of people in your vault depends on your decisions. You'll need to keep people happy, but also safe, in this crazy post-apocalyptic world.
One of my favorite things about Fallout Shelter is Bethesda's continuing support for Fallout Shelter. The game launched in 2015 and it's still receiving updates, special events, and new content from the developers, making the game stay fresh for the players you have been playing from the beginning. If you're a fan of the Fallout series of video games, Fallout Shelter will reward your knowledge with familiar names, jokes, and events; however, this game offers plenty of excitement and challenge to newcomers as well, making it a fantastic game for everyone.
What makes The Elder Scrolls: Legends stand out from other games like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone is its two-laned battlefield. Each battlefield is split into two lanes and creatures in those lanes can only attack the opponent's creatures in the same lane. The lanes can also have different effects that affect the outcome of the battles going on in that lane.
The Elder Scrolls: Legends offers a fantastic experience for both people who are new to the strategy card games, and seasoned veterans who love the genre. Bethesda did an excellent job making this game equal parts challenging and rewarding, making it very easy to avoid spending money to get better cards.
Brawl Stars' frantic and fun combat system makes the game easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master. Each character has different abilities, stats, and weapons that give way to endless strategy possibilities regardless of which character you like to play.
Brawl Stars has many game modes, like Smash & Grab, Heist, Showdown, and Bounty, each with a different objective. Brawl Stars has also enjoyed a massive string of updates since release and has remained an absolute delight to play. And it's free, so what have you got to lose?
What's your favorite free iPad game
These are some of the best free iPad games available on the App store. There's plenty more where that came from, so if you've got any personal favorites, let us know in the comments. Be sure to check out our choices for the best free iPhone games, and don't forget to take a look at our list of best controllers for your Apple device.
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